Individuals with avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) experience longstanding feelings of unworthiness and are very sensitive towards what others think about them. These feelings and fears lead the person to live socially inhibited, as they seek to avoid any activity in social, work, and family life that involves interacting with others. Psych Central states that those with avoidant personality disorder often examine the facial expressions and gestures of those around them to “read” their thoughts regarding themselves. Many with this disorder are considered “shy”, “timid”, or “isolated”.
Here is a description from someone who posted their experience on The Mighty, a website that hosts a variety of health topics:
“AvPD feels like being unwelcome in social situations, not being able to fit in or to be a part of something. We feel like we don’t belong in the group or the situation.”
Another person described their experience with AvPD on Affinity Magazine:
“I do not like meeting new people, it terrifies me. I can look at people and say, ‘they won’t like me’, but look at another group with the thought they might like me. However, unless someone initiates the conversation first, I won’t say anything. When others initiate the conversation, it is only then that I feel somewhat comfortable speaking however I still choose my wording carefully in fear that they’ll suddenly dislike me over something I’ve said.”
If you relate to either of these statements or to another symptom of avoidant personality disorder, know that you’re not alone. The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that 5.2% of the U.S. population has this disorder, and insecurity is a common experience for those who have it. Treatment is available, however, and recovery is possible. Treatment may include psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, medication, and more. As someone explained on an AvPD website,
“I am proud of myself because I have gotten much better than I was before. For instance, I am not paralyzed when someone tries to strike up a conversation with me in the train or in the bus. I answer and smile, I don’t really volunteer any topics of conversation, but I don’t feel bad about them talking to me. That’s progress.”
Every step counts. If you haven’t already, consider seeking treatment if the symptoms of your AvPD are significantly affecting your day to day life. There are many people here ready to help you.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If you have avoidant personality disorder and are ready to begin a journey towards developing the tools you need to manage day to day life, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.