Fear of Rejection
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder avoid social interaction, even at work, because they fear that they will be criticised or rejected or that people will disapprove of them.
For example, they may do the following:
- They may refuse a promotion because they fear co-workers will criticise them.
- They may avoid meetings.
- They may avoid making new friends unless they are sure they will be liked.
Individuals with this disorder assume others will be critical and disapproving until there is clear-cut, indisputable proof to the contrary.
Thus, before joining a group and forming a close relationship, individuals with this disorder require repeated assurances of support and uncritical acceptance.
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are reluctant to talk about themselves lest they be mocked or humiliated.
Individuals with this disorder are very reluctant to take risks or participate in new activities for similar reasons. In such cases, they tend to exaggerate the dangers and use minimal symptoms or other problems to explain why they are not participating.
They may prefer a limited lifestyle because of their need for security and certainty.
Extreme Sensitivity to Criticism
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are very sensitive to anything critical, disapproving, or mocking because they constantly think about being criticised or rejected by others.
They are vigilant for any sign of a negative response to them.
Their tense, anxious appearance may elicit mockery or teasing, thus seeming to confirm their self-doubts.
Low self-esteem and a sense of inadequacy inhibit these individuals in social situations, especially new ones.
They hold back in interactions with new people because they think of themselves as socially inept, unappealing, and inferior to others.
They tend to be quiet and timid because they tend to think that if they say anything, others will say it is wrong.
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder long for social interaction but fear placing their well-being in the hands of others.
Because these individuals with avoidant personality limit their interactions with others, they tend to be relatively isolated and to lack a social network that could help them when they need it.