The only thing harder than being married to someone with antisocial personality disorder is going through divorce with them
The word “sociopath” has become a very flashy buzzword. It’s turned into a label, and many people succumb to the irresistible temptation of proclaiming their ex a “sociopath.” This unfortunate pattern perpetuates a dangerous stigma surrounding Antisocial Personality Disorder. When people carelessly apply this diagnosis to exes and enemies, it makes it hard for family and friends of those with antisocial personality disorder to be taken seriously. However, if your significant other really does suffer from antisocial personality disorder, you may find that maintaining the marriage or relationship is very difficult or next to impossible.
Some Lead Normal Lives:
Antisocial Personality Disorder isn’t always what you see on Criminal Minds—in fact, it usually isn’t. Though there are a disproportionate number of people with ASPD in substance abuse treatment centers and prisons, not all people with ASPD turn to violent crime or drugs. Many people with antisocial personality disorder lead normal lives, and some even turn out to be successful business executives.
Symptoms of ASPD:
Despite what you see on television, ASPD is actually very rare: it’s only seen in 1% to 4% of the population. Though people with ASPD are typically very charming and charismatic, they tend to engage in socially unacceptable behaviors. According to the DSM-V, individuals with antisocial personality disorder regularly demonstrate a “pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.” This can manifest as illegal behavior, repeated lying, impulsivity, aggressiveness, or reckless disregard for the safety of self and others. People with ASPD might also have difficulty maintaining employment, finishing college, or managing their finances. The hallmark of antisocial personality disorder is a lack of remorse. Those suffering from ASPD may attempt to play the victim, rationalize inappropriate behavior, or feel indifferent about having mistreated another person.
The Isolating Effects of ASPD:
Since people with antisocial personality disorder typically lack empathy, they typically have a difficult time relating to others. They may feel out of place at a wedding because, while everyone else is feeling happy for the newlyweds, a person with ASPD may struggle to genuinely feel joy on someone else’s behalf. Further complicating matters, people with ASPD also tend to be self-centered. Both of these behaviors make it difficult for those with ASPD to maintain relationships. This leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness, and many feel as though they just don’t belong.
When Your Spouse Has ASPD:
If your spouse has antisocial personality disorder, they likely need very specialized, professional help. They may need extensive therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. People with antisocial personality disorder may deny that they have a problem or refuse therapy and medication all together. Though it’s an unfortunate reality, many partners of those with ASPD find that they have no option other than to leave.
Protecting Yourself During Divorce:
Because people with antisocial personality disorder tend to be extremely charismatic, they can also be master manipulators. They may attempt to emotionally manipulate you during the divorce process through gaslighting, making threats, or using intimidation. If the symptoms of ASPD sound like your spouse, having legal representation may be necessary in order to protect you and your interests. Jill Coil has extensive experience working with cases involving personality disorders. Jill and her team of attorneys are committed to protecting you during a divorce. Contact CoilLaw to find out how we can protect you.