Masochism is the name of the German novelist in the 19th Century. It refers to the enjoyment of receiving pain. A psychological masochist is someone who finds ways to torture themselves every day.
Now, what do you call the need for some people to seek pleasure in pain. Some call it Masochism, while others call it Sadism. Let’s find out, what it is and if it can be treated if diagnosed on time.
1. Is It a Psychological Disorder?
Psychological disorder is a sort of mental health condition, which can affect the individual’s ability to think and alter their emotions and behaviour towards people.
According to a study conducted in 2019, it was found that 1 in every 8 people, i.e. 970 million people across the globe are suffering from mental disorders. After the pandemic, the number has increased significantly.
2. What Is It Called When You Like Pain?
In this disorder, a person experiences sexual gratification by inflicting pain on themselves. They can also derive pleasure in this condition from experiencing humiliation i.e. emotional pain. But why would anyone like to hurt himself through pain or humiliation? That’s because letting yourself experience pain, enables your body to release certain biochemicals.
Some of these biochemicals are Dopamine and Adrenaline. They act as bandages when we feel pain. It pleases us and lets us feel more alive and motivated.
It is similar to taking drugs. As Masochism can be called an addiction to pain. One does this to get rid of their current problems and sufferings.
2.1.1 What Are Its Signs?
You find it very difficult to say the word ‘no’, that means you are ready to suffer through the pain yourself to please others. People suffering from Masochism often see personal pain as a means to gain validation from others. You feel that you are unworthy, and that’s why at times you don’t even consider the compliments given to you.
By doing this, you judge yourself on the scale of negative emotions. Thus, you also fail to stand up for your own emotions. Such people are more prone to be used by others to fulfil their gains. Thus, they seek pleasure in self-inflicting activities which causes them physical pain and makes them feel better for a short period.
The term Sadism was coined by Marquis de Sade. It was his erotic writings that gave rise to it.
Sadism is similar to Masochism to a certain extent. But here, the patient is found to inflict pain on others to experience a sense of sexual gratification. In simple words, he enjoys seeing the pain and humiliation of others.
2.2.1 Types of Sadism
- Spineless Sadism
- Tyrannical Sadism
- Enforcing Sadism
- Explosive Sadism
Each of them has varying degrees of pain that can be inflicted on others for the perpetrator’s satisfaction.
2.2.2 What Are Its Signs?
A sadist generally possesses the desire to control people. Some common reasons for such desire can be experiencing abuse in their childhood, poverty, or injustice.
Such people tend to show certain personality traits like having the intention or desire to physically or mentally harm someone. They see humiliating and hurting others as the only way to control others and their emotions.
Such people also see bullying as a form of pleasure. They fail to take responsibility for the pain others feel due to their actions.
3. Can These Disorders Be Treated?
Let’s ask the most important question, can it be treated? Yes, it is possible to treat both Masochism and Sadism through several therapies and medicines.
3.1 Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
This therapy helps you to change your self-destructive behaviour. It is widely used to treat other mental conditions like depression, panic disorders, and Anti Social Personality Disorder. It involves several techniques that help you take back control of your mind. The most effective ones are Systemic desensitization and Aversion therapy.
3.1.1. Systemic desensitization
As the name goes, it desensitizes you from specific triggers which makes you do certain harmful activities to release the happy hormones.
3.1.2. Aversion Therapy
In this technique, they often associate your triggers with an unhealthy or discomforting memory. So that whenever you feel like harming yourself or others, you will remember that unpleasant memory and stop yourself.
3.2 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a better version of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy which is mainly a talking-based therapy. It was earlier used only for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but now it is used to treat patients with other mental disorders too. It involves techniques like:
3.2.1 Group Therapy
Where patients suffering from similar disorders are taught to deal with their emotions in a group. Here they can get a chance to find people facing similar problems and share their experiences. This can have a positive impact on their treatment.
3.2.2. Individual Therapy
In this patients can have a trained professional who is aware of their disorder. Here they can get better attention from the professionals and personalize support from them. There is also a chance of having a deeper exploration of the patient’s disorder and the challenges he faces daily with it.
3.2.3. Phone Coaching
Here the patient can get personalized guidance to deal with the disorder without even being physically present in the sessions.
3.3 Psychodynamic Therapy
It is an unconscious process where the patient learns about how their past experiences influence their present condition. This enables the patient to have increased self-awareness of their actions. It also lets them locate that particular series of events that left a scar on their life and made them behave or feel like this.
It involves two types of therapies:
3.3.1 Long-term Psychodynamic Therapy
In this therapy, the goal is to help the patient change an aspect of their life, behaviour, or identity. It also involves developing those emotional stages, which they missed to develop in their childhood. This therapy would take up to 2 years for the patient to recover.
3.3.2 Brief Psychodynamic Therapy
In this therapy, the therapist tries to find the most important areas that need development in the early sessions. This makes it relatively easier and faster for the patient to develop such areas. That’s because the therapist would just focus on those prime areas instead of a wide range of emotional stages throughout the sessions.
We talked about the prime categories or disorders into which such tendencies can be classified i.e. Masochism and Sadism. Both of them are psychological disorders, which are associated with providing sexual pleasure to the patient.
We understood what are the signs of these disorders and whether is it possible to treat such disorders. Not only that, but we came to know that Sadism can be divided into 4 different types, each inflicting g varying degrees of pain on its victims. The treatment or cure involves several therapies and medicines.
Some of them were Cognitive- Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). CBT helped the patient to desensitize his triggers or associate them with unpleasant memories. This helped them to stop themselves from such triggers that led to such erotic practices. On the other hand, DBT helps the patient through talking or counselling.
The counselling could be conducted in a group or personally. Patients could even attend the sessions by phone. While Psychodynamic Therapy is an unconscious process where the patient learns about how their past experiences influence their present behaviour.
1. What is the basic difference between Masochism and Sadism?
Ans. So Masochism and Sadism are psychological disorders that involve aggressive behaviours. But a person suffering from Masochism practices such pain-inflicting activities on themselves. Whereas, a person suffering from Sadism practices it on others.
Such people tend to become serial killers who fantasize about killing other people through painful techniques.
2. Are all sadists people serial killers?
There is a term called ‘Hedonistic serial killer’. According to it, there are killers for whom murder is a way to express themselves. They get pleasure from doing so, as well, as assert their demand for dominance. Many such serial killers killed for pleasure like Ted Bunty and Jeffery Dahmer.
According to various researchers, such killers are made instead of being born. Most of them have experienced childhood trauma that makes them numb to certain things, including others’ pain. Such traits can be found in a Sadistic person too.
But that doesn’t mean that all people who are suffering from this disorder are likely to turn into killers and go on a killing spree. There are chances for many to be treated and overcome it.
3. Is Masochism related to BDSM?
BDMS is the short form for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadsim, and Masochism. It is a wide range of sexual activities which is consensual. That means the parties involved in this activity, which can be more than two have agreed to partake in it. It involves the role of power dynamics and control.
Some couples practice it as a lifestyle. Here both parties cause pain to each other which for them is erotic and provides pleasure. So masochism can be related to BDSM to a much greater extent.
As it involves a person in power, while the other partner is submissive to the pain. But it is exciting till it involves light pain which is harmless. But there are chances for the person in power to get lost in the role-play and harm the partner in the process.