Sadistic Personality Disorder
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The Sadistic Personality Disorder made
its last appearance in the DSM III-TR and was removed from the DSM IV and from
its text revision, the DSM IV-TR. Some scholars, notably Theodore Millon,
regard its removal as a mistake and lobby for its reinstatement in future
editions of the DSM.
The Sadistic Personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of gratuitous cruelty, aggression, and demeaning behaviors which indicate the existence of deep-seated contempt for other people and an utter lack of empathy. Some sadists are "utilitarian": they leverage their explosive violence to establish a position of unchallenged dominance within a relationship. Unlike psychopaths, they rarely use physical force in the commission of crimes. Rather, their aggressiveness is embedded in an interpersonal context and is expressed in social settings, such as the family or the workplace.
This narcissistic need for an audience manifests itself in other circumstances. Sadists strive to humiliate people in front of witnesses. This makes them feel omnipotent. Power plays are important to them and they are likely to treat people under their control or entrusted to their care harshly: a subordinate, a child, a student, a prisoner, a patient, or a spouse are all liable to suffer the consequences of the sadist's "control freakery" and exacting "disciplinary" measures.
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Sadists like to inflict pain because they
find suffering, both corporeal and psychological, amusing. They torture animals
and people because, to them, the sights and sounds of a creature writhing in
agony are hilarious and pleasurable. Sadists go to great lengths to hurt
others: they lie, deceive, commit crimes, and even make personal sacrifices
merely so as to enjoy the cathartic moment of witnessing someone else's misery.
Sadists are masters of abuse by proxy and ambient abuse. They terrorize and intimidate even their nearest and dearest into doing their bidding. They create an aura and atmosphere of unmitigated yet diffuse dread and consternation. This they achieve by promulgating complex "rules of the house" that restrict the autonomy of their dependants (spouses, children, employees, patients, clients, etc.). They have the final word and are the ultimate law. They must be obeyed, no matter how arbitrary and senseless are their rulings and decisions.
Most sadists are fascinated by gore and violence. They are vicarious serial killers: they channel their homicidal urges in socially acceptable ways by "studying" and admiring historical figures such as Hitler, for instance. They love guns and other weapons, are fascinated by death, torture, and martial arts in all their forms.
In broad strokes, there are two types of sadists: the Monster and the Monk.
We are all acquainted with the first type, the habitué protagonist of horror films, as described above, in this article.
Far less known and acknowledged is the Monk-sadist. He tortures people by confronting them with a personal example of unparalleled and unsurpassed morality, rectitude, virtue, asceticism, and righteousness. His saintly conduct is intended solely to inflict pain by allowing him to criticize, berate, and chastise from a position of high moral ground. His soapbox is his weapon as he poses and imposes impossible demands and untenable standards of behavior, setting up his victims to failure and humiliation.
Having thus secured their fall from grace, he then proceeds to harp on their shortcomings, errors, peccadilloes, and vulnerabilities, labelling them "moral turpitude" and "decadence". He dispenses punishment with relish and basks in the agony and writhing of his flock, charges, or interlocutors.
Read about these two subtypes of Monk-sadists:
The Sexual Sadist
There is an almighty
confusion, even among mental health practitioners and in diagnostic bibles,
such as ICD-10, between the dom in BDSM (with hyperdominant sexuality) and the sexual sadist.
The dom (top) seeks to please his submissive (bottom) partner by subjecting her to pain, humiliation, and degradation. His arousal crucially depends on the power he exercises over her and on her overt excitation at the wielding of his dominance. The sadist is turned on only by the evident suffering and repulsion of his counterparty during the intercourse.
BDSM is consensual and, often, compassionate and considerate. Sadism in bed is exercised either without consent or with coerced consent which is extorted reluctantly and, usually, under explicit or implicit threat of abandonment.
The sadist dehumanizes his partner and reduces her to body parts. To him, she is not a human being, let alone a woman or even a sexual entity. He is out to spoil, dismantle, and corrupt her, as children do with toys. His main desire it to witness her unbelieving horror at what is being done to her, at her psychological or physical mutilation, and at the cheer and gratification on her tormentor's face as he proceeds with his gruesome business. Her nauseating disgust, extreme discomfort, and palpable hurt, debasement, and agony are his aphrodisiacs. Conventional vanilla sex actually turns him off.
BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism) is both a sexual preference and a lifestyle. Many monogamous couples are into BSDM and it requires lots of trust in the partner and good communication skills to negotiate pitfalls and preferences.
One common mistake is that the submissive (or bottom) partner is a masochist. It is utter nonsense engendered by grossly inaccurate renditions of the scene by the likes of "Fifty Shades of Grey". In reality, many submissives are also dominant with other people or in different circumstances.
Masochism revolves around self-sabotage and self-destruction.
The Narcissist as a Sadist
The narcissist’s own words:
“Whenever I am mean and nasty
(which is often), someone writes with an air of knowing sympathy: "What
did you expect? He is a narcissist!" This nonsensical type of commentary
just serves to show to what extent the field has been corrupted by a tsunami of
trashy misinformation promulgated by self-styled "narcissistic abuse
experts" flying by the seat of their badly frayed pants.
I am nasty and mean not because I am a narcissist - but because I am a sadist. I enjoy it orgasmically when I make other people squirm and writhe in extreme discomfort bordering on agony. I am brutally, unflinchingly honest and I give my interlocutors no hope and no quarter. Words are my favoured torture implements. I hone them religiously.
This is also why I am into nonviolent BDSM (sado-maso) and group sex: I derive sexual gratification from mildly hurting my intimate partner (ritualistically) and from humiliating and objectifying her or watching her being violated by others.
By and large, narcissists are not sadists (though, of course, some narcissists are sadists and some sadists are narcissists). They do not derive pleasure from the pain and discomfiture that they cause others. They do not attempt to torture or hurt anyone for the sake of doing so. They are goal-oriented. They seek narcissistic supply. Whoever gets in the way and frustrates or obstructs them in this sempiternal quest gets trampled on: not with glee or joy - but with rage or, more likely, absentmindedly and offhandedly, as an afterthought.
I get a high-like rush from
rejecting the sexual advances of women or from teasing them to the point of
agonizing distraction. Shocking women this way is so potent that I prefer it to
actual sex: the gratification I get from frustrating women, wounding them to
the quick, disempowering them, and hurtfully undermining their self-esteem is
more than orgasmic.
Richard von Kraft-Ebbing was the first to suggest (in his seminal tome, "Psychopathia Sexualis", published in 1886) that sadism amounts to deviant sexuality. There is sado-masochism as a sexual practice, of course.
In actual sex, I am mostly a sadist, though I avoid any physical injury to my female partner, I just force her to perform humiliating acts, thus objectifying her maximally.
But sadism can also be a form of sublimated (socially acceptable, diverted and channeled) psychosexuality. Devastating women by rejecting them is both sadistic and erotic and, on the surface at least, conforms to social behavioral conventions and mores.
According to the recent mega study "A Billion Wicked Thoughts", women cannot resist men who find them irresistible and treat them with affection - regardless of any other quality in the man or lack thereof. A man can be an ugly junkie loser dimwit and still bed a woman if he treats her as a princess and perseveres in passionate courtship. I make sure to deny women precisely these elements and then observe their disintegration, decompensation, and acting out with unmitigated sex-like pleasure.
I do the same to men and get the same high out of it, but, being heterosexual, with men it is merely a power trip: my ability to deny their most fervid wishes and humiliate them in the processes buttresses my grandiose omnipotence.”
Formed by a sadistic mother, the male narcissist
seeks to recreate this nefarious maternal presence in all his future
relationships: he coerces his women to become mother figures.
But the narcissist doesn't seek unconditional love from the women in his life, he is not trying to resolve childhood conflicts through them, or to fix their brokenness and ameliorate their pains. He is not intent on saving them.
On the very contrary: he wants to do to women what his mother did to him. He wants to abuse them sadistically and reject them by absenting himself and by withholding in every manner conceivable. When he does have sex with his female partner, it is exceedingly humiliating and excruciatingly painful to her.
Aware of his maltreatment and of his transgressions, the narcissists fully expects his women to hurt him and to abandon him, usually by cheating on him with other men egregiously and conspicuously, incidentally cementing his view that all women are innately sluttish and cruel.
Anticipating this ineluctable punitive backlash renders the narcissist anxious: to avoid the unbearable agony in store, he withdraws coldly and detaches emotionally from his woman. He frequently pushes his women to cheat so as to get it over with and let the other shoe drop.
The Narcissist as a Sadist - Click HERE!
Read Notes from the therapy of a Sadistic Patient
Many additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Personality Disorders - click HERE!
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