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I’m Worried My Son May Inherit Mental Illness

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From Canada: My ex-husband is a sociopath/narcissist/bipolar/ASPD. He exhibits traits of all these disorders but has actually been diagnosed as a sociopath and bipolar. Anyway…on to my question. I am now concerned about my 4-year old son and his development and worrying about him turning out like his father. He seems to be in his own little world and doesn’t respond to commands or questions well and doesn’t understand social norms. I read that this may be signs of Aspergers Syndrome and I am having him tested. Just wondering if someone with Asperger’s may tend to develop an anti social personality overtime.

I’m Worried My Son May Inherit Mental Illness

Answered by on -


I’m very glad you are having your son tested. If he is on the autism spectrum, early treatment can make all the difference.

There is no evidence that people with Aspergers are more likely than anyone else to develop anti-social personality disorder. Their limited ability to read social cues can make it appear like a person with Aspergers doesn’t care about others but usually they care very much. Kids with Aspergers do want to have friends. They just don’t always know how. That’s one of the reasons that early treatment is so important. Any skills we learn when we are young tend to stick.

If you haven’t already, you might want to talk to the people who are doing the testing about whether it is wise to limit his father’s contact with him. I’m more concerned about the possibility that he’ll learn socially inappropriate behaviors than that he will inherit them.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I’m Worried My Son May Inherit Mental Illness

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I’m Worried My Son May Inherit Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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