I've got this!
I just joined yesterday, and already I'm feeling the tiniest sense of relief at not being completely alone as the parent of an adult child with a scary diagnosis.

My oldest son is now 21. At 18, he was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder. I was shocked and devastated and terrified - but also relieved to know that there was a name for the behaviors I'd been concerned about since he was 3 or 4. I did so much research - reading papers and books and medical journals and blog posts... and sometimes they helped... but often they didn't. Antisocial PD is so bizarrely misunderstood - the assumption is either that people with Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) just don't like being around people... or that they are psychopathic killers! My son is neither of those things - not even close. He's got a smile as big as the moon, and he loves children. He's amazing at sports, and smart as a whip (maybe too smart for his own good), and hysterically funny. But he's also a real mess. He lies to all of us, and steals from family and friends. He smokes pot, and can't keep a job for more than a few months. He dropped out of college with failing grades after three semesters.

When he turned 21, we helped him find a cheap studio apartment, and he moved in. He started attending welding classes - and as far as I know, he is still attending... which is a huge step for him. He seems to enjoy working with his hands - and having a marketable skill set will certainly help him in the future. I hope he's really going - but I have no way of knowing for sure.

Still - things aren't improving overall. He got so many point on his drivers license that they suspended it - but he just kept driving anyway (he's impulsive, and doesn't seem to think the law applies to him, and he can't foresee the consequences of his actions), and ended up facing the possibility of jail time and a huge fine. In the end, the judge waived the jail time and gave him a $350 fine... but he already had fines for petty theft, speeding tickets, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. It added up to thousands of dollars.

So, we decided that it was clear he wasn't responsible enough to own a car yet. We cleaned it out (it was like a dumpster - ugh!) and sold it. He wasn't thrilled, but he knew we weren't backing down. We used the money from the sale to pay off some fines, and we used his tax returns to pay off others. He still has one last $500 fine, and his rent is due in a couple of days. We set aside enough for rent and groceries for one month - but not enough to pay that fine. For that, he'll need a job. He lost his after two painful injuries at work which left him in the emergency room - he nearly lost a finger the first time. He also has student loans to pay - he's more than three months behind now, and there's no money to pay them.

So, it's fair to say that I'm stressed beyond all reason... and I'm fully aware of the statistics that say he's more likely to end up addicted to a whole lot more than pot... or incarcerated... or dead. Which just sucks. I don't dwell on all that - but I can't ignore it either.

Right now, I'm trying to break the cycle of dependency that I think is enabling him. I told him he can no longer ask me for money - and I sent him a link to the social services location near his apartment. I told him they can help with unemployment benefits and see if he qualifies for other benefits I don't know anything about. And I mentioned that they offer free hot meals once a day, too. I also closed the savings account I set up for him in high school because it was in my name, not his. My name has also been on his checking account along with his... and I am in the process of removing my access. He needs to manage his own money - even if it means racking up debts and defaulting on loans.

It hurts like nothing else to start cutting him off like this - but I know without question that catching him every time he falls isn't doing him any favors. I feel like I'm cutting off my own limb... but he's spiraling downward over time, and he has to learn to help himself.

Through it all, we somehow have a fantastic relationship. We laugh together - and he knows he has my support, no matter what. He is the most forgiving person I know - when I'm furious with him, he forgives me anger as soon as I apologize. There is no animosity between us. When he was badly injured at work, he called me and I met him at the emergency room. He was moaning in pain as blood splattered everywhere - it was terrifying... but he was comforting me as I comforted him. He treats his younger siblings and cousins like gold, and everyone loves him. He sends me texts now and then - mostly asking for money (to which my answer is now - always - no) - but occasionally just saying hello, and I love you. He's not the terrifying psychopath the world of the internet makes him out to be. He's just my kid.

Wow - this got long. And I've hardly said a fraction of what's spinning in my head. I guess you all know how that feels.


Well-Known Member
Why do you think he has antisocial personality disorder? Psychiatry is not an I exact science. What type of professional diagnosed him? A psychiatrist? A therapist can not diagnose.

He doesn't sound antisocial in my opinion..more like he maybe uses drugs and has been enabled too much. With antisocial PD you have NO conscience. They can get along with people if they want to but they can't love. Is this him? They have NO empathy.
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Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome IttyBitty, I must say you sound very strong and you seam to have a good handle on things.

I think everything you are doing is great. You are setting clear boundaries and expectations. You were very wise to sell the car. You have offered him some great advice and direction on how he can help himself.

There is a wonderful article on detachment at the top of this forum. Here is a link to it.

Read through this, there is great advice on how to detach with love.

((HUGS)) to you...................


