Psychiatry & Psychology--General/PDs


I most likely have avoidant PD and am currently seeing a therapist. Although I do suffer a great deal with myself, I often feel a lot of guilt for including people in my misery and I avoid trying to bring people down with me. Not only that, but I tend to have a sense of over responsiblity. I do have a lot of extremely wrong thoughts about people, but I recognise them as incorrect.

I'm not going to pretend I don't spend way too much time thinking about myself because I do. But I also know that my thoughts are fairly ridiculous and attempt to offer myself alternative thoughts. I also always find the time to help someone else if they ask for it or need it.

The thing is, I have spent a lot of time alone (agoraphobia) and have therefore had a lot of time to think about myself and a result, have become very self-critical and overly analytical. I have very little experience with other people besides my INCREDIBLY dysfunctional family, meaning I don't know how I'd act if I had healthy relationships and I've never had the chance to develop proper interpersonal skills.

I'm worried that maybe I don't really have any empathy and it's all false because a person such as myself could never be empathic and always just think of themselves.

Does having a personality disorder automatically mean a person lacks empathy?

The simple answer to your end question is no.

I will add that when a person is grappling with troubling introspective issues, it's hard to have the energy and orientation for empathy.  Quite often, once these are resolved with professional help, normal empathy ensues.

One issue you might consider is why, when you are in a therapeutic relationship, you seek information outside it. Nothing wrong with doing so, but you raise a meaningful and thoughtful question that quite properly belongs among your face-to-face discussions.

And if you will accept a suggestion from me, you might benefit by trying to replace a focus on causes and labels with one on deciding what you want and how to work toward that.

Hope that helps a bit, thanks for asking us, and the best of fortune in overcoming the hand you were dealt.


Two minor follow-ups: thanks for the feedback ratings, and if it's available where you are, you might look into what's called social skills training.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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