Masochistic Personality Disorder: Signs, Causes & Treatments

Last Update on January 11, 2023 : Published on January 12, 2023
Masochistic Personality Disorder

Have you ever come across someone who is always in a self-destructive mode? That one person who stores anger within themselves or works restlessly to the point of extreme exhaustion. Such people might have a self-defeating personality disorder.

Self-defeating personality disorder, formally known as a masochistic personality disorder is a severe psychiatric condition that makes people their villains. Their actions are so destructive that they inflict pain and misery upon themselves.

It is a condition where one becomes incapable of experiencing happiness and joy. What’s sad here is that all the pain, suffering, and misery is brought to them by themselves only. Today we are going to explore all aspects of masochistic personality disorder and how one can deal with its symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Shall we begin?

What Does Masochistic Personality Disorder Mean?

A masochistic personality disorder is a severe mental health condition where an individual engages in behaviors and actions that are destructive and defeating. Most of these self-destructive behaviors occur when you have pre-existing feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness, loneliness, depression, etc.

In most cases when an individual is dealing with masochistic personality disorder, they tend to fail at experiencing feelings like joy, happiness, and contentment. They find it very difficult to have a positive outlook toward life as they are incapable of perceiving positivity.

Their thoughts and feelings are responsible for maximizing their struggle. People with masochistic personality disorder are in a stronghold of difficult feelings like guilt, embarrassment, humiliation, pessimism, etc.

According to experts, people with masochistic personality disorder are in a need to be set free of their feelings of guilt. These strong feelings of guilt are said to be a consequence of their self-defeating behaviors such as self-derogation, self-criticism, dwelling upon their misery, etc.

Masochistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

People with masochistic personality disorder have some specific traits that can help us recognize the condition easily. Here’s a list of traits of an individual with a masochistic personality disorder you need to watch out for;

  • You tend to work beyond your limits or till the point of complete exhaustion
  • You have a constant feeling of humiliation lingering in your mind, you are too worried about what others think of you
  • You often feel unloved because you always feel the need to work hard to receive love and support from your loved ones
  • You are too self-critical about yourself. You make it difficult for yourself because everything you do directly impacts your self-worth
  • You have built yourself an armor that reflects all the struggles and negative experiences from your past
  • You fail at having boundaries and being assertive about them, you can’t easily say NO to people even if are too occupied to help them
  • You complain about your life a lot but do not make any effort to change anything in your life.
  • You tend to get into abusive relationships, it’s a very masochistic trait. Being able to endure pain and hurt from that relationship somehow gives you a sense of self
  • You can’t enjoy anything in life without having feelings of guilt and shame

Causes Of Masochistic Personality Disorder

What exactly makes someone develop a masochistic personality disorder is yet unknown. This is because most personality disorders depend on the kind of life an individual has lived and the different experiences they’ve had.

However, according to experts, those people who do not share a good relationship with their parents or had been through very strict parenting are most likely to develop a masochistic personality disorder.

there are a lot of people who from a very early age face a lot of criticism and are made to believe that they are not worthy of love, affection, respect, etc. Such people can grow up having traits of a masochistic personality disorder.

Other than the early childhood experience, similar experiences where an individual’s sense of self and self-worth is attacked are also at risk of having a self-defeating personality disorder.

Masochistic Personality Disorder Treatment

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways a mental health expert can help you deal with a masochistic personality disorder. According to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health illness, a masochistic personality disorder is now not considered a complete or full-grown disorder.

Mental health professionals have now begun treating masochistic personality disorder as masochistic tendencies therefore the treatment procedure also has shifted the aim. The main aim now is to reduce the negative tendencies and reinstall and reinforce positive behaviors and actions.

If you think you or someone you know has developed masochistic tendencies, the first thing you do is visit a mental health professional. After examining your condition, they are most likely to advise you to get some psychotherapy to address your troubling thoughts.

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Along with that, you might also be prescribed some medications to help you manage your symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Here are a few other things that you can do on your own to manage your condition;

  • Learn some anxiety management techniques like breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, yoga, etc.
  • Get in touch with your inner self and try to calm your inner critic down. Allow yourself to make mistakes and don’t be too quick to judge yourself
  • Learn to take responsibility for your feelings, emotions, and thoughts, and try not to put the blame on others for the misery you put yourself in
  • Learn to address and process your negative childhood experiences, it will help you move on from the pain

That’s all Folks!

I hope you found this blog about masochistic personality disorder helpful, informative, and interesting. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that we are all aware of such conditions and how important the parent-child relationship is.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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