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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the dangers of Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune) and apply it to the recent Ashley Madison scandal.

In this podcast on Schadenfreude you’ll find:

  • Schadenfreude – taking pleasure in another person’s suffering.
  • People don’t realize it, but there’s a lot of Schadenfreude going on in society. They don’t see it as Schadenfreude but as Karma or Justice.
  • Cruelty is never right nor is taking pleasure in cruel twists of fate. What we should be focusing is how we can prevent the incident from happening again.
  • We understand the feeling of helplessness and we can feel that way sometimes.
  • As it turns out, it can be a sure way to make us feel better or regain power about ourselves. It’s a self-affirming/self-empowering boost.
  • When people feel disempowered, they want each individual person to pay for it. They want to reclaim power by seeing other people be put in their situation. While this may temporarily work, it doesn’t do anything to solve the problem.
  • When we assume that the person who’s offending us should actually suffer (the idea that somebody should suffer because they’ve hurt our ethical principles), it doesn’t solve anything. It just keeps everything in the shadows.
  • What problem are we trying to solve? It’s the feeling of powerlessness. By doing Schadenfreude, you are solving your own problem. You may think your problem has been solved but it’s only short term.
  • The emotion of righteous indignation exists for a reason. We feel indignant when things are truly offensive to us and our feeling of righteousness propels us from doing something about it.
  • Righteous indignation may make us feel powerful, but it’s not real empowerment.
  • The human race is constantly evolving and we need to deal the issues that we’ve been keeping in the dark for so long.
  • As we enter the space where we’re going to deal with all these stuff hidden in the shadows, how are we going to deal with them?
  • You can’t control what’s going to happen in your life but you can control how you think, feel and respond to it.
  • Working on ourselves is the solution. It would require more of us in order to calm down and deal with all the issues. Ask yourself, what is the mature, empowered action/response I can bring to this?

In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the dangers of Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from another person's misfortune). #podcast #ashleymadison #personalgrowth

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  • Anuradha N S
    • Anuradha N S
    • January 18, 2021 at 6:09 am

    Hi Antonia and Joel

    Firstoff, kudos for taking a very delicate subject and delivering the various viewpoints beautifully.
    Secondly, love the thinker and the feeler bits that I could identify. The way Antonia could keep her feeling aside to think through the issue almost in an objective manner, as well as, Joel’s insistence for the feelings to be heard and felt.
    Thirdly, I am from India. You mentioned karma. Karma in the easiest way of understanding is “you reap what you sow”. So you are right in mentioning that karma doesn’t manifest as what you think the other person should go through, but as an organic consequence of ones action. Though somewhere i felt you aren’t relating the two but are susbscribing to the view that when people say karma will take care of him/ her, they mean the individual that has offended them will get the consequences that they feel is justified for the individual’s actions (example, pedophiles should be raped and killed in prison). That isn’t what it means. Consequences to one’s karma is delivered by the universe/ God and is the inevitable result of the system of who they are being and their actions.

    Just wanted to clarify the abive point. People’s reaction to the offence are just part of the consequences. The consequences are determined by us when we act (karma basically means actions).

    Thanks and Regards


  • Erika
    • Erika
    • October 22, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you for this discussion. The subjects you chose were intense. But you have a precision, and at the same time so much compassion in the way you talk about them. You look at the issues from different perspectives and discuss ways in which we all can be part of solutions instead of feeding into the cycle of suffering. I appreciate this so much. Also, I am grateful for the insightful and personal comments the discussion inspired.
    This idea of feeling disempowered in aspects of one‘s life (or life in general) and then trying to feel powerful in a specific context where one feels permission to speak or act out, I find this important and (for lack of a different word) powerful.

    The way you used the word Schadenfreude felt unfamiliar to me though (as a German speaker). At first, I wondered if it was about the severity of the topics you were applying it to; but though I usually hear the word used in connection to „lighter“ incidents, I can easily imagine that it can be applied to „heavier“ subjects. What I then realised was that it feels unfamiliar to use the word to describe something one wishes on someone. The way I would use it, and have so far experienced it being used, is to describe the glee one may feel when something bad has happened to someone and one feels the person deserved it. Sorry for being nitpicking, I just felt like describing this nuance.

  • Susan H
    • Susan H
    • January 18, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing Theresa! You also helped give me courage to write a comment on this podcast.

  • Susan H
    • Susan H
    • January 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Stacy – Thank you for your comment. It gave me the courage to write my own comment. I am thankful for people like you that have a broad perspective on these topics and can see the humanity. Thank you for your service of helping others that society has deemed unlovable or unworthy.

