Confelicity vs Schadenfreude


You know, it never occurred to me that there was word opposite of schadenfreude. I don’t know what that says about me. I don’t think anything good.

Schadenfreude means deriving pleasure from someone’s misfortune. Confelicity means finding pleasure in someone’s joy.

My schadenfreude has been swollen and itchy for months.

Every indictment handed down makes the schadenfreude flare up. When a monstrous piece of shit doctor who molested 150 girls gets a sentence which ensures he will die in prison, I feel a dark little glee that is warm and not unpleasant.  It feels satisfying and righteous. The burn feels clean and justified.

We know the truth, though, don’t we?

We know as good as schadenfreude feels, there’s something off. Something not right. Something we should pay attention to, but don’t because the burn feels so good.

Enjoying the misery of others can be a drug.

I get my news from Twitter. Everything breaks there first. There are always links to many sources. Also, people are hilarious.

The downside is reading tweets from the orange psycho puff’s deplorable base.

I read a thread this morning where hundreds of his supporters chimed in and I realized that most stand for nothing.

Mostly, they are just tickled to death over the thought of a liberal being unhappy. They seem obsessed with consuming the tear duct secretions of left leaning people. The crowing over how upset the “libtards” are going to be over whatever Alex Jones or Fox news tells them is overwhelmingly loud.

They seem rabid and ignorant and frightened. They seem broken and lost. The vitriol against liberals is breathtaking and sad.

I don’t want to be that.

I don’t want to sit on the edge my seat and wait for other people to take a hit.

I don’t want most of my smiles and laughs to be prompted by the misery of others.

I don’t want to become so attached to that dark glee that I seek it out.


I try to seek out stories of hope and redemption. Stories where we help each other. Stories about epiphanies and change and love. Also, stories about kitties because kitties are the best.

I am not suggesting I will suppress my schadenfreude feelings. When 45 and his crew of Batman villains get shut down, I will welcome and revel in the dark joy. I am human and I feel how I feel.

I will not, however, become addicted to schadenfreude. I will let go when it is time to let go. Because when all is said and done, everyone in this country still have to live together. We have to find a way to live together.

Getting our warmth from the misery of others isn’t going to be helpful in finding ways to coexist.

But I fear many people, addicted to that righteous dark glee, would even consider letting it go. I believe this belongs to both sides. Left and right are holding on to their indignation instead of finding ways to share our space.

I am afraid we are going to be broken for a long time.

No matter. We can’t change what we can’t change.

We can focus on ourselves. We can share stories about healing. Perhaps not exclusively, but it just can’t all bad stuff. We can find joy in the joy of others.

There are still people who want to help. There are still stories of love and selflessness. We need to make our own joyful stories and we need to share the joyful stories of our sisters and brothers.

So, hit me. What’s the best “good” story you’ve read recently?

Here is one of my favorite recent stories. Perhaps there is a little bit (okay, a lot) of “fuck you” in this one, but it is still amazing.


Photos courtesy of Gratisography and Pexels




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  • Schadenfreude is the reason I had to mostly give up Twitter when I stopped drinking. It threatens my sobriety to feel that grimly pleasant burn too often. I had to get an Instagram account to stay current on Dog Rates, which is guaranteed to restore your faith in humanity and good boys.

  • My best story this morning is the dream I had just before I woke up. I’m down and battered BUT structurally sound. (who knew?!)
    We’ll get through these hideously bleak, dark days with laughter and joy. Some of that’s gonna be on the schadenfreude-y side. I’m looking forward to it.

  • Ohhh…. man. Best ‘fuck you’ story! Love her schadenfreude-istic determination. Love her smile <3
    My favorite this week was the little girl who used her mini horse to climb on her pony. Out in the field, no ropes – just 40 pounds of determination cajoling 800 pounds of trusting love.
    Did I get confelicity?

  • One of the old sayings that I hear in my head a lot lately is, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I think the online trolls are actually a tiny minority just very very squeaky. Most people prefer joy, and sincerely want the world to be better. We’re just a lot quieter about it.

