Thinking Errors Commonly Associated In Antisocial Behaviors
1. Excuse Making - Excuses are made by the antisocial for anything and everything. Whenever held accountable for actions, excuses are often given. Excuses are a means of finding a reason to justify his behavior.
Examples: "I'm dumb - I couldn't help", "I don't know", "I was never loved", "My family was poor", "My family was rich", "She/he did not say stop"
2. Blaming – Blaming is an excuse to not solve a problem and is used by the antisocial to excuse his behavior and build up resentment toward someone else for "causing" whatever has happened.
Examples: "I couldn't do it because he got in my way", "The trouble with you is you're always looking at me in a critical way", "She/he should have told someone sooner", "She/he wanted me to..."
Blaming is often seen in what seems like ordinary conversation, that is, the antisocial may be observing someone else's behavior which has nothing to do with his/her, and still make blaming comments about other people. This often generates excitement for the antisocial and is used to put others down, while he/she builds himself/herself up.
3. Justifying – Justifying is the antisocial’s way of explaining the reason for things.
Examples: "If you can, I can", "I was so lonely I had to...", "She/he yelled at me, so that is why I hit", "No one listens to me so that's why I can't do anything"
The person with antisocial thinking finds justification for any and all issues that he does not wish to own responsibility for.
4. Redefining – Redefining is shifting the focus of an issue to avoid solving a problem.
Question - "Why are you running up and down the hall?"
Answer - "I'm not running, I am just keeping time to the music in my head."
Question - "Who put this paper here?"
Answer - "It wasn't there yesterday."
Question - "Where are the books that I borrowed from the library, and left on this desk?"
Answer - "John was hanging around here this morning."
Redefining is used as a power play to get the focus off the person in question. It is also indicative of ineffective thinking; not dealing with the problem at hand.
5. Superoptimism - "I think; therefore it is." The superoptimistic antisocial decides that because he wants some things to be a certain way, or thinks it will be a certain way, therefore it is. This permits the antisocial to function according to what he wants, rather than according to the facts of the situation.
Examples: If the antisocial expects someone to visit them at their house, they may not take into account that the person may have other plans, or simply the arrangements haven't been made. They fully expect the person to show up. When the person doesn't show up, this gives the antisocial an excuse to explode, be angry, or have a tantrum. Superoptimistic people also believe that they can be famous, popular, strong, movie stars, rich, etc. simply by wishing it, and never take into account the practical steps along the way.
6. Lying - Lying is the most commonly know characteristic of antisocial thinking. Lying is done by all antisocials in different ways at different times. Lying is a power play and is often used to confuse, distort, and make fools of other people. There are three basic kinds of lies:
commission - making things up that are simply not true
omission - saying partly what is so, but leaving out major sections
assent - making believe that one agrees with someone else, or pretending, or approving of others ideas to look good when in fact, the person has no intention of going along with this, or does not really agree. The same antisocial at different times can look like he is lying and be telling the truth, can look like he is not lying and be lying, can look like he is lying, and in fact, not be lying. This creates turmoil around him, and people are never sure what is going on.
7. "Making Fools Of" - This is the effect of lying on others, and "taking others with them." Antisocials make fools of others by agreeing to do things, and not following through, by saying things they don't mean, by setting others up to fight, by inviting frustrations and letting people down, and in numerous other ways. Making fools of others is a major ploy for antisocials and a major behavior common to all. Antisocials delight in making fools of professional people, such as therapists, lawyers, judges, anyone they can take in , telling stories to "get over on".
8. Build-up - To an antisocial, everything they perceive as positive, they use to build themselves up, and they generally do this by putting others down. In fact, almost everything said to an antisocial that is not seen as a build-up, is seen as a put down. The antisocial can take insignificant events, such as someone not speaking to them on the street, and assume that this means they are either despised by this other person, or that they are better than the other person. The thinking that goes along with this is that the antisocial is always right and everyone else is wrong.
9. Assuming - The antisocial spends a great deal of time assuming what others think, what others feel, what others are doing. He/she uses this assumption in service of whatever criminal activity or behavior he decides to engage in.
Examples: The antisocial assumes that other people don't like him. This gives him an excuse to blow up, be angry or rob, molest, not pay his taxes, or any other thing he has in mind. Assuming takes place every day and the antisocial makes assumptions about whatever he wishes in order to support his antisocial behavior.
