There must be much about her that is compelling to you to manage this for 32 years. As you know, I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. I can only tell you that the behaviors you describe are not sufficient to diagnose someone as having an antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy) or mental illness. Of course, I may not have a complete picture so I suggest you research this more on the web. However, your wife does show some antisocial behaviors that must be very hard for the people around her to understand since they are so much in contrast to her friendly and fun-loving personality.
According to Encyclopedia.com website, “Antisocial behaviors are disruptive acts characterized by covert and overt hostility and intentional aggression toward others. Antisocial behaviors exist along a severity continuum and include repeated violations of social rules, defiance of authority and of the rights of others, deceitfulness, theft, and reckless disregard for self and others. Antisocial behavior can be identified in children as young as three or four years of age. If left unchecked these coercive behavior patterns will persist and escalate in severity over time, becoming a chronic behavioral disorder.”
One guess about her apparent lack of empathy and unwillingness to be wrong is that she is terrified of loss or loss of control and distances herself whenever either becomes a possibility. It’s a “you can’t fire me, I quit” approach to life that does fend off some kinds of pain but also costs her the closeness and intimacy that comes when people are there for each other in the hard times. Not willing to be wrong prevents a fight but also deprives her of the opportunity to grow. You’ve both adapted to her “rules” in order to stay married but your marriage is unlikely to be as intimate as it might otherwise be. I’m sad for both of you.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on April 21, 2008.