Are people with antisocial (psychopathic) personalities only the criminals and murderers of society, or can the successful politician or businessman who consciously manipulates others and lack true empathy for them as human beings also have an essentially psychopathic personality structure? If understood in this way it is clear that antisocial personality is not only about overt criminal behaviour, but about the way that the person’s internal world operates. These people can be very charming and fool others by seeming to be normal. The so-called con-men often have an essentailly antisocial personality structure, they are extremely manipulative and can talk others into participating in schemes that eventually causes financial ruin or social embaressment to the trusting individual.
For people with an antisocial personalities the need to feel power and grandiosity is the primary aim. They will brag about their dishonest business deals and exploitations of others if they think the listener will be impressed by their power. They fear showing and acknowledging weakness. They do not conform to social norms. They lack basic attachments with other people. They use other people for their own needs , they use others without real concern for the other person. These people find it difficult to verbalize their emotions and often place others in the position where the feeling is evoked in the other, e.g. when a someone with an antisocial personlity structure is in the position where his wife has an affair he might (in stead of verbalizing his pain, humilliating and feelings of powerlessness) humiliate his wife and act in such a way that she suffers severly (e.g. have sex with a prostitute in front of her). They often do not even know how to name their emotions, meaning that they cannot put words to what they feel and tend to act on their feelings. These people do not accept personal responsibility for their actions and minimalise what they did, e.g. I had to bribe others to get a business deal becaue it is how business works. They do not feel true responsibility for their actions or real regret about hurting others. When someone with this personality strucure feels upset, anxious or emotional they act very quickly and in this way avoid feeling their emotion, this is called acting out (action instead of acknowledging feeling). Promiscuity, abuse of others, substance abuse and drunk driving are common in their lives. They notably lack remorse about these actions. They do not feel true concern about the impact on their behaviour on others and often their behaviour gives them a sense of inflating their self-esteem and feeling above normal norms. They do not truly love.
If we look at the state of the society we live in and how many people is without true concern for others and is driven by a longing to feel powerfull and grandiose it tells us something about the state of childcare in many homes. Particularly when you look at the childhoods of destructive, criminal antisocial individuals there was very little stability, consistency, love and security. These children often grow up in houses where their mothers were weak or depressed and possibly abused while the fathers are often aggressive and very inconsistent. There has often been alcohol abuse in these families. Many of these children are abused and neglected. In this type of inconsistent and unsafe situations children do not feel a healthy sense of power and control. As a result of this many of these people spend their entire lives seeking a feeling of power, grandiosity and control and avoid feeling vulnerable at all costs. In fact their “victims” are often those who end up feeling scared, unsafe and vulnerable. Sometimes these children are spoiled materially, but their emotions are never thought and spoken about (their true emotional needs were never met). As children they never attached to a loving caregiver. They did not take love in and they do not love. A history of lying, stealing, running away from home, fighting, substance abuse, getting involved in illegal activities and problems at school often start early in these childre’s lives. The risk is that society dehumanise these children by seeing them as bad and do not see the real tragedy of these children’s lives. In less severe cases these children are not abused, but grow up in families where one of their parents have an manipulative and entitled way of functioning. These families encourage their children to feel above the law and overly powerful and entitled. In these families some form of relationship does form between parent and child and these children could as adults be “healthier” antisocial individuals with some capacity to form relationships.
If you are in a relationship with someone with such a personility structure you will probably end up feeling exploitedand possibly at times even abused. You could realize with shock that they do not truly care about you and are only using you. You could experience real (and often realistic fear) when you realize how uncaring and sadistic they can be.
If we look at children who start acting in criminal and sadistic ways from early in their lives it is important to remember that they are human beings who have suffered severily and could therefor not develop normal human attachment and acceptance of their vulnerability as ordinary human beings. Some of these people can be helped to become healthier human beings, but sadly they often cause others great suffering and chaos . They exploit others and at times achieve great wealth and power in society.