Cognitive Effects

Basic Belief: I need power over others. Strategy: Dominance.

The “idealized self is made up of beliefs about how we should feel, think, or act” (Tamney, pg. 32).

John M. Oldham has defined the Aggressive Personality Style in The New Personality Self-Portrait. I have rephrased many of his ideas in terms of extreme, rigid, and imperative beliefs and attitudes. According to my view, the beliefs and attitudes rationalize and reinforce the idealized image and the compulsive attachments and aversions. They are analogous to Karen Horney’s “shoulds” and “neurotic claims.” These are the typical beliefs that I associate with Sadistic Personality Disorder:

  • I must dominate (Oldham, 346).
  • I must dominate in relationships, in the home, in all the groups to which I belong, and at work (346).
  • I must be in control (346).
  • I must be in charge (346).
  • I must direct all activities (346).
  • I must shape the environment.
  • Power is the most important thing in life.
  • I hate everything which is not in myself (Mailer, 164).
  • The interests and feelings of others cannot be allowed to interfere with the accomplishment of my goals (Oldham, 347).
  • I should always be the one to give the orders and establish the rules (347).
  • Everyone who is under me should always do things my way (348).
  • I have to be a strict disciplinarian (348).
  • I know the best for everyone 348).
  • If people under me don’t do things my way, they are being disloyal.
  • I’m used to being chief and I can’t tolerate any challenges to my authority (348).
  • If anyone challenges my authority, I must punish them for their disloyalty and reassert my control (349).
  • Parents should train their children to be tough, courageous, and ambitious (349).
  • I expect my children to obey me without question (351).
  • I am totally dedicated to my work and I won’t be deterred by family life or needs for health and recreation (352).
  • I require an intensely competitive, dog-eat-dog environment in which there can be only one winner (352).
  • You can’t be squeamish; you have to be ready to sacrifice others to accomplish your goals (352).
  • The end is always more important than the means (347).
  • Work (indeed, all of life) is strategic combat, a struggle to get and to keep power (353).
  • It’s always the objective that counts; whatever means are expedient are justified (353).
  • I’m less concerned with following the “right” or “honorable” course as with finding a practical, efficient, effective solution (354).
  • I should be the one to create structure and organization, and plan strategy, because I’m the only one who can see the big picture (354).
  • I focus on results, not feelings (355).
  • I must function at high stimulation levels at all times, otherwise I get bored and don’t know what to do with myself (355).
  • I cannot tolerate lack of power, serious competitive threats, or defeat or failure (355).
  • I must in all cases be working with and around other people (356).
  • I cannot tolerate submitting to a greater power (356).

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