Paranoid Thoughts In Relationships: Why Do They Appear?

paranoid thoughts

In today’s society, which is increasingly competitive and individualistic, it is easy to be suspicious of others. It is not uncommon for some people to seek to achieve different types of advantage over us or to not take us into account when valuing other types of needs more. And this can generate fear and mistrust in us.

However, although some people do it, it does not mean that everyone does it. Many people have come to generalize these types of thoughts, generating dynamics and behaviors that can have serious consequences for them and their relationships. These are paranoid thoughts with serious effects on personal relationships something that will be talked about throughout this article.

What do we mean by paranoid thoughts?

We understand paranoid thoughts as the set of thoughts that have characteristics typical of paranoia. The latter, if considered from the prism of psychopathology, is characterized by the presence of pathological delusions and interpretations of reality in the form of self-referential and persecutory delirium, suspecting that what happens around him revolves around him and that others have intention or to take advantage or cause any type of damage. Usually the subject with paranoia He is extremely rigid in his thoughts, making it difficult to make him change his beliefs, and present a high attitude of distrust towards others. It is not uncommon for strange behaviors and behaviors to manifest as an element of protection.

Although it must be taken into account that paranoid thinking does not necessarily equate to paranoia as a disorder, the truth is that paranoid thinking shares many of these characteristics. It generally implies the existence of a high level of insecurity and mistrust regarding others and its interaction with the subject in question. It is common that they tend to use deductive thinking to analyze the interaction with others, starting from a general premise to extend the conclusions drawn from it to each particular case.

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Paranoid thinking usually generates a reaction of resentment and a decrease and avoidance of intimacy with the person it refers to, even though they may not have done anything to deserve them. It also tends to generate deep suffering in those who have it, as well as lead them to carry out behaviors that cause discomfort to the person who causes said behavior. In fact, Sometimes there is a self-fulfilling prophecy effect: the person you suspect ends up doing what was attributed to them due to the treatment that the person with paranoid thinking has given them.

It is typical of insecure people, in many cases with previous traumatic experiences that have made them think of the world and others as hostile elements or competitors that try to take away our livelihood or our dreams or who have a great fear of being abandoned due to such experiences.

Paranoid thoughts in relationships

Although paranoid thoughts can appear in any context, one of the areas of life where they most often occur and usually cause the greatest impact is in that of the couple, in which unjustified fears and jealousy may appear and even establish a disorder such as Othello syndrome.

In this sense, one of the most common and repeated is the fear or conviction that our partner is being unfaithful to us. Although it is not something impossible and it is a fear that appears sporadically in many people, the truth is that the sustained maintenance and without substantiated causes of said suspicion can generate a deep schism in the relationship, to the point of even breaking it. .

In some extreme cases, it is possible to establish some control or surveillance over the partner: what they do, who they talk to, who they chat with, when they are online, how many times they go out and how much they dress up for it, what they smell like, hygiene habits. …some people even go so far as to violate their partner’s privacy by looking at their email or cell phone. Reproaches, accusations, suspicions and hypercontrol They violate and erode the relationship, and can in fact provoke these same reactions of distrust that the couple commits infidelity or abandons the relationship.

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In addition to infidelity and abandonment, there may also be self-referential ideas, in which everything the other says is considered an attack or even in which it is considered that the relationship exists out of mere interest or comfort on the part of the couple and not for a true feeling of togetherness. This can generate a series of dynamics that lead to a conflictive and destructive relationship.

Paranoia in social relationships: friends and family

Our social relationships are not limited to our couple, but we are continually interacting with a large number of people and some of them become part of our circle of friends. But in these relationships paranoid thoughts can also sometimes be observed. For example, Different acts or words can be interpreted as a sign of displeasure towards the person or some comments such as accusations or reproaches without this being the intention of the person issuing them.

This type of thought can generate withdrawal or hostility, uncertainty and a cooling or even rupture of the relationship with others, both on the part of the subject who has the thought and on the part of others towards him.

Paranoid thinking in the workplace

Another area in which paranoid behaviors and thoughts can appear is at work. And the labor market is an already competitive terrain (which in fact facilitates paranoid ideation), in which depending on the environment it is often not so strange to think badly of the intentions of others. It is relatively easy to wonder if behind some behaviors there is a search to find information to lower the position of the other and/or stay above or improve the chances of obtaining a promotion or a permanent position.

Thus, paranoid thoughts can make us continually suspicious of the motivations why others interact in certain ways or cause a cooling of interpersonal relationships, which can generate work conflicts, decreases in productivity and a bad company climate.

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How to avoid them?

It is possible that we ourselves or a loved one manifests some type of paranoid thought at a certain time or context. Therefore, given the discomfort that these thoughts generate, it is worth asking ourselves: What can we do in our daily lives to avoid or combat them? That is why below we will review a series of tips.

How are you?

It is common for paranoid thoughts to appear to a greater extent in situations of high tension or stress or in periods when we have an altered mood. It would be useful to evaluate what emotional state we have when this distrust towards the other appears, as well as taking into account how said emotional state can affect us.

Practice Mindfulness

Many of the fears that cause paranoid thinking are due to the anticipation of negative consequences. The practice of meditation or Mindfulness can be helpful in the sense that it aims to focus our consciousness on the present moment and assess how we feel. Likewise, it also helps to observe our thoughts from the outside, witnessing them and allowing ourselves to feel them.

Assess the evidence

β€œI think my partner cheats on me.” β€œMy boss wants to fire me.” β€œMy friend doesn’t care about me.” All of these are thoughts that, depending on the context, can be considered paranoid. It is not that they are not possible, but it is worth asking what we base ourselves on to think so. It is necessary to value what makes us think in this way, evaluate its significance and whether it has possible alternative interpretations before judging.


The basis of human relationships is communication. When we are talking about close people such as a partner, family or friends, it would be appropriate to comment and communicate both the good and the bad, so that elements that can later lead to misunderstandings do not become entrenched. It is not about expressing distrust or constantly asking if they have been unfaithful to us, for example, but to make the shared bond allow us to express the existence of fears, doubts and thoughts.


Using relaxation techniques can help relieve stress and reduce worry. In this sense, relaxation techniques focused on breathing and muscle contraction can be of great help, such as diaphragmatic breathing or Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation.