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Anti Social With Accepting Girlfriend

Question:

My live in boyfriend was discharged from the Navy for his disorder. I am reasonably aware of the disorder. He is nonviolent, but I would like to know if over time we can train him to help him fit into society better. I think with the proper guidance we can keep him manageable. I say we because he is typical, in that he is too untrusting, secretive, and of course feels no need to try to treat, but he responds well to training once he sees that it helps him blend in. My acceptance and even curiousity wills him to speak up. I got him to say bless you sometimes when I sneeze, but some empathy might be nice, even if it is false. Can he be trained, if not treated?

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Answer:

Alas, I must state that, though your hopes are high for your boyfriend, there is not much hope for his changing by the methods you are proposing. Of course, my answer depends upon the diagnosis of a type of personality disorder called, "Anti Social Personality Disorder."

You see, personality disorders are, by definition, sets of learned and unlearned patterns of behaviors that are deeply ingrained, outside of awareness, repetitive and very difficult to change.

In the case of anti personality disorder, there is a whole host of accompanying problems. Among those are a lack of conscience or empathy for others. People with this type of disrder are criminal in nature and that makes them very untrustworthy. They are very charming, convincing everyone that they are warm hearted and friendly. However, when their true colors show, they are ruthless in exploiting others for what they want.

Please understand that I am not attempting to be critical. This merely constitutes a definition. Therefore, what I am tryhing to say is that, if your diagnosis is correct, he would not make a reliable husband or father.

Does that mean there is no hope for improvement? No, not at all. It is just that years of psychotherapy are needed to help change those suffering from personality disorders. In the case of the anti social types, there is little or not self understood need to change anything. By the way, the fact that he will now say "Bless you" if you sneeze means nothing.

I know the picture I am giving you does not sound very good. On the other hand, he has evidently been discharged from the military for his behavior and this does not bode well for his future or for yours, if you decide to stay with him.

Best of Luck

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