Have you ever heard your child or your partner constantly say "I can’t" or "no" or "I won’t." Do you have a habit of turning down everyone who approaches you with a request? Do you feel that other people’s requests are unwarranted, unwanted, or unreasonable? Do you hate doing things for other people? Do you feel that other people put too much pressure on you? Does your child fight you at every turn? Does your partner only do things that he or she wants to do? Do they refuse to do anything that you want them to do?
Do you have a partner who does everything but what you ask of him or her? Does he or she seem primed to fight about every little thing? Do you seem to bicker or fight every time you are out because plans change and the demand avoidance adult couldn’t cope with the change in his or her routine? Do you feel like the child or adult in your life is "no fun"? Do you think they are a "stick-in-the-mud", never stepping outside their boundaries or comfort zone to do anything exciting? Or, do they only do something "fun" when it is their idea of fun, but reject any invitations to join in with what other people deem as "fun"?
Most people don’t realize, but the behavior they refer to as "stubborn" or "disagreeable" in others might actually be classified as pathological demand avoidance or oppositional defiant disorder. People with these conditions might have deficits in their memory, attention, or learning. They may struggle with demands that use too much of their mental energy. They may have a preference for tasks that are easier or things they have done repetitively. They tend to like to do things that they know, and they often detest doing anything that is "different" or "new".
Pathological demand avoidance and oppositional defiant disorder can be a real burden for parents and teachers. The child doesn’t want to do anything he or she thinks they "can’t" do. The child doesn’t want to do anything except what he or she is "good at" or knows how to do repetitively. The pathological demand avoidant child might play video games all day.
Pathological demand avoidance and oppositional defiant disorder might turn into criminal pathology later in life. The person might struggle with people in positions of authority. He or she might be fired from their job for refusing to do what their boss tells them. The PDA or ODD adult might lose multiple relationships due to their demand avoidance and their resistance to be agreeable in their relationship. They reject anything their partners asks them to do in favor of doing whatever they want to do themselves.
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