A personality disorder is a long-term pattern of behavior, thinking and emotions that causes distress and makes it difficult to function in everyday life. People with personality disorders find it hard to change their behavior or adapt to different situations. Today, we will focus on avoidant personality disorder specifically. Avoidant personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a long-standing pattern of restraint and avoidance in situations that are social or involving completion and achievement. People with this condition may not feel anxious but rely on emotional turmoil due to a habitual belief that it helps them avoid disaster. This condition may come out that way, or fill a victim with overwhelming fears around negative feedback and rejection that can lead a person to avoid social situations. Additionally, they may be preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they think they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful to these individuals that they will choose loneliness rather than risk trying to connect with others. At its core, avoidant personality disorder is centered on high neuroticism, and neuroticism leans very heavily toward avoid. Below, we are highlighting some of the signs and symptoms of avoidant personality disorder.
Avoids Significant Social Activities
People with avoidant personality disorder do not necessarily want to avoid people. These people actually value social interactions but the social interactions brings so such anxiety, because of the fear of being rejected, criticized, embarrassed, humiliated, or being judged and disapproved by other people. As a result, people with avoidant personality disorder may avoid engaging in any form of activity socially or in the workplace because that carries the risk of being criticized or rejected.
Sticks to Social Groups they Know Will Accept Them
For people with this disorder, the fear of rejection is so strong that they choose to keep a tight and small social group. They only stay within the social group they are familiar with like friends they have had for a long-time and family members. They are reluctant to join in any social or professional activities because of their deep and exaggerated feelings of inferiority and ineptitude.
Restrains Themselves in Intimate Relationships
People with avoidant personality disorder have an intense fear of rejection, which makes it very difficult to form or sustain relationships with partners. Lacking significant relationships and constantly finding reasons to avoid social interactions are key signs that someone may have avoidant personality disorder.
They Do Not Share Their Feelings Easily
As a result of the fear of criticism, people with avoidant personality disorder find it difficult to share feelings, even with loved ones.
They Consider Themselves Inferior to Others
People with avoidant personality disorder, feel as if they have an undefined or incomplete sense of self. Their concern over potential criticism leads them to constantly play back other people’s words and actions in their head.
They are Hypersensitive to Negative Feedback
An avoidant is only comfortable alone or in a familiar social situation where there is no chance they will feel criticized or humiliated in any way for taking a wrong turn or getting lost along the way in their journey through life. In their minds, any social stumble or negative feedback is deeply humiliating.
Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder
The cause of avoidant personality disorder is unknown. Genetics and environmental factors, such as rejection by a parent or peers, may play a role in the development of the condition.
Social Impact of Avoidant Personality Disorder
Isolation and Loneliness
Avoidant personality disorder people might hesitate to make friends or date because they feel strongly that prospects will reject you. This belief gets in the way of forming fulfilling relationships. A lack of social connection can leave the avoidant feeling alone and isolated. It can even contribute to depression.
Challenges at School and Work
Fear of negative feedback and trouble connecting with others can eventually affect an avoidant performance at work or school.
Treatment for Avoidant Personality Disorder
The main form of treatment for avoidant personality disorder is long-term psychological therapy such as psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
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