An Explanation

The general rule to remember is that when we’re scared, we’re scary, and when we’re scary, we’re usually scared. If someone seems strangely opposed to your actions, even though you’re motivated purely by good intentions and are doing nothing that could possibly injure him, rest assured that person is afraid. This does not excuse violent or malicious behavior; it just explains it. A common psychological error you’ll find in movies and television is that the evil people on the screen are often depicted as knowing they’re evil and feeling powerful in their destructiveness. In real life, people who perpetrate evil virtually always see themselves as victims, forced by circumstances to “defend themselves” by attacking others.

— Martha Beck, Steering by Starlight, p. 193

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