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Avoidant Personality disorder and terrified to talk on the phone

I

I_Was_Punished

Active member
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
25
Location
UK
I have a BPD diagnosis but i am aware you can have more than one Personality disorder. For a while now i have wondered whether i have Avoidant Personality disorder. It's difficult because some of these disorders share the same symptoms, Avoidant sharing some with social anxiety. but i'm sure i have more than social anxiety because i am very reclusive and only go out when i have to and only talk to people i know. When i am out i never approach people i don't know and if i go to social events i usually have a few drinks before i go and then more when i get there and i don't talk to people or seek out people. I much prefer to walk alone in the woods than go to a busy shopping mall. I put off doing things i need that need me interact with people because i'd rather not face them.

But one thing thats really strong is i am terrified of talking to people on the phone, i don't mean nervous i mean terrified. I have made online friendships where the other person eventually says we should speak on the phone and i can never do it and people don't understand that i just can't do it because i am so scared. i can handle online interactions and although i am scared to meet people face to face i can pluck up the courage at times but speaking on the phone is one thing i just can't ever handle. its like i am scared people won't like me and i hate my voice. i am scared i won't know what to talk about because i have had some very awkward phone chats in the past where i struggled to find things to say and the awkward silences are awful on the phone. In an online interaction you don't have to worry so much about keeping the text flowing and even face to face its easier to deal with i think, on the phone i just struggle and when anyone asks to speak on the phone i am terrified. I wondered if anyone else feels this? And could i have Avoidant personality?
 
Tin Woodman

Tin Woodman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
50
Location
Washington, US
Being introverted is certainly not a negative thing and not uncommon. I imagine that while you avoid interaction with others you probably would be considered highly intelligent because of spending so much time introspectively.

I share your distaste for verbal conversation over the phone. I just do not like conversing with people without the ability to read facial cues, it is like tasting food without seeing the food or knowing what it is. I get most of my social cues from reading another person's expressions and find it deeply unsettling to not have this tool. You are not strange for feeling this way. I have found that video chat/facetime helps with this. Would you be more comfortable seeing someone's face while talking to them?
 
K

karl7

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Messages
481
I have a BPD diagnosis but i am aware you can have more than one Personality disorder. For a while now i have wondered whether i have Avoidant Personality disorder. It's difficult because some of these disorders share the same symptoms, Avoidant sharing some with social anxiety. but i'm sure i have more than social anxiety because i am very reclusive and only go out when i have to and only talk to people i know. When i am out i never approach people i don't know and if i go to social events i usually have a few drinks before i go and then more when i get there and i don't talk to people or seek out people. I much prefer to walk alone in the woods than go to a busy shopping mall. I put off doing things i need that need me interact with people because i'd rather not face them.

But one thing thats really strong is i am terrified of talking to people on the phone, i don't mean nervous i mean terrified. I have made online friendships where the other person eventually says we should speak on the phone and i can never do it and people don't understand that i just can't do it because i am so scared. i can handle online interactions and although i am scared to meet people face to face i can pluck up the courage at times but speaking on the phone is one thing i just can't ever handle. its like i am scared people won't like me and i hate my voice. i am scared i won't know what to talk about because i have had some very awkward phone chats in the past where i struggled to find things to say and the awkward silences are awful on the phone. In an online interaction you don't have to worry so much about keeping the text flowing and even face to face its easier to deal with i think, on the phone i just struggle and when anyone asks to speak on the phone i am terrified. I wondered if anyone else feels this? And could i have Avoidant personality?
i know how you feel about phones, im the same, i rarely answer the phone....also yeah i think you could have avoidant PD as well....just ask your pdoc anyway for clarity
 
W

WhySoSerious

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
146
Location
UK
I would be reluctant to self-diagnose any kind of personality disorder without a full formulation and work up of the problem with a psychologist. We are avoidant for any number of reasons. We may feel anxious and want to decrease that feeling. We may have shame and worry people may judge us negatively. We may avoid going out because we are depressed and feel demotivated. Avoidance in itself is linked with any number of MH conditions so I would always rule out other reasons for avoidance before stamping a APD diagnosis on someone.

