Schizoid Personality Disorder is pretty uncommon even in clinical settings, but I'm convinced this disorder would make for an interesting villain, or perhaps a flawed hero, but that one might be harder to pull off. Just read and think about it.
There are seven diagnostic criteria for Schizoid, and the person would have to have 4 or more to qualify for this diagnosis. So without further ado, we'll just jump right in.
1) Lack a desire for intimacy and don't really derive much satisfaction from being part of a family or other social group. They basically seem indifferent to opportunities to develop close relationships, which, as my post yesterday confirms, isn't main stream remotely. Most of us are made to be relational. They date infrequently and often never marry.
2) Prefer to be alone rather than with other people. These are the quintessential "loners" that are socially isolated. The people who go to movies by themselves, eat by themselves and essentially need (or want) very little interaction with others. They chose solitary hobbies and activities to pursue that just don't include interaction, like computer games. Working a job that requires regular human interaction might be very difficult for them.
3) Have very little interest in having sexual experiences with another person. Hmm...not much else to say about this one.
4) Take pleasure in few, if any, activities. Things that make other people happy, like the sensory experience of walking on the beach or the interpersonal experience of enjoying a candlelight dinner with someone, or the bodily experience of intercourse, just don't make these people feel pleasure.
5) Have no close friends or confidants, except perhaps a first-degree relative. The reason being, of course, that it's difficult to be friends with someone who actually prefers NOT to hang around you. That doesn't exactly inspire close bonds.
6) Seem indifferent to the praise or criticism from others. These people just aren't bothered by what others may think about them, certainly lose no sleep over it. They seem oblivious to the normal day-to-day social cues, and often don't respond appropriately...coming across as socially inept, superficial or self-absorbed (even though that's really not the case). Quite honestly, they just lack social skills.
7) Show emotional coldness, blandness or detachment. A person with this disorder rarely reciprocates gestures or facial expressions like smiles or nods. They claim to hardly ever experience the emotions of anger or joy. Even in the face of direct provocation they won't get angry. They just seem very passive when they encounter what a normal person would consider adverse circumstances and they often can't response appropriately to important life events.
A clinician has to be careful before labeling anyone with any type of disorder. For example, a person who just moved from a very rural area to a highly congested city might react with an "emotional freezing" (kind of like shock) that could exhibit some of these characteristics. The clinician has to take into account the cultural experiences of the person.
In childhood, people who go on to develop this disorder often presented as under-acheivers in school, had poor peer relationships and were often solitary. Quite often they were teased by other children or adolescents. (This is actually a fairly common experience for people with early manifestations of personality disorders. This personality disorder is found most often in males and may cause more impairment for a man than a woman.
It may be more prevalent in relatives of individuals with schizophrenia or schizotypal personality disorder (which we'll cover next week....totally different disorders but share some common features). There is some indication that Schizoid Personality can be a precursor to Schizophrenia, especially since stress can cause Schizoids to have brief psychotic episodes.
That's it for Schizoid. Interesting to think about, huh?
Q4U: Ever known someone who might have fit this bill? What possibilities could it have for a villain? Or hero? Remember: You only have to have FOUR of the above characteristics...so you could pick and choose....