How to Be Hurt Less by So-Called Evil People

Protected by Light

Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There were monsters in my closet—or so my five-year-old self believed. As soon as my mother kissed me goodnight and flipped the lights off, they would appear.

See, in my room, the sliding closet doors were kept open, and on the top three shelves, monsters would magically appear in the darkness. Their wide mouths closely resembled folded towels and their eyes looked like the buttons of my sweaters, but I was too scared to notice.

I could only see evil creatures staring at me, and after a few minutes of terrorizing myself, I would run out of my room and jump in my parents’ bed. Then, one night, I closed the closet doors and the monsters went away.

Years later, another monster would haunt me in the middle of the night.

This monster had a name, and one of those facial expressions that made her look as she was perpetually frowning. This monster had had an affair with my husband, and had repeatedly attempted to thwart all of my efforts to forgive and to save my marriage.

“That woman is evil,” friends of mine who knew her would say. “She’s plain evil.”

I believed she was evil, and when she assumed the role of a monster in my head, anger and fear settled themselves comfortably in my heart.

As I did when I was little, I tried to close the doors of my awareness to send this new monster away. When a thought about what had happened came to me, I would push it out of my mind, but the thought would eventually return with renewed intensity.

Then, one day, as life as I knew it crumbled before my eyes, I started to awaken. I knew that unless I let go of the fear and anger, I wouldn’t be able to move forward into love and happiness. I loved myself too much to remain stuck in this dark place.

Messages about oneness and compassion seemed to come to me from books, podcasts, live lectures, the Internet, and people I met. Life was calling me back.

I understood that I had the power to free myself from this “monster” and from all the “evil” people that might try to come into my life. I’d like to share what I learned with you. 

“Evilness” is a judgment.

When you label people as “evil” or as “bad,” you block your ability to see that they come from the same source that created you. Removing judgment allows you to extend compassion not only to them, but also to yourself. Through compassion, you can heal.

You can choose not to give power to so-called evil people.

You might have given the evildoers starring roles in your life drama, but to them, you might just be someone who got in their way. They pursued their goal without considering the damage caused by their actions.

They probably rationalized what they did in a way that made them feel they weren’t doing anything wrong, or that they had no option but to do what they did.

By realizing this, taking the actions of others less personally, and changing your thoughts about these actions, you can choose not to give your power away to other people. You can lessen the negative impact that hurtful actions have on your emotional state.

“Bad” people can become your greatest teachers.

My adult-life “monster” taught me to deal with adversity like no one else. Whoever has come into your life has done so for a reason. Ask yourself what lesson you can learn from the negative behavior of other people.

It’s okay to reject “evil.”

Once the worst of my situation was over, I learned I had the choice to simply not let myself be bothered by what anyone had done to me.

When people were verbally attacking him in public, Buddha responded, “If you have a gift to give a friend, but the friend refuses to accept the gift, who then does the gift belong to?”

Limit your time with those who tend to bring negativity into your life and choose not to place your attention on the detrimental actions of others.

“Evil” dissolves when you bring light into it.

If I had just turned on the light in my room when I was little, the monsters in my closet would’ve disappeared.

Usually, when others attack you, they are subconsciously seeking to bring up negative emotions in you. Their pain needs to feed on your pain to continue existing. If you decide to not give in to the negative emotions, they’ll have less incentive to attack. Light nullifies darkness.

Bring the light of your love and kindness to everyone around you, and watch the “bad” people in your life retreat or even change their actions.

“Evil” people don’t know better.

People who hurt you act out of ignorance. They justify their harmful behavior by thinking they are doing what they need to do given the circumstances in their lives.

Also, people who harm others are usually in dreadful emotional states. They are under such pain that all they have to give to others is pain. Realizing this truth will help you advance on the road to compassion and forgiveness.

There are no evil people.

However, the world is filled with people thinking evil thoughts. If you become prey to anger and hatred, you’ll join the ranks.

Send love to everyone around you, including those who’ve hurt you. Love will open the door for goodness to come into your life, and will close the door to those evil monsters in the closet who are people just like you and me, doing what they think is best at a certain moment in their lives.

Photo by Jenny Poole

About Cloris Kylie Stock

Cloris Kylie, Marketing MBA, helps entrepreneurs to attract the right clients so that they skyrocket their impact and revenue! A sought-after speaker, trainer, and author, Cloris has been featured on various television and radio shows, including the #1 podcast for entrepreneurs, "Entrepreneur On Fire." Cloris's articles have been published on websites with millions of followers. Visit her website here

See a typo, an inaccuracy, or something offensive? Please contact us so we can fix it!
  • sarah

    I needed this! i was so mad at my roomates for giving me a bad college experience and hard time when i was moving out. But now im going to NEVER give them any power

  • Great, Sarah! I’m so happy to hear this article has empowered you. Best wishes to you!

  • fly

    this is sooooooooo good! I had an epiphany last week almost exactly as you wrote this “When you label people as “evil” or as “bad,”
    you block your ability to see that they come from the same source that
    created you. Removing judgment allows you to extend compassion not only
    to them, but also to yourself. Through compassion, you can heal.” THANK YOU FOR THE CONFIRMATION

  • Fly, thank you for your feedback! It always makes me happy to see how we’re all connected! Stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • JustMe

    Brilliant post. “People who hurt you act out of ignorance. They justify their harmful behavior by thinking they are doing what they need to do given the circumstances in their lives.”
    My partner justifies what he is doing due to what his mind tells him others are doing to him. He knows no better. When you think of it in these terms, we need to show them compassion. I will try.

  • Brian_Bray

    Life is a series of lessons, which don’t present themselves on a fixed schedule. Just as we don’t all learn to swim or skate at the same age, social skills also can be acquired later in some people. Please keep in mind that the people you call evil might simply have not learned an important life lesson yet. It doesn’t mean they never will. Be patient. Teach rather than condemn.

  • anon

    Obviously I don’t know your story or exactly what that woman did to you… so bear with me when I say this, but I don’t think a woman who has an affair is evil in the slightest. Why? Because an affair is motivated by a desire to love and be loved. I do feel sad that this happened to you, so don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t think affairs are evil or vindictive because they lack an evil motive, quite the opposite.
    So I don’t think this article actually deals with real evil- like how to deal with a rapist or violent person who is motivated by evil, who does want to hurt you. What about that?

  • I completely agree, Brian. Thank you for your comment, and stay in touch via FB or Twitter. Blessings!

  • Thank you for your comment. It’s always best to show compassion–this way you align with your true self. I’m sending you all the best, and please stay in touch.

  • You’re correct. There’s a lot more to my particular story, but I definitely see your point. Evil people really don’t exist…just people thinking evil thoughts. Blessings.

  • Brian_Bray

    Thanks Cloris! I follow on FB, and enjoy the posts very much.

  • Awesome, Brian! Thank you!

  • cdh

    Well-said … I’ve experienced truly evil people (pedophiles, etc) in my life and I discovered the longer I stay tied to them, the more power I gave away. Buddha’s quote really says it all: “If you have a gift to give a friend, but the friend refuses to accept the gift, who then does the gift belong to?” Giving their choices/behavior ‘back to them’ … and finally doing that in a place of forgiveness set me free. Thanks for helping people see they can take their lives back.

  • Sarah

    Thank you! This is truly beautiful … I love the end message, “send love …”. I believe this is truly healing to those to whom it is being sent and to the sender! I really needed to hear this today … of course! It has given me the strength I needed, right here and right now! ♥

  • BK

    I am reading this and I have recently realized that I am the “evil” person. Ignorant to the fact of hurting people and destroying friendships. Great article. I wish I could take back all the hurt I’ve caused.

  • Lorena

    Love your post and I applaud your approach to the situation for it takes great amount of balance. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

  • Brooke

    Thank you! This was extremely helpful because it made me look at a situation in a different way. The best part of this was the reminder to “send love” to everyone around me, even those who hurt me. Just taking a minute to do this helped me feel so much more centered and myself.

  • May I just add the reason why some people engage in ‘evil’ behaviour is because they have low self esteem. They are so unappy with themselves that they jump on every opportunity to make themselves feel better. Including entering into extramarital relationships as a way of finding love, instead of accepting and loving themselves.

    I do believe in compassion also. We need to forgive those who commit these acts, because like you say, they may not know they are causing hurt to others.

    Thanks for the great post by the way!

  • Lotuslily

    Well written and very precise. This is exactly how you crawl out of the dark hell hole known as heartbreak. That’s how i did it and is very very effective. Superb advice….if only people followed it!

  • laineypc

    This concept extends to a societal level. It should inform how we think about and approach problems of crime and poverty. By writing off people by using labels of ‘evil’ and ‘lazy takers’ to justify turning our backs on them, we allow them to continue to hurt themselves and society. We fail to notice the conditions of injustice, alienation and disconnection that allow this to arise. Often there but for the grace of god…go all of us. We are all in this together. We are all connected.

  • Thank you so much for your comment! I’m happy to hear you feel free and empowered! Many blessings, and stay in touch via FB or Twitter.

  • Very insightful comment, Ash. Thank you! If we all loved ourselves unconditionally, not even evil thoughts would exist…Stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • We have all caused hurt to others at some point in our lives, BK. Now you know you’re not “evil,” but just acted the way you thought was best at the time. Forgive and love yourself, and feel great for all the growth you’ve experienced. I send you love. Stay in touch.

  • We are all connected, and this is why compassion must be our guide. Thank you for the comment, and please stay in touch 🙂

  • Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m glad to know you were able to heal from what happened to you. Many blessings, and please stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • Brooke, I’m happy to hear the article was helpful. Sending love to difficult people has helped me and continues to help me (even today!) Blessings, and please stay in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

  • Blessings back to you, Lorena. Thank you for the comment, and please stay in touch! 🙂

  • Sarah, thank you very much for your comment! You’re right. Extending love heals both the receiver and the sender 🙂 All the best to you, and please stay in touch!

  • Survivor

    As much as I do like the thought behind this, and agree and take comfort from many of your points, I can’t help but to strongly disagree with your point “evil people don’t know better”. As a survivor of severe abuse, both physically and mentally, the knowledge that 1) it was not my fault and 2) he DID know better is something that it has taken me a long time to come to terms with. Sadly, I think your article is contributing to the mistaken belief that most abusers don’t know any better and that it is not their fault. It is. Just as I am responsible for my own actions and decisions, so are “evil” or “bad” people. I am all for forgiveness and not letting their power rule over my emotions and actions, but some “evil” people do fully comprehend what they are doing and continue to do it anyways.

  • Pranav Singh

    Awesome! There is something there for me to learn. Rather pat my shoulder that I have been doing it right.

  • lv2terp

    Wonderful post!!! Thank you for sharing this perspective, and so much “food for thought”!!! 🙂 Compassion, love, and light….a beautiful recipe that I am still trying to master, thank you for this insight! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, we’re all trying to master the recipe for authentic peace. Blessings, and please stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • Thank you, Pranav! So happy to hear the article was helpful! Please stay in touch 🙂

  • Thank you very much for sharing your perspective. I think many people are under so much pain that they choose behaviors aligned with their pain, which inflict pain onto others. I’m sorry you had to endure such abuse…It’s good to know you’re on the road to healing. I send you love and blessings.

  • Caspin

    No evil to be fightin’, only ignorance to enlighten. Everyone is going conscious

  • Donald Garrett

    Hmm. Surrendering attachment to evil (“live” spelled and done backwards) is an excellent recommendation. It is also truly none of our business attempting to judge a being’s essence (the act is in itself an attachment). I hope you and your readers are engaging in the semantics regarding the nature of evil and the motivations for evil behaviors well beyond striking-distance!

    You have every right to attempt to discern if a being is intending to do harm. I’ve seen lonely women try to seduce other women’s husbands. I’ve met women who hunt, other women’s husbands, feasting on the destruction of relationships and families, then moving on to the next. There is a difference.

