We can all relate to certain feelings, like self-consciousness, shyness, and the fear of embarrassment; that's basic human nature. But if these feelings are completely overwhelming you and your life, you might want to consider taking them as potential signs that you might have avoidant personality disorder. This disorder takes things to an absolute extreme, often creating a life of utter fear and total isolation. It impinges on not only how you view yourself as a human being, but also the relationships you form with everyone around you. It's the difference between being a little anxious around new people, and avoiding them all together because you're convinced they'll hate you.
The DSM classifies personality disorders as being consistent and stable across time and situations, causing substantial impairments in daily functioning, both with oneself and with others. In the case of avoidant personality disorder, individuals are severely restrained by their fear of rejection and being humiliated by others. It's closely related to anxiety disorders and can stem from feelings of rejection during childhood, particularly from parents. The DSM categorizes the 10 personality disorders into three categories, or "clusters," the third of which is marked by fear and anxiety. This is where avoidant PD lies
Personality disorders can greatly affect your life and should be taken seriously. Sometimes, it can be challenging to determine if what you're experiencing is a disorder or not. Ask yourself this: Is your quality of life suffering overall? Do you have difficulty doing things that come naturally to most other people? If you're wondering if you might be suffering from avoidant personality disorder, the seven signs below might help clear up some of the confusion.
If you find these things describing you quite closely, don't leap to self-diagnosing — but do reach out and ask someone for a little help. It might make all the difference in the world.
1. You Fear That You're Socially Inept
As a result, you're terrified of being embarrassed or rejected by those around you. Thus, you avoid being around people, unless you're sure they'll approve of you.
2. You're Hesitant To Do Anything Even Slightly Risky
3. You Feel Inferior To Everyone Around You
This obviously takes a major blow to your self-esteem.
4. You Are Preoccupied With The Fear Of Criticism
Your mind is working overtime thinking about everything that could go wrong, and all the reasons people could criticize you. Studies have found that for this reason (and others, people with avoidant personality disorder have poor social skills.
5. You Avoid Intimate Relationships
You have a very hard time believing that anyone could like or love you enough, so you choose instead to be alone. This is only compounded by the fact that research has found that people with avoidant PD experience increased social anxiety.
6. You Constantly Dwell On Your Own Shortcomings
It feels like because of these reasons, people will never approve of you.
7. Your Shyness Is Crippling
And on the rare occasion that you do open up, you become hurt very, very easily.