The final group of personality disorders we will review involves excessive fears expressed through thoughts or behaviors. They include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Collectively these comprise the Class C Personality Disorders. Let’s review symptoms of each.
Avoidant personality disorder: think of the shy, hypersensitive loner
- Social inhibition, timidity and isolation (e.g. avoiding new activities or meeting strangers)
- Abnormal fear of disapproval, embarrassment or ridicule
- Avoidance of work and social activities that require interpersonal contact
- Constant feelings of inadequacy, inferiority or unattractiveness
- Extreme shyness in social situations and personal relationships
- Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
Dependent personality disorder: you’re happy or sad based entirely on others’ treatment of you
- Difficulty disagreeing with others due to excessive fears of disapproval
- Excessive dependence on others, feels the need to be taken care of, and is submissive and clingy
- Fears having to care or provide for one’s self
- Inadequate self-confidence, requiring excessive advice and reassurance from others, even with small decisions
- Inadequate self-confidence such that one has difficulty starting or doing projects on own
- Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment
- Urgent need to start a new relationship when one has ended
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: think overly preoccupied with control and order
- Desire to be in control of people, tasks and situations with an inability to delegate
- Extreme perfectionism, resulting in dysfunction and distress when perfection is not achieved (e.g. inability to finish a project because standards of perfection aren’t met)
- Inability to discard previously held broken or worthless objects
- Inflexibility about morality, ethics or values
- Neglect of friends, family and enjoyable activities because of excessive commitment to work or a project
- Preoccupation with details, orderliness and rules
- Rigid and stubborn
- Tight, miserly control over budgeting and spending money
It is important to note that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is a type of anxiety disorder.
It is important to remember that everyone can exhibit some of these personality traits now and again. That said, when these patterns of behavior interfere with one’s activities of daily living, lend a hand. Get help.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
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