Before I can get to what symptoms make up Avoidant Personality (Avpd), we need to define it a bit. This same example applies to any mental disorder.
When you work in the yard, or do any other sort of manual labor with your hands, your hands develop calluses. Your body does this to protect itself from getting hurt.
The Mind of the Avoidant does the same thing. When there is trauma, (Sexual abuse, Loved one that dies etc...), your brain develops certain protections so it is not subjected to any more pain.
If you have done any research on the internet, you have found some very basic attributes that make up Avpd. In fact, on many web sites, you will find the very same info on Avoidant Personality like it has been copied and pasted from one place to another.
Maybe you have even been diagnosed with Avpd, and your doctor gave you a basic outline of what Avpd is.
What we have provided here is a much more detailed description of what makes up Avpd.
Every Avoidant may not have all of these issues in the same intensity. Some of these symptoms might be stronger, or less pronounced than others.
Some Avoidants might have even learned to manage some, or all of these symptoms, with medication, therapy, or through other methods that might help.
The 1st section contains traits that every Avoidant has. Keep in mind that you might have some, or all of these symptoms, just depending on the severity of your condition, and how long you have had it.
The 2nd section has traits that an Avoidant may, or may not, have.
There are a lot of fears in this world. Fear of heights, fear of snakes, fear of clowns, fear of your teacher or your boss, and even the fear of the Lord. These are normal and even good because fear prevents us from doing dumb things and hurting ourselves.
What we are talking about here though are abnormal fears. For those with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd), everyone is an enemy, and to be feared. It is only a matter to the degree of the danger the person poses.
Often people with this fear have a rating scale either in their head, or in their subconsciousness, that they use to rate the people and the potential danger.
No one likes to be rejected. Most people have an internal mechanism (Usually learned) that allows them to either cope with rejection, or ignore it.
When it comes to the person that has Avoidant Personality, that mechanism is broken. They have no ability to cope with rejection.
Even the mere possibility they might be rejected is devastating to them.
A person with Avpd would rather endure any physical pain, in some cases including death, to being rejected.
It's impossible to live in this world without being Criticized.
As we grow, we learn to handle this criticism, and even to use it constructively.
For the person with Avoidant Personality (Avpd), this is impossible. Criticism, in any amount, crushes the spirit of the Avoidant. The more intense the criticism, the more the Avoidant cowers, and retreats into themselves.
Think of criticism like bullets coming out of the mouth of the one that criticizes that rip skin apart, destroy organs, create deep gashing wounds, and can do irreparable damage to the Avoidant.
Babies need security and have many internal fears that fade with time, love, and nurturing.
For the one with Avoidant Personality (Avpd), this fear either never left them, or came back due to a traumatic event that caused Avpd to emerge.
The outside world is full of the unknown. It is full of people that might hurt them, its full of events they cant control, and its full of all sorts of other dangers like a nightmare that is to be avoided at all costs.
Let's face it, we all like control, and we all use it. We have Managers that have control over their staff. We have school principals that have control over their teachers and students. Pastors have control over their Church and flock.
Control is not a bad thing when used properly.
The person with Avoidant Personality (Avpd) must have control over everything because to not be in control is to risk being hurt. If the Avoidant is in control, there is a much smaller chance they will get hurt.
Unfortunately, this control can become so bad that the person they are in a relationship with, can become abused physically, or verbally, or both.
This control can become so strong and unhealthy that it turns into possession. Once the Avoidant feels they possess the other person, the Avoidant may not let the other person go out of the house, wont let them meet with friends or family and will prevent them from doing other normal things so they don't risk losing their possession.
If the partner attempts to leave, the Avoidant can become outraged and decide that if they cant have the partner, no one will!
Everyone gets anxious. We get anxious about that perfect date, We get anxious about that 1st day on the job. We get anxious about a job interview. We get anxious about that test at school. This is normal
Being obsessed with something to the point of constantly worrying about it, is what we are talking about here. This is unhealthy and can cause various issues like ulcers or worse.
The person with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) takes Anxiety to a whole new level. It's like a broken record, if you have had vinyl records, or remember them.
