People with avoidant personality disorder are preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these individuals will choose to be lonely rather than risk trying to connect with others.
- Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
- Self-imposed social isolation
- Extreme shyness in social situations, though feels a strong desire for close relationships
- Avoids interpersonal relationships
- Aversion to physical contact
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Severe low self-esteem
- Self loathing
- Mistrust of others
- Extreme shyness/timidity
- Emotional distancing related to intimacy
- Highly self-conscious
- Self-critical about their problems relating to others
- Problems in occupational functioning
- Lonely self-perception
- Feeling inferior to others
- Chronic substance abuse/dependence
- Investment in fixed fantasies
I can tick most of the boxes on this, although I've never been diagnosed.
A lot of the symptomology fits well with Learned Helplessness and Attachment Theory, with an imprinted internal working model that persists and reinforces itself. In my case this was the near-simultanous death of my mother and alloparents as a child, leading to pretty severe withdrawal until my late teens, and moderated somewhat since, although I still have my problems. Won't go too far into the personal side, you get the picture I hope. Withdrawal seemed to work for a long time, so there is a lot of neurological and behavioural 'habit' in place.
I don't know about support resources; I've tried using script rewriting, NLP etc, but found these didn't cut it when an 'attack' was on me. One trick I did find useful is what Buddhism calls mettabhavana, which means cultivation of compassion. Think of a secure, ideal-ish relationship, if you have one, and just feel that, and try and feel loving/loved. Next do the same with someone you have no affect one way or the other for.
I found this helpful. I suspect it helps entrain your brain to feeling trust and loved, which is no bad thing, even if you don't buy the religion behind it. You can experience trust and anxiety states in a controlled manner...
The object (I think) is to prove it wrong repeatedly enough that the lesson sticks; ultimately this can only be done by the risk of trying to connect.
It's worth the risk.
Yours in sympathy,
For sharing this, I had never heard of this condition and it describes my behaviour very well. I had been thinking more towards Autism for me as a young relative has been diagnosed recently, in reality I just muddle through without trying to get help but looking at the list almost made me laugh, it was nearly a personal profile.
I would tick nearly all them boxes too. Thanks for sharing.
Hmmmm...I used to tick most of those boxes in my teenage years. I guess I sort of grew more and more outgoing when I entered the workplace from college and left home.
How is this different from the awkward stage that many people go through before they become adults? Is it a continuation of that awkwardness that people do not rectify?
Fair point. But rectifying behaviours is easier for some than others, dependent on both the initial severity, and the effort they make. Given that Avoiants will be essentially retarded in social development, the call to 'grow up' is both true, and unhelpful. I'd like to be more social and outgoing, I make an effort to be, but I'm simultaneously quite aware that it doesn't come 'naturally'.
I regard Avoidance as a developmental disorder, with a strong 'learned helplessness' component, that is self-reinforcing. Not dwelling on it, and trying rather than accepting as a 'this is me' identity helps imo. I don't think its just teen awkwardness left as a mental weed, think its a bit more than that. But yeh. Rectify.
Didn't mean to offend by my poor choice of words there, sorry.
I have got very frustrated with myself over the years and have frequently told myself to try to grow up.
The part of the list of behaviours which relates to wanting emotional ties but not being able to engage with new people or deepen the bond with people that I already know is quite pertinent to me. I would try once in a while to go out with colleagues for instance but am delighted when I can get away after a while and heaven forbid if anyone asked me to go anywhere on a one on one basis. The strange thing is that I seem quite a gregarious person, so over the years I have given some people the wrong impression and they then found it strange when I didn't accept their invitations to various events. I coped with this quite pathetically by lying about going elsewhere or needing to be up early the next day etc. I ended up making out that I was some sort of fun person who had lots of friends and too much stuff to do. I have one friend who I see about once a month, I am ok with this as I literally am used to her and she knows my way of living. All of these behaviours have gotten me into some strange situations, one which comes to mind was when a guy came to work in my compnay and we hit it off well, after a while he said that he considered me to be one of his best friends and would I consider coming to his wedding, I felt happy and said that I love to go and be with him and his new
wife on that special day etc. That evening, while driving home I had to pull in to side of the road in a panic to phone him to say that I'd changed my mind and there was no way that I could come, such a strong reaction I have never felt before.
