Antisocial personalities

Happy Valentine’s Day! Compared to the last two categories I focused on, the chances are that most readers are less likely to encounter someone with an antisocial personality (ASP) in a work setting. Perhaps if you work in the Health or Criminal Justice sectors you may do, from time to time.

People with ASP may attempt to win you over with charm and what on the surface appears to be incredibly good deeds. They work hard to keep their true intentions and bad acts hidden.

When working with ASPs, you may sense danger or deceit around them, but they work hard to convince you to doubt yourself and to develop more confidence in their point of view. They can sometimes be referred to as ‘con artists’.

ASPs try to dominate and control others because of their fear of being dominated themselves. Some may even be willing to cause hurt, harm and pain to others in order to get what they want. Bigamists are often identified with this personality trait.

Interestingly, research shows that up to 50% of the prison population are identified as ASPs. Constant lying and manipulation are key characteristics of the ASP.

A personal experience

You might recall I have previously mentioned that I am regularly engaged in charity work. Sometimes this involves working with ex-offenders or young males who have been identified as ‘at risk’. I remember having a conversation with someone in this latter category some time ago. I had wanted to see him for a long time and had bumped into him unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon. We agreed to meet later that day at 6.00pm. He gave me his word. I am still waiting. He was, and still is, incredibly convincing. Unfortunately, family, friends and colleagues often get hurt as ASPs make every effort to get what they want.

By way of background, people in this category may have experienced difficulties in their childhood home. This could stem from divorce through to witnessing domestic violence. Child abuse may also be a major factor. For mediators, an encounter with a person displaying ASP traits can take you into deep waters. An advanced level of skill is required for these types of cases. You may also want to choose to be assisted by a mediator with a background in psychology etc.

It will probably be of no surprise that ASPs struggle to build valuable relationships apart from those that are based on deception and dishonesty. In addition they may have difficulty maintaining employment and frequently get into trouble for not paying debts and fulfilling normal financial obligations. One can imagine how working for such a person could be laced with difficulties.

Next week will be the final in this short series, focusing on difficult behaviours and personality types. The topic will be histrionic personalities.

Antisocial personalities (or con artists) a summary

  • Fear of being dominated is a driving force
  • Displays aggressive charm and deceit
  • Drive to dominate others
  • Likely to have a lack of remorse and empathy

Tips and techniques for dealing with antisocial personality disorder

  • Avoid being swayed by charm
  • Avoid doing favours
  • Do not expect to change or save him from himself
  • Be prepared to impose and enforce consequences
  • Pay attention to your fears and protect yourself