Definition, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder
What is avoidant personality disorder?
A person suffering from the avoidant personality disorder is extremely sensitive to what other people think about them. They fear rejections and are overly shy.
Such people are very reluctant in mixing and interacting with other people because of their shyness and fear. They let many big opportunity slips which make them feel guilty.
Extremely volatile and nasty emotions like guilt, fear, shyness etc are perpetually experienced by a person suffering from avoidant personality disorder.
When such a person try to mix with people then they experience a tremendous amount of anxiety because of their shyness. On the other hand, when they let the big opportunities go by not doing anything then they experience guilt. They feel helpless and discontent. This sows the seed of depression within that person.
What are the causes of avoidant personality disorder?
#Childhood’s suppressed emotions
Unfortunately, A lot of people in this contemporary world had a rocky childhood. A lot of people grew up with a single parent and that parent may have to work to get things going.
This may create a feeling of abandonment in a child. The child may not have anyone to share his/her emotions or thoughts. He/she may be suppressing their emotions.
In my article, how does Karma work in relationships I have said that whenever we fail to express ourselves then we experience smothering like feeling. We feel like we are not able to breathe or live properly. This happens because our thoughts and emotions don’t find any way to express itself.
In Indian culture, mothers are supposed to stay with the child till he/she becomes five or six years of age. She is advised not to leave her child even for a moment.
It is not because Indians don’t want a woman to get empowered. In fact, we are the only culture left on this planet to worship goddesses. And those deities are not simple household women. Some deities like Kali or Durga are the epitome of fierceness and anger.
Unfortunately, India is losing her culture very rapidly. It is because of so many reasons. In my eyes giving time to a child when he/she is very young is of paramount importance. I know there are many people who would say that if they will give time their kids then who will bring the money home?
I understand all these dynamics but I want you all to understand that the foundation of any building is its most important part. If the foundation remains weak then it doesn’t matter how much care or money we spend on it. It will always remain weak.
A person who has faced the scarcity of love, compassion or empathy in childhood will develop a mental instability.
The psychologist will give their instability exotic names like an avoidant personality disorder, ADHD, bipolar behavior etc. People are labeled with such names because of the scarcity of attention and love in their childhood. This is not the only reason but certainly, it is one of the major reason.
Social conditioning has an important role in the increase of psychological disorders like an avoidant personality disorder.
A person who is bullied or surrounded by dominant adults may be forced to not interact with the people around them gracefully. This may build reluctance in their personality.
Lack of empathy and increasing levels of indifference is the unfortunate truth of today’s society.
People who are familiar with the Indian culture might know that Indians have very strong family values. There is a lot of empathy and connection among parents, children, siblings, and cousins.
This connection works like insurance. It assures a person that whenever something shall go down or wrong, there are people to support him/her. As I told unfortunately for a variety of reasons India is losing her culture which is really saddening.
There is a mental health problem which is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A person suffering from PTSD becomes incompetent of recovering after encountering a highly distressful situation.
Instead of giving you an extreme example. Let me give you a mild example.
There are a lot of people who fear to come in a relationship because of the bitter experiences. They have become incapable of giving a commitment to their partners. Within themselves, they have made a conclusion that relationships and pain are synonymous.
In one of my article, alcohol and relationship; what about this cocktail…? I have said that I don’t have any problem with people’s compulsive habits like drinking, smoking, drug abuse etc.
Who am I to tell a person to start or stop doing something? We all are educated enough to know the consequences of it.
I am not against alcohol or anything else. But I am certainly against, cowardice. As a true friend, I don’t want you to be called a coward.
Majority of people uses alcohol or drugs to run away from their problems instead of facing it.
I want you to become brave and face your life problem. Stop seeking solace or temporary fix. Strive to seek a solution.
This attitude of seeking solace instead of a solution numbs our intelligence. Compulsive habits also contribute significantly to the growth of mental health problems like an avoidant personality disorder.
#Lack of competence
Lack of competence may also be the impetus behind avoidant personality disorder.
In my article, I am bored… What to do when you’re bored? I have said that one person may go through a certain situation very gracefully. On the other hand, some other person may encounter an enormous amount of stress while going through the same situation.
So as we all can see and conceive that it is not the situation or circumstances which cause burnouts. It is about competence and capability which decides the quality of our life.
Say, for instance, a person may be reluctant to interact with the people around him/her because of their poor communication skills.
Such a person must strive to improve their skills. There are many successful people like Richard Branson, Ratan Tata etc who were very shy in the starting of their career. But they successfully get over the shyness. If they can do it then you can also do it.
Cure and treatment of avoidant personality disorder
In India there is a very famous saying which is translated as – No one can teach a person who doesn’t want to learn and no one can stop a person from learning who has a willingness to learn.
Similarly, no great doctor or psychotherapist can cure a person who doesn’t have a will to get over his/her limitation or illness.
Have you ever noticed that if you spend time with a jolly and hilarious person then after some time your mood is improved drastically?
On the other hand, being in the company of melancholic percent kills our good vibes and makes us sad.
It is not just about human beings each and every object emits a certain type of energy. And this energy impacts our system. No one can deny this fact.
In India Tulsi plant, peepal tree, vilva plant etc are considered sacred. This is because they emit energy which is highly conducive for our growth and wellness (both physical and mental).
In my book Goodbye! DEPRESSION I have said that in India before starting any task or endeavor people light a diya (oil or ghee lamp).
Diya creates a right kind of ambiance around it. You can do this simple ritual daily:
- Wash your diya properly with soap.
- Make it dry using a clean paper or cloth.
- Pour oil (vegetable oil) in it.
- Using a cotton wick light the lamp.
- Sit close to it for two minutes (keep your eyes open during that time).
- Turn around and sit (exposing your spine) for two minutes.
- After doing this go out under the open sky and look at the sky for few seconds.
The important point to remember:
- Before using the lamp again make sure you wash it properly. Cleanliness is very important.
- Before practicing this ritual please take a bath.
After doing this ritual you will experience a tremendous sense of stability and peace within you.
In this book (Goodbye! DEPRESSION) I have given a lot of simple and practices methods like this which are extracted from Indian Yogic sciences. They will 100% help you get over your limitations, stagnation or mental illnesses.
In my article, infatuation vs love… Who is the loser? I have said that there are many people who go through a turmoil within themselves whilst distinguishing between real love and infatuation.
This happens because they don’t have clarity in their life and they do things which don’t mean anything to them.
In this article, I have said that to bring clarity in our life we must only invest our time and energy in things which mean a lot to us.
If you really want to live the life which is fulfilling and enriching then you must master the art of planning.
Without having an actionable plan you will simply wander without making any progress.
Make actionable plans to fulfill your short-term, Middle-term, and long-term goals.
We can have all the resources in the world and a brilliant plan. But if you will not take actions then everything will go in vain.
While working on an idea or executing a plan make sure you are flexible in your approach. This is because life is unpredictable. Anything unexpected can happen anytime.
A lot of people simply beat their heads on the wall and blame others when something unexpected happens. Don’t be like them. Never make very rigid plans. Your plans must be flexible.
How to help a person who is suffering from an avoidant personality disorder?
No one has to give instructions to a tree about how much it should grow, how many branches it must have or when it should shed leaves.
If you want a tree to reach its full growth and might then only in the beginning you must protect and provide a conducive environment to it.
If the right type of ambiance is present then the tree will grow. Only in the beginning we have to water it, protected it, and allow sufficient sunlight to fall on it.
Same is true for human beings. We don’t need to give them instructions. If you really want to help them then just provide them conducive environment and little protection.
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