If the record got scratched, the needle that plays the record would play that portion of the song leading up to the scratch. Then the needle would skip back to before the scratch, play that portion of the song, then repeat this same thing over and over and over and over.
This is how Anxiety works in the mind of the Avoidant. The same worry plays in their minds repeatedly to infinity driving the Avoidant into a Panic or Anxiety Attack.
According to Web MD, these attacks are intense periods of fear or feelings of doom developing over a very short time frame -- up to 10 minutes -- and associated with;
Everyone gets the blues and depression from time to time.
You don't get the promotion you were hoping for at work. You don't do well on the test at school, or its Sunday and you get those dreaded "I have to get up tomorrow and go back to work" blues.
These are common and normal.
What we are talking about here is Major Depression. An intense sadness and loss of hope that is so terrible, that the Avoidant can't even get out of bed, much less go to work, go to meet friends or family, or function in any way.
This level of Depression can be so bad that the person looses touch with reality. The normal morals and values that most of us have, disappear and are replaced with feelings of wanting to kill themselves and take others with them.
We are social creatures. We were created to have a relationship with God and with each other. When we are isolated from others, we short circuit ourselves and problems develop.
People that have isolated themselves from society develop strange behaviors, become paranoid, and can develop other odd behaviors.
The person with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) desperately wants friends and to be social, but cannot because their fear of rejection and the fear of people is so strong that it overpowers every other need and desire.
Avoidants keep this a carefully guarded secret.
When an avoidant thinks about being in a group of people, no matter how small, in their minds they see the picture on the right. A huge unending sea of people that they will get lost in and will crush and kill them !
Phillip's Personal Story
When I was in the throws of Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd), I went through a ton of jobs.
Probably a hundred or so. Most of this was because I was unable to develop relationships with co-workers and my bosses. Another issue was my inability to comprehend the tasks that I was given.
A boss would give me a task to do, then 5 minutes later, I would forget what they told me to do, or get what they told me confused.
I would then either have to do the best I could with what I could remember of the task, or go back to my boss and ask them to repeat themselves, which bosses hate to do.
Some bosses would flat out refuse to go over the task a 2nd time, which would cause me to fail at the task. Then the boss would get mad and I would get fired.
This unfortunately happened many times. I finally learned that I needed to have my boss write things down for me, but this is also something bosses hate to do.
The result was that I went through a lot of jobs until I would find one boss that was nice, and would understood. These sorts of bosses are very rare.
Unless the Avoidant can overcome this, I highly recommend that they seek a Work-From-Home opportunity. Working from home can be a blessing and a curse, so I recommend caution.
The problem with working from home is that there is little to no socialization, so the Avoidant is not learning critical socialization skills.
Once you learn your Work-From-Home job, you may not even need to talk to anyone. Most Work-From-Home jobs tend to be very hands off, from the supervisors and managers perspective.
My advice is if the Avoidant goes this route is to find other ways to socialize, or work on your socialization skills.
Everyone has inferiority complexes at times. We think our boss is better than we are. We think our teachers are better than we are. We think that people with lots of money are better than us. We think that people in positions of power are better than we are.
The fact is that we are all God's creations, and we are all equal. We should never think that anyone is better, or more valuable.
For the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) , this is way easier said than done. Inferiority is one of the main roots of Avoidance. Avoidants feel they have no value.
If a person is worthless, and therefore has no value, then everyone is better than them.
This is a lie that Satan has sown into the very heart of the Avoidant. It is a lie that is continually reinforced each and every day;
This is another root of Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd). Avoidants feel they are worthless because they are constantly beaten down. Much of this is in their minds, but does not make it any less real.
We live in a physical world were we can use our 5 senses to figure out whats going on. We can touch, taste, see, hear, and taste the world that is around us.
This means that everything we know, or think we know, is subject to what we can determine with these senses.
When it comes to things in the mind, like mental disorders, they are seen as not really there. They are just something Avoidants make up as excuses so they don't have to do things.
The truth is that the unseen is the real world and the physical is the illusion. Mental Disorders are just as real, or maybe even more real than Physical ones because the brain is in control of your entire body.
