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Does anyone know what its like to have Avoidant Personality Disorder?

C

cookiesncream

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So I have not been diagnosed but all my life I have feared social situations - in particular I get really stressed and anxious about being around others to the point where I get physically sick. I've turned down job interviews and I've dropped out of college because I'm so afraid of being criticised or rejected. When I was in school, I avoided any subjects where I had to do speeches, presentations or anything where I was being judged. And if I had a class presentation in a mandatory subject - I avoided it. I dropped out of college because I couldn't handle the idea of having a lot of practical exams where I was working & being judged alone. I feel as if the only outcome of any situation is failure, embarrassment, judgement - even if its as simple as walking down the street I feel embarrassment and judgement from others. I've had a pretty traumatic childhood where I felt rejection from my parents & classmates. I noticed my problem when I was doing a child psychology module in college, I feel like I'm stuck.

I would be so grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction
 
M

ManDss

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Yeap, that sounds very much like a pure avoidant personality disorder.

How are you doing this days about that ?
 
jajingna

jajingna

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I guess this is one for the social anxiety forum. A long time ago a psychiatrist sort of casually referred to my social phobia though I had never heard anybody say those words, just saw it in a book.

I was a teacher for years and would get evaluated sometimes. The kids would all behave well then with other authorities present. But for those of us with this anxiety, we might really botch things up because we're being observed and judged.
 
I

I_Was_Punished

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So I have not been diagnosed but all my life I have feared social situations - in particular I get really stressed and anxious about being around others to the point where I get physically sick. I've turned down job interviews and I've dropped out of college because I'm so afraid of being criticised or rejected. When I was in school, I avoided any subjects where I had to do speeches, presentations or anything where I was being judged. And if I had a class presentation in a mandatory subject - I avoided it. I dropped out of college because I couldn't handle the idea of having a lot of practical exams where I was working & being judged alone. I feel as if the only outcome of any situation is failure, embarrassment, judgement - even if its as simple as walking down the street I feel embarrassment and judgement from others. I've had a pretty traumatic childhood where I felt rejection from my parents & classmates. I noticed my problem when I was doing a child psychology module in college, I feel like I'm stuck.

I would be so grateful if anyone could point me in the right direction
i haven't actually been diagnosed with it but i am pretty sure i have it too. I could have written this post myself
 
OddballOut

OddballOut

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I have APD

Do you see a therapist? That would be my first step. Find a psychologist, get a diagnosis. There's a few disorders that are closely related to APD. If they're decent they'll administer a personality test to determine if you have APD or not.

There are also work books. Generally DBT, ACT and CBT are useful. Recognizing and changing cognitive distortions. Exposure therapy etc.
Medications can help with the anxiety so that you stop avoiding and get to a baseline comfort level so you can actively work on feeling and overcoming the anxiety that makes you want to avoid everything.
 
Blue Opal

Blue Opal

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This reply is a bit late, but I hope you will still read it.
I have avoidant personality disorder (officially diagnosed) along with dependent and borderline traits.
I recognize some of the things you wrote, but not all. To my knowledge a fear of failure and fear in situations where you have to perform or achieve, is more social anxiety. When you have a fear of being rejected or critized in social situations then it is more AvPD. It is more of a core belief that you are defective as a person, inferior to others, and that people will not like you, which makes you socially inhibited.
For me, this means I am a silent and shy person, I feel socially awkward and I always fear that people will think I'm too quiet and boring. Like you, I felt rejected by my parents, mostly by my father, and by my peers in school because I was bullied.
Honestly I don't even know how I would feel about having to perform because I never do. I have no job and no hobby's. I did chose a different study than I wanted. I wanted to do journalism, but was sure I couldn't do that because I was too quiet and shy.
I have only one friend. I am in a relationship though, but that's because of my dependent traits: I can't be alone. I cut people off as soon as I think they might want to be my friend because friendships don't last for me; people always disappoint me and reject me eventually.

So in short, it is hard to say if you have AvPD or social anxiety. Only a professional could really tell. Your story definitely sounds serious and I would suggest you find help. I've had a lot of therapy and all I can say that through 17 years of it, I did really become a bit more assertive and I definitely learned to talk about myself in therapy. So there's that.

All the best.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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It's all confusing to me. Those words, anxiety or phobia or disorder. I guess it all falls on a spectrum. And when you put the label on it, it sounds serious. But it is serious when it has an unwanted result. I've lived with this nagging reality a long time, and I can see the results are not what I've wanted. It's like a strange, strong force that steers one's actions.
 
Blue Opal

Blue Opal

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You are very right. Therapists always told me: it doesn't matter what label you have, what matters is how you feel, what your struggles are.
Whether it's social anxiety/phobia, avoidant personality disorder or whatever, the thing is: we aren't happy with ourselves and that's all that matters.
It definitely feels like something out of my own control. Even 17 years of therapy haven't really changed me when it comes to my AvPD. I used to say to therapists: I want to be more self-confident and less shy around people.
It's like wanting to be a more positive person when you've been depressed all your life.
Can't be done.
 
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