- the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.
- (in general use) deliberate cruelty.
I recently watched an Extra Credits video entitled "Hatred - Crossing the Line from Violence to Sadism - Extra Credits" where the announcer states that sadism is cruelty for cruelty's sake, and the minute the cruelty is for some sort of purpose, such as vaguely defined saving the world, or the horror of the situation is examined, it stops being sadism. And this made me think as I tend to think of myself as enjoying sadistic outlets gaming and RP offered me in ways I could never enjoy in good consciousness in the real life. Mostly because sadistic pleasure on real, anything, is wrong. I even humanize inanimate objects like wood blocks and feel bad about hurting them when I stop to think about my violent rage outbursts. And yet, Extra Credits stated sadism has to be inflicted on real people, so my cases of sadism is one example of not sadism, and one example of close to sadism but not really, so I don't really have sadistic tendencies? Only violent ones?
So the thing is, I thoroughly enjoy inflicting pain in certain situations. There's two primary situations of this. The first, and the more comical and harmless situation, is there I really enjoy games like Orcs Must Die where the feedback system is more or less how either efficiently, or inventively, inflict pain and suffering on a bunch of chaotic evil orcs to prevent them from eating babies. Which of course violates what Extra Credits stated in two measures, first there is a good justification for killing the orcs, that is they want to eat human babies, and secondly the orcs also aren't real human beings, or humanized in any other way then "I stubbed my toe from getting arrows shot at me!" The entire system revolves around either efficient blood and gore and the sound of pain being spewed out, or the inventive figuring out how many, how much punishment, and how to put your traps to get as many high combos as possible by inflicting several different sources of pain onto the enemy. Both of which solve a logic desire fulfilled by puzzle management, and a sadistic desire fulfilled by the feedback of "MOMMY!" in loud comical voice acting. And I enjoy these games much more than I probably should, maybe I need help due to just how fun it is to both inflict the pain, but also how I think about it and how much. While I find actual violence deplorable, in this situation I actually relish in a chance to indulge in those emotions, rather shamelessly.
In a more questionable situation, in a lot of RPs I run, or cases where I play a solo antihero, I find myself looking to use pain as a weapon to use against other characters and either as a plot driver, or as a way to solve a plot. When playing a villain, this often comes down to torturing the heroes to discourage them, committing gruesome acts to intimidate the heroes or their allies, or even wholesale breaking of a character's mind through very personal and very visceral efforts to show that resistance is futile but also that the villain will enjoy destroying those who oppose him. When playing an anti hero, this often involves holding innocents or things someone loves hostage to force either another hero or the villain to assist the character themself in some way, targeting the emotions of someone to break apart their combat psyche and force them to redefine what they value by getting their emotions so worked up that they break down, or even just avoiding effiecent fighting for the sake of causing someone else pain, such as favoring impaling the limbs over neck slashes.
Yet most of these sadistic incidents, are for a purpose in some way. Evil or good. In OMD it's always saving the world, even if I prioritize inflicting pain over saving babies. As a villain, it's to advance some over all goal such as world domination or gain of power. As an antihero, it's to stop an even bigger evil or to defeat someone in combat.
So are these tendencies true sadism? Are they just violence without the true requirements for sadism despite desiring the infliction of pain? Are these feelings used for constructive outlets? Can sadistic feelings be used for constructive outlets? Should I see professional help?