Antisocial Personality Disorder 101

1212mentalhealth-RWI am writing today about the basics of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

Quite recently, I realized that the ‘love of my life’ has ASPD. In addition, he has many characteristics of both Narcissistic and Borderline personality disorders along with decades of addiction to illegal drugs and alcohol. However, his primary personality disorder is ASPD, so I am writing specifically on that subject.

My interest in this subject is due to my own personal experiences. I am one of many voices on the internet who can tell you my tale of recovering from a relationship with someone with ASPD.

This relationship has hurt me  financially, emotionally, physically, sexually and energetically. I met him when I was 18. We married young.  I left him when I was 22 due to his drug addiction and involvement with criminals.  Unfortunately, at that time, I did not grasp that my young husband was mentally ill. Instead, I blamed his problems solely on drugs and alcohol.

As a result, he was able to sweet talk his way back into my life when I was 40. He did this by lying to me, our daughter, our parents and my friends about his ‘recovery’ from addictions, which was completely bogus, as he’d never stopped using. Instead, he’d learned to hide his illegal activities by developing a double life; he showed one to his family and the other was spent engaging with criminals in criminal activities.

About ASPD

Perhaps the most important thing to know about Antisocial personality disorder is that the term has replaced Psychopathy in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM.) Yes, the person with ASPD is, in fact, a psychopath. It’s that scary, and that dangerous.

Definitions of Antisocial Personality Disorder/Psychopathy

Antisocial Personality Disorder:   “A personality disorder that is characterized by antisocial behavior exhibiting pervasive disregard for and violation of the rights, feelings, and safety of others starting in childhood or the early teenage years and continuing into adulthood —called also psychopathic personality disorder.
Psychopathy: “mental disorder especially when marked by egocentric and antisocial activity
The U.S. Library of National Medicine defines Antisocial Personality Disorder as, “… a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others. This behavior is often criminal.” (
Complications of Antisocial Personality Disorder
Complications of Antisocial Personality Disorder include: “imprisonment, drug abuse, violence, and suicide.” (

Diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;” (

Causes of Antisocial Personality Disorder

The causes of ASPD are not well-known. It appears to be a genetic abnormality in the brain. Experts agree that people are born with ASPD, although there is some conjecture about the possibility of this disorder developing as the result of child abuse or neglect.

Brain Differences in Persons wtih ASPD

Researchers from the University of Madison-Wisconsin have recently released a study which proves that the brains of psychopaths have less connections between the ventromedial frontal cortex. (Source:

We use our ventromedial frontal cortex  for judgement, decision-making and social functioning. Research strongly suggests that people with ASPD have undeveloped brains. They’ve never developed into normal adults and do  know neither what empathy is, nor delayed gratification. In many ways, they are like ten-year olds in adult bodies. Their bodies are mature, but they are not capable of being responsible, caring adults. Their primary purpose in life is to seek immediate gratification. They like to play with toys.  Toys of an adult with ASPD are anything which gives him or her pleasure. (I was the toy of a man with ASPD. It’s a pretty crappy thing to try to recover from.)

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Although there are some alternative therapies being tested, currently there are no medically recommended effective treatments for ASPD. Neither medication nor talk therapy has proven effective. Like those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, ASPD individuals share the core belief that there is nothing wrong with the way they are.

My ex husband spent so much time dealing drugs and hanging out with criminals, that after twenty-five years,  he really was not able to judge what he or his friends were doing as ‘bad’. The only issue in their behavior was that of getting caught. (Again, this probably stems from their undeveloped brains.) From what I’ve read, most individuals with ASPD will only seek counseling when they are coerced to do so by either an irate spouse or the judicial system, and in these cases, they will flee counseling as soon as they are no longer required to attend.

How to Have a Relationship with Someone With Antisocial Personality Disorder

This answer is simple; you can’t. Unless you enjoy being lied to, cheated on, hurt and deceived in various ways, and you are tolerant of criminal activity, you’d better just get out. He or she won’t change. Most likely, the person in your life with ASPD was born that way. His or her brain is different from yours. Although this person can talk quite coherently about love and their feelings for you, remember that people with ASPD are actors. They are glib conversationalists who can be delightful companions. However, it is their actions which count and not their words. If you can stop listening to them and look at who they are, how they spend their time, who they spend it with and what their secrets are, then you will soon discover that the person you thought you loved is actually quite a scumbag.



12 thoughts on “Antisocial Personality Disorder 101

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  10. I want to say mean things to you but I recognize you’ve been hurt by one of our kind. As a lost soul in a sea of normality I spend my life trying to be like you and after almost twenty years an pretty good at it. Just because our brains don’t work right doesn’t me we can’t learn to make good choices and treat people with respect regardless of our feelings. I’m sorry for your loss but I’d appreciate it if you’d take your pain and educate people without labeling us as scumbags.

  11. I am currently in a developing relationship with someone who has ASPD. I also have some traits of the disorder. However mild. I have known him for over 4 years now, and we’ve taken it slow, to build trust, a friendship, he has a daughter who he is always trying to make her life better, (actually he seems to be doing a better job than her mother in my opinion). He has taken many steps to overcome this disorder, however we all know he won’t be able to fully overcome it, but the fact is he is aware of it and he takes steps to deal with it. Sometimes he fails, sometimes I fail, we separate and forgive and come back to one another. I don’t know if we will be able to live together 24/7 because we both have our issues but we try to understand each other the best we can.
    I am also quite upset at your description that these people are all scumbags and people to be feared. I have never felt threatened in his presence and I know he would never hurt me, nor his daughter. Does he have trust issues? Yes, but who the fuck doesn’t? This last weekend we had a fall out, he’s upset and turned his frustration onto me, but it’s also up to me to take it personally or not. In the four years that I’ve known him, I’ve had to not make him a priority in my life. I care for him a lot, perhaps even love him, but he can’t be my #1, because I won’t be his #1. Is that bad? For some people maybe, but I honestly can’t imagine my life without him.
    We fit together so well, when we are together every thing is perfect. Has he hurt me? Yes, (no one is perfect) but he never ever made me feel like I was a piece of shit “(in fact he puts me in a pedestal most of the time) nor has he ever physically abused me. If I ever feel like I’m not worth enough, that’s my own doing, not his. What people need to do with someone close to them that have ASPD is look at the person’s actions more than their words, like you said actions speak louder than words. We like comfort and we like patterns, we feel safe with people that are predictable, even though we may be unpredictable ourselves..(if someone around them is not being predictable they will test them, they will manipulate them, so that they can feel in control over the other person that they don’t feel entirely “safe” with).
    The key is to let them prove to you with actions that they are “trying”. If their actions aren’t proving that to you, then yes you need to move on because THEY are the ones in charge of themselves and no one else.
    I guess once you are aware that someone has ASPD you need to look at the consequences of the person you are with, are they violent, are they TOO unpredictable? Are they constantly getting in trouble with the law? Are they doing drugs (which mine is not like this, he used to be, but he has taken steps to try to avoid these things).
    I’ve been with a person in the past that WAS doing all these things, as heartbreaking as it was, I knew I had to let him go, for my own safety and well being. As for the one I’m with, I’ve never been happier with anyone else as I am with him.
    So please don’t judge someone with only your experience to go on. There are different degrees of ASPD, some milder than others, some more extreme. Not all people with this are a lost hope or to be avoided like a plague, what they need the most is the love and care of those around them and forgiveness, for they don’t always know what they are doing.. I hope you have been able to heal from your experience and I’m truly sorry you had to go through all of that.

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