How to Avoid Suspicion and Paranoia

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A suspicious mind is always ill-at-ease and spotting hidden meanings nobody else even considers are there. It can be a devastating way to live, viewing the world through a hyper-vigilant lens, and left unchecked, suspicious thinking can evolve into a paranoid personality disorder, a state in which you may not even think you have a "problem" but you will be aware that there is something not fulfilling about your approach to life. When unfounded suspicious behavior results in small things being blown out of proportion, your mind is in a constantly nervous state and you lose the mental energy that could be put to more productive and creative uses. Even worse is the reality that others around you at home, in the workplace, and anywhere else, can find dealing with your suspicious nature irritating and sometimes even confronting or threatening. Sometimes being natural and letting the moment pass by for what it really is helps you to see life as being more natural and bearable, while at the same time preserving your sanity and not testing the patience of others. If you're able to realize that your suspicious outlook on life is unhealthy and you're willing to do something about it, then you're already making headway. This article presumes that you are able to recognize that you, or perhaps someone close to you, has a suspicious outlook that may well become paranoid if you don't take steps to arrest this transition. If you're ready to work on your suspicious state of mind, you can take control of it.


  1. Realize that there is a problem. Adjustment to this mental state first begins with acknowledgment and realization that there is a definite problem. Notice and take heed of your own behavior and make the effort to make amends. Surprisingly, you may not see your behavior or attitudes as suspicious, especially if you equate your behavior with being caring and being involved in other people's lives, or with being defensive and self-protective (such as trying to ward off something bad happening to you). Learning to spot your unfounded suspicions is an important first step. Ask yourself the following questions; if you answer any or more in the affirmative, consider that you might have a suspicious mindset:
    • Do you twist simple and clear cut messages into something deeper and even unbelievable by the usual standards of interactions? Reading between the lines of every single word, interaction, and action is bound to leave you assuming things that aren't even there. Over-analysis leads to paralysis because you suspect everything and everyone instead of getting on with your life.
    • Do you constantly check up on someone in your life, asking them where they are, what they're doing, and how long they'll be before coming home or seeing you again?
    • Do you think that people are always ripping you off, lying to you or setting out to hurt you? Objectively, are your suspicions supported by anyone else around you?
    • Do you fly into a rage or spiral into deep woe whenever someone you care about spends time with another person? This can be especially marked if it's your lover, spouse, or partner spending time with someone of the same gender but can also relate to children, friends, co-workers, etc.
    • Are you always worried that people close to you are being disloyal? You may also find it hard to let anyone into your confidence because you worry that they'll use those secrets against you.
    • Do you feel jealous about the lives, actions, and opportunities that other people have or do? Any form of jealousy in your life must be dealt with or it will consume you.
    • Do you have problems with feeling insecure? It could be insecurities about love, money, safety, health, etc. – letting these insecurities direct your reactions to the world will prevent you from feeling stronger and enabled.
    • Are you unable to forget slights and insults that you feel others have committed against you? Do you carry around a desire for revenge?
  2. Understand the origins of the suspicious or paranoid mindset. Suspicion and paranoia tend to start out as a coping or compensating mechanism in situations where there is a sense of a lack of control over one's own safety; often its origins are found in an unhappy, traumatized childhood. It can have environmental, biological, and hereditary sources. For those who have experienced inter-relationship trauma, trust is often shattered and there is a tendency to transfer the suspicion to everyone, as a way of protecting themselves before any more harm can be committed.
    • Unfortunately, many people who have a paranoid personality disorder don't get treatment for it because it is viewed instead as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, panic disorders, phobias, or bipolar disorder. Certainly, it is not unusual for these other mental illnesses to go hand in hand with a paranoid personality disorder, so if you're being treated for one of these supporting cast disorders, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor about any suspicious or paranoid thoughts you have as well.
    • Researching the disorder is a good way of coming to terms with it. It will help you to better understand the disorder itself, and how it might be impacting you, or how you might end up with it if you don't manage it now. Knowledge will enable you to disentangle yourself partially from self-blame or other-blame, as you can start to see the suspicious mindset as a compensatory behavior rather than as something you need to be afraid or ashamed of, or defensive about.
