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Could the manipulative, egocentric, cruel and unemphatic jerk in your life have Antisocial Personality Disorder? Find out by learning more about the diagnostic criteria.

What do you call someone who doesn't seem to have a general sense of right and wrong, doesn't care about others, and thinks nothing about lying and manipulating to get what they want? A jerk, perhaps? Now, what would you think if that same person is also immensely egocentric, impulsive and violent, hurting other living creates for fun? 

Such "enormous jerks" are colloquially known as psychos. Though the charm offensive these people wage can be deceptive at first sight, you're likely to be quite quick to label them as toxic or dangerous if you're an emotionally healthy person with a good sense of boundaries. In short, you don't want to hang out with someone like this.

If you're able to get away from such a person without any harm, that's all you need to know. Not everyone is that lucky. The diagnosis that comes with this description is Antisocial Personality Disorder, and there's more to it than meets the eye. Are you currently dealing with someone with someone like this? Arming yourself with information can help.

Using the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, we'll take a detailed look at what kind of behavior you can expect from real life "psychos".

Impairments In Personality Functioning

People with Antisocial Personality Disorder show impairments in self-functioning. That can mean they they have a distorted sense of who they are — they're egocentric, and get kicks from power, money, other or forms of personal gain. It can also mean that they're are so unconcerned with the social standards of the society they live in that they don't think twice before breaking the law, and that they are preoccupied with personal gratification. 

These people also lack empathy. That doesn't necessarily mean that they don't know what emotions others experience, but it does mean they don't care. They don't feel sorry while they are doing things to hurting or mistreating others, and they don't feel guilty afterwards either. Because they don't relate well to others, the intimate relationships of people with Antisocial Personality Disorder are based on exploitation. They may coerce, pressure, or trick people into being close to them.

Pathological Personality Traits

People with Antisocial Personality Disorder display a range of what the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) calls "pathological personality traits". They have so many nasty traits that the DSM-5 breaks them into multiple domains!

Manipulativeness, deceitfulness, callousness and hostility all fall under "antagonism". In practice, this means someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder will slyly lie, charm, or butt-lick their way into getting what they want. Misrepresenting who they are is the norm, and they don't care what others feel or need — as long as they achieve their goals. They don't feel sorry or guilty and can be cruel and sadistic. In addition, these people may also be quick to anger and seek revenge. 

Irresponsibility, impulsivity, and risk taking are also characteristic of those with this personality disorder. These traits fall under "disinhibition". They don't take the promises they make seriously, can be financially irresponsible, and just don't think the rules that apply to others were made for them. Danger makes them feel great, and they may think they're invincible and get themselves into risky situations on impulse, just to counter boredom. 

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