When the Avoidant gets it planted into their heart that they are worthless, this effects every aspect of their lives and is the single most devastating symptom that has to be over come.
The person with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) wants, with every fiber of their being, to be a part of social circles. The problem is that they cant. Its like a computer system with 2 sets of conflicting instructions.
The 1st set of instructions say; "You need friends and family. Go out and meet people and have fun."
The 2nd set of instructions say; "Be Alone because it is safe and you wont get hurt!"
The set of instructions that tell the Avoidant to be alone because they are not worth anything, no one likes them, and people will reject them is a much higher priority instruction, meaning its a million times stronger than the 1st one.
The result is that no matter how hard the Avoidant tries, they cant force themselves to get out there and meet people. Its a barrier made of the hardest material that is impossible to penetrate.
Churches are very good at telling you how much God Loves you, and how much value you have.
(The picture on the right says "You Suck" in the persons mind. This actually comes from the heart.
The problem is that these words of love cant penetrate the heart of the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd), which is where these internal instructions reside.
The heart has all the instructions that tell you who you are, what value you have, and that you are loved. The heart always overrides the brain.
In the case of the Avoidant, these instructions are out of whack. It is telling the Avoidant they suck, they are worthless, they have no value, and nobody loves them.
Simple words taken in by the brain cant get into the heart to overwrite those bad instructions that are in the heart.
Here is what happens.
No matter how many times, or how loudly, the Avoidant hears those words, the only thing they will ever hear is;
"YOU ARE WORTHLESS!
This is why mere words are not enough!
Avoidants think that everyone wants to do them harm and destroy them. All of these instructions are firmly implanted into the heart.
This is what makes these symptoms and Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) incredibly difficult to over come.
No matter how nice people try to be, and how innocent of a motive they have, the Avoidant is always thinking, either in the back of their mind, or at the forefront of it, that this person is up to no good, has an ulterior motive, and is out to get them.
Intimacy is very important to any relationship. Without it the relationship will sooner or later end. It is just a matter of how long it is going to take.
Intimacy is both emotional or physical. Both are equally important to any relationship.
The problem for the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) is that intimacy requires complete trust, complete vulnerability, and self love. If you don't love yourself, you cant love someone else.
These are all things that the Avoidant does not possess. The Avoidant hates themselves, the Avoidant fears people, the Avoidant fears rejection, and the Avoidant does not trust anyone.
If the Avoidant tries to be close to their partner and attempts intimacy, they will always be in fear that they will do something wrong, or their partner will reject them.
Avoidants make excuses not to be intimate, and will usually wind up taking care of themselves because they are the only ones they trust.
This is a huge lie that the Devil tells the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd).
CS Lewis often played the Devils advocate, meaning that he put himself in the Devils shoes to come up with how Satan thinks and acts. In any war, it's crucial to know your enemy and be able to think like they do. This is the only way the enemy can be truly defeated.
If the Devil can convince the Avoidant that they are the only one with the issue that they have, he can keep them from finding any help, because it's just them that have the problem.
The Devil tells that Avoidant they are uniquely defective, so there is no hope of a cure, much less any help or relief.
This lie keeps them isolated from society and from relationships.
All the World is a stage and we are but players on that stage.
Persons with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) feel that are not in control of their lives. They are simply playing a part that was assigned to them.
Avoidants report out-of-body experiences, where they are looking down on something they are doing, or saying. It is usually something that they do not want to say, or do. They are completely powerless to prevent anything, or intervene in any way.
Avoidants often loose time, and may have no clue, even 5 minutes after something happened, of what they did or said..
Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) is one of the worst Mental Disorders there is because it combines Major Depression, Severe Social Anxiety, and all the fears and symptoms, into a nasty neat little package.
Avoidants are trying as best they can to deal with the constant barrage of symptoms they face on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, year after year.
There is always hope not to wind up like this. You have to make a commitment to get help !
If you are thinking about suicide, please stop and click on the button below.
This might seem like a "Duh", but it's an important aspect of the disorder that Normals can forget.
When someone that has Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) does not show up for a get together with a friend, or a family function, Normals tend to take out their frustration on the Avoidant, and sometimes scream and yell at them.
