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Schizoid-Avoidant Personality Disorder

Summerof76

Summerof76

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Wales, UK
I am in no doubt that this is what I live with and I understand it very well. However, I understand that it is something that others may find hard to understand.

Living with this co-morbid personality disorder is not the same as living with a mental health condition- it encompasses many, sometimes varying mental health conditions throughout a lifetime and what we live with, is directly connected to experiences gained through adverse childhood experiences. Personality disorders are formed, not triggered by a life event or the cause of a biochemical imbalance in adulthood (although a change in bio-chemical differences can occur as a result of ACEs) and characteristics are usually present by adolescent or early adulthood.

In our best cases, we learn to cope with the characteristics of the P.D- learn to control the ingrained negative thought patterns and behaviours, and learn strategies for how to deal with certain triggers to mental health conditions. We never escape the demon, instead we learn how to leash it and teach it to ‘Sit’.

Medication rarely works to a beneficial degree. However, it can help short-term with depression and more expressive characteristics. Short term, it can also help to level out highs and lows; sate obsessions or repetitive routines developed through anxiety, but it doesn’t get rid of the psychological tattoos. To erase them, you have to know who put them there and slowly, painfully, start scratching them away.

Over the years, my P.D has changed in a few ways. When I was younger, the Schizoid features were more pronounced, but as I’ve aged and learned more about them, I have been able to (almost) control them. The Avoidant part though has got worse over the years and with it comes more anxiety symptoms than I used to suffer with. The Schizoid symptoms generally only appear when I’m under a lot of stress, I’m not sleeping properly and my anxiety is at a peak. Also, many of the symptoms overlap, with some schizoid symptoms being part of the avoidant characteristics, especially the lack of a desire for social contact.

My stress activated schizoid symptoms include:
  • Hearing disjointed radio transmissions or barely audible voices and music
  • Paranoid thoughts- usually related to ‘supernatural forces’, such as thinking the radio is playing songs to suit my life at that specific moment or that I have curses or spirits torturing me, but also that people are looking at me, angry with me or talking about me
  • Supernatural ideation- thinking I’m reincarnated, not human or ‘special’ for some reason
  • Rich fantasy life to escape- I am always writing a book and when stress is high, I find myself almost living in it at every possible moment
  • Highly uncomfortable in social situations and prefer to be alone- too many voices can be confusing and I can get highly paranoid in groups (like the time I thought I was going to be murdered by my cousin and her partner on a night out!)
  • Highly uncomfortable with small-talk- can’t do it! I over analyse and over explain nearly everything- from the actions of others to my own speech patterns
  • Lack of need or want of emotional and physical intimacy- touching another human being feels utterly strange.
  • Sense of superiority and dislike of dependence on others- oh yeah, I will admit this and like many Schizoids, this is the part of my P.D that I like! This characteristic has saved my self-esteem when I’ve felt rejected or bullied. I hold my lack of dependence on others as a strength, but it also means that I see dependence as a weakness, which is not really true.
  • Lack of disclosure- I don’t do FB or social media and very rarely tell workmates about my life. It’s none of their business.
  • Sensory issues- I can have times where I am extremely sensitive to noise, smell, vibrations and light.

These symptoms can last minutes to days, but are not permanent or even particularly regular characteristics (anymore), except the last few. These tend to me the severely ingrained ones that I haven’t found a successful control for. I could be deemed a ‘Secret Schizoid’, as I have learned how to hide/control these characteristics.

I have no relatives with schizophrenia or schizotypal disorders and had no brain injury in early life. I was born at a normal weight and although thin as a young child, did not suffer from malnutrition. However, an only child, I grew up with cold, neglectful, bullying parents (mother and step-father) and spent a lot of time on my own. I went to 13 schools and moved home 9 times, before the age of 12.

They stripped away my identity- married on my birthday (sent me to school without telling me, but the rest of the family went), so even that was their day- not mine- and they changed my birth name to suit them. I was also lied to about who I was- told my step-father was my real father, despite him acting as if he hated me most of the time. I knew that he wasn’t by his behaviour- it wasn’t like other dads- but my parents continued to tell me I was making things up, until I was 10 and their secret was threatened by another family member.

By the age of 12, I was already having delusions and attempting suicide. By then, my psyche had manifested one particular voice that I called Anton. He was from another solar system and communicated with me telepathically. I can’t recall exactly when I stopped talking to Anton, but it was around age 16-17.

There was also a lot of rejection as a child and young adult- my birth father and his family rejected me, and if I listed the incidents in which a friend or boyfriend had cruelly rejected me, I would be here for days, writing this. In one bullying incident at high school, I was locked in a house overnight; my clothes stolen and bleach rubbed in to my face and hair.

