Please Don’t Look: Introducing Cluster C Personality Disorders

Dr. Aafia Malik

2 min read

personality disorders

Of the 10 recognized personality disorders (negative, long-term, and life-impacting changes in thoughts and behaviour), some share more similar traits than others, and are hence classified into 3 separate groups, or clusters. Cluster A is ‘Odd and Eccentric’, Cluster B is ‘Dramatic, Emotional, and Impulsive’, and disorders within Cluster C are governed by ‘Fear and Anxiety’.

Here’s a closer look at the 3rd cluster of personality disorders:

1- Avoidant Personality Disorder:

People with an Avoidant personality possess a deep sense of inferiority in terms of their talents, abilities and appearance, are highly sensitive of others’ opinions of them, and fear being criticized, ridiculed and rejected. As a result, such individuals become intensely anxious when faced with social situations like group discussions, meetings and parties, and often avoid them altogether.

With avoidant personality disorder, socializing and communication are highly affected due to low self-esteem, which is why most individuals with the disorder hardly ever foray beyond their immediate family and a minimal group of friends, unless they’re certain that a particular person actually likes them. However, they don’t necessarily dislike others’ company, as with cluster A disorders. Most crave companionship but are unable to reach out due to their fears and insecurities. Avoidant individuals may also:

  • Feel isolated and lonely
  • Appear distant and shy to some, or stiff and restricted to others
  • Over-analyze others’ responses and draw negative conclusions, like taking a friend’s last-minute cancellation as a devaluation of their friendship.
  • Be reluctant to try new activities (e.g. a different sport), take risks (applying for a new job), and meet new people for fear of embarrassing themselves.

2- Dependent Personality Disorder:

As the name suggests, individuals with the disorder rely heavily on others for fulfilling their emotional needs, and constantly ‘taking care’ of them, like helping them make even the smallest of decisions and perform difficult tasks. The root cause is a strong, albeit mistaken, belief that they are inadequate, indecisive, and inferior. They are perpetually unable to act independently from others’ advice and guidance.

Since people with the disorder fear losing their ‘helping aids’ above all else, they often go the extra mile by bending to their will and evading arguments to avoid abandonment. In a relationship, dependent individuals continue to bear the emotional and physical abuse inflicted on them by their partners, which such individuals should take caution when in a relationship with someone diagnosed with B-type disorder due to their well-known manipulative tendencies. Other characteristics include:

  • Agreeing to do things one knows to be wrong
  • Seeing others as infinitely more capable than oneself.
  • Being seen as extremely submissive and passive by others.

3- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD):

Not to be confused with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a type of anxiety disorder in which unwanted and inappropriate thoughts accompany compulsive behaviors, individuals with OCPD are commonly viewed as rigid, stubborn, perfectionists in terms of tasks assigned to or undertaken by them. While this one-track mentality is a commendable trait and evident of excellent work ethic, their extreme focus and work-obsession always comes at the expense of social relationships.

Moreover, OCPD individuals are often unable to complete assigned tasks because of undue attention to detail instead of the task as a whole and strict, self-set, unachievable standards of ‘perfection’. They are generally reluctant to delegate tasks to others and often become anxious and distressed when perfection is not achieved in whatever they’re working on. People with OCPD may also:

  • Tend to control people, tasks, and situations
  • Believe their solution to be the best
  • Display a miserly attitude towards others and themselves
  • Hoard useless, broken, and worthless objects
  • Have inflexible morality, values, and ethics

If you observe any changes reminiscent of a personality disorder in yourself or you’re your loved ones, do not hesitate to reach out for help. You can also book an appointment with a top Psychiatrist in Karachi, Multan and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your mental health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Aafia Malik - Author Dr. Aafia Malik is a psychiatrist with over 10 years of experience. Despite the taboo in Pakistan around mental health and psychology in general, Dr. Aafia Malik has managed to have a fruitful decade long experience in practicing so far and she has also played her part in raising awareness and breaking the taboos around mental health.