Today is my birthday. I do very little to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, I think the day I was born is so insignificant, it needs no attention. Even my mother, the one who went through the infamous labour pains, does not remember the day I was born.
I am glad this year’s birthday falls on the day I post here. Because writing is a kind of living for me. A kind of celebration of life itself.
So, happy birthday to me!
In previous posts in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. We have done Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and OCD vs OCPD and Paranoid Personality Disorder.
ASPD, NPD, OCD and OCPD personality disorders are also listed as basic culprits in substance dependencies, addictions and religious cults including fanaticism.
This week we move on to Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders..
Spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness. Even in people who have been mentally stable all their lives. Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how we think, perceive the world, feel about other people or how we relate to others. This week, we dive into Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders. Their differences and similarities plus, how they manifest and affect relationships.
These two disorders are both similar and different.
Schizoid personalities feel no desire to form relationships, Mostly because they see no point in sharing their time with others
Schizotypal personalities avoid social interaction because of a deep-seated fear of people.
As mentioned, Schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders are also similar. They manifest long-standing patterns of detachment from social relationships, which makes it difficult to establish and maintain social relationships.
Symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder
- you think peculiarly, eccentric or unusually
- your way of speaking is noticeably different from most other people
- emotional responses are limited or inappropriate
Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder
- you prefer to be alone and solitary activities
- rarely understand social cues
- little desire for intimacy or sexual relationships
- indifference or lack of motivation at school or work
Example True Story
Have you ever met a person who expresses anger at good news? Or one who speaks sporadically, a lot at times and total silence at other times? Others will suddenly interrupt an ongoing conversation to speak about something totally out of topic?
I had a colleague years ago who had very limited social skills. I don’t mean that my colleague was diagnosed with schizotypal or schizoid personality disorder. However, he displayed many symptoms of detachment from social relationships. He avoided all social events without really accepting or declining the invitation. Could speak non-stop about the things he was interested in, even though no one else could contribute to the topic. Sometimes. other colleagues became silent and he found in a monologue. He just kept talking until he was done.
Unable to ‘see’ the social signals, he couldn’t read cues and deduct a lack of interest. Or he would fail to recognize that it is a good topic but for the wrong audience.
You know how you start talking about cars and you realize that the person you are talking to is completely disinterested. Maybe because they are not contributing? Or maybe they are staring in their phone? Perhaps they have that look people get when they are bored…you know which one. Eyes glaze over and you know their brain has left you?
What do you do then?
Often, you would become silent for a second and let the other person speak. Start another topic or you start another topic that may be more interesting for your companion. Right?
Well, this colleague would just talk on and on. When he was done saying his piece, he would abruptly leave the room without as much as a bye. Afterwards, he would avoid us the rest of the day or even two days.
In private life, he was in his 60s and lived alone which he had done all his adult life. He loved to travel by car so he could drive alone without having to share a train or flight with other people. Worked odd hours when no one was in the office, which ensured that he could be alone.
The biggest complexity is that both schizotypal and schizoid personality disorders may manifest symptoms similar to schizophrenia. additionally, schizotypal symptoms may resemble paranoia.
Mostly, both may look similar to schizophrenia’s negative symptoms. Schizophrenia’s negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. The behaviors include, but are not limited to:
- reduced expression of emotions
- minimal feelings of pleasure
- lack of motivation in everyday life.
Despite the resemblance, there is a marked difference between schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders and schizophrenia. Basically, they don’t show symptoms of explicit hallucinations or delusions. Especially in schizotypal PD, where the peculiar thoughts and behavior can be seen as a mild positive symptoms.
A person with schizophrenia might believe that their thoughts are being controlled by an outside force. This person may act out in fear. A person with schizotypal PD may often think about the notion of being controlled by outside forces. And have similar notions that are not quite delusions.
There is a strong genetic relationship between the disorders. Relatives of people with schizophrenia are at an increased risk of developing either schizotypal or schizoid personality disorder. Some experts argue that schizotypal personality disorder might be a mild form of schizophrenia. Other researchers suggest that there are important differences in the brain functions of schizotypal & schizoid personality disorders. These differences prevent people with schizotypal & schizoid personality disorders from developing schizophrenia.
The jury is still out.
How Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders Damages Relationships
How do you think Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders affect relationships?