You probably know until several of them. Him or him that always interprets what you say in the worst sense; that gets furious the moment you do not agree with her opinion; that always needs to be in control of you and should preferably have a surveillance camera mounted on you to know that you are not lying; and that no matter what you say responds with a critical response, and who makes you feel stupid, rejected and inferior.

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)


 

Being paranoid means being overly vigilant about any hostile motives and intentions of other people. One has a belief or attitude that leads to deep skepticism, suspicion, the need for control, the need to be the one in power, the one who sets the agenda, and one can be perceived externally as a strong, hard, cold, dismissive and maybe even as a scary person.

 

Extreme vulnerability to insults, rejection and defeat

At the same time, it can in reality turn out that the person also has the exact opposite character traits, when you look closer. From an inner standpoint, the paranoid person is extremely vulnerable to insults, rejection and defeat; and the strong tendency to try to control the external world (other people, other people's opinions, other people's behavior) can be seen as an attempt to deal with their inner anxiety of not being good enough, of being rejected or offended.

The paranoid person has difficulty giving trust to other people, based on a pervasive expectation that it will end in disaster anyway; one is going to be offended, harassed, misunderstood, treated badly, or to feel miserable about oneself.

The solution to this problem is for the paranoid person to hold back any form of unconditional trust in other people, and one becomes instead controlling, dominant, and constantly on the lookout for whether the others are doing something that confirms your original assumption: that they are just looking to take you.

 

10 signs of a paranoid person 

In other words, the paranoid person is in a deep crisis of trust with the world around him, but he / she does not acknowledge the problem as his / her own - "it is not me there is something wrong with it, it is the others." Here are 10 signs that you are dealing with a paranoid person:

 

  1. Suspects, without sufficient basis, others to want to exploit, harm or deceive the person. 
  2. Has a combative attitude about one's own rights that does not correspond to the situation or the environment
  3. Dealing strongly with unfounded doubts about the loyalty and trustworthiness of friends and other people with whom he associates. 
  4. Is careful to confide in others for unfounded fear that what one says will be used against one. 
  5. The person has a strong hypersensitivity to rejection and defeat
  6. Perceives innocent remarks or incidents as something hidden degrading or threatening. 
  7. Carries resentment over a long period of time, has difficulty forgiving insults, injustice, or insults. 
  8. Experiences that one's person or reputation is attacked, without it being obvious to others, and reacts so quickly with anger or counter-attack. 
  9. Constantly, for no apparent reason, suspect your spouse or partner of being unfaithful.
  10. Often sees conspiracies or conspiracies, and finds a wealth of evidence that builds on the assumptions. Attempts to "disprove" the conspiracies are often interpreted into the paranoid system, and are for the person a further confirmation that he is right

The person with paranoid traits is in a fundamental crisis: He or she appears in his or her behavior to be in conflict with what the actual situation is:

 

  1. The person appears outwardly as hard and tough, but is actually very vulnerable himself
  2. The person himself appears to be uninterested in forming close friendships, but is really terrified of being rejected
  3. The person makes other people feel like bad or inferior people, but is even the one who actually has a bad self-image. Instead of acknowledging it and taking responsibility for it, he / she projects it onto others: as if there were qualities in them and not in him or herself.
  4. The person interprets hostile intentions in others, but is in reality himself the one who has hostile attitudes towards others - not to be difficult, but to be in the forefront: "Better to attack first than to wait until you are attacked."

 

The vicious circles: Paranoia creates paranoia

Through these ways of thinking, feeling and acting, the paranoid person puts himself in a situation that is characterized by negative, self-reinforcing circles.

 

  1. By being thoroughly distrustful of the world, you lose the trust of others, and you get a reason to be distrustful.
  2. By adopting a very dismissive attitude towards others, this will often lead to oneself being rejected
  3. By expecting hostility from others, one can through his defensive behavior (which can easily be perceived as critical) provoke hostile attitudes in the other
  4. By demanding, gagging and trying to control others' love for you, this can cause love to gradually suffocate and die out.
  5. By being overly controlling, you create anxiety, defiance or reluctance in the other person that causes you to lose control, and you must therefore become even more controlling to feel in control.

The result is that due to their paranoid attitude, you end up interacting with other people who inevitably maintain the paranoid attitude: Exactly what you fear will happen happens because you fear it.

 

Common problem areas that include paranoia

Paranoid traits, behaviors and thought patterns can manifest themselves in different ways and to different degrees. Here are some common problems that come with being paranoid.

 

Paranoia and relationship problems 

This video is made by a person with paranoid personality disorder. We get an insight into the extensive mental problems this creates, and the importance of being met with understanding.

 

When you have so many paranoid traits that it creates lasting and extensive difficulties in contact with other people, it can make sense to talk about paranoid personality disorders. Such conditions are about the person being so controlled by paranoid notions that it causes a significant loss of function, and significant mental pain, anxiety, anger and despair.

Different treatments may be effective for someone who has a paranoid personality disorder.

 

Paranoid psychosis

Paranoia can in an extreme form degenerate as pure delusions, and in such cases it can be a paranoid psychosis.

Examples of paranoid delusions may be that one is very strongly convinced of being opposed, persecuted, poisoned or harmed, or it may be that one (despite counter-evidence) is sacredly convinced that the partner is unfaithful, that one is loved by another person (despite the fact that this is 100% proven not to be the case).

A delusion will here be understood as an emotionally charged idea that completely breaks with reality, ie what the surroundings consider to be right, true or real. This notion cannot be corrected by reason or logic. The more one tries to argue against a paranoid delusion, the more the person becomes convinced that he or she is right.

The paranoid lacks insight and does not understand that something is wrong. Often it is family members, police, work colleagues, doctors other than psychiatrists who first suspect the problem and who seek psychiatric assistance. The delusions are usually strikingly limited and logically related - the patient is insane only within a limited field. 

 

Paranoia and violence problems

In the face of the topic of paranoia, it is also necessary to address the topic of violence. Violence can be characterized by precisely such vicious circles, which means that the violent person does not immediately think of himself as violent - but rather as a victim. Even if the person in reality resorts to extensive use of mental control, punishment, or use of force over other people, it is as if he or she believes that it is the other person's fault.

A person with paranoid traits would like to use violence against others without acknowledging it, or he / she may want to admit it but blame others:

 

  1. I have to beat you because you…
  2. I have to check you because you…
  3. If only you could stop with…, then I should stop with…
  4. If only you could be trusted, I would…
  5. It's your fault I hit. You give me no choice.

A common definition of violence is this:

- Violence is any act directed at another person who, through this act, injures, hurts, frightens or violates, causes this person to do something against his will or stops doing something he wants.

In the face of a paranoid person who commits violence, and who does not want to acknowledge his own responsibility for his own actions, there is little else to do but get far away.

Recognition of one's own problem of violence can involve:

 

  1. to acknowledge that one has a paranoid demeanor (not that "everyone is against me")
  2. to acknowledge that one has a trust problem (not that "it is the others who are not to be trusted")
  3. to acknowledge that one needs help to find new ways of thinking (not that "it is the others who must change")
  4. to acknowledge that one never has the right to become violent
  5. to acknowledge that one is the only one to be held accountable for my own actions

There are several treatments for people with violence problems. 

 

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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