When your loved one acts funny

Apr 05, 2019

“I always hear: “you can’t live like this”, “you’re not following the rules”, “be more like others already”. It irritates me a lot, I don’t understand why these rules even exist and why do I have to be like others. I do what I want and how I want, and take orders from no one.

Why do I have to live like a sheep with no personal opinion? Oh no, that isn’t going to happen! You go to school, listen to your parents, enter a university, get married, go to work in the morning and go home in the evening, where you have a swarm of rugrats and a hysterical wife. You are deep in debt, with a 30-year mortgage, and you pretend to be happy. That lasts till your old age and then your life is over. Is that what you want me to be? No, play your own games. I work when I want, I rest when I want, I take money from those who have it. Why, God himself told us to share! So I decide for myself what to do, not a president, parents or “normal people”.

You think I’m ashamed? Well I’m not! I can say what I want, do what I want and enjoy my life to the fullest, while you are stuck in your herds.”

– Petr, 35

This story is a perfect example of a thought process specific to people with deviant behavior, one that deviates from social, moral and legal norms. Deviant, or asocial and inadequate behavior can be criminal or can manifest itself in other forms. For example, alcohol, drug and gaming addictions are also considered to be asocial modes of behavior. A person who breaks social rules receives punishment in the form of isolation, treatment, compulsory correction etc.

Let’s find out what we can consider to be deviant behavior, why people adopt such a mode and how to overcome this deviation yourself or help your loved one to change.

Forms of deviant behavior

It may sound strange, but deviation can be good and bad. For example, self-sacrifice, heroism, austerity, genius and high intelligence level are all manifestations of personality that go beyond social stereotypes and the idea of “normal”. People with such qualities are undeniably beneficial to society.

It has already been proven that genius and mental deviations go hand in hand. Arguably a person with a healthy psyche is incapable of developing exceptional abilities and committing heroic deeds. [1]

However, the situation with negative deviant behavior is a bit different. It includes the following manifestations:

  • crimes;
  • alcohol addiction;
  • drug addiction
  • freeloading;
  • vagrancy;
  • engaging in prostitution;
  • gambling addiction;
  • psychological disorders;
  • suicide;
  • terrorism;
  • vandalism.

This list is not complete, but you can already see that asocial behavior does not equal crime, and people displaying it are not a rare sight in our society.

Moreover, scientists are still arguing about the definition of deviation, and different schools of thought offer different approaches to distinguishing and correcting asocial behavior.

The famous psychiatrist Cesar Korolenko made a distinction between irregular and destructive behavior. [2] He offered his own classification of deviant behavior:

  1. Irregular behavior (actions that go beyond social stereotypes and benefit social development);
  2. Destructive behavior:
  • oriented outwards (breaking social norms):
    • addictive (use and abuse of certain substances or specific activities to escape reality and achieve a desirable state),
    • antisocial (breaking the laws and infringing the rights of other people);
  • oriented inwards (towards personal degradation: suicidal, conforming, narcissistic, bigoted, autistic thinking).

Signs of deviant behavior

All deviations have common features that help us distinguish them from normal behavior:

  • They prompt a negative reaction from the majority of people, the so-called social sanctions.
  • They severely affect other people, threatening their health, safety, property and even life. They can also involve self-injurious behavior, which brings harm to the person themselves. Addictions are an example of this.
  • Deviation appears when it becomes a repeated, continuous pattern that manifests itself over a period of time.
  • Finally, the inadequate conduct is followed by social alienation and the loss of the ability to adapt to surrounding conditions. This means that a deviant person will behave in the same way, regardless of the circumstances and surroundings. [7]

Moreover, deviations can be age and gender specific. Deviant behavior of men and women differs in a similar way to deviant behavior of children and adults.

Causes of deviant behavior

There are three main groups of the causes for inadequate behavior: biological, psychological and social. Let’s look at them in more detail.


In the nineteenth century an Italian psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso postulated that deviant behavior may have a genetic background. His statement covered mostly criminogenic tendencies. Currently, scientists consider chromosome anomalies in fetus development to be the biological causes of deviation. People with such a disorder are inclined to display behavior that deviates from social norms, as they themselves have deviated from normal since birth. Such people can be recognized by peculiarities in their appearance. [3]


Some people are prone to asocial behavior due to their character and psychological features. [4]

Also, they can display psychological disorders, like neurasthenia and psychopathy, since childhood. Their nerve system gets easily agitated, which means that they are more likely to have inadequate reactions to external stimuli. For example, a psychopath can regularly resort to physical abuse without a grain of remorse. People with such disorders, surely, require the constant support from a therapist, as they are unable to change their behavior on their own, and general treatment will not work.

