Hey psych2goers, in this article we will be taking a look at 9 signs of antisocial personality disorder. First, let’s define what antisocial personality disorder is: The individual will show a lasting pattern of behaviour that is not generally accepted. This behaviour is pervasive and inflexible while also distressing the individual. Luckily, in the US only 3% of men and 1% of women suffer from this disorder according to PsychologyToday. Nevertheless, it is important for us to discuss it. Before continuing this article we would like to remind you that this article is only meant for educational purposes, psych2go strongly advises any diagnoses be performed by a professional.
They misunderstand society/social interactions
People with antisocial personality disorder have a skewed social compass. Due to certain circumstances in their life, they had a different perception of being social. Since they have this flawed understanding of it, they often have misunderstandings. This is due to them interpreting your ‘social signals’ in a different way. They interpret things no one meant, just like a narcissist would hear praise when there is none. Then, because they are acting on the wrongfully interpreted information, their behavior seems off and misunderstandings will take place.
They have some major misperceptions.
As stated before, people suffering from antisocial personality disorder have a different understanding of socializing. This leads them to understand things differently. Inevitably this leads to them developing some major misperceptions about their relationships with others. For instance, they could suddenly get the idea you do not like them anymore and subsequently avoid you over a social interaction they misinterpreted. In short, they experience social interactions differently leading them to completely misjudge relationships with other people.
When they feel wronged, they can be very hostile
The tendency to misunderstand social interactions leads to misperceptions. Both of these combined means that the person, in their mind, often has to deal with others wronging them. When this happens, they can be very hostile. This is due to them always being on edge. It is very stressful when you think someone dislikes you. They will ‘read between the lines’ when you talk and hear something completely different than what you wanted to say. Because they are so stressed and exposed so often to this feeling, they tend to quickly become hostile.
They can be very manipulative
Up until now, we have established that: people suffering from antisocial personality disorder have a different understanding of being social. This leads them to often make wrong judgments. They then place social interactions in the context of these wrong judgments, leading them to be constantly on edge and therefore: quick to hostility. This has a negative effect on relationships. People stop with the person suffering from the disorder. To overcome this, they become manipulative. They will manipulate you so that you spend time with them, eventually, this stops working after which the relationship falls apart.
They have a tendency to lie
Since they have to be manipulative in order to preserve their relationships, they have a tendency to lie. Their disorder means that they have a different understanding of right and wrong. The lies are often used to blame others. It is generally speaking something they use as a tool for personal gain. To them, the survival of the relationship as long as it serves their needs is vital. Lying is just one of the tactics they use to achieve that.
They are very impulsive
Most of the people suffering from this order are rather impulsive. This might seem great as impulsivity can lead to some great choices. Too much impulsivity, however, doesn’t. It comes down to them being less reserved. They do not have as many things holding them back. If they are too impulsive, it will lead them right into dangerous situations ending with a trip to hospital, jail, or clinic. In essence, they are fearless of the consequences of their actions.
The risky activities cause them a lot of trouble
Risk is a constant part of life which cannot possibly be avoided, for example: buying a house or starting a family with someone are inherently dangerous things. It is highly important that someone thinks long and hard about the pros and cons of such a decision. People suffering from an antisocial personality disorder, however, don’t do this. Their impulsive nature leads them to make snap decisions which can turn out bad for them. It also ties into criminal activity. People suffering from the disorder will even part-take in criminal activity even when it has a low reward, this can turn out very bad. All in all, these people take risks for low rewards which subsequently put them in trouble.
They don’t show remorse for their actions
From all the things we have described so far in this article you might be wondering if people suffering from the disorder experience any remorse for their behavior/actions. Well, they do not. According to them, they do not need to follow many of the rules in society, as long as they achieve what they want. Since their behavior and actions often end up hurting people, they learn to: either hide or not experience remorse. For everyone that is different, most however simply do not experience remorse. This makes it easier for them to continue their way of life. In short, a lot of what they do is for their own gain which hurts people leading to them not showing remorse.
They blame others
The people suffering from antisocial personality disorder do not show remorse and are most often only looking for personal gain. This makes it so that they often blame other people, no matter how wrong they are. In their eyes, their own gain is the most important. This will manifest itself as them undermining, accusing, and manipulating the person they see as a direct threat to their own well-being. It is therefore important to be cautious around these individuals, nothing keeps them from turning on you. ever.
Now, let’s quickly go through what we discussed today. People who suffer from antisocial personality disorder went through something that taught them a wrong understanding of society and social interactions. They, therefore, behave in a different way which leads to misperceptions. Their situation is highly stressful which leads them to quickly becoming hostile. To (in their mind) protect themselves, they lie, manipulate, and blame others. This is combined with an impulsive nature which makes them take big risks for small rewards. To sustain this lifestyle, they either hide their remorse or do not experience it which is different per individual.
If you suspect yourself or someone you know of suffering from this order, please get help from a professional as the condition will worsen over time. This concludes our look at antisocial personality disorder.
Interesting follow up articles:
De Brito, S. A., & Hodgins, S. H. E. I. L. A. G. H. (2009). Antisocial personality disorder. Personality, personality disorder and violence, 42, 133-153.
Hare, R. D. (1983). Diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder in two prison populations. The American Journal of Psychiatry.
Hart, S. D., & Hare, R. D. (1996). Psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder. Current opinion in Psychiatry, 9(2), 129-132.
Luntz, B. K., & Widom, C. S. (1994). Antisocial personality disorder in abused and neglected children grown up. The American journal of psychiatry.
Meloy, J. R., & Yakeley, A. J. (2011). Antisocial personality disorder. A. A, 301(2).
Widiger, T. A., Cadoret, R., Hare, R., Robins, L., Rutherford, M., Zanarini, M., … & Hart, S. (1996). DSM—IV antisocial personality disorder field trial. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105(1), 3.