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The Close Relationship - Schizoid and Avoidant Personality Disorders


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I've read of cases where one "transitions" into a schizoid personality from avoidant. I know that both these personalities are withdrawn and prefer activities in which they can be left alone. The difference, between the two, is that the avoidant (deeeeeeep down inside) longs to have a place to society/social groups. The schizoid, simply does not care. Anyways, I'm just curious, does anyone have any input on this subject?  :nerdy:

Edited by SocialSchizoid
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My story is below for you but yes, I believe that it is involved over time. I feel that the Avoidant either concurs that fear or lets it consume them.

 

BUT...

 

....I have many features of spd, which I believe is a result from my upbringing. As a child I was very shy, which isn't a bad thing, but mother really kind of isolated me from social situations. I COULD NOT HANDLE REJECTION. It killed me. I remember there was a time when I felt a change. I just stopped acting how I used to and started blocking things out of my mind. I no longer gave two shits about having a place socially and as a result (go figure) I began noticing (in highschool) people starting liking me more. But still, I went through the motions of everyday highschool but considered every single interaction with classmates as fake. I didn't care what they had to say. I had my priorities and that's all that mattered. I'm not trying to be cocky or whatever but I am at least relatively attractive guy and for whatever reason I felt the need for a partner in crime (a girlfriend). That was my way of reaching out to the world (through her). Which is cool! haha, over time I've developed a way to be happy with the personality I have and if you met me, you would have no idea that I have a social issue (you might even say i'm outgoing!). I still have many interactions throughout the day in college and I actually feel a little a part of society.

 

My grandfather is the same way, he's always been bashful and that's what I consider myself to be.

He grew up in a time where people didn't all consider themselves as having "problems with personality" Just think simply!

 

I call myself

Bashful, not Schizoid. 

 

^there ya go

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I am in that exact situation. I was 100% pure AVPD by 19 when I was diagnosed, but now at 29 I find I am transitioning into schizoid. I desperately wanted friends/social life but needed to kill some of the anxiety surrounding it, so I used booze and drugs. It worked, but then I realized how empty and meaningless most social interactions were and found my self longing to be alone. It wasn't just parties, work contributed greatly. Drama and betrayal were everywhere, and slowly with every passing month I lost more desire for human interaction.

 

Now I not only don't want any social interactions, I feel nothing most of the time. I used to be consumed with anxiety, loneliness, despair - basically totally miserable. Now I seem to have lost the ability to feel. I am emotionally neutral most of the time. It takes a trigger like a job interview to trigger anything. I also don't feel positive emotions i.e. hope, optimism and have lost 90% of any empathy I once possessed. In all, I would say I am more functional then I was. I lost the 'zest' in life though.

 

What I am interested in is if you can speed the transition process up any. Losing all sensitivity to criticism would enhance my life greatly.    

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I have previously been diagnosed with AvPD- half way through last year. I rarely mention it though.

I feel (inside myself) I sit between the two. I have incredible levels of anxiety at times and 3/4 of the time because of my anxiety, depression etc I honestly DON'T care if I socialize or not, I'd prefer to be by myself. But sometimes I do wish I had friends who wanted to hang out etc and a partner. But really I'm mostly indifferent. With my bipolar being so unpredictable I see no sense in making social plans because I good half of the time I have to cancel them anyway...

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I was diagnosed Schizoid before it was changed to Schizotypal, and socially I'm still that way: get no pleasure from interactions with people, and I suck at receiving both positive and negative reactions beyond an intellectual level.

I was an open wound as a kid, and my dad kept us unreasonably sheltered, but I can't say I ever remember really wanting to interact with or befriend people. They mostly confused me as a kid, that I remember. A lot of my childhood memory has been lost because of deficiency in emotional connection affecting memory formation, I think. Regardless, I'm not honestly sure if I was ever avoidant. I do think it makes sense, though.

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Not sure if it entirely applies, but my situation sounds similar.  I will try to be brief.

