Masochistic Personality Disorder

Masochistic Personality Disorder

A masochistic personality disorder is one that is characterized by a person feeling the need to indulge in self destructive and self defeating behavior. What are the factors that drive this disorder and what does this disorder entail is what we shall be studying in the following article.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Human beings will generally be driven by the positive things in their life. They will concentrate on how to feel positive, good and happy. No one really likes to be sad and depressed, except for some moments driven by self pity perhaps, that one gives into, like one would into a particular temptation. But given the choice between being happy and being sad, most will choose happiness. Not everyone though, not really. There are people, for example, who thrive in being sad. This is classified as the masochistic personality disorder. This personality disorder is also known as the self-defeating personality disorder and has at its crux the feelings of humiliation, insult and other factors that lead to being depressed and sad. The simplest way in which this disorder can be described is that the person wants and needs to be sad and devises ways of making that happen. In the following article, we will be getting into the details of this condition, how it comes to be and what it means to be diagnosed with one.

What is Masochistic Personality Disorder?

The definition of masochistic personality disorder has been given as a person who indulges in self destructive and self-defeating behavior. This condition usually develops in early adulthood and goes on to affect the remainder of a person's life. What are the characteristics of this condition and how does it develop? Let us try and understand the same in the following sections.

Symptoms:
How does one distinguish a masochistic personality from the others? Here are some of the factors that you can look into:
  • They feel that they have to be self sacrificing and accept exploitation from others.
  • They might feel that they are unworthy of love and do not deserve love in their life. In fact, they find factors like love, affection and care very unattractive.
  • They avoid pleasurable experiences in life, in all its forms.
  • They will find anything that leads to pleasure cumbersome, and will reject the same.
  • They will get into relationships that are bound to fail as well as situations that are bound to lead to disappointment and other negative emotions. This they do even when they know that there are better options available.
  • In case of help being offered by someone, they will reject the same and resent the person who offers it.
  • They seek suffering, pain and hurt in all the situations that they face and all the relationships that they get into.
  • They will set goals that are clearly unrealistic for them, thus failing to achieve the same and leading to disappointment.
  • They react with anger when they are unable to sabotage their own plan at failure because they are unable to enjoy the rewards of success. They will then try to bring about hurt in the form of some physical pain, like getting into an accident, for example.
  • They will exhibit the required skills to do something for others but will fail to do the same for themselves, even though their growth depends on the same.
  • They will indulge in excessive self sacrificing behavior even though the person for whom they may be doing the same may not have demanded for it. This stems from their need to be recognized.
  • They will exhibit such behavior that it will lead to rejection and anger from others and it therefore, works as a self fulfilling prophesy.
  • They are never able to make good choices for themselves.
These behavior patterns are not guided by the fact that a person is depressed or that they might be abused in some way if they behave otherwise. Thus, a person who suffers from this personality disorder will undertake all forms of behavior that will lead to disappointment in his life and the inability to achieve any set goals. The underlying themes are those of guilt, shame and pain.

Causes:
Why does a person develop these patterns in behavior? The causes of this personality disorder can almost always be traced back to early childhood. If a child has had to deal with a disciplinarian or a strict authority figure while growing up, and has been constantly told that he does not deserve love or that he deserves to be in pain and should be exploited, then that is exactly what he will grow up to believe. Thus, he will try to avoid and reject anything that leads to pleasure. Even when there is pleasure, he can never enjoy it and will be riddled with feelings of guilt and shame.

Treatment:
The treatment for this personality disorder is quite difficult to undertake. For one, a masochistic person does not want to be helped and will resent and reject all factors and situations that want to provide the same. And two, since this condition has stemmed from early adulthood, they will not really look upon the same as a disorder and specifically as something that needs to be treated.

Yet, if a person is willing to undertake treatment, then a combination of methods like counseling, group therapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are seen to bring about positive results. The success of these forms will be guided mainly by the fact that the person is willing to change. So also, influencing the thought process and behavior patterns of a person are bound to take time to bring about positive results. It is important that a person visit a psychiatrist to help deal with the condition better.

The masochistic personality disorder is a rare condition and not many cases have been reported of the same. A person who suffers from this condition will find it difficult to form positive and normal relationships with people, thus leading to several adjustment problems as well as giving rise to other psychological conditions as well.

Disclaimer ~ This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a mental health expert.