What about your own mother or father. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps this article is for you. This article will explore avoidant personalities and offer tips on how to cope with an avoidant personality.
Most of us struggle with attachment and need an appropriate amount of time to develop an intimate, loving relationship with someone else. Even children learn to love their parent s overtime and through various experiences. Once we understand who that person we love is, we develop normal attachments that help us communicate our needs, wants, and hopes. A wife learns that if she talks to her husband after work, she will more than likely be able to get him to fix the garage over the weekend.
Or a son learns that when he draws his mom a picture she will make him his favorite dinner. Healthy human relationships are reciprocal and we understand what keeps relationships healthy and moving forward. But sadly, someone with an avoidant personality disorder , finds it very difficult to develop healthy relationships with boundaries.
Individuals with this disorder also find it difficult to trust or express their deepest feelings for fear of abandonment, rejection, or loss. Avoidant personalities often draw near to people they love or care about, and later pull away out of fear. The avoidant personality almost has a very fragile ego, self-image, or understanding of how relationships are to operate. Many people with avoidant personality disorder live in a fantasy world that helps them feel emotionally connected to the world.
Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder includes: Avoids activities that include contact with others because of fear of criticism, rejection, or feelings of inadequacy. For example, some individuals avoid work or call off because they are tired of feeling like their co-workers are ridiculing them for mistakes made.
Unwillingness to engage in interpersonal relationships unless they are certain of being approved of or liked. My experience with avoidant personalities is that they will often push the limits to see if you will still approve of them. I once had a teen client who would push every button she could think to push on me until she began to believe that perhaps I was on her side after all.
Preoccupation with rejection, loss, or ridicule. It is important for clinicians to differentiate social anxiety from avoidant personality traits. In other words, individuals with social anxiety also isolate, seem shy, are unwilling to get involved unless sure of being liked, and has a preoccupation with being accepted.
Becoming easily hurt when rejection or criticism is perceived, experienced, or assumed. An individual may find it very difficult to forgive someone or get over someone who has not approved of them in some way. Inhibited or fearful of engaging with others is something that occurs a great deal for avoidant personalities.
The person may not raise their hand in class or step up to ask a question for fear of being made fun of or of not being accepted. As a result, many struggle with social skills and fitting in. Research is still unsure what causes personality disorders but a combination of genes and environment have been cited.
Other research points to no single cause of this disorder. Having worked with a variety of adolescents who demonstrate borderline personality traits, I have had my fair share of experience with avoidance and avoidant personalities. As a result of consulting with many experienced elders in the field, I developed a list of approaches that families can take to cope with the avoidant personality. But this list is also useful for anyone dealing with an avoidant personality: If you consider all of the symptoms above, you will see that an avoidant personality struggles with many emotional and perceptual challenges that make relationships with others very difficult.
To make matters worse, some individuals also struggle with depression or anxiety or anger management difficulties. These are called co-occurring disorders. Some individuals are held captive by their symptoms and struggle to be what others need them to be. Give them ultimatums at the right time: Some people need to understand how their behaviors and emotional needs are affecting you. You must not forget that personality disorders include inborn, pervasive, and chronic behavioral patterns that are not likely to be changed.
In fact, psychotherapy and medication are often not effective for personality disorders. After All, you have a life too. The individual needs to be reminded of reality. If you feel trapped, get out: Abuse at the hands of someone with an avoidant personality disorder often includes psychological and emotional abuse. Your sanity depends on it. Approach things with grace and tact: Sometimes it is necessary to have a very frank conversation with the sufferer.
You want to attempt to walk away from that conversation with a feeling that something has been accomplished. If everyone walks away more angry, offended, or defensive, something is wrong. You want to express your concerns, your observations, and your worry in a tactful manner.
Try to keep your opinions limited. Be mindful of their frame of reference: Some individuals are sensitive and anything you say can be misconstrued as an attack on their character or abilities. When this happens, remain mindful that you are probably not the problem but that the person is defensive because of their symptoms. If you keep this in mind, you can at least attempt to control your own emotions in response to their defensiveness.
My response has always been…maybe. Some relationships need to end and there is nothing left to save. Other relationships should have never began so ending it will be a great relief for everyone. Still, other relationships are more involved and will require more thought and planning. Ending a relationship dependents on a variety of factors including but not limited to: Have you noticed your loved one show you kindness and love one day, only to later appear nonchalant about you and detached?
Perhaps they have an avoidant personality. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and experiences of this complex disorder.
All the best This article was originally published on June 14, but has been updated to reflect accuracy and updated information.