Sorry to go on too much but I hope that if anyone else feels that way, at least on reading this you'll know you're not alone. Cheers.
Please don't "self-diagnose" yourself using "diagnostic criteria" posted on the internet..
If you really think you have a problem, see a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist.
I felt on reflection that my post had veered toward being too much of my personal experiences and not enough of being informative and a discussion of the pertinent issue. I am experienced enough to know not to self diagnose and have consulted professionals when needed.
Well here the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV-TR criteria
- Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
- Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
- Shows restraint initiating intimate relationships because of the fear of being ashamed, ridiculed, or rejected due to severe low self-worth.
- Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
- Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
- Views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
- Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing
People with severe AvPD may be so inhibited they avoid interaction even on a forum. I'm a fairly high functioning Avoidant and my condition has lessened alot in the past four months.I'm hoping with time I will fit into the Avoidant style categorary but I probably will always a few of these Avoidant traits,even if they are very mild.Soul searching and self analysis helps as does C.B.T.
Most psycho-therapist will not diagnose you. Instead they tend to deal with your issues in a holistic manner. A psychiatrist will but unless your're willing to pay alot of money be prepared for a very long wait.( The health care system in this country is a disgrace so for a little known Personality Disorder we can't hope for much when the Cancer waiting list is so long.)
I just had to have a rant about the health service!
Anyway yes never jump to a conclusion before the premises leads to the actual conclusion.
Can i add few points like
1] Day dreaming
2] Fear of being noticed
3] Hating social gathering and events
This all i noticed in my cousin who is under treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder. Its Painful and tiring.I was searching some process to treat APD in internet and came across Avoidant personality disorder,Where 3 ways of treating APD is given. I would appreciate if any of you or your friends/Family member have ever tried those ways.I believe sharing is caring. Help is appreciable and thanks in advance.
Well id just like to say i showed nearly all the symptoms posted some less severe than others up until a week or two ago.
When i hit 30 i got sick of my depression over my lack of work and general lifestyle because of that and decided to do something about it.
I believe the final key to unlocking my motivation was just accepting myself and knowing i am worth the effort.
This acceptance of myself came through reading up on right and left brain dominant traits.Ive been told its not a science and i agree.
As people learn to use different sides for different things.
However i show traits for nearly all right side and these traits i had always thought as me being useless and unable to be as "good " with coping with the world.
Now that i understand exaclty how i learn differently and think differently and see differently i really really appreciate my perspective and view on reality and now myself.
Wether i am correct about right and left brain traits or its just a massive coincedence i dont really care.The product of my research is me being extremely happy and way more comfortable in myself.I can talk to people much easier without blushing or breaking into a sweat.I feel almost like they are more nervous than me now that i am not focussed onmyself anymore as much.
One of those traits is supposedly a right sided persons lack of being able to think and act ina liniear fashion.It makes schedules impossible to keep because you feel it is conflicting with your creativity(random nature).
I used to be so annopyed at myself because i couldnt do what others were and keep a schedule and get things done.I would leave everything pass me by and didnt know why.
Now i know i need to work around my random nature and i often have a mental list of things i need done and dont stress over it at all.
Because i dont stress and love myself more i have motivation now to go outside! when i go out sh1t gets done now!
I found myself in the art gallery the other day looking at painting 200 years old and came back with a print to reinforce those feelings of accomplishment.
While i believe people need meds fo some things and certain therapies, i also wonder how many people are similar to me goign through courses of drugs like i did and feeling hopeless in themselves...and will never learn to do what i did because according to science i am either crazy and it fdosnt work or i am one big coincedence.
Surely there can be something to learn or is aleady known about my type of situation.
Oh on top of my social phobias ive had since i was in my teens i also stopped smoking and other addictive substances.hope his inspres someone at least to try what i did.Of course therapy with a professional is preferable.I just wish the professionals applied this theory or considered it for people like me.
The wait to see a psychiatrist in the public (HSE) mental health service should be no longer than 4 weeks in most parts of the country. Where I work and in many other areas, the maximum wait after referral by a GP is 2 weeks.
I don't know what you are referring to, Shinji.
What theory? There are well developed treatments for social phobia which are effective ie CBT. There are group and individual treatments and support groups for Social Phobia too.