Sometimes people confuse asocial and antisocial personality types. But what are the real differences between asocial vs. antisocial?
Humans are social creatures. The way we survive is through connection to other people. At least, for most of us. Some individuals aren’t all that fond of other people. Sometimes people born with personality traits adverse to others and sometimes learned through hurt or abuse, some humans would rather be all by themselves than have the company of others. Asocial vs. antisocial personalities are both people who would rather be solo, but they are not the same. It is important to understand the distinctions.
Many people mistake antisocial and asocial personalities as being the same. In reality, they are very different.
Asocial vs. antisocial personalities
Antisocial personalities result in behaviors inappropriate and outside the moral scope of what is right. Typically caused by the repression of their own emotions, negative perspectives on life and bad life experiences, people who are antisocial avoid social interaction or being around other people on purpose.
What is antisocial personality?
Many things cause antisocial behavior, from autism to schizophrenia *a delusional psychiatric disorder* that can make someone completely socially inept. The cornerstone of antisocial behavior is how it harms and disrupts those surrounding the individual.
An antisocial person behaves in a manner not only negative, but can be a danger to others in society. Many exhibit violent behaviors to varying degrees. The abuse can be perpetrated toward other humans or animals.
#1 Antisocial personality styles lack social moral understanding. Especially understanding morals and appropriate behaviors. They often engage in things that hurt others like stealing, rape, and, sometimes, even murder. Seeming to lack empathy or conscience, they have no sense of what is right and wrong.
#2 Antisocial individuals cause chaos intentionally. In fact, almost all their behaviors are intended to hurt others. They are unable to feel guilt when they offend someone. It is usually due to their lack of empathetic feelings. Antisocial personalities are formed very early on in their development. They lack the moral compass that tells us right versus wrong.
Hallmarks of an asocial personality
Asocial behavior is different. Asocial personalities are people who experience difficulty in social situations due to feeling awkward or lacking the social skills necessary to get on with other people.
They don’t have a disdain for other people. They don’t intentionally want to hurt anyone. It is just a lack of both the skills and the confidence necessary to interact with others. To compensate, they avoid social situations altogether.
#1 An asocial lacks confidence. The asocial personality lacks self-confidence and human interaction skills.
#2 Asocial personalities are often nervous and uncertain how to behave in social circles. However, they aren’t harmful to anyone but themselves usually. Afraid of rejection, they prefer to be on their own rather than to be uncomfortable trying to get along with others. Instead of feeling the potential sting of rejection, they prefer to avoid people and spend most of their time alone.
#3 Asocial people feel being connected to other people as a burden. They expend more energy than the benefits are from being close to someone. They would rather do things on their own.
Often they have very few, if any, friends or close acquaintances in their lives. It is because they choose to be alone than to seek out the company of others. Because of this self-imposed isolation, they are viewed negatively by those around them.
#4 The asocial individual often chooses constructive ways to avoid interaction. Things like ritual behaviors or avoidance are typical, as are the inability to look someone in the eye or to acknowledge people when they are spoken to. Because being around others is so anxiety provoking for people who are asocial, they tend to be nervous and restless when in the company of others.
This behavior only further ostracizes them and makes them an outsider. Perpetuating the feelings of not being one of the group.
Causes and treatment of both conditions
Many causes lead to people being asocial. Things like autism and schizophrenia may make someone asocial, but also things events or disorders like abuse or depression. Because people with depression aren’t interested in the day to day activities of life, they infrequently make friends or form bonds with people.
Treatment for antisocial behavior
In general, antisocial behavior is a much more caustic personality disorder because it involves violence against others. Treatment for antisocial behavior is often necessary to stop them from hurting other people.
#1 A combination of psychotherapy and medication is often the first step to recovery for the antisocial individual. Because they have a very low threshold for frustration and stress, they tend to be compulsive and to act out, which ends in hurting other people.
#2 Another form of therapy for antisocial personality disorder is behavior modification. Since they often miss key human interaction skills such as empathy and societal norm awareness, therapy focuses on trying to teach the social mores typically built-in to personalities early on. Attempts are made to teach self-control and control their impulsivity, before it becomes a negative acting out.
#3 Stress reduction is also key to helping to curb the negative behaviors of the antisocial individual. Keeping them busy, but not putting them in stressful situations where frustration is induced, is often the key. But easier said than done.
Medications are given not to stop the behaviors, but rather to address the conditions that underlie their antisocial behaviors, like schizophrenia or depression. And, thereby, lessening the incidence of antisocial behaviors that lead to hurting others or being in trouble.
Treatment for asocial behavior
Asocial people, because they are normally not a danger to anyone around them, usually do not get the help that they need.
#1 The best way to help someone with asocial personality tendencies is to boost their self-confidence in social situations and gatherings. Therapy also centers around trying to help them to relate to their own emotions and get a handle on them before they overcome them, leading to the person shutting others out of their life as a preemptive strike.
#2 Asocial personalities benefit from role-playing and practice in the give and take of social interaction and conversation. The more they understand how to interact with people, the less they avoid being around others, and the less stress they experience when thrust into social gatherings. Taking away the anxiety is often the key to opening up the asocial individual. Allowing them to let others into their world instead of hiding from a fear of rejection.
Although both have a social interaction component, asocial vs. antisocial personalities are quite different. Antisocial individuals have a disdain for others and often engage in violence against people without any guilt or remorse, while the asocial needs guidance to navigate the social mores.