Uneasiness in social relations

In social relations, the schizoid’s inherent  feeling is one of indifference and discomfort.

1 - The schizoid and the avoidant 

In DSM-I and DSM-2, the avoidant group was not mentioned. Instead, their traits were included in the schizoid group.

In DSM-III, the schizoid and avoidant appear in different groups for the first time.

The social relations of the schizoid are dominated by indifference. The avoidant’s, by intense anxiety.

In the high grade schizoid, this definition is obvious. However, in the low to medium schizoid,

 indifference may also be accompanied by different levels of anxiety. Nevertheless, these people

remain classified as schizoid – low to medium.

It’s just that they may also experience anxiety in social situations.

2. The source of security

In nature, the purpose of animals is simply to eat, and not be eaten.
Anyone can observe that a wild animal has its own personal space. If we enter this space,

 the animal flees …..In modern times, humans live in secure environments, and are no longer so sensitive

 to anyone invading their personal space.

Bear in mind that, like other animals, our ancestors also had their own personal space.

Though modern humans no longer feel this need as intensely, the need for personal space

 remains part of our genetic makeup,

and may still be acted upon by some people, especially those who are schizoid avoidant..

Their fear is triggered when they feel that someone – as though that someone has been watching them

 – has invaded their space.

Their fear is irrational, uncontrollable – and not unlike a wild animal’s..

Some schizoid avoidants say that they flee social relations because “they feel invaded ”.

Others state only that they “need to flee”.

3-     Harmonize man-risk-escape with man-friend-comfort

In the beginning there were living organisms. Some species survived, while others became extinct.

The successful species developed instinctive strategies which enabled them to survive.

The most important instincts for species survival are self-preservation, and reproduction.

One of the sources which triggered and activated the instinct for self-preservation, was fear.

Thus, fear has become a tool for survival.

When a life-threatening situation is detected, discomfort increases as the danger increases.

 Eventually, this discomfort turns to fear and panic.

The entire range of  emotions is regulated by the brain.

Through time, the human brain evolved to become less primitive.

However fear remained a dominant emotion, and emotions are still controlled by the primitive brain,

in the gland called the amygdala.

As a result, fear has remained an instinctive, unreasonable, and automatic response to perceived threat.

The influence of the evolved brain – the thinking and reasoning one – has little effect on the emotion of fear.

Thus, it is difficult, if not impossible, to control fear through reason.

Over time, emotions and affection have evolved from being purely instinctive. Nevertheless, they still have

 their origin in the primitive brain. 

The response to a perceived threat remains instinctive and automatic in all humans.

The response is fear.

Unfortunately, the schizoid avoidant, instinctively perceives another human being as a threat (to survival).

This triggers fear, and the need to flee.

Fear to man of avoidant schizoid is not adaptive.

The adaptive harmonize man-risk-escape with man-friend-comfort.

The avoidant schizoid active man-risk-escape when the adaptive is



4- Inability to learn through experience

Every day, our nervous system records new experiences which lead to learning.

These learned lessons are carved into our memory, and influence our behaviour.

So, through experience, we know that some things are pleasurable, some are not,

And that others should be avoided because they are dangerous.

If the consequences of a particular action are repeatedly bad, we learn that we should avoid it in future.

However, if that same action ceases to cause harm, even though we may be wary we learn

that there is no reason to avoid it any longer.

Having to cope with situations which threaten our well-being, will result in tension and discomfort.

Daily experience teaches us that there is no danger in social connection,

We learn that there is nothing to fear since nothing bad happens and you’re not assaulted, or harmed in any way.

But people who suffer from social anxiety are incapable of learning this.

This learning is rational, and has no influence on social fear, which is primitive and related to the primitive, instinctual life.

Thus learning through experience has no effect on social fear.

It is as though, at an early age, something has been broken and cannot be mended.

Not even with something as convincing as one’s own experience.


5- Eye Contact

When two people meet, they may shake hands in greeting.

The covert message in their greeting is, ‘I come in peace. ‘Here is my hand, I am not armed’.

The act of shaking hands shows friendship, and it is usually accompanied by mutual eye contact.

Then, they have a conversation. The one who speaks looks the other one in the eye.

The one who listens also looks the speaker in the eye.

Eye contact is established. Eyes are expressive. Their eyes meet without fear.

There is communication, there is empathy, there is enjoyment, there is this message:

“You’re friend, you help me and I feel well”

 Some people are uncomfortable with maintaining eye contact.

This severs the eye contact and the conversation loses its honesty.

In addition, the body language says: ‘I don’t feel comfortable, and I want to end this as soon as possible’.

The other person may feel  that the body language is saying: ‘I don’t like you, I don’t want your friendship’.

Some people may not even try to establish eye contact, and look in another direction.

And, if they do meet the other person’s eyes, they do so quickly and elusively, without actually establishing eye contact.

Schizoid people often have difficulty establishing eye contact.

(This web page is available … Spanish …….in French)

Webpage updated on February 2012  .  Copyright (c)