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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Narcissistic vs. Antisocial or Sociopathic Personality Disorders

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Feb 10th 2011

Narcissistic vs. Antisocial or Sociopathic Personality DisordersI receive many E.Mail questions from people asking about antisocial personality disorder. Clearly, there is a lot of confusion about the distinction about these two behavioral disorders. Let's see if this article can clear up some of that confusion.

What is a personality disorder?

This is the definition give by the Mayo Clinic:

A personality disorder is a type of mental illness in which a person has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people, including themselves. This means that there is a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behaving  impairs relationships in social encounters, at work, at home and in school. Very often the person does not realize they have this disorder. Instead, their is a tendency to blame others when problems arise.

Its important to note that there are many types of personality disorders and that, in real life, they overlap so that a clear diagnosis is difficult for mental health professionals to make.

Narcissistic PD:

According to the DSM IV (Soon to be replaced by DSM V), Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by grandiosity, the constant need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. They regularly brag about themselves and their achievements. They want power and try to make others believe that they are brilliant and perfect.

Underneath all of these characteristics is an individual who is quite fragile. Just look at the characteristics described and think the opposite. Instead of believing that they are grand, powerful and perfect, they harbor deep feelings of shame, self doubt and sensitivity to criticism.

They are haunted by feelings of emptiness and degradation.
In other words, they are fragile just beneath all of the bragging there is lots of envy of the accomplishments of others and a need to devalue them.

During my years of private psychotherapy practice, I had a number of patients who suffered from this disorder. Attempting to reduce me in intelligence and therapeutic skill, I could feel their loneliness, hollowness and emptiness. It was sometimes difficult to be empathic when they became particularly with arrogant. However, after slow and painstaking work, those who stayed with the therapy went a long ways to understanding themselves and accepting their inner hurt. That was the road to recovery that often took place after they left treatment.

Antisocial or Sociopathic Personality Disorder

At one time this was referred to as psychopathic pd, then, sociopathic and now, Antisocial PD because it is a lot more accurate than the other terms.

According to the DSM IV, this disorder is characterized by a of disregard for, and violation, of the rights of others.
They can appear arrogant, therefore, resembling those with narcissistic personality. However, narcissistic personalities are not impulsive, aggressive and deceitful as compared to those with antisocial personalities.

People who are antisocial often violate the law resulting in being arrested. They lie to and manipulate others to their own gain. However, they are very self destructive, seem to have no awareness of consequences and repeat the same destructive patterns of behavior. They lack any remorse for the harm they have caused others. At times, this type of personality appears in the news in the form of a murderer who has been apprehended by the police and show indifference in front of the news cameras.

These people will not enter psychotherapy because they are unaware of what they do. As stated above, they blame others when they have committed acts of violence. In sum, they see no need to enter psychotherapy.

One final note:

There are always degrees of mental illness from mild to severe. This is true in the cases of either narcissistic or antisocial pds.

I hope this clarifies this for people. Please let me know if you are confused, unsure or if this article is not clear.

As always, your comments are welcome.

So, do you, or did you, have a relationship with either of these either through family, friends, husbands, or wives? I hope to read your comments.

Allan N. Schwartz, Phd

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Plagued by an APD/Narcissist - Glenda - Mar 2nd 2015

My 24 year-old son is living with a girl that I have had to buy books to understand. She is the most selfish, lazy, unappoligetic person I have ever met in my life. She recently went to jail for phyisically injuring her four year-old daughter. But, according to her, she didn't do it. She fell or it happened when the father came to pick her up. My son is a kind and caring person. So now he is in a co-dependent relationship with this cold, manipulative, soul-less person. He can not and will not see her for what she is. I know there is nothing I can do but sit back and watch it emplode. But I do tell him and ask him to read a book I bought. All of this shouldn't be any of my business, he is a grown man. But, they rent my house and I live in a trailer next door. Which by the way I had to do because I was living with them and I was going to be the one incarcerated if I didn't leave. I think I am going to be the one to seek therapy because this woman is driving ME insane.

