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The Internet - a friend to the Avoidant?


goose
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As a person with Avoidant Personality Disorder, I have realized how the emergence of the Internet allows me to avoid even more.

I have done my grocery shopping online. I do all my banking on the Internet. I e-mail people rather that see them or telephone them. Even my hobby (family history) is now easier to research without leaving the house. I don't have to go to the shop to buy a newspaper, I can read the news online.

It has become much easier to avoid social interaction, yet watch the world go by in front of a screen.

Goose

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Hi fellow Avoidant!

For me the internet has been a life-saver! What little success I've seen in this world has come of my being able to work and transact online. I like to think that this bit of success helps me to cope better with the outside world. I don't know where I'd be today without the internet. I don't even want to think about that! +_+

I think we tend to be very negative and hateful, at least I know I am, so this is my prop to you, to help you think better of yourself and your doing well on the internet. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. You are an organism successfully exploiting your environment. ^_^ Heh!

Jane

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In todays time the internet has become almost a must have. I do not find anything wrong with doing shopping, banking, your hobbies online. However, if you are finding this to be a problem or a worry of yours. Continue to go to the library or grocery store if you are able to. A little bit of fresh air will not hurt.

I personally have not left the house in the past due to the internet being a shoulder so to speak. Now, I find it much more satisfying to hit the stores the beach and whatnot.

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Thank you for your replies. I do agree that the Internet is a fantastic resourse.

In my own case the Internet has enabled me to continue my avoiding of interacting with people - which is not where I want to be.

The examples I gave are each fine in their own right, if it is done for the right reasons. When I shopped online for groceries, I was definately avoiding one of my major fears - I don't shop for groceries online anymore. The Internet banking I am happy with - although I do have a cheque which needs lodging in person at the bank, so why then have I asked my husband to do it for me? (more avoiding I think). Doing all my research online prevents me from facing my fear of going into the city.

Really my point is that the Internet has become a friend (enabler) to the Avoidant (social phobic) person. Is it going to create more and more isolated individuals in the future?.

Goose

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hi Goose

I was never one to like social atmospheres, was always too paranoid to truely enjoy them.

Shopping has always been a major fear of mine , too many people that i feel are judging me.

Over the years i come to terms with doing it, coz i had no choice in the matter, id get my groceries in record time and out the supermarket as quickly as possible.

I must admit that i do all my groceries on line, buy clothes on line, and anything else my family needed. To me iwas a godsend.

However i understand your point, it has mede me become more isolated, and encouraged me to become more reliant on my laptop (not that i needed much encouragment at all)

and much more reluctant to face the outside world.

I think your probably right that the internet will create more individuals to become isolated. It did me

Take care

Jj

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I truely believe you are 100% right on people becoming more isolated due to the internet. I read somewhere that internet addiction was being introduced into the psych books in errr... england I believe. Maybe one of the docs here can help me out with that one. The internet is now being recognized as an addiction in parts. I feel as though everywhere should have the counseling for Internet addicts. Kinda like alchohol in a sense, in moderation and know when to quit it is ok but, when it starts to disrupt our lives and effect relationships there is definite need for support. Have you spoken to your counselor about the internet being an escape goat for avoidance?

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I get on this site or a few others and feel like I can't get off. At times, getting up at 4:30AM (my usual time) to get on and read what has happened overnite. I used to get up and read/study at this time, now I've cut that time by about 1/3 so I can be on here or just surf. Interestingly, I notice that my wife does the same and can spend hours on this site and other forums. I may need to do something else but will delay it just to maintain my compulsion and dependency on here.

It seems we all know the outcomes of the internet, especially for those with social anxieties. The research goes a bit farther and suggests that the Internet decreases users of social participation and the psychological and health benefits people generally receive from this participation. Some optimistic reports claim that using the Internet leads to the emergence of a new social circle (e.g., Kraut et al., 2002; Turkle, 1997) and the development of deep and long-lasting social relationships on-line (McKenna, Green & Gleason, 2002) and that it augments involvement in existing communities by providing new social spaces for communication (e.g., Katz & Aspden, 1997; Wellman et al., 2001). In contrast, other analyses suggest that frequent Internet use has negative social outcomes. In these studies, frequency of Internet use was associated with increases in depression and social isolation (Kraut et al., 1998) and declines in spending time with family and friends and in attending social events (Nie et al., 2002). Overall, it seems that visits to family and friend drive more email communication, and phone calls drive more visits--- but email drives neither phone calls nor visits and being on this forum would likely decrease real people contact even more.

I think, based on watching my kids, that the Internet can make them more sociable and it can result in a higher degree of social connectivity and engagement: but, this only works for some folks. It is counterproductive for those with social anxieties, limited social skills and those who are depressed and also more isolated.

My thinking, and one likely shared by everyone whose written in here, is that the internet, while offering a safe harbor, it also allows an escape which in the end, maintains, reinforces and sustains the avoidant behavior. Interestingly, while we may use the internet as an "escape", we also turn around and kick ourselves for using it in this manner-- what a difficult paradox this must be.

My Uncle Enrique used to say" The shell of the coconut is hard only to those who are not hungry!" It would seem that the need to maintain social anxiety and avoidant behavior is greater than the need to become more human, connect to others in order to bring some joy to one's life, and overcome these dilemmas and begin living more freely-- one small step at a time. I know this is much easier said than done... but it has to be faced unless one believes, out of a manufactured necessity, that being alone, isolated and miserable (as many have pointed out they are, on several threads) is the only option.

Any loving, understanding and compassionate friend or therapist worth their weight in salt will challenge this. I do constantly to any of my clients (those with schizophrenia, avoidant personality, Aspergers, social anxiety, etc.) and often do so with great compassion, warmth, encouragement and demands, all the while, while also shutting down any road map for flight from what they truly want. Once a client accepts this, which can take months, we develop hourly and daily schedules then move to weekly, of what social interactions and public outings they will engage in for that period. The outcomes are sometimes remarkable as the fears and anxieties begin to subside, which can take several months to 1-2 years. We may start with an anti-anxiety agent (such as Zoloft or Paxil) then wean them off as they become stronger.

My heart goes to all of you who struggle in the cotton fields of isolation and aloness.

David

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This is an interesting topic. I think internet usage can be both positive and negative. I find it a good way to unwind after interacting with people much of the day at work. In truth, the best friends I have made have been on the internet. One I have had for some time now and she has visited me here at my home. Writing has always been so much easier for me than being verbal. I think it has made introductions and trying to form relationships a bit less daunting... as a starting point anyhow. Forming the friendships that I have online gives me a bit more confidence in my abilities to form them out in the world. I am also working to make in-person friends. Is it a bit avoidant and compulsive sometimes? Perhaps. But I think it's good practice too and it helps keep me motivated. One does have to keep it in perspective and respect the power that it can have, though.

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I'd rather spend all day inside the safety of my home, on the internet. THEN spending all day out and about doing things socially people. Including friends and family!!!

Yes , I am a hermit. So what? I can function better that way, and feel safe. Iam more unsocial and less trusting then ever before in my life. Internet is a safety net for me . There is no worry about people, and getting too close to them, there is no worry about them judgeing u , or having to use eye contact, body language , or anything . It is so safe to me. Keeps people away at a distance while being able to express yourself in writing your true and honest feelings . Your not judged, by your appearance, or looked at even stared at , while on the internet .How nice it is that we have computors in the home. How safe it is to not worry about looking at others, or the threat of them not liking u .

Internet , I'd be lost without it.

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