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Alert: If You Always Avoid Things You Fear, You May Have This Issue

Alert: If You Always Avoid Things You Fear, You May Have This Issue

Most of us can relate to wanting to avoid things that make us uncomfortable – situations, people, and even work. Sometimes, we deliberately find ways to get out of confronting whatever makes us feel ill at ease. But Avoidant Personality Disorder is much more than just this.

Unlike other Cluster C personality disorders that may sound more familiar, Avoidant Personality Disorder is not as well known. The National Institute of Mental Health [1] estimates that around 5% of adults in the USA have it. It is characterized by patterns of social inhibition, feelings of inferiority or inadequacy, and sensitivity to negative responses. And as its name indicates, individuals tend to avoid situations that trigger those emotions.

Signs of Avoidant Personality Disorder [2]

  • Reluctance to be involved with people unless certain they will be liked.
  • Avoidance of activities (whether professional or personal) that would require significant contact with others due to fear of rejection or criticism.
  • Unwillingness to try new things due to shyness or feelings of inadequacy, particularly in social situations.
  • Sensitivity to criticism, rejection, or disapproval.
  • Difficulty with building intimate relationships because of fears and insecurities.
  • Feelings of being socially inept, inferior, or unappealing to others. As a result, there are tendencies to have extremely low self-esteem.

What Causes It?

The cause of Avoidant Personality Disorder is still undiscovered, but scientists believe that it may stem from genetics or as a result of childhood environments, such as experiencing emotional neglect from parents or peers.

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What is known, however, is that symptoms first start manifesting from infancy or early childhood. The child will display shyness, isolation, or discomfort with new places or people. Often times, children who do exhibit these tendencies grow out of it, but those with the disorder will become even more shy and isolated with age.

Having Avoidant Personality Disorder creates quite a limiting existence for those who have it. It causes physical, emotional, psychological, and social restrictions that affect day-to-day life. It proves to be challenging for both the person who has it and those around them. Learning more the disorder would enable you to help someone who may be affected. And the good news is that there are things that can be done to improve life quality.

Is there a cure for Avoidant Personality Disorder ?

There is no “cure” per se, however, the right treatment [3] can certainly improve the standard of living for sufferers and their loved ones.

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Therapy

Finding a psychotherapist who specializes in this particular field is said to be quite helpful. It will assist with addressing the underlying issues and promoting better dynamics in both personal and professional life.

Building rapport may be initially difficult for the person, so it would be normal for someone with this disorder to feel like they want to stop the treatment in the early stages. But once trust is formed, the relationship will help to create a stable environment where the issues can be confronted.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy where the specialist places a lot of emphasis on the thought process, in particular, the beliefs that harbor negative or unhealthy feelings. The objective is to test those ideas in a more rational way and examine if there is any factual evidence for them. Patients may be invited to write down their thoughts and examine how they can replace these views with something more positive.

Medication

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There is currently no medication that is specific for Avoidant Personality Disorder, but doctors can prescribe things such as antidepressants for depression or anxiety, which are often common among those with the disorder.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] National Institute of Mental Health: Avoidant Personality Disorder
[2] Psych Central: Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms
[3] Healthline: Avoidant Personality Disorder

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J.S. von Dacre

Writer at Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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