On a side note the diagnostic manual for personality disorders indicates that you need to meet at least 4 out of 7 of the following to have avoidant personality disorder:

1) Avoidance of jobs/tasks that involve having significant social contact with others because of fear of criticism, disapproval or rejection/ This also includes passing promotions up rather than dealing with people. You have to have at least TWO examples of this in your life that are significant and impacting on your daily life/functioning

2) Avoid getting involved with people unless you are certain they will like you. If you don't know whether someone likes you, you wouldn't make the first move. This also includes almost never initiating a social relationship

3) Finding it hard to open up to people you are close to. This includes restraint in intimate relationships for fear of shame or ridicule. To get that criteria it needs to be true for almost ALL relationships/friendships. You also need to give reasons as to why you do this (TWO as a minimum)

4) Often worry about being criticised or rejected in social situations. To get this criteria you have to be PREOCCUPIED with being criticised in social situations "most of the time". You need to provide at least a few examples AND the amount of time a day you worry about it.

5) Usually quiet when you meet new people. This should never fall in what would be seen as "normal" for a shy person. There must be a view that you are socially inept, personally unappealing, inferior to others. The person must also acknowledge this belief to meet the criteria and give "many" examples.

6) Belief that you are not as good, smart, or attractive as other people. There needs to be evidence that this is an unreasonable belief. Many examples should be given of times when you have believed this and the contexts

7) Afraid to try new things. To meet this criteria you should also be unusually reluctant to take personal risks (this isn't a little bit of mild discomfort, it is significantly impacting your life) or engage in new activities in case of embarrassment. There must be at least THREE examples of when this has impacted life significantly.

In short most people won't meet this criteria. Being a "little nervous" about answering/speaking on the phone, meeting new people etc isn't enough to qualify by a huge margin. Most APD people I have met are crippled by it to the point they have no social contact with anyone at all. They don't try anything new. Their life has shrunk. Even "close" relatives are distant and difficult to communicate with.

Hope this helps. I think sometimes we can over-analyse our own minds and add a diagnosis that isn't there. Personally I wouldn't diagnose anyone with less than 5 on that list of 7 and even then I would expect some really meaty examples not throw away "I get a bit nervous".
 
I

I_Was_Punished

Active member
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
25
Location
UK
I would be reluctant to self-diagnose any kind of personality disorder without a full formulation and work up of the problem with a psychologist. We are avoidant for any number of reasons. We may feel anxious and want to decrease that feeling. We may have shame and worry people may judge us negatively. We may avoid going out because we are depressed and feel demotivated. Avoidance in itself is linked with any number of MH conditions so I would always rule out other reasons for avoidance before stamping a APD diagnosis on someone.

On a side note the diagnostic manual for personality disorders indicates that you need to meet at least 4 out of 7 of the following to have avoidant personality disorder:

1) Avoidance of jobs/tasks that involve having significant social contact with others because of fear of criticism, disapproval or rejection/ This also includes passing promotions up rather than dealing with people. You have to have at least TWO examples of this in your life that are significant and impacting on your daily life/functioning

2) Avoid getting involved with people unless you are certain they will like you. If you don't know whether someone likes you, you wouldn't make the first move. This also includes almost never initiating a social relationship

3) Finding it hard to open up to people you are close to. This includes restraint in intimate relationships for fear of shame or ridicule. To get that criteria it needs to be true for almost ALL relationships/friendships. You also need to give reasons as to why you do this (TWO as a minimum)

4) Often worry about being criticised or rejected in social situations. To get this criteria you have to be PREOCCUPIED with being criticised in social situations "most of the time". You need to provide at least a few examples AND the amount of time a day you worry about it.

5) Usually quiet when you meet new people. This should never fall in what would be seen as "normal" for a shy person. There must be a view that you are socially inept, personally unappealing, inferior to others. The person must also acknowledge this belief to meet the criteria and give "many" examples.

6) Belief that you are not as good, smart, or attractive as other people. There needs to be evidence that this is an unreasonable belief. Many examples should be given of times when you have believed this and the contexts

7) Afraid to try new things. To meet this criteria you should also be unusually reluctant to take personal risks (this isn't a little bit of mild discomfort, it is significantly impacting your life) or engage in new activities in case of embarrassment. There must be at least THREE examples of when this has impacted life significantly.

In short most people won't meet this criteria. Being a "little nervous" about answering/speaking on the phone, meeting new people etc isn't enough to qualify by a huge margin. Most APD people I have met are crippled by it to the point they have no social contact with anyone at all. They don't try anything new. Their life has shrunk. Even "close" relatives are distant and difficult to communicate with.

Hope this helps. I think sometimes we can over-analyse our own minds and add a diagnosis that isn't there. Personally I wouldn't diagnose anyone with less than 5 on that list of 7 and even then I would expect some really meaty examples not throw away "I get a bit nervous".
you just described me very well, on all 7 points
 
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