It’s such an ugly emotion, and one that reveals so much.

It’s been in my mind much lately. I suppose it started with the Ashley Madison hack, and the profusion of “they got what was coming to them” stories. But it’s a constant in the press, and in the news. People seem to love to watch other people suffer. (For a particularly horrifying example, cf. Justine Sacco.)

Maybe there’s an evolutionary explanation for it. Maybe there’s a psychological one. I don’t know.

But I know that it’s, generally speaking, far from my own repertoire of responses. Not always. A few years ago, I wrote a post about a right-wing twit named Jade Morey in which I come pretty close to schadenfreude. I can offer a defense, but that’s not my point.

My point is that, for me, schadenfreude isn’t just distasteful, it’s evidence that I’m not in a good place. If I feel pleasure in someone else’s suffering, for whatever reason, whoever they are, it’s a bad sign.


  1. I agree with your take on schadenfreude. I must say though that I experienced something similar yesterday when reading my attorney’s proposition for a financial settlement on my divorce. Akin to the “We’ll make you pay, bitch” that I felt about my ex. It didn’t last too long, and I’ll wait until the divorce is final to celebrate anything, but just to know how different things are between what he was offering (a financial slap in my face) and what he might have to dish out… Yes, I’ll confess to experiencing it for a while. And I’m not even repentant 😉

    1. But that’s not exactly schadenfreude, right? Because you’re very much in the mix as to the consequences. The schadenfreuded I’m talking about is when bad things happen to others that have no impact on you, that don’t produce good things for you. The circumstance you’re describing seems very different.

      1. You are totally right 🙂
        I don’t tend to have the real kind of schadenfreude. I just don’t enjoy people getting hurt, no matter how much they looked for it.

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