Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sociopaths = sadists?

The NY Times reports on recent research about the "‘Everyday Sadists’ Among Us." The research suffers from a large degree of circularity, that is people who respond yes to questions like “I enjoy mocking losers to their face,” “I enjoy hurting people,” and “In car racing, it’s the accidents I enjoy most” also tend to be more engaged in killing bugs or inflicting loud white noise on opponents in a game? Ok. Not revolutionary or enlightening, in fact that may be the least controversial finding you'll read today.

What's more interesting is the characterization of how sadism fits into other related disorders like sociopathy:

In 2002, Dr. Paulhus and colleagues had proposed a cluster of traits they called the Dark Triad: narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. The traits are present in many people not currently in jail or in therapy.
***He has been investigating if everyday sadism should be added to the cluster — a Dark Tetrad.

“Psychopaths want to get things from people and don’t care about hurting them to do so,” he said. “Yet sadists look for opportunities to hurt people, and prolong it for their own pleasure.”

Studies also indicate that sadists will choose to hurt people without provocation, even if the act takes time and effort — the only reward being the pleasure of inflicting cruelty.

So psychopaths aren't necessarily sadists according to Dr. Paulus. But who are the sadists then? And how many are there? The sample size of the experiment was too small to make any sort of guesses about how much of the population is an "everyday sadist." But out of the jobs that people could volunteer for, over half chose to take part in bug killing rather than clean toilets or endure pain from ice water. So are over half of us sadists? Maybe even more because some sadists might happen to love (or fear) bugs? Or less because some people who love to kill bugs aren't necessarily getting off on the bugs pain, but may be into something else (sense of empowerment?).

Possibly the most interesting thing about this research is its attempt to pathologize yet another trait (sadism) that seems to actually be common in the general population. For instance, they list enjoyment of hockey fights and schadenfraude as clear examples of sadism. I guess that makes almost every sports fan and suburban housewife a sadist? It's pretty clear why people would rather think it was an isolated disorder rather than acknowledge its actual prevalence. As sociopath researcher Scott Lilienfeld said: “We prefer to think, ‘There’s sadists, and then there’s the rest of us.’ ”

The attempt to villainize some forms of enjoyment of violence/suffering while ignoring that most of the population watches violent media, plays violent video games, and has engaged in some form of intentional violence or hurtful activity reminds me of the song "Trouble" from the Music Man. The song features the protagonist making huge distinctions between the honorable game of billiards and the degrading game of pool in order to stir the people up into a morality frenzy of us vs. them: "Well, either you're closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community." Replace "pool" with "sociopath," "sadist" or the "scientific" label du jour helping to keep normal folk in a different category from evil doers, and it's basically a perfect parallel?


  1. psychopathy is defined by sadism as there is no such thing as a psychopath that does not purposefully humiliate, degrade and taunt people. no matter what people on here would psychopaths like to be.

    1. keep thing that that's how i stay under the radar
      and gues what i don't have a criminal record

    2. one of the things that defines a psychopath they are multifaceted thinking about them as just a criminal makes so you'll never spot them or know what hey are like (make you venerable to manipulation or worse)

    3. stay under the radar doing what if you don't hurt people you fucking idiot?

    4. if you don't hurt people are they only good for money and seks?

  2. Aren't sociopaths blatent risk takers? Adrenalin junkies?
    Thier lack of sensativity and empathy (because their brain doesn't
    produce that chemical that begins with an "A") gives them a thicker
    skin then most. Since it's difficult for them to feel pain either
    physically or emotionally they need twice the stimulation.
    Didn't they do a test showing that Sociopaths don't feel the
    antisapatority anxiety that the empath feels?
    People were told to expect electrical shocks. The empaths started to
    sweat. The sociopaths didn't seem bothered at all. Sociopaths don't
    respect peramiters. That's for wussys and "squares."
    Sociopaths are the compelling rebels. They do the things people would
    love to do and seem-at least for a while-to get away with it.
    We attempt to humanize the sociopath. That's why many legends about
    sociopaths: Robin Hood, Billy The Kid, Jesse James, The Barefoot Bandit
    Dexter, etc.
    This ambilvent attudide stems from the fact that we've all known and loved sociopaths, either as family members, famous althelets, performers,
    and lovers. Sociopaths are throually intergrated in society. 10% are men.
    3& are women.
    Attractive sociopaths make women swoon. It's because women are attracted
    to Alpha men-decisive men who know their own minds. They can't help it
    anymore then men can help themselves from being attracted to Jodi Arias
    types. You could put a sociopath in prison and triple-lock him/her away
    and they will always manage to find sex-or sex will find it's way to
    them. It's fantastic the way sociopaths get into people's hearts, minds
    and emotions-whether they are punks or primeministers,
    A whole style of acting was patterned after sociopaths-the method acting.
    The vast majority of people are so bedeviled by confusion, boredom,
    pessimistic emotion (quiet desperation) that they make easy fodder for
    the sociopath.
    As sociopath John Lennon said, "Nowhere man, please listen. You don't
    know what you're missing, nowhere man, the world is at your command."