Should I avoid soiopathic family if it means I have no family left? - Lori - Feb 22nd 2015

Please Dr. Scwartz,  

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family which I used the DSM III to DSM V to try to understand.  I have come to the realization that it is best that I have no contact with any of them (after the death of my mother due to drugs she and my brother participated in).  I feel alone but am developing friendships I now label as "family" (brothers, sister, etc).  I believe this to be healthy.  Many don't know how I survived my childhood and did not become like these people.  Past therapists have told me interaction with these people causes me to be like them.  I do live with my nuclear family - a very successful daughter and husband.  My daughter now hates all men (not sure if this is based on my family history or my husband "refrigerator Mom" syndrome).  Not sure what he is but he has not touched (literally) or kissed me in 20 years. Is this all me?  I am trying not to be co-dependent with him - yet, now he has developed a cancer and I fear I will never be truly free and autunomous to become fully healthy.  His mother and he are the theartrical type (like my mother) who don't want people close but manipulate situations - even their health so I am never free of them (but always left to be the villian - my family did this as well).  I want to finally be happy at age 55 and find who I sought out to be at age 18 before so many individuals altered my existence, my destiny causing me to always be co-dependent.  My daughter wants to go to DC and has very high goals set. She wants to take care of me and live with me always.  I know she can do this.  I know I would love this and we both would florish - and laugh for change.  Am I very, very selfish and controlling, cold.  Tell me your view of not saving those who don't really want help.  Do I have an obligation (morally) to any of these people or can I finally live for me (is this selfish)?

Sociopathy vs Dissociative Personality Disorder - JLR12 - Feb 11th 2015

Hi Dr Schwartz

I enjoy your website...very informative.

Many years ago my ex-husband was diagnosed (much to my non-surprise) with sociopathy, which is why he is my ex. He has all of the classic symptoms of a sociopath, plus a few narcissistic traits. I knew he was a sociopath before he was diagnosed...wasn't hard to figure out even w/o a psych background.

My adult (married with children) daughter was diagnosed many years ago with D.P.D. and I am struggling to figure out the main difference between that and sociopathy.

Re: very sad confused and afraid KC - - Jan 9th 2015

You have described my husband of 33 years exactly.  We only knew each other 2 weeks when we moved in together, I was only 20 years old then.  I have been afraid to leave him ever since.  We have two wonderful adult children together, and I am only happy when I spend time with them.  He is jealous even of our own kids and causes terrible arguments with them.  He blames everyone else for anything that goes wrong, hates all other people saying everyone is stupid or calls them worse names.  Road rage is so bad I hate riding in the car with him.  He's a narcissist and an alcoholic and very very jealous.  I spend most of my life choosing my words carefully around him so I don't make him angry.  I serve him breakfast in bed every morning and lay out his clothes to wear and make all of the meals everyday (he cooked one dinner in 1986).  He always tells me I need to lose weight even though he is about 80 lbs over weight himself.  I have lost 43 lbs over the last year but he won't acknowledge that success.  The very few friends we have think he is wonderful because he won't let his real self show to them or to extended family.  My suggestion to you is get out while you can.  I have sacrificed 33 years of my life to a man I never loved and now hate.  I have to live a lie everyday to the outside world so they think we are happily married.  I know something tragic would happen if I left him because he would not stand for that to happen.  I would never cause that kind of thing to occurr in my children's lives so I continue to stay.  I pray someday that he will pass away before I do so I can have a little portion of my life back to myself, alone without being married to him.  I'm even nervous about typing this right now.  It has been pure hell.

Very Sad, Confused And Afraid - KC - Jan 5th 2015

I was courted quite skilfully by a man for a year and a half before he asked me to marry him. There was a brief engagement and then we were married. People were shocked and a couple of people who knew him, warned me. Throughout our courtship, he was charming, patient, supportive and kind. We have been married for 8 months now and I am miserable! The "honeymoon" ended two days after the honeymoon ended, literally. I now cry almost daily.

 I am criticized, my 21 year old daughter can do nothing right, I am disregarded if I cry - it's suggested that I over-react regularly. He is constantly negative and judges everyone and everything, frequently. He is always right and if I disagree I had better keep it to myself or I will be verbally assaulted into submission. Rarely a day goes by when I have a peaceful day. Prior to knowing him I was very happy with my life- spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially, all of it! This was maintained throughout our courtship. Now I am extremely sad and feel like I'm losing myself. I know that I am a decent, loving person - I volunteer hours of my life each week to helping others and people have respect for me and tell me so, regularly.