    The only love to manifest when it comes to psychopathic behaviors, is the self-love of escaping them, removing them from your life. There are bipeds who are functionally evil, who feed on destruction. Wonderful for you if you have managed to avoid them in this life.

    Harboring anger or hatred is the equivalent of swallowing slow poison, which is a separate topic from dealing with evil. A far better topic for dealing with evil, is the early recognition of psychopathic behaviors. Google The Mask of Sanity, and The Sociopath Next Door, to find out how seriously the average person, even psychologists, fail in both recognition and responding effectively to what Dr. Cleckley recognized as “Interspecies Predators.”

    Advising affluent people to handle evil with loving thoughts is very nice, for affluent people who don’t face it on the streets. For say, a young single-mom forced to walk home through a bad area of town after work, don’t we hope she saves her loving thoughts and forgiveness for after the adrenaline wears off once she’s home safe? And that in the meantime, love can even require shooting someone, to save yourself or another from harm?

    The question of whether or not evil people exist is as functional as debating the existence of Santa Clause. Not getting harmed by evil is best accomplished by early recognition, and a proactive response dictated by the nature of the evil encountered. Staying centered and Zen definitely has its place in the mix, but there is a reason monasticism gives rise to martial arts regardless of religion on this planet.

  • Mat

    I like this article, however I think its important to let people know
    that after they have forgiven, forgot and learned to love again, that it
    may be necessary to move those people out of your life. yes, their are
    NO bad people, but their are people who hurt and its not only ok to
    omit them from your life but many times may save your life doing do.
    “forgive, forget and move on!” is my motto, to invest ones self in the
    task of giving people endless chances to “do better” is an exercise in
    futility, we are here for a short time and I believe the love and
    chances must go to those who give it back, not those who only take it.

  • anon

    “Also, people who harm others are usually in dreadful emotional states. They are under such pain that all they have to give to others is pain. Realizing this truth will help you advance on the road to compassion and forgiveness.” What about the man who my ex cheated with, he is happily settled with someone while I still try to heal. I don’t really see any pain in him, only between us. how do u then forgive ?

  • Frankie

    You are wrong that evil people don’t exist. You can be Buddhist, but that doesn’t give you the power to adjust the definition of evil to fit your beliefs. Like Anon says above, real evil… people who exist to lie, hurt others without conscience. There is a difference between someone who makes a mistake and someone who sexually assaults children under the guise of a priest or loving parent, etc. Famous psychiatrist Dr. M Scott Peck wrote a masterpiece, “People of the Lie” and perfectly defined the characteristics of an evil person.

  • Donald Garrett

    Ash, that is a very sweet reply. Until I learned to block it, I suffered the curse of hearing other people’s thoughts. I would no more wish that on you than I would the trauma of finding yourself in an ER full of broken and dying people without the years of medical training it takes to be functional in an environment like that without suffering damage to the psyche.

    There are indeed many people who are as you say. There are also bipedal beings whose thought processes are so alien you would experience suddenly being exposed to them as a psychotic break you may find it impossible to recover from without assistance.

    The danger of projecting your humanity onto creatures lacking that cannot be overstated.That is exactly how they manage to get themselves elected to positions of power, such as we’ve seen with our last four Presidents, and the bipeds they surround themselves with.

    There are people who cause harm to others, in a way we can compassionately view as “mistakes.”

    There are also creatures whose only measure of what could be called pleasure or satisfaction if your definitions of those were perfectly twisted, arises in direct proportion to how much harm they manage to cause others without getting arrested for it, and who feed, as in derive nourishment, from doing that.

    Stay sweet, Ash. I’m not recommending paranoia. Knowledge is power, which includes the power to protect yourself and loved ones, in a world where your own government has evidently decided to ally with industries including food and health care, profiting from murder and genocide.

  • Donald Garrett

    Please consider restating that, to include that we are here to *survive* learning to love ourselves unconditionally!

  • Jen

    As a Naturopath, Buddhist and someone who’s had a lot of hardships in her past, I can say you’ve not experience enough evil to know it does exist. If you believe in the yin/yang, the balance of life and the universe, you will know that we are all not created the same.
    We come from the same source, but that doesn’t mean source was created for all good to mankind. People are a product of their environment, tis true, but evil is also born and not always created.
    If you feel that souls like Hitler and Bin Laden are “just good people making bad choices” then it may be time for you revisit what is evil to you.
    I’ve seen evil, I’ve come face to face with it and it’s real. If the worst thing that ever happened to you was an affair, then consider yourself fortunate to not have come face to face with what true evil is.
    Buddhism does not teach all are souls are kind, it teaches to accept and to love despite of….

  • Grace

    totally agree Mat. example, those trying to stay civil, or friends after break up, only get more bitter and hurt, with reminders of why this relationship failed. So to take count of what happened, moving on is very important to heal and not live in the past.

  • Grace

    Anon, sadly there is no amount of analysis that will make you reason with what happened to you is justified. The only way is to accept the fact that what brought you both together before, did not serve any more and you are two different people now. So your ex checked out of the relationship for self not cause of you. Accept your role in it to have let it happen to you, and learn from it. However, reasoning endlessly and living in past will not help the forgiving process. The anger you feel is not only towards who have wronged you but self judgement that you let it happen to yourself. When you will release the pressure to be someone other than you are, you will find comfort in accepting and moving on. When you heal and move on, forgiveness will come to you for self and then others will be forgiven too. If you dont move on and stay stuck, finding forgiveness gets harder not easier. Good luck with your healing.

  • Doe Renée

    wow, really speaks so deep 😉 this is the next biggest breakthrough for humanity to have..

  • Frankie, I appreciate your opinion. I’m not Buddhist. Sending my best to you-peace and love.

  • Donald, thank you for your comprehensive and well-researched comment. Your point of view allows the readers to give this topic more thought and to decide what resonates with them. Thank you for reading and for caring about this controversial topic. Blessings.