    1. People were told to expect electrical shocks. The empaths started to sweat. The sociopaths didn't seem bothered at all. Sociopaths don't respect peramiters. That's for wussys and "squares."

      Honey pie, this is a test environment. So you really are in no danger ever. You can ask them how high the voltage is, and what exactly it does to your brain. Why should you sweat? I would be curious about that test. What exactly does a electro shock feel like? If your fear is too big since your fantasy flies off, you can always say: no thank you, I didn't expect something like that. And now I would like to leave again.

    2. Attractive sociopaths make women swoon

      I thought that belonged to a different era. But one never stops to learn: Wikipedia:

      Fainting in women was a commonplace trope or stereotype in Victorian England and in contemporary and modern depictions of the period. This may have been partly due to genuine ill-health (the respiratory effects of corsets are frequently cited), but it was fashionable for women to affect an aristocratic frailty and create a scene by fainting at a dramatic moment

      The fainters

      I recently spoke to eight more fainters-it was startling how easy they were to find-and heard stories about many others, the types of women who, in the words of one fainter, “live their New York lives and run around all day and sometimes forget things like eating enough, drinking water and sleeping.”

      Happened to my sister once, in a densely populated Jazz Club in the even more densely filled up area in front of the stage. Suddenly I witnessed her sinking to her knees. Not much fresh air, quite the opposite lots of smoke in the air. We both have a really low blood pressure, but it never happened to me. In any case no sociopath was involved.

    3. I must second LeaNder's dispute of this statement. Women generally enjoy calm certainty from a man because it is an early sign they will not have to play emotional nursemaid to him. So not displaying signs of neuroticism is a plus for sociopaths when they try to work their magic with women. Also, early dating is a time of heightened lying for all parties because everyone wants to seem impressive, but sociopaths are able to pull off these lies with aplomb that the average man stutters his way through. So perhaps, sociopaths have a bit of early advantage over introverted and anxious men, but in most cases, the advantage fades quickly when actions speak louder than words.

    4. yes.

      But everyone lies on first dates. "best foot forward: 'love that expression it means exactly that -BESt foot. BEST behavior.

  3. John Lennon??

    WHERE did you hear that?

    1. I guess, "John Lennon, the public enemy", who ultimately deserved what he got has left traces on some people's minds.

      Nowhere Man

  4. Just because an impulse is natural does not mean it is good.

  5. Is the main distinction between enjoying watching and enjoying inflicting? I watch horror, kung fu, and similar types of movies. I am in martial arts and played hockey for some time. However, I am mortified if I harm an animal or person, on purpose or by accident.

  6. Stereotype psychos often display a "malign bug"-attitude towards folks below in the pyramide: "taunting idiots" and similar activities which seem to amuse them. Other forms of psychos "taunt" their surroundings in a "playful way", seemlingly relishing social cat & mouse games, where they want to establish "who´s boss" without making too many enemies; perhaps only folks considered capable of dealing with ther "tests" are considered worthy associates? Mature psychos consider most of the above as "childs play" and only act "friendly" unless provoked..

  7. I'm very pleased the distinction has been addressed! Generally speaking, I haven't the time or the inclination to go out of my way to hurt anyone. I really can't be bothered. If I am going to hurt someone, well, the 'victim' has to start it, so to speak; and I'll admit that they may be unaware of what they're getting into, being that I operate a bit differently that most, I suppose. (Age has mellowed me as well, of course.)

    It's been my observation that a great deal of the 'wannabes' who show up on forums diagnosing themselves seem to be quite confused regarding the distinction between sadism and socio/psychopathy. I'm sure the rest of you have noticed as well.

    1. yes. One gets the sense that they are doing the electronic equivalent of dressing up for Halloween.

    2. "Sublime evil" does not exist outside movies. Evil is lack of imagination, humour & wisdom etc. Hollow-folks doing dirty deeds mostly are "puppets" run by forces (zodiac influences, drugs etc) they don´t understand or control. Most "average-joe psychos" attracting attention are seedy losers harassing neighbours or wife-beaters. Where´s the glamour?

    3. I really don't think not having a conscience means one has to enjoy hurting another be it physically emotionally sexually etc. Sadism is something else. Perhaps one is tought to be so. Society is the teacher.

  8. Not all psychopaths are sadists.

    Some will con you out of your money, vagina, etc. because they are addicted to having other people care about them so much that they'll given them things. They are addicted to being liked. Sadists aren't liked, so these guys don't tend to be sadistic.

    Others are control freaks (think politicians) who are addicted to watching others do what they want done. They don't care if their underlings do it out of love, duty, fear, etc. I suspect such people are natural sadists - particularly as they learn, over time, that being nasty helps one to get others to do things.

