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May 30, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Schizoid Personality Disorder, Introvert, or Homebody?

By Claire Franklin More Blogs by This Author

Me Time

If given the choice between attending a party or staying home alone and reading, I would pick the latter every single time. For most of my life, I’ve preferred to be solitary. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy other people, but because I don’t like loud and boisterous occasions. I love relaxing on the couch with a good book and the window open providing a gentle breeze. It’s calms me.

But when I told my boyfriend this, he looked at me like I was crazy. I shouldn’t have been surprised by this reaction; he is a veritable social butterfly and loves nothing more than spending time with friends. He also spends considerable time on Facebook and is very well-known in our hometown.

Nonetheless, his response stung. “Why would you prefer to be alone?" he asked, "You should enjoy being with others, exchanging thoughts and expressing ideas. Just think: If everybody was like you, we’d still live like cavemen because progress would have halted long ago.”

I tried to explain that I do enjoy conversing with others and the exchange of ideas. Those are intimate scenarios in which you can really get to know the person in front of you. What I don’t enjoy are parties and similar social gatherings that feel forced. Those occasions stress me out; I feel like I’m on display and have to be “on” for the entire duration. By the time I arrive home, I'm mentally and physically spent.

Is Something Wrong with Me?

Even knowing the truth about how I feel and understanding that my boyfriend would never willingly sit alone, by the end of our conversation, I felt that something was severely wrong with me. So I made the mistake of researching “preferring to be alone versus in large company.” Now I'm wondering if I suffer from schizoid personality disorder (SPD).

“Schizoid personality disorder is a condition in which affected people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others,” according to Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include preferring to be alone, having few close relationships, and feeling confused about how to respond to normal social cues. Causes are unknown, although events in childhood may contribute to the development of the condition.

When I read this information, I felt slightly ill. I have only a few close relationships and usually feel confused during social interactions. Take, for instance, the conversation I had with my neighbor not too long ago. He informed me that because he lives directly beside the laundry center, he charges people $1 when they knock on his door and ask to borrow his detergent or fabric softener. I laughed at this, because I thought he meant it as a joke, but he was dead serious. The encounter turned uncomfortable when he stared at me as I laughed; his odd stare made me wonder if I had suddenly grown six heads. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my laughter was really inappropriate. Since then, I’ve tried to avoid further conversations with this particular neighbor.

This is just one instance of a social faux pas, but I do this sort of thing a lot. I don’t know how to react, so I laugh or smile. And I would rather read than talk on the phone. Does this mean I have SPD?

I don’t know the answer to this. Maybe I do have a personality disorder, or maybe I am merely an introvert, defined by Psychology Today as one who is “drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits.” This sounds much less threatening, so I’ll stick with this more positive definition than the other.

And, for the record, I do socialize, I just prefer to avoid parties and large gatherings.


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  • Actually I think it may be the opposite.

    People driven by a compulsion to interact display an addictive impulse. These are the people who cannot live with themselves, who cannot be quiet, who must continually text & facebook & connect or they feel idle & insignificant. They may be tremendously insecure & constantly need stimulus, or affirmations. I actually think Schizoid personality Disorder is a made-up condition.

    If it were a disease of some sort, then all artists, researchers, inventors, dreamers, people who can tolerate, indeed find their own minds quite entertaining & fascinating, would all be considered diseased.

    Contemplation & quietude are not a disease! Compulsive, addictive constant need for stimulus & interaction, inability to be at peace with oneself is likely the disorder.

    It's likely that much of these 'personality disorders' are just a witch hunt for eccentricities. People forever hunting for things that are wrong with 'intense' or introspective people, are likely threatened by them. Or they need something to write their dissertation on.

    Psychology is often pursued by those who need some sort of power or dominion or authority, not by those who are genuinely compassionate or want to heal truly troubled people. The authority gained by a psych degree should be suspect. By my age, I've known my share of those who went into psych, who I knew as kids & who did so for personal reasons, like they were in competition with their doctor father & needed a degree to compete, or they were just sort of shallow & needed a reason to feel important at the expense of those who intimidate them with intensity, etc.

    There are indeed valid personality disorders, like narcissism, or sociopathy, or paranoia, genuine disorders. But thoughtful, quite, introspective people who prefer one-on-one interaction to being a party animal does not a disorder make.

    Definitely be wary of party animals, they tend to drive drunk, enjoy demeaning others, and pursue shallow relationships. Your boyfriend sounds like he knows nothing of what he says, progress is created by thoughtful, intellectual people, not party-animals. Be confident that you are simply a far more evolved individual than your cheap-thrill-seeking socially-addicted boyfriend, and hope you find someone more introspective, sensitive & intelligent.

  • Thank you! I spent the last 3 days wondering if I needed to seek out a "Therapeutic Relationship" in order to make me "normal". Sometimes I wonder: If one sane person is on an island with a bunch of insane people, who is the sane one?
    At any rate, I found the work "Schizoid" for the first time listed under an anti histimine I was prescribed for a temporary situation. I looked it up because I wanted to make sure it isn't addictive and I found that it is also a central nervous system inhibitor used to treat anxiety, and a few other blood-brain barrier disorders. Well one big word led to another and I found myself all freaked out about the schizoid page on Wikipedia. I am an introvert. The second day, I googled it again and read more about it. I was less worried but still had an annoying tug going on. Today it occurred to me to google a comparison of the two- "how is schizoid different from introvert?" and I have found relief!
    I am ok! (laugh)
    *I have to say that I questioned the schizoid self-diagnosis when I read one article that listed autism as an outcome. That is completely different.

    Anyway, Its good to read your article and I don't think there's anything wrong with you or me- praise the Lord!

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