Need some support and guidance, and prayers...

I think my soon to be 18 y/o son has ASPD. Here's our story:

- His father, while never formerly diagnosed, exhibited signs of Borderline (BPD) and narcissism. Multiple affairs, etc, and a scorched earth departure. We had two boys, ages 8 and 11 when he left. He has remained in their lives. Now the oldest is turning 18 in 2 weeks.

- The oldest began having difficulty in school at age 13 - couldn't remember to turn in homework, couldn't focus. Two years later, and against the wishes of his father and his therapist, I took him to his doctor for ADD. He has been on vyvanse since, and he now has straight As. He has still not been tested for ADD.

- Oldest got his first cell phone when he was 14 (note, this was before he began taking medication for ADD). Because of his grades, he was grounded from his phone. I learned then that he was taking the phone from my purse and sexting a girl who lived 1 1/2 hour away he met on Instagram.

- Years of grounding and he's never seemed to respond to any consequences at all. It's like he can take absolutely anything I give him with aplomb.

- On Thanksgiving, we "bonded" over a philosophical conversation that he feels he can manipulate anyone because of their emotion. He doesn't understand emotion, he thinks it's pathetic. The only real emotion he believes he has ever experienced is anger, which he has quite often.

- Yesterday, he texted a friend that I was being "pathetic" and b*tchy and emotional... (I just asked him to get off the computer because he had been on it for hours). He told his friend that my girlfriend and I should be hit by a bus, and that some day he'll be in jail and we'll be dead.

My son is incredibly charming, at a disarming level. And it became clear that he was gaslighting me around age 14. I've become more immune to it.

I'm becoming concerned for my life, for my girlfriend's life, and for my youngest son's life.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi Hoping,

I'm glad you found us here in our little corner of the world. Your son sounds quite a bit like my son.

Years of grounding and he's never seemed to respond to any consequences at all. It's like he can take absolutely anything I give him
Just like my son. It didn't matter what we did, it never phased him. He never showed any remorse.

he feels he can manipulate anyone because of their emotion. He doesn't understand emotion, he thinks it's pathetic. The only real emotion he believes he has ever experienced is anger, which he has quite often.
My son is a master manipulator and definitely used people's emotions against them. I have always been one of his favorite victims.

He told his friend that my girlfriend and I should be hit by a bus, and that some day he'll be in jail and we'll be dead.
My son used to scream in my face that he wished I were dead. I really became frightened when my husband and I would wake up in the middle of the night to find him in our room. He would be going through my purse or husbands wallet to steal money. For peace of mind and to keep him from stealing from us we put a lock on bedroom door. It worked for some time until I came home one day to find he had taken a hammer and beat a hole about a foot wide through the door, got into our closet and stole our safe with 3K in it.

My son is incredibly charming, at a disarming level.
My son can be so charming and has very high intelligence - but NO common sense. He is good at turning on the charm when he wants something but he can never keep the charade going for too long as his true colors always have a way of coming out. He always manages to burn his bridges.

I'm becoming concerned for my life, for my girlfriend's life, and for my youngest son's life.
I think you are wise to be concerned. Does your son still live with you? Does he work? You have some decisions to make. If you do not feel safe with him in your home then it's time for him to find somewhere else to live. I know this is easier said than done. If he makes threats towards you, your other son or your girlfriend do not hesitate to call the police. It's always good to have this type of behaviour documented.

I'm glad you are here with us. Others will come along and chime in.



Active Member
You have my support and prayers

My son also seemed not to learn or self correct from consequences, But there is a spectrum of anti-social tendencies and his brain is still developing.

There are groups on psychiatric that address Cluster B personality disorders. Suffers and victims. At least on the NPD boards, there are Narcissists trying to overcome their disorders. Perhaps there is a similar thread on aspd that might give some ideas? I have read that the ASPD threads can be kind of horrifying, so be careful to stick to victim threads or those looking to turn it around.

I have also read that those who have callous unemotional traits can learn to live in a pro social way, with enough DBT.

Stay safe.


Well-Known Member
nobody should minimize threats or inferred threats even if, especially if, they are just that--threats.

if he infers that harm could befall you, at his hands, he could mean it. or it could be words.

personally, at minimum i would do this: i would inform the police.i would request that he be spoken to by the juvenile detail. rightly or wrongly i did this multiple times for far less. given that he is under 18 there will likely not be consequences. but it might get his attention.

i think he might be too young to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. have you considered therapy for him?

if you are in real fear i would take that seriously and explore options.
Thank you, Tanya, Sam and Copa - it is easy sometimes to feel like this is all in my head. He is absolutely spectacular at gaslighting. He doesn't scream at us at all, he just acts like we're crazy. Combine the gaslighting, the non-emotion, and the complete disregard for any consequence... it's scary.

