Can someone with antisocial personality disorder feel empathy? 

Someone with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) will usually feel little or no empathy towards other people and will see little issues in breaking or bending the rule of law for their own personal gain

What is Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD)?

Antisocial personality disorder is a chronic condition of mental health, known informally as sociopathy, marked by disrespect for others ‘ emotions and rights.

 Some people seem to have no empathy for others and without any remorse or feelings of guilt will cause them harm.

An individual may have a chronic mental health condition called antisocial personality disorder when this activity becomes widespread.

Individuals with antisocial personality disorder are sometimes referred to as sociopaths.

What causes antisocial personality disorder? 

Scientists think that genetics has a role to play, because having a parent with the condition places another in threat.

Data on adopted children with disordered parents shows the environment can also be a factor, such as adolescents experiencing poor discipline, having negative role models, or not being taught to respect others ‘ rights.

There is also an increased risk for the offspring of an alcoholic parent.

For around 3 % of the U.S. population, antisocial personality disorder exists. The disorder exists six times more often in men than in women.

At the age of 11, 80% of people with the disorder may develop symptoms.

Symptoms of Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD)

The most typical symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include disrespect for others ‘ freedoms and a pervasive history of abusing them.

A individual must have at least three of the following symptoms in order to receive a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder:

  •  Performing numerous unlawful acts
  • Cheating or to blaming others for profit or enjoyment
  • Impulsive behaviour 
  •  Repeated physical challenges or threats 
  • Disrespect for the safety of oneself or others 
  • Irresponsibility in the workforce or in financial obligations 
  • Lack of remorse in the misconduct of others

Treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder

Treating antisocial personality disorder may be difficult.

Since the symptoms appear to occur in the early 20s of an individual, people may find symptoms changing on their own as they hit their 40s and beyond.

Psychotherapy is typically the recommended treatment for antisocial personality disorder.

A therapist can help a patient overcome negative behaviours and improve interpersonal skills that may be missing.

The first aim is often simply to reduce impulsive behaviours that can lead to physical injury or incarceration.

Family therapy may be a useful option for teaching family members and improving communication, and group therapy may also be of benefit when confined to people with the disorder.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not licensed any medication for the treatment of antisocial personality disorder.

Often drugs can be used to help reduce offensive or impulsive behaviour.

Mood stabilisers or antidepressants may be included in medications.

Do people with ASPD feel emotion?

 Indeed, they do, but in a shallower way. It’s clear to see that psychopaths can feel resentment, intense anger or hate towards others.

They tend to experience really disruptive, negative feelings, and they have a very difficult time having positive feelings when the condition is very severe.

For example, when you go out with them, a lot of aspd individuals will become a horrible nightmare.

When they move away from their comfort zone, the individuals, environments or circumstances they dominate- they become more nervous and this will be more evident in their every word or manner.

Note that they are parasitic which implies that if they show interest or passion in you, they will either prey on your energy and enthusiasm for anything, or they will exploit you or manipulate you based on the severity of the disorder.  

It needs to be noted that even if you have dominant psychopathy, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have any feelings.

You have a variety of feelings, but you perceive them and respond to them differently than neurotypics.


DSM makes the following notification about Emphathy and ASPD (DSM V):

  1. “Empathy: Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others; lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another. A lack of concern. Not a lack of. And a lack of, does that by definition mean a complete absence of? I don’t think so. So far the proven scientific part. Now the theoretical – non proven – part.”

ASPD, along with all the other personality disorders of the B-cluster, is partly nature, partly nurture.

Can someone with ASPD have feelings of empathy?

 People with antisocial personality disorder also lack empathy and appear to be callous, cruel, and disregarding others ‘ emotions, privileges, and sufferings. 

They may have an exaggerated and narcissistic self-assessment (e.g. thinking that ordinary job is under them or lacking rational consideration for their current issues or their future) and may be over-opinioned, self-assured, or arrogant. 

They may exhibit superficial charm and may be very voluble and verbally quick (e.g., utilizing technical terms or vocabulary that might intimidate anyone inexperienced with the subject matter).

Attributes that have been generally included in conventional definitions of psychopathy include lack of empathy, inflated self-assessment, and superficial charm, and can especially differentiate antisocial personality disorder in jail or forensic environments where violent, underage, or offensive behaviours are likely to be unspecific.