  • Thank you so much for your feedback! I feel blessed to have inspired you to be love. Blessings, and please stay in touch via FB or Twitter.

  • Jen, thank you for expressing your perspective on this issue. Each one of us has had a very different life experience, which shapes our thoughts and opinions. We all have a loving nature in common, however, and this is my belief. Blessings.

  • Anon, thank you for your comment, and thank you, Grace for offering your feedback. I resonate with what Grace says. I would add that it’s important we let ourselves experience our emotions (even if they are negative) but to not dwell on these negative emotions for extended periods of time. Also, focus on your own emotions instead of on the emotions of anyone else. Many times we assume someone is happy by reading their FB posts of watching them, but we don’t really know what they are truly experiencing or feeling. I send both of you love.

  • Thank you, Mat, for your comment, and Grace, for adding to it. I do agree we need to remove ourselves from toxic situations and toxic relationships. This is a great discussion. Thank you!

  • Thank you for contributing, Caspin! Best wishes.

  • Michael Silverton

    Donald, brilliant perspective, thank you! Not mindless detachment but being aware of evil, calling it what it is, and choosing to turn away.

  • Michael Silverton

    Frankie, so right. M Scott Peck called it as it is in his brilliant book The Road Less Travelled. Far too much political correctness these days creates mindless puppets and plenty of justification for doing evil

  • Michael Silverton

    just read your full reply. brilliant. am going to save every word. so well expressed and so wise.

  • Michael Silverton


  • Michael Silverton

    political correctness enables evil

  • Camilo Garbanzo

    perhaps i’m dealing with another issue. living on the west side of los angeles, full of people who got their level of success and income from being selfish and charming sociopaths, i can’t leave my house more than 90 seconds without running into selfish behaviour – where one persons attempt at minor gain causes you moderate-to-major loss.

    evil is simply selfishness – someone who moves forward indifferent to the damage they cause. i’m hurt and angered and will eventually clash with one of these weak passive-aggressive monsters.

    i’m currently unable to find compassion for an animal that i feel deserves nothing more than to be put down.

  • Donald Garrett

    Thank you Michael!

  • Camilo, so sorry you feel this way and live in such difficult circumstances. I’m praying for you and sending you positive energy to be able to leave such environment. Always choose love.

  • For me, the word ‘evil’ is too reductionistic, and I don’t use it except in very extreme cases. ‘Evil’ allows us to reduce what that person has done so that there is no cause to the act. They’re just ‘evil’ – i.e. they were born evil and monstrous and were never human, and the thing they did did not have its root in any action or experience or disease or what have you. It means we don’t have to look at what the cause was to their actions. To me, this is dangerous and simply unrealistic. Everything that happens has a cause. To say Hitler was evil is wrong, because Hitler was born a human being who was then turned into, for whatever reasons, a person who did horrific things. To say he was ‘evil’ is to forget that this evil was created, even if it was created by mental illness in the womb. This isn’t to say that people who do horrific things shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. Not at all. I absolutely believe in personal responsibility. It also doesn’t mean that we try to “cure” or “heal” all such people when they are incurable (as with certain mental health issues, or developmental or brain damage issues that cannot be reversed). But with every so-called ‘evil’ act, we need to look at the causes behind that act so that we can try to stop it from happening again, in whatever capacity we can do that. To reduce anyone’s behavior to ‘evil’ means that we are less likely to look at the causes of their actions, and we are less likely to learn from them. It’s as though we think of ‘evil’ as coming from outside reality (they are cursed or just monsters), but in reality, evil acts DO stem from real causes. And only by admitting that ‘evil’ people are also human, can we look at the causes of their actions and learn from them.

  • Lucy, thank you for contributing your insightful comment. I agree that we’re all human and have come from the same Source, but some of us do evil acts. Those acts might be horrific acts such as Hitler’s or hurtful actions done in a smaller scale (such as betrayal and abuse). But keeping in mind that we all come from the same Source and that the goal is to avoid further evil acts will help. Stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • Camilo Garbanzo

    i was searching for a way to find compassion for people that seem unconscious, selfish and indifferent. my post was ragged and didn’t have an opening for a response.

    i take from your article that a key is to engage kindly, humanise myself and help those unaware of their actions know how they are affecting others.

    i’m taken aback by your kind words and all your responses. you’re a gift. thank you.

  • Thank you, Camilo, for your words. You are a gift too, remember that. If when you express your feelings to others you are met with resistance or anger, walk away. Remove yourself from negativity as much as you can. Blessings.

  • Doe Renée

    Namaste 🙂

  • Holly

    Sometimes it is not even a question about if someone is evil or not…….the question is who do you want to be in whatever situation you’re facing. I personally want to be the kind (but smart) one. I might not do that all the time, but if I could, I suspect I’d have all sorts of happiness and peace, and the evil-doer would just be left with whatever sad evil they are doing. Love always trumps hate.

  • Holly, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are right; it’s all about choices and about focusing on ourselves. My best wishes to you, and stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • “Also, people who harm others are usually in dreadful emotional states. They are under such pain that all they have to give to others is pain.”
    This is the truest thing I’ve read in a long time. I know this because I experienced several traumatic events in my childhood that made me a dreadful, lying, conniving teenager. I did things to my friends and loved ones I could never imagine my adult self doing now. It took many years for me to realize that I was hurting others because I myself was so hurt. I think subconsciously I was trying to make them feel my pain without having to discuss what/who exactly hurt me when I was a little girl.
    As I grew up and found mediation, mindfulness, and spirituality, I’ve changed who I am, how I see the world and myself, and how I treat others.

  • Ashley, thank you for sharing your experience with us, and I am so happy to hear that now you can look back and understand the reason for the way you behaved. While the past might have been filled with traumatic events for you, you’re now in control of your present moments, which will shape your future. Please stay in touch via FB or Twitter. My best to you!

