Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) is also referred to as Anxious Personality Disorder and is characterized by extreme shyness, social inhibition, too much sensitivity to criticism and feeling of unworthiness, among others. These perceptions on oneself and the fear of rejection and being hurt drive a person with this disorder to shun social contacts and instead tend to isolate himself or herself from others. Although this person also longs to belong and be in relationships, he or she fears rejection and often leave the relationship when commitment sets in.
This pattern is manifested in early childhood and can be determined with the presence of four or more of these indications;
- This person is not up to being involved with other people or pursuing another unless he or she has the assurance of getting positive results or acceptance.
- There is a dislike for occupational activities that entail interaction with people for the fear of being criticized, rejected and getting disapproved.
- Uncomfortable with interpersonal situations because of fear of incompetence or inadequacy.
- Manifests fear of being intimate with a partner or being in an intimate relationship at all because of the fear of being rejected, ridiculed or embarrassed.
- Too much focus on rejection and being criticized in social interactions and situations.
- Reluctance to try new things and accept changes for fear of being embarrassed.
- The person has low self-esteem and feels he or she is inferior to others.
Correct diagnosis is important to treat any personality disorder since patients, like those with AvPD, differ in traits and characteristics despite having the same disorder. Knowing what to expect and identifying these traits can make it easier for people to deal with loved ones or other people who suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder.
1. A person who has AvPD has a habit or withdrawing or pulling away from relationships when intimacy is becoming evident. This is because he or she worries about being rejected, hurt and ridiculed.
2. The words “Never” and “Always” are often used by an avoidant person when it comes to making declaration statements. These words are often used by the person but do not necessarily mean that they are true at the time they are mentioned.
3. This person also has the trait of having negative notions when it comes to situations. That is, when situations arise, he or she will always think of the worst thing that can happen. There are so much anxiety and negative assumptions even if it is already not called for.
4. Always finding fault or someone to blame is also one of the traits of an avoidant person. When a problem is at hand, this person is quick to putting the blame on someone else instead of focusing on how to resolve the situation.
5. A person who suffers from AvPD is one who is extremely shy in social situations and often finds it awkward to be with many people who are new to him or her. This is a person who finds it uncomfortable to be in social gatherings for the fear of being looked-down upon and ridiculed.
6. Another habit attributed to this personality disorder is the involvement in arguments or discussions in circles that are almost unending, with no resolutions at all. This is because the avoidant person will be insisting on his or her negative views and without listening to what the other is saying because it does not conform to his or her opinion.
7. The avoidant person often gets into a relationship or prefers to be with someone who shows narcissistic and antisocial behavior. This is because he or she fears intimacy and too much attention. Also, this person is not also into showing affection, a trait that antisocials and narcissists do not have problems with because they are only focused on themselves.
8. The person with this personality disorder also has a tendency to only concentrate on things that agree or go with his or her views and not on things that go against what he or she believes in.
9. As a defense mechanism, this person can exhibit denial when it comes to recalling painful experiences. This is because they want to erase traumatic events in his or her life from memory and simply pretend it did not take place.
10. An avoidant person, despite showing less intimacy, can be too attached to another individual and be clingy in a relationship, wanting to know every move of the other and what he or she is doing.
11. Mistrust is also a trait manifested in Avoidant Personality Disorder. The patient finds it extremely difficult to trust his or her partner because he or she feels unworthy of being loved and given attention. This is why pursuing an avoidant person can be hard since the other will have to prove and affirm his or her love to the avoidant partner.
12. An avoidant person is aware of his or her discomfort in being in social situations but when other people points this out even in a teasing manner, the avoidant person will find it offensive and will feel humiliated and embarrassed since he or she cannot take negative criticisms quite well.
13. A person with Avoidant Personality Disorder has negative self-regard and will often be anxious in the company of other people. This in turn, will be expressed by people he or she interacts with and consequently, the avoidant person will confirm self-doubt.
14. An avoidant person will not prefer to be with other people and this isolation can end up in depression.
15. Since an avoidant person has ambivalent feelings about relationships, fearing intimacy but desiring to be in relationships, he or she has the tendency to fantasize about ideal relationships and escape to a happier and more secure place, so to speak.
Avoidant Personality Disorder can be treated although this does not mean the person will overcome his or her shyness. It is important to be aware if a person or loved one has this personality disorder not only to better understand the individual but to be able to manage the disorder and determine if the relationship is healthy for the people involved.