Such people in their sexual relationships may also be reckless and exploitative.

Helpful Resources

2. Sociopath: Understand Antisocial Personality Disorder


FAQs about the question “ Can someone with antisocial personality disorder feel empathy “

Q1. What is a sociopath? 

Those with antisocial disorder of behaviour are able to use deceit or coercion to get what they want, including power or money. They can bluff people to fulfil their wishes. They can rob or use aggressive behaviour. They do not display any sorrow or shame even when they are identified with this specific kind behaviour. They suffer from a lack of empathy, and without support, they can not understand other people’s feelings. They do tend to act impulsively, which result in convictions and criminal charges or other socially problematic behaviours.

Q2. Is Aspd a psychopath?

In brief, “psychopath” is a clinical term, and “sociopath” is not a clinical term. … Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) is a personality disorder which is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Q3. Is psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder the same?

Psychopathy has usually been described as a disorder mainly of personality and, in particular, behaviour. Even though it is frequently used interchangeably, the diagnostic constructs of psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder, and dissocial personality disorder are different.

Q4. At What Age Can Antisocial Personality Disorder Be Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, a person must be at least 18 years of age. As many of the symptoms of the two conditions are identical, there must also be evidence that they qualify for a diagnosis of behavioural disorder before the age of 15. Often, if actions arise attributable to signs of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder will not be issued.

Q5. When a Loved One Has Antisocial Personality Disorder

It is common to feel depressed if you have a loved one with antisocial personality. Recalling that lack of remorse or empathy is a sign of the disorder will help you set realistic standards as to how your loved one might progress. Most individuals with antisocial personality disorder begin to form positive relationships through care, be more open, and respect other people’s limits. Many won’t, so members of the family will have to decide how to react to this challenge. Another interesting fact is that married adults with antisocial personality disorder tend to improve over time compared to single persons.

If you have someone with antisocial personality disorder in your family, make sure that you also consider your own health and safety. Family members find it helpful to engage in individual counselling themselves to help control feelings and learn to set proper boundaries.

Do not hesitate to contact a psychiatrist or a mental health professional should you believe you may have antisocial personality disorder or a family one who does. They can provide you with knowledge and provide you with the right resources to help you face this hurdle.

Also, it is suggested that you visit a family therapist who have ability work with family setting and who can focus both each member of the system as well as the whole family to be able to see the big picture.

Q6. How much of the disorder is caused by what element is widely discussed? 

Psychopathy is considered to be physiologically related to the Amygdala, a gland in the head that relates to fear. Individuals with a related history of violent activity rating 25 or higher in the PCL-R tend on average to have significantly reduced microstructural consistency between the white matter linking the amygdala and the orbitofrontal cortex (such as the uncinate fasciculus).

The research indicates that the degree of dysfunction was significantly associated with the degree of psychopathy and may justify problematic actions. In fact, variations in the amygdala have been correlated in children with “callous-unemotional” characteristics. (wikipedia)

Seeing that all B-cluster personality disorders have the same cause, mental management and impulse control problems, my hypothesis is based on the idea that all people eventually afflicted by any of these conditions begin as normal embryos in any degree.

As this is a ‘ natural ‘ shift in the course of growth, a genetic pre-set for it is likely to exist.

All the other embryos tend to develop in a normal way and their emotive development begins becoming disturbed just following they are bodily much further developed. At least  before all of the body parts have developed and a consciousness will not start to form itself within the unborn child.

Physiologically, therefore, there is nothing that would prevent the child from becoming an emotionally stable person. They’re not, though. In the first years after conception, the brain develops the fastest, but continues to develop until early adulthood. 

It can be hypothesized that a child’s temperament is influenced by incidents already in the womb.Once the infant is born and starts to be raised, the kid is influenced every day. Some things can go wrong over a span of 5 years despite parents’ best intention. 


Here we have briefly mentioned how Antisocial Personality Disorder can effect a patient’s feeling and how it can impact one’s life.

For further you could read Antisocial Personality Disorder: The Ultimate Guide to Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention (Personality Disorders), which covers various topics concerning ASPD, such as reputation defending, extreme egocentrism, and psychotherapy.

As well as the causes of ASPD, further details like  treatment methods and various types of therapy are presented in this book.