I once read an article that used a single word to describe a frame of mind in which a person experiences momentary pleasure amidst overall discord; or perhaps the word was describing the opposite: A unified, holistic mind without discord.

The word may be related to dysphoria or equanimity. Any ideas?

As an example of such a frame of mind, in the discussion of the OCD condition Trichotillomania [1] here [2] there is a phrase:

“Immediate pleasure may be experienced but in the long run the person feels frustrated and embarrassed.”

This is a good example of the sense I’m looking for in this single-word-request.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichotillomania

[2] http://www.biobehavioralinstitute.com/viewarticle.php?id=7

  • 1) can you simply describe the word you are looking for (include example sentences with the ____ missing word like that). 2) Trichotillomania has something to do with your hair. 3) wikipedia is not a reference
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 10:14
  • 2
    Are you looking for a "guilty pleasure"? And @Joe, tricho... means the compulsion to pull out your own hair, often strand by strand. So each time a tricho...maniac pulls a strand of hair out, he has a moment of intense pleasure and relief, which is immediately wash out by the returning flood of guilt (because he knows he shouldn't pull his hair out, and every time he does, he makes his appearance odder).
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 10:55
  • Hmm, I will check with a psychotherapist but I believe that is wrong. "trich" is very simply a variety of OCD. A minor aspect of OCD overall is that, some sufferers, may get "pleasure" from it. (Indeed on the #2 reference above, the writer happens to mention this in passing.) The OP here is extremely badly written because it suggests "trich" is AN EXAMPLE OF the quality the OP is word-seeking. In fact at best the OP could say "for example, some OCD sufferers may experience this type of momentary pleasure." (Indeed the wiki article is quite good in this case.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:03
  • BTW "guilty pleasure" is a great answer and probably the term OP was seeking
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:03
  • I fixed the question. As I said in the Note, "I made more clear the question, and removed the (irrelevant) incorrect exposition of trich"
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:07

3 Answers 3


I think the words I was looking for were egosyntonic and egodystonic:

Egosyntonic is a psychological term referring to behaviors, values, feelings that are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one's ideal self-image.

Egodystonic (or ego alien) is the opposite of egosyntonic and refers to thoughts and behaviors (e.g., dreams, impulses, compulsions, desires, etc.) that are in conflict, or dissonant, with the needs and goals of the ego, or, further, in conflict with a person's ideal self-image.

A person with Trichotillomania may feel pleasure from hair pulling, even though it is egodystonic.


  • Interesting. I recall reading about a character with this kind of compulsive behavior in Orson Scott Card's third Ender book, 'Xenocide'. A character felt the need to wash her hands to near bleeding among other acts. "The young Qing-jao, Gloriously Bright, is lost to insanity, tracing lines in wood until her death" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenocide I am still not sure if these words really capture this moment - but I think egodystonic gets pretty close.
    – TK-421
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 15:29

Consider imperturbation to mean

freedom from perturbation; tranquillity; calmness

This reference shows some examples of the word in use and it seems to be appropriate to describe the environment you describe where the person is tranquil in an environment where discord is expected - perhaps closer to the second definition you described:

The world is an unfair place. Instead of trying to change it, you must keep an imperturbable heart.

The Admiral sipped at his tea, making a show of his imperturbable nature.

While this does not explain the duality of the emotional nature to the extent you describe, it is fitting, at least in the second case you mentioned: "A unified, holistic mind without discord."


I'm sure it's a misuse(?) of the word, but in the US vernacular we say a person is zen, (for your second definition) or "having a zen moment" for the first part of your question.ve

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.