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Is it Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Some teenagers act as if they have antisocial personality disorder

I once knew a family with a son who was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.  The “kid” had grown up in a wealthy subdivision with a father who was a former professional athlete.  The “kid” had everything that most “kids” would want.  In high school, he had a brand new car that he immediately totaled after a party.  He was in trouble with the law several times during high school.

When his father tried to put his foot down, his mother took the “kid’s” side.  She thought he would grow out of it.  Others said that his behavior was the result of “privilege”, which certainly didn’t help, but it is clear that not every wealthy kid is a spoiled brat – and a dangerous one at that.

Antisocial Personality DisorderRather than using his position and financial ability to go to college and earn a degree, he started doing drugs and got kicked out.  He was sent to a famous rehabilitation center where as soon as he “dried out”, he beat up a staff member and was thrown out.  He went home and beat up his girlfriend, but his mother hired the most expensive lawyer available, and he was given probation.  He was arrested with a sizeable amount of drugs – and again was bailed out by his mother.

This went on for a number of years – but the teenage behavior never stopped.  He finally exhausted the judge’s leniency and ended up in a state penitentiary.  Each time, he blamed his behavior on someone else.  He wouldn’t have gotten drunk if he hadn’t been so mad, he wouldn’t have beaten his girlfriend if she had just done what he said… and on and on.  This “kid” was 35 by the time he went to prison, but he never understood what he had done wrong.  It was still someone else’s fault.

When someone is disagreeable, people will often say “He is anti-social.”  What they are referring to is an actual psychiatric diagnosis, Antisocial Personality Disorder, but just because someone is disagreeable or even downright rude doesn’t mean they have the condition.

A personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of behavior that is not “acceptable” by cultural standards.  It is readily seen as abnormal behavior and usually starts in adolescence or early adulthood.  In order to qualify as a “disorder”, it must lead to personal distress or impairment.

Antisocial personality disorder cannot be diagnosed until the age of 18 because many of the “symptoms” seem like typical teenage behavior.  It is characterized by disregarding and violating the rights of other people.  Many teenagers act as if they have antisocial personality disorder – but they don’t.  In addition, in order to be labeled as “antisocial“, there must have been some conduct disorder symptoms before age 15 – or the time kids are often worst as teenagers.

Ashamed of Mental Health StigmasThings that kids do or say during the teen years, don’t count.

A person with antisocial personality disorder has a general disdain for the rights of other people and may violate those rights on a routine basis.  They may be charming, but ruthless and are likely to be irresponsible, irritable, and aggressive.  They are also likely to be in legal trouble and likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Antisocial Personality disorder also comes in a range of severity.  A person with mild antisocial personality disorder could be compared to a teenager who continuously borrows her mother’s jewelry when she has been told not to.  This would not be completely out of the norm in some teen girls, but in adults, it may indicate pathology.

People with more dangerous or harmful behavior are referred to as sociopaths or even psychopathsSociopaths have even less regard for someone else’s rights or property and may not even feel the need to argue if confronted – acting like a schoolyard bully.  Psychopaths are said to have a complete lack of conscience and are unable to recognize the violation and do not have the ability to empathize – something like “The Joker” in Batman.

People with antisocial behavior patterns are also extremely manipulative and splendid liars.  It is hard to tell what is true and what is not true.  They may appear to be friendly when they want something, or they may attempt suicide when they want something else.  It is a fine line to walk, whether to believe them or not.

Unfortunately, personality disorders are not something that can be changed through medication.  In this case, it is a failure of conscience, and there is no pill for that.  In some cases, therapy can work but the therapist must be very skilled in order to avoid being manipulated themselves.

Melissa Lind

If You Have Got BPD You Are Hurting Right Now

Recovery and Roadblocks with Borderline Personality Disorder, Part II

So, when we left our hero (me) last week, I had been dumped by my girlfriend, was incredibly depressed, got on a dating site, found four smoking hot ladies who wanted to meet me within a week, had another friend who wanted to introduce me to her smoking hot friend that’s ten years younger than me, and managed to pull off the Holy Grail of masculine seduction: I got the phone number for a stripper while she was working!

So no problems, right?  WRONG.  It’s a very, very big problem. If I was capable of casual sex, I’d have been in hog heaven, especially with the stripper girl (they really are as good in bed as you think they are).

But for me, sex is about love.  And love, REAL love, takes time.

Borderline Personality DisorderSee, I had been in a committed, stable and loving relationship for three years.  Sure, it was long distance, but this woman really cared about me (still does) and I really cared about her (still do).  But rather than heal from the break, I immediately set out to “fill the void she left.”  But here’s the kicker.  That hole in me?  That was there long before she left.  Chances are, it’s part of the reason why she left to begin with.

But that hole hurts so much when it’s empty, you just gotta fill it.  Well, hooking up with any of those women would be just as effective as slapping a Hello Kitty Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound.

You see, I don’t know any of those women from the dating site.  I’ve never met my friend’s friend in person.  And after having been married to an exotic dancer once before, I know better than to get involved with another one.  I have no reason to love any of those women.  But within a week of meeting any of them, I’d have slept with them (I’m attractive, charming… and manipulative), and I would have made up a reason to instantly be in love with any one of them.

I’ve done it before, well, with every woman I’ve ever been with except this last one.  That one took time.  The relationship developed slowly.  If she wasn’t the right woman for me (something I’m still not prepared to admit), then I at least went about things the right way with her.

Remember that I promised news about my Borderline Personality Disorder that shocks even me?  Well here it is:

I shut down my dating site account.  And some of you guys out there are going to think I’m the dumbest man on earth, but I deleted the stripper’s phone number, too.  Sorry, ladies.  It’s not that I’m not interested.  It’s that I’m too interested.  Not in you, but in filling the hole.

And right now, I’m poison, baby.  Which, in a sick sort of way, makes me even sexier to some women.  Chances are, they’ll stumble across this blog for the same reasons you’re reading it and I’m writing it.  Because women who dig the damaged guys are probably damaged themselves.  Like attracts like, remember?

All hooking up with someone this soon after a breakup would do would be to continue the cycle.  You gotta hurt to heal, and in my case, it means I have to be alone.  And that absolutely terrifies me.  But I’m gonna do it.  I don’t feel like a “whole person” right now, but I realize, at least on an intellectual level, that no other person can “complete” me.  Only I can complete myself.

Now, I just gotta figure out a way to make my heart believe what my brain has known all along.

So if you’ve got BPD, chances are you’re hurting right now.  Just know you’re not the only one.  You got me, kiddies.  I’m right there in the trenches with you.  I know it’s cold comfort, but it’s all I can offer at the moment.

Your brother in arms,

Bruce

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his mental health related articles)