“Schadenfreude” – A Bully’s Satisfaction.
Have you ever noticed a little smile sweep across your bully’s face just at the moment when you couldn’t feel more infuriated? Well if you have, you are right. “Real” Bullies, and by that, I mean bullies with a level of psychopathy, also referred to as sociopathy…
“gain satisfaction through
antisocial behavior”, characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy combined with strongly amoral conduct but masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal” -
-quoted from Wikipedia at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Perceptual.2Femotional_recognition_deficits
Although this resource uses the word “satisfaction” to describe
what “a psychopath gains through their antisocial behavior”, it is an entirely different kind of “satisfaction” than both defined and experienced by most of us. “A bully’s satisfaction” is a perverse form of satisfaction, being malicious in nature, rather than joyful or positive, as defined in English dictionaries.
There is actually no English word which links personal “satisfaction” to another person’s misfortune or harm. Such a word doesn’t exist, because most people, are incapable of thinking in those terms, while denying the existence of the few, who do. Some languages acknowledge those few, having words for them, like the German word;
satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2011.
delight in another’s misfortune
[German: from Schaden harm + Freude joy]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
“What a fearful thing is it that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others; for the existence of the word bears testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more than one such a word is found. … In the Greek epikhairekakia, in the German, ‘Schadenfreude.’ “
As quoted by Richard C. Trench, “On the Study of Words,” 1852
So there it is! “Such a thing exists”, two languages having words, thereby “bearing testimony to the existence of the thing”, namely, “a bully’s satisfaction”, words of my own, for lack of a more fitting,
existing, English word.
“Schadenfreude” – “A bully’s satisfaction” – Remember the meaning well, if not the word(s), because the meaning does exists, even where a word for it does not, in the memory of many who have witnessed it. Only some cultures, witnessing it enough, to name it.
I wonder if the Germans came up with this word, before or after the Holocaust?