Hiding In The Light provides insights into the complicated Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVP) based on author Sandra Smith-Hanen's 25 plus years as a practicing psychologist. "My purpose in writing the manuscript was to validate both the avoidant and the significant other. Both parties in this relationship demonstrate major anxiety, frustration, and confusion over their behaviors and relationships. This validation has been very relieving for avoidants. It is also less confusing for the significant other.
"The interpersonal problems that arise involve close relationship: the family, more particularly the spouse or significant other. People with Avoidant Personality Disorders are, first and foremost, hiders. They hide from themselves and from others. And AVPs are fearful. They fear hurt, overstimulation, criticism, and rejection, all of which may produce a sense of shame or guilt.
"The AVP can be a complicated disorder. One very interesting component that I found has to do with the non-verbal component of the AVP. The Ekkman Studies revealed that shame and guilt, while universal emotions, are not readily apparent. The loss of acknowledgement and support in your children of their guilt and shame could be a key issue in development and, ultimately, treatment of the AVP. Many patients have a sense that something Is wrong but find insufficient help in support and treatment for the children. Early symptom recognition could give support at a time when it is most needed.
"Avoidants and significant others are in need of developing and sharing their own life stories. They need to be able to do so without fear of rejections, shame, and guilt, and without a sense of high alert. They need to learn their strengths and limits. They need to have the ability to clearly and comfortably put that forward and live accordingly. They then can view their lives as a journey, giving strength to the limits and gifts each person has within himself or herself."