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I let Dagmer slit their throats and I let him burn the bodies...so I could keep Winterfell...and make my father proud.
~ Theon Greyjoy confesses his actions in betraying Robb Stark were all to prove himself to his father.

Not all villains are really evil; in fact, many villains are insecure and lash out at the world in an attempt to assert themselves. These villains are very similar to tragic villains and can overlap with attention-seekers, but the defining characteristic of an Insecure Villain is that they are lying, in many ways, both to themselves and others.

Alternatively, Insecure Villains act in a homicidal way due to severe pain suffered by some tragedy. Sometimes, they are victims of bullying or severe abuse by someone even more evil than themselves.

Usually, these villains just need a friend or loved one, other times they need acceptance, yet it is also common for an Insecure Villain to simply be too far gone and absorbed in his or her own troubles to accept (or want) help.

Ironically, many insecure villains can also qualify as an Arrogant or Egotist. These villains suffer from what is called a "Superiority Complex" where they feign arrogance, egomania and narcissism to hide their flaws from others and, more often than not, themselves. A perfect example of this is Lord Hater.

By definition, a Purely Evil villain can never be part of this category.

See also

  • Napoleon Complex in The Evil Wiki, for further information about short-height villains with high temperaments.