  9. Sociopaths believe the shortest distance between two points is a
    straight line. They are not bound by traditions but can use them to
    their advantage when necessary. They are naturally accused of being
    "cold," but from their point of view they are behaving in the most
    efficent way possible.
    Women generally ARE quite taken with sociopaths. In general women
    do NOT want empathic wussies. Women DON'T want sensative "New Age men."
    The woman wants a man who contribute to her care and can handle any
    crisis that comes up.
    No one wants to be abused but when you're dealing with aggresive traits
    there's bound to be occasional "spillage."
    For the most part nowadays the sterotypical white Christian, American
    male does NOT have the traits that most women subliminally want.
    He has been vilified and accused of every evil under the Sun.
    Today's white woman surpasses her male counterpart in just about every
    way possible. Educationally, economically, socially. White men are
    becoming passe.
    The manority man is still permitted to exercise a "male" agressive nature. The white woman sees this and nowadays she is flocking to the
    manority male.
    If there's any cultural icon in America now, it is the beautiful white
    woman and very light-skinned black woman. These are the "trophies" in
    modern society. It is impossible to convict a beautiful white woman in
    a completely "circumstantial" court case. And even with a boatload of
    forensic evidence, a pretty white woman can't get the death penality.
    Jodi Arias is evidence of that.
    All of the above is leading to the eventual demise of the of the white
    race in America and probably a cultural coarsening of the land.

    1. Sociopaths believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

      True, kids learned this for many centuries by now, even the Sociopaths. If you have not invented a brand new system of mathematics for us by now. They must be right then.

      "The psychopaths" would probably would ask you, if you have Euclidian or non-Eucludian geometry in mind? Once spheres enter the scene and we leave two dimensionality, it all changes of course.

      One of my favorite axioms: Two parallels intersect in infinity:

      Two parallels by Christian Morgenstern (MorningStar)

      Once two parallels went
      out into infinity,
      two straight souls
      from a solid home.

      They did not want to intersect*
      until their peaceful grave
      this was, what to say,
      both's secret pride and way.

      But after ten lightyears
      of such common traveling,
      the lonesome couple felt
      not really earthly anymore.

      Were they still parallels?
      They couldn't say, -
      they were only like two souls flowing
      together through eternal Light.

      The eternal Light permeated them,
      thus they became one in Him;
      eternity swallowed them,
      just like two seraphim.

      * in German this is play on words, or there is a connotation
      intersect = sich schneiden, refexive
      seperate = sich scheiden, equally reflexive.

      I very slightly changed the first paragraph.

  10. You need a gay man to give you the real truth, darling: women, white or otherwise, can tell when you loathe them, believe them to be inferior, and hold them in contempt. It's repellent. They can tell that you have an irrational, profoundly racist fear that they long for a Mandingo above all else. It's laughable and pathetic, and it's called projection. (Perhaps a nice black gentleman will set YOU right, hmm?)

    Do you know how many lovely women come to the gay clubs and preach to the choir about the sad state of affairs regarding straight men these days? (It's higher than you think!) Do you know how they wish straight men cared about hygiene and physical fitness as much for themselves as they (hypocritically) demand the same from women? Find a gay man and ask him what women want. I'll tell you right now that they do NOT want misogynistic closet cases, but then again, we don't either sweetie! So you'll have to change if you want sex, romance, or love, I'm afraid.

    1. Fred,
      Beautifully said.
      I fucking love you right now.

    2. Fred lol !

      sensitive men who have bad tempers are my favorite. They're great in the sac, clip their nails and everything. then throw you on the bed for misbehaving. can't get enough.

  11. I have always supported the distinction outlined above between psychopathy and sadism - the former simply inflicting pain as a means to an end, while the latter inflicts pain to generate a sense of pleasure.

    However, in reference to the many criminal/forensic articles that state that a majority of psychopaths torture/rape their 'victims': what would be the motivation then, other than that sadism very frequently manifests in psychopaths? Which somehow seems somewhat unlikely, as the two seem rather contradictive... Why do psychopathic serial killers kill? Is the motivation the sense of power, or is it more in the Dexter sense - killing to prevent one from spiraling out of control? Why the urge when there is no gain from just killing people for the sake of killing, if not sadistic?

  12. While I agree with the distinction between psychopathy and sadism, I think we should also separate different forms of anti-social behavior and psychopathic behavior.

    Yes, sadism is present in the bulk of humanity, if only to a marginal degree. And yes, not everyone with anti-social personality disorder is a sadist per say, even if such examples of rare.

    The question is are all ASPD afflicted people psychopaths? I don't think so. A few defining characteristics I've seen in what I call psychopaths are a long history of sadistic behavior and sadism for its own sake. They literally enjoy the pain of others. Not all ASPD people do, and throwing them all together isn't appropriate.

    Psychopath, Sociopath, ASPD. They are largely overlapping, but if we want to get to the heart of this we need to differentiate between them, defining our own terms if need be.

  13. ssssssssooooooooocccccccciiiiiiiiiiiiiioooooooopathSeptember 24, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Difference makes the world go 'round. Not all difference is disorder. Sociopathy is just a difference.


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