6 Behavioral Indicators of Antisocial Personality Disorder

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By: Rachel Despres

MedlinePlus defines antisocial personality disorder—often referred to as sociopathy or psychopathy in popular culture—as “a mental condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, or violating the rights of others.”

It may be challenging to immediately identify this disorder in someone, however, as these individuals are capable of masking their hurtful behaviors with wit and charm in social situations and personal relationships. With that in mind, the following are the six most common indicators of the condition to be aware of.

1. Manipulate Other People’s Emotions

In addition to being witty and charming individuals, those with antisocial personality disorder may shower others in flattery. This is done intentionally to manipulate others’ emotions for personal gain or pleasure, another symptom of the condition.

As a result of these behaviors, people with antisocial personality disorder may struggle to maintain long-term relationships—both platonic and romantic—as people slowly become aware of or are hurt by the person’s exploitation.

2. Repeatedly Break the Law

People with antisocial personality disorder struggle to conform to, and sometimes entirely disregard, social norms and societal laws. As such, they will often engage in activities that are grounds for arrest. This includes things like stealing and fighting.

Frequent fighting is also an indication of the person’s issues with anger and aggressiveness, which can be easily triggered. In these situations, they will not care about the safety of themselves or others involved, and will have no reservations about violating another’s physical rights.

3. Show No Remorse

Should a person with antioocial personality disorder hurt someone, whether emotionally or physically, they will show no signs of remorse for their behavior. In some cases, they may even try to rationalize what they did.

People with antisocial personality disorder also fail to learn from these experiences and the consequences that result—even if they lead to legal trouble—hence why these individuals engage in such activities repeatedly throughout their lives.

4. Repeatedly Lie

People with antisocial personality disorder are often very deceitful. Psych Central says this is indicated by “repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure.”

In such scenarios is when they tend to turn on their charm and wit, in order to mask their manipulative behavior from the people they are trying to exploit. They may also display arrogance, thinking that they will never be caught or exposed.

5. Act Irresponsibly

As a result of their irresponsible behaviors—such as persistent lying, manipulation and disrespect for others—people with antisocial personality disorder often struggle to fulfill work obligations. This may mean they change jobs frequently and lack stability in their finances.

Rather than take responsibility for these actions and they problems they create, however, those with the condition will often try to pass the blame onto others.

6. Struggle with Substance Abuse

As mentioned earlier, people with antisocial personality disorder have no regard for their own safety, which is why they often engage in unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behaviors—like using and abusing alcohol and drugs.

Psychology Today says that such issues can further exacerbate symptoms of the disorder, adding that “when substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder coexist, treatment is more complicated for both.”

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