It’s facinating that evil people cannot see themselves as evil, and many of them have high self-esteem!
If we look back on the 20th century, it’s easy to spot people who were considered truly evil, nasty folks like Hitler, Stalin and Mao, devils who ruthlessly killed millions of people, yet had a very high opinion of themselves!
It amazes me how people will warp and distort reality in order to conform to the own mindset.
Adolph Hitler though that he was a really swell, up-front nice guy, a true gentleman who loved dogs and kids.
Hitler saw himself as a stand-up guy
If I remember my psychology studies correctly, people must have a need to feel good about themselves and Sigmund Freud’s concept of “repression” was directly related to a psychological self-defense mechanism whereby experienced that contradict someone’s concept of ego (self) are push-back, far into the unconscious brain.
One of the best books I’ve read on this subject is The Nuremberg Interviews (highly recommended), a study of Herman Goering, a certified crazy fellow and notably evil man.
In this book, we get a great insight into this form of self-deception as Herman Goering turns-on the charm and describes his atrocities as he saw them, a nice man doing what had to be done. It’s a fascinating read, especially how he justified the killing of Jews over the destruction of property. . .
In his own mind, Herman Goering thought that he was a super-nice guy:
Murdering pervs see themselves as father figures
To understand this perverse rationalization, see here, where Goering justifies the bloody invasion and annexation of most of Western Europe, by distorting history to make the USA appear to be the “real” evil power:
“After the United States gobbled up California and half of Mexico, and we were stripped down to nothing, territorial expansion suddenly becomes a crime. It’s been going on for centuries”
In sum, Goering thought of himself as a really swell fellow! His testimony at Nuremburg was heartfelt and sincere, he REALLY believed his fantasy!
Of course, not everyone agreed, of course, and Goering was sentenced to hang. . .