“Understanding the Sadistic Personality” Comments, Page 1

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48 Comments (14 Discussion Threads) on “Understanding the Sadistic Personality”

  1. Do sadistic personalities present with a low rating on scales of characteristics like integrity, empathy, ethics? Do sadistic personalities acknowledge that they are a minority in their beliefs and performances? Do they attempt to cover-up sadistic behaviour i.e. you note an over-representation of sadistic personalities in the prison population; does this suggest that sadistic personalities are predisposed to criminality? Any correlations?

    I am happy that I have never personally met a sadistic personality; at least if I have, I did not know it! Can you comment on the personality types of people who tend to have relationships with sadistic personalities, if there is such a thing?!

    1. Hello,
      I have a very submissive personality in intimate relationships only and have fallen in love with an extreme sadist.
      He hid it from me until several months later and then, while drinking, he blurted it out that he enjoys hard core bdsm.
      I believe that natural submissive’s are may be drawn to someone to feel like they are protecting them or watching over them….but, they do not (some) want to be abused or have pain afflicted upon them :(

  2. Great questions from Shams! There’s not a lot of reliable empirical data on Sadistic Personalities. My experience is that they are indeed lacking in the capacity for empathy. They also appear very aware of their beliefs and how those beliefs contrast with those of the majority. As to those who tend to have relationships with them, the ones that appear the most vulnerable are those whose self-images are so impoverished that they derive a sort of perverted sense of heightened self-esteem by thinking that despite the degradation they experience, at least their tormentor is willing to have something to do with them.

    1. “…thinking that despite the degradation they experience, at least their tormentor is willing to have something to do with them.”
      Yes…this is it. The thought pattern is like this: “poor man…no one understands him and due to his own hurts he has marginalized himself from society by not letting ANYONE near him…but I am special, because he has let me near him.”
      Thank you Dr. Simon for these extensive entries. Now I realize, its the exact opposite. These people are constantly contriving interaction with others, but very selectively. It’s not even necessary that there be actual contact. The other party desiring contact and the sadist refusing contact is already enough narcissistic suppy to satisfy their hunger.

    2. sarah holt, if you have sadistic tendencies, you should DEFINITELY get diagnosed by a doctor immediately so they could help you!

    3. I am a sadist and the whole thing is based of off empathy, so most of this is not true at all. I get off on the masochist pain.. on empathically feeling it, living it through them. Without empathy, I would not enjoy or feel what they feel. I have no desire to inflict pain on anyone who doesn’t want it and enjoy it.
      I am also a healer, a massage therapist. Feeling another’s pain helps me with my job! I am great at it! And for me, healing someone or inflicting pain on a WILLING person.. feels good in exactly the same way!
      Surgeons are sadistic, without them, where would we be!

  3. Hi George,

    I certainly know the types in my work (working with GM’s) and everyone on the job knows them well. Actually one went on prozac and everyone was surprised how much better he bacame. The guy could say “Hi” and you’d feel odd. And many of my friends left their positions because of guys like these.

  4. I have had (and still) the experience of dealing with the covert- aggressive, and sadistic personalities, and know just how hurtful these type people can be .
    I am a semi-passive-type,(getting better!) and also an analytic.

    Understanding what makes people tick, can sometimes help when having to deal this kind of personality.
    I think that it is a very important tool, especially when having to work closely in the same space as someone with this personality type.

    Carefully choose words and get point across without stepping on feelings, or creating more chaos in the process.

    They definitely feel a need to show the world just how IMPORTANT they (think) are, how they (think) are above all others. The person I know did in fact come from an abusive situation growing up.

    I find those who come from those types of situations, personalities can range from one end of the spectrum to the other.

    Thank You for posting all this information, it is very helpful, after all knowledge is a very powerful thing.

  5. I guess I will never understand sadistic people, I cannot picture in my mind people enjoying hurting others… especially those who beat up children to show them who’s the boss, for instance, it’s just so insane.

  6. I have known people that enjoy tormenting children by telling them that were found in “a trash can”. I would’nt said that not even as a joke.

  7. The word “sadistic” evokes a picture so extreme, we tend to think of obvious torture and brutality. Unfortunately, even this extreme agressive behavior can be insidious – making it difficult to recognize. When a person has this disorder, but still able to “function” in society, it laces through all activities – quietly torturing its victim. No more sex, ignoring important days and then enjoying how the victim begs for a little more love, attention, etc. If not careful…the aggressor will also make the neurotic believe that she (he) is at fault, because she’s become so cold…continuing the torture as she takes on the blame for his cruelty. She starts explaining herself – he gets a chance to see just how low she will go just to get a crumb of his attention. Beware, all of this happens in the realm of intellectual civilized (albeit teary) conversations. Disgusting! I write this, because the examples in many comments are very bad…but I have had the experience of sadistic behavior being so skillfully camouflaged (for the neurotic, that is. Family members and friends just shake their heads and wonder how such an attractive, confident and intelligent person could let herself be treated so bad) and therefore playing right into the hands of the sadist.

    1. Zoe’s comments are right on the dot. I am married to one such (I don’t know if he is saddist or aggresive personality). Surely he is always right and supreme and his aggression/torture is so subtle – that despite being an independent, career oriented woman – I could not see it for years. I kept changing myself, but no matter what I did – nothing could bring a single smile/praise on his lips. I never fell in love with anyone else before marriage. And now I would never know how it feels to be cared for or loved. Though this is secondary now. Now my primary concern is our 2 children.

