Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

In this article, we are going to answer the following question: Why am I so paranoid about my friends? We will help you understand why it is so difficult to trust others and how to fix broken trust.

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? 

The reason, or better said the reasons, why you are paranoid about your friends is that you have a negative experience regarding friendships (ie. trust issues); you project your negative thoughts and fears on your friends or you have a psychological issue- more precisely paranoid personality disorder.

Below, I will explain all 3 points of view. However, my advice is if the paranoia is in a sufficiently advanced stage that you end up hurting themselves or others, it is important to contact a specialist immediately!

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

Friendships

On a large scale, friendship is an effective and cooperative relationship that binds two or more people, but on a personal level, each of us has his or her own way of perceiving a friendly relationship, depending on the experiences lived throughout life. its.

Although most of the time it is the result of circumstances in which we get to know each other, friendship is more than that. It is born from the need for affection, communication, belonging, unconditional acceptance of each of us.

It is not a given, but it is our choice to get involved and stay in a friendly relationship, to invest sincerity, loyalty, empathy, understanding and mutual support.

Friendship is not about who and how much he gives or about whom and how much he receives, it is not a competition, but it presupposes an equal relationship, a partnership in which each gives the other access to his own person and lets himself be known in his depth and intimacy.

A deep and authentic friendship is not measured in the amount of time spent together, but in its quality, in the support and love given, in the care invested so that this connection is unique, fulfilling and lasting in time.

Projection

Projection is the operation by which the subject expels into the outside world thoughts, affections and desires of which he is unaware or which he refuses in himself by attributing them to others, people or things in his environment. 

The person believes that someone has their thoughts or feelings. Ex: “My friend hates me!” A part of the Self (thoughts, motivations, feelings) is perceived as belonging to another person. 

The projecting person is not aware that the sensations are in himself and reacts not to the other reality but to his own reflected reality. Projection is often the product of a person’s lack of understanding and recognition of their own thoughts and feelings. 

Example: People who cheat on their partner usually make false accusations of deception against their faithful partner.

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

Paranoid Personality Disorder

The paranoid personality disorder is part of the group of personality disorders called eccentric along with schizoid and schizotypal personality.

People with paranoid personality disorder are characterized by suspicion and distrust of other people, the belief that others aim to use him, harm him in some way, or deceive the person in question.

The person with a paranoid personality disorder has difficulty trusting others and seeing other people worthy of trust and loyalty. Suspicion refers to people in general. The interpretation of actions, of environmental events, is done according to these inflexible, constant and continuous patterns of thinking.

People with paranoid personality disorder are vigilant and constantly observing the environment, looking for warning signs and signs to confirm the idea that they are threatened in one form or another. 

The attention and memory of these people with paranoid personality traits are selectively focused on the stimuli associated with the threat. Once detected, these signals from the environment are perceived and interpreted in a proper, erroneous manner. The memory stores this information associated with suspicion, distrust, threat and injury to oneself. 

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

When it is difficult to trust others

Trusting others is key to building happy and meaningful relationships. However, sometimes after many disappointments, it takes quite a bit to take that step again. In these cases, it is necessary to proceed to adequate internal work.

As social beings, people need to establish quality ties and connections with others. However, relationships carry vulnerability. Being emotionally involved with someone means giving him some power to betray or disappoint you. And since this happens not infrequently, it is understandable that we find it difficult to trust others.

The experiences leave their mark, and the one that derives from a broken trust takes time to disappear. After that, we feel so vulnerable and exposed that we tend to raise a shield in front of us. 

We suspect, distrust, and deprive ourselves of the opportunity to emotionally approach someone again. But the reality is that this shield, rather than protecting us, isolates us. And, given the importance of social relationships, it deprives us of happiness.

How is trust established?

The first bond in which we establish a relationship of trust is the filial mother. We come into this world defenceless and depend on the care and attention of our mother to ensure our survival and well-being. As she tends to our cries and meets our needs, we learn to trust. We understand that we are not alone, that someone watches over us and we develop in a safe way.

Otherwise, when the main attachment figure does not attend to the baby’s demands (or does so inconsistently), the baby learns not to trust. He understands that his emergencies will not be attended to when he needs it and he grows up feeling insecure. The child who experiences a bond of this type grows up to be a fleeting or excessively dependent person.

In the first case, the mother did not heed her calls and the little boy assumed that it was not worth continuing to place his expectations on her. He resigned himself and developed an avoidant and excessively independent personality, unable to appear vulnerable to others.

In the second case, the child had her needs met only on some occasions, so she lived surrounded by uncertainty. This was marked in her memory and she became a fearful adult, who constantly demands demonstrations of love and loyalty to others because she cannot trust that her love will be stable.

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

Broken trust

As we grow, we continue to accumulate experiences and links. What happens to our loved ones at each vital stage will also leave an imprint that will help shape our personality. Having loyal friends in childhood, with faithful first loves in adolescence and, in general, with healthy social relationships, helps enormously to strengthen the ability to trust each other.

The problem occurs when one of our most significant people betrays us, disappoints us or fails us. The unexpected and intense pain can leave us confused and paralyzed. Then the feeling of guilt, shame, anger or rancour appears. And, immediately afterwards, the urgent need arises to defend ourselves at all costs from a possible future similar situation.

If we do not properly handle the breach of trust, we can become hostile and fearful people. We may fall into the mistake of trying to become cold and repeat the same behaviours that hurt us, thus harming others. Or, perhaps, our mistrust is so great that we refuse to share our intimacy with someone else.

Trusting others is worth it

The reality is that despite the pain we need to keep trusting. A lonely, isolated and spiteful life is an unhappy life. Therefore, our best option is to accept the situation, go through the pain and relocate the experience in order to continue moving forward.

Understand that emotions such as pain or disappointment are part of life, but that past experience does not have to be repeated in the future. Try to extract learning from that betrayal (perhaps learning to set limits or prioritize yourself) and trust again: not from scratch but from experience.

It is not that you give yourself completely and without filters, evaluate well the type of people you want to surround yourself with. Check their values, how they treat others, how they talk about their previous relationships. But, once you feel that relationship is worth it, trust. Fear will not protect you from the bad that can happen, but it will prevent you from enjoying the good.

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

FAQ on Why am I so paranoid about my friends

How do I stop being so paranoid?

To stop being paranoid, it is better to consult a mental health professional to get properly assessed, first. Do not self-diagnose and do not self medicate. Besides that, take better care of what you are eating and how you are sleeping. By taking care of your body, you are also taking care of your mind and thoughts.

Why have I been so paranoid lately?

It is possible that you have been feeling more paranoid lately because you are going through a more stressful, even traumatic situation. You may be upset, under high-stress or suffering from anxiety. Paranoia is a symptom of some mental health problems.

Is being paranoid normal?

Generally speaking, being paranoid is something we all have experienced at one time in our lives. Either because we were under high-stress, dealing with trust and commitment issues. However, if you are experiencing an unrealistic or exaggerated belief that other people mean you harm on a daily basis, it is a sign that something more is going on. 

Does paranoia go away?

Paranoia can go away once the stressful situation you are going through will pass. However, paranoia is a symptom of some mental health problems. If you are experiencing an unrealistic or exaggerated belief that other people mean you harm on a daily basis, you should consult a mental health professional.

What triggers paranoia?

There are many situations that can trigger paranoia. They are usually associated with past traumas. For example, a person who was once cheated on may become paranoiac in his new relationship when he’s new partner does not answer the phone. 

Conclusions

In this article, we have answered the following question: Why am I so paranoid about my friends? We talk about why it is hard to trust people and what to do once your trust was broken. 

As a summary, we want to remind you that emotions such as pain or disappointment are part of life, but that past experience does not have to be repeated in the future. Try to extract learning from that betrayal (perhaps learning to set limits or prioritize yourself) and trust again: not from scratch but from experience.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

Further reading

The State Of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity – a book for anyone who has ever loved, by Esther Perel

Six Steps to Self-Confidence: Build confidence. Express yourself. Have fun., by Danny Greeves  

The Self Confidence Workbook: A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem, by Barbara Markway 

Understanding Paranoia: A Guide for Professionals, Families, and Sufferers, by Martin Kantor MD 

References

Psychalive.org – How to Deal with Relationship Anxiety

Healthline.com – How to Handle Relationship Anxiety

Psychologytoday.com – 7 Tips for Coping with a Paranoid Partner

Psychalive.org – Trust Issues: Why Is It So Hard for Some People to Trust?

Barendspsychology.com – Trust issues – where do they come from?

Why am I so paranoid about my friends? (dealing with trust issues)

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.