Tragically, this quite closely matches my experience with somebody I suspect suffers from ASPD.
During the time I was close to her it was near impossible to identify ASPD with any degree of certainty, what it seemed to me was that she suffers from a number of personality disorders. She seemed very much to be swinging between Narcissism, Borderline, Bipolar, Obsessive-compulsive and Avoidant.
One thing which alluded to her being Borderline rather than ASPD was that she was also severely bulimic, binging for up to six hours a day. More than anything, at the time, I tried to “nail down” what I was dealing with because with her everything seemed to be a moving target. What had allowed her to feel safe on one day was an affront the next. I felt that if only I knew what I was dealing with I would have a better idea of what to expect, and how to deal with the switches in behavior. I felt if I could recognize and identify a behavior pattern I would be able to formulate an effective way to handle it. One of her psychologists, at least three of which I’m aware, had asked me “How do you manage her?” and at the time the question hadn’t made any sense to me. At the time she was behaving herself very well, even being charming and supportive, which I now assume was merely a ruse to lure me closer. She had bragged that her managers at work were unable to manage her and had all, over the span of her career to that point, given up. I, however, was in a situation in which giving up was simply not an available option. I had to learn some way to do what her psychologist had alluded to.
I was also able to get to know her mother fairly well, and the line “Wanting something or wanting to avoid something is sufficient justification for acting in any way needed to obtain it or avoid it” is an almost perfect description of her, although it doesn’t sum her up. Having had to adapt to being in a family unit she simply transferred this inclination to her children, often citing that her second daughter “wanted it”, whatever “it” was on that occasion, and that was enough reason to just go ahead regardless of the implications to others. Oddly, to me at least, she would fiercely protect her younger daughter from her oldest on those many occasions on which the “I want it” justification put the youngest at risk. I often felt that her mother’s situational ethics had played a strong role in her own disorder.
Her mother was an only child, which in my opinion isn’t always a good start, and also had the heritage of a family known for exacting atrocities against black people in those times when they still held the power to do so. Her mother had pushed her into gymnastics and ballet in extremity. As a child she was not given any opportunity to be a child, forced to follow a strictly regimented schedule for six days of every week and berated by both the instructors and her mother for any perceived failings. She was four years old at the time this began. Perceived failings were, weight gain, inability to perform because of injury almost regardless of seriousness. Her father was seemingly kind and empathetic, and I had assumed would try to compensate for her mother’s extreme expectations and forcible methods of making those expectations known, but when the relationship eventually broke down, he seemed to have no more difficulty in walking away than did any of them.
The relationship had begun to break down almost as soon as it was started, she had over the years formed a knitting circle, a ring of affirmation and permission, affirmation not given because of caring or empathy but rather because permission was the currency expected in return. The technique used to gain permission from the knitting circle was typically based on a smear campaign, fabricated infringements of anybody who was not part of the circle were traded in the circle to gain permission to exact punishment or justified exploitation. This relationship had never stood any chance, no relationship had. Sometimes the smear campaign was against her father who was now divorced from her mother, and the day that her younger sister had moved out she had become fair game, when her mother wasn’t present to defend herself she too became fair game. This insidious co-dependant ring, coined “the knitting circle” by her ex, required fuel and maintenance in order to keep the “contract writing” flowing.
The Article about ASPD here: AntiSocial Personality