What is avoidant personality disorder?
Avoidant personality disorder is a type of psychological disorder that is characterized by extremely anxious about being criticized by other people. Thus, people with avoidant personality avoid social interaction. If interacting with others, they are extremely nervous, and sensitive to negative comments. During a conversation, they put extra care into their words not to say something that would lead to embarrassment.
As a result, people with this condition tend to avoid jobs that require interaction with other people. They prefer isolated jobs such as freelancer, and or, park rangers.
People with this personality disorder want to engage romantic relationship. However, they feel like being unworthy of such relationship.
How avoidant personality disorder differs from a social anxiety disorder?
Both disorders have something in common – the fear of social interaction. However, people with avoidant personality disorder have more severe social anxiety.
The other difference is the way of perceiving relationship. People with social anxiety want to engage in a relationship. While people with an avoidant personality disorder do not.
Symptoms of avoidant personality disorder
People with this personality disorder tend to:
- Avoid jobs that require interpersonal activities
- Reluctant to be with other people
- Reluctant to engage in any kind of relationship
- Feel inadequate in any given social situation
- Feel inferior to others
- Avoid exploring new activities due to the fear of failure that may lead to ridiculousness
How avoidant personality develops?
Causes of avoidant personality disorder
There are many determinants of avoidant personality disorder. Studies suggest that it runs in a family. Twin studies found it. In addition, people who experienced rejection during childhood were more likely to develop an avoidant personality. Children who are rejected by their parents may form a dysfunctional thinking pattern. They might develop a perception that, “If my parents reject me, surely, other people may also do.”
However, experts also believe that the cause of such personality disorder can be complex. It could be a combination of family, social and genetic factors.
Treatment of avoidant personality disorder
Cognitive and behavioral therapies are proven helpful for people who have an avoidant personality disorder. The purpose of these therapies is to gradually expose the clients into a social setting and allow them to have social contact. And more importantly, these therapies aim to reshape individual’s automatic negative thinking pattern about social interactions.
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I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.