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Is it strange or categorically bad to say things that shock others knowingly, and enjoy their reaction?

I have a close friend who partakes in such behavior, and I want to understand his motivation a bit better.

Some context

I am not speaking about an attention aspect, per se, since this satisfaction from saying "shocking things" would be usually in a personal relationship context, whether that be friendship, intimate, or familial.

Perhaps the idea stems from hurting others as a coping mechanism?

Further, the satisfaction is not sexual at all, but merely a satisfaction from the reaction to whatever was said.


I am currently investigating this idea, as I have seen my friend partake in such behavior, and often at that. This behavior is private, so I am doubtful that it is for attention.

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    $\begingroup$ Asking if something is "strange or categorically bad" is not within the mandate of this site, unless you want to clarify what you mean by "strange" so it fits here: a psychiatric disorder (alone it's not, I can tell you that already) or maybe just a symptom that would qualify for some such (there might be too many). "Categorically bad" is a moral judgement, so maybe go to philosophy SE if you really want that angle. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Aug 1 '18 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ IMHO, I think he thinks he can manipulate others' reactions through his words. That thought is somewhat a part of his ego. $\endgroup$
    – Ax H
    Aug 8 '18 at 7:23
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If I understand the question correctly, this article might interest you.

To break it down, it suggests that actions taken out to seek attention are a coping mechanism that have their roots in early neglect by the family. Since attention is an important social need, if it is not readily available as a child, the brain wires itself to go to extreme lengths to receive it.

In the case you mentioned, saying inflammatory things to enjoy a reaction fulfills that need for attention. According to the article, this releases endorphins that reduce the anxiety that accompanies not receiving adequate attention.

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    $\begingroup$ hoestly that PT page sounds like bollocks. The ref it cites for "Excessive attention seeking is not a character flaw. It is a brain wiring response to early developmental trauma caused by neglect." is ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10831470 which I have no idea how someone can interpret like that; it's a study of trauma in adulthood etc. $\endgroup$
    – Fizz
    Aug 1 '18 at 18:11

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