What makes bad people tick?

As a writer, this is something that I’ve explored for a long time now. Why does a bad person become bad? Why do they do bad things, what is the motivation?

Just the other day, I was walking to my car from work. I was wearing my normal leather jacket. In Boston it’s very cold at this time of year. As I neared the garage, two girls wearing NE Patriots uniforms, no older than college students passed me by. I don’t know if they were intoxicated or not… though judging by the way they were skipping about, it’s definitely possible. Anyway, I was walking by, one of them looked at me, and in an extremely sarcastic tone said ‘You look really good in that leather jacket’ before skipping off with her friend laughing.

I shook my head and kept walking. ‘Idiots…’

But as I sat in traffic later, I thought to myself… why did she do that? What was it about me that she felt the need to put me down? Would she have said that if I were thinner, shorter, or had a more threatening appearance? What was the motivation or was there even one?

Now in many stories, it’s explained, and explained well… Bad people are bad because of…
Past traumatic experiences,
Mental issues,
Revenge,
Blindly following a faith or political leader,
Betrayal,
Circumstances,

There are a plethora of other issues as well, but those are the general ones that usually explain villains. My question is what about the bad person. The person who wasn’t a good person that bad stuff happened to. The person who is intelligent, lived a good life, and had no explicable reason for becoming what they did. Where is the motivation for it and why?

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6 thoughts on “What makes bad people tick?

  1. nananoyz says:

    I’ve wondered the same. I knew a beautiful young woman once whose favorite activity was making sport of others. On the surface she seemed to have it all– money, looks, happy family. It wasn’t until years later we learned her dad was an alcoholic, probably abused her mom.

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  2. myramuili says:

    Interesting question. Perhaps maybe because being bad is something inherent, not just learnt with time.

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  3. There’s always the narcissist as defined in the DSM. They generally don’t have a reason other than enjoying power. But that’s a very broad generalization. Some people just enjoy being assholes and don’t realize they are.

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  4. kimberlybuck says:

    I had a woman online challenge my credibility in biblical knowledge because I’m no longer a member of her faith. I wasn’t even directing any comments to her but she felt the need to jump in and be a bitch. How Christlike of her.

    She followed that up by condemning a young man with depression struggling with sexual identity issues.

    I told her if you are so right in all you say, tell your leader exactly what you told me and that young man today. On the first Sunday of the month, when anyone can speak, get up and tell them how you stood up to the sinners by putting them down. And I also asked her to ask her leader to find out if harassment and bullying are the church ordained methods for reintroducing old members to the faith. She repeated herself and the same dogma over and over again. “I don’t have to. I know Jesus loves me and I have nothing to fear.”

    My final comment was, if you have nothing to fear, give it a shot.

    Sometimes bad people mix their badness with stupidity. She’s Example A. for today.

    But there is no real reason. People can choose to be good or be assholes. It’s their choice.

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