So to start off with it's the least
researched personality disorder. Most potentially schizoid people do not present for treatment (unsurprisingly) Also I have a bunch of traits, but have not been diagnosed.
I don't think the wikipedia page (and certainly not the DSM,) is that great on the whole (though the character profile listed further down the wikipedia page is probably fairly decent,) would probably help to read some of the books about it (you can probably find a list of books on the schizoid subreddit,*) and there are some psychologists who work with schizoid patients on quora who answer questions along with diagnosed people. There are also some diagnosed people on the subreddit:
The kind of stuff AvPD's are scared of/bothered by are pretty different to SPD's. It's also possible to have both conditions for this reason. SPD is also further along the 'schizophrenia spectrum' so there's less of a boundary between the self and others. You see a lot of schizoids become hermits who might live in the wood so they can feel connected to everything in nature and stuff like that without 'absorbing' Humans (at the extreme end of the disorder of course, some are higher functioning than others.) These people are an example though:
(and yes this is why cluster A personality disorders are overrepresented among homeless people. Schizoids also dislike commitment which tends not to include jobs and is more about close relationships, but it can include work too or any situation the schizoid person doesn't have control over. That's why self employment is often preferable.)
There's a desire to be independent and a dislike of accepting help from others, or having others influence significant life choices (or depending on severity even mild choices.)
There's a fear of engulfment, an inability to negotiate boundaries. There's a kind of splitting thing here from what I remember where schizoids don't exactly compromise between all in and all out in relationships (so they have weird issues with merging with idealised others, often fantasy objects or partial fantasy objects, while shutting off most people.) Also completely losing interest in someone/shutting down emotionally when uncomfortable in a social boundary sense. Uh quickly googled think this might describe what I'm thinking of:
Given what we know about the importance of flexible movement between connecting and separating for the growth and well-being of the individual, it is easy to understand how the typical childhood experiences of the schizoid leave him or her with deep-seated, often unconscious feelings of merger-hunger, on the one hand, and simultaneous fear of entrapment and suffocation on the other. These lead to universal twin fears that are fundamental to the schizoid process: the panic or terror of contact engulfment/entrapment and the panic or terror of isolation. These are particularly intense and compelling for the schizoid, who experiences them at the existential level of survival or death.
Because the schizoid splits connecting and disconnecting, thus losing easy movement between them, he or she is faced with the threat of becoming stuck at one pole or the other.
Therefore, schizoids think of relationships mostly in terms of potential for entrapment, suffocation, and bondage. They do not trust that they will not devour the significant other or be devoured. They do not believe that separation will happen as needed, and thus they do not feel safe to be intimately connected. Of course, the danger of entrapment comes in large part from their own hunger for oneness and fear of abandonment, and the connection between their own merger-hunger and the fear of entrapment is mostly not in their conscious awareness. Many schizoid patients start treatment with the expectation that they will be devoured or abandoned in therapy. Although they may be conscious of this fear early in the process, the extent of the dual fears and the connection to their merger-hunger is usually not in awareness
until much later
One solution to the problem of avoiding complete deadness of self from lack of human connection while also avoiding the threat to existence and continuity of self from intimate
contact is what Guntrip (1969) called "the schizoid compromise" (pp. 58-66). This refers to not being in but also not being out of engagement with other persons or situations. An image that I think I borrowed from Guntrip
seems apt here: "How do porcupines make love? Very carefully." There are several common "very careful" patterns of the schizoid compromise
For example, a writer is too lonely to write in his apartment, so he goes to a coffee shop with his laptop computer and manuscript. There he is not really connected with anybody, especially since he does not give out signals
that he wants to talk to anyone, but he is not alone either.
Another example is a man from Los Angeles who has a relationship with a woman who lives in New York City. He can have a weekend connection without the risk of losing himself or being trapped in the relationship. When Monday morning comes, he will be thousands of miles away in Los Angeles again while she stays in New York.
Another type of schizoid compromise involves the person repeatedly pulling out of relationships before making a commitment. Such individuals go through a series of relationships, always finding a reason why they cannot continue. A similar pattern is having multiple lovers at the same time; the person engages one part of the self with one partner and another part of the self with someone else. One typical configuration is having a sexual relationship with a lover, but without companionship and building a life together, while maintaining a primary but nonsexual relationship with a spouse. Sometimes individuals who show this pattern will say something like, "Gee, why can't 1 get this together?" or ask "Why can't I get a woman who has both?"
Most often schizoids will express a desire to be free of any impingement or requirement to do anything. In a relationship they will often talk about how they want to be able to go out and not have to face any limitations. At these times the desire to connect is usually out of awareness. However, the schizoid process involves more than the simple isolating behavior of a shy or anxious person, more than social anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior, or intellectualizing, although a schizoid character pattern may underlie any of these other isolating patterns. The issues of the schizoid involve lifethreatening levels of existential vulnerability. Because this profound vulnerability makes the relationship with the therapist deeply terrifying, it takes a long time for the therapeutic relationship, including trust, to develop.
I think generally schizoids have better self esteem than AvPD people too. When schizoids do have low self esteem it's usually because they're not being as autonomous as they'd like or as independent as they want. AvPD might be better described as an intense fear of ridicule and self dislike where as SPD is a fear of losing control + intimacy + fear of emotions with some mild schizophrenia-type stuff thrown in and dissociation.
It's definitely possible to be ego-dystonic and SPD for the record though. Schizoids often compare themselves to other people, feel they're lacking something soul-like because of the walls, and it makes them feel alien/stunted sometimes etc. Like when your family all just found out someone died and they're crying and you're standing there like
because there's no 'story' to connect to or whatever in that moment.
*Here's a couple of books:
This is another big one but this is just a preview on google books: