Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD) is a recognised disorder which is characterized by a hypersensitivity to criticism, intense self loathing and a strong desire to isolate themselves. Sufferers believe that they lack social skills, and feel they don’t know or understand “the rules”. Hence, they tend to avoid social situations to avoid the pain of rejection by others.

People in a close relationship with them often feel frustrated by the person’s tendency to pull away from them and avoid other people. They also find it hard to lead an active social life as the sufferer refuses to go to events such as family gathering, work parties and so on. Also, they may feel pressurised to cut themselves off, too, and live in a bubble with the AVPD person. This can be a source of stress for the person and the extended family.

Although people with AVPD will generally display a number of the traits outlined below, each person is unique and different. (Also, most of us display avoidant traits at times but that doesn’t mean we have AVPD).

Symptoms and traits include the following:“always” & “never” statements; blaming; catastrophizing (automatically assuming a “worst case scenario”); circular conversations (endless arguments which repeat the same patterns); “control-me” syndrome (a tendency to form relationships with people who are controlling, narcissistic or antisocial); dependency; depression; emotional blackmail; false accusations; fear of abandonment; hypervigilance; identity disturbance ( a distorted view of oneself); impulsivity; lack of object constancy (the inability to remember that people or objects are consistent and reliable over time – regardless of whether you can see them or not); low self-esteem; mood swings; objectification (treating a person like an object); panic attacks; passive aggressive behaviour; projection (attributing one’s own feelings or traits onto another); self-hatred; “playing the victim” and thought policing (trying to question, control, or unduly influence another person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours.)

Specifically, the DSM-IV-TR, defines Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) as being:

A pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

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 initiating intimate relationships because of the fear of being ashamed, ridiculed, or rejected due to severe low self-worth.
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 unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing.

A formal diagnosis must be made by a mental health professional.

Coming out story

This is the backstory and history of me being a lesbian. (Skip to the next “paragraph” for my most recent experience with coming out)

My first kiss was when I was 6 or 7 years old with my bestfriend Mary. And it escalated to making out. I was young and already comfortable using tongue. So when I started to think about girls in that way it wasn’t a surprise to me. Next I started kissing girls again when I was in the 6th grade. I started telling my friends I liked girls but didn’t really think much about it. Then out of nowhere I started kissing boys and it was weird 7th and 8th grade I may have kissed 2 boys and it was strange because whilst doing that I had feelings for my bestfriend Anna so I knew something wasn’t making sense to me. I stopped kissing boys and pursued girls my freshman year of high school. Now quick stopping point, my mother has always raised me to love people for who they are and I want to say I remember her telling me she doesn’t care who I end up with as long as she gets grandchildren. Resuming, my freshman year I had a girlfriend I played basketball with but it didn’t last long. Then I started dating another girl and she was the first straight girl I ever pursued and I moved to a different country so that failed. My sophomore year I started dating boys again and it was a very confusing part of my life I felt like I needed to pursue guys for whatever reason. I was living in Australia at that time and I didn’t come out to any of my new friends. I guess I was nervous on how they would react. My junior year I moved back to the United States and started at another school and made friends quickly because I played basketball and athletes tend to make good friends because instant common interests. When the topic came about I mentioned I was attracted to girls and my friends were accepting. I actually got involved with a guy that year which through everyone off even the guy I was with and it was strange because I kept telling him I was attracted to girls. And I guess mainly I only stayed with him because my mom didn’t want me to even associate with him (he was a deadbeat) I ended up breaking up with him after 2 years and finally put an end to my ways and seriously pursued a female. I had my first real relationship with a girl and it felt right. Nothing felt forced and it always felt natural. This was the end of my senior year. My mom found hickeys on my neck and once she found out they were from a girl it was nothing but negative reactions. She yelled and proceeded to say how it wasn’t acceptable and that I didn’t know what I was doing blah blah blah. So I started sneaking around with this girl and my mom never suspected my sexuality again. Once she found out a second time she kept asking why I was doing it and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her I was a lesbian. It was a stressful situation because every time I wasn’t ready to come out to her for the fact she hasn’t been accepting in the past. That would be my second attempt at coming out. That relationship ended and my mom started realizing I was hanging out with more gay people and started asking what was going on and the next time I brought up being gay she got ridiculously angry and I got scared again and backed out. The fourth attempt was when my mom found out about my girlfriend Haley, this was the beginning of this year, and she called me nasty nasty names. Said I was dead to her and it was horrible. She never brought it back up. And we worked on our relationship outside of my sexuality.

I started dating Maddison and I knew that she was going to be it for me. The only girl I want to be with for the rest of my life. When I started planning our meet I thought about how I wanted to come out to extended family. I thought about how my mom would react and I knew it wasn’t going to be good. So once I got there and after my mom saw Maddison (she picked me up) my mom realized who Maddison was to me. My mom saw her and knew she was gay. After I left my mom texted me rude things cussing me out and saying she was done with me. I brushed it off like I always do and enjoyed my night with my girlfriend. The next morning after Maddison dropped me back off, my mom was still asleep so I couldn’t talk to her about the previous night and the words that were exchanged. So I sat down with my grandmother and asked if she has spoken to mom about last night. She said no and asked what was going on. I then said,“grandma, I like girls” and she smiled and said whatever makes me happy and that it doesn’t make her love me any less than she did 10 seconds before I told her. She asked why my mom was so mad because she didn’t understand. My mom has previously been with girls and has never been in accepting of the other gay people in my family. My mom woke up and started acting like nothing was wrong and my grandmother talked to my mom and told her I was gay and my mom proceeded to freak out and yell at me and tell me I was wrong for telling my grandmother that. (Mind you this was ON my birthday.) I spent the entire day in tears because my mom kept telling me to keep my business to myself and told me that wasn’t the time or place to bring that up. So I shut my mouth and went about myself. That night my mother sat me down and asked what my plan was. If I was going to stay in Chicago and live my life or go home with her. She gave me the ultimatum that I either stop pursuing being gay or I can leave. And hearing your own mother say something so cruel is one of the worst experiences ever. I told her I wasn’t going to change who I was and she got up and left. I woke up my grandma and cried and said that she left and my grandma told me I should go stay at Maddison’s to avoid a hostile environment. So Maddison picked me up. I turned my phone off and went to her house. My mom then found me and dragged me back. Days went by and no progress was made. Just yesterday she told me there was no need for me to talk to Maddison anymore since I’m never going to see her again unless I plan on leaving her and moving to Chicago. She then said she doesn’t care anymore I’m gonna do whatever I want to anyways. So I’m out but my mom doesn’t accept it.

She has said things along the lines of
“You’re ruining your life”
“You’re like this because of your dad”
“You don’t know who you are yet”
“You’re proprieties are fucked up”
Etc etc

Every single person I have came out to has been utterly accepting and supportive. But the only person who matters is my mom and she doesn’t accept me and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.

*sends a message that is in no way offensive*
oh god they probably hate me for sending that
*checks to see if they’re still following me*
*checks to see if we’re still fb friends*

I always forget that I sort of almost died in a mountain fire while camping when I was 16??? Like that was a thing that happened I drove down the mountain in a bus and I could see where the fire was during the day I could see huge smoke clouds and the morning if he day we were evacuated there was ash falling from a sky. I stayed in a high school and they gave us food but like that whole experience was SOOOo weird and I don’t know how j can forget something like that happening