The shift to Avoidant Disorder - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2019, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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The shift to Avoidant Disorder

I can't be the only one who's experienced this! According to the web, the incidence rate is ~2% in the general adult population. And yet I know of only one person on here who has this disorder.

To explain. When I was younger I was anxious of total strangers, eg when taking the train etc.

Whereas now, I dgaf about strangers and I'm only terrified of people finding out about my empty life. To give an example, I had to quit my last job after 1 year, cause I felt that everyone had caught on to my friend-less, don't-have-a-life existence.

Obviously, the first is social anxiety, but the 2nd is something completely different (and infinitely worse) I think.

So do we have any other avoidance-disorder sufferers in here?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2019, 08:10 PM
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I'm sure there are others here - but I don't know the criteria for diagnosis. I joined a Facebook group a while ago for this but it was even more depressing than here. I'm sure there's a lot of overlap and most people (me included) wouldn't actually know the difference.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 08:36 PM
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2019, 04:59 PM
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I have avoidant personality disorder, self diagnosed. I met another that has it and one I think has it on here before. I haven't been on here in maybe over a year though. And I haven't been talking very rarely in the last few years. But I'm sure there are more on here, but they just don't know they have it.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 06:53 PM
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 09:12 PM
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Does this mean avoiding any feared situation?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2019, 10:07 PM
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I dunno, I don't think there is a proper diagnosis available for me

I don't fit avoidant, although I could easily be considered avpd due to my general desire to avoid people.

Take this for an example, I'm not afraid of the judgment people would give me if they found I was friendless. I would be more so afraid of what they could do with that information, I would be afraid of how they could use it to get an upper hand on me. To me, I really don't care what they thought about it, just what they would do because of it. Is that AVPD? I don't know, I haven't a clue what that is. Although I really don't care about the friendless situation, I don't think people could do very much to me with that sort of information.

It could also mean I'm a Scorpio, which I am Who knows?

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 03:35 AM
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Are you asking about AvPD or something else?

I probably have some symptoms of AvPD but the personality disorder I seem to fit the most is schizoid but I can see myself in both and I believe it's a spectrum (that's the best way I can describe my symptomology over the years.) At one point schizoid and AvPD were considered the same disorder as well (along with schizotypal PD.) And also related to the schizophrenia spectrum. But it's also very similar to high functioning autism which I also have many symptoms of, but I think I'm more socially aware than the average autistic person I've come across, but I do have some peculiarities in how I socialise (moreso in online communication since I barely bother to mask stuff these days,) and I have the special interests thing, repetitive behaviour, and sensory issues, and I think my body language comes across as odd to at least some people since a few have told me that either they see it as masculine or weird. Also schizoid PD and autism are often co-morbid as well soo. Also both AvPD and schizoid are avoidant disorders behaviourally speaking (avoidant behaviour is common in several disorders.)

discussion about the connection of schizoid with AvPD:

While some believe that avoidant personality is separable diagnostic entity within the schizophrenia-spectrum based on the focus on social anxiety symptoms and failure to meet the full clinical picture of a schizoid disorder (Fogelson et al., 2007), a deeper look at Avoidant pathology may reveal the presence of schizoid or schizotypal traits, usually to a lesser degree. Interestingly, avoidant personality traits were shown to predict performance on neurocognitive measures in the first-degree relatives of schizophrenia (Fogelson, et al, 2010). However, avoidant behavior can occur with other personality disorders due to the fact that avoidance is at its most basic, a defensive tactic.
Mentions overlap with schizophrenia:

Schizoid spectrum disorders share many of the phenomenological issues of schizophrenia, though to a far lesser degree (Laing, 1960). Many key schizoid traits, such as social withdrawal, oscillation in and out of relationships, and denial of dependency needs are also observed in schizophrenic patients. More broadly, phenomenological commonalities with psychosis include the disruption of relationships to others in the world and to the identity of the self, identification with inner fantasy objects, trouble maintaining relationships, limited range of emotion, omnipotence, loss of inner self and heavy reliance on the false self, feelings of emptiness, difficulty sustaining autonomy and identity, psychotic fears of implosion and engulfment, and lack of embodied experience (Laing, 1960).
Think this describes some of the main differences (neurotic includes AvPD here in the first image):

