Demand avoidance means you’re opposed to doing something when it’s perceived as a demand, especially coming from an authority figure, even if you want to do the thing.
What is PDA?
PDA stands for Pathological Demand Avoidance.
It is not an official diagnosis yet, but the framework helps identify traits and come up with strategies and accommodations to support individuals.
What is behind PDA?
Demand avoidance is not out of spite or stubbornness- it is a reaction to perceived danger and the expression of the need for safety.
Tomling Wilding came up with the definition of PDA as Pervasive Drive for Autonomy to be less pathologizing and more accurately describing the core need. Autonomy is the core value for people with PDA and any demand that threatens this autonomy triggers a danger-response (fight, flight, freeze). 1
Affirming approaches to PDA
Rewards, consequences, praise and punishment are often ineffective or counter-productive. Giving a sense of control, autonomy and agency is key. Trust, flexibility, collaboration and equal partnership work best. 2