Those with Avoidant Personality Disorder are often described by others as painfully shy, timid, and lonely people. Compared to some other personality disorders, those suffering from this condition do actually crave close relationships. However their inhibitions mean they cannot form friendships, and they tend to live lonely isolated lives.
They avoid interacting with people due to the fear of being criticised, rejected and the fear of being disliked. They see themselves as unappealing, unlikeable, socially inept and inadequate. This self-contempt is thought to stem from a rejection in their childhood maybe from their parents, a close relative or friends.
They are very hurt by even the slightest criticism, and they fear showing their emotions in public. The low self esteem, combined with the apprehension and anxiety makes them tend to avoid social situations where they may have to mix and socialise.
When they are faced with a social situation that they cannot avoid, they come across as very stiff, awkward and tense. This makes it very difficult for others to interact with them, and can cause the very rejection that they feared in the first instance.
In close intimate relationships they can seem distant, and uncaring. They hold back on their emotions for fear of being shamed or ridiculed.
Those with Avoidant Personality Disorder tend to deal with their emotions through escape, fantasy and wishful thinking. The disorder can affect their lives significantly.