Ever heard of Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)? This is a mental condition characterised by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspicion and generalised mistrust of others. People with paranoid personality disorder are generally insecure.
They will nearly always believe other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent. It does not help if you are completely honest and lay your life bare so they can see you are not hiding anything. Such people will always suspect mischief, even in the most innocent interactions.
Both men and women can be paranoid and relationships with them are stressful and hard to sustain.
So if that wonderful new guy in your life makes you a little bit uneasy with some quirky ideas or behaviour, here are the signs to look out for:
1. GETS JEALOUS FOR NO REASON
It’s 5 pm and you’ve just left the office. You are running helter-skelter trying to beat the traffic typical of this city. Woe unto you should your boyfriend call and find you aren’t home on time or, worse still, you haven’t gotten means (MEANING MONEY, TRANSPORT?) to get you home. He will start to fight with imaginary ghosts of your ‘other’ boyfriends. Suspicion has set in.
Consider Kenny. He clung to his girlfriend Cynthia like a leech. How many times does your guy call when he is out with the boys? The few who really care will call to say they won’t come home early. Or maybe the obvious text: “Honey, we are playing today, talk to you later.” Never mind the game is Manchester United and he is in a dingy club in Kangemi.
You will only realise he is home when he starts snoring next to you. A paranoid guy will call and text frequently, saying he wants to know how you are, while he actually is checking up and wants to find out if you are up to any mischief.
Then there is Paul, an IT specialist in Nairobi. When his girlfriend Brenda informed him she was going out with her girlfriends to celebrate a promotion of one, she had no idea he would fret over it. The girls had agreed on the time and venue for their evening, but Paul had another opinion, never mind anyone asked for it.
He suggested they change that hotel restaurant, apparently because their choice had poor service, it had too much noise and in an inconvenient location. He went ahead to ‘suggest’ another hotel for their evening, where he knew someone who would ensure they get first-class service.
Brenda convinced her friends and they switched. Brenda found out later Paul had actually known the waiter who served them and he was instructed to spy on them and report any mischief to Paul. He paid well to snoop.
2. FORGIVES BUT NEVER FORGETS OR FORGIVES RELUCTANTLY
It’s understandable a woman will forgive but never forget a wrong done to her on a first date, but a man will easily forgive and forget. However, if your man ‘forgives’ but never forgets, then he could be suffering from Paranoid Personality Disorder. Such a man will forgive, but years down the line he still reminds you of that one thing you did that deflated his ego.
For example, when Mary made a casual remark to her boyfriend of three years, she had no idea she injured his ego and lowered his self-esteem.
“Honey, that moustache makes you look older than your age. Why don’t you groom it by trimming a little bit?” She had said. Well, she said it casually and never intended to wound. However, Martin took that very badly. Not only did he not forgive, but he also looked for an opportunity to take revenge. Barely a week later at a social gathering, Mary wore her newly made kitenge and Martin had only one thing to tell her: “Honey, you have put on a few kilos.”
We know that no woman wants to be told she has added some inches to the waistline. She was hurt and made it clear to Martin she knew he was saying that to spite her. However, he was quick to remind her of the remark she had made about his moustache the previous week. Mary could not understand why Martin had taken such a trivial comment to heart and held a grudge for a whole week, but what she did not know was that she was dating a paranoid.
3. SNOOPS ON YOU
Here is a typically Kenyan scenario. How often does your boyfriend tip your watchman? Every time he visits? It is a nice gesture to show appreciation for what the watchman does, but he should not overdo it. There’s no obligation and after all, it’s his job and he is paid to do just that. Well, in our case, what you may not realise is that the watchman is being tipped to provide information to your boyfriend on your movements while he is away. He is his spy, paid to intrude on your privacy.
Or, he may not miss an opportunity to snoop in your phone and email. Why? He always assumes you are up to something nasty. He will want to get away with that and expect you not to be upset. In his defence, he may say: “Why are you upset? Is there anything you are hiding?” He won’t allow you to use a password or will demand to know it. The moment he picks his phone, there is only one thing on his mind – to check when you were last seen on WhatsApp.
If you were online and never communicated to him, or if he sent a message to you but it shows you read and ignored it, that is the beginning of a ‘vibration mode’ phase in your relationship. He automatically suspects you were chatting with other men and gets so worked up that you have a big fight over nothing. Being in this kind of a relationship can be suffocating — in which case you might consider some wisdom from Zen philosophy: The way out is always through the door.
4. RARELY CONFIDES, RARELY OPENS UP
Confiding in a trusted friend is healthy. After all, people who are able to confide in others about their troubles, anxieties or some distressing event — rather than keep it all inside — live happier lives. A paranoid man (or woman) will find it hard to confide in anyone. He would rather suffer on the inside than share his worst fears and feelings with a friend. Sharing is a sign of weakness, to his way of thinking. Enemies and competitors are lurking all around and opening up to anyone who might give them an opportunity to punch back. Their thinking is “everyone is out to get me”.
Take this real-life story of Sally and Tony. When they started dating, Sally did not immediately know Tony had just come from a breakup. And Tony didn’t tell her. He was still hurting and he thought sharing that information with Sally would make him seem like an undesirable lover. Mostly he kept to himself, preferring to remain indoors while Sally was the opposite.
She was outgoing. Tony was defensive and blamed Sally whenever they had a misunderstanding. He had a way with words and Sally took the blame to avoid a breakup. What she did not know was Tony was engulfed by fear. Fear of rejection or being taken advantage of. Fear of being duped. He was unwilling to tell her what he had been through in his last relationship.
She loved him so much that she decided to consult a relationship counsellor because their love life was in trouble. She knew trust was the issue. Sally managed to get Tony to agree and little by little, one day at a time, Tony is coming out of the cocoon.
These are just a few signs you should look out for. But do not jump to conclusions which, however, do not necessarily define your man as paranoid. In cases of extreme paranoia, it is advisable to seek professional help from a counsellor.
Source: Love Matters