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

I agree with Tanya that you seem very strong and handling things well. Your son sounds delightful for the most part!

Not everyone that smokes weed goes down the rabbit hole. Maybe he will work things out in his own time. I think you are doing good for him (and you) to set boundaries.


Roll With It
Welcome! I am glad you found us! It is great to have a community of people to support you who understand what it is like to have a child with challenges. We have all struggled with this.

I have to say that I wonder about who diagnosed your child and why. What you describe is NOT what I know about antisocial personality disorder. Especially not those people I have met with the disorder.

Please understand that doctors see a snapshot of you, or a series of snapshots of you. They don't see the whole you, or even the most of you that your family and friends see. So the doctors can and do make mistakes when they have accurate tests that give them very clear cut answers as to what the problems are. Heck, I had chicken pox and a doctor told my mother and I that I had mono. Two hours later I was COVERED with pox and the "zit" that the doctor had popped was now known to be a chicken pox. He had ALL the right information, including a surprising number of kids at my junior high. You are not dealing with symptoms as clear cut as chicken pox. Mental health is much harder to diagnose. It is entirely possible that your son has something else going on. Clearly something is going on, but maybe it isn't this. I don't know. I do know that several people suggested that my son has antisocial personality disorder when he was 7. Mostly because he didn't always fit in and he didn't really care or even notice. Of course he didn't fit in and sometimes didn't notice - he has high functioning autism!!! But he seemed cold and to only "charm" people when he wanted something.

Do your instincts say that the Antisocial Personality Disorder is the right diagnosis? The dependent Personality Disorder? I would listen to your instincts. You know your kid better than the doctors do.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Welcome you could be describing my son to a T except my son is far heavier intoxdrugging and stealing. He seams to have no problem lying or stealing but is lovable and charming.

Perhaps there is a continuum to Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) just as there is to Autism. Who knows. Regardless with a diagnosis inplace is he receiving counseling of any type.

You are brave strong and doing the right thing. And it is more like sawing our own limb off without anesthesia to detach and not enable our children.

You are not alone.


Well-Known Member
My son went through many diagnoses before they found the one i believe is correct. I would be inclined to try a different doctor to confirm the diagnosis.


I've got this!
Thanks so much, everyone! I really appreciate your kind words and support.

I do hope that in time my son will start seeing another doctor and maybe get another opinion. He had a horrendously terrible high-school experience, which included being raped by a male "friend", a manipulative ex-girlfriend who told him she'd had his baby after they broke up and that it had died - which turned out to be completely untrue, and all kinds of trouble because of the lying and stealing. By the time he graduated, he was cutting himself and threatening suicide. He spent three days on lock-down in a psychiatric ward - luckily, he went voluntarily - and he was diagnosed shortly after that.

He was diagnosed by a psychiatrist, who had him take some kind of diagnostic test. Afterward, he walked us through the results, and everything he talked about seemed to be spot on. He did say that Antisocial Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder are almost opposites - so someone with both would have some contradictory symptoms. Which seems to match my kid most of the time. Unfortunately, I can't get my son to see a counselor now that he's an adult. He's not on any medication because he's terrible about being consistent with it. We tried an antidepressant for a while, but we ended up being concerned that taking it inconsistently could actually increase his depression.

I have to admit that the Antisocial Personality Diagnosis was a real shock to me, since my son does seem to care about people very much. He absolutely loves his little cousins, and he has a great time with his siblings. He has had a couple of (disastrous) relationships over the years, and he ends up getting so attached to these girls that he's devastated when they break up. So - he definitely cares. On the other hand, when I look at the lists of "symptoms" for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), he fits every single category except that he's never violent, he never gets into fights, and he cares about people.

As for a conscience - no, I can't really say whether he has one or not. As I said, he's not hurting animals or people - but he doesn't care in the least about the consequences of stealing or lying. He sees that his behavior hurts the people around him, but seems not to be effected by that.

It's also been so strange to see how different he is from my other three children. They are calm, reasonable, and thoughtful. None of them gets into trouble at school. They have no trouble keeping jobs. I have a few bucks sitting on my desk right now - and it's been there for weeks. None of them would even think to take it... but when my oldest was still at home, there's no way I could have left it sitting there. He has stolen money and phones and electronics from me - and he sells them for cash. He's had at least twenty-five jobs in three years... he has no trouble getting a job because he is charismatic and smart and funny - but he can't keep one.

Ah - anyway. We're taking it one day at a time. He was here for a short time today and we had a really nice meal together. He even helped with the cooking without being asked. So, that's something. :)

Thanks for making me feel so welcome here. Some days, I think we're going to be ok - and some days I think we aren't going to make it. Today was a good one.

I hope you all have more good days than bad ones. :love_heart: