Friday, October 14, 2016

MLM and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Today I will be talking about antisocial personality disorder which I will shorten to APD. APD is not the same as someone being antisocial in a group setting. Instead it has to do with a disregard for others and the law when someone is trying to achieve their goals. This is very similar to my article on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), but the main difference is NPD strives for admiration and has a need for grandiosity whereas APD tends to be more malicious in nature. I will go into more details about their distinct differences with several quotes throughout this post.

Antisocial Personality Disorder: Antisocial personality disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a long-standing pattern of disregard for other people’s rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. A person with antisocial personality disorder (APD) often feels little or no empathy toward other people, and doesn’t see the problem in bending or breaking the law for their own needs or wants. The disorder usually begins in childhood or as a teen and continues into a person’s adult life. (

As we discussed in the case of NPD it is nearly impossible to diagnose at an early age, because the brain has not developed enough yet. However, APD is a condition that starts from a young age, and tends to be more aggressive or impulsive. A great example of APD vs. NPD is, a person going for the cookies in the cookie jar. The person with NPD goes for the cookies, because they feel they deserve the cookies, and likes the idea that others will be jealous because they have cookies. Whereas the person with APD goes for the cookies, because they want them and will stop at nothing to get them. They will use trickery and deceit and do not care who gets hurt in the process, and they do not care how other people view them.

Another wonderful quote from psych central on APD is: 

  Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder frequently lack empathy and tend to be callous,         cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others. They may have an             inflated  and arrogant self-appraisal (e.g., feel that ordinary work is beneath them or lack a realistic     concern  about their current problems or their future) and may be excessively opinionated, self-           assured, or  cocky. They may display a glib, superficial charm and can be quite voluble and verbally   facile (e.g., using technical terms or jargon that might impress someone who is unfamiliar with the     topic).

Let's begin to unpack this quote in relationship to MLM and note the similarities.

MLMers lack empathy and are very cynical to the struggles of downlines. In fact, they place the entirety of the blame on the downline for their "failures" in the business, and berate them with guilt and nagging to further emphasize their disgust. MLMers do not take responsibility for the failures of their team or try to address the downline's issues in a healthy and constructive manner. They instead want to make sure their downline feels worthless.

Do MLMers believe J-O-B's are bad??? Rhetorical question, as that is part of their mantra for recruitment. MLMers have been defending the idea that jobs are bad for decades, and that anyone who has a job can't have freedom or live the life they want to live. They have a false sense of entitlement and believe they were destined for greatness, and that some outside force has been holding them back from achieving their rightful place in the world. Any work that isn't MLM is considered beneath them, and they believe the MLM dreams are a practical goal for success.

Are MLMers "opinionated, self-assured, or cocky"? The only thing wrong with that statement is the word "or". MLMers are all of these adjectives and more, because they have to be in order to keep their fervor for the business. They are constantly bombarded with reasons to stop doing MLM such as, losing money, losing friendships, and losing family. This means their convictions must be stronger than those forces trying to pull them away in order to continue pursuing the MLM.

Are MLMers "glib, superficial, voluble, and verbally facile"? Absolutely, because they are trained to be salespersons on steroids. They must be dressed perfectly, smile incessantly, talk quickly and authoritatively. They must master the perfect outward appearance to even have a glimmer of hope to attract someone to their cause, and also to please upline's expectations.

In summation, do MLMers have APD? As a whole, no -- but it stems from the originals teaching their personality disorders to those below them. The owners and leaders have a genetic predisposition to this condition, but most MLMers and their downline don't. You have to have APD to be successful in MLM, because there are too many overwhelming forces pulling an MLMer to quit. A quick cursory search on google will show the failure rates of MLM and I believe it has a correlation to people not having this disorder.

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. Amway and all MLMs divide the world into "winners" and "losers." The winners are those with an essentially amoral drive that propels them forward. Anything or anyone in their path is ignored and crushed.

    "Losers" are those whose energy is real, but who will not do certain things just for advancement and success. They will not ignore their families, or rip off their down-line, or lie to get new prospects recruited. In the eyes of Amway and all other MLMs, such people will never be winners, and are to be despised.

    Capitalism has always had a certain amoral streak to it, but MLMs are instances of capitalism on steroids and amphetamines. The sheer greed, the absolute urge to triumph, the daily viciousness and arrogance, are appalling in the extreme.

    Are these things also instances of diagnosable mental disorders? Sure. That's what makes Amway so sickeningly evil. Amway exploits certain diseased conditions in order to use them as a means of making money. And it explicitly encourages those persons with a more advanced and developed mental disorder to rip off others who don't suffer from the disorder.

    But then again, this is a particularly American condition. As Leo Durocher said, "Nice guys finish last." As long as Americans believe that and teach it, we'll be afflicted with MLMs.

    1. Anonymous,

      Thank you for your well articulated response. I wanted to make sure I could address a couple of key points you made.

      1. You said, "Amway and all MLMs divide the world into "winners" and "losers." The winners are those with an essentially amoral drive that propels them forward. Anything or anyone in their path is ignored and crushed."

      I intend to do a future post on this subject involving social identity theory (us vs. them). I believe it applies to many different parts of life, and we are naturally inclined to have concrete boundaries as grey areas make us very uncomfortable. MLM's do a great job of taking advantage of our genetic psychology and this is another example of their expert use of manipulation.

      2. "Capitalism has always had a certain amoral streak to it, but MLMs are instances of capitalism on steroids and amphetamines."

      I believe you are absolutely correct about capitalism, and Churchill famously said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the
      inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” I haven't discussed the ridiculous spread of wealth going to the top 1% in MLM, because that isn't the focus of this blog, but it is an important figure to note, and is the largest spread of wealth in comparison to every other business (if you can even call it a business). This brings up two critical thoughts. Do we really have pure capitalism where the government isn't involved at all? Do MLMs represent capitalism more than most other companies because they don't have the government influence (i.e. labor laws, minimum wage, voluntary exchange etc.)?

      3. "But then again, this is a particularly American condition. As Leo Durocher said, "Nice guys finish last." As long as Americans believe that and teach it, we'll be afflicted with MLMs."

      I think it is more so a particularly Western issue (America and Europe), because our value system is based on money. Money is key to power, success, and freedom. If we can find a way to change the value system, then you won't see these types of scams taking place. I believe in Bali they have a different social hierarchy based on birth rather than money, which I believe is also inherently flawed, but there is a very different economic system. They have an economic system based on social prestige rather than commerce. The main point I'm trying to make is this isn't just an American issue (as we can see MLM runs rampant throughout the globe), and there are other ways to make a value system. However, I don't believe it is particularly better, or offer as much opportunity.