 

I started out with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a teen, with panic attacks, and depression, but I had a social life with a few friends.

 

I grew afraid of people through interaction with them in college, and because I began to isolate myself in my obsession with studying.

 

I think from the lack of interaction, I kind of forgot how to interact well with others.  So, I often do not know what to say to someone in person.

 

Because I do not really know how to connect with people well anymore, I have lost interest in relationships.

 

I now have a strong social phobia, which is a deterrent for any interaction with people, but I also don't really care about having relationships with people anymore.  Perhaps with just one person, and that is it.

 

So, I can see a progression from being socially active to not caring about relationships.

 

I am diagnosed with schizotypal PD, which is similar to schiziod.  

 

Hope this helps a little

Edited by Always_Question
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  • 3 months later...

Hi,

I'm new to the forum; I registered after stumbling upon this thread.

 

For many years I have believed I had some sort of mental issue. Anxiety, depression, apathy, fear of rejection, emotional roller-coaster... I experienced a lot of symptoms but always refused to see a therapist. Actually that's not true: during a tough depression phase last year, I took 2 appointments but never attended. I'm not sure I remember why, but I think that when I took the appointments I was in a "it's too hard, I need help" state of mind, and on the day, it was more like "fu*k therapists, I don't need anyone".

 

Since last year, my life has changed a lot: I live in another country; I eat healthy; I workout pretty much regularly; I quit smoking; I quit video games; I quit porn and masturbation. Despite all that, I still feel unfulfilled. Anxious about my professional future, but also about my social life. I've never been intimate with anyone and fear rejection. To sum up things, I can relate to a lot of symptoms presented on this thread, and it scares the hell out of me.

 

Right now I just don't know what to do. I don't really trust therapists in general, and I don't want medication.

 

Can anyone relate? Any advice on where I can seek help?

Edited by Abel
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  • 1 year later...
On May 17, 2014 at 2:54 AM, Abel said:

Hi,

I'm new to the forum; I registered after stumbling upon this thread.

 

For many years I have believed I had some sort of mental issue. Anxiety, depression, apathy, fear of rejection, emotional roller-coaster... I experienced a lot of symptoms but always refused to see a therapist. Actually that's not true: during a tough depression phase last year, I took 2 appointments but never attended. I'm not sure I remember why, but I think that when I took the appointments I was in a "it's too hard, I need help" state of mind, and on the day, it was more like "fu*k therapists, I don't need anyone".

 

Since last year, my life has changed a lot: I live in another country; I eat healthy; I workout pretty much regularly; I quit smoking; I quit video games; I quit porn and masturbation. Despite all that, I still feel unfulfilled. Anxious about my professional future, but also about my social life. I've never been intimate with anyone and fear rejection. To sum up things, I can relate to a lot of symptoms presented on this thread, and it scares the hell out of me.

 

Right now I just don't know what to do. I don't really trust therapists in general, and I don't want medication.

 

Can anyone relate? Any advice on where I can seek help?

 

 

Hi Abel-

 

   Trust is pretty important when it comes to getting help from a therapist.  I’ve never been diagnosed with it, though I’ve dealt with many of the issues that are commonly associated with APD.  I have, however, had many years of therapy as well as having spent as many working on analyzing and treating myself using any methods that I could find that were useful.

 

   As far as talking to a therapist (and my response here is coming a little more than a year and a half after your post, so I don’t know your current situation), talking to anyone is of help in establishing groundwork for both treating yourself and getting professional help.  I don’t know the name of the study, but one of my therapists told me of a study that found that people who took time to confide in friends (just talking about their problems) had a comparable success rate with people who spent the same amount of time talking to therapists.

