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Letting go of hope for a person’s recovery.

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  • #383060
    canary
    Participant

    Things are so much clearer after I learned that my ex has ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder).

    I understand why he did all the hurtful things to me and at first I had lots of resentment towards him but I understand that he never meant to hurt me.

    My question is, how do I let go of hope for a person’s recovery?

    I’ve cut all contact with him and it’s been a long journey, overall I’ve been happier because all I have been doing was taking care of my wellbeing.  But I find myself hoping and praying he’s doing well. I am brought to tears thinking about how much unconditional love I have for him, and all I wish is for him to be the person he once was, a person that was genuinely trying to be a better person and make his life better. Last time I spoke to him, he was at rock bottom. All I can do is pray for him, and I’m not sure if I should even do that because part of me is still holding onto the hope that he’ll be the happy person he once was, we’ll fall back in love and be in a relationship. Honestly, I hate it. I hate that hope I have. I know that the best thing for me is to move on with my life while still loving him from afar. But it’s incredibly difficult, I do so much for myself and I still find my mind wandering to him and hoping our paths will cross again.

    I really want the hope to leave. I’m not sure what to do anymore. I appreciate every response.

    #383064
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I learned that my ex has ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder)“-

    The ASPD diagnosis is characterized by a long-term pattern of irresponsibility: difficulties maintaining stable employment and fulfilling their social and financial obligations, failing to consider the consequences of their actions, having a history of impulsive, and often illegal behaviors, leading exploitative, unlawful, or parasitic lifestyles, often aggressive and hostile, with poorly regulated tempers, and can lash out violently with  They disregard and violate the rights of others so to exploit them, for their own gain and pleasure, and they have little to no guilt or remorse about doing so. Some deceive and exploit people by presenting superficial charm, others by intimidation and violence. (Wikipedia, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM, which came up with this diagnosis and defined it).

    all I wish is for him to be the person he once was, a person that was genuinely trying to be a better person and make his life better“-

    This suggests that you knew him in the past as a person who did not fit the ASPD diagnosis. In your previous thread of December 2020, you shared that your relationship with a man with whom you had a 7-month relationship (Aug 2019- April 20). You shared nothing at all that was asocial about him, referring to him as “my first love/soulmate.. a man who made me realize many things about love and life”.

    If in your current thread you are referring to the same man, then sometime between Jan 21-July 21, you retroactively “diagnosed” him yourself.. or learned that he received such diagnosis (?)

    part of me is still holding onto the hope.. we’ll fall back in love and be in a relationship. Honestly, I hate it. I hate that hope I have…. hoping our paths will cross again. I really want the hope to leave. I’m not sure what to do anymore. I appreciate every response“-

    I think that it is important that you are clear about who is the man that you are hoping to cross paths with again, who it is the man your hope is attached to: is he a bad man (exploits others, aggressive, lacking guilt and remorse for harming others for his gain and pleasure/ asocial)?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by anita.
    #383066
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    are you talking about the same man your other thread was about, with whom you were in a relationship from August 2019-April 2020?

    In your previous thread, you were mostly blaming yourself for the failure of the relationship (“I was suffering from severe depression & anxiety and it made me difficult to deal with which caused me to think that he did not truly love me”). But in the meanwhile it seems you’ve realized that he had issues too and that his behavior was hurtful (I understand why he did all the hurtful things to me).

    You say he is suffering from antisocial personality disorder – was he diagnosed by a medical doctor?

    You say a part of you is “still holding onto the hope that he’ll be the happy person he once was”, “a person that was genuinely trying to be a better person and make his life better.”

    I imagine that when you’re daydreaming and creating fake scenarios of you being together (you mentioned this in your previous thread), you’re focusing only on the good times and forgetting about the bad times when his behavior was hurtful. That’s quite common – we often see the person through rose-colored glasses because we fall in love with our idea of them, a romanticized version of them, instead of the real person. We want them so much that we overlook the bad sides. And the reason we want them so much is often because they remind us of one of our parents, whose love we’ve always craved but never really received.

    That could be why you feel so very attached to him, feeling that you love him unconditionally, no matter what he does to you and how he behaves.

    Can you relate to any of this?

     

    #383079
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I am referring to the same man in my previous thread and he confirmed his diagnosis with me. I did not state clearly but a lot of his actions in the past make sense because of his diagnosis.

    He is by no means an evil person because ASPD is different for everyone. He is a bad person, extremely arrogant only cares for himself, and forms little lies to others for his own gain. He would never intentionally hurt anyone innocent  because it does not bring him any joy. He lacks a lot of empathy which was the biggest issue in our relationship, he would never empathize with me or understand my situation because he was too worried about himself.

    The man my hope is attached to is the man he was before he hit rock bottom. He was genuinely trying to be a better person and believe it or not, he was selfless and kind. He wasn’t afraid to be emotional with me and was genuinely trying to understand me and empathize with me even if he has lots of trouble with it. I admire that about him but unfortunately, he does not care anymore. He does not care to be a better person or care about anyone but himself and this is why I have hope he’ll go back to being a genuine person and learn to be better.

    #383083
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    Yes I am referring to the same man in my previous post and his diagnosis was professional.

    I was blaming myself for the end of the relationship because I thought I was asking for too much and he would constantly say that I was complaining too much and I believed him. I now know that I was asking for the bare minimum in the relationship, but it was so difficult for him to give it to me. He has trouble with empathy and he wasn’t able to empathize with me because he was too worried about himself.

    I agree that I was seeing him through rose coloured glasses because I was seeing his potential and his past, not who is he right now.

    I believe I am not seeing him through rose coloured glasses anymore because I understand all the hurtful things hes done and I do not want him in my life. I simply want the best version of him in my life again which is why I have hope. And I do not want that hope because it’s holding me back.

    When I say I love him unconditionally, I do not mean romantically. I love him as a person, just like my loved ones in my life, but a part of me wants him to be the person he once was so we can be in a healthy relationship together. Only a small part of me wants that and is holding onto hope, but I know it’s not good to have that hope.

    I know I can still love someone and not want them in my life. And have unconditional love and care for them. For example, if something were to happen to someone I love unconditionally, I will drop everything for them. It does not necessarily mean romantic.

    Hope I cleared it up for you.

     

    #383095
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    He is by no means an evil person because ASPD is different for everyone“-

    – True: all individuals that are diagnosed with one disorder are not all the same. But to receive a diagnosis by a competent professional, all people diagnosed with the same diagnosis must have things in common. People diagnosed with personality disorders (such as Asocial Personality Disorder) have to have things in commo, not only during a short period of time in their lives, but for a long, long period of time, showing “a long term pattern” of certain attitudes and behaviors.

    The man my hope is attached to is the man he was before he hit rock bottom. He was genuinely trying to be a better person and believe it or not, he was selfless and kind… He.. was genuinely trying to understand me and empathize with me“- reads like he did not fit the ASPD before he hit bottom and therefore, his current attitudes and behaviors have been short-term, not the “long term pattern” of attitudes and behaviors required for a personality disorder diagnosis.

    * Also, people who do not fit the ASPD at all, when tired and stressed and otherwise pre-occupied, tend to not feel empathy for others.

    a part of me wants him to be the person he once was so we can be in a healthy relationship together“- as I understand it, he told you that he received an ASPD diagnosis from a health care professional, but he may have lied to you (“He.. forms little lies to others for his own gain“).

    I think that it would be an excellent idea if you ask him to arrange for a professional visit between the two of you and the professional who allegedly diagnosed him with ASPD. In that meeting, you can ask the diagnosing professional for all the information that you need to know regarding your ex’s individual ASPD symptoms, suggested treatment and prognosis. This can help you greatly in regard to keeping your hope that he will recover and that the two of you may have a healthy relationship, or “Letting go of hope”, as the title of your thread reads.

    anita

     

    #383102
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Of course he had told me he has ASPD symptoms since his childhood and has been professionally diagnosed. Also ASPD is evident in childhood and he knew about the symptoms but not the diagnosis at the time and did not care to look further into it.

    ASPD is different for everyone. It does not mean he can never be kind and selfless. He was just selective about it. It does not mean he can’t ever love. He was very kind to his loved ones including me while he has ASPD. Those two statements can coexist.

    He has told me about his childhood symptoms and they were always visible. He is able to feel cognitive empathy for others but very rarely. I think you may be a bit confused about his diagnosis but there is much more to it than I am saying.

    I know him very well and he had told me about his symptoms way before we even dated. Even if he did lie, I don’t understand why he would do that?

    He only told me because I asked him about his symptoms and how they were affecting me. He told me he found out recently because he was seeing a therapist and did not tell anyone else because he feels no need to. I was the only person he told because he said it felt like I needed to know given the circumstances. I just don’t understand what he wouldve gained from lying to me because he wanted nothing to do with me.

    I did mention him to seek support but he said he is not interested because he does not see his diagnosis to be an issue. He only cares for himself so he does not care about how it’s affecting others.

    I cannot be the one responsible to help him seek professional support because I have already done what I can. I can’t force someone to receive support when they do not want to themselves. We also don’t speak anymore.

    There is absolutely nothing I can do for him. So I’m trying to let go of hope I have for him.

    #383103
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    I now know that I was asking for the bare minimum in the relationship, but it was so difficult for him to give it to me. He has trouble with empathy and he wasn’t able to empathize with me because he was too worried about himself.

    It’s good you’ve realized it wasn’t you who was too demanding, but it was him who was self-centered and giving you very little.

    I simply want the best version of him in my life again which is why I have hope.

    Have you seen this best version of him? If I understood you well, he lacked empathy and was self-centered throughout your relationship. But you also say he was selfless and kind at some point, and tried to empathize with you “even if he had lots of trouble with it.”

    You say you knew about his symptoms (I assume his lack of empathy?) even before you dated. Based on everything you’ve written, does it mean that there was a period when he was trying to change and be a better person for you, a person with more understanding and more empathy? But he never really succeeded, and now he’s given up and is just selfish, “extremely arrogant, only cares for himself” and “does not care to be a better person” any more? He returned to his old self?

    You say you saw a potential in him, and this is what’s giving you hope. But since he’s given up on bettering himself, you know this hope is unreal and you want to let it go? Am I understanding it right?

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by TeaK.
    #383105
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    he had told me he has ASPD symptoms since his childhood and has been professionally diagnosed.. ASPD is evident in childhood “- sounds like he did try somehow, somewhat to get better.

    I don’t know if my following point is relevant, but here it is anyway: a person cannot be diagnosed with ASPD before the age of 18 (“Symptoms & Criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. According to the DSM-5, there are four diagnostic criterion.. B. The person is at least age 18”, Wikipedia).

    he said he… only cares for himself so he does not care about how it’s affecting others” – he said that he did not care about how his behavior was affecting you. I am sorry, canary.

    I cannot be the one responsible to help him seek professional support“- of course not.

    There is absolutely nothing I can do for him. So I’m trying to let go of hope I have for him“- the serenity prayer states in part: “Help me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”- you can’t change him (and shouldn’t try anymore), you can change your attitude, although it is difficult to accomplish (to give up hope to change him, and move on from him)- focus then on what you can change and post again anytime with your thoughts and feelings. I am here to reply to you further if/ when you post.

    anita

     

    #383107
    canary
    Participant

    Yes! You got it straight on 🙂

    Thanks for understanding. The best version of him to me, is when he was genuinely trying to be a better person and was happier with life. Not only was he doing it for me, but he was doing it for himself when we were just friends. I admired that about him. Seeing him as his old self is painful for me because I only wish the best for him, and I saw that potential in him, so that is why I have hope that I’d like to let go.

    #383108
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    He definitely did try to be more empathetic and caring, he is fully aware that he is a bad person and he even admits it. The thing is, he was trying to be better but now he just admits hes not a good person and does not care.

    It is worth noting he is above the age of 18 so his diagnosis is valid.

    “the serenity prayer states in part: “Help me to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”- you can’t change him (and shouldn’t try anymore), you can change your attitude, although it is difficult to accomplish (to give up hope to change him, and move on from him)- focus then on what you can change and post again anytime with your thoughts and feelings. I am here to reply to you further if/ when you post.”

    Thank you so much for this, I really needed this reminder that I am in control of my thoughts and actions. It is difficult to give up this hope and I have been trying for so long. I no longer have any desire to be with him (his current self) but I notice that deep down inside I have hope that he’ll go back to being his best self. I’m not sure if this hope will ever change or leave, because I am always praying for my loved ones to be their best self. I am trying my best.

    anita

    #383110
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canari:

    I mentioned that ASPD cannot be diagnosed for people under the age of 18, not because I was under the impression that he is younger than 18, but because you wrote: “he had told me he has ASPD symptoms since his childhood and has been professionally diagnosed“-

    – The ASPD diagnosis is not applicable to children, so he couldn’t have been diagnosed as such when he was under 18.

    “he is fully aware that he is a bad person and he even admits it. The thing is, he was trying to be better but now he just admits he’s not a good person and does not care”- maybe he is a good person who feels too much guilt and suffers a lot.

    You are welcome in regard to the Serenity Prayer.

    anita

     

    #383113
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    “maybe he is a good person who feels too much guilt and suffers a lot.”

    I’m not sure what to think about that. He has openly told me about his trauma and suffering, and he would share as much as he wanted about his feelings with me and I really appreciated that. To me, I think he was a genuinely good person even though he had lots of trouble being considerate. With his loved ones he was selfless and kind.

    He did admit to me that he does feel remorse for the things he’s said and done to me, that I can believe because of his physical behaviour, it seemed genuine.

    Right now, I don’t think of him as a good person.

    I have a lot of empathy and love for this person and I understand where his behaviour and actions come from. But I couldn’t tolerate it anymore because I was aware it was hurting me so much. This is why I have a false sense of hope for him that I would like to get rid of. I understand where he comes from and I hope he could go back to being the best version of himself. But unfortunately, this hope is holding me back from living my life and I am bothered by the thoughts I get of him finally realizing what he is doing.

    #383116
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I would like to read your recent post and reply when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #383117
    canary
    Participant

    No problem, reply when you feel like.

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