My Avoidant characteristics are:
  • Avoiding social situations- even a trip to the shop will cause anxiety
  • Avoiding problems or tasks- financial, housework, health issues
  • Fear of rejection and criticism (although my schizoid part can turn that around by encouraging me to become the rejector or critique)
  • Looming maladaptive thoughts- anxieties about every day things that are not based in reality
  • Low self-image (again, my schizoid part will argue that point occasionally)
  • Take things personally- even if they’re not directed at me and I know they’re not, I can take flippant comments as personal attacks
  • Depressive episodes- which can last days to weeks
  • Anxiety mania- cleaning mostly and attempting to organise my house. I usually get this when I feel as if I have absolutely no control over whatever is stressing me out.
  • Panic attacks- for absolutely nothing!
  • Physical characteristics- morning vomiting, stomach aches, lethargy (when initially presented with a problem I feel I can’t handle), nail-biting, jaw-grinding, skin-picking, eye and face rubbing
  • Addictions- my three major ones are coffee, writing and cannabis. Never been interested in harder or hallucinogenic drugs, because I fear the experiences or becoming addicted to them.
  • Suicidal ideation- suicidal thoughts can pop in to my head at any time. I could be having the time of my life and suddenly feel overwhelmed with the thought that I and others would be better off dead.

Again, the Avoidant part of me formed due to the childhood and adolescence I experienced. There was no stability (see above about my homes and schools) or predictability in my early years. For example, I could be woken up in the middle of the night and told we were moving. Once, I was bundled in to a van in my night clothes and driven to my mum’s friend’s house. I was told nothing as to why- just that we had to get away before my Step-dad came off his alcoholic bender. We then had to wait for someone else to pick us up and we were driven 400 miles to my mum’s family. We never went back to the house again and I lost everything. That was a common scenario, but usually we didn’t have so far to drive.

Furthermore, my parents would belittle me for feeling sad or anxious- I was “miserable” if I didn’t like their bullying or belittling and if I was scared, I was treated as if I was being overly dramatic or my fears were ignored or belittled.

My step-father also spent short periods of time in prison for theft and in those times, my mother and I would live at my grandmother’s house. There, I wouldn’t have a bed of my own or be allowed to eat most of the food that was in the fridge.

Growing up, there was no consideration for me or my needs, bar clothes and food (which I was deprived of often). Furthermore, my mother continued to emotionally abuse and control me after my step-father died. She has all the characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother (see here for a further explanation- Characteristics of Narcissistic Mothers)

Having this P.D is akin to battling another person every day. I have conflicting thoughts and feelings on a daily basis that I have ‘work’ through. Controls I have to put in place to stop my behaviours getting out of hand or affecting others. I fight, every day, to maintain some stability.

My current situation is quite pathetic- I live a fairly isolated life; I only leave the house for work or shopping. I have 5 cats, which I spend the majority of my time with and while I live with my adult son, I see him for less than an hour a day, due to our work schedules. I haven’t ever had a long-term relationship and when I used to drink in my twenties, was very promiscuous. A relationship is not something I can see myself having, as I would have to overcome sensory as well as psychological issues to achieve that. Friendships are almost impossible to initiate or maintain, because of my anxieties and I’ve held over 65 jobs, due to social difficulties. I often leave jobs, because facing people I have difficulties with can be a nightmare. And to be fair, I have difficulties with a lot of people! I usually also have lots of time off sick.

The above is just an overview of how my P.D works and a small insight to how it was formed. I do have a more detailed analysis of how my experiences and how the parenting I received has formed the patterns of characteristics. Nevertheless, for those unsure as what a Schizoid- Avoidant P.D is and what we deal with, the above gives you a good idea.
 
N

Nukelavee

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
269
Location
London, ON
That was interesting. I truly believe the more thought you put into learning about your PD in general, and your own specific traits, the better off you are. You have to be honest with yourself.

I have BPD, and, like you, I have a good idea where a lot of it comes from. For one, I'm adopted, which gives me abandonment issues. It also makes me mostly self-contained, which can be good, except people over estimate my independence and emotional distance. I'm not kinda distant because I don't like or need people, it's because it's less painful.

Even good parents can contribute to issues, merely through ignorance of the issues. I'm 51, knowledge and attitudes towards mental health were way different when I was growing up. My parents raised me and my sisters to be independent, and me more so than them.

But I sorta got overlooked or forgotten a lot. Like, left in town at the library for 4 hours after it closed kinda stuff. Stuff like that adds up.

As hard as things are for you - it's great your self-aware, and interested, enough to chart your own traits and work to minimize triggers. I mean, I think being that way helps me stay as stable as I am.
 
Summerof76

Summerof76

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Wales, UK
That was interesting. I truly believe the more thought you put into learning about your PD in general, and your own specific traits, the better off you are. You have to be honest with yourself.

I have BPD, and, like you, I have a good idea where a lot of it comes from. For one, I'm adopted, which gives me abandonment issues. It also makes me mostly self-contained, which can be good, except people over estimate my independence and emotional distance. I'm not kinda distant because I don't like or need people, it's because it's less painful.

