Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a is similar to avoidant personality disorder, however, the two are not the same disorder.
As a general rule, symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include ethical misconduct, backstabbing, disrespectfulness and irresponsible behavior, manipulation, self-centeredness, dishonesty, inorganization, aggressiveness and recklessness. Symptoms may include more than these basic ten examples.
In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at each of the ten symptoms listed above. We’ll also discuss treatment options, causes, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and more.
Common Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder
Before we get into the common symptoms/traits of someone with ASPD, it’s important to understand that no two people are alike. Antisocial personality disorder or not.
Just because someone is diagnosed with ASPD does not mean that they will automatically have the preferences that cause all of the following symptoms/traits to occur. Individuals with ASPD have free will, preferences and rational thoughts like any one else, although the tendencies for the following characteristics are more likely due to the disorder.
Contrary to how people typically use the word “antisocial” to describe someone, it does not necessarily mean that someone prefers to be alone and to avoid social interactions. People with antisocial personality disorder embody questionable and often harmful behavior.
Ironically, most people will not want to interact with them because of this. Someone with antisocial personality disorder will naturally repel others away from them due to their “toxic” behavior. “Antisocial” refers more to the resulting lack of social functionality due to this disorder and less on interaction preferences on the individual with antisocial PD.
Here is a deeper look at the symptoms we briefly mentioned above.
1. Ethical Misconduct
People with antisocial personality disorder will often make ethically questionable statements or decisions. They may not seem to care what is right or wrong in certain ethically challenging situations. Some might describe a person with antisocial personality disorder as sneaky, selfish or untrustworthy.
Backstabbing is another common trait of someone with ASPD. This behavior could scale from relatively minor where a friendship might still exists, to doing something seemingly unforgiveable which could end the relationship. People with ASPD essentially work against themselves when it comes to establishing solid, trusting relationships.
Typically, it’s a natural desire to find a stable community of people we relate to. Individuals with ASPD will tend to do whatever necessary to exploit people, criticize or use them to their own advantage. They might “step” on coworkers to get ahead at work, manipulate friendships causing a falling out, or in some cases they might try to sabotage a romantic relationship between two other individuals.
3. Generally Disrespectful
Being disrespectful is another common trait that most people with antisocial personality disorder exhibit. They might make rude comments, show poor empathetic skills or could be intentionally disrespectful to loved ones or the general public.
One of the less hurtful symptoms/traits that someone with ASPD often has is a lack of responsibility to/for themselves. While this could be somewhat harmless (such as being forgetful or “careless”), in some cases an individual might be so irresponsible that they rely fully on their family and friends to provide for them. This may be the case well into adulthood.
Issues with substance abuse, financial struggles and an absence of direction or goals in life might also be seen in some cases.
Just as with potential backstabbing, manipulative behavior is another counterproductive characteristic that those with ASPD often turn to.
Often people with ASPD practice manipulating people around them because they lack self-validation. Being able to manipulate others, while harmful to relationships, being the individual with ASPD a sense of control, worthiness and validation.
People who do not live with a personality disorder such as ASPD would know that not everything is about them and can be good about the general “give and take” that happens in a social environment. However, those with antisocial personality disorder often display an inflated ego and/or general self-centeredness.
They might not see that they always seem to make everything about themselves. They might expect people to go out of their way for them, when they would not be willing to do so in return.
7. Dishonest Behavior
Dishonest behavior is also a characteristic of someone who has antisocial disorder. This trait relates to their self worth just like with their tendency to manipulate people. Cheating, lying, deceiving people and stealing are just a handful of examples of how someone with ASPD might act.
In some cases, someone with antisocial personality disorder will think it is okay to cheat on a romantic partner. They might steal small things regularly or they might continuously lie about a variety of things.
While some people with ASPD do not prefer this behavior and will avoid it, others enjoy seeing what they can get away with. They might do whatever they want for personal gain or whatever pleases them – no matter the consequences.
In some cases, someone with antisocial personality disorder might always seem to be running late and will be full if excuses about why they’re never on time. This might seem harmless, but over time it can cause some serious issues within various relationships.
People with ASPD might appear to not have their “act” together. They might not know where important personal documents are, lack household cleaning and organization skills and may always seem flustered and out of sorts often because of this. Whether the disorganized habits bother them or not, this habit is unlikely to change.
Some might claim that they like they way they live and do not see anything wrong with it as it’s “an organized mess”. Again, this symptom can be relatively harmless depending on the situation.
In some cases, someone with antisocial personality disorder will act out in an aggressive way for a variety of reasons. They may be someone who their friends refer to as having a “short fuse”, meaning that it does not take much for them to become excessively (and often irrationally) irritated and aggressive.
In some cases, someone with ASPD will simply be hostile in nature. They might always seem to be on the defense about something and you won’t want to get in their way.
Unfortunately, many people with ASPD who are excessively aggressive will find themselves with little to no friends. They might often end up attracting more violence and aggression into their lives.
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Again not all individuals with ASPD will have every single trait on this list. While reckless behavior is a common sign of ASPD, varying degrees of such may be seen depending on the individual. Someone with ASPD might act on impulse and will not consider the harmful consequences.
This could include behaviors such as drinking and driving, drug use, performing dangerous acts or anything else that involves breaking the law or putting themselves or others in danger.
Is Antisocial PD the same as Avoidant PD?
No. While both disorders often share common symptoms and characteristics, they are two totally different personality disorders. People with avoidant personality disorder often struggle with self-esteem issues to the point where they will avoid social interacting, making new friends and/or pursuing career goals among other things.
Can people with ASPD love?
Yes. People with antisocial personality disorder are not physically/emotionally incapable to show and feel empathy. However, often times, people with ASPD will have a hard time maintaining romantic relationships due to their tendencies to be reckless, dishonest and manipulative.
Who is most likely to develop antisocial personality disorder?
According to research, studies have shown that men are 2-3 times more likely to develop ASPD than women are. This could be for a variety of external and pre-existing factors including (but not limited to) the following:
- Society standards. Often, young boys are told that they should suppress their emotions. Obviously this is not healthy and serious repercussions will come from it. Depending on upbringing and peer pressure, some children will have self-esteem and personal identity issues by 6-8 years of age.
- Genetic personality traits. Personality and other mental health disorders are not completely hereditary. While personality traits might be “genetic” to an extent, environmental factors and traumatic experiences play more of a role in the development of a disorder such as antisocial personality disorder.
- Trauma. Abuse, neglect and traumatic lifestyle can cause the onset of ASPD depending on the specific scenario. Often, it is a combination of many factors (not just trauma) that cause ASPD to develop.
It is also known that some people (boys and girls alike) can show signs of ASPD as early as ages 10 or 11. While children this age are still exploring themselves through social interactions and who they are individually, some symptoms might be temporary while others might be permanent.
Permanent symptoms/behaviors of ASPD will cause the disorder to develop. It all depends on the external factors, support, resources and sense of self. This relates to the four forces of life inertia and can send someone’s life on this path from a young age.