how does someone with avpd know if someone is safe
Someone found my blog by searching for the above. I’ve been thinking about it all morning. It really struck a chord with me, because it is a question that I ask myself all the time: Is this other person, whoever they are, safe? Are they making fun of me now? Will they, later on? Do they want something from me? Are they planning something against me?
I can only speak for myself; I dislike reading generalizations like, “People with AvPD believe this,” or “You should talk to someone with AvPD like that.” We are individuals, even if we do share a diagnosis.
I can tell you that for me, no one is 100% consistently safe. By “safe,” I mean that:
I think their intentions are good as far as I’m concerned.
I trust that they generally like me, as far as they know me.
I trust them to tell me if they do have a problem with me, instead of hiding negative thoughts or saying negative things behind my back.
There are a handful of people in my life who meet one or two of the above criteria all the time. They may even hit all three criteria at some times. The thing is, it fluctuates. If I’m feeling insecure or anxious, I’m going to have my doubts about even my closest friends and family members. I usually know when I’m being irrational, but that doesn’t mean I can just knock it off.
As for how I know whether or not someone is safe – that’s a tricky question. A lot of it relies on intuition. At least, it feels like intuition. A cognitive behavioral therapist would call it the fallacy of “mind reading.” Every person has a different “feel.” Some people feel judgmental, distant, or cold – not safe. Some people feel open-minded, warm, or present – potentially safe.
Over time, of course, a person can become more or less safe in my mind depending on their behavior. I feel safer around a person if they:
Respond to me without harsh judgements or mockery
Prove to be honest and reliable
Remember things I tell them, showing that they listen
Consistently spend time with me, without abandoning me
But here’s the thing: this isn’t a guide to “How to make an AvPD person feel safe around you.” Like I said, the way I perceive other people’s safety fluctuates. And each person with AvPD has their own boundaries and preferences. These are just observations I’ve made concerning the people in my life and how I feel around them.
A person who feels safe is an amazing thing to have in your life. To anyone who’s still searching for that safety, I wish you great luck. I know it’s hard, but try not to be too scared to give people a chance to prove themselves to you.