It is a psychiatric condition in which a person has a lifelong pattern of feeling very shy, inadequate, and sensitive to rejection.
The cause of avoidant personality disorder is unknown. Genes or a physical illness that changed the person's appearance may play a role. Approximately 1% of the population suffers from this disorder.
The main characteristic is a generalized pattern of social inhibition; feelings of inadequacy; hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, rejection or disapproval; and avoidance of social interaction, beginning in adolescence or early adulthood and occurring in a variety of contexts.
People with avoidant personality disorder see themselves as socially inept, with little personal attractiveness, and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or simply disliked. They have the belief that other people are constantly judging or criticizing them, because of their appearance, their actions, etc. This makes these subjects "avoid" any situation in which they may be criticized, becoming lonely and reluctant to interact with other people. They really wish they could have these relationships, but their inferiority complex, which they project onto others, prevents them from doing so.
Avoidance behaviors negatively affect work activity, because these people tend to avoid the types of situations that may be necessary to meet basic job demands or to be promoted.
TPE is recognized by the following behavioral and interpersonal styles, thinking or cognitive, affective and emotional style:
1.- Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, despite the strong desire to be intimate.
2.- Interpersonal style: hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism/disapproval. Even when they strongly want to get close to others, they keep their distance and make sure they have unconditional approval before opening up. They tend to test others to find out who they can trust.
3.- Behavioral style: tendency to social distancing, shy, shy, distrustful and distant. Controlled behavior and speech. They are lonely, apprehensive and embarrassed.
4.- Cognitive style: perceptually vigilant, permanently scanning the environment looking for data that could be potential threats or acceptances.
5.- Affective-emotional style: marked by shame and apprehension. Since unconditional acceptance is relatively rare, they routinely experience sadness, loneliness, anguish, and high tension. When they are most distressed, they describe feelings of emptiness, helplessness, desolation, and depersonalization.
6.- Suicidal ideations may appear.
7.- Self-imposed social isolation.
8.- Serious difficulties in establishing interpersonal relationships.
9.- They avoid physical contact, since they associate it with unpleasant or painful stimuli.
10.- Feelings of inadequacy or ineptitude. Feelings of self-hatred and inferiority.
11.- Very low self-esteem due to the devaluation of their results and the excessive emphasis on their defects.
12.- Mistrust, fear or suspicion regarding others.
13.- Emotional lability.
14.- Emotional distance when intimate.
15..- Very self-aware of himself.
16.- Self-critical with their relationship problems.
17.- Deficit in social skills.
18.- Derived psychosocial problems (difficulty in social, academic or work functioning).
19.- Inability or difficulty to have intimate, romantic or sexual relationships.
20.- Subjective perceptions of loneliness, although others may find the relationship with them significant.
21.- They are relatively isolated socially and often lack a support network in crisis situations. In some cases, they tend to fantasize about idealizing relationships with others.
22.- In some extreme cases, agoraphobic symptoms.
23.- Tendency to fantasy, procrastination, and "cognitive-affective" avoidance, as a form of escapism from reality, and to interrupt painful thoughts.