He lives with me 3 days per week and with his father the other 2 weekdays, and then alternate weekends. I have primary custody. He's a senior in high school with a semester remaining, and he's been accepted at a great university an hour and a half away. The next 8 months can't go by fast enough.

He hasn't been tested or diagnosed, but we have an appointment in March. There is a risk that he won't go, and he can't theoretically be forced, because he'll be 18. There was no hope of getting an appointment sooner.

No common sense.... that's my son. He can't plan past his nose... I've read that the inability to plan / prepare for the future is a hallmark of ASPD.

Sam - thanks for the Cluster B forum - I'll check it out! Of course, the trick is they have to want to change. Right now I don't see any evidence of that.

Copa and Tanya - He's sooo good at gaslighting. He will behave so normally that it's hard to imagine that this kid could be ASPD. Other adults see him as the perfect kid. They haven't read his text messages like I have. I'm constantly asking myself if it's possible that he's just being a somewhat normal teen, ready to break away from parental authority. Meanwhile, I can't help but noting that he has the ability to hide his messages in other apps, and yet he left the threatening texts in his sent messages, and then laughed in his messages the next day because he knew I had read them.


Well-Known Member
There was a long documentary on the actual differences in the brains of Antisocials.

They also do not respond like normal people when shown horrible scenes of people getting hurt or even maimed. Most people have changes in blood pressure and breathing and show other distress signs when seeing these pictures. Antisocials show no changes. None at all. It doesn't bother them. People are objects to use. They dont feel anxious at all seeing hurt people. This is abnormal. And the rule with ASPD, per this documentary.

BUT they know how to charm people when it suits them, which is potentially a danger to those who trust them.

Although most don't murder, all serial killers have ASPD. They, according, to the documentary, have no conscience or empathy and at least in this documentary it said nobody has figured out how to instill a conscious or empathy in them and that for now there is no known treatment for them and most with ASPD have no real desire to change anyway. It was even suggested that if AsPD folks do therapy it is actually dangerous as they learn how to act normal so that they can hoodwink more people.

This was but one documentary, but if I thought anyone in my family could have it and felt the loved one could hurt anyone, he would be gone from my house at 18. Your other son doesn't need this risk, nor do you. Maybe he can stay with Dad while he goes to college. Smart people with ASPD are even more dangerous.

I think, but am not sure, that Narcicism is very close to ASPD and have low consciences and low empathy. Although I know they definitely made some progress treating a percentage of people with borderline who were very motivated (by using intensive DBT) I have not heard of narcissism, which is more serious, being successfully treated yet.

I am not in any way a therapist, but am fascinated by personality disorders and read up on the latest. They do not tend to get nicer since they have no conscience. That's at least what I have read.

I would not allow an antisocial or narcistic who scared me to come to my house, not even a child. I would visit, but in busy public places and disclose nothing about my financial life and basically talk about the weather. They need very little info about our lives. They don't need ideas on how to cheat us.

It is now believed these personality disorders ARE inherited, at least partly. So it makes sense he is like Dad.

Do protect yourself. Hide all bank accounts, credit cards, and sleep with locked doors for safe measure if he is in your home. Lock jewelry and other important things in a lock box.

Hugs and love. I am so sorry.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Hi there Hoping,

Welcome to the forum, you are in the right place, though I am very sorry for your situation.

I am a woman, married to a woman with two children from a previous heterosexual marriage. Both children are deeply troubled and the youngest nearly completed suicide on Labor Day. Feel free to read my previous posts, as I do not want to hijack your thread.

Your son has some similarities to my oldest stepson, known here as DS. We do not have residential custody. My wife and her ex-husband share joint legal custody. DS has essentially dropped out of school, is confirmed to be using marijuana regularly, is not compliant with prescription anti depressants and anti anxiety medications, is currently refusing to speak to my wife, and has a history of domestic violence. I found this board after he strangled my wife in our home - he was upset that she woke him from a nap at 2:30 in the afternoon. My wife sustained injuries to her eye which resolved on their own.

What does your significant other think of the situation? What is her relationship with him like - is it positive, close, loving? Perhaps she can be a mitigating influence if she is willing to take this on. I attempted this with my stepsons and it was effective to a point.

I am learning that even though I am stepmom, I am still an outsider in many ways. It can help me see the situation, arguably, more clearly, but it also means I cannot fully comprehend the bond between my wife and her children.

