Sadistic Streak


You could be forgiven for thinking that all of our kind are sadists. From your perspective, much of our behaviour, if not all, makes no sense and therefore it could be argued that to behave in the manner that we do must mean that we are all sadists. That is an understandable proposition. After all, if one day a person is kind to you and then the next is nasty to you when you have given them no reason to behave like that, then surely such behaviour is sadistic is it not? The behaviour has no grounding in any logic, the nastiness is manifesting just for the hell of it, is it not? Are we then not deriving pleasure from your hurt and discomfort and therefore that must makes us sadists?

A true or pure sadist is one who derives pleasure from the sadistic act. This often manifests in a sexual arena in that the act of sadism is acted out in a sexual engagement or the sadist becomes sexually aroused from the sadistic act (which may not be sexual in nature). Accordingly, a sadist may derive sexual pleasure from flagellating a bound and gagged individual. Similarly, a sadist may become sexually aroused from murdering the pet kitten of someone else.

Those of you have familiarity with my works will understand that fromm the narcissistic perspective, what we do is not done solely for pleasure (indeed we do not experience pleasure or joy) but rather it is done for the purposes of gaining fuel. It is our need for fuel which is the driver behind all of our behaviours because the emotional response of another provides us with the validation that we desperately require to fill up the void which exists inside of us.

The acquisition of fuel occurs in many, many arenas. It might be gaining a smile from an appreciative stranger as get in a lift with them, from the tears of our partner who is crying after we have held them by the throat and described how much we hate them or from them ecstatic groans of our lover as we provide them with orgasmic relief. In each instance, fuel is what flows, fuel is the aim and fuel is what is required.

All of our kind receives fuel from the emotional response of others. We do not feel joy from inflicting pain on you because we do not feel joy. Your pained expression provides fuel. It could be tears, it could be a smile, it could be laughter. As long as there is an emotional response then we gain fuel.

When you are hurt from our manipulations this is a by product of our need to gain fuel. It is a collateral consequence. Our lack of empathy means that we do not care that you are hurt. However, it goes further than this. The reduced cognitive function of the Lesser (and to some degree the lower echelons of the Mid-Ranger) means that not only do they not care that you are being hurt, they do not know you are being hurt. They see an emotional reaction and that provides fuel (although of course they do not know the mechanics of that operation). They cannot recognise the pain. I appreciate this will be rather hard for some people to grasp – how can he not know I am hurt when I am telling him so and he sees my face twisted in pain and the tears spilling down my face? The fact is, those members of our brethren neither care nor know. Thus when you are manipulated it is done purely for the fuel, it is not done primarily to hurt you. This is cold comfort nevertheless as the outcome remains the same. You are hurt.

Where we have a sadistic streak (and this is more prevalent with the upper echelons of the Mid-Range and the Greater Narcissist) we know we are hurting you and we do not care. The knowledge of your hurt adds further fuel. Accordingly, your emotional response which we witness provides us with the fuel (in the same way as a Lesser or lower echelon Mid-Ranger would) but the knowledge you are being hurt and we are causing this, provides  us with extra potent fuel.

A sadist behaves in the way that he or she does purely for the sake of pleasure. We do not do it. If we have a sadistic streak then we deploy it in our machinations for two purposes:-

  1. The provision of extra-potent fuel as described above; and
  2. For the purposes of punishment and revenge.

Our aim, through this sadism, is not solely pleasure but rather the reinforcement of our superiority. Not all of our kind wish to punish, hence, they have no sadistic streak. The Mid-Ranger who has lost his primary source will feel fury for this transgression but he is far more likely to direct his energies to applying an Initial Grand Hoover to get you back and reinstate the golden period. He has no urge to punish you. Even if that IGH fails, he will then focus on recruiting a new primary source and he will leave you alone. There may be benign follow-up hoovers when he devalues the new primary source, but there is still no desire to punish you He may be looking to ‘win you back’ or just gain positive fuel. If this fails, he may not apply a malign hoover, but instead will leave you be before returning at a later juncture with another benign hoover (if conditions are right).

If you have been discarded by a Lesser but you keep trying to find out why he has discarded you, he will apply malign hoovers. This is not done as an act of revenge, but is rather done to make you stay away so he can focus on his new primary source and so you will not spoil this golden period by telling lies (the truth) about him to the new primary source. He wants you deleted and the malign hoovers are a response to your interference.

If you find yourself in a situation where you know that your particular narcissist has a new primary source, you are doing nothing to enter the spheres of influence but your narcissist will not leave you alone and is applying malign hoovers against you, this is evidence of the sadistic streak. It manifests as a malicious obsession which causes you to enter the sixth sphere of influence (see the relevant section in What is Making Him Come Back? ) and then the Hoover Execution Criteria are met.

The relevant narcissist may not actually receive any Proximate Fuel from you as you are treated to these malign hoovers because he cannot see your reactions, so you may wonder, why would he do this? The reasons are as follows:-

  1. The sadistic streak means that he is willing to sacrifice the fuel he is gaining from the new primary source to carry out this sadistic, malign campaign against you. Usually, the narcissist will want to gorge on this positive fuel from the new primary source and keep his attention on this person, but where there is a sadistic streak, he is willing to use some of this fuel to power the malicious campaign against you as the discarded or escaped former primary source.
  2. The sadistic behaviour allows for the provision of Thought Fuel as the sadistic narcissist contemplates your terrified reactions and it is his perception of how you feel (even though he cannot see it and thus it is not Proximate Fuel) . Ordinarily, a non-sadistic narcissist would not bother to apply the energy to gain this weaker Thought Fuel but a sadistic narcissist will do so.
  3. Our superiority is maintained by doling out punishment and revenge. A non-sadistic narcissist would seek that reinforcement with a new primary source (because it is easier to gain that positive fuel from them and to focus on them solely). The demands of the sadistic narcissist are such that he requires this ratification and validation from both current primary source (positive fuel) and discarded former primary source (negative Thought Fuel and the power felt from the application of revenge).

Accordingly, when you are entangled with a narcissist, so that the Formal relationship is continuing and you are being devalued, and he exhibits sadistic behaviours towards you, this is for the purposes of gaining extra potent fuel. If the sadism occurs post escape or discard, this is done to punish you. If Proximate Fuel arises, so much the better but if it does not, this is not a massive concern to the sadistic narcissist because we are willing to sacrifice the fuel gained from another source in order to power our desire to achieve revenge over you.

Since you look at matters from your perspective and not ours, you may find it difficult to truly distinguish when sadistic behaviour is being used against you during the Formal Relationship. It is, however, at its most recognisable when you have escaped us or have been discarded. If you know we have a new primary source but there is a campaign of hurtful behaviour being used against you – slashing the tyres on your car, putting bricks through your windows, posting unsavoury comments about you online, handing outflyers accusing you of child abuse and such like – this is the sadism being manifested. This is not a smear because the smearing happens prior to your discard (so we have got in first) or if you have escaped, the smear will happen before we get another primary source. The key determining factor in knowing that you are facing a sadistic narcissist is that we have a new primary source and instead of relishing solely in the golden period with them, we are lashing out at you again and again.

33 thoughts on “Sadistic Streak

  1. DF says:

    Dear HG,
    in this piece you write that narcissists “do not experience pleasure or joy”. In another piece you write that narcissists do feel infatuation. To me this sounds like a contradiction because infatuation has always felt very joyful for me. And I think for many other people, too. How does infatuation feel for you if you don’t feel joy, happiness, delight, and pleasure while infatuated? Thank you very much for clarifying this. Kind regards DF

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are attributing your experience of infatuation as similar for us – it is not, it makes us feel powerful, in control, it removes the restlessness and the anguish.

