Schadenfreude is a German word which means pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
Most people have experienced schadenfreude though they may not want to admit to it. There are many reasons why we experience it, often it’s because we are glad that it isn’t us who is in the pain or is in the situation that the people we are watching are in. Often we are very distant watchers as in we may be watching a TV show or video which could make it hard to empathise with the people in it. Sometimes it’s just because the person’s situation or mistake is very funny or awkward. Schadenfreude is especially felt when you don’t like the person, as seeing them suffer can give you great satifaction and make you feel better about yourself. Also if you envy or are threatened in some way by that person that would also make you more likely to feel schadenfreude. Watching them fail or seeing their faults can make you can put your self esteem up though it is at the expense of others. It reinforces “tall poppies” syndrome as for example in reality TV the cast is sometimes portrayed as being many negative things like unattractive, weak, unintelligent and judges or trainers in reality TV like Biggest Loser, often seem superior to the contestants. Also in reality TV feelings of schadenfreude are often in some way encouraged as the shows are sometimes set out so the cast’s misfortunes look very entertaining. Also if you are in a group feelings of schadenfreude are often brought