  • Peace Within

    First of all, I’d like to say that no one here is wrong. We all have our own minds and think differently. We have to respect each others minds in order to understand each other. “Evil” is different for every human, it isn’t the same. I don’t think that people purposely hurt one another, it happens. I suggest you all read into empathy, it will deepen your understanding. The way you are brought up as a baby has a lot to do with how you end up later in your life. Let me give you an example; people who are in prison. A lot of them never learned how to deal with their emotions and dealt with them in the wrong manner; violently, angrily, etc. A lot of them need therapy, instead of being stuck in a cage. For people who have been cheated on, it isn’t your fault, you shouldn’t blame yourself. You should be happy you even found out, so you can move on with your head held high. Nothing is promised in this life, and anything can happen. People change. Love changes. Some people grow apart, instead of together. That is life. The only person you can change and control is yourself. Be the best person you can be, that’s all that you can do.

  • Very wise words. Thank you so much for the comment. I would add that although our childhood shapes our thoughts and behaviors as adults, we have the power to change and to let go of the negative influence of the past. Blessings, and stay in touch!

  • Leah Silver Graves

    So very very true. I had my own encounters with an “evil” person that should have gotten fired (friends and family said) but I used the encounter as extra motivation to apply for a low residency PhD program. This program will allow me to keep my job and volunteer work if I get into the program. The madness that occupied my head and my workplace actually led to something VERY positive in my life! I just had to pick myself up off the ground and realize that.

  • Dorothy Pugh

    This is an interesting discussion, and brings up three questions: 1) What defines evil in the abstract?, 2) what is an evil person? and 3) what makes an act evil? We have to consider the practical results of each of these decisions.

  • TM

    Hello Anon, Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, and has different meaning to everyone. I think this article was written more for people who don’t know the meaning of forgiveness and view everyone who hurts them as evil…people like me. I have lived a life of pain due to death, deception from friends, and betrayal from my spouse. I was full of anger, hate, rage, and the desire to get even. I viewed the people who wronged me as bad, and there was nothing that could make me believe that they were anything other than evil. I recently had a shift in my perception and in my desire to heal found this article. For the first time in 30 years, forgiveness made sense. I was able to forgive ALL the wrongdoers and “evil” people in my life, and I have become free from the act of judging. I look back now and laugh that I could actually have thought that my spouse and the woman “that stole him” were EVIL, Compassion and forgiveness has set me free and will allow me to live a life of happiness.
    Cloris-Obviously, this writing will not do for everyone what it has done for me, but thank you! If I make an impact on one person to the extent that you did for me, I will be a true blessing

  • TM, your comment is a blessing to me, because my intention is to help people do exactly what you did: forgive and extend compassion. The road to complete forgiveness is bumpy, but as long as you are headed in the right direction, you will notice that your life becomes fuller and happier. Blessings, and please stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • Dorothy, thank you for contributing. The answers to all three questions will depend on everyone’s own perception, which is shaped by our past experiences, thoughts, and behaviors. What are your answers? If you feel good about your answers, they are aligned with your truth. If you feel negative emotions, they aren’t…Stay in touch!

  • Leah, thank you for your comment! What happened to you is an excellent example how sometimes these people unknowingly enter our lives to help us go in a better direction. Same thing happened to me. I wouldn’t be writing these articles if the “evil” woman hadn’t shown up into my life. Blessings, and stay in touch via FB or Twitter!

  • Also, my book on healing will be released in 3 months. I will keep my readers posted through social media.

  • Leah Silver Graves

    Cloris, I will stay in touch. Thank you so much! Your response means so much to me. Blessings to you as well.

  • Lisa

    I do not want to over think the story so I can say I definitely relate. I am dealing with two co-workers who I have referred to as evil to my husband. One, specifically was a wonderful friend of mine until I not only got my Master degree but the promotion as well. She and another co-worker have made my life a living hell the past few months. A friend of mind who recommended this site to me kept telling me to be myself and kill them with kindness. I have been doing my best, but some days it is hard and exhausting. I agree there is real evil out there, but for what it is worth this article has opened my eyes to keep doing the right thing.
    Thank you!

  • Thank you, Lisa! What came to mind when I read your comment is that when others are living what I call an “unconscious life,” they want to project their own pain onto others. Your coworker probably struggles with self-esteem, and she’s unconsciously blaming the way she feels on your accomplishments. I would decide today to not give attention to these coworkers and focus on feeling good about the coworkers who appreciate you. Don’t give them the attention they crave to feed their own pain. Stay in touch via FB, and take care!

  • Emily

    I agree with Jen. There are greater evils than dissapointments or assumed betrayals in bonds. You must take responsibility for your own life. So easy to label things. Noone owns anything in this world other than your thoughts. Judge all you like if that is what makes you feel in control. We all attempt to survive in different ways. But remember this. The pain you feel now becomes a memory. You choose to allow it to stagnate you or become the door to free you. Claim responsibility. Free yourself. You alone are responsible for your life and words and thoughts at every moment. Be mindful.

  • Jason Holborn

    Wow BK. You are inspiring.

  • Jason Holborn

    I fav’d this post.

    “When you label people as “evil” or as “bad,” you block your ability to see that they come from the same source that created you.”

    Personally I refrain from classifying or othering Hitler as “evil” or “a monster”, because it makes me ignore/forget that he was just a human like me, and that I, as a human, have Hitler inside of me, too. So do we all. His path of evil actions is to be learned from and avoided.

    You really put this into neat and efficient and effective terms that clarified this thought; thanks.

    I would have liked a tiny bit more info about your experience with this other human who hurt your life, in particular, how you overcame your original feelings in regards to dealing with the person; however, it’s private and I respect that!

  • Thank you for your comment, Jason! Well, it’s amazing how life works out, but a week ago, the so-called “evil” person I mentioned in the article approached me to apologize for her actions. It was very surprising to me, and I believe that letting go of the label I had assigned to her had something to do with this. Best to you, and stay in touch.

  • greatdane

    There is evil in this world, there is no excuse for their actions, there is no good in them and never will be. They never grow and never change into something good, they just slither onwards causing destruction wherever they go. It does not matter if they thought they were right, that makes it worse, it doesn’t matter if they themselves have had a bad life, what they did was still evil, and disgusting, they do it because they enjoy it, being evil is a choice, most people in their life will have had the opportunity to go down the path of evil, only the decent take the path towards good.

  • Thank you for reading this article and for offering your perspective…This article is not intended to provide an excuse for hurtful behavior, but to help us see that whoever is doing harm isn’t the true essence of a human being, but his or her ego. I send you love and blessings.

  • greatdane

    Hi Cloris, thank you for replying to me. I’m going through some difficult issues at the moment, I have a certain view of forgiveness that most people find somewhat troubling, I cannot see my way to it, not at the moment. I am gravitating more to this website now as the people here are very kind and even when I have expressed anger, you have responded with kindness, something that I did not expect. I am in so much pain at the moment, and I hope that I can get through it and perhaps become a better person at the end of it. Thanks again.

  • I could tell you were hurting. I’m sorry about the challenges you’re facing, and it’s perfectly OK if you can’t find a way to forgiveness yet. When you forgive, remember you’re doing it for yourself. I talked about this extensively in my book because it was one of the hardest things for me to do. But you’ll eventually be ready to do it, or to at least reach a place of emotional neutrality. I can see how you’re already doing things that will turn your bad experience into an opportunity for growth. You are in control of your destiny. Remember that. Lots of love.

  • mimi

    loved reading this. Im having trouble with something in my life at the moment, me and my ex has broken up for good, he has some deep internal issues, just a lot of emotions he doesn’t know how to deal with so his pain bleed onto me because i too was in a lot of pain because he wasn’t happy with his life. the night of the breakup i went over to have a civil talk and just talk things out but he was so angry for i dont know what reason because i’ve only been there for him. He said some very hurtful things and looked like someone i didn’t know, his anger got the best of him. Fast forward two weeks later, he writes to me saying he realized he isnt a good person and that he needs to start over in his life. That i deserve better. and to not let him back into my life because he knows hes damaged and will only cause me pain. I havent written back, but i have such a kind heart and i’ve let go of everything bad hes done to me, im not suffering, i just wish i could contact him to be there for him and give him advice. Friends and family say not to contact him because hes just a negative person and doesnt deserve my time. im a little confused to what to do.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Mimi, I’m glad the article helped. I believe what happened is too fresh for you to make big decisions. I suggest that for now, you focus on taking care of yourself and trust that your ex-boyfriend will find his way. Once more time has gone by, you can reassess. Stay strong and be well.

  • felicia

    I need advice my family and I do not talk after my father died my mother and sisters and mydaughters father and sister I haven’t spiken to anyone for five years I was on drugs five years ago went to rehab but I stole money from them I’ve tried to apilogize but it is rejected when my sister was on drugs and went thru rehab after rehab they forgave her my father forgave me but once he died the broke the string. Thank you

  • Chris Ferguson

    Whoever wrote this clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about and that’s saying something nice about the person who wrote this compared to what I could say.

  • thriftysmurf

    You started thinking people are evil just because your friends said they are evil, typical of a woman…thats evil by itself

  • Anon2

    Affairs are not motivated by love. They are motivated by complex ego patterns.

  • alisagremore

    People who hurt you act out of ignorance.” I respectfully disagree. Yes,
    this is the case with some but not all. Sometimes people hurt people deliberately with well thought out plans to cause that hurt. It is more often than not subtle and often takes a good period of time before the arrow hits, so to speak.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Thank you for reading the article, Alisa. I appreciate your point of view. This is one of the most controversial topics I’ve written about…All the best to you.

  • SweetGirl

    Article has good points. Don’t know it it really deals with the intense suffering caused by someone that commits evil actions. Recently, I have been forced (without escape) to deal with someone that makes me VERY hateful towards them. It seems like almost every word out of their mouth is judgmental, hateful, painful, aggressive and disrespectful (they are really making a effort). Interaction with this individual for a single hour makes me feel like I need to go to therapy for a year. Point is unfortunately, I depend on this person but they are really playing with my vulnerability. Trying to find a way to cope……this person knows what they are doing…. really struggling to let this go, so this does not eat me alive!

  • Cloris Kylie

    Just wanted to send you wisdom and strength to deal with your situation. Remember that thinking of yourself as defenseless and vulnerable won’t allow you to regain control of your life. The power can be yours. Find the way.

  • Nick Pastorino

    This is the best article I’ve read about anger and what causes it, but there are some inaccuracies. We only become angry with someone when we think the person we are angry with is a sociopath who doesn’t care about us. Unfortunately there are evil people in this world known as psychopaths, but the problem is that we are too quick to judge someone as one. When someone rages at you, they are not trying to spread negative energy, in their minds they are bringing justice to an uncaring person. Many innocent and good people are judged as psychopaths. Angry people are usually very ignorant indeed. In your case if anyone was the sociopath it was your ex husband, he’s the one who cheated on you, not the girl. Oh and a sociopath (psychopath) is someone who doesn’t care about anyone except themselves and never loves. They are where the word “jerk” comes from.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Thank you for your reading the article, Nick, and for your insights. This is a topic that touches so many of us so deeply…
    We don’t really know what is going through other people’s minds, so I believe it’s best to focus on ourselves instead.

  • alvah

    What if that person is your sister of 50 plus years?

  • Alvah

    I have to agree with your statement, I have experience that very same behavior from my very own sister who continue to throw arrows when you are not expecting it.
    she pretends to be nice and forgiiving, but it is always fake.

