Pathological Demand Avoidance is a fundamental part of my being. It's always been with me (I have never been free from it) and its all-pervasive presence is my Normal.
In learning about PDA through joining the Facebook Adult PDA Support Network after I came to suspect having PDA three years ago, I was a bit flummoxed when fellow members stated that you know
if you've got Demand Avoidance: it's blindingly obvious. Well, it
wasn't obvious to me and still isn't. I think I've become so enured to
Demand Avoidance, like anxiety, that I don't tend to notice it in
operation at all.
Although hard to detect, my Demand Avoidance is very much pathological: it is hardwired and present regardless of my attitude towards the things it causes me to feel compelled to avoid.
having lived with PDA my whole life, I am accustomed to it. The
challenge for me is being aware of it. I feel my pathological Demand
Avoidance is an automatic, subliminal trigger that provokes negative
emotional reactions against my doing or accepting things. For me, its
triggering is so subtle that I tend not to notice it. Pathological DA
sends feeling-messages to my conscious mind saying things like, "that is
very bad!" "I don't want to do that!" "There is danger." "It's a lost
cause." "Just don't bother – really!" "It's all nasty!" "You'd fail" "It
would be a horrible experience!" "Run away and Avoid!" And my
conscious mind habitually accepts all this negaive rubbish as
So, in this way, my pathological Demand
Avoidance coerces me at an emotional level to switch my intentions,
ideas & motivations from what I was intending to do to Avoidance.
Avoidance presses me to go with it and accept that I can't do things
for the first reason that comes to mind. Demand Avoidance lurks there,
rapidly nodding agreement to all opt out options that cross my mind.
It's a back seat driver yelling at me to surrender and accept that every
plan I have made was reckless and untenable. If I miss a commitment
once, my Demand Avoidance digs her claws in the next time shouting out,
"look, you've avoided it once, you can avoid it again!"
have learned to be canny and deprive my Demand Avoidance a foot in the
door by withholding excuse-options from her. If I do a course, for
example, I am canny not miss a class (otherwise DA tells me clases are
missable). I discipline myself against Demand Avoidance (it's very
tiring) long enough so that chores (such as making the bed and washing
up in the morning) become autopilot and I can do them daily as "this is
what I do every day". My Demand Avoidance always moans, but it
acquiesces because it is an "I do this every day" thing. There is no
excuse readily available for DA to lure me out on. I know from
experience that if I slack off for one, single day, my Demand Avoidance
rears up ugly and strong makes my resuming that routine nigh on