Saturday, February 17, 2007

Notes on human behaviour - Social sadomasochism

Social sadomasochism -

in which people unconsciously desire to hurt and be hurt by each other through their nonsexual interpersonal relations.

E.g " .. the therapist recalls the obvious relish with which the woman had recounted the long history of her husband's mistreatment, and even seeks it out, for the very pleasure of talking about it. But what would be the nature of such pleasure? The therapist remembers the woman's self-righteousness. Could it be that the most important thing in the woman's life is to have a sense of moral superiority and that in order to maintain this sense she needs to be mistreated?

The nature of the pattern now becomes clear. By allowing herself to be treated basely she can feel superior.

Ultimately she can even have the sadistic pleasure of seeing her husband beg and plead to return, and momentarily acknowledge her superiority from his humbled position, while she decides whether or not to magnanimously take him back. And in this moment she achieves her revenge. When such women are examined it is generally found that they were
particularly humiliated as children.

As a result they seek revenge through their sense of moral superiority, which requires repeated humiliation and mistreatment. If the world is treating us well we have no need to avenge ourselves on it. If seeking revenge is our goal in life, we will have to see to it that the world treats us badly in order to justify our goal. Masochists
look on their submission to mistreatment as love, whereas in fact it is a necessity in their never-ceasing search for revenge and is basically motivated by hatred. "

excerpt from p.103 The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck

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