  • EveEnigma Plowman

    I have been fascinated reading every comment, and believe me I spent over an hour reading before I felt ready to comment.. I am 38 and was adopted at 4, since that day I have never felt I have belonged anywhere and have always felt on the outside and misunderstood, I have been called ‘evil’ many times, mainly when i have rejected people because their treatment of me broke my heart, I have been called ungrateful and selfish. I see myself as someone who will never be loved for who I am, but more for what I can provide in that particular moment, to be later discarded like an old toy that is no longer useful or interesting. So I now spend most of my time working and being alone. This is not who I am though, I am so sociable and gregarious It feels so unnatural but at the same time safer than being around people. So how do I learn to forgive the abusers, the liars who have come into my life and walked away again as if i was a ‘nothing’ ? How do i stop seeing the negativity all around me and learn to see the beauty I did once use to see? I have either forgotten or lost the ability to be happy, becuase the things that did make me happy where taken from me without my consent….

  • Cloris Kylie

    Thank you for sharing your story here. I invite you to reread your comment and highlight any thought/belief that doesn’t make you feel good. For example, “I have never felt I have belonged anywhere.” Then, make the decision to think something that feels slightly better. Maybe your hard work is being appreciated? Maybe the cashier at the grocery store smiled and was nice to you? Focus on those things and slowly, you will realize that your life is precious and you deserve all the happiness in the world. I’ll be rooting for you!

  • juliathemechanic

    Your article reminded me of a Zen Buddhist story which I’ve always liked a lot. It tells of two monks, one young and experienced, the other older and wiser. They’ve both made oaths of chastity and avoid all contact with women. One day while they’re walking they come upon a maiden who is trapped by the waters of a rushing stream. She begs for them to carry her to the other side of the embankment. While the younger monk recoils from this task, the older one doesn’t hesitate to pick her up on his shoulders and carry her to the other side. Later as they’re walking the younger monk can no longer contain himself and blurts out’ “You’ve made on oath not to touch a woman, and yet you didn’t just touch a woman – you carried her on your shoulders!” The older monk just smiled and said, “I put the woman down on the other side of the river bank. You are still carrying her.”

    The reason I like this story is because it teaches one to give exactly as much weight to a current concern as necessary, and no more. I truly believe that there are evil people. There are also the sad, the needy, the self-absorbed, the self-righteous and the punishing. You never really know which one you’re dealing with when you have a negative interaction with a person. The one thing you can usually assume from a bad experience is that the interaction was far more about them than about you, regardless of the damage they’ve visited upon you. They are not making you a central player in their little drama and you should not make them the central player in yours. Pay exactly as much attention to the event as needed to help undo the damage and then move on. Carrying a grudge won’t hurt that person, it will only cause you to relive and re-experience the damage over and over. The best revenge is a good life.

  • Cloris Kylie

    What a beautiful story/comment, Julia! It’s a gift to all of us. “The best revenge is a good life.” Perfect! Thank you.

  • catsheri1

    This is a stupid article from a stupid person.

  • Diana Rosalind Trimble

    I think it is utterly ridiculous, unless you are some kind of magician, saint or bodhisattva, to think you can “love” away the “evil” in certain people. The word “evil” itself is loaded with religious connotations; I tend to see these things in terms of personality/emotional/brain disorders. But sometimes the behaviour is so nasty and malicious that yes, the word “evil” seems the most convenient and best to describe it. In my experience, such damaged folks are way beyond the healing power of a hug. I have personally encountered individuals who have adopted an irrational hatred of me, lied about me, attempted to destroy my reputation and ruin my life – without provocation. I have, at times, tried to reasonably approach such people, in a spirit of understanding and reconciliation, brandishing no blame and in an effort to get to the bottom of the matter. There is a big difference between the kind of people who will take such an overture as an opportunity to find peace and those who will just rudely reject any attempts at peace-making. Maybe the people in the latter category are deserving of the label “evil”. At any rate, I am certainly not going to be made to feel bad, or that I haven’t loved enough, or that I have failed somehow, because I haven’t been able to get through to the mean and nasty people of this world.

  • han wen

    Buddhism is weakness. it’s those few who want to ignore the world around them and escape to their imaginary happy place. it’s easy, you are on this evil planet due to karma. you were probably not a good person your previous life and this hell of a world is what you get. forgive evil? not giving them power???? Pathetic. you are not that powerful to state such things. one would have to be a much more powerful being to have these feelings towards those who would do them harm. if you have to teach or persuade yourself to have these thoughts that means naturally you are not more powerful than the people who harmed you. sure they are just acting in their self interest, but so should you. eat or be eaten, kill or be killed. “good” cant defeat evil by being “good” there is only the loser and the survivor. the winner writes the history and will be the good guy. there is a reason for the saying the good guy finishes last. I grew up in a traditional Confucius home and my mom was a Buddhist this caused me to always try my best to respond bad intentions towards me with not just acceptance but kindness in return. look where that got me. I keep telling myself that I am better than those evil people and can do better. but over the years I realized that I am just arrogant, prideful and stupid. because I am not God, not an angel, not a powerful being to belittle these evil people who really are on the same level as me. so respect your enemies and give them the best fight you can and use every tactic you can conceive, it would be disrespectful not to so. don’t make yourself mentally stronger than your physical self, that is disillusion, and will lead you to your doom. humans would never have evolved to this stage without their evil endless selfish intentions. do you think that a deer or a sheep would ever have any chance of being the ones to develop self awareness and conquer the world? no the sheep is just fine eating grass.
    (I actually have no idea what I am talking about. I am just a bit sad and angry. continue to be good and spread the good gene people) 🙁

  • yello

    Well I can tell one thing for sure; teenagers my age are “evil” or less moral in a way they are stupid and ignorant of the consequences of their actions and evil in their talks to each other. I find myself horrified by them and stigmitized by them for God knows what shallow reason they act on. Some teenagers are good and better; but most are shallow in their worldview and shallow in their understanding of humane treatment of one another. They just can’t see how bad words hurt and how bad deeds don’t do any good in the end.

  • yello

    they were very mistreated by a lot of people in their lives; so it is a double edged sword. But they still did the evil actions… in a way it’s brain chemistry going bananas in these people.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Sorry to hear about the bad experiences you’ve had and are having with other teens. Stay away from anyone who engages in hurtful behavior, and surround yourself with true friends who support you! Stay strong. Sending you all the best.

