I'm married to a woman who is diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. How can I cope?

My wife is psychopath exhibiting pretty much all signs of Antisocial Personality Disorder - pathological lying, deceitfulness, gas lighting, manipulation, callousness, etc. How can I cope with her? She has already gotten me in trouble with the law claiming that I'm a physically abusive person and that I'd beaten her. She is very intelligent (a medical doctor) who knows exactly how to manipulate the system to her advantage.
Asked by John

Hello, my name is Eric Velazquez and I am a Clinical Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your struggles with me. When I read the first lines of your question it dawned on me that your relationship may have gone through a lot of trauma. I wonder if there is love and respect in the relationship at this point. We cannot change others, the other person will change if they feel that they need to or if they have a desire to change. Personality disorders are difficult to treat as they are not mental illnesses they are part of who the person is.  She may have been raised by parents who were similar and be reacting to her trauma.

How about you? How are you coping with this? What do you want for yourself? Remember stress affects many things in our minds and bodies. Some of us may experience more stress than others and others may cope with stress differently. Things that cause negative stress are triggers (some people in 12 step groups call them temptations). Triggers can be people, thoughts, events, memories, etc.

How would you define stress? When do you feel more stressed out? What triggers you?
You may also be traumatized by her behavior and all that you have gone through and may need to speak to someone about this. 

Being Gentle

In our process of self-discovery and healing, we may undergo many different things. That is normal and okay. Recovery is never fully complete. It is a process that we may cope with for a long time. This is a difficult thing to accept and cope with. As humans, we may begin to think: “Fuck this, this means that I will be doing this forever!” Thinking in this manner is thinking in absolutes. This does not help at all. It is healthier to think that as people who are growing, we learn new things daily and can challenge ourselves to overcome things and grow.

When we as human beings are faced with the task of coping with emotional wounds or trauma, we may grow to a state of emotional healing that is greater than some in the rest of the population. We grow in awareness, mindfulness, and gratitude. We also grow in our emotional intelligence which is important if we are to have meaningful relationships.


Speaking about your experience and coping can help heal your wounds, your marriage, and your entire life.