The reality is this: if your son lacks empathy and displays a callous disregard for the well-being of others, then there is likely nothing you can do except protect yourself and your family from his manipulations and potentially, his violence.

Has he ever been evaluated by a psychiatrist?


Well-Known Member
The biggest problem with evaluations are that both Antisocials and narcs are usually not interested in help. And psychiatry, being an inexact "science") relies a lot on the client telling the truth. They don't.

Also, both can be very charming when necessary for what they want.

If someone feels a grown child is dangerous, the best we can do is keep that person out of our home and see the person o ly in a crowded place and never allow access to bank accounts or credit cards. It is almost a good precaution to not take food from them. On the more extreme side, although it does happen, the person could try to poisen you. Just understand the possibilities and be careful.
Thank you, Bloodied & Somewhere --

Bloodied - Thank you for sharing your story. I think my girlfriend will especially appreciate the connection with someone who has walked in her shoes. Fortunately, there's been no violence as of yet, just threats of violence with homophobic slurs by text. To our faces, he's very supportive.

My girlfriend's relationship with my oldest is a bit tenuous to say the least. She has long suspected this darker side of my oldest, and as a result she doesn't trust him and it shows. When she first came into the picture, they were close for the first year or so. Now they set each other off. She remains very very close with my youngest, who is 15.

My girlfriend is working with her therapist on playing the role of stepmom effectively (I should note, we're engaged). Her therapist happens to be the same one I saw after my divorce, and she had suspicions of my ex; as I very naively described his behaviors (I thought he was "normal" - we had been together since we were 17), she noted things that were inappropriate that should have made me wary. While she never would have tried to diagnose my ex, the points she drew out of me made me curious, so I researched it. Now I can tell you rather definitively he displays classic NPD and Borderline (BPD) traits (random withdrawals from specific loved ones over petty reasons for extended periods, affairs, bizarre bouts of anger, extreme dieting). So this therapist is aware of my oldest's possible genetic pre-disposition, and she recommended we have him tested to let us know where he's coming from because it changes the way we parent him.

Side note... before the divorce, my ex had participated in a behavioral test at work that had been administered by a LCC. The LCC noted that his test results were peculiar (suggesting that he had tried to manipulate the test). My ex took that as a compliment, saying "no, I really am that good."

Somewhere - he's being tested March 8th by a psychologist who's been working as one of the top in the field for over 40 years. I'm told it's difficult to 1) manipulate the results of this test and 2) get one by on this particular dr.

And great - SCARY - point on the food / drink. That possibility has been in the back of my mind, along with access to my toothbrush, etc.


Well-Known Member
Hoping, feel free to send me a private message if you or your fiancee would like to communicate directly. Our kids are almost the same ages. Our oldest is 17.5 and youngest is also 15. We also have issues with the boys' father which may or may not be similar to your situation.

For years my wife and I assumed our younger son was essentially OK, and it was our oldest who needed help and support, therapy, medication, a 504 plan at school, etc. It turned out that we were very, very wrong to ignore the younger child. He was the one who wrote a suicide note and swallowed 50 beta blockers, causing a cardiac arrest and lifetime disability this fall, not his older brother. We had no idea that he was so unhappy and so desperate. He presented as a happy, fun-loving, energetic and gregarious kid.

He was clinically dead for a time, and he is permanently disabled now, although obviously we are beyond grateful that he survived. It looked very, very dark for several weeks. We are extremely lucky.

I say all of this to urge you not to overlook your younger, "normal" child. He is being affected by everything happening in the home. In our case, the oldest son has abused the younger child. There are many details we still don't know, and we may never know, but we do know that psychological and physical abuse occurred and may yet be occurring.

The quiet, compliant, obedient children need help as much as those who act out or otherwise display concerning traits. We learned the hard way. I would hate for any family to have to endure what mine has been through this year. So I urge you, if you are not already doing so, to make sure your youngest has an outlet that is all his own, time apart from his brother, his own identity and time with you and your fiancee. In my case, I was younger son's confidante for quite a while. I wouldn't be surprised if your fiancee fills a similar role in your youngest's world.

I encourage you to allow them this special relationship, and allow her to protect him if she can, to the extent that she is willing and you are comfortable. He is more vulnerable than you may realize.

Best to you and please keep us posted.
Bloodied - my heart breaks for you. I can't even imagine the strength it has taken for your family to get through the past months, much less the past several years.

Thank you so much for your words of hard-earned wisdom. My fiancee does have a very strong and loving relationship with the little guy. One-on-one time can be difficult but I hear you loudly: we'll both individually work extra hard to make sure he gets lots of individual attention.

Love and strength to you and your wife