10. "I'm Unique" - The antisocial believes that he is unique and special, that no one else is like him, and so any information that is applied to other people simply doesn't affect him. The beliefs going along with this are things such as "I know everything and I can handle things alone." "I don't need anyone, no one, no understands me anyway." "No one can tell me what to do." It is common in a prison for a criminal to believe that everyone else are criminals, but not him. A child molester may think - "I'm not like all those other dirty child molesters; I'm different."
11. Ingratiating - The antisocial often overdoes being nice to others, and going out of his way to act interested in other people. This is phony and always has a hidden price tag. The antisocial is always out to find out what he can get from other people, how he can manipulate them, use them, or control the situation to his own purpose.
12. Fragmented Personality - "If I like it, okay; if not, to hell with it." It is very common for the antisocial to attend church on Sunday, and beat someone up, or rob someone on Tuesday, and then attend church again on Wednesday. To the antisocial, there is no inconsistency in this behavior. He believes he is a good person, and is justified in whatever he does. His criminal acts are seen as things that he deserves to do, or get, or own, or possess, or control. He never considers the inconsistency between these behaviors.
13. Minimizing - The antisocial often minimizes his behavior and actions by talking about it in such a way that is seems insignificant. This is not accounting for the significance of his behavior. Minimizing is particularly seen when the antisocial is confronted on some irresponsible behavior.
Examples: "I only molested three children, and I could have molested a lot more, but I didn't." "I didn't hand in the paper when it was due, but I handed in everything else, so it's no big deal."
14. Vagueness - The antisocial is typically unclear and non-specific to avoid being pinned down on a particular issue. He is non-committable, and uses words, phrases, and talks in a way to look good to others, but not to commit himself to anything.
Examples: Vague words such as: "I more or less thinks so", "I guess", "probably", "maybe", "I might", "I'm not sure about this", "It possibly was", etc.
15. Anger - Anger is one of the only emotions the antisocial ever expresses. This is not real anger most of the time, (in fact 99% of the time), but is used to control others, or to use power in a situation. The antisocial has unrealistic expectation about the people in the world, and controls others and situations by aggression, blaming, isolation, giving up, power plays, anything he can do to freeze the situation and make it as he wishes.
16. Power Plays - The antisocial uses power plays whenever he isn't getting his way in a situation; such as walking out of a room during a disagreement, giving up responsibilities, or not completing a job that he agrees to do, refusing to listen or hear what someone else has to say, organizing people to be angry at others in his support.
17. Victim Playing - This is a major role that the antisocial takes. The underlying issue is aggression and power plays. However, the antisocial acts as if they are unable to think, solve problems, or do anything for themselves; they often whine, shuffle, look woebegone, helpless, as if they are too stupid to do anything for themselves. The belief is that if he doesn't get whatever he wants, he is the victim. Since the basic belief is that he is good and others are bad, he justifies his victim playing at all times. The position of victim playing is used to strike back and make fools of others. The victim player transacts with others to invite either criticism, or rescue, from those around him.
18. Drama-Excitement - Since the antisocial does not live a real life in the sense of getting his needs met directly, he does anything and everything for drama and excitement instead. To the antisocial, boredom is the main evil. Excitement is generated at anyone's expense. Whereas other people may get involved in less-than-straight transactions with others in order to feel sad, or hurt, or self-righteous; the antisocial involves himself in activities for the sheer drama and excitement of this. It is seen as exciting, therefore, for an antisocial to watch other people be angry, to set up fights, watch houses burn, to get any kind of action going.
19. Closed Channel - The antisocial is selective, closed-minded and self-righteous. The responsible person is open, receptive, and self critical. Part of the antisocials thinking is that he must keep part of his life secret, to divert issues. He believes that no one is smarter than him, and would never think that he is wrong in a situation.
20. Ownership - "If I want it, it's mine." The antisocial believes that anything he wants - people, possessions are his simply by his wanting it. He is therefore jealous if anyone acts in some way that he dislikes. He treats people as pawns. He also uses his thinking to steal from others anything that he wants.
21. Image - The antisocial's image of a true male is tough and rough and mean and puts other people down. He often has ideas of males as adventurers, cowboys, pirates, etc. The antisocial walks and talks in such a way to support his image - the other image the antisocial plays is that of the victim. The person walks and talks and acts in such a way to support his victim image.
22. Grandiosity - Grandiosity is minimizing or maximizing the significance of an issue, and it justifies not solving the problem.
Examples: "I was too scared to do anything else but sit." "I'm the best there is, no one else can get in my way."
23. Procrastinate - To put off from day to day; to delay; to defer to a future time. To delay action.
Example: "I will bring up the problem tomorrow. I just don't feel like discussing it now."
Modified list and examples from the original work of Samenow & Yokelson