In Part One we find me hopeful about people changing. It takes time, but even people who have to be right all of the time can change, can yield the point with or without therapy, if you play them right. A family systems approach works better than CBT, a cognitive behavioral therapy that falls with defensiveness on deaf ears, as in, What do you know?
Part Two, I'm sorry, is more depressing. I find that I can't change some people, not without medication to chill them down. They'll never yield the point, never be wrong. They're simply too afraid. And they have a disorder, probably.
If it's Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type, an Axis I disorder, you can't blame a person for being quite sure that there are enemies out there, that people are persecuting him. He's right about this, absolutely sure; they're listening through the telephone, the computer. Voices and imagined events are real, no convincing otherwise.
These are delusions. Even with help, without medication delusions can be hard to dislodge. Try and convince people who suffer from them that they're wrong. Good luck.
Being right is also a feature of Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD), an Axis II, and we can't blame people for personality, either.
Nowhere does the word "delusion" appear among the diagnostic indicators of PPD (listed below) but the features imply that sufferers are delusional by virtue of their unfounded distrust. Because they hear no voices they're not technically delusional. It is their faulty construction of reality that makes them suspicious of others, not voices in their heads.
You can have both, an Axis I disorder like depression, addiction, or anxiety, and an Axis II, a dysfunctional personality. The latter can cause the former. People can get depressed because others don't like them; they can't look in the mirror to see how difficult they are to love. Hospitalized for the whole gestalt, even CEO's billionaires, people ostensibly doing just fine, functioning at the top of their game, get mentally sick.
Personality develops in childhood as our genetic predispositions are slapped with reality, the world out there. Some traits lie dormant until challenged by the hand we get, our families, friends, teachers, our luck. Yes, you actually can blame the family, and you can blame others (try that boarding school, orphanage, the Nazis, or a father who liked your little brother better) for bringing out the worst in you.
The problem is there's no pointing any one finger at any one person. Everyone's a product of someone else's stress in transgenerational theory, people who victimize have probably been victims themselves. If you go genetic, you have to start with Adam and Eve and all those other mamas and papas.
Surely some features of personality, especially the cute ones, the positive ones, aren't snuffed out with negativity, and they're genetic, for sure, our cadence, how we talk, joke around. We see our mannerisms in our children and grandchildren, we know they haven't copied us intentionally. There's wiring in there. Yet we all talk like Seinfeld. Would I lie?
The environment gives the nod, the go-ahead to both the good and the bad.
In Part One we discussed how when childhood stress is bad, as it is under the roof of abuse and neglect, unconscious decisions to cope with it aren't always good. Without parental coaching, how's a kid supposed to know what to do? So children make decisions, as in, T
Trust no one.We call attributing, or casting unwarranted negative aspersions to people paranoia, and we're not talking the pot smoking kind. You can change that by getting straight, you know.
Don't tell me, I'm wrong. You're clearly wrong, and you're scary, and
You're not the boss of me now.
When paranoia rules in an otherwise normal personality, as in Paranoid Personality Disorder, there's no yielding the point, no being wrong about people and their intentions. The person suffering from paranoia is sure, 100% sure that. . .
He stole that money!
She cheated me out of the property!
She has my ring and won't give it back.
He thinks I'm stupid. I'll show him!
Very difficult to convince people like this that they are wrong about this, no matter how much cajoling, flattering, affirming, validating, you do.
Okay. Maybe with a lot of sex. But even with physical affection, I don't know, the odds are that the paranoia will come back again under stressful conditions.
This is why, by the way, medications are helpful, they help people buffer stress. It is also why some people don't want to take them. They don't want to be left vulnerable to exploitation and harm, psychologically "buffered" from the pain.
Here are the features of this intractable disorder.
301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder:
A. A pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 4 or more of the following:
(1) suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or herB. Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, or another Psychotic Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.
(2) is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trust-worthiness of friends or associates
(3) is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
(4) reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanins into benign remarks or events
(5) persistently bears grudges, is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
(6) perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
(7) has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.
No fun. Partners, spouses and children are often accused of cheating, lying, having affairs, manipulation. Friends and children of friends, housekeepers, baby sitters, business associates, deliberately plotting behind their backs. People look at them the wrong way, people wrong them, think they're oblivious, stupid.
These are angry people. Suspicious. Not obviously, sometimes, they won't always tell you their suspicious, but surely. Telling you might give you an edge.
There is a strong association with child abuse, and you can see why. If you can't trust your own parents to take care of you and protect you, to show you that they love you, that they believe in you, who can you trust? Or if you lived in a concentration camp, and every authority was a killing authority, every uniform or bunk mate a possible snitch, you learn to read aggression in people, even when there isn't any. You misinterpret facial signals, body language, tone of voice.
You learn to trust only yourself. You become impenetrable, are perceived by others as tough. Deep down you want others to adore you, to tell you that you're wonderful, and you may behave as if you believe you really are, but you're really not sure. This thread of insecurity runs through most personality disorders, you know.
People who suffer from Paranoid Personality Disorder are often afraid to put themselves in situations that are intimate, it makes them feel vulnerable, weak. They won't initiate an intimate conversation, and have buried their issues deeply, don't participate, necessarily, or appear disconnected, laugh when they shouldn't. Makes sense, right? How can you let a potential enemy get close? That's just plain dumb.
You don't make yourself vulnerable, tell people your true feelings, your fears, your sadness, if there's a chance of being punished.
That's another reason you have to be right, too. So you don't get punished.