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Death is my comforter.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just came across a video on YouTube called, 'Understanding Avoidant Personality Disorder.' I've never heard of this disorder before and was wondering if AvPD and SA are pretty much the same thing? Forgive me if I sound ignorant ��

Thanks!
 

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Great share! I've been researching this on and off for about a year and half and he touched on almost all of the major points I've seen scattered around pretty well.

These recent reviews of AVPD [1] [2] cover much of the same ground in more detail, plus some other topics. So I'll just add a few points and sources to clarify.

1. The primary distinction between them, in my opinion, can be summarized as AVPD being existential and SAD being situational. Lisa Lampe's clinical observations echo the deeply negative sense of self mentioned by Dr. Grande and in the above reviews -- a feature that's not part of SAD except for low self-esteem being a possible consequence. People with AVPD conceive of themselves as irredeemably flawed and alienated from others, thus carrying deep anxiety, shame and anger. Their very personalities are infected, so to speak, by the illness (as per the definition of a PD); who they are becomes a problem for them.

In contrast, SAD revolves more around particular feared social situations and how to navigate them. Low self-esteem can be part of the causes and effects of SAD, however. But as Lampe observed, their negativity towards themselves is about things accidental to who they are, unlike the AVPD patients. So people who are otherwise very assured in themselves can still struggle with social anxiety, as a friend of mine is and does. Hence, as Dr. Grange explained, socially anxious people find their problems coming up more cyclically since it's rooted more in circumstances, which are mostly discrete and changing -- unlike one's sense of self.

2. Personality vs anxiety disorder. Dr. Grande repeated the official conceptualization of personality disorders as being relatively stable over a lifetime. While this is true here to the extent that social anxiety is more environmentally contingent, personality still predisposes one to social anxiety; the distinction doesn't well account for chronic mood and anxiety disorder cases, such as people with lifelong SAD; and personality disorders have been found to be less stable than assumed. For instance, AVPD and PD symptoms in general have been found to get milder around and after middle-adulthood, rather than being stable or progressive across life.
 

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Death is my comforter.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@OcularZero: Thank you so much for your input! I can clearly see now, how most of my problems stem from AvPD. However, I'm guessing there are more co-occurring conditions overlapping so I really don't want to go down that rabbit hole! lol

I do have AvPD but I've become, somewhat, good at disguising it(not really, but I try very hard!). The world expects us to behave in certain ways so we fake it to make it work. But I've never been able to keep a job for more than 3 years, 'cause once people suss me out my SA/depression becomes too hard to cope with. But I'm still hopeful that I'm gonna overcome this problem, one fine day! ;)

NFH
 

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@NotFullyHere No problem. And that definitely gets messy so I don't blame you lol. I've been looking into it because I have AVPD and SAD with other things too. Haven't been able to clearly distinguish them until recently.

I hear ya with not being able to cope with that. Sucks a lot. Glad you're staying hopeful though. Always a powerful anchor, and you can definitely work through this. Wish you well!
 

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LoNeR
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This thread is an eye opener. Before today I do not think I have ever come across the term 'avoidant personality disorder' but after watching the video and reading the messages in this thread it was like a light bulb went 'PING' in my head! It fits me to a T! I will have to do some more research but I really want to discuss this possibility with my counsellor when I start seeing one (hopefully very soon!!)

Thank you so much for writing this thread; my eyes have been opened!
 

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I have avoidant personality disorder traits, meaning not the full blown diagnosis, but some of the symptoms of it, like not believing I am as good as other people no matter what I do, and it is compounded by having had to get over PTSD from childhood stuff. I work very hard at self compassion and at remembering that "normal" people also can feel isolated, not enough, all the stuff I am feeling, that we are all in the same boat. So I try to be kind and nurturing to people because I have an exaggerated case of what almost everyone experiences, so I can really relate. This helps me overcome the sense of being different, separate, never enough, ... because I am in a position where I can help people to accept themselves, having done some of that myself.

I also find that self care really, really helps. If I take good care of myself, I end up feeling better about myself and liking myself more. Basically if we give ourselves the nurturing we missed in childhood, and work really hard at being more open and honest with ourselves (like discerning what is a negative unhelpful thought and not believing in it), it will eventually translate to better relationships with others because how we treat ourselves is how we relate to others to a large extent. I find that practicing with being kinder and better to myself does translate to being there for other people, and it gets me out of that horrible narcissistic bubble where all I can think about is protecting myself against imaginary threats from others.
 
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