Paranoia is a state characterized by a chronic sense of anxiety and mistrust. Some forms of paranoia affect only one particular aspect of a person’s life, whereas, other might be generalized and may interfere with decision-making and relationships. It is due to deep-rooted insecurity, or feelings of doubt about the partner’s commitment and faithfulness in the relationship.
Individuals with paranoia are generally found to be mistrusting others, feel on the verge of harm, very much reluctant to confide in others, bearing grudges, or even find demeaning or threatening subtext in even the most innocent comments or events. They are socially isolated, have difficulty in forgiving, argumentative and possess a defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism.
Even though Paranoia in a relationship is very common and can happen to anyone, it doesn’t mean that one should put up with it. It is essential to understand the reasons for its manifestation because a relationship cannot withstand the negativity that comes with these feelings and will often come to an end, causing much pain to the individuals involved.
One of the major reasons for being paranoid is the inability to let go off a past relationship. Thus, having a bad experience, such as being deceived or taken advantage of, could lead to the paranoid thought of history repeating itself. It causes the individual to be alert at all times and unable to relax, as certain similar incidents may trigger again reminding of the past event and its consequences, especially when you are thinking about them. It is also important to note that at times anxiety and paranoia get suppressed when you have gone through a breakup, but they can rear back in the head when you have patched up or started afresh.
At times past experiences shape us in a way that we believe the world is a bad place and therefore good things don’t last. It is a type of a self-fulfilling prophecy where you feel everything is going good, but at the same time, you are on the alert of negative things that are bound to happen. This perception can itself arouse suspicion with the partner’s whereabouts, mistrust and even jealousy by comparing yourself with your spouse’s friends.
We are aware that depression and anxiety have a toll on our minds as well as emotional functioning, such that it affects our reasoning and judgments on what is real and what is perceived. At this time, we are more likely to rush up with paranoid thoughts and feelings, where our imagination runs wild and creates creative, vivid imaginations, which cause the envisioned scenarios to feel real. Often such thoughts are related to events and relationship in a person’s life, thereby increasing isolation and difficulty with getting help.
Having a history of schizophrenia, delusional disorder, early childhood trauma, also result in paranoid thoughts and feelings such that the individual behaves in a hostile or stubborn manner, excessively uses sarcasm, elicits hostile responses from others. These reactions tend to confirm their manifested suspicions and result in the same consequences to which they were afraid would occur.
Various other reasons such as looking for perfection, fear of loss, assuming what the other is thinking or seeking of constant reassurance of their well being, being possessive about the partner, easily jealous, being overprotective, or even having repressed, denied and projected feelings also result in paranoid thoughts and feelings, that can have a drastic impact on the relationship.
When a person is unable to deal with such negative and paranoid thoughts then there is a need to approach professional psychologist or counsellor. A psychologist will help a person to understand the reason behind it and also how to overcome such thoughts. In extreme cases, a person may require medication and for that person need to go to a psychiatrist too.