Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms:

1. You tend to focus on negative things rather than positive ones.

For example, you may become upset if someone does not respond positively to your invitation or compliments.

2. You are often critical of yourself and others, even when they have done nothing wrong.

3. You experience difficulty with new situations because you are preoccupied with thinking about how it will go badly for you or other people in the future (see #4).

4. You tend to avoid social situations and activities unless they involve others you feel close to.

5. Your moods are unpredictable and you do not like being around people who cause problems for you.

You may withdraw from people, especially those closest to you such as family members or friends.

6. You tend to keep a low profile at all times so that no one bothers you or makes fun of your appearance or mannerisms.

7. You may have trouble making decisions because you are preoccupied with worrying about what might happen next.

8. If you cannot make up your mind, you tend to choose the option that seems least risky to you.

9. You are very perfectionistic and may think only of doing well in school or work, and ignore other important aspects of life such as friendships or romantic relationships.

10. You often feel like everyone else is far more social and better at getting along with others.

11. You feel like you have no one to talk to, even if you are surrounded by people.

12. You tend to be a loner and prefer spending time by yourself rather than in the company of others. You may see other people as being “better” than you.

13. You feel uncomfortable in social situations because you think that others will judge you in a negative way.

14. You may withdraw from others because you believe that they do not understand you or are unwilling to listen to your problems.

15. You feel very fearful when someone gets angry at you, which may cause you to act in a meek and apologetic way around them.

16. You often feel like a burden on others and that people would be better off without you.

17. You find it difficult to trust others because you believe that they do not have your best interests at heart.

18. You prefer to keep your feelings and thoughts to yourself rather than tell someone about them. This may be due to the fact that in the past your confidences have been betrayed.

19. You are unsure as to how you should act in any given situation, so you tend to watch others and imitate them.

20. You can feel very sad for no apparent reason, but in general you have a tendency to feel dissatisfied or irritated.

21. You prefer to keep your opinions to yourself because you fear that they will cause disagreement.

22. You often think that life is dull or depressing compared to the experiences you see on television or hear about from others.

23. You may feel disconnected from your surroundings, almost like you are an observer in your own life rather than a participant.

24. You tend to think that everyone else has the “good things” in life, such as money, intelligence, or social skills, and you are left with the “leftovers.”

25. It takes you a long time to make decisions because you feel confused by the options available to you.

26. You feel like you are always at a disadvantage compared to others; either in school, socially, or in career.

27. You have difficulties with self-confidence and may lack the motivation to do things or the confidence that you can do them.

28. You have a tendency to worry about things that may or may not happen in the future.

29. You feel like you are faking happiness and success, and people will eventually see through this facade and expose you as a loser.

30. Others often tell you that you have “big dreams” and should make plans to accomplish some of these goals, but part of you feels that these dreams are just fantasies that will never come true.

31. You tend to take criticism very personally and either lash out at the other person in anger or retreat into your own mind.

32. You feel like you are boring compared to others, and that there is nothing interesting about you.

33. You feel like people are always judging you and never give you a chance due to their pre-conceived notions about you.

34. You feel like complete strangers can see straight through you, almost as if you have no privacy.

35. You can feel nervous even when going to do something that you look forward to, such as going to a party, giving a presentation, or playing in a sports competition.

36. You can dwell on past humiliations and feel hopeless about the future.

37. You have recurring thoughts about how life is meaningless and full of suffering.

38. You tend to feel socially anxious even around people that you know and like.

39. You feel like you have to be “on” or performing at all times.

40. You feel that happiness is something that happens to other people, but not to you.

41. You feel like you are surrounded by a veil or screen and can’t quite make out what is going on at times.

42. You have a tendency to feel detached from your own emotions and fail to see their connection to your thoughts or actions.

43. You have come to realize that people rarely do things just for the sake of being nice or kind. There is always an angle, whether it be material or personal gain.

44. You can’t understand why other people seem so unable to grasp certain concepts that seem simple and logical to you.

45. You feel a stronger identification with people and things outside of this country (or wherever you live) and their struggles compared to those around you.

46. You enjoy activities such as writing, art, music, or poetry.

47. You have an interest in physics, astronomy, or any other “deep” intellectual topics.

48. You feel like you are very different from most people you know and sometimes wonder if you were born in the wrong time or place.

49. You have a tendency to get lost in your own thoughts and shut out the outside world (or reality).

50. People tell you that you are “distant” or seem to be in another world.

51. You feel like you have experienced a lot in life and have seen the dark side of humanity, but you don’t really know how to express this or even if anyone would be interested.

