Self-Defeating Personality Disorder (Masochistic)

It's not currently an official personality disorder but it was proposed to the AMA for inclusion in the DSM. Whilst not official, Self-Defeating Personality Disorder, or Masochistic Personality Disorder, can still be diagnosed under the label 'personality disorder not otherwise specified'. Being masochistic in this respect does not involve gaining pleasure from suffering. Rather, the proposed disorder describes self-sacrificing behaviours such as making bad decisions or being self-defeating, often due to their own perception of themselves. Many people who suffer with Self-Defeating Personality Disorder have often been victims of sadists (Sadistic Personality Disorder) or those with disorders that have a sadistic element (anti-social, narcissistic, histrionic, etc personality disorders).
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  • I've always written it off as low self esteem. I know that's lazy, but it just never occurred to me that it was an actual disorder.
  • I chalked that up to low self-esteem as well. Usually I associate the word “masochistic” with something else… Anyway, this sounds like perhaps a more severe, pathological form of it, perhaps? I think if it had been made an official part of the DSM, I probably would have diagnosed myself with this when I was younger. No bueno. My self-esteem is no longer quite so low as it used to be, thank goodness, but I can imagine how I would have seen myself in this description.
  • I think this actually used to be listed in the DSM as well, but other another name. It was used to label people who were abused, especially battered wives. I'm totally against this being included in the new version of the DSM. It sounds like a way of re-victimizing those who have already been abused.
    I do wonder if, now that borderline personality disorder is losing some of its stigma, they will use this as the new 'waste basket diagnosis' for clients that doctors and therapists find annoying or don't want to treat?
  • I believe masochism, narcissism, sadism and so on, are all of them addictive disorders that keep people centered in an ill-fated run for sensations that distort their reality.


  • @Lol
    I think it may have been listed in older versions of the DSM but it's not in the latest editions. However, it was proposed to be included by Theodore MIllon who claimed that there was no suitable diagnosis for people who were suffering with it as a result of being subject to sadistic abuse perpetrated by people with disorders such as malignant narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Anti-Social Personality Disorder.
  • I guess I am a little bit of a masochistic. Well, thanks for sharing. This is really relevant and informative.
  • @dyanmarie25
    I think it's something that many of us end up being conditioned into without consciously realizing it. None consciously want to be self-defeating but we end our sabotaging our own objectives simply because we've become so used to it (for whatever reason) that it has become a natural habit that we do automatically without even thinking about it, probably as a result of self-limiting beliefs. As I suggested, those self-limiting beliefs are most likely a result of conditioning.
  • Well certainly it exists, and I think that it does so on a scale.  I consider myself to have a somewhat self destructive personality, but I do not take it to the physical sense.  Some people do, though, and that is something that they need to get help with just like anything else.  Luckily there is some help out there.
  • I've developed masochistic traits as a kid, because I leatnt quick that it was better to be ridiculed, laughed at and bullied than not exist at all. In that way, masochism can be seen as a twisted form of self-preservation and it's consistent with Claude Steiner's theory of negative strokes.
  • Uhm, if this becomes an official diagnosis I might actually start wondering if I have it.  Maybe some people are naturally negative and tend to lose the race before even starting it?   I'm a bit like this or I used to be, but mostly because my mom is an incredibly negative person.  She never tried something new out of fear to fail, so yeah, she didn't accomplish great things. 
  • I think it's good when we get things to be a little more specific because being able to pinpoint these traits is very helpful in finding a way to finally solve them. Usually these would just fall under depression back in the day and I think just leaving it at that runs the risk of misdiagnosis and ultimately the wrong treatment.
  • Self-defeating, or self-deprecating, personality disorder does not exactly have the same ring as masochism. I mean, the latter basks and loves to be in pain. When you're self-defeating, it's more like you have self-esteem issues but you may or may not feel the need to harm yourself.
  • @xTinx
    Self-Defeating Personality Disorder and Masochistic Personality Disorder are indeed considered by the medical professional to be the exact same thing. It's a common misconception that all masochists love to be in physical/sexual pain. That wouldn't be considered normal masochist but would be considered physical/sexual masochism which is considered a different disorder (Sexual Masochism Disorder).

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-defeating_personality_disorder

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