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Anyone Can Marry a Person with Antisocial Personality Disorder...
...Yes, even you could.
Once called psychopaths or sociopaths, people who have Antisocial Personality Disorder (re-classified by the DSM-5) are more prevalent in society than we realize. Most people know about the ones who make headlines after committing a heinous crime, but they aren’t the only ones to be leery of as you navigate through life. Most of us encounter people with antisocial personality disorder (APD) and don’t even realize it. They are often charmers who can, without force, convince you to do their bidding. They are self-centered and can be extremely ambitious, especially when it serves their needs. They take no responsibility for their deviant behaviors and will try to twist events, placing the blame on someone or something else, even on you.
I’m sharing my experience because I don’t want to see more innocent people fall prey to these manipulating life wreckers. I believe we can learn from each other to make our lives better and safer.
Did Fate Conspire Against Me?
Did fate play a part in my doomed marriage to a man with antisocial personality disorder?
I believe it did, and it played a big part. I don’t necessarily mean that the universe had some grand plan for me to marry this man, but the way I set my life up did. I spent my younger adult years with well-defined career goals that I set in motion before I even became an adult. My career in advertising was thriving and to most I appeared to be an adjusted, successful woman who was on her way up. The only problem existed outside of the office. Socially I was insecure and happy for any attention I received from men. To top it off, I had an undiagnosed disorder of my own that would remain dormant for nearly a decade. I suffer from bipolar disorder.
I moved with my job several times to different cities and finally ended up in the South. I built a house, settled in and met my, now, ex-husband not three months later. He was handsome, charming, came from an upper middle class family. He knew sports celebrities and all the right people at the places we frequented. He was the center of attention and soon became the center of my world. We married a mere nine months later and began to play “happy family.”
Our problems were immediate. I was suspicious of unaccounted periods of time when I couldn’t reach him or he provided a flimsy explanation for his whereabouts. The next two years created marital problems that I thought stemmed from my insecurities and general paranoia that he was not being faithful. I would never believe how close to the truth I ventured while being completely naive to the entire situation. Like everything in your life, we all play our parts in getting us to where we end up.
Within a short time he manipulated me into draining my bank accounts to pay for our wedding and then to buy a business that required office space and expensive equipment. He forged my signature on documents and then the last straw: the cell phone bill. I got the bill first for some reason and he had racked up a few thousand dollars in charges calling sex lines. Of course he lied about it and after seeing a doctor claimed to be a sex addict. We even went to couples counseling and he went to individual counseling. I know because I paid for all of that, a well. Unfortunately this was only the beginning.
One day, loud pounding at the door brought a startling reality that I shouldn’t have ignored, but did. He went to answer the door while I was getting ready for work. When he didn't return after a few minutes, I went to check on him, thinking it must have been a neighbor. I innocently opened the front door and discovered several members of the SWAT team and local police force in the process of arresting him (shirtless, of course, just like on COPS). The image of him being handcuffed with a gun pointed at his head is permanently seared into my memory.
You'd think his being arrested for sexual assault with a deadly weapon would have been my wake-up call, but as I mentioned, people with antisocial personality disorder are good liars and manipulators. I never even knew the full charge until many years later. His lies continued to pile up and I bought the entire lot for a couple more years! His charade encompassed all: family, friends, business associates, neighbors...everyone was fooled.Astounding shock filled our community and lives, with the exception of his parents, who unbeknownst to me, had helped him cover up an eerily similar criminal mishap with a woman, about a decade earlier.
Further Reading! - for those who love or are possibly married to a psychopath
I was encouraged to not attend the court proceedings during the long, drawn-out legal process because I was pregnant at the time. He “told” me what was going on but it was his twisted version of the facts, not the truth. He took a plea bargain and shortly after my son was born, they sentenced him to prison for more than a decade. The charade continued for a few more years because he was incarcerated nearby where he could still easily manipulate me and my feelings. Soon though, without his daily influence, the stranglehold loosened and I felt like myself again. It took four years, but once I finally realized all of his lies, I divorced him and never looked back.
He did his best to guilt me into staying with him and continued to send me cards and letters professing his love for me. Fortunately I realized by then, that I never really loved him in the first place. I'd had doubts before we married, that I brushed off as pre-wedding jitters, but my gut instincts turned out to be right. I promised myself I'd NEVER ignore them again. One of the hardest things about the entire ordeal was facing the fact that it was my decision to let this person into my life. No one likes making a mistake, especially one so close to the heart, but in the end I realized it was more about him than me. I made a poor choice based on what I thought was the truth. It was an honest mistake. I wasn't tying to manipulate someone to fulfill my needs. So I let it go and moved on without blaming myself.
It’s been close to a decade without my ex around, and I've changed dramatically as a person. I’ve had so much therapy that I'm practically capable of teaching it to others. A few important things have changed: after a quarter of a century of struggling, I finally nurtured and maintain a healthy self-esteem, I never ignore that little voice of intuition, I graduated from college with honors in a creative field more suitable to my personality, I no longer emit that "desperation" pheromone that attracts the wrong type of partner, and I don't try to protect and mother everyone around me (just my son). I still have faith in people, but it's now peppered with underlying skepticism and caution.
As a side note, my ex will be released from prison in less than a year, and it should be interesting to see how he handles the new me.
Some Common Traits of People with APD - *to help you know what to look for*
These vary from person to person and a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder may not exhibit all of them. On top of that, even doctors don't always agree on how mental illnesses manifest.
(Not listed in any particular order.)
- Likeable and makes friends easily
- Extremely persuasive and can inspire intense love from others
- Impulsive and unable to resist temptations
- Emotionless or lacking genuine emotions (but can often fake them)
- Ability with words to fast talk a way out of trouble
- Use lies and manipulation to get what they want
- Completely egocentric
- Sexually promiscuous
- Irresponsible and inability to keep a steady job
- Self-destructive and prone to alcoholism and drug use
- Lack of empathy towards others
- Doesn't respond to punishment, apprehension, stress or disapproval.
- Legal and criminal problems
I was a good target for someone with antisocial personality disorder. I had the caring personality and low self-esteem combination that many seem to like. It's important to understand, most people with antisocial personality disorder are not what you'd expect. I'm not a doctor but after reading quite a bit of material on the subject, I'm 99% certain my ex-husband fits the description.
General Information on ADP - remember, everyone has a slightly different opinion
Though the terms psychopath and sociopath are different, they both fall into the grouping of personality disorders classified under Anti-Social Behavior.
Antisocial Personality Disorder defined by DSM 5
Keep Moving Forward! - because who really wants to go back?
2012: it's been over a year since I wrote this lens and for me and my son things are looking up! We are happy, healthy and are moving forward right on schedule. Luckily for us, the court system saw through my ex-husband's deceit and right to his sordid and extremely long criminal background that he and his family lied about and he is no longer legally a parent to my son. My eyes are forever opened, more so now than even a year ago when the custody issues began. After finally reading the actual criminal files, I am 100% convinced that he was guilty. I doubt it will be long before his criminally deviant behavior surfaces again. I remain vigilant so that my family is safe and yet I haven't succumbed to letting it control my life to the point of not living. I finally feel at peace.
2016: My son is almost an adult now. We've had no trouble nor heard from my ex, but he is remarried. I hope the same thing doesn't happen to her. I am grateful we are in a safe place where my son has flourished, goes out by himself and people who are around us keep an eye on everything. Never be afraid to share your story in an anonymous way. My greatest reward is helping others prevent this happening to them. Hopefully 2017 and the future will continue to show us kindness and grace. ~Ren
Thank you to everyone for the supportive comments and emails. To everyone in this or a similar situation, my best advice remains to listen to your intuition. NEVER ignore that little voice that speaks those truths to you, whether you want to hear them or not. Mine has never been wrong; my only mistakes have been when I failed to listen! Best to you all!
Helpful Resources! - please check out these websites, for your own safety
If you suspect you're dealing with someone with antisocial personality disorder, take a look at these sites for helpful information or talk to someone (other than who you suspect, of course) about your concerns. Your may be thankful later that you did.
- Without Conscience
Dr. Robert Hare's site which includes links to books, excerpts of books, his calendar of workshops, presentations, speaking engagements, etc., references, training materials and more links to more of the same. You can't go wrong checking out the site
- Aftermath: Surviving Psychopathy Foundation
This site is for mental health professionals, researchers, family members and victims of people affected with psychopathy. It's run by three doctors and supported through Dr. Hare's funding. The site has a forum (not much use), some wonderful resourc
- Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy
References, resources, list of specific universities offering study in the field of psychopathy (which means library materials and professors with knowledge on the subject), all sorts of info here.
- The Mask of Sanity
The most important item on this site is a free download of Dr. Hervey Milton Cleckley's book The Mask of Sanity~An Attempt to Clarify Some Issues About the So-Called Psychopathic Personality. It's an educational only edition Â© 1988 by Emily S. Cleck
- Society and Human Nature in the Films of Stanley Kubrick
Views by Gordon Banks about the films of Stanley Kubrick and the portrayal of psychopaths. Â© 1990 by Gordon Banks
- Women Who Love Psychopaths Website
Just a portal for the book really but it also has a contact page for the author and some other products they offer if interested.
Men Are Not the ONLY Ones with ADP
Yes, women can have antisocial personality disorder, too. Men are far more likely to have ADP than women, but men should be cautious, as well.
Experience with Anyone Having Antisocial Personality Disorder
A sense of humor has kept me from going completely off the deep end. You know what they say, you don't make it out of this life alive. That being said, it's now 2015 and we have managed to escape any further harm, but it has cost us a great deal. To learn about our latest trials click below: