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Avoidant Personality Disorder

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Avoidant Personality Disorder

From the moment a person is born, his or her personality

begins to take shape. In infancy, childhood, and later

adolescence, the individual explores a multitude of behaviors.

Of all the behaviors, or personalities, the person experiences,

one of them will stick with them until the day they die.

Unfortunately, each specific personality also contain a

personality disorder. Personality disorders can result in

anxiety attacks, depression, and to a certain level, suicide.

One of the most unique personality disorders is the Avoidant

Personality Disorder.

The DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)

describes Avoidant Personality Disorder as: a persuasive pattern

of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and

hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early

childhood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by

four (or more) of the following traits:

1.) avoids occupational activities that involve

significant interpersonal contact because of fears of

criticism, disapproval, or rejection

2.) is unwilling to get involved with people unless

certain of being liked

3.) shows restraint within intimate relationships

because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

4.) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in

social situations

5.) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because

of feelings of inadequacy

6.) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing,

or inferior to others

7.) is usually reluctant to take personal risks or to

engage in nay new activities because they may prove


Avoidant Personality Disorder usually starts at early

adulthood. The American Psychiatric Association is convinced

that an equal amount of men and women experience this personality

disorder. According to one other study by Greenberg &

Stravynski, more men are being referred for professional help

than women (Long). The reason for this is because society

usually expects men to be the initiators in relationships with


People that suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder

display traits such as timidity, shyness, and a withdrawing

behavior. Avoidants, people that suffer from Avoidant

Personality Disorder, use these traits to hurt others so that

they can avoid a close relationship with them. They like to

display their hostility in an "open" manner by insulting people

who try to be friendly. The reason for this is so that they can

handle feared rejection by becoming rejecting themselves.

Avoidants reject other people first so that they are not the

first to be rejected. Most of the time avoidants reject people

who would have never rejected them in the first place. A victim

of this personality disorder is usually affected in one of three

ways. First, some avoidants put in considerable time and effort

into making themselves attractive to others. They do this so

they will at least be liked for their looks, if not for

themselves. Second, some make sure that their appearance drives

others away. Third, some avoidants may dress in the style of the

era when the trauma occurred (Long). This action obviously

displays that the avoidant is living in his or her past. Speech

is also affected in an avoidants life. In fact, most avoidants

use frequent pauses, and speak very slow, while other avoidants

may try to be "outgoing", possibly due to the false belief that

continuous talking will prevent death, an avoidants worst fear


Avoidants often test others to determine whether or not they

are being truthful in their friendship. Because they may

frequently see rejection where it does not exist, people will

tend to fail these "tests" and then later be avoided because they

may reject or humiliate those with Avoidant Personality Disorder.

People with Avoidant Personality Disorder have difficulty

beginning and keeping relationships. In some cases, avoidants

may try to be a perfectionist and reject anyone who does not live

up to their perfect standards. The reason for all of this

rejection that avoidants give, is so that if they are rejected,

they will find it less



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