Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it embodies in the individual’s life, the blacker and denser it is.

C.G. Jung

As children, we learn to repress the darkness through authority figures such as parents, teachers, police, and friends. We repress the shadow to hide our feelings of guilt, and shame to appease these figures in our lives and to blend in with our culture. By nature we want to blend in and wear ‘masks’ to function as our public selves. People who ‘adjust’ to society have acceptable characteristics on the outside.

To balance one’s self is to accept consciously your darkness. The shadow within one’s self must not be completely ignored, as this is the place of mind where all your dark feelings hide. You may want to disown this side of yourself before admitting that you have these feelings: rage, lust, envy, greed, jealousy. Whether or not evident, these feelings lie dormant in all of us. People who overly repress this darkness will manifest symptoms such as ulcers, headaches, and chronic tiredness.

The villain is one figure who is clearly out of balance and the darkness of their shadow has superseded their upbringing due to transpired events in their lives. Avoid black & white villains, as they are stereotypical, and allow for a grey area. This makes them seem more natural, more real… Lifelike. Use backstory to show their shades of grey: abuse, neglect, emotional problems. These inner motivations give belief in their irrational and criminal behaviour.

Search out reasons for the present behaviour of your villain in their past. Some villains are born because of a poor environment during their upbringing: abusive parents, seductive mothers, overtly strict fathers, alcoholic/drug-addicted parents. An abused child will become will become filled with rage, but can’t retaliate against the abusers because most often they are adults. This causes deflection, whereby they find weaker and vulnerable people to take it out on. Can escalate from bullying to beatings to torture to maimings.

Remember the shades of grey. A villain is not all evil, they have emotions of love, happiness, and joy too. Most villains are capable of loving and hating the same person. Villains are capable of committing acts of good and evil.

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