52. You spend a lot of time taking care of small details that most people wouldn’t think about.

53. You tend to be suspicious of people, but only because you think that they are hiding something or being deceitful in some way.

54. You sometimes feel as if you were born in the wrong time period or perhaps on the wrong planet.

55. You feel a great sense of loss that you can’t or don’t connect with other people easily.

56. You sometimes feel as if you really shouldn’t be here or you don’t belong here.

57. You have recurring thoughts that life is very short and that your days are numbered, so you need to make the best of it while you are here.

58. You feel as if you have managed to tune out most of the “noise” or constant chatter that goes on inside the heads of most people.

59. You tend to judge people by what is inside rather than outside, as everything is usually a facade. What is inside is much more real and truthful in your eyes.

60. You are bothered by recurring nightmares or night terrors where you experience a lot of anxiety, fear, or distress.

61. You have vivid dreams, but they are often mixed in with a lot of nightmare material.

62. You worry about the future and what might happen.

63. You feel that you do not have any real control over your own life and that certain forces may determine your own fate.

64. You have a tendency to question the nature of reality and existence in general.

65. You sometimes feel as if your mind has a life of its own, independent of your own thoughts.

66. You sometimes feel as if you are part of some experiment or game and that everyone else is just playing their role.

67. You feel that you are somehow connected to _____(a famous person) or perhaps a direct relative of them.

68. You feel like you were somehow “meant” to be born at a certain time and place in history.

69. You feel as if you are living a double life or dual existence.

70. You find it easy to read between the lines when people talk and can often tell if they are lying or holding something back.

71. You sometimes feel as if you have been here before, like you are living a déjà vu all the time.

How many of these characteristics apply to you?

8-15 You are fairly detached from reality, so you probably need to engage in more activities that ground you more fully in the here and now.

16-23 You find it easy to concentrate on what’s going on around you and don’t have trouble with daydreaming (or night dreaming).

24-33 You are pretty grounded for the most part, however you probably have a few quirks or habits that might be a little offbeat from the rest of the population.

34-42 You are very down to earth and you don’t have many eccentricities that would cause people to label you as “flighty”.

43-50 You are very level headed most of the time and people tend to rely on you for advice, however there are a few eccentricities that pop up every now and again.

51-60 You have a reputation as a straight arrow type of person, who is very dependable and down to earth.

61-70 You sometimes lapse into daydreams or get slightly distracted by your own thoughts from time to time, but nothing excessive.

71-79 You often have random thoughts running through your mind, but you are able to keep up a conversation just fine.

80-89 You tend to get lost in your own thoughts a lot and can lapse into a daydream at any given moment.

90-100 You have fairly bad issues with daydreaming and sometimes have a hard time staying focused on reality.

Sources & references used in this article:

Psychopathology of social phobia and comparison to avoidant personality disorder. by SM Turner, DC Beidel, CV Dancu… – Journal of Abnormal …, 1986 – psycnet.apa.org

Social phobia: a comparison of specific and generalized subtypes and avoidant personality disorder. by SM Turner, DC Beidel, RM Townsley – Journal of Abnormal …, 1992 – psycnet.apa.org

Avoidant personality disorder and the generalized subtype of social phobia. by CS Holt, RG Heimberg, DA Hope – Journal of abnormal psychology, 1992 – psycnet.apa.org

Short-term structured treatment for avoidant personality disorder. by L Alden – Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1989 – psycnet.apa.org

Validity of the distinction between generalized social phobia and avoidant personality disorder. by JD Herbert, DA Hope, AS Bellack – Journal of Abnormal psychology, 1992 – psycnet.apa.org

Multimodal comparisons of social phobia subtypes and avoidant personality disorder by ML Boone, DW McNeil, CL Masia, CL Turk… – … of Anxiety Disorders, 1999 – Elsevier

Avoidant personality disorder: Current status and future directions by LE Alden, JM Laposa, CT Taylor… – … of personality disorders, 2002 – Guilford Press

The relationship of social phobia subtypes and avoidant personality disorder by FR Schneier, RL Spitzer, M Gibbon, AJ Fyer… – Comprehensive …, 1991 – Elsevier

Social phobia subtype and avoidant personality disorder: Effect on severity of social phobia, impairment, and outcome of cognitive behavioral treatment by EJ Brown, RG Heimberg, HR Juster – Behavior Therapy, 1995 – Elsevier