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I'm looking for a word/loanword that means:

"happiness caused by the misfortune of oneself"

I have put together all combinations that follow this pattern:

(sadness|happiness) caused by the (misfortune|fortune) of (another|oneself)


row1:pity = (sadness) caused by the (misfortune) of (another),
row2: schadenfreude = (happiness) caused by the (misfortune) of (another),
row3: gluckschmerz = (sadness) caused by the (fortune) of (another),
row4: mudita = (happiness) caused by the (fortune) of (another)
row5: self-pity = (sadness) caused by the (misfortune) of (oneself)
row6: ???? = (happiness) caused by the (misfortune) of (oneself)
row7: ???? = (sadness) caused by the (fortune) of (oneself)
row8: ???? = (happiness) caused by the (fortune) of (oneself)

The closest I could get for row 6 was "masochism", but:

  1. "masochism" isn't precisely an emotion.
  2. "masochism" implies voluntary infliction of pain on oneself, whereas misfortune (a.k.a. "bad luck") implies involuntary circumstance.

I guess one could label row 6 self-schadenfreude...

As a bonus if anyone has any ideas for row 7 and row 8 they would also be appreciated!

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  • I think you would be hard-pressed to find real-world scenarios for 6 and 7.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 22 at 16:47
  • A real-life example might help you. Suppose a person applies for a job, is interviewed and is then told "Sorry, the job went to someone else." In his or her heart, the person could be relieved/happy/glad they didn't get the job, because it was not that appealing to them. By the same token, the same person could have gotten the job, but was sad with their good fortune because their life will get much more complicated, and they'll have very little free time. Leon Festinger's concept of cognitive dissonance can be applicable in either scenario. Jun 22 at 17:00
  • satisfaction might work in #8 Jun 22 at 17:18
  • @rhetorician Not getting the job is not a misfortune if he didn't really want it. Getting the job is not good fortune if it makes him sad.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 22 at 17:29
  • For 6, I hear low self-esteem. For 7, there's a Yiddish saying (cue the gallows humor): Pity, the bride's too pretty that means finding fault where you'd expect to be delighted (for bride, groom, and your own visual awe). Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Jun 22 at 19:30

1 Answer 1

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There are two neologisms derived from schadenfreude for the happiness/joy from (caused by) one's own misfortune:

  • autoschadenfreude
  • selbstschadenfreude

They are used or discussed in various online sources and books in Google Books. There are some sources claiming the coinage of these words also.

The American author AJ Jacobs coined a term for it: autoschadenfreude – the joy we take in our own misfortune.
God Bless the NHS - By Roger Taylor

Noun. A malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of yourself.
I'm just going to stay in tonight and sulk: I'm really feeling the autoschadenfreude.
Urbandictionary entry for autoschadenfreude

In the ongoing effort to enrich the Blogospherical vocabulary, I offer Selbst Schadenfreude, which I will translate as meaning "the malicious pleasure taken in one's own difficulties or downfall."
waldenswimmer.blogspot.com (2009)

The Ik have taken Schadenfreude (German for "joy from someone else's misfortune") and improved on it, turning it into, to coin a term, Selbstschadenfreude (joy from one's own misfortune).
The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit - By Dmitry Orlov (2013)


As a common expression, there is wallow in self-pity/despair/defeat that can be considered depending on the context.

wallow in self-pity/despair/defeat etc

to seem to enjoy being sad etc, especially because you get sympathy from other people – used to show disapproval
He’d been feeling sorry for himself, wallowing in self-pity.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


Bonus attempt:

  1. Sadness caused by the fortune of self:

I believe the phrase tears of joy comes close as a common expression. There is also bittersweet for the mixture of sadness and happiness. However, I'm tempted to coin autoglückschmerz.

  1. Happiness caused by the fortune of self:

Simply happiness can be enough. Other words like joy, delight can be used depending on the context. If it is happiness from a life well-lived, happiness that spans across lifetime, there is the term eudaimonia. It is like a combination of well-being, happiness and flourishing; and the concept comes from Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. But again, one could coin automudita also. 😊

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  • I like wallow. I was going to propose wallowing. I think that is exactly it. Jun 22 at 23:33

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