This only makes matters worse. When given the chance, the Avoidant will Avoid get togethers, family functions, and any other events they can get out of.
How the Normal handles this Avoidance is critical, and will set the stage for your relationship. The Avoidant will either learn to trust you, or fear you, based on how you respond.
It does not matter if you are old, young, back, white, brown, male, or female, rich or poor, no one likes being yelled at.
For the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) though, this takes on a whole new dimension. Being yelled at is the same as Criticism, which crushes the spirit of the Avoidant.
Often my wife would say something critical to me, and I would say back, "Dont yell at me"
It was not that she was yelling, but I perceived it this way because I could tell she was not happy with me, which to me equated to yelling.
An Avoidant would rather endure any physical pain to being yelled at.
In Murphy's law, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Everyone fails. It took Einstein 1000 attempts to come up with an Electric Light Bulb that worked. When asked about this, Einstein said he did not fail 999 times. He invented an electric light bulb that had 1000 steps to it.
To the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) though, they cannot see a positive outcome to anything. Everything is gloom and doom.
Trust is a very rare commodity for the one with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd). So much so that it is almost an oxi-moron.
For an Avoidant to learn to trust anyone can take years, or even decades. Trust takes time to build, and is very difficult for the Avoidant.
The reason is because opening up themselves to trust someone, is to be vulnerable to attack, hurt, and rejection.
Usually even after years in a relationship with an Avoidant, they will only let the Normal in just so far, always keeping them at arms length.
In a normal relationship, there are fights and disagreements. This is perfectly normal and even healthy.
In a normal fight in a mature relationship, 2 Normals present their side of the argument, maybe say a few things in anger, but then at some point, they rationally come together in agreement, or at least compromise, and end the dispute.
In a relationship between a Normal & a person with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd), this process is short circulated. When presented with anger, contention, or any type of confrontation, the Avoidant cowers in a corner, either a physical corner, or a corner of their mind.
Having an argument, or fight, with an Avoidant is often 1 sided. The Avoidant cant present their side because they fear they are wrong and the Normal is right because of their self worth, which is zero.
Persons with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) can often have addictions to various things like;
Just like a lizard that can change colors wherever they want or need to, Avoidants can do this as well.
It is a protection mechanism. When an Avoidant feels threatened of being exposed, like when going to the doctor, they can hide, or mask their symptoms and appear Normal
Avoidants are very stubborn. If they do not want to do something, they are not going to do it.
What I have listed below are possible issues that Avoidants may have.
If you have any of these, please email us and let us know. It is only by gathering as much data as possible on Avoidants that we can hope to learn more about this condition.
Many that have Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) report bouts of insomnia, and even in the best of times, have a lot of trouble sleeping.
Usually this is caused by an overactive mind that just wont shut off. Often a certain part of their day, or worry, will replay over and over like the broken record as described in the Anxiety section.
Sleep is crucial to your emotional well being.
This might seem like a very simple thing, but the importance of it should not be under estimated. Diet plays a very important role in our well being, just as much as sleep does, if not more.
Many that have Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) report diets that consist almost entirely of Candy, Chocolate, and Fast Food, with little to no veggies or fruit.
Many that have Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) report intense nightmares and active dreaming,
Active dreams are when you know that you are dreaming and can actively change the dream.
Those with Avoidant Personality Disorder (Avpd) may develop compulsive behaviors like;
Even though the descriptions of the symptoms above paint a grim picture, there is always hope!
There are many ways that you can get help.
We offer couching sessions. In these sessions, ask anything you wish. We will work with you to find the path you need to overcome Avoidant Personality.
The book is not ready just yet, but when it is, it will help you by giving you real examples from Phillip's life, and then follow that up with practical teachings and ways you can deal with Avoidant Personaltiy
Advocare are the Happy Pills that I found that helped me tremendously. They do not cure Avoidance, but they did take the edge off from my Avoidance.
Feel free to contact us at any time using the form below. All contacts are private and secure.
Avoidant Personality Resource Center
PO Box 1471 Eagle Idaho 83616
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Avoidant Personality Center is located in Meridian, Idaho