  • I saw that story yesterday, and it totally rocked.
    Blue Gal was talking about this on the last podcast. She wanted to remind everyone who was cheering Mueller like it was a sporting match that having this happen to our country was actually scary and sad.
    I said that when they stop attacking me, I’ll back off of being happy for their failure.
    For me, it’s not that much of a conflict. Their idea of winning is to make me and everyone I care about cry. My idea of winning is for them (and everyone else) to have health insurance.
    No matter how hard I try, I can’t find anything to feel bad about in that position.
    OK, I do have a good story for you.
    A woman in Mississippi called a gay bar for advice about how to do the right thing for her son who had just come out to her.
    It was just beautiful. She must have thought, “OK, what do I know about being gay?” and turned to the only thing in her culture she knew anything about to try and figure out how to help her son with his life.
    And I haven’t had any relevant song lyrics for one of your posts lately, so I’m gonna fix that right now. This is from The Joy Formidable’s “The Greatest Light is the Greatest Shade”:

    This childish
    Heart won’t
    It dances
    Keeps me awake
    To think on
    To think on
    You’re the greatest light
    The greatest shade
    It means that
    I can be
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you
    Happy for you

  • My autistic son is afraid of the statue in front of “Bob’s Big Boy.” Google it. You’ll see why. It’s creepy as Hell. Anyway, he recently started re-reading the old “Frog and Toad” stories, one of which is called, “Dragons and Monsters.” In it, Frog and Toad intentionally scare themselves by facing their fears head-on and yelling, “I’m not afraid!” I found my son downloading pictures of Bob’s Big Boy on his computer and yelling “I’m not afraid!” And yesterday, we passed a woman walking a cute, little terrier down the street. My son is also afraid of dogs. As we passed the dog, he said “hey there, little guy!” then when the dog was past he said, under his breath, “I’m not afraid!”

  • Loved this, Michelle. I also can’t understand the followers of the Orange Psycho. They seem like very un-evolved people in a spiritual sense. You’re right about balancing our hatred for the Oval office goon (and gleeful hope for his exit) with the more loving, giving sides of our nature.

  • Also – there is another word you should be aware of:

    fremdschämen – Wiktionaryämen

    fremdschämen. (reflexive, informal) to feel ashamed about something someone else has done; to be embarrassed because someone else has embarrassed himself (and doesn’t notice) quotations ▼
    ‎German · ‎Verb

    Or, as we call it at our house, the feeling you get when watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or “Crashing.”

  • I don’t have any good stories to share, but I’m happy to learn there are still some out there – the dark ones inhabit my brain too much these days. The South Pole girl is the my new hero too. Thank you for sharing her.

  • Awesome story of that young woman. Thanks for sharing. I think today I needed that – and I never heard of either of those words before – see? old dog. new tricks, and by tricks I mean words.

  • There are people who want to hurt others, who want to take away anything good that others have, and when I step back and think about them, when I’m finally over some stupid internet argument I’ve had with a person like that, I feel sorry for them. And then I can move on because there seem to be so many more people who just want to share what makes them happy and make others happy.
    I come here and I read about what your life has been like and the things you still struggle with and yet you always find something positive. I feel like so much has been taken from you and yet your response is to give. And I read through the comments and other people have so much good and kind to share, and a lot of them have been through some shit too.
    I don’t know how to finish this. Maybe I’ve said enough, although I have to add that I am so happy to have learned the word “confelicity”, to learn that there’s a word for something I often feel.

    • Thank you for this. I am becoming who I am because it is who I want to be. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And I know people who have been through so much more than me who handles life with a grace I can only hope to have some day.

  • I do know and love the gleeful burn of the S word (I’m not EVEN going to try to copy or type it here), but, like you said, enough is enough. I live on Twitter if I live anywhere online, and there’s only so much “libtard-bashing” I can take. The cheetos are reeeeaaaally cruel and ignorant, to the point that it removes the glee and replaces it with pity for those of us on the other side. The Cheeto Leader is the worst, of course, but how can his vocal minority of backers be so ignorant?
    … so bring on the confelicity! I love to smile so hard I’m crying with joy! Give me the adorable baby animals and baby peoples and the biggers who overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles! Let’s all rejoice in their successes!
    … and sometimes, we get a mix of the two in one swell foop (see the movie “I, Tonya” as a recent example)!

By Michelle


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