I recently left for a night because I couldn't stand it anymore. When I came back, he was apologetic and taking responsibility for his part. That lasted 1.5 days and then right back at it again! He cannot see behavioural patterns and wants specific proof and details about what he has done wrong. If I don't choose my words extremely carefully he will find a way to use anything I say against me. Makes me feel like I'm loosing my mind! But I know I'm not because the minute I am away from him I feel peace and contentment and have the ability to see the world very clearly. I am not an ignorant person! On the contrary, I am well educated and have many outstanding accomplishments. I have also done a great deal of self-reflective work over a number of years and can clearly see my faults. This is why this is so confusing!

He hates being alone, he wants everyone to think, feel and respond to everything the way he thinks they should. Everyone is usually wrong, he is negative and seems filled with a bitterness, a disdain for most people. He rarely sees anything good in anyone! He gets fixated on certain topics and sets out to prove his thoughts to be correct at the expense of anyone around him.

He wants sympathy, empathy, kindness, love, tenderness - but will not give it back unless there is a pay-off for him, and once received he is back to the bitterness rather abruptly. Selfish to the extreme. His mood can turn in an instant and a look of anger and disdain comes over his entire misdemeanor and physical appearance. I am becoming afraid.

He is also completely paranoid that someone might find out that our life is less then perfect. He closes the blinds when there is an argument because a neighbour may see some form of negative body language through the window! I have to talk very softly because someone might hear me! It's paranoid. It's also living a lie.

He is completely charming around others, also a lie.

I feel like I am on an emotional roller-coaster. I don't see a gentle way off. I might just have to pull the emergency switch and leave. 

I am so sad, my tears and sadness mean nothing to him. I really believed he was a great guy. Loving, supportive and gentle. He's not. He's angry and bitter and nasty. I always told him that the only thing I ever wanted from him was that he keep being nice to me. How sad and ironic that the ONLY thing I ever asked of him is now gone.

No one asks to get/be sick. - - Oct 27th 2014

I've been diagnosed with bi-polar depression and OCD. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks on occasion. Been in therapy and on meds. Growing up I was verbally and physically abused. Not sexually just beaten regularly when I was bad...or was thought to have been bad. I'm an adult of 50 now with 2 failed marriages under my belt. I'm the crazy psycotic, narcissistic ... though I consider myself humbly blest and trying my best to heal and enjoy every day. I am empathetic for anyone suffering mental illness... not condoning our symptomatic behavior at times. But understating that it's an illness that can only be treated but never cured. And treatment is also very difficult to pin down correctly. It's truly no different tha having any other disease...say cancer. No one asks to be sick... but a complaint forum such as this?

divorcing an alcoholic with a PD - Ashley Adams - Sep 18th 2014

I am in the middle of the verbal fight of my life. My husband and I have been separated for a year now and seeking a divorce. He is a raging alcoholic, occasional drug user, a pharmacist and much more. Our 2 young  special needs children have never and will never know a caring biological father. 

I am no stranger to personality disorders. I have a master's inn social work! Yet, I just thought my husband was charismatic, flirtatious, and liked being in charged and appreciated. The verbal abuse and disregard for anyone else, even our children, I blamed on the beer. After a year of being separated, I now see the man I loved unconditionally hooked me so easily because he knew how to do it! He has a personality disorder. He shows traits of both narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. He thrives on power, no one is as smart as him, even if he is proven wrong.  He likes to be called the god of his store and he believes everyone loves and admires him. He began to show a darker side to me when I stopped worshipping his every move. 

He also has no regard to authority, especially the law. He has been drinking and driving daily for at least 3 years and when he hit and totaled a car as well as mine which he was driving, not only was it the other drivers fault, but he tried to bribe the cop and when that didn't work he threatened the cop with how important he was and how much money he made. He is hardly physically violent, but financially and emotionally abusive to everyone he meets. He had no conscious and does not understand that what he says is often derogatory and disrespectful to others. 

Now in this legal debate, he feels he can do what he pleases and does not have to follow the courts ruling on financial support or any other filled motions. He said he'd rather sit in jail than pay me, He is smarter than dumb attorneys, and the judge is going to laugh me out of the court room. 

I've been praying for him because there outs no other way to help. He has another woman (the 9th affair in 5 years of marriage) who will put up with it for money (her words to me) .


