I have recently read a book called Confessions of a Sociopath - A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas. (pseudonym) Add that to my two most recent divorce coaching calls and I decided that this topic was overdue. Sociopath is no longer the term used by professionals for people who display Antisocial personality disorder.
The Mayo Clinic defines Antisocial personality disorder as follows:
“Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental condition in which a person’s ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional — and destructive. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong and often disregard the rights, wishes and feelings of others. Those with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others either harshly or with callous indifference. They may often violate the law, landing in frequent trouble, yet they show no guilt or remorse. They may lie, behave violently or impulsively, and have problems with drug and alcohol use. These characteristics typically make people with antisocial personality disorder unable to fulfill responsibilities related to family, work or school.”
My clients often describe how they were attracted to their spouses’ leadership qualities, their charm, their courage and the excitement that seemed to surround them. That was the description of the person that they thought they knew at the beginning of the relationship.
When they describe the crumbling of their marriages, they speak of someone who is very different. They speak of spouses who use others for their own gains and show no guilt when they hurt them. They speak of a lack of empathy and sympathy when people or animals are in pain. Their spouses are often vindictive and their incentive seems to be taking advantage of weaker people.
Red flags that may indicate Antisocial Personality Disorder:
- Exhibits a lack of empathy
- Has an oversized ego
- Irresponsible and impulsive
- Lies an manipulates
- Has few friends
- Is charming – but only superficially – a master of disguise
- Living by the “pleasure principle.”
- Shows disregard for societal norms - Breaks rules and laws because they don’t believe society’s rules apply to them
- Has “intense” eyes
Remember that children also fall prey to a person with antisocial personality disorder. If you are interested in learning more, please look up Antisocial Personality Disorder. There is abundant information available.
Photo: Rega Photography