Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today’s word is….


Schadenfreude I'm certain that I've written about this word before, because it's one of my favorites. In fact, I'd have to say it is my favorite word, with 'marshmallow' coming in a distant second. I was recently able to use it, so it's on my mind again.

It's a German word, pronounced SHAH-den-froy-deh, and its literal translation is "bad joy." It's that little frisson of guilty (or sometimes not-so-guilty) pleasure you get when you hear about the misfortune of others. Some people actually experience it when hearing about a friend or loved one's misfortune, but I think that's just kind of creepy, and they should examine why they feel such a thing for someone they consider a friend. I do sometimes experience the feeling, but it's always for someone that I dislike or has been a jerk in some way. Probably my most satisfying Schadenfreude moment was when a friend told me that an ex-BF (the Whoredog) had a bout of Bell's palsy, so he looked like he'd had a stroke, his nose ran all the time, and he was balding.

The guy was seeing at least two other women while he was dating me, so I felt perfectly justified in taking pleasure in his misfortune. It still makes me smile. I'm no saint, but hey, I've never pretended to be one!

Schadenfreude2Last week, when I was talking to my Mom, the ex-BF came up in conversation, I think because we were talking about being unemployed. This is the emotionally abusive ex-BF, the one that I think has Borderline Personality Disorder, and there's still a limited family connection, although the details don't matter. He worked in the manufacturing industry, and like so many others in that line of jobs, lost his job and is drawing unemployment. Mom said it's been months, and when talking with my sister yesterday, it's actually been more like two years. There are also issues with his daughter. I wrote to Shane and told him that although it would probably be natural to feel a little Schadenfreude, I can't say that I did--I just find it all sad and tired and the same old story, and I am so glad that I'm not in that situation any longer! I can't begin to tell you how glad.

My sister has sort of the same feeling about it, but had what I thought was an excellent question. If it's been two years, she can't understand why he isn't taking classes in order to learn a new trade, or a new job to do. That county has 18% unemployment, and there are even more opportunities and help there for retraining than places with the national average of 10% or so. I said, "There's the thing. You have to have the motivation and the drive to go back to school, and he just doesn't."

Schadenfreude3 And that was one of the numerous problems there. He was never the sharpest tool in the shed, but there was always an attitude of "the world is conspiring against me." Every relationship gone wrong was all the woman's fault, every fight at work was the other guy's fault, and now it's not his fault that he lost his job and can't find work...the perpetual victim. Man, I can't stand that. And now instead of taking this opportunity to retrain, he's sitting back and drawing unemployment. As my sister and I said, here's a news flash: those manufacturing jobs aren't coming back, and if you don't roll with the changes, you're left behind. If you haven't been working for two years, wouldn't you have plenty of time to learn a new trade? Of course, you would! But you have to resolve to make a change and then make it happen, rather than waiting for the world to come to you.

Schadenfreude? No. Disgust, yes. Relief that I'm outta there? You have no idea.


  1. I really felt a connection with this entry. There are plenty of elements that I connect with.

    There haven't been anything quite as dramatic with anyone that I know of (or so the Germans would have you believe), but there are things that I know about, like with my ex wife for instance. I don't know what I feel about the misfortune of former partners, though I do know what a few feel about me!

  2. Hi Beth,
    That guy sounds like he needs help ... but from the way you describe him, problem is he seems like the type that would try to drag others down with him. Good riddance!

  3. I can definitely say I'm Schadenfreude with just about all my ex's. Then again with exception of Skye's dad (who was emotionally abusive) they we're all violent men. So any news coming down to me of misfortune on thier parts, would have me thinking it wasn't enough for what I endured. There are days when my right hand locks up and enduring that pain, I actually imagine stepping on my ex's hand and crushing all the bones. Then again that's more along the lines of revenge heh...I get it though. (Hugs)Indigo

  4. I've known a few like him, and I'm glad you didn't stick with him. He'd have drained you. I like that word and will have to look for chances to use it.

  5. I've been there too Beth, except this one was employed gainfully. He even surprised me with a Beemer as a birthday gift, but oh! did I pay for it in ways other than money.

    He abused methamphetamine and he too had the paranoid feeling that everyone was working against him while he was an angel who was only trying to do good.

    Yes, you're better off without him. Now you only have web trolls like me to abuse you. Doesn't he make me seem like a little angel?

  6. Oh I like "he was never the sharpest tool in the shed."

    Sounds to me like the ex BF has been motivated down and not up.

  7. I have had moments like that too. I didn't know the word for it. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad that you aren't in that situation either.

  8. I hate that feeling (although the word's quite interesting!). I know it's a natural human emotion, but it's one I'd like to rise above. I guess, all I can do is acknowledge it and move on.

  9. Schadenfreude has way too many letters to be one of my favorite words...

    "Skillet" is the word that makes my day. I don't know why, but SKILLET makes me laugh. I am giggling right now just typing the word SKILLET.



  10. Thanks for the new word. Like Indigo, it matches my feelings for my ex's as well.
    Hugs, Joyce

  11. I think know this guy! (VEG). Actually, he sounds a lot like my friends ex-husband, unfortunately he remains in her life because they had two sons together. Be glad you don't have any reason to remain in contact with this ex of yours. :)

  12. I'm guilty of the schadenfreude myself, but mostly because I'm a little bit shallow.

    But, hey, at least I admit it. =)

    Anyway, I always have a problem with "victims" who think everyone is against them and nothing is fair and no one likes Them. Perhaps all those things happen because you continue to play the victim?
    Try growing up, taking your lumps. learn to move on.
    Build a bridge and get. over. it.

  13. I probably am a schadenfreude. My daughter still tells me how she almost never started talking to me again and I feel she is playing the victim. I just act like I don't hear it, but it bothers me. She is my daughter and I think as mother and daughter it should not be a big deal. I was victim to my little great grandson, big time, and he is only 3 and a half. lol

  14. I like the way that word sounds rolling off my tongue.....Schaaaaaaadeeeeeeennnfreudddeeeee. I can't wait to whip it at someone so I can see their eyebrows warp to unibrow and they look at me with question marks in their eye.

    I can't help it. If I say it, they'll deserve it.

    Well you always seem positively joyous to be with Ken, so I'm thrilled you got away from 'life owns him a living' guy. Any ill thoughts will be quickly forgiven by all of us. We appreciate alittle schadenfreude when directed at the deserving~

  15. A word I shall remember and use often. Thanks for sharing "Schadenfreude". Have a great day!

  16. P.S. When I first read your title I expected to see a picture of you in a super hero costume -- Citizen Scientist!

  17. Schaden Freude was actually the Sigmund's beautiful adopted step-daughter, who used to rub the noses of her less attractive step-sisters in her beauty. At 30 she lost all of her hair mysteriously, and Anna named the perverse pleasure she felt at the misfortune after the poor girl, who never married.

  18. Now, Beth Anne, that's my uncle and cousin you're talking about... :)



I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?