I never knew, deep down inside, until recently, that there were people who actually took pleasure in causing other people distress. I had assumed that those who perpetrated great evils had at least some false reasoning why they acted in despicable ways. I understood those who killed, for example, may have done so out of anger, spite, fear, envy, power, but to kill or hurt out of sheer malice seemed impossible for human beings. A person who is a sado-masochist may do things out of malice, but one does not need to be such a monster to be soaked in malice. One can be a smaller, more pitiable human being.
Sadly, recently, I have come up against sheer malice. Malice is hatred for hatred's sake; it is the desire to inflict pain. But, it is also a desire to be a "negative god" and be in control through hatred.
What has shocked me is that malice can be a sin found in mothers and fathers. Imagine, parents hating their own children...I have only seen this recently in a friend of mine's family. Thinking on malice made me realize that the Father of Malice, Satan, has trained some people who have given him power over their wills.
Malice is not a simple passion or an act which comes from an occasion, but a movement of the disordered will.
St. Thomas Aquinas writes this in the Summa Theologica under "malice":
The will is related differently to good and to evil. Because from the very nature of the power, it is inclined to the rational good, as its proper object; wherefore every sin is said to be contrary to nature. Hence, if a will be inclined, by its choice, to some evil, this must be occasioned by something else. Sometimes, in fact, this is occasioned through some defect in the reason, as when anyone sins through ignorance; and sometimes this arises through the impulse of the sensitive appetite, as when anyone sins through passion. Yet neither of these amounts to a sin through certain malice; for then alone does anyone sin through certain malice, when his will is moved to evil of its own accord. This may happen in two ways. First, through his having a corrupt disposition inclining him to evil, so that, in respect of that disposition, some evil is, as it were, suitable and similar to him; and to this thing, by reason of its suitableness, the will tends, as to something good, because everything tends, of its own accord, to that which is suitable to it. Moreover this corrupt disposition is either a habit acquired by custom, or a sickly condition on the part of the body, as in the case of a man who is naturally inclined to certain sins, by reason of some natural corruption in himself. Secondly, the will, of its own accord, may tend to an evil, through the removal of some obstacle: for instance, if a man be prevented from sinning, not through sin being in itself displeasing to him, but through hope of eternal life, or fear of hell, if hope give place to despair, or fear to presumption, he will end in sinning through certain malice, being freed from the bridle, as it were.
A long time ago, I met a woman who worked with me who delighted in being negative about everything. She took a strange pleasure in "stirring up the pot" at work. She was one of the most unhappy persons I have ever met.
But, even her activities may not have been those from a bent will, a will bent on malice.
However, seeing a person manipulate those around her for evil has revealed to me that some just take a perverse pleasure in causing pain and suffering. Malice goes beyond fear of the Lord, as St. Thomas points out. Malice goes beyond presumption. No longer does the person care for anything accept his own will to be done. Malice has a deformed will.
Out of malice comes a bloated narcissism, driving out all love, even self-love. I pray that my friend can free herself from her family of malice and find peace of mind. She also needs to find herself. (See my posts on identity.) She was formed in a house of malice and she is not free to be who God created her to be.
God have mercy on all involved.