Avoidant Personality Disorder is a mental health condition that can affect a patient in all aspects of life, from self-perception to perception of other people. It includes having intense anxiety, embarrassment, fear of rejection, distress at work, home and community, little or no feeling of pleasure and social withdrawal, among others. This is not the typical shyness ordinary people feel at certain occasions but more of severe social phobia.
According to psychiatrist, Martin Kantor, this personality disorder is a common yet often misunderstood mental condition in which a patient experiences severe anxiety in relationships and socializing with other people. There are four types of people with avoidant personality disorder.
These are the shy/social phobic avoidants who tend to withdraw from people to handle their anxiety attacks. The Shy Type I avoidants are people who find it difficult to form relationships and prefer to live in isolation. They prefer jobs that allow them to be in less contact with others. Social Phobic Type I, on the other hand, are those people who do not want to perform or speak in public.
These are the “mingles” avoidants, who, unlike the shy type, are able to form relationships or attend social functions and interact with others. However, these are individuals who find it difficult to maintain relationships for the fear of rejection and humiliation. There are also the Ambivalent Type II avoidants who are hopping from one relationship to the other or those who jump into relationships and then walk away when their partners become serious. Other Type II avoidants are the hypomanics who get into relationships, one after the other and who will just get into a relationship with anyone that comes along.
Referred to as the “Seven-year Itch” avoidants, these are people who can be in serious relationships and commit even at the start but only to stay after a certain period of time. These are individuals who will want out after years of being committed to another person. They are not afraid of socializing or being intimate but they are scared of continuance in relationships.
These are the dependent or co-dependent avoidant type of people who either find it hard to leave the family and end up living with parents and staying single. There are also the not so obvious avoidants who will get married but will hide their partners from the family to prevent hurting their parents.
What is Healthy Avoidance?
There are also people who distance themselves from others and prefer to live alone or engage in activities alone out of preference and not out of having the disorder.
What Causes Avoidant Personality Disorder?
According to research, the particular causes of this personality disorder are unknown but most of the experts say that there are several factors that influence this condition. Distancing or Avoidant Personality Disorder can be brought about by combining genetics, biological and social factors. A number of patients often have traumatic childhood experiences and felt rejected by parents and peers while growing up. When these happen, these children often will desire to be in relationships but find it difficult to nurture since they lack social skills.