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Paranoid Personality

 

Explanations > Personality > Personality Disorders > Paranoid Personality

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

The Paranoid Personality occurs where a person is excessively suspicious of what other people may be saying, thinking and intending with regard to them.

Noticeable symptoms may include:

  • Believing that others are disapproving, when they clearly approve or are indifferent.
  • Thinking friends and family are unkind, untruthful and disloyal.
  • Reluctant to confide in others or build deep relationships.
  • Sensitive to rejection and criticism.
  • Insisting on rights. Quick anger at perceived attack.
  • Holding grudges, often about imagined slights.

Discussion

Everyone has a 'theory of mind' in the way we try to guess what others are thinking. A common problem with this is where we believe others are thinking about us far more than they actually are (the truth is that most people have better things to think about). The paranoid personality takes this to extreme, with a particular bias towards believing the other person is thinking negative thoughts about them.

Even when they have experienced something that should be positive, they will re-interpret in a negative, pessimistic way. This legitimizes them feeling like a blameless victim and their consequent attacks on others.

As with narcissism, the paranoid person has an obsessive concern with the thoughts of other people. A key difference is that whilst the narcissist seeks praise, the paranoid fears criticism.

The Paranoid Personality Disorder is one of the ten DSM-IV personality disorders. It is very different from paranoid schizophrenia, where delusions, hallucinations and other more extreme symptoms appear.

See also

Theory of Mind

 

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