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Paranoia & Paranoid Behavior
It's not too late Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching & Counseling for Emotional Blocks

Are you entangled in difficult relationships or painful emotions? Do you suffer from abuse or trauma? We can help you untangle your life and reclaim your freedom.

Guilt is a normal result of hurting people. Anger is an expected result of injustice.
often follows threats. Aggression is a normal response to unjust threats.
People who are called paranoid often seem to be trying to make sense
of confusing emotions.

We help people resolve emotional and relationship issues.

Symptoms of Paranoia

Paranoia refers to fixed, untrue beliefs that other people are persecuting or trying to harm you, not to a feeling of anxiety that other people may be critical of you.

Following abuse, trauma, emotional stress or sleep deprivation, some people describe unpleasant anxiety or aggression that may be called paranoia. Paranoid symptoms may also arise from bonds of guilt and anger. Paranoia may follow an accident, abandonment or betrayal. There are usually reasons for the unpleasant confusion.

The main symptom of paranoia is delusion. This often appears gradually, with people becoming increasingly irritable, suspicious, introverted, selfish, depressed, obstinate, jealous and bitter. Such people rarely acknowledge their own failures or faults, and  prefer to blame and criticize other people.

Paranoia often starts as suspicion, fuelled by anger, hatred and guilt. People may mistrust others, feel constantly irritated, be easily offended and cannot forgive. They may strongly react to perceived criticism and be preoccupied with conspiracy theories. They may fear being deceived, incessantly argue and act in self-righteous and perfectionist ways.

Paranoid behavior often involves exaggerated feelings of self-importance or persecution. People may function and relate well in some contexts, yet they often try to isolate themselves. They may say that other people cannot relax around them.

The fourth edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-IV), lists these symptoms for paranoid personality disorder:

  • reads negative meanings into innocuous remarks
  • preoccupied with unsupported doubts about friends or associates
  • perceives attacks on his/her reputation and is quick to counterattack
  • reluctant to confide in others, fearing that it may be used against him/her
  • maintains unfounded suspicions regarding the fidelity of a spouse or partner
  • suspicious; unfounded suspicions; believes others are plotting against him/her

We recommend that inexperienced helping professionals refer people with symptoms of paranoid personality disorder to experienced clinical psychologists.

Are You Paranoid Enough?

Many people say they have healthy paranoia - referring to a suspicion of promotional offers that seem too good to be true, and to a perception that trusting unknown people is stupid. Many people have a reflexive distrust of strangers who call them friends. What they are selling? (If you walk around open markets, you may hear, "My friend ... my good friend ... !" from salespeople)

Some people deliberately try to induce paranoia in others as a way to gain compliance. This may be done during induction into cult-like groups and military organizations, and as preparation for interrogation. Programs to induce paranoia often precede company takeovers, military service and armed invasions.

Paranoia, Manipulation & Identity Loss

Paranoid people are often obsessed about manipulation ... and they sometimes appear to be the worst manipulators ... often under a disguise of self-protection.

> How do you know, Martyn, who you can trust with your knowledge
> and when it could be dangerous? I think so much about manipulation
> and I don't want people to get better at it. Can others use it to
> manipulate me? I try to stay aware of all manipulation. I protect
> myself and watch people very carefully.
> I work very hard to make sure that no-one can hurt me.

Paranoid behavior seems to be related to aggression, anxiety and guilt. We help people manage the unpleasant consequences of abusive relationships and emotional incest etc, and integrate hurt parts or fearful sub-personalities, so that people with symptoms of paranoia can relax.

Split-off parts or partial personalities are common results of abuse and trauma - we call this identity loss. Some emotions that may precede paranoia are:

  • Guilt - person avoids happiness and pleasure
  • Depressed - person is melancholy, purposeless
  • Emotional swings - person is endlessly conflicted
  • Aggressive - person is irritable, mean, wants to fight
  • Dissociated - person is not there, preoccupied, withdrawn
  • Anxious - person is fearful, worried, scared of ordinary things
  • Psychosomatic - pain, dysfunction and paralysis without medical cause

Consult a physician about any opinions about paranoia or other medical conditions.

Paranoia & Victim Identification

Identity loss includes identifying with someone else. A common identification that we associate with paranoid symptoms is identification with a victim.

If you identify with a victim, you may feel and express anger and guilt that the perceived victim did not express. You may feel suspiciously evaluate each person you meet - if you decide the other is a victim - you may try to help that person. If you decide that the other is a victimizer, you may try to punish that person. Some paranoid people dedicate their lives to helping victims and punishing victimizers.

My ex-husband wants to punish me. He pretends to be happy with his new wife just to hurt me ... I hate the son of a bitch and I want him to suffer as much
as I did ... only then can I relax.

Some common signs of victim identification are tensed knuckles and flared nostrils (especially when remembering the alleged victimizer), abnormally large jaw muscles (from grinding teeth) and lines of muscles on the forehead. Both eyes and lips may become increasingly narrow over time.

(Try this simple exercise ... tense your knuckles and flare your nostrils.
Tense your jaw muscles and wrinkle your forehead. Narrow your lips and your eyes.
How do these tiny muscle tensions affect your thoughts and feelings?)

If you come to suspect that many victims are actually victimizers - you may feel confused at first, and then express anger to people that you consider to be manipulative victims (people who pretend to be victims to gain sympathy, power or other benefits).

Identification with a victim, combined with dissociation following childhood abuse or abandonment, can comprise a systemic basis for symptoms that may be called paranoid schizophrenia.

We can help people manage systemic imbalances and perceived injustices. We help people become free to rebuild their own identities, and to manage their emotions.

We often help people repair relationship problems, false identifications and limiting beliefs as we help people to define, plan and achieve their goals.

Online systemic coaching to resolve emotional issues

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 2009-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
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For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

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Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email