Ready to Run!!! - - Aug 15th 2014

I am on the verge of asking the man I love for a divorce. It is a very long story so I will try to be brief.

18 years ago I met my current husband. He and I both had young sons from our previous relationships. At first it was great but shortly went down hill. You see, my step-son who I loved at one point is a combination of narcissistic and social behavior disorder. He showed signs at a very young age (is this possible?). His biological mother was abusive to him (or so I was told) and his first step mother I believe was too. Yep, I was the third step mom to this little boy who when I came into the picture was only 5.

Here is where the story gets interesting. My mother-n-law and sister-n-law really had the control over my husband and step son for most of the time he was growing up. As I look back, the only reason I was accepted was to do all of the "women's work" as I was told just recently by them that I was a "minimal mother" to my step son. Yes, there are times that I wonder if I was?? I know in my heart that I tried to raise a decent humanbeing but any form of punishment for bad behavior came with "I just hate him". So, I basically stopped.

On the other hand, my in-laws saw no fault at all! Over compensated for his biological mother leaving.

Back to the future. My step son has the classic symptoms of the discussed disorders:

Will cuss anyone like a dog if they disagree with him (including his grandmother).

He steals

He always has a great job planned but it never works out. His relationships are the same. (he is now 24).

He doesn't respect anyone or anything.

Moves from one family household or friends house over and over until he gets pissed and probably cusses them (like me) like a dog.

He has been arrested for a controlled subsatance. He hit two people while texting putting them in the hospital. He was involved in a hit and run. Yet, none was his fault.

The last straw, was while on vacation (no I did not invite him) he came into my house had a party and left it destoyed. I in a somewhat commical text told him what he owed and he needed to explain why he thought it was accpetable. Needless to say, I am a wh*re, liar, and it's his dad's house and so on. I showed his resonses to my husband and inlaws and again it is my fault for not having inviting him on vacation.

Am I in the wrong here???

Closest Friend was a Sociopath - Survivor - Aug 2nd 2014

I met this young woman at college in a writing club. We both liked writing, poetry and novels, but there was something strange about her. I coudn't keep eye contact with her because she never looked away with her bright blue eyes. We started talking about our experiences with drugs, and how she was interested in doing more things like that. I thought she was being facetious, but before I knew it I was engaged in an off-and-on again friendship with her. Texting long into the night. She seemed to be obsessed with me, even though she was married.

One day she brought over a bottle of vodka, and we both got trashed and almost had sex. I felt terrible in the morning, but she seemed to be totally fine with the situation. Eventually I became so neurotic I told her husband about it. Apparently she had something of a history of starting unusually close relationships with other people. She had just never gotten as far with others as she had gotten with me.

I kept wanting to diagnose her with mental disorders, bipolar disorder, borderline, whatever, as an explanation and a defense for her behaviors. She kept bringing up strange thoughts. She wondered what it would be like to pass out by holding her breath. She wondered what it would be like to try harder drugs.


She fooled me by saying things like 'I love you' and 'you're my closest friend.' I believed her. In fact I fell for her. Her careless confidence and charm swept me away. It took me two years to finally realize that she was using me to get the drugs she craved. Now I won't talk to her because I know she can and will try to manipulate me.

psychopaths - ujtggyu - Jul 24th 2014

utter rubbish ,pathological narcissists are what we used to call psychopaths.

confusing the issue this idiot appears to suffer from a shallow affect disorder of his own,

personality disorder is a term dreamnt up by psychopaths then promptly had themselves removed from their own book when they "typed" themselves.

sadistic personality disorder.

why the confusion doctor? we know these individuals exist- why would you confuse the subject so?


again and again - oak - Jun 24th 2014

I have been dealing with my brother for years with NPD but just realized what it is. It seems to have the same pattern time after time. For some reason, he is always trying to hurt me financally. It is a ongoing occurance that I now fear will never end. He seems to always wants to be the best to try and make himself stand out so people will think he is a better person. 

It seems as if I try to do the right thing, I loose and if I do the wrong thing, I loose to. So what do you do?

30 years with a Narcissistic spouse - Vivan - Aug 20th 2013

I  been feeling your pain for 30  years which is a long time.

Let's assume there are several people with this disorder,

Does society stay away from all narcicssistic personalities

or make them seek help.  I believe your upbringing and

environmenal issues makeup our personality later in life.