  • Susan H
    • Susan H
    • January 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    There are many times that I have had the conversation alone (yes, in my own head) that you both have opened up in this podcast. I didn’t realize that there were others who shared a view any different than “hang all sex offenders”. I postponed listening to this podcast due to the sensitive nature, I had to make sure I was ready to open this up for myself, lukcily I was. I also took a lot of time to think through my own comment on this topic. I have read all the comments to date. I am thankful for all the perspectives and really appreciate each personal experience that has been shared.

    My father is currently in prison on child pornography charges, 2nd offense. He’s a sex offender, a pedophile.

    A brief history:
    The first arrest was in 1999, sentence began in 2000. At that time our family was led to believe (by my father) that the child pornography was received by mistake & he failed to report it, which incriminated him. In many ways the niavity of my family helped us all cope. We believed him to be a victim of a raid; he was a victim because he claimed to have reeived child pornography but did not report it so he was guilty by distribution.

    Upon release in 2004 he was fortunate to find employment and a friend of his (he lost many) rented their house to him. His life was somewhat in order.
    He was to request permission for all travel, which was necessary for him to visit his mother, my sister, and myself as we all lived in a different state than he did. He registered as a sex offender, attended many therapy and counceling session – one that included shock therapy.

    In 2007 I received a call from my fathers employer stating he had not come to work for several days and didn’t even call off, which was very uncharactristic. After having called a few friends that lived locally to check on him (since I live out of state) I was informed of another raid; he had been taken to jail on a violation of his probation that had something to do with child pornography. Goodbye niavety and hello big ugly truth.
    The 2nd offense turned out to be a 15 year sentence.

    My intent is to bring a different perspective to the conversation. I am a mother (of a now 18 year old). As you can imagine this hits very close to home and hit even closer at the time of my fathers encarceration, as my son was a lot younger at that time, yet this is not the angle I am going to take. I am also not going to take the angle of a concerned member of society, although I also felt this aspect very deeply. The mix of emotions surrounding how I should feel was overwhelming, since I could see this situation from many sides. Today though, I would like to present the angle from the lens as the daughter of a sex offender.
    My father is a sex offender. He is still my father and I cannot change this. I am presently estranged from him but not due to his imprisonment.
    It’s ugly to see how many people will judge a family based on one persons actions. Our family did not commit any crime, in fact, we were unaware of any problem.
    It’s sad to see how a family is willing to lie to cover up shame. We didn’t talk about what happened, the topic NEVER came up. We never openly spoke about it to my father or amoung ourselves. I believe I was the only one willing to open a conversation, yet, when I tried my sister would lash out at me and tell me I should have done something since I was living with him the first time he was arrested. My Grandmother would just shut down and tear up. My mother (my parents are divoced and had been for 10+ years at the time of the arrest) would tell me that my father was always sexual and she would go on about how he had affairs. None of this conversation or lack of was helpful. Nobody, even myself, could find the dialogue to open this up in a healthy way.
    It’s sad to feel that loving a pedophile needs to be justified. Society tells you that it’s not ok to love a person whose actions have deemed them unloveable. I spent years feeling that as a mother and a member of society I should feel guilty for loving my father.

    What was done by him and the people who create and distribute any form of child pornography is not something I will ever approve of. On the flip side, hearing people say that all sex offenders should die is also something I will never approve of. I believe my father has an addiction and that there are not proper resources available. I believe that the way society views addicts of this type can be changed. I believe the culture around how we approach ALL addictions can change.
    Each person suffering from an addiction has someone that they love/smeone that loves them that is also suffering from the addicts addiction/actions. There are faces behind the face. There are people wanting a better world where there are no victims, shame, or suffering. I have always wanted to open this conversation, create support for families, and stop the hiding .
    “Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgement” – Brene Brown

    In the podcast the following conversation starters were articulated and I want to keep these in my toolbox to use when I approach any issue. This is profound to me and especially helpful with this topic. While I have spent years feeling powerless by not being able to talk about my thoughts regarding my fathers crimes I held tight to my belief that there’s a bigger picture that society is not looking at.

    1. How we should feel about the topic
    2. How we should talk about the topic
    3. How we’re going to solve the problem

    Punitive punishment was also brought up… The punitive punishment did not seem to work in the case of my father (even with shock therapy).
    I did a report for a college class about 4 years ago regarding recidivism, when I think of punitive punishment my mind goes to the recidivism data and how the systems just aren’t working to help solve the bigger problem (not specific for any one offense)

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