  3. Talk to your mental health professional or a therapist. It may be that you can start revising your mental outlook on your own but it is best to get support and to determine what the best approach will be for you. This article presumes that you are getting appropriate medical care as well as trying to work through your issues on your own. This is because it can be extremely hard to break a suspicious mindset on your own, especially if you are at the stage of experiencing paranoia, and you shouldn't have to take this journey alone. Don't be hard on yourself; coming out from your protective shell is a task that others are willing to shoulder with you if you let them. This also includes learning to trust some people in your personal life who will be ready to make exceptions for your less desirable moments to help you grow beyond the suspicions into having a more trusting mindset. Think about the people who have a "neutral" role in your life, people you don't feel suspicious about and people you know deep down you can rely upon.
    • When suspicion reaches the stage of turning into a mental disorder, the distrustful and suspicious behavior can sometimes result in the patient not even trusting the doctor, making treatment difficult, and it is even harder where the patient refuses to take responsibility for their behavior. Avoid letting your suspicions reach this stage!
    • Paranoid personality disorder can take a long time to treat, and may require such methods as: drug therapy, environmental changes, and therapy (in which the undesirable consequences of the paranoid behavior are constantly explained to the patient by the therapist). Suitable types of therapy include long term psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, etc.
  4. Spend time facing why you distrust people. Do you just wish that you could relax, stop seeing so much lack of trust in the world and let go of all your fears about safety so that you can enjoy life? It is important to face why this might be the case, and writing is a good way of working through all the issues. Write down the times in your life when you have felt hurt, betrayed, helpless, or humiliated, and your accompanying feelings. Writing can help you to sort through and settle your thoughts, as well as helping you to clarify the relationships between your thoughts and the external influences such as other people and situations.
    • Write about any childhood experiences that have led to you feeling suspicious of so many other people. This includes writing about relationships with each family member and your formative experiences.
    • Look at a photo of yourself as a child. What feelings are brought back? What did it feel like to be you back then?
    • Define yourself. Write the answers to: "I think of myself as..."; "I am afraid of..."; "I wish..."; and "I am happiest when...". In what ways would you like to change these answers?
  5. Give others the benefit of the doubt. If your own life has been a series of twists and turns, then be certain that many others have experienced the same hardships, challenges, and concerns that you have. Avoid making assumptions about the person they are now, such as thinking they've had it easy or don't have to contend with the same problems that you do. When you are quick to judge another person and not give them the benefit of the doubt, you risk making up your mind based on your own assumptions and understandings, and not on the realities.
    • Be aware that some stories just don't make sense when another person explains them because you lack the full picture. Try placing yourself in their shoes and viewing the situation with empathy. In other words, grow to become more understanding of human error, fallibility, and even clumsiness.
    • Avoid reading too much into one-off real-life situations. If someone has been delayed in traffic, then it simply means busy traffic and that there is nothing hidden or sly hidden within the delay. Even if there is a pattern of lateness happening, they could be incredibly time-inefficient and incapable of getting anywhere on time. It doesn't mean they're up to something else based solely on this one trait, however much you dislike it.
    • Think about what it costs you when you doubt someone; their time, their presence, their love, their friendship perhaps?
    • Start learning and practicing the antidotes to mistrust and conspiracy thinking, namely: trust, acceptance, and serenity.
  6. Avoid using past mishaps to determine current and future situations. Living in the past is not a healthy way to direct your present and future behavior. Avoid letting past bad experiences cloud your present judgment and learn how to stop yourself from falling into automatic suspicious responses whenever a similar situation arises. By all means learn from your past experiences to adjust your naivety and improve your resilience, but use the past like a stepping stone rather than as a weight dragging you down. You can avoid making or falling for the same mistakes again without resorting to being suspicious and paranoid. Instead, rely on your common sense, a sense of balanced perspectives, and keeping an open mind as the means to guide you through new experiences.