My spouse has mellowed out since diagnosed with an illness.



Please help - - Mar 27th 2013

I'm at a loss I have tried every possible way to help this tenant who has caused an entire 14 years of my life a complete hell experience but tonight is the last straw as he destructed another part of my home after calling me a selfish hoor as I didn't look at his new set of dentures which we as hard working canadians work our normal lives and mean while this guy gets a free set of dentures as he has conned the system to believe he has a mental illness and living on disability.  What has become of this world society has lost it's finace and I live in fear with this creature who has spent more time in jail and know every way to con to get whatever he wants please help

Thanks - anonymous - Nov 14th 2012

I have been in a relationship for 7 years an recently married my husband about 9 months ago... Its funny because he seems to have signs of both Narcissistic & Sociopathic Personality Disorder.... this man is always Right, pathilogical liar, has no regards for my feelings and the way he speaks to me.. He wants me to believe I am the Problem and his life could be so much better without me, he doesn't show symphathy or remorse when he offends me.. takes little or no blame for his actions.... very defensive and disresptful when confronted... I can feel myself falling out of love with him, he doesn't make me feel secure, If I express myself he avoids conversation and tells me he doesn't want to agrue.. he has no understanding for me or my feeling he talks to me like he can't stand me and often tells me he wants to leave but never does.. Having read this article helps me better understand what i may be dealing with... I can't see a long term future in this marriage.. its like he is holding something bitterness against me and has no regard or respect  when he talks to me... I don't feel like a Wife thats proably why I havent changed my name... He makes me feel like I am a  stranger he just met.. and could careless if this marriage works out or not.. I have been seriously contemplating this marriage as a Big Mistake and correcting it by getting a Divorce and getting away from this Disrespt and double minded person.... I'm tired of being misunderstand and yet he gives me no understanding, I'm tired of how its just so easy for him to disregard my feelings and never apologize.. I don't want continuing to be with this person to lower my self-esteem, I'm fed up with his family thinking I got a Good Man.. but behind close doors really I mean nothing to you.. This is not a Healthy marriage as some may think.. it seems we grow more apart daily... or maybe I'm learning how to let him go... he constantly reminds me how happy he can be somewhere else as long as its not with me.. I'm just over the *&&^%$% and ready for a fresh start even if that means being with someone else.

antisocial - Cword - Jun 29th 2012

I now believe I was in a relationship with an antisocial disordered male. It was a 6 year, live in relationship. I assumed all along he was a narcissist. I also diagnosed myself as a borderline when i was studying human development a long time ago. We both had problems. The difference in defining what those problems are is about degrees. This individual had already broken the law with two DUIs when i met him. He had two failed 1 year marriages. The biggest warning sign, though, was his lack of remorse and his lack of emotion. he also had an excuse for every single instance of bad behavior. he never once criticised himself. Shortly into the relationship with me he broke the law again, only this time he resisted arrest and harmed two police officers resulting in a felony. He was so good at acting remorseful that i stayed and supported him. The second he was on his feet he began to criticize and demean me to the point of abuse.

My reaction was where my dysfunction comes in. The second he misused me I should have run. Instead it triggered deep problems of my own and I became hyper, afraid and eventually very ill...physically. he became angry at my weakness. This was one of his qualities. He had a survival of the fittest attitude about people. He was silently critical of children, too. relationships were business partnerships to him, and i became defunct when i could not serve him.

After a good amount of distance is finally between us I now see he was an antisocial and not a narcessist.

I have wondered if I have one of these. - Sherry - Sep 29th 2011

I have never felt what I see others feel. I think why do people brake down and cry like they do? I often can't decide if they are being fake. I tend to fake emotions because I don't feel any, I fake what I know I am supposed to feel. If I am at a funeral I know I am supposed to cry. I don't ever remember being happy or feeling love. I feign concern and caring for my family because I know I'm supposed to, I really see emotions as weakness. I feel like people who are lead by their emotions are not making wise decisions because they aren't using their logical and rational brain. What is wrong with me ? I see other people and I know it isn't normal. I didn't for most of my life until recently. I started to pay attention to the way others act. I tried to make a friend. I had never done that before. What do you think???

my husband - - Sep 10th 2011

I think they don't get better.  My husband  hid his parallel life for most of the six years we've been married.  following is one example of his ridiculous behavior, let alone all the stupid stuff he has done that I found out about.  Okay. here is the example: He snores like nobody's business.   He blames me for not sleeping with him and for the lack of intimacy.  I "made" him call his sister who works for a doctor that distributes sleep machines- the oxygen mask variety.  We agreed he needs to get sleep as much as I do and this product has been highly recommended.  His sister can't get it for free- so he stops all effort at getting one.  He has great insurance that would pay for it.  I recommend a book by Kevin Trudeau that suggests natural ways to cure sleep disorders.  He won't read it.  I have recorded his snoring on his voice mail and he thinks I am a bitch for letting him hear how he sounds.  He had to travel with another man he works with, staying in the same company-provided hotel room.  Ironically, the man snored as much as my husband.  My husband was totally irate by the first night.  But he can't make the connection between that and our situation- or can he?  He says he can but still blames me for not sleeping with him.  Belittles me in fact.  I used to work out, have great health, look ten years younger than my age, no wrinkles.  And now- I am a remnant of myself. Not to mention my plummeted self esteem and mental flexibility. This all is bulls**t.  He is never going to change.  I had to change.  I moved back to my home state and gave him the responsibility of doing something as a show of faith.  And then I will either visit him or he can visit me.  If he can't take responibility for that one thing that only he can do something about, he will never take responsibility for any conpromises that we have to work out.  In the mean time, I don't HAVE to get divorced.  But I am 1000 miles away and sleeping fine.

Love does not hurt - Shari Norton - Feb 24th 2011

My counselor told me yesterday that in her 13 years of being a marriage and family counselor, she has never seen someone (me) who has had to endure so much horrible treatment at the hands of one person.  I have been beaten, cheated on repeatedly, abandoned (one of the times he actually left my car across town after he had blown up the engine and used my money to disappear to another state), financially exploited (credit card fraud, money stolen from my ATM account), professionally attacked (I am a nurse and my husband called my work anonymously alleging he had been a patient and I was calling him in an attempt to buy drugs), and much more by a man who vowed to love me until death do us part.  He will never change.  It hurts to be divorcing him because as the article states, they are capable of appearing to be loving, charming people.  I gave my husband too many chances, and tried too hard to fix him.  I have been in counseling now for months, on disability from work due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and my beliefs in trust, hope, spirituality and self have nearly been destroyed.  I wish I had left sooner, and I wish ending this toxic bond were easier. I suffer every moment of every day.  And it is all made worse because I know that as a sociopath he does not have to feel any of it.  He just moves on to his next victim/s.  I hope I will be a stronger person through my recovery, but I wish there was more I could do to prevent others from waiting soooooo long to get out.  :(   Thank you for letting me vent.

Support for those connected/related to someone with a Personality Disorder - Klarity Belle - Feb 16th 2011

The effects of disordered behaviours at close range can really take their toll on our emotional and physical health. Here is a link to an informative and supportive forum which was set up specifically to help those who have loved one's with a PD. Thank you Dr Schwartz for allowing me to post the link here.

Run - ibivi - Feb 15th 2011

No, people like that never get better.  If he's been that way his whole life it is unlikely he has a good side.  This person is totally self-involved, manipulative and very destructive of those around him.  He is incapable of love or any other human connection.  You should remove yourself from him completely. 

Lovely boyfriend - jen - Feb 15th 2011

I can relate to the previous poster! He runs no matter what. If he starts it, he runs. If my dog farts at 2 am, he runs. If I get tired of the nasty way he is treating me, he runs. And as he is running he is blaming everyone and everything else. It is never him. He is perfect. He also has no logic, and he cannot understand simple reason. Very frustrating!

First, let me say I'm not a dummy when it comes to mental illness. I do not have my PhD in psy, but I took a lot of it in college, and studied it in my free time. I am working towards becoming a counselor as I would like to help people with anxiety disorders.

I would have never got involved with my boyfriend, except I was going through a rough patch in life. I had just lost my wonderful job and paycheck due to the current economical issues. I was crushed and down in the dumps. So, when this man I dated 20 years prior can into my life with the same story as mine, I was sympathic. He had just moved back in with his mom a couple of months prior, and he had just started working again. I fell for his lines of poor me, but it won't always be this way. I was understanding as I was struggling on unemployment and barely scraping by with two kids.