Another cause comes from a person’s character. It gradually develops during their lifetime and can be affected by various factors, starting with the relationship with parents.

If the parents have neglected and never expressed love to their child, that child will naturally become estranged from their relatives as a way to protect themselves. Such a mode of behavior can then be applied to the rest of society. A person antagonizes themselves and other people and protests against established norms.

Moreover, a neglected child will most likely never develop a proper set of moral values. Even after reaching adulthood such people are prone to achieving their goals by any means possible, including violence and a parasitic lifestyle.

Submissive and subservient people can also perform asocial actions. They can easily be made “evil” by the promise of imaginary profits. Such people become “infected” with deviation from their influential peers.


There are many social causes that prompt people to adopt asocial behavior. For example, a French sociologist Émile Durkheim proposed an anomy theory. According to it, the intensive development of a society brings a shift in a system of values. This leads to a situation when the majority of society has not yet adapted to new cultural norms, while the old ones are not relevant anymore. A state of cultural vacuum created by this becomes a perfect medium for deviation. This happened, for example, in the nineties in Russia after the fall of Soviet Union. [3]

Another cause for deviant behavior in adults comes from social, technological and natural cataclysms, including wars. They destroy the human psyche and disorient the whole society. In such conditions people become prone to committing crimes, especially because law enforcement authorities are more focused on eliminating the catastrophe.

Social inequality is one of the most prominent causes for deviant behavior. Sociologists have already said that crime levels drop as the state and country develop. The disposition to asocial behavior directly depends on the social standing of the individual. Poor people have fewer opportunities to fulfill their basic needs, so in extreme situations a person can allow themselves to use immoral means to achieve their goals.

Also, children who live in social conditions where violence and other immoral actions are considered normal are more likely to develop a deviant mode of behavior. Social environment plays a great role in human development.

Preventing asocial behavior

It is best to work on preventing deviations on multiple levels: family, social and state. Let’s see what can be done at each of these.

On a family level

It is more efficient to work on preventing deviations at a young age. It has already been proven that many people who commit crimes had a deviant background since childhood.

Ideally, parents should pay a lot of attention to their child, carefully listen to them, communicate with them, notice any deviations in their behavior, know their friends and teach the child about social norms. They should also set an example of proper behavior themselves. They should never raise a hand to their child, or that child may develop a mindset that violence is normal. It is important to help a child develop an understanding of boundaries and the ability to control their actions.

Schools can also arrange classes about preventing addictions and other antisocial behavior. [5]

On a state level

Ideally, the state should also work on preventing deviations. The number of people with asocial behavior directly depends on their social well-being. If the state supports low-income families, provides equal access to education and healthcare, supports the elderly and provides workplaces, then crime levels go down. Here people will become less prone to addictions, and their overall morale will improve.

On society level

Finally, we should note that society itself can properly regulate itself. The point is, human activity is not expressed in society as a whole, but rather in its smaller parts, such as family, work  school circle, friendship groups etc. Each of these groups has its own unspoken rules which a person must accept if they wish to be a part of it. For example, small nations and communities display a lower level of deviation than big cities. One important aspect of this is that all people in such communities know and depend upon each other, which is why all members need to feel that they belong to their people.

The same thing happens in subcultures, from youth subcultures to more serious ones, like scientific or business societies. Members share the same values such as the understanding of what is wrong and what is right, as well as the idea of their exclusiveness – in a good sense of course. After all, in order to become a part of a subculture, a person must already have a certain set of values, knowledge and connections. A person who treasures their affiliation with such an “elite” circle, will likely not go against its values. [6]

Correcting deviant behavior

Different manifestations of antisocial behavior require different approaches. The most severe ones are treated by psychiatrists. However, even at the early stages a person can help themselves, if they are able to   recognize the problem and decide to solve it.

If you notice that your friend or relative shows signs of deviant behavior, you should recommend treatment as soon as possible, before the problem goes beyond the limits. One of the ways to correct deviant behavior is the 7Spsy behavior modification technique.

The reasons for asocial behavior are hidden in a person’s subconsciousness, in their mindset. For example, “I have the right to do so” or “this is the only way to achieve my goals”. In other words, deviation is a mindset, which means that in order to correct such behavior you should change your mindset first. This is what 7Spsy is focused upon. The course is designed to be taken remotely. Our method will help you figure out the causes for asocial behavior and change your mindset to a more positive one. In just 2-6 weeks you will master a healthy mode of behavior, stop bothering others and learn appropriate conduct for any situation.


Information from this website cannot be used for self-therapy and self-diagnostics. 

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