Even good parents can contribute to issues, merely through ignorance of the issues. I'm 51, knowledge and attitudes towards mental health were way different when I was growing up. My parents raised me and my sisters to be independent, and me more so than them.

But I sorta got overlooked or forgotten a lot. Like, left in town at the library for 4 hours after it closed kinda stuff. Stuff like that adds up.

As hard as things are for you - it's great your self-aware, and interested, enough to chart your own traits and work to minimize triggers. I mean, I think being that way helps me stay as stable as I am.

It can be very painful to look at the past and see what went wrong, whether the parenting mistakes were purposeful or not.

In a nutshell, parents are w***ers! Whether they intend to be or not and I'm saying this as a parent. They irreparably screw their kids up and then don't take responsibility for their actions. ALL adults are a product of their childhood- in spite of or because of.

I'm not going to go down the route of trying to psycho-analyse you, but out of interest, was there any kind of abuse in your childhood? Did you grow up with the knowledge that you were adopted or were you told later?
 
N

Nukelavee

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
269
Location
London, ON
Oh, I always knew, even if it took a few years to understand it. Part of the issue there is that, 50 years ago, teh importance of the initial mother/child, the timeframe, wasn't understood well. The whole "given up at birth" thing can cause attachment issues.

There was abuse, but it was outside of my family. some sexual, and a lot of physical bullying. Which is where a lot of my other issues come from.

I put a lot of thought into figuring out where traits come from, why some things cause some results. I talk to my Mom about a lot of it, which can be difficult - because it's hard to say "this" caused "that", without sounding like I'm assigning blame. From my point of view, it's not about blame, I know my parents didn't intend to screw me up. I mean, my sisters don't have these issues.

One sister is also adopted, and she has her own issues, but not a PD. And, technically, she should feel more out of place, being mostly native. It does make her feel seperate from our other two sisters, though, and causes some stress.

Not being able to see other people who share your bloodline, for lack of a better term, is weird. There's nobody to look to to see what you might be like in the future, nobody looks like you, ever. I have no idea how I'll age (although at 51, it looks like I age pretty well, lol). Evidently going bald isn't going to happen. But - no family medical history. So I don't know how much is nature, how much is nurture. Do my issues run in my family? No idea. And I get tired of telling doctors that.

You mentioned something in another topic, about watching "normal" people, and seeing how their psychology isn't exactly "stable", either. I watch people as a defense, I have hypervigilance and empathy - I can't not analyze people, and I agree with you.

Everybody is kinda messed up - most people are better at ignoring it, lol. Or denying it and passing it off as others. they just don't brood on most of it.
 
Summerof76

Summerof76

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Wales, UK
Got you! Identification issues tend to crop up a lot with P.D's- either an over-identification to an unhealthy model or a lack if indicators of identification in childhood. Knowing that someone had intentionally given you up and then being informed of that at an early age is a very significant ACE, especially as you haven't had any information since about where you came from.

Abuse- especially physical and sexual- also tend to be ACE's related to Borderline PD. I've known a few individuals diagnosed with BPD and all had been PA & SA victims. At one point, I spent three months, minute taking for a doctorate student on her final dissertation. Her participants were all diagnosed with BPD and Bi-polar and nearly all had had SA in their childhood.
I was sexually assaulted at the age of 11, but I don't consider it something that affected me. It was molestation and when I fought back against the teenage perpetrator, he tried to drown me. Instead of making me go in to myself, I got very angry and when I saw him the following day, lunged over a gate to punch him, screaming I was going to kill him.
In a weird positive way, my childhood experiences had protected me against people like him.

I'm not saying you are, but try not to compare your sisters outcomes with your own. Each sibling will have a completely different relationship with their parents than another. Parents will say that they treat them all the same, but that will not actually be true. Just like other people in our lives, we 'get' or 'don't get' our children. Not all personalities are compatible and that works in families as well. I totally get what you mean about talking to your mum. I can't talk to my mum for a variety of reasons, but face-to-face, it's very hard to pass the blame to them.

Totally agree! Everybody is a little messed up. We should be proud of ourselves for admitting our flaws and at least, trying to understand them.
 
Summerof76

Summerof76

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Messages
115
Location
Wales, UK
I completely forgot to add a point to the explanation of my P.D and I'm not even sure if it lies in my schizoid or avoidant part or both.
  • Obsessions- I get obsessed with information, people and/or 'things'. My longest obsessions have been with Derek Bentley, a 19 year old man who was hanged in 1953 for a crime of Joint Enterprise (the actual shooter- his 16 year old accomplice, Christopher Craig, served 10 years) and dream analysis. I have to deliberately stop myself going in to the Dream forum on here, because I know I'll go through every single dream. I began the dream analysis at the age 9, when my mother got given a Dream interpretation book. Derek Bentley was after I watched a film on the case at the age of 14.
More recent/current ones include cats and their behaviour. I have 5 (enough said! Lol).
 
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