Sadomasochism of Everyday Life


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In one form or another, suffering pervades our culture. But why do we torture ourselves in so many areas of everyday life? Why do we work to the point of exhaustion and pain? Why do women put up with men who abuse them (and men put up with women who abuse them)? Why do workers endure terrible bosses? Why do we subject ourselves to terrible service at the bank and in restaurants? In The Sadomasochism of Everyday Life, John Munder Ross, Ph.D, explains why we tolerate these and other familiar situations that cause us pain and suffering and shows how people fall into destructive patterns of behavior that are mutually reinforcing. Surveying American culture from the boardroom to the bedroom, Ross finds that just about everyone is entangled in this cycle. In a fascinating review of sadomasochistic film and literature, Ross traces the history of this phenomenon in popular culture, which indicates our continuing captivation with the dynamics of power and powerlessness. And using case studies, he uncovers the effects of the omnipresence of sadomasochism in our culture. Ultimately, Ross exposes the deeper psychological roots of these familiar rituals of self-torture, pointing the reader toward solutions for these self-destructive patterns and providing prescriptive advice for escaping from the cycle of unhappiness.

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