Masochistic Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Self-sacrifice and self-sacrifice to help others are aspects that are positively valued by society when they start from a desire to help someone at a specific time. However, there are people who always put needs outside their own and who deny even theirs or the possibility of experience pleasure or joy for themselves and for themselves.

We are not talking about someone generous who does us a favor, but someone who is literally dedicated to meeting the needs of others, even without them asking or deeming it necessary. People who deny all kinds of recognition, but at the same time feel deeply offended if their efforts are ignored. People with constantly dysphoric emotivity, with thoughts of not deserving of anything positive, and with great insecurity and fear.

We are talking about people with dysfunctional personalities, which does not allow them to adapt properly to the environment and causes them great suffering. We talk about what they live for people with a masochistic or self-destructive personality disorder.

    Masochistic or self-destructive personality disorder

    Self-destructive or masochistic personality disorder is considered to be that type of personality characterized by the presence of a relatively stable pattern of behavior and worldview over time and across situations in which they appear consistently. elements of self-destruction and self-denial.

    People with this personality type are characterized by the presentation behavior of self-devaluation and seeking pain and suffering, Visible in finding environments that tend to lead to the presence of frustration or even in seeking abuse or harassment (it is not uncommon for them to tend to view people who are attracted to them as boring). them and feel attracted to sadistic personalities), denial of their own needs, and avoiding seeking pleasure and pleasure. We tend to reject people who treat them well and deny the possibility of being helped.

    It is likely that after positive experiences, they actively seek aversive or depressed experiences. These are people who display overly altruistic and generous behavior towards others, often sacrificing themselves although they are not needed or required. Furthermore, he tends to fail in accomplishing his own goals. They often accumulate situations of frustration and self-harm.

    People with this personality type often see others as either beings in need of help or as competitive and cruel beings, when they see themselves as despicable, worthy of pain, or simply useless. They tend to look for routine and consider their success to be due more to luck or to some outside intervention.

    These are people with great vulnerability to humiliation, great insecurity and fear of abandonment. They usually do not ask for favors or go to great lengths to achieve their own goals, having a rather passive attitude and seeking satisfaction in self-sacrifice and for the benefit of others. They usually stay in the background and allow abuse of them, having a distressed profile and giving an appearance of simplicity. They often exhibit cognitive distortions, consider themselves inferior, and believe they have a duty to help others and never set priorities. Likewise, helping others makes them feel needed.

    It should be noted that this disorder is not only derived from the experience or fear of experiencing some kind of abuse, nor does it occur exclusively in the presence of an episode of major depression.

      Assignment at the vital level

      Obviously, the above characteristics cause these people to present a series of significant difficulties in their daily life, which can be accompanied by a high level of suffering. It is not uncommon for them to experience high levels of frustrationSomething that in turn feeds their beliefs of being unworthy.

      In their relationships, they tend to be abused and mistreated, and behaviors of absolute submission often appear. This is also reflected in other relationships: many people can enjoy itWhile many others will tend to shy away from it due to their excessive generosity and submission. Those who treat them well or tend to want to help them may find themselves rejected by these people.

      And not only in the social, but also in the work, they can find problems: they are likely to work long hours for the benefit of others. Likewise, it can decrease your own productivity. Their lack of confidence can limit their chances of improvement in all areas, as well as their behavioral passivity when it comes to seeking their own well-being.

      Possible causes

      The cause of the causes of this personality type is unknown, in fact having a multicausal origin. While the causes are not entirely clear, some of the hypotheses in this regard show the influence of children’s experiences and lifelong learning.

      The main hypotheses in this regard are mainly based on a psychoanalytic perspective. Among the various factors that seem to influence the onset of this personality disorder, there are confusion and integration into one subject of the experience of punishment, pain and suffering next to the feeling of protection and security. It may also have been learned that the only way to gain affection is in times of personal suffering (which in the future will lead you to self-assess as a mechanism to achieve this affection).

      The presence of deficient parenting models (Parents absent and cold, irritated with a high level of vital frustration) which the child will reproduce later as a way of functioning and seeing the world is also proposed as a hypothesis. Another element we talk about is the lack of ability to integrate positive elements, to feel safe, despised and miserable.

      Treatment of this personality disorder The treatment of a personality disorder (whether it is this or that) is a bit complex. After all, we are faced with a way of doing things and seeing the world that has been shaped throughout a person’s life. Despite this, it is not impossible.

      In the present case and based on Millon’s model, the treatment would seek to reverse the pleasure-pain polarity (a person with this personality disorder tends to have some discord in deriving pleasure from pain and vice versa) and strengthen the search for gratification in themselves (Decreased dependence on others). It would also seek to generate a change in beliefs about oneself and to modify negative and demeaning beliefs about oneself and the need for constant and excessive abuse and sacrifice. It would seek to alter the belief that they deserve to suffer or that their lives are worthless in and of themselves and only have value if they help others, as well as the rest of the cognitive distortions they often exhibit.

      It would also be tried that they have stopped seeing others as needy or hostile to us and generate behavior changes such that they stop looking for dependency relationships. It also changes the way we relate to others and to the world, while promoting a more active and less plaintive life posture. Improving self-esteem and reducing the level of vital inhibition are also things that can help people adopt a more adaptive way of seeing the world.

      For this, it would be useful to use techniques such as cognitive restructuring, behavioral experiments, the use of expressive techniques or psychodrama. Training in social abilities it can also be helpful in learning to build positive relationships. The use of animal assisted therapy could also be helpful, as well as assertiveness training. Likewise, behavioral activation can be very necessary to help them gain a more vital active position.

        Current status of the diagnostic label

        As with sadistic personality disorder, masochistic personality disorder was considered in the revision of the third edition of the Manual of Diagnosis and Statistics of Mental Disorders or DSM-III-R.

        However, both diagnostic labels have been removed in subsequent editions, becoming part of the classification of unspecified personality disorders. As for Millon, the biopsychosocial model is one of the most recognized in terms of personality disordersThis one continues to maintain it as a personality disorder in MCMI-III.

        Bibliographical references:

        • American Psychiatric Association (1987). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 3rd revised edition (DSM-III-R). Washington DC
        • Cavall, V. (2001). An introduction to personality disorders in the 21st century. Behavioral psychology, 9 (3); 455-469.
        • Cavall, VE (2015). Handbook of Personality Disorders. Description, evaluation and treatment. Editorial summary.
        • Millon, T., Davis, R., Millon, C., Escovar, L. and Meagher, S. (2001). Personality disorders in modern life. Barcelona: Masson.
        • Millon, T., Grossman, S., Davis, R. and PhD, and Millon, C. (2012). MCMI-III, MILLION Multiaxial clinical inventory. Ed: Pearson, New York.

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