      1. DF says:

        The restlessness, indeed, … while tapping in the dark, I could feel the narcissist’s restlessness. I even believed that it was my task to provide him a place to rest and wanted to find out what that place had to be like. It was his restlessness which indicated to me that infatuation had befallen me but not him, although he expressed his desire to see me with words that sounded trusting and tender.
        The restlessness makes me think of your “Narcissistic Icicle” No. 1: “I will always be in your head and your heart. You will never escape me.” Back then I didn’t look upon his restlessness as a futile attempt to escape haunting things lurking in his unconscious, but now I am not sure any more.

  2. Freddy says:

    Hi HG, if I’m a secondary source & the narcissist is my wounded ex-boss, does he derive fuel if something bad happens to me? My guess is only if it reflects on him – so if I also fall out with my new boss, yes (his mask is restored); if someone close to me dies, no (but he’d be jealous of any attention I receive). Thankyou.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      He only gains fuel if he caused your response, be it directly or indirectly.

      So, if you are upset about a family member dying – he gains no fuel because he did not cause your grief.
      If he tells you to stop crying and get on with your work, and this upsets you further, he gains fuel because he generated this response.

      1. Freddy says:

        Thankyou, that helps me a lot, in the games we play (he is not the only one drawing fuel !)

  3. /iroll says:

    New thinking says that NPD is always based on low-self-esteem and always learned, therefore a narcissist is never born. Sociopaths (‘made by circumstance’) and psychopaths (‘born with the condition’) do feel vulnerability, but they compartmentalise and repress it in order to stay in control, because they do not trust others. People have many dimensions to themselves and so do ‘pure psychopaths’. So while there is diminished feeling, feeling does arise when the psychopath does not anticipate it, they have high impulsivity which is a level of emotional response to stimulation – what they mostly lack is emotional empathy and the cognitive ability to process their emotions. This can be learned, but only in a certain setting – these studies and therapeutic trials now challenge the ‘purely robotic’ notion of psychopaths. Trust can be gained over time, through consistency.

    The power-seeking is all compensatory.

    My lesser (?) ASD-nomad ignores me when he is with others (and to punish me), he uses others to avoid intimacy and have the power in his ‘relationships’, which are mostly sexual conquests combined with his magical thinking of dominance. However, he also malign-hoovers me to keep me from escaping, it’s a pursuit he instigates. I reject him as much as he tries to control me, because the role he wants me to play is not real to me. He is wounded by me being with someone else. It’s not as simple as: he wants to scare me away, he fears being vulnerable ‘losing’ and subconsciously desires to be vulnerable ‘open to pleasure’ —and cannot attain his own vulnerability and power at the same time, which a real relationship would confront in him. His sadism is internally masochistic. He cannot be psychologically flexible enough to find empowerment in the aspects of himself he represses because he believes that makes him weak.

    (ergo) He has a very low sense of self-worth. It’s tragic.

    1. MB says:

      Iroll, quote informative. Thank you for sharing.

    2. Caroline says:

      Very interesting. I see elements of PTSD in the excessive control.
      So pleased to hear from you, How are you?

      1. /iroll says:

        I’m fine thank you 🙂 still getting the msgs, but they are now music videos. Trying not to reply.

      2. /iroll says:

        The Fly (1986) by Cronenberg, is a surprisingly realistic movie about falling in love with a narcissistic ‘monster within’. For those who can watch horror. Geena Davis’ character is deeply in love, but never loses herself to his ‘messianic’ rants. She suffers psychological trauma and she never falls out of love with him despite all his changes, she has to battle her primordial feminine instincts to be with him as well.

        But even through all that, you can still see that giving your life to them is the wrong thing to do. I think it’s a sympathetic film about these kinds of struggles.

    3. Caroline says:

      I’ve been looking at some of your previous posts, and want to thank you for the very interesting research findings you share with us. Behavioural psychology and neuroscience is endlessly fascinating.
      You’re articulate and write well.
      It’s like butter chicken curry for the mind. Very satisfying.
      (HG, your talent draws other talent here. There’s much to appreciate about narcsite).

    4. Cindy says:

      Having escaped a mid ranger after 12 years, and educating myself on the confusing, weird and fascinating world of the narcissist, I have to agree with you iroll. This disorder stems from low self esteem and self hatred. I get annoyed when people define a narc as someone who loves themselves and spends all day gazing in the mirror. I was one of those people before I became entagled with one. Everything fell in to place when I discovered my ex was sexually abused from age 3 to 5 by his babysitter. He was also mentally and physically tortured, although not to the point where his mother would see physical damage [from what I’ve been told, which may very well be BS].
      HG, does the narc with sadistic tendencies either in speech or actions remember the tortures inflicted on them? Are they re-creating what had been done to them?

      1. HG Tudor says:

        The narcissistic perspective causes us to see certain of your behaviours as equating to that of an early abuser and therefore we fail to distinguish between you and that early abuser. The instinctive response is one whereby you are viewed as that person (you are given no credit for all the good you will have exhibited towards us owing to our black and white thinking and lack of object constancy) and we lash out accordingly to defend ourselves. It is an unconscious response.

      2. Anm says:

        Hg, I totally believe this to be true from my own experience. The issues they complained about me, were not only projections, but the dynamics were ones they wanted their abusive parent to fix. Ie.: one narc ex focused so much energy is trying to force me to give up drinking wine, because his dad was an alcoholic. He would often say I reminded him of his father.
        My recent narc ex, is always fighting me and claiming I am controlling and pushing him out. He’s insecure because he actually does know our daughter does better at my home, than his. I think I remind him of his mother who raised him alone. He has resentments his dad wasn’t around and blames her. So it’s all childhood wound bs.

  4. wounded says:

    Wow this is fascinating. I know I’ve this question before (and you may have answered and I missed it), but what is the difference between a narc and a psych/sociopath? How can you tell which traits outside of the crossovers (lack of remorse, lack of conscience)?

      1. Bubbles🍾 says:

        Dear K,
        You reference brilliant articles … I havent seen the one you’ve highlighted …. thank you lovely, you’re an angel
        Luv Bubbles xx

        1. K says:

          My pleasure, Dear Bubbles!
          The archives are fantastic!
          Luv K xx

  5. Kristine says:

    Can a lesser develop into a mid-range or a mid-range grow into a greater? Can the type progress over time? Or one a lesser always a lesser?

    Those that have sadistic streak, does it increase or do they just need to deliver more sadistic behavior in order to get a higher fuel?

    I am seeing an escalation of sadistic behavior over time – or is that due to my enlightenment of who he really is and he probably had these behaviors?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. No, there is no movement between schools.
      2. Sadistic acts may become more frequent.
      3. You may be more aware of what is happening and the behaviour has been largely constant in nature, it is your awareness which has altered.

      1. windstorm says:

        Thank you very much, HG, for your last 4 responses in this thread. It really helps clarify and increase my understanding when you give explanative answers to people’s posts/questions. I realize that time constraints often prevent you doing that, but it is so helpful when you are able to answer and explain.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          You are most welcome. Naturally, I would prefer to provide expansive answers to everybody’s queries, but as you recognise the constraints of time and the need for additional information (which cannot be properly conveyed over fractured comments) means it is not always possible.

  6. HG Tudors #1 fan says:

    Fuel is the rule.

    1. Twilight says:


      How have you been?

      1. HG Tudors #1 fan says:

        Hello Twilight,

        I am a lot better, thanks for asking. How are you doing?

      2. Twilight says:

        Hello HGT#1F

        I am happy to read your doing better.

        I am great, thank you.

        1. Clarece says:

          Twilight! I have to know! Did you ever try any of those Lush bath bombs? 😜

      3. Twilight says:


        Not yet, I had 7 birthdays over the past two months and have been spoiling my grandchildren. One was here for the summer so it has been all about them.

      4. HG Tudors #1 fan says:


        Does being ensnared by a narcissist still effect you? I went a year no contact with the exception of social media stalking. Now i blocked him on ALL apps. I finally took HGs advice once again. Starting all over is so hard.

      5. Twilight says:


        If I was to be ensnared again, yes it would affect me. If I said different I would be lying. They would have to have the key to my heart thou.

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