The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised
(American Psychiatric Association, 1987, pg. 371), for research purposes, described Sadistic Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of cruel, demeaning, and aggressive behavior, beginning by early adulthood, as indicated by the repeated occurrence of at least four of the following:
- has used physical cruelty or violence for the purpose of establishing dominance in a relationship (not merely to achieve some noninterpersonal goal, such as striking someone in order to rob him or her);
- humiliates or demeans people in the presence of others;
- has treated or disciplined someone under his or her control unusually harshly, e.g., a child, student, prisoner, or patient;
- is amused by, or takes pleasure in, the psychological or physical suffering of others (including animals);
- has lied for the purpose of harming or inflicting pain on others (not merely to achieve some other goal);
- gets other people to do what he or she wants by frightening them (through intimidation or even terror);
- restricts the autonomy of people with whom he or she has a close relationship, e.g., will not let spouse leave the house unaccompanied or permit teen-age daughter to attend social functions;
- is fascinated by violence, weapons, martial arts, injury, or torture.
The behavior has not been directed toward only one person (e.g., spouse, one child) and has not been solely for the purpose of sexual arousal (as in Sexual Sadism).
Personality disorder is a matter of false judgments of value. Listed below are the false value judgments that are at the root of Sadistic Personality Disorder.
|False Good||False Bad||Personality Disorder|
|to dominate; to be in charge; to have power, authority, responsibility; control||to be without power||uses physical cruelty or violence to establish dominance in relationships|
|traditional power structure; hierarchical lines of authority||humiliates or demeans people in the presence of others|
|self-discipline; to have those in their charge follow their rules||having those in their charge not follow the rules which they have imposed||treated or disciplined someone under their control unusually harshly|
|to be pragmatic||amused or takes pleasure in the psychological or physical suffering of others|
|to accomplish goals||things which distract them from accomplishing their goals||lies for the purpose of harming or inflicting pain on others|
|action, adventure, competition, and being physically assertive||is fascinated by violence, weapons, martial arts, injury, or torture|
|for people to do what they want them to do||gets people to do what they want by frightening them|
|control of those with whom they have a close relationship||restricts the autonomy of people with whom they have a close relationship|