Antisocial Personality Disorder

I wrote recently about toxic relationships and narcissism and how to recognise a healthy relationship. It’s my view that any form of physical abuse in a relationship is unacceptable. But emotionally abuse is more subtle and those who perpetrate it can be devious and deceptive.  The next type of personality disorder I would like to explore is the sociopath.

The terms sociopathy and psychopathy are often used interchangeably and while there is some overlap, they are not the same. Psychopathy has a specific meaning and describes a set of personality traits:

  • Arrogant and deceitful interpersonal style. Superficial charm, inflated and grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying / deceit and manipulation of others for personal gain.
  • Deficient affective experience. Lack of remorse or guilt, coldness / lacking emotionality, callousness and lacking empathy and failure to accept responsibility for their actions.
  • Impulsive and irresponsible lifestyle. Impulsivity, sensation-seeking and risk-taking, irresponsible and unreliable behaviour, financially parasitic lifestyle and lack of realistic, long-term goals.

Strictly speaking, ‘Sociopath’ is not a medical term but is used to describe a person who has Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).  ASPD and psychopathy do share some similar traits, including aggression and a lack of remorse. Also, both can be caused by genetic and environmental factors.

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is an ingrained and rigid dysfunctional thought process that exhibits social irresponsibility with exploitive, delinquent (and sometimes) criminal behaviour with no remorse. It can also include disregard for and the violation of others’ rights and symptoms that include unwillingness to conform to the law, inability to maintain consistent employment, deception / manipulation for personal gain and, as a result,  inability to form stable relationships.

The American You Tuber, Shane Dawson, has an interesting theory about such disorders. He said, “I’ve been wanting to do some type of video about the idea that YouTubers have to have some kind of personality disorder, something right, to do what we do. Putting ourselves on camera all the time, being so open on camera all the time, having conventions with our name in it. There has to be something”.

One major factor that contributes to the development of ASPD include adverse / traumatic childhood experiences. These can include physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect. Other studies stress the importance of a wider set of factors including both family dynamics and peer relations on the development of ASPD.

Being well informed about ASPD can help us to recognise these behaviours and manipulations in others. This can allow us to take steps to limit our engagement with them and to be realistic about how interactions with them are likely to turn out. Always believe in you right to be happy and stand up for your right to be happy and treated with respect and compassion. Also, having a good support network who you can share your experiences with can be very valuable. 

Hypnotherapy can help with break unwanted habits and routines as well as help to support good mental health and healthy relationships. So, if you think it could help you, then contact me.

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