He was so charming and wonderful. I couldn't figure out why in the world I dumped him when I was a teenager. I ended up falling in love.

*note... Before meeting up with my boyfriend, I had gotten divorced 2 years earlier. I had not dated anyone between my exhusband and current boyfriend. I was having fun and enjoying my life with just my children. This probably made me even more vulerable to my boyfriend's 'charm'.

Fast forward from bliss a year and a half, and here I sit. It's Valentine's Day, and I spent this lovely evening trying to hid my tears from my concerned children. My teenage son is angry, and my 8 year old daughter can't understand why mommy's boyfriend is not with me tonight. "Why does mommy look so sad?" UGH!

Well, he started a horrible fight to get out of buying me a gift for V-day. He did this same thing for our anniversary, my birthday, and christmas.

Oh, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am stuck paying an unGodly amount of rent each month on an apartment that he was supposed to pay half of the rent. That rent paying nonsense lasted 2 months, and then he had to move back in with his mother. The whole time we did live together he was so cruel. I didn't know a person could be that mean on a daily basis. He never paid for anything more than half the rent. I paid for all the food, utilities, neccesities of life.

Can we say sucker?

This man is 42 years old. He lives with his mother, 39 year old brother, and nephew. The mother is the only one who works while her sons stay home drunk or high on something. The nephew has some serious problems. This child was on meds and in therapy, but his father brags about how he single handedly took him off the meds and out of therapy when he got custody. The child's mother is in prison. He is a violent child, and not allowed at my home as he was trying to abuse my daughter. This poor little boy is put on a pedestal and they all cater to his ever whim, like he is a king. He is manipulative and conning. I have never seen such a mess of a family in my life. The mother wants her adult sons at home so she is not lonely. She complains to everyone how awful they are and "poor" her having to put up with them, but then she won't let them leave. She was a huge factor in my boyfriend being so horrible to me.

My boyfriend was beaten badly by his parents, and they were beaten by their's. To make matters worse, my boyfriend's parent were both counselors, and I think they did a wonderful job on brainwashing and screwing up their children. All three of their children are unable to hold down a job, be responsible  in any sort of way, and they sponge off of anyone around them. The mother does this too, but she does work and she is more charming and conning then her kids are. They all beg on other people's sympathies, and use the "poor me" crap to no end!

I feel more needs to be writen on families with personality disorders. It seems most literature is about one person in a family with the problem and the family is suffering. It is caused by gentic or enviromental factors, so it should be addressed more.

Also, there needs to be more help on how to get away. All I have read is how I might be screwed up for getting involved in the first place. If they had acted like themselves in the beginning, I would have ran for the hills! My sympathies were played and I got sucked in. Getting out has been suprisingly difficult, and that is hard to understand. I would go to therapy, but I have no insurance and I am still struggling with my bills. I think my therapy might just be moving to another state, if I can find a decent job.


Married to One - Ann - Feb 13th 2011

Thanks for the article; I found it helpful in distinguishing between the two disorders. Sadly, it doesn't help answer the question: what to do when you are involved with someone who suffers from something like this? My husband of several years struggles with a possible PD that seems similar, but I'm not sure what it is. Here's the pattern: 1st, he avoids any situation that creates tension or negativity (even when he is the cause for the tension). Next, he runs - literally and/or figuritively. Because of this, he has trouble maintaining close relationships and burns bridges with family members, friends, co-workers, and clients. Basically, he angers people and then flees so he doesn't have to deal with it. Next, he hides the truth and keeps secrets generally about whatever it is he's running away from. Plus, he's notoriously irresponsible with money, so it's usually financial. Next, he lies. Once he can't get by hiding things, he'll lie about it; and he'll go to great lengths to make you believe his lies. Then, when he can't lie about it b/c he gets caught, he gets extremely defensive. Finally, he blames. It's always someone else's fault, or something somone else did, or how someone else treated him. He has no ability to see beyond himself. He is cold, detached, and seemingly unremorseful. While he's going to therapy, I fear he'll just lie to his therapist. We're living separately, which is needed right now, but I still love him (even though I wish I didn't). I want him to get help, but also fear that he'll never be willing to do the work to actually get better. Ultimately, I just might stick around only to be brought down by him. He's been doing this kind of thing his whole life. Now what? Do people like this EVER get better?

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