PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Neurotic Solutions Schizotypal

Neurotic Solution: Sadistic Type 

The strategy of the Sadistic solution can be interpreted from the discussion by John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris of the Aggressive personality style.

Sadistic Personality Disorder
Aggressive Personality Type
Expansive Solution 




Neurotic Needs

Compulsive Attachments

Compulsive Aversions

  • power
  • being boss
  • dominating others
  • leadership
  • command
  • control
  • strength
  • competence
  • responsibilities
  • control of groups
  • fighting battles
  • confidence
  • taking responsibility
  • authority
  • hierarchical structures
  • being in charge
  • discipline
  • rules of order
  • expedience
  • goals
  • accomplishing objectives
  • getting the job done
  • success
  • action
  • adventure
  • asserting oneself physically
  • competition
  • competitive sports
  • winning
  • conflict
  • knowing how to take, use, manipulate, and keep power
  • sex
  • excitement of the win to come
  • combat
  • violence
  • sense of purpose
  • submissiveness
  • weakness
  • chaos
  • unclear lines of authority
  • weak leadership
  • uncertain responsibilities
  • undisciplined people
  • people who do not follow orders and rules
  • concern for the interests and feelings of others
  • failure
  • disobedience of others
  • compromising
  • sensitivity
  • emotions in others
  • disloyalty
  • boredom
  • losing
  • peace
  • lack of power
  • serious competitive threats
  • defeat
  • not being in control
  • submitting to a greater power
  • relaxing




Neurotic Solution

American Psychiatric Association (1987, pg. 371)


Cruel, demeaning, and aggressive behavior

  • has used physical cruelty or violence for the purpose of establishing dominance in a relationship (not merely to achieve some noninterpersonal goal, such as striking someone in order to rob him or her);


  • humiliates or demeans people in the presence of others;       


  • has treated or disciplined someone under his or her control unusually harshly, e.g., a child, student, prisoner, or patient;         


  • is amused by, or takes pleasure in, the psychological or physical suffering of others (including animals);         


  • has lied for the purpose of harming or inflicting pain on others (not merely to achieve some other goal);           


  • gets other people to do what he or she wants by frightening them (through intimidation or even terror);


  • restricts the autonomy of people with whom he or she has a close relationship, e.g., will not let spouse leave the house unaccompanied or permit teen-age daughter to attend social functions;


  • is fascinated by violence, weapons, martial arts, injury, or torture.




Neurotic Beliefs and Attitudes 

Rationalizations and reinforcements of the particular compulsive attachments and aversions and the neurotic solution that they engender.

   Derived from Oldham and Morris.


  • I must dominate (346).
  • I must dominate in relationships, in the home, in all the groups to which I belong, and at work (346).
  • I must be in control (346).
  • I must be in charge (346).
  • I must direct all activities (346).
  • I must shape the environment.
  • Power is the most important thing in life.
  • I hate everything which is not in myself (Mailer, 164).
  • The interests and feelings of others cannot be allowed to interfere with the accomplishment of my goals (Oldham, 347).
  • I should always be the one to give the orders and establish the rules (347).
  • Everyone who is under me should always do things my way (348).
  • I have to be a strict disciplinarian (348).
  • I know the best for everyone 348).
  • If people under me don't do things my way, they are being disloyal.
  • I'm used to being chief and I can't tolerate any challenges to my authority (348).
  • If anyone challenges my authority, I must punish them for their disloyalty and reassert my control (349).
  • Parents should train their children to be tough, courageous, and ambitious (349).
  • I expect my children to obey me without question (351).
  • I am totally dedicated to my work and I won't be deterred by family life or needs for health and recreation (352).
  • I require an intensely competitive, dog-eat-dog environment in which there can be only one winner (352).
  • You can't be squeamish; you have to be ready to sacrifice others to accomplish your goals (352).
  • The end is always more important than the means (347).
  • Work (indeed, all of life) is strategic combat, a struggle to get and to keep power (353).
  • It's always the objective that counts; whatever means are expedient are justified (353).
  • I'm less concerned with following the "right" or "honorable" course as with finding a practical, efficient, effective solution (354).
  • I should be the one to create structure and organization, and plan strategy, because I'm the only one who can see the big picture (354).
  • I focus on results, not feelings (355).
  • I must function at high stimulation levels at all times, otherwise I get bored and don't know what to do with myself (355).
  • I cannot tolerate lack of power, serious competitive threats, or defeat or failure (355).
  • I must in all cases be working with and around other people (356).
  • I cannot tolerate submitting to a greater power (356). 




Idealized Image


The particular "solution" is idealized (Horney, 1950, pg. 22)


John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (pp. 345-46):


Who's the boss? The Aggressive type, of course. While others may aspire to leadership, Aggressive men and women move instinctively to the helm. They are born to assume command as surely as is the top dog in their pack. Theirs is a strong, forceful personality style, more inherently powerful than any of the others. They can undertake huge responsibilities without fear of failure. They wield power with ease. They never back away from a fight. They compete with the supreme confidence of champions. How these individuals use the power that seems always at their fingertips depends on other styles in their patterns. When put to the service of a greater good, the Aggressive personality style can inspire a man or woman to great leadership, especially in times of crisis.



  1. Command. Aggressive individuals take charge. They are comfortable with power, authority, and responsibility.

  2. Hierarchy. They operate best within a traditional power structure where everyone knows his or her place and the lines of authority are clear.

  3. Tight ship. They are highly disciplined and impose rules of order that they expect others in their charge to follow.

  4. Expedience. Aggressive men and women are highly goal-directed. They take a practical, pragmatic approach to accomplishing their objectives. They do what is necessary to get the job done.

  5. Guts. They are neither squeamish nor fainthearted. They can function well and bravely in difficult and dangerous situations without being distracted by fear or horror.

  6. The rough-and-tumble. Aggressive people like action and adventure. They are physically assertive and often participate in or enjoy playing competitive sports, especially contact sports.



Attributes of the Idealized Image


    1. Disposition to command, disposition to dominate, leadership, strength, powerfulness, authoritativeness, responsibleness.
    2. Orderliness, conservatism.
    3. Discipline, self-control, self-restraint, craftiness, shrewdness, benevolence, protectiveness, generosity, liberality.
    4. Purposefulness, goal-directedness, expediency, practicality, pragmatism, disposition to achieve, disposition to accomplish, productiveness.
    5. Bravery, fearlessness, fortitude, toughness.
    6. Energy, activeness, aggressiveness, adventurousness, assertiveness, confidence, competitiveness. 




Neurotic Pride




Neurotic Claims




Neurotic Search for Glory

 The neurotic search for glory is the comprehensive drive to actualize the idealized self. Besides self-idealization it consists of the need for perfection, neurotic ambition, and the drive for vindictive triumph. The need for perfection functions in the personality as, what Horney called, "tyrannical shoulds."

Tyrannical Shoulds








American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed. Washington: Author.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed., text revision. Washington: Author.

Aaron T. Beck, Arthur M. Freeman and Associates (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Terry D. Cooper (2003). Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance: The Problem of Identity in Theology and Psychology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Karen Horney (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: W. W. Norton.

John M.Oldham and Lois B. Morris (1995). The New Personality Self-Portrait. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam.


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