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Always Suspecting Others Have Hidden Motives Can Be a Sign of Mental Illness

Always Suspecting Others Have Hidden Motives Can Be a Sign of Mental Illness

You may recognize this person: Always suspicious of the decisions, actions and motives of others.

This paranoid individual could be a friend of yours, or perhaps a relative. But one thing is for sure – they have a universal distrust of other people.

You may remember a grandparent who was always suspicious of everyone who walked past their house. They would constantly peek out their windows, and stare intently at anyone who walked by. If they saw anyone acting even a little unusually, their imaginations would run wild, and they would quickly become agitated or panicky.

Individuals such as the character above are likely to be suffering from a mental illness known as “paranoid personality disorder.” People with this disorder will nearly always be suspicious of others.[1] As well as paranoid behavior, they may also display odd or eccentric ways of thinking and acting.

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People with Paranoid Personality Disorder are difficult to get on with.

While it’s not unusual to have times in your life when you are suspicious (or even paranoid), when this becomes the norm, then something is definitely wrong.

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) sufferers are so caught up in their world of defensiveness, that they can easily become incessant complainers, argumentative or even hostile. Their hyper-vigilant behavior often leads to a cold, guarded and lonely existence.

As you can imagine (or perhaps have experienced), PPD sufferers don’t tend to attract or hold onto harmonious friendships or relationships.

Family influence and childhood trauma are some potential causes of PPD.

At present, mental health researchers have been unable to determine the exact cause of PPD. However, they believe that a combination of environmental and biological factors could lead to the onset of the disorder.[2]

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For example, PPD is more likely to be present in families with a history of delusional disorders and schizophrenia. Another contributing factor could be early childhood trauma.

As researchers have been unable to pinpoint a specific cause of PPD, it’s probable that several intertwined factors could be responsible.[3]

Whatever the cause of PPD may be, it’s important to be able to identify someone suffering from this disorder.

These are some common symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Tell-tale signs of PPD include the following:

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  • Detachment.
  • Weak self-image.
  • Relentless suspicion.
  • Social isolation.
  • Paranoia.
  • Inability to collaborate.
  • Expectation they will be exploited.
  • Hypersensitive to criticism.
  • Argumentative and defensive.

As mentioned earlier, PPD sufferers can come across as cold and calculating individuals due to their avoidance of closeness with others.

It may surprise you to learn that PPD occurs in about 0.5%–2.5% of the general population.[4] Men are also more likely than women to suffer from this disorder.[5]

But yes, Paranoid Personality Disorder sufferers can be helped.

If you know someone suffering from PPD (perhaps even yourself), then check out the list below of four techniques that can help:

  1. Learn about the disorder. The internet can be a powerful tool for good. PPD sufferers who wish to seek help with their problems, can find an abundance of freely available online resources. There is also an extensive range of self-help books available on sites such as AbeBooks and Amazon.
  2. Trust a professional therapist. To do this, a PPD sufferer must of course overcome their suspicion of doctors and mental health professionals. However, if they can do that, then a therapist is likely to be able to tackle and reduce the patient’s symptoms.
  3. Enlist family support. However distant a PPD sufferer may have become from their family, loved ones can be the best form of support. It may only take the care and attention of a parent or sibling to provide a valuable lifeline to a PPD sufferer. Instead of attempting to battle PPD on their own, a regular helping hand from a family member can make a valuable and significant difference.
  4. Consider medication. Combined with psychotherapy, medications can help to alleviate symptoms associated with PPD such as: anxiety, delusions and depression. Prescribed medications may include antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Paranoid personality disorder can be a debilitating and isolating condition.

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However, if a sufferer can recognize their problem, and find the will to change, then they will have taken their first steps on the road to mental wellness.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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