So, what causes STPD?
Like any form of mental illness, STPD has a variety of factors, including genetics, but what makes STPD slightly different is that it also has social and environmental primary causes as well. Childhood abuse and neglect are first and foremost on that list. Trauma and familial dysfunction increase the risk of developing STPD. One of the signs of an adult with STPD is something called "asociality." You lack motivation to engage in social activities--like maintaining a love-relationship, having children, or doing anything that removes you from familiar people or places. You "deal" with the people you were born to, but you never actually do anything social--like take nieces and nephews fishing or to the movies. Everything you do is centered on the familiar, or avoiding interacting with people outside of your family circle. When you do make an outside social connection, if things get complicated, a person with STPD will withdraw--go back to the familiar. Especially if it is the people who are familiar that are creating the complications.
People with STPD are extremely susceptible to manipulation from others. Their heightened sense of paranoia doesn't help. It's easy for people who know you to play on that anxiety and fear. To play on your superstitious thinking. This is meant to isolate you from people who can help you. Believe it or not, if you have STPD caused by abuse, neglect and familial trauma/dysfunction, your family is sick, too. They actually made you this way and so can never help you get well. It's very hard for a person with STPD to break away from a toxic environment without the help of an outside social contact. Because, something called "avolition" is also a side-effect.
Avolition is a decrease in motivation to complete routine activities--like brushing your teeth, cooking, cleaning. Maybe it's disconnecting from hobbies, neglecting work, avoiding school environments...basically, anything that would make socializing with others possible. Technology can actually create artificial social situations that are "short-cuts" for a person with STPD to skip over the period of time people need to get to know each other in the "real" world; it can create a false sense of intimacy, too. Even if there is follow-through in the real world, because of things like paranoia and avolition, maintaining a healthy relationship with someone who has STPD is difficult, at best.
By the way, though STPD is considered part of the schizophrenia spectrum, it is not schizophrenia. STPD mimics some of the same symptoms, but that's where the similarities end. Particularly for people who suffer from STPD because of childhood neglect, abuse, and trauma. Those afflicted with STPD simply can't maintain close relationships. Part of why is because STPD patients have a higher comorbidity rate with things like severe anxiety, depression, paranoia, and other personality disorders like avoidant personality disorder (AvPD).
Avoidant personality disorder is where a child who is more sensitive to the physical and emotional world around them has been abused, neglected and exposed to a dysfunctional environment. These children tend to be highly empathic, but as they grow into adults, are unable to feel safe in any social relationship. Sadly, that only becomes apparent after a person with AvPD has adult love-relationships. Which is why AvPD is often not detected until a person is in their early twenties. But if that individual marries early (or before symptoms can be discerned), AvPD is more difficult to detect and treat because it's likely your partner chose you because of your vulnerability. That means the next love-relationship you have during or after your marriage is the sad beneficiary of the most prevalent symptoms that affect you--so, even if it is a healthy relationship with the potential for long-term success, it's unlikely to succeed.
AvPD sufferers feel inferior, inadequate and fear social criticism/judgment therefore avoid any social interaction where they may be rejected--yet, their desire for intimacy is off-the-charts, creating innate conflict within the individual. You may wonder, for example, if you are with the right person despite knowing the person you are with is "the best thing to ever happen to you." When someone with AvPD finds the intimacy they crave, they will only back off when family members or friends scrutinize their choice, making them withdraw completely. The only relationships a person with AvPD can maintain are the relationships where they know they will not be rejected. People with this disorder tend to fantasize about affectionate relationships--both real and imagined--as a way to escape from the pain of rejection. AvPD includes narcissistic traits, as the individual cannot stop focusing on themselves and how "evil" or "ugly" or "unworthy" they are, socially isolating themselves from anyone who might change that for them.
Sound familiar? It should.
Just remember, even if you have STPD and/or AvPD, you're still responsible for your behavior. You may reject others in anticipation of their rejection of you--which is entirely erratic behavior and part of your inability to maintain secure social bonds. You may lie to create intimacy then cut and run to avoid what you imagine will be inevitable rejection when your lies are discovered--again, this is part of your illness; it enables social-failure, not success. And, because you can't stop focusing on yourself, you will lose perspective on how your behavior a/effects others, pushing the responsibility of your decisions onto anyone but you. Though you desperately want to avoid rejection, when you hurt people who love you, you are self-sabotaging--because even people who love you will not reward your negative behavior. You will then see that as a rejection instead of recognizing that you yourself created a negative vacuum in order to maintain your fears and justify your beliefs. All of this shows a lack of mental stability. The only hope at living a normal life is to seek professional help while simultaneously removing yourself from the influence of toxic people and environments. A combination of regular talk therapy and medication can help you stick to your treatment plan so you can start to live your best life rather than fantasize about something that your actions via your illness have now made impossible, despite mutual feelings of love.
You can read everything and anything on this blog if it helps you get better. But nothing will help you truly heal if you don't also ACT. Go to your local Urgent Care Center or County Health Office. Ask for a referral to psychologists who work in talk therapy; most operate on a sliding scale and only charge what a patient can afford if you have no insurance. Poverty is connected to mental illness. So is avoiding the education needed to help you work smarter not harder. Your life can change. But only if you take control and get the help you need.
I grew up around mentally-ill adults. It affects the kind of adult you become. You are more sensitive to others, more observant, but also, more vulnerable. You want and need love and affection but either end up trusting the wrong people or wanting it from people who are ineffective. When you do find a person who can give you the love you want, need and deserve, you tend to sabotage the relationship. Growing up with mental illness is lonely. It isolates you, Makes you afraid of people. You can't trust easily. Believe me, I understand how it feels. You always have to go above and beyond to get people to like you, love you, hire you...but it's never somehow enough. Because, we choose people and situations who will hurt us. Even when we find a healthy person and/or situation, if we have not separated from the mental illness, those affected by it will pull us back. Again and again and again. The only way it stops is for us to stop being dependent on people who want to hurt us.
Prevent further damage to yourself and others by getting treatment. When you silence the negative voice in your head, you can get a clear perspective on who you are. Be patient with yourself, but don't allow self-sabotage through complacency or excuses or fear of rejection.
Sending positive energy, prayers and healing....