Although the term masochistic was coined in reference to a specific male sexual perversion, it quickly became associated with the feminine and submissive. Hence, it has become a politically charged construct that has been dropped from the DSM-IV. The masochistic personality also has several normal variants that are often described as saintly. For example, Oldham and Morris's (1995) self-sacrificing style lives to serve others. Millon's yielding style is moving closer toward the pathological end of the spectrum in that this style tends to remain deferential to others despite possessing superior abilities.
Several variants of the masochist blend with other personality traits. The self-undoing masochist blends traits with the avoidant personality where failure brings some kind of relief from anxiety. Possessive masochists blend with negativistic traits and tend to try to guilt others into staying with them. Oppressed masochists combine depressive traits with the masochistic ones and tend to complain about their terrible lives although they do not necessarily enjoy their sufferings. Virtuous masochists are a blend with histrionic traits as well as dependent ones and are stoic in their suffering, while continually manipulating others with their generous giving.
Masochists share many traits with other personalities, including the depressive, dependent, compulsive, and borderline personalities. They are also vulnerable to developing dysthymia, panic disorders, and somatoform disorders.
Like the term masochism, sadism has become a politicized construct. Originally coined in response to the Marquis de Sade, who derived sexual pleasure by causing others to suffer, it quickly came to describe other, nonsexual behaviors. Also like masochism, sadism has been dropped from the DSM-IV, although it was only in the appendix of the DSM-III-R. While true sadists are only seldom encountered in everyday life, sadistic traits and behaviors are all around us. Millon's controlling style is an example of normal variants of the sadistic personality who enjoy using their power to direct and intimidate others.
Some combinations with other personality traits are possible. Explosive sadists possess borderline traits and seem to use their aggression as an outlet for emotions rather than like other sadists who use it to gain control. The tyrannical sadist possesses features of the negativistic or paranoid and is particularly frightening and cruel. The enforcing sadist has many compulsive traits and acts like society's sadistic superego. The spineless sadist is combined with avoidant traits where hostility is a kind of a counter-phobic act. The sadist also shares many traits with negativists, antisocials, paranoids, and narcissists. They are also vulnerable to certain Axis I disorders such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and paranoid fears.
For depressive personalities, being depressed is more than a symptom. Like a person suffering from depression, depressive personalities feel sad and guilty, but their emotional state is indicative of an entire matrix of pervasive and long-standing characteristics of feeling worthless and inadequate. On the continuum toward normality, people with depressive traits may be reflective of negative aspects but are not overcome by them and are self-conscious of their standing but able to take criticism constructively.
There are several variations of the depressive personality that mix with other personality traits. The ill-humored depressive is a mixture with the negativistic personality that complains endlessly and is chronically irritable. The voguish depressive is a mixture with histrionic or narcissistic features that sees suffering as noble. Self-derogating depressives possess some dependent features where they feel guilt and must discharge it though self-punishment. The morbid depressive shares features with the masochistic personality and frequently blends into an Axis I clinical depression. The restive depressive has avoidant features, expressing anguish and agitation. Depressives may share many traits also with the schizoid, compulsive, and borderline personalities. They are also often diagnosed with dysthymia, major depressive episodes, as well as with anxiety syndromes.
Negativists vacillate between feelings of dependence and a need for self-assertion, usually feel misunderstood, and act out their frustrations in indirect ways. Normal traits of this personality may be seen when people feel overcontrolled by someone and have fantasies about ways to make the overcontrolling person suffer. More normal variants may possess the same basic tendencies but are able to function in society and get along with others socially.
Several variations on the negativistic personality exist. The circuitous negativist is a mixture with dependent traits that covertly undercuts others. The abrasive negativist shares traits with the sadistic personality and is more overtly hostile and vile to others. The discontented negativist is a combination of the negativist with depressive traits, a person that constantly gripes. Vacillating negativists are mixed with borderline traits and experience rapid changes in their emotions and attitudes.
The negativist shares many qualities with other personality types, including the paranoid, narcissistic, antisocial, and masochistic. Anxiety, phobias, depressive episodes, and paranoid decompensation are but some of the Axis I types of disorders to which the negativist is vulnerable.
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