 

   Finding someone to talk to for people with APD and SPD is, of course, also an issue.  As far as this goes, from my experience, if you have problems trusting people, confiding in relatives can be a good place to start.  In other words, if you have any type of positive relationship with any relatives or siblings I.E. brother/sister, cousin, or parent who you had any connection with or at least with which you had a non-abusive relationship.  Siblings and relatives can be more reliable than friends because they tend to see themselves as being like you and more connected to you than others.  They also tend to be longer-term relationships and thus these people tend to have more emotionally invested in their relationship with you and will be more likely to be loyal and less likely to judge you.  After siblings and relatives, long-term friends or acquaintances are better potential candidates for discussing your problems for the same reason that a long-term relative is a better choice.

 

   And as far as why I recommend being picky about who you talk to, for starters, it’s easier to do.  Caution isn’t necessary or needed when talking to others about small day to day problems, but talking about anything personal can be more difficult, particularly confiding anything that you may feel insecure about or reluctant to talk to others about.  And that may not be an issue for you, but, I think this is an important point, at least for people with APD (and possibly SPD).  It’s healthier to talk about issues that inspire insecurity in you at least occasionally, because the stronger the feeling of insecurity the longer that kind of thing can stay with you.  People are more prone to internalize things that eat at their feelings of confidence, and doing that too much can often power emotional disconnection from and mistrust of others.  

 

   Regardless of whether or not acceptance by others is an issue for you, simply talking to other people about things that trouble you will assist you a great deal in being able to gain needed emotional distance from your problems, so that you have better resources to address them.  Simply talking to someone else who is not emotionally affected by the issue that is bothering you will help you look at the issue the same way they do and will help you be able to deal with the problem from a much mentally stronger place.  This is why therapy works.  And hopefully, with time and reflection, you will also begin to understand yourself better and begin to recognize your own motivations that are underlying your problems, so that you can address those needs instead of having to live with a problem you wish you understood.  Hope this was helpful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a good and interesting question.

 

On 22.1.2014 at 9:26 PM, SocialSchizoid said:

My story is below for you but yes, I believe that it is involved over time. I feel that the Avoidant either concurs that fear or lets it consume them.

I agree with you.

From what I've read I gathered the impression that there doesn't seem to be a consensus about what exactly constitutes AvPD and what SPD. The definitions seem muddled and contradictory, and are subject to arbitrary changes based on every scholar's personal experience with a limited number of patients (rather than being supported by objective studies).

As you mentioned earlier on, people with SPD deny having the need for social interactions. However, it is often impossible to say if that genuine feeling once started out as a coping mechanism, as is the case described in your own account. I picture SPD as an AvPD's carapace that hardened over time.

Here's a study that found "schizoid and avoidant personalities (...) display equivalent levels of anxiety, depression, and psychotic tendencies as compared to psychiatric control patients. No meaningful distinctions were found between the avoidant and the schizoid personalities." It is dated from 1980, the year in which the DSM-III came out and introduced the division of former SPD into SPD, AvPD, and STPD.

Here is another text that further examines the history of shifting diagnostic criteria. If we were to picture the disorders as a spectrum rather than sharply divided groups, what is here described as "anesthetic schizoid" would be on top of the scale, whereas AvPD would mark the lower end. Note that as an example for an "extreme" or anesthetic schizoid a patient is described "with whom the therapist almost fell asleep during a session". I've read an account of another therapist who said they started to dread appointments with an SPD patient because when the patient entered the room, it felt as if everything froze and anything emotional or human was being sucked from the air. (I'm sorry that I don't have the source at hand right now, I can search for it.)

With you it seems that though your inner landscape is markedly schizoid (I agree), you have been able to find a "partner in crime" (he... I like that term, I used it in that context before myself) with whom you were able to develop a meaningful relationship and create a "safe space".

 

 

For background and why I am interested in all this in the first place... I've been diagnosed with PDNOS, changed to STPD (I don't know if I agree, but I guess it will stay there for some time since current treatment is more symptom-oriented than occupied with which pigeonhole I fit in.)

I won't engage in self-diagnosis, but the second text linked above is very interesting for me to read, because I can find myself in it to a degree that is uncanny. I think it will be of interest to other people in this thread as well.

 

Edited by vena_cava
because brain
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