Patients that most frequently qualify for an avoidant diagnosis are often in touch with their neediness for others, but often run from opportunities for intimacy because they fear rejection, feelings of inadequacy, abandonment and failure in these situations. Accordingly these individuals often experience high levels of depression and anxiety in their lives, and a good deal of shame, embarrassment, and feelings of inferiority in relationship to other. These occurs only to a limited degree in schizoid and schizotypal presentations where neediness for others is deeply denied or split off, and fears of rejection and embarrassment do not often materialize because relationships are avoided and the emotional implications of interpersonal associations are dismissed. Anxiety and depression do occur, but usually only arise when connection to others is in some way unavoidable
Like schizoid personalities, avoidant personalities and schizotypal personalities also appear shy and reserved, have difficulty expressing anger, can be passive and unassertive, and fear humiliation. Most patients in the schizoid spectrum are likely to lack close relationships and feel like an outsider or a misfit, and all schizoid spectrum disorders oscillate between wanting relationship and fearing relationship, though this struggle is usually easier to see in the avoidant, rather than the schizoid or schizotypal personalities. The avoidant personality differs mainly in that these individuals are capable of warming up to others once an accepting relationship has been established, whereas the schizoid and schizotypal presentations tend to experience strong anxiety within relationships that does not easily abate.

Also I agree with this. The dsm is trash lol their criteria for schizoid may as well be comfortable introversion how is that a personality disorder?:

The DSM eliminates the focus on aspects of subjective experience, particularly aspects like defense, as well as subjective sources of experience, attachment, affect, or development (McWilliams, 2011b). The largest problem with DSM and ICD criteria seems to be that they tend to take schizoid disconnection at face value (Kernberg, 1984) and ignore the longing for friendship, love, and attachment (Klein, 1995), prompting therapists to believe positive therapeutic outcome is limited. Moreover these criteria underestimate the psychological pain these patients may experience, emphasizing lack of affect instead and ignoring their experience of depression and despondency, relationship avoidance as a result of fear of embarrassment or humiliation, and inhibitions about seeking gratification, and high levels of anxiety (Shedler & Westen, 2004). Other aspects of schizoid functioning missing from these criteria include the schizoid’s introversion, loneliness, oscillation in and out of relationships, denial of need, inability to express anger, preoccupation with idiosyncratic activities, and omnipotent self-image.

When I first looked into it I thought 'hm no this doesn't really fit, my mental state is a bit more complicated than what basically amounts to 'pathological disinterest in relationships for unclear reasons'' and some of the symptoms like not feeling anger ever (I have emotional dysregulation issues sometimes these days,) and being indifferent to praise and criticism don't fit anyway, so I dismissed it until more recently when I started reading more psychological stuff (mostly autism related but other stuff too,) and the literature on schizoid PD, and about the history of the diagnoses and it's overlap with AvPD and also some psychologist's thoughts who work with schizoid patients and related to most of the stuff they were describing. I think the dsm criteria is mostly because they don't get access to schizoid patients thoughts accurately very often so it's formed purely based on their external impression. Because it's a difficult personality type to develop a therapeutic relationship with.

Guntrip (1969) pointed out that schizoid’s primary attachment and libidinal investment seems to be to himself, given that object relationships have outwardly been abandoned. Klein (1995) refers to this fundamental state of non-attachment and the associated object relationship as the ‘non-attachment unit,’ but simultaneously acknowledges that these patients have as much drive to attach as everyone else. Given his dismissive stance and relative comfort with being alone, the schizoid is not usually burdened by abandonment anxiety in ordinary situations. Nonetheless, given that the
number of other people they feel safe to connect with are precious and few, the loss of an important attachment can be secretly devastating (McWilliams, 2006). Klein (1995) notes that the schizoid’s nonattachment leads to dysphoric affects that he calls ‘abandonment depression,’ including emptiness and rage that fill the void of their isolation. Deep longing for friendship and love are also present and occasionally override the dismissive stance.

Indeed, dismissive-avoidant patients still have a fundamental need to attach and to belong to a social group, no matter how much they may deny this fact. One recent study indicated that despite claims of being comfortable without close relationships, dismissively attached individuals experience higher than average levels of self-esteem when learning other study participants accepted them, and higher levels of positive feelings when anticipating that they would be successful in future relationships relative to controls (Carvallo & Gabriel, 2006). The authors conclude that despite hypotheses that dismissive individuals have less need for attachment than others, it seems more likely that this desire is simply repressed or goes unacknowledged. In truth, the schizoid may simply feel more comfortable with abandoning attachments than being engulfed by them (McWilliams, 1994). It is not that the schizoid lacks interest in attachments, but rather that he assumes his own emotional fragility precludes the possibility of feeling safe in relationships. Because the schizoid feels that any form of attachment threatens him with loss of self, he transfers his need to attach to nonhuman things instead.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-14-2019, 03:39 AM
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I'm not diagnosed but identify with AvPD and some schizoid traits.

also know the feeling of being at a job too long and feeling the exposure. "in my head I feel alright. but outside **** ain't right". the external judgements make their way in and screw up my internal schema. every couple of years I quit or just move to a different area or city. I need the reset.

I deal okish with anxiety itself. last time I had an anxiety attack I was like ok this is this. I deal and dont catastrophise. it's mostly avoidance behaviour that gets me. avoid avoid avoid.

also other differences in feelings. my walls are bare and I dont have items of meaning. my friend has all kinds of knickknacks, ornaments, surrounded by things she likes. I dont externalise feelings into things. I keep all that stuff in my head where its safe. and not enjoying various things that it surprises me that others enjoy. my lack of forming memories properly, cant remember much at all. just facts. pretty much low grade selective mutism at work and with flatmates. laconic. lack of affect, not much expression. avolotin, motivation problems etc etc

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 12:13 PM
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Wow I have that same problem as the OP. I've quit jobs before because I didn't want them to find out how lonely and sad my life was. I also used to dread that Monday morning question as well. I used to make things up to make it look like I did something on the weekend. When sadly all I would do is drink by myself all weekend at home. Now that I have kids I finally have something to talk about.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 01:01 PM
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humans are nothing

just a threat.


i get nothing from 'em. they never listen to me. Employers. employees/colleagues do, a bit

assets? Human bodies? what they worth? how can i make 'em realise how worthless they are to this universe?

using bodies to produce more should be a crime.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2019, 02:09 PM
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Schizoid or AvPD or bother or neither or either/or psychotic depression or schizo-affective. They don't do proper diagnoses where I am, so ay. Who knows.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-23-2019, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by masterridley View Post
I'm only terrified of people finding out about my empty life. To give an example, I had to quit my last job after 1 year, cause I felt that everyone had caught on to my friend-less, don't-have-a-life existence.

Obviously, the first is social anxiety, but the 2nd is something completely different (and infinitely worse) I think.
I know what you mean. I used to have the same terrifying prospect of being found out I have an empty life and then being called a loser and made fun of. Just not having a cell phone and then being asked for my phone number was hell and I'd have to lie and pretend I lost it. Monday mornings and friday afternoons at work were anxiety filled since it was more than likely questions about what I did or have planned for weekend would come up.

But the beauty of this is this is an insecurity that is fixable by filling your life with interesting things. Either that or you can just make stuff up to get people off your back if you think they'll think less of you. I used to say I'm going out to get smashed or visiting my gf on the weekend. Just remember people lie all the time to make their lives seem more interesting than they are. Just look at facebook.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 06:42 AM
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I can relate to it quite a bit, but I also realise there is a bit of a danger of self diagnosing from reading the web. I was diagnosed with an extreme form of anxiety which in some ways is similar to avoidant disorder, it's quite an extreme manifestation of anxiety. it also used to be listed in the dsm as a disorder within the same cluster that my psychiatrist recognised I have strong personality traits in. so there is a good chance I am somewhere close on the scale for that disorder. in the uk you aren't very likely to be diagnosed with a disorder unless you are somehow a problem to yourself or the world around you. it's far more likely you will get diagnosed with anxiety and or depression since those conditions aren't a disorder (a disorder is usually a lifelong issue) but it's seen as something treatable with medication and therapy and for some people anxiety and depression is temporary (not all ofc we wouldn't be here otherwise). I think a lot of peoples true conditions probably slip under the radar due to a reluctance to diagnose.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-31-2019, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Persephone The Dread View Post
I think the dsm criteria is mostly because they don't get access to schizoid patients thoughts accurately very often so it's formed purely based on their external impression. Because it's a difficult personality type to develop a therapeutic relationship with.
definitely think there is something to this. my impression is that it's a very private ,almost secret condition to have, and exposing the thoughts and vulnerabilities or externalising them can be quite anxiety inducing.

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