  • DaveM

    Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. So true, I have laughed, smiled, and have joked around with those people who have betrayed me, no bad thoughts, never raising a fist or having to use any self defense and not a drop of blood shed. Rather, I played the game, their game, and I put on a poker face when needed to the same downright dishonest, wicked, rotten, backstabbing fools, not getting involved, I surreptitiously stooped down to their level without any action or immorality on my part, later, some much later, they got exactly what they deserved. Without going into details of a long story, cosmic justice or Karma does in fact exist…… I kept my cool, stayed closely focused with the Self, doing what was right, true, correct and always remaining in LOVE when dealing with those ignorant golems. They got theirs in the end, and the funny thing was, I didn’t laugh or have any emotion when I was told what happened when they lost their job, got divorced, moved away, became drug dependent, etc. etc. etc. They all suddenly dropped like flies in 7 years or less.

  • Cloris Kylie

    Thank you for sharing your story, David. I would say that everyone is on their own path and they will experience whatever they are bringing upon themselves. No need for us, as you say, to do anything about it. Just focus on our own path and on our own growth.

  • Greg

    I don’t understand, if your husband cheated on you, how does that make the woman evil? Doesn’t that make your husband evil? And you sound pretty evil yourself, calling someone else evil simply because they are involved in something that displeases you. So what exactly makes you evil?

  • Greg

    No, not very wise words. People who are in prison due to anger issues don’t resemble evil in any way if their anger is justified. Anger is in all of us and it is NOT selfish, it is a defense mechanism that comes out when we feel mistreated. Some people do purposefully hurt others, it’s called sadism, look it up. Most jerks are aware of their mistreatment of others. Yes, you can control other people, it’s called manipulation and charisma. I’m tired of people saying you can’t do anything about it, of course you can, you’re just making excuses for your weakness and submission.

  • Mike

    Sounds like a lot of bullshit to me. People aren’t always gonna be shiny and happy, so deal with it. Life’s a bitch and then you die. Anyone else who says otherwise is too ignorant to see that.

  • Bonnie Sue

    There are evil people all over the world. Just if you have been a victim of a evil person, to have inner peace forgive them. Don’t let it eat you up for the rest of your life. Karma will get them sooner or later. It’s the laws of the universe. But I forgive but I don’t forget so I will not become a victim again.

  • Bonnie Sue

    Sooner or later a more bigger, more eviler person will take that person down. Or God will cast vengeance on that person. I do believe in that too!

  • dump your cheating husband

    Okay so your husband cheats on you and you’re mad at her? He’s not a helpless man. He made the choice to have an affair. If anything, he’s the evil one. I’d dump him.

  • David Korgan

    Yes, well said. Gonna put this right into action! Thanks for being so good at communicating something so important in life!

  • Aaron Anthony

    ????? Evil is bad because it hurts you. If it never hurt you, then it isn’t evil. Evil is all around in the world. A lot of bad people are out there. Many popular and loved people are bad. Goodness is just a point of view. Some people see the world from a low place and some from a higher place. You can see far out into the distance from a higher place. You have greater wisdom. From a low place you can only see what’s in front of you. I think that’s why many husbands cheat. They only see what’s in front of them: (BOOBS and @#$$%) I am sorry for your story.

  • Anthony Michael

    I do agree with what was said. However evil does exist even if we separate the evil from the person the fact remains that people are capable of hideous acts, So if you are ever the victim of true raw evil don’t be surprised… it does exist.

  • Roy


  • Mark

    On a logical level, I understand what you are talking about and agree. In the earlier days I could easily use this knowledge to rid myself of anger and negativity. Lately though, some things I’ve seen and felt have really acumulated to the point where I am holding this passive anger inside me and am really on edge most of the time.
    I really do try my best, and do act with patience, with love, with understanding, but still it doesn’t change how I feel and even tho I act out in the right way, it feels like I am pushing more hatred inside me. It’s as if some poeple’s actions are not meant to be justified or understood. As if my own human nature wants to hate some type of egotistical behaviour I’ve seen.
    As an example (never experienced this, sorry if touchy subject for some) It feels like if you would have been raped, and then you would try to understand the person who raped you. Even though you can justify it in some extremely merciful scenario, you still despise the action with your heart and any person that rapes and it creates a storm inside you whenever you think of it. That’s how I feel about certain things that I face from day to day and I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s causing a lot of stress.

  • Zombi Bikini

    Well spoken. My friend just sent me this link over our discussion about evil. I believe real evil exists, and that true evil is unloveable by nature. New age fluff about loving everyone is downright dangerous denial in the face of it.
    That is far from calling someone who does you some mild harm evil, of course.

  • Zombi Bikini

    Excuse me? Read any history lately? Hitler? Mao? Pol Pot?
    I agree with anon. Calling a husband stealer evil is a gross misuse of the term.


    Yes, there ARE evil people in this world who derive pleasure from destroying others’ lives with their abuse, adultery, and lies. Some of these narcissistic alcoholic/addict antisocial psychopaths even have the gall to call themselves Christians while they PREY [not pray] on empathic overly sensitive people like me. How can God allow these evil people to do harm to good people in His name? These psychopaths use religion as a tool to abuse others.


    100% correct!


    I’ve read about narcissists and psychopaths. There is no cure for their evilness. They just don’t care.

  • Truth Is

    Nowadays unfortunately there are so many very evil women which makes them very pathetic altogether.

  • The Very Scary Truth

    Most women unfortunately these days are very dangerous psychopaths.

  • Emm Yo

    Well said. Thank you. Recently I had my own encounter with low vibrating people. I wondered what in me attracted the event.
    I found a few things that required tweaking within me. The anger is now gone though I vaccinate between forgiveness and hurtness. Neutrality is coming back home. Amen.

  • Emm Yo

    Exactly. We are not to judge and we must be discerning. It’s like sitting in the midst of the ashes of a burned house saying “don’t worry god will provide”. It does not work that way. We must govern ourselves whilst tuning into our innate divine guidance. At least that’s how I see it.