      Dr Simon thankyou for posting this informative piece. But can I please get more help. Since nothing seems to satisfy him. I have reading and searching for all sort of material and applying various things into our relationship – sometimes somethings work – but the basic accusation, demeaning, torture, back-breaking-manual-work, mental-agony does not seem to lessen.

      I am the main bread-earner in the family in a high-end software job. I take care of kids – dropping to daycare, picking, food for family, feeding them, bathing them, housekeeping, outside errands, etc.

      He earns less in a middle-management position – but he keeps demeaning me by saying that I have no power reporting position, etc – it’s endless. Now I have stopped replying to him since about a year – as I know now, that he needs to feel incontrol/supreme. He does attend to some chores – like bi-weekly groceries, weekly garbbage throwing (provided I sort out into bags) – the finances (he controls both his and my bank-account – since he wouldn’t settle otherwise).

      He needs full detailed freshly cooked meal everyday – otherwise he calls me names, even though he knows that I work in time-bound pressured project deliveries from 9-6. All the children doc-appts or schoool/daycare requirements are taken care of by me. Anything that gets missed (say like a diaper that overflowed during the night – is my fault since I must not have secured it on the toddler properly – an then those name-callings come). I cannot reciprocate with the same – since I do not want to use that kind of uncivilised language.

      We have been married for 7 yrs now. What shall I do please – to change him into civilised ways. Initially name-callings were more – but now are somewhat less since I do not respond and ask him politely to please use good words at least for kids sake.

      Please help or guide for resources. I am ready to do all the labor while he sits with the TV – but the name-calling and no-positive-outlook, instead only-accusations – is killing me and the kids witness the aggression+badLanguage.

      Any trickle of light would help me dig more deeper into making him the kind of father&husband that my kids&I deserve.

      Thank you
      [He does have forever-fighting and name-calling parents and siblings; though they don’t live closeby; but are often on phone with him & every call between any of them ends in a fight]

    2. Thank you all the great info on this topic . I been with a person like this for almost 4 yrs and it’s gotten worse. They enjoy hurting and seeing the other person hurt . It’s like they thrive off the tears and hurt . He makes fun and blames me for everything . When ask if he loves me I am told that I ask stupid questions and he will not answer . You ask your self why am I still here well it’s a manipulation . One day it’s good the next it’s all this hurtful craziness .. It helps to read all these post I blamed myself and all my actions .

  8. I dont understand sadistic people either and what is most important I dont want to understand them anylonger…I wont…they are really sick!I am taking them out off my life one by one…it’s hard work b/c they are clingy people. It is realy disgusting.

  9. Maggie,

    No offense but are you nuts? Get rid of him! You are doing it all now and he isn’t going to change, believe me and you have fallen for the trick of trying to please someone who cannot be pleased. For the sake of your kids, get him out of your life and theirs. I say this b/c I was in one of these with my first husband and had 2 kids and now my 28 year old son who begged me to get out of the marriage when he was ELEVEN, is like his father b/c I waited til he was 18 to divorce. I THOUGHT I was doing the right thing due to faulty programming from fundamentalist parents, which don’t even get me started on their issues, (mom is sadist for sure). With all my heart, I want you to get out of this b/c your heart will break when your children turn on you and do the same to you that he does. I’m not making this up, my son has betrayed me and become exactly like his father. Thank God my daughter saw it all and said she was NOT going to be this way. I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights I have had going through menopause and dealing with this nightmare that I didn’t understand but now must face. I so love my son and it is so hard to know that he is like his father but again, he knew he needed his father to leave and I did not have the self esteem to believe that I could do it by myself. Don’t get caught in that trap. Get help. If you are beat down b/c of family then find someone to help you and get counseling for you and the kids asap. Your smart and you are employed. You do not need this kind of man, its a very sick relationship and it will take away your life eventually if you allow it……Please go through the pain that hits you in the pit of your stomach when you are withdrawing from a toxic relationship and get it over with for you and for your precious children and pray every day that his genetics did not get to them!
    Much luck to you!

  10. Although I’ve been out of town a lot the last two weeks, I’ve been following this discussion and feel obliged to weigh in on a few things.

    Maggie, I’d like to comment on a few things you mentioned. You talk about your partner’s “need” to feel in control or to dominate. The concept of unmet underlying psychological “needs” are a remnant of traditional psychology and such concepts predispose us to viewing a person as “needy” as opposed to voracious, thus prompting us to unconsciously feel sorry for them and actually try to meet those “needs.” Not all DESIRES or WANTS are “needs.”

    You also say that “nothing seems to satisfy him.” In fact, what pleases him immensely appears to be seeing others in a position by which they’re busting their backs to please him. The fact that he never expresses gratitude or allows himself to look pleased does not mean he isn’t deriving considerable pleasure from watching others scramble. “Acting” like nothing you do is good enough to merit praise or approval is a fantastic TACTIC to keep others self-doubting and under one’s thumb. And obviously in this case, the tactic is working.

    Now, with respect to the advice the others have made in their comments (great comments all, by the way), I would only add that you need to be sure to have a sound safety plan and a great support system in place. A declaration of independence from you can only be regarded as both a narcissistic insult and loss of position for him. And because “position” and control is what it’s all about, most individuals like this do not take such defeats lightly. You need to be free, but you also need to be safe.

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