Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Avoidance is a symptom of extreme feelings of inadequacy and fear of rejection. A certain amount of avoidance behavior is common in almost everyone, and is dependent on the situation. For example, it is normal to be shy around a group of strangers. Avoidance behavior becomes dysfunctional when it significantly deteriorates a person’s quality of life, or the quality of life of those close to them.
Examples of Avoidance:
A woman leaves the home for a week when her in-laws come for a visit.
A man goes to his bedroom when his wife's friend comes over.
An employee habitually keeps their office door closed.
A woman refuses to attend social gatherings with her husband.
A man begins to shun an acquaintance after they express an interest in developing a closer friendship.
A woman hides her true emotions from others and pushes them away socially, out of a fear of rejection.
If you are in a relationship with a person who practices avoidance, you may feel frustrated at their irrational behavior. You may feel the pressure to choose between caring for the person who is behaving in an avoidant way and your desire for healthy social interaction. You may feel pressured to become a hermit with them, and begin to resent that pressure.
What NOT To Do:
Don’t blame yourself for the avoidant behavior and attitudes of a loved one.
Don’t give in to pressure to isolate yourself from healthy relationships.
Don't try to thought police the person with the personality disorder.
Don't try to control their behavior - focus on being healthy yourself.
What TO Do:
Learn about Personality Disorders and how that affects the person you care about.
Detach yourself emotionally from any dysfunctional attitudes. You don't have to agree with them and you don't have to fight with them. You can agree to disagree.
Maintain healthy outside interests, recreational pursuits and supportive relationships.
Get support from people who understand personality disorders.
For More Information & Support...
If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.
Five years ago, a photographer, an engineer, a writer, an office manager, a grandmother, a graphic artist, a law student, a husband, a librarian, and a stained-glass artisan came together to connect a diverse, isolated population in search of information, support, and growth as they strive to cope with a family members, spouses or partners who suffer from a personality disorder. Since its launch on November 1, 2007, Out Of The FOG has grown from a fledgling discussion group with 10 participants, to a vibrant community of over 4000 registered members world-wide, with new members joining every day.
On August 31 2012, the Out of the FOG Support Forum crossed two significant milestones - 100,000 member posts and 10,000 topics. Thanks to all who participate and contribute to the OOTF support board, which is a unique source of support to non-personality-disordered individuals all over the world.