Thursday, December 16, 2010

Madness of the Mind - Criteria 9 / Part 1: Paranoid Ideation

I'm skipping ahead to DSM IV criteria 9. This will be at least a four part series.

Criteria 9: transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

For a Borderline personality that has such a tenuous grasp on connectivity, every little social queue is up for interpretation. Always on the look out for a sign that abandonment looms, that what you’ve been told is a lie, any reason why the people you fear to lose are actually out to hurt you. There’s a dozen different places a turn of phrase could be taken depending on how the inflection falls or the way body language speaks. A Borderline personality will think of them all, and often settle on the worst. Expect the worse, and you can prepare for it. Hope for the best, and you’ll be disappointed. It doesn’t help that he/she is often right. Doing so a BP may also set her/himself up for that fall by creating the circumstances for that very thing to happen. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

If I have an inordinate amount of stress or very unstable relationships, then I begin to second guess everything. My hold on what people said vs. what they meant becomes nebulous. Everything has a potential double meaning. Did they really mean that? Yes? No? No. They’ve only told you this thing, allowed you in, to get your hopes up, so they can turn around and take it away, hurt you. You could lose everything you’ve struggled so hard to hold onto.

In short, I over think EVERYTHING. The downside of being too smart is it’s possible to consider too many possibilities. See every fork of every thought and ruminate on all the potential paths that could possibly be.

Normally, however, I take almost an opposite extreme. I can be too literal in my interpretation of people, thoughts, and things. I choose to accept what people say at face value and expect them to live up to their word. Don’t confuse this with trusting what people say, because I rarely do, but in order to lessen the paranoid ideation, I take words for what they are and act on them as such. This allows me to control the obsessive ruminations and removes my responsibility for when other people don’t live up to what they say.

How do you make these thoughts, stop? You can’t. At least, I’ve never found a way. Speaking up, communicating the irrational thoughts that buzz through your brain, helps. Start your sentence with, “This may not be rational but I have this {insert thought} in my brain, can you help me figure it out so I can move past it….” This way the people around you understand and can clarify an interpreted intent.


  1. I've found a way, to make those thoughts stop. We have the ability to take on many faces in various situations. When the thoughts invade, put on the face of the narcissist. Say "I am better than this," and mean it. Devalue the thought and abandon it ruthlessly. Being borderline I'm sure you've attracted and been attracted to your share of narcissists. They had something to teach you, and this was it. The irrational thoughts we have are worthy of devaluation and abandonment, so be ruthless the way I know you know narcissists can be.

    1. Very interesting. You're right about the narcissist attraction/attracted. That's definitely an interesting way to think about it.

    2. That's a friggin awesome strategy. :)

  2. I sort of agree. Except i dont know how to stop the original irrational thought that comes to mind..but i know in DBT skills it teaches us to take everything at face value...only the facts....then i think you can tell yourself.."these are the facts and thats all i know" and not give it a second thought after that...but how do you stop that instinctive first irrational paranoid thought that you get before you have time to stop, look at the facts only....if you find a way to do that please let me know.

  3. I haven't figured out how to stop those irrational thoughts, or paranoid thoughts, or any thoughts for that matter. I love that you mentioned opening up and expressing them. That's the thing that has helped me the most in my relationships. I own the irrational thought, but I don't hide it. That allows those I care about to somewhat understand my reactions and moods as well as gives them the opportunity to reassure me that they do care. I try to keep it to the minimum in order to not overload them, but I share the ones that I cannot seem to talk myself out of. This helps a lot.


Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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