[Continued from PART II]
The cluster of anxious/fearful personality disorder comprises of avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
People with avoidant personality disorder (APD) shy away from other people because they are afraid of being criticized or embarrassed, or worry that they will appear foolish. They have a very low self-esteem and a strong fear of rejection. They are so sensitive to criticism that they often misinterpret innocent comments as negative or critical. They feel inadequate, which makes them inhibited in social situations. They believe that they are so unappealing that they think no one would want to know them or be friends with them.
People with APD usually tend to avoid relationships. Because they are so uncomfortable around people, they usually have very few or no close friends other than someone in their immediate family. They will usually refuse to be in a relationship unless they are sure that the other person will like and accept them. They are usually distant and restrained in romantic relationships because they are afraid of being made fun of or ashamed if they reveal too much about themselves. Avoidant personalities typically feel depressed and angry at themselves because of their social failure.
Dependent personality disorder (DPD) mainly characterizes dependence on others. They are fearful or incapable of making their own decisions. They doubt their ability to take care of themselves, which makes extremely submissive. They face a lot of difficulty in making day to day decisions and even expressing their own opinion.
People with DPD have an extreme fear of abandonment. They have an extreme need for support and care from others and because of that they are willing to compromise their own interests in order to avoid being alone. Because of being incapable of taking care of themselves, people with DPD will remain in unpleasant situations rather than live alone. Often they will find themselves trapped in emotionally and physically abusive relationships, because of the fear of being alone. They will even tolerate infidelity of their spouse, because they feel that if they will protest then their spouse will leave them. They are even willing to do unpleasant things in order to stay in relationship and not get abandoned.
The main features of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) are excessive preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control. Their perfectionism often prevents them from finishing projects, because they are never satisfied by their work. They are considered workaholics and rarely take vacations. However, their perfectionism leads them to a lot of trouble at work, which prevents them from making proper decisions. They often have problems prioritizing and end up missing deadlines. They tend to be very thrifty and thingy. They are also often highly deferential to authority and morals.
People with OCPD do not acknowledge others’ opinions and always feel that everything must be done according to them. They are very critical of themselves and others. Friends and family members often find them rigid, stubborn, and difficult. They make challenging spouses because they are rarely spontaneous or able to relax. They might end up with a series of divorces and are often depressed and lonely.
It is very obvious that people with personality disorders have relationships that are not at all satisfying. Some are aloof and live like loners, some are extremely demanding and needy, while others can be very difficult and at times violent. Their tumultuous relationships further adds to their troubles and misery.
Personality disorders are highly generalized. It affects almost every aspect of the life of people with these disorders. They are also long standing and the behavior patterns associated with it are quite consistent.
This makes people with personality disorders not to see their conditions as a problem. They feel that this is the way that they are. When others have difficulties with them, they do not see it as their fault. They, in fact, feel that others’ are not being able to understand them. This is why they feel that they do not need any kind of treatment.
Personality disorders are also accompanied by other problems, such as mood disorders and substance abuse, which are known as comorbid disorders. Due to this, people with personality disorders are, many a times, misdiagnosed.
It becomes very difficult to identify the main causes of distress of people with personality disorders. They are, usually, treated for problems that are lesser in degree and importance, while their main problems remain unresolved.