Posts Tagged psychology

Why do some people like to inflict pain?

This is a question that I have been trying to find the answer to practically all my life. I have come across a lot of people who simply live to hurt someone. I am not going into the topic of physical violence or psychotic behavior in this article. I am just talking about normal, everyday people that you either know personally or randomly run into at a bus stop, at work or even at social gatherings. They are everywhere. People who seem to emanate a lot of negative energy. They generally have a frown on their face and it seems that the only thing that can make them smile from the heart is to humiliate or emotionally torment someone. They live to get a one up in a conversation, to make a nasty personal comment/joke about someone, to start a fight or confrontation, or to get the last word in. They can turn the energy of the room around and make it uncomfortable. They live to cause misery and discomfort in others because it gives them a psychological pay off. This ‘pay off’ is so gratifying and rewarding that it continues to reinforce this behavior until it becomes a primary trait in their personality.¬† The rush and joy they get from behaving this way encourages them to repeat such behavior. They relish conflict and can only achieve inner peace by going to war.

Why do some people become this way? From what I have come across in various books and articles it seems that these people often feel very isolated and angry.¬† Perhaps they have had many painful experiences themselves in their lives. Maybe they view intimidating behavior as frightening and have been dominated and scared into submission in the past. As a result they realize that a feeling of being superior can only be maintained by putting others down. ‘They won’t hurt me, if I hurt them first.’ They are so frustrated¬† that they feel its their right to get angry rather than to deal with their own feelings. They like to portray the image that they don’t care or that they don’t need anyone, when in fact they are very shy and sensitive inside. The keep people at a distance by projecting negativity and are threatened by affection and caring relationships.If someone reaches out and tries to be genuinely affectionate and caring they reject that person and his intentions.

Now you may say we all get like that sometimes and that it’s not necessarily a big deal. Yes we all have had times when we have lashed out in frustration or had fun at the expense of someone else. Sometimes we all feel angry and get aggressive. In most relationships that’s the only way people know how to be with each other. But if this behavior starts to become our dominant behavior, our reflex way of thinking and eventually a way of life, then it’s a problem. If a person feels that he is entitled to hurt others because he has been victimized in the past and uses this way to cope with life, something is very wrong. Eventually this becomes so much of a habit that the person stops seeing good in anyone and anger and resentment becomes his primary emotion. They often feel like victims themselves and reach the conclusion that they can only feel better by victimizing someone else. It is said that Hitler felt that he and his nation were the victims of the European Jewry. The truth is that no one can put an end to this behavior than the person himself. And usually that doesn’t happen because there are too many people out there encouraging it. All we can do is guard our own thoughts and not become part of the cycle of toxicity.


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