Anxious Personality

Our personality is the characteristic pattern of behavior, emotions, and reactions which we exhibit throughout our life from early adulthood till we die. Our personality develops and matures over years from the early days of life. It is a result of our genetic predisposition and our life experiences and learning. As in other psychological conditions, physical and psychological factors play an important part in forming our personality.

Anxious Personality

{{:covered_face.jpeg?200 |}}One type of abnormal personality is an anxious personality. This is different from life-long anxiety, or people who tend to be tense and anxious for extended periods in their life.

Anxious personality is also known as an avoidant personality disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders handbook. It describes such a person as having an overwhelming self-consciousness and shyness in social situations. That person feels inadequate and sensitive to any negative remarks from others.  This leads him or her to avoidance of social interactions most of the time.

Anxiety in this type of personality is a form of social anxiety. There is a sense of fear and hesitance in social interactions, feelings of social inadequacy, withdrawal, and avoidance. This arises from extreme sensitivity to criticism and negative comments from others.

People with an avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing. Therefore, they avoid social interaction for fear of ridicule, humiliation, rejection, or dislike. An avoidant personality disorder is usually first noticed in early adulthood. Childhood emotional neglect and peer group rejection (like when a child suffers from bullying at school) lead to increased risk for the development of Avoidant Personality Disorder.

There is controversy as to whether avoidant personality disorder is a distinct disorder from generalized social phobia. Some psychiatrists do not regard that a separate disease and consider it as only a different conceptualization of social phobia, Avoidant personality disorder may represent a more severe form of social phobia. That is to say, generalized social phobia and avoidant personality disorder have similar diagnostic criteria and may share similar causation, subjective experience, course, treatment, and identical underlying personality features, such as shyness.

Persons suffering from avoidant anxious personality may avoid work, social, or school activities for fear of criticism or rejection. They are shy and nervous in social situations. They may feel as they are unwelcome in social situations, even when that is not the case. This is because people with avoidant personality disorder have a low threshold for criticism and often imagine themselves to be inferior to others. For instance, low self-esteem stems from early childhood experiences or traumatic childhood. They tend to isolate themselves in solitary hobbies.