Symptoms & Diagnosis

4 Ways to Deal with Destructive Paranoia

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BPD paranoiaIn the everlasting words of 80’s punk band The Kinks, “paranoia, it’s the destroyer.” Paranoia is a secret and invisible poison that can affect anyone, particularly those who have been diagnosed with or exhibit other symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Characterized as an intense and chronic feeling of mistrust and anxiety, paranoia is a debilitating symptom to deal with. In fact, it’s one of the most paralyzing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Stress can magnify the symptoms of paranoia, which becomes a vicious circle as paranoia is a trigger for anxiety, and vice versa. Here are a few tips for coping with paranoia, and its resulting co-occurring symptoms.

1. Recognize Your Triggers

If you have the ability to recognize your triggers and realize when you might be in a situation in which you are more prone to paranoid tendencies, maximize on that skill! Paranoia comes in different levels. If you have the ability to see it before it happens, see if you can practice nipping it in the bud. Imagine what it would be like to see the future. Imagine the discomfort you’ll put yourself through if you give in to the paranoid tendencies, then imagine how much more smoothly things can go if you can attempt to take hold of the feelings and reign them in. This is no easy feat, but awareness is the first step.

2. Benefit of the Doubt

Giving other people the benefit of the doubt isn’t giving them a gift as much as it is giving you a gift. This gives you the opportunity to step outside of yourself and try to understand the motivation of the other person and, maybe in the process, discover that it is self-motivated and not a reflection on you or any of your actions. It’s a chance to view yourself as an anthropologist. Take a moment to consider where the other person is coming from, analyze their body language and their tone of voice, in as neutral a manner as possible.

3. Choose Your Battles

Often, those who experience paranoid tendencies feel the need to respond to every insult, whether perceived or genuine. The fact of the matter is, whether or not the barbs are real, it’s beneficial to select which are worth the expended energy to retaliate. It’s an emotion-saver to conserve your energy and carefully decide which criticisms are important enough to engage.

4. Seek Treatment

If your issues with paranoia spin out of control, find a Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center to help you deal with your symptoms. This can be difficult, especially for someone dealing with paranoid tendencies, as a treatment center, its professionals, and those who come to the treatment center for help must operate on a level of trust. It goes without saying that trust is a rare commodity for someone dealing with paranoia. You can best arm yourself with facts. Do your research, ask questions, and feel out different BPD treatment centers to find where you best fit.

What things have helped you to deal with your BPD-related paranoia? Share them in the comments below.


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  2. Lurker111

    The spouse has un-officially-Dx-ed BPD with paranoid delusions. Among other things, she thinks the next-door neighbor have listening devices pointed at our house, and I’m force to whisper and skulk around in my own home.

    My question is this: Should I:

    1. Go along with these delusions
    2. Actively deny these delusions
    3. Use some sort of passive-aggressive denial mechanism, such as “forgetting” to whisper, etc.

    I’m at the point where I’m losing my own grip, here. Don’t suggest counseling, as I’ve tried it with her and she, of course, thought the counselor was biased against her.


    You can reply to my e-mail, if you wish.

  3. I have a question that I would be very happy getting an answer to. A 28-year-old girl with diagnosed BPD and AHDH has now recently started to have strong paranoias/fears that in crowded environments (e.g., on the train, cinema) there will be someone with a gun that will kill her and others. I think it’s important to mention that this is not in the USA, where this kind of tragedies are common, but in Berlin, Germany, where it’s super hard to get a gun and these kind of events happen extremely, extremely rarely. The fear is really intense and strong. Heart beats, panic is close etc. Yesterday at a concert she was convinced that the person next to her had a gun on him and was going to kill her and the others. It’s all a very very real fear. Should I be worried that she might have beginnings of Schizophrenia? Please help me with an answer. Thank you so much.

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  5. Pride in vanity

    I also have something alike, as usual it’s really painful to go through but I presume my paranoid fixations are related to the idea of ‘not surviving rejection ‘ through compulsions such as becoming an ‘echo chamber’ (reaffirming opinions of the other) and climbing into a caregiver position (expressing myself with authoritarian intentions) I try to ‘trick’ the other into giving enough signs of respect or affection so that I feel assured they do not see through and reject me once again for being ‘right’ about things I am not allowed to be right about; as if I am a despicable, monstrous creature for having the need to be listened to, and rightfully deserve the living hell of being ‘muted’.

  6. Krystina

    I understand that paranoid is a big symptom of those with Borderline. I have Borderline. Im often paranoid. But what I’m trying to understand is do the symptoms always come triggered with stress? Or is it just a pattern in our thinking ? I’m asking this because to me obviously it’s a thought pattern Sure when we get anxious it can make it worse..
    I know that therapy is the only think that will change these thoughts, it’s hard to be motivated to change it or deal with it at times I have tried it on own but I still have the same thoughts they are strong . What else happened in my past has me so insecure other thN what I already know . It must have messed me up because I always fight with the same obsessive thoughts.

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