Have you recently experienced someone acting completely out of line or losing
control over themselves?
In Psychiatry, patterns of repetitive behavior during
childhood and adolescence where the social norms or boundaries of others are
violated are called ‘conduct disorder’. I am not a particular fan of this term
as it reminds me a bit of authoritarian teachers and governments. But what it
actually describes if being used by psychiatrists and therapists, is a symptom
range of over-aggressive behavior, bullying, lying, cruel behavior toward people
and pets, destructive behavior, vandalism and stealing, that should give you an
idea of what it actually means.
Often, affected children come from a difficult family
background with abusive, aggressive or addicted parents. If the underlying
problems aren’t resolved, these children might develop more serious personality
disorders as adults: particularly antisocial personality disorder, bipolar
disorders or psychopathy. All of these increase the risk to cause or experience
physical injuries, to suffer from depression, addiction, incarceration or even
homicide and suicide, as they often intimidate others or initiate physical
Antisocial persons don’t feel much of an inhibition to use
weapons, and they have a tendency to deceit, con, steal or destroy property.
While their behavior might seem confident and decisive at the outside, they can
in fact feel very alone, anxious and hopeless, which often leads to alcohol
abuse, depression or other problems.
One cause of the aggressive behavior of antisocial persons
can be that they developed a ‘proactive’ but in fact mostly inappropriate,
extreme form of self protection or need it as a valve to get rid of the
emotional tensions they feel, not only inside themselves but also towards
others. Unfortunately, in the case of psychopathic personality traits, this
particular kind of relief is often combined with a lack of empathy and
sympathetic concern for others, which reduces the hurdles to impose emotional or
physical force on others. Thus, it is usually a good idea to avoid any open
conflict with such aggressors. They would be unable to empathize with their
victim or keep the conflict on a verbal level, let alone resolve it in a
constructive manner. The best approach is usually to let them cool off and give
them space and to give it another try at another day.
Live the happy life you planned! Richard L.
Fellner is head of the Pattaya Counseling Center in Soi Khopai and
offers consultations in English and German languages (after making
appointments at 0854 370 470).