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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

More by this author

Craig J Todd

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

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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