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Sadism and Aggressive Behavior: How these Personality Traits Deprive Sadists of Happiness

Sadist people gain pleasure of seeing others undergo pain or discomfort / Photo by Minerva Studio via Shutterstock

 

Some people who have dark personality traits hide under a friendly demeanor. They may have the sweetest smile and the most approaching attitude but you'll never know what's going on inside their heads. There have been several movies that portray the worst types of sadists. These sadists are mostly serial killers that spend their lives fantasizing and creating new ways to inflict pain to other people. Believe it or not, we may have encountered these kinds of people whether in the streets, workplace, schools, and many more. 

In an article by the MentalHelp, sadism involves gaining pleasure from seeing others undergo pain or discomfort. Individuals who have this personality trait usually have recurrent cruel behavior and aggression. Most of the time, they also display emotional cruelty, preoccupation with violence, and purposefully manipulating others through fear. Sadists enjoy watching victims squirm from fright and would be turned one with people pleading them for mercy. 

Moreover, sadists would never stop thinking about how to make others suffer thus, finding new torture methods to inflict pain. In a previous study conducted by the researchers from the University of British Colombia and the University of Texas at El Paso, they revealed that there may be more sadists lurking in our midst than we thought. Their findings showed "acts of apparent cruelty" and evidence of "everyday sadism." 

According to Popular Science, the study was participated by more than 70 psychology students. The researchers made them choose between four unpleasant tasks such as enduring an ice bath, cleaning dirty toilets, killing bugs, or helping the experimenter kill bugs. The findings showed that 27% of the participants volunteered to kill live pill bugs while another 27% volunteered to assist the experimenter with killing the bugs. Those who chose bug killing have shown the highest scores on a sadistic impulse test. "As expected, higher sadistic-personality scores were associated with greater preference for bug killing over other tasks. The visceral experience of personally killing the bugs was the most appealing choice for sadists," the researchers wrote. 

The Sadism Test

Sadists are mostly manipulative and humiliating towards people around them. They are the kind of people that derive happiness from seeing others suffer and may often display violent and abusive behavior. According to PsycholoGenie, the specific causes of sadistic personality disorder are not yet determined but some reasons may include unresolved childhood issues and also biological causes. Deep-seated feelings of insecurity can also have a huge impact on an individual. They may either grow a masochist (gets pleasure on receiving pain) or a sadist.

Some of the warning signs that sadists may exhibit are deceiving people, blatantly lying, and committing crimes to make other people suffer. Seeing people writhing in pain also seems to amuse them. Sadists love to dominate and impose restrictions on others while murders, violence, and torture methods fascinate them. They also have a strong urge to control people. For instance, sadists will shout at anyone, even their family members, on purpose to intimidate them. 

Additionally, sadists are the kind of people to be in power and tend to become aggressive and violent when things don't go their way. They often dominate and bring others down. In a study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, the researchers developed a test designed to poke right at the heart of a sadistic personality.

Participants were presented with a test consisting of nine questions and asked to rate how strongly they agreed or disagreed using a scale from one to five. According to the Business Insider, some of the questions include "I have made fun of people so that they know I am in control," "I would hurt somebody if it meant I would be in control," "I get pleasure from mocking people in front of their friends," and many more. 

 

Committing murder, violence and torture fascinates sadist people / Photo by Minerva Studio via Shutterstock

 

Sadistic Behavior Deprives Sadists of Happiness

It has been known that sadistic personality traits are linked with aggressive behavior. But in a recent study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, this behavior actually makes sadists feel worse than they felt before their aggressive actions. David Chester, the lead author of the study from the Virginia Commonwealth University, explained how they gauged people's aggressive and sadistic tendencies. According to Science Daily, the researchers measured the participants' likelihood to seek vengeance or to harm an innocent person.

The researchers have found out a negative impact on the mood to people who have a history of aggression and sadistic behaviors. They suggested that this might be because of how aggression affects the brain. Sadists thought that aggressive actions and behaviors are somehow pleasurable where in fact, it created the opposite effect. They are deprived of happiness that they thought those acts would bring. 

Additionally, the findings showed that positive feelings derived from aggression and sadism are also an important cause of human violence. "Aggression is often thought of as a product of negative feelings such as anger, frustration, and pain -- yet this is not the whole story," Chester added. 

 

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