Where Narcissicm Ends and Antisocial Personality Disorder Begins


Antisocial Personality Disorder

Image by genelin1211 via Flickr

Let me be perfectly clear. Before last year, I had never studied the definitions of Narcissistic or Antisocial personality disorders much less compared the two. I know there’s quite a few people out there who get their kicks by informally diagnosing the difficult people in their lives with one type of personality disorder or another. This is not me. I have never done this. I am only writing about the differences between the two disorders because of the emotional upheaval in my life  the return, after a twenty year absence, of my first husband, and his subsequent behavior and treatment of me.

The man whom I had considered the love of my life turned out to be the liar of my life and I have discovered that I am not along. In the past year I have read the stories of so many people, both men and women, whose lives have been destroyed by narcissists. I have read less from people recovering from relationships with ASPD individuals, and so I am setting out the explore the relationship between the two.

It became apparent to my therapist last year that my former husband had Narcissistic PD. According to the DSM- IV, an individual meets the criteria for this diagnosis if he or she has five of nine of several traits. The narcissist in my life has five of these criteria, including lack of empathy and using others for personal gain (inter-personally exploitative.)

Although this diagnosis explained part of his behavior, it did not cover nearly all of his traits. When I stumbled onto the DSM- IV definition  of Antisocial personality disorder, a thousand light bulbs turned on. He has all seven of the characteristic traits of this disorder , and only three are needed for a diagnosis:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; (He has sold drugs for his entire adult life, over twenty five years.)
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; (He is a pathological liar– to me, our daughter, his family and his former friends. He has admitted that he lies so much he doesn’t know how to tell the truth.)
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead; (He has never planned ahead. He has never not given in to an impulse if it is something which will bring him immediate gratification.)
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults; (He is not aggressive; he is constantly irritable.)
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others; (He would not keep drug dealers out of our home when our daughter was a baby; twenty years later, he lied to me and our daughter about his involvement in organized crime and had us sleeping in his house one day and dealers in his house the next.)
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations; (He has always held the same job, which suits his lifestyle, but he has never honored his financial obligations. He never supported his daughter during her childhood; he never provided a home for me (his wife at the time) to live in while I was pregnant, etc.)
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another; (He has always blamed me for everything. He views himself as the victim of a hard life. Nothing is his fault.) (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder)

Therefore, it is clear to me that although my former husband has narcissistic traits, the real underlying cause of his life long deviant behavior is the Antisocial personality disorder, which, not surprisingly, goes hand in hand with drug and alcohol addiction.

And how did I wind up back in a relationship with this man, at the age of 40, after he had been so unreliable, so undependable, so reckless back when we were 22?

Because he lied to me. He swindled me. He conned me. Not just me, but our adult daughter and my father. He came into our lives in a calculated and deceiving way because he wanted things from us. From my daughter, he wanted a relationship. He wanted to have the good feeling of being a Dad, and think that he could erase the past by sending money and presents. The crazy thing is that it worked for a couple years! From me, he wanted a renewal of our sexual/romantic relationship. And he got it! All he had to do was dress nicely, hide his friends, send presents and pour on the charm!

He came back into my life and told me seven huge lies. First, that he only drank ‘on the weekends’. Second, that he had quit getting high and using drugs years before. He even had a long explanation for exactly why and how he’s quit. Third, that he had quit dealing drugs eons ago- that it had been a passing phase when he was younger. He told me all these lies with a straight face, sitting facing me in conversation. I asked him repeatedly about these things as they had been such a huge problem twenty years before. He managed to convince me that I’d misjudged him- that he’d been a troubled young man who had eventually straightened out, and if only I’d stuck around, then we could have been a family together. He spun it all so that within a very short amount of our being in contact again, I felt badly for having abandoned him in our twenties. He downplayed the past drug use and dealing and presented such a clean cut facade that I doubted my decision to leave him in 1989 when our daughter was a baby and then to break off contact. I began to feel as if I’d overreacted. I shared this with my father, and even he felt bad that we hadn’t given my young troubled husband more of a chance.

Very soon, all the trouble he’d caused by his total lack of parental responsibility was overshadowed by how emotionally overwrought he was over all the years he’d spent alone, pining for us.

This was the tone of the first year of our ‘reunion’. Absolute insanity! He had me second guessing my decision of twenty years before to take the baby and leave while he was still, in the present moment, pretending to be the long-lost father and soul mate of the year AND still dealing drugs with the same old crowd from two decades before!

My life, which I’d devoted to goodness and purity, went down this path of absolute insanity based on the lies of a psychopath or sociopath! I’m trying to sort out the definitions between these two terms but they are both related to ASPD. I guess psychopathy is a subset of ASPD? Not sure how all the term/diagnoses interconnect, but it sure is creepy to look back and see how easily we let him back into our lives with only an apology, a clean cut appearance, expensive gifts and flowery words.

Once you have a damaging experience with a person with ASPD, your ability to trust will never be the same.

Namaste.

8 thoughts on “Where Narcissicm Ends and Antisocial Personality Disorder Begins

  1. Pingback: Narcissistic Relationship | Narcissistic Relationship

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  4. Pingback: Two Great Blogs on Healing from Narcissism/ASPD Relationships « Phoenix Rising

  5. Pingback: The Dark Path to Antisocial Personality Disorder « Health and Medical News and Resources

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