I don’t believe that sadism is a trait of psychopathy itself. We tend to be very business-like and impersonal in our interactions with others. Why waste the energy on grand schemes that won’t benefit our stock in the end? However, I do think individual psychopaths can be sadists. The confluence of the two conditions can lead to total destruction for our enemies and absolute reward for ourselves.
I take great pleasure in winning well. Sudden-death victories are anathema to me. If you dare engage me in the games I can play, I will win and will win overwhelmingly. Anything less is terribly unsatisfying. This is how the psychopath approaches things. All engagements are merely games with set rules and set conditions for victories. Energy is a precious commodity, it should only be expended when it suits us.
A new study confirms the obvious when it comes to sadism. The more pain the sadist can inflict, the happier that they are. The study involved selected subjects choosing whether to choose one of the following four actions: killing a pill bug in a ‘grinder’, eliciting the assistance of someone to do it for them, cleaning toilets, or subjecting themselves to pain. Some of those that chose to kill bugs in the pill bug grinder had positive emotional responses directly proportional to the number of bugs ‘slaughtered’ (no bugs were hurt in the study, click the link for details). The outsider may wonder why the sadist chooses to hurt others. The answer is self-evident: it leads to joy.
I am both sadist and psychopath. I greatly enjoy seeing my enemies suffer. I also am fond of others’ suffering in general. I would sometimes, in the past, inflict emotional and psychological pain on those around me just for fun. I remember times of spreading false rumors of an individual just to ostracize them from people that brought them comfort. The more I would harm, the better I would feel. It fulfilled a need for stimulation and brought short-lived euphoria as a result. Being a psychopath, I want to win any encounter with totality. Being a sadist, I may win via brutality. I don’t believe that sadism is a requirement for psychopath, however. The parallels can be very striking, but ultimately psychopathy is the ultimate form of gamesmanship. Sadism helps dictate how the games are played. This distinction is subtle, but important.
Basically I treat others like voodoo dolls. I can stick them, with no consequence to myself, in order to make someone suffer, be it themselves or someone else. Sometimes I will manipulate others into doing the work for me. Sometimes they won’t even realize that I am hurting them for fun. For me, sadism and psychopathy are forever intertwined. Being psychopathic, I want to assert my dominance and control. Being sadistic, I want to make sure that those I dominate and control will never recover from their ill-advised attempts to challenge my superiority. Sadism is a means to my psychopathic mindset. To reiterate, I do not believe that all psychopaths operate this way. I would love to hear of others’ inclusion (or exclusion) of sadism in their schemes. If I’m harming you, it is not necessary that I have a blood feud with you. After all it’s not personal; I just want to stick some more pins into your effigy.