    • You cannot control people, no matter how convenient a belief this may be. The hope that you can stop someone from behaving in a certain way is doomed to failure because the other person will not change for your needs. You will be left powerless, in deep emotional turmoil, and stuck in past patterns. What you can change is your own reaction to other people's behavior and expectations of their behavior, so that you're more aware and wiser rather than more wary and fearful.
  7. Let go of the feeling that someone is out to harm or get you. There are many genuine and true people out there. Give yourself and others a chance to prove themselves first before passing a final judgement on their character and personality. Learn to trust yourself first as it all starts from here. Most often we attribute behavior to others that is very similar to our own. In simple terms, paranoia and suspicion is more a take on our own attributes rather than really seeing those of others, and by seeing the world suspiciously, it is a projection of our own unresolved fears onto others.
    • Isolation and loneliness are fueled by pushing people away from you when they see that you have an obvious lack of faith and trust. As such, it's a vicious cycle, ironically fed by your suspicion.
    • Turn the tables on yourself. Think about how you would feel if someone you cared about or spent a lot of time with didn't trust anything that you did or said. Think about how it would feel if someone kept badgering you about your whereabouts and thoughts. How does that make you feel? Suspicious probing is unpleasant at best, and downright invasive and unsettling at its worst.
  8. Get your anger under control. Yes, you had a right to be angry with people who hurt you when you were in a vulnerable position. But this anger cannot be transferred to every person you meet through life. Anger management is important for your long-term health (because it reduces stress levels and helps you to forgive people) and to preserve your relationships. There are group and individual classes on anger management, allowing you the freedom to explore your needs in the way that works best for you. As well, find ways to reduce your stress levels.
  9. Generate a sense of calm and think logically. A well-lived life involves using our common sense and thinking before reacting or speaking. And when interacting with others, using etiquette, manners, and solid critical thinking skills can improve your relations and lessen fears. Take every opportunity to sharpen your intellect rather than blunting your wits with mysticism, fear, superstition, and half-truths. If you don't know something about others or a situation, avoid turning a hypothesis or coincidences into a state of facts in your mind. That kind of mental leap will land you in trouble and cause you to think that you can confirm how the world works simply by looking at it and relying on your own assumptions. Nothing is that simple and yet ironically, you make things much harder on yourself by thinking that way. Instead, aim for taking a calm and logical approach to all situations presented before you, and ask questions before making statements, and seek explanations and evidence before reaching conclusions.
    • Anxiety usually accompanies suspicious thinking and paranoia. If you can get treatment for the anxiety through your health professional, this will help to instill more calm in your thoughts.
  10. Improve your sleep, exercise, and eating health routines. Avoid allowing yourself to become mentally tired and drained. A constantly tired mind can easily slip into a state of frustration and confusion, which can lead to suspicious imaginings. When you care for your body's and mind's needs by getting adequate sleep, relaxation, good nutrition, and regular exercise, you will not only feel better but you'll realize that the balance this creates calms and restores you. Moreover, exercise is a fantastic outlet for releasing stress when you feel the suspicions welling up inside. Go for a walk, jog, or run to quell any growing fears.
    • Take up meditation. Meditation can help you learn to focus and to relax. It can also be used to increase your feelings of well-being and inner happiness.
  11. Learn to avoid shifting blame onto others' behavior. Constantly blaming others, bickering, and complaining about everything can suddenly turn into a habit without realizing, and the habit can block you from reaching out for the truth or from seeing your own unhelpful contribution in the matter. Sometimes it's just far easier to assume than to investigate, so bear that in mind before blaming without knowing anything.
    • Constant blaming and bickering may be due inadequacies stemming from not really knowing or trusting your own self. Perhaps you need to find yourself before you're ready to really let go of all suspicions. If so, don't delay starting on that journey of self-discovery.
    • Do not make a habit of being dissatisfied with explanations that others give you. Adopt a neutral stance and see things more simply.
  12. Be proactive. Ask yourself how you intend to cope with such big-ticket trust loss issues as infidelity, disloyalty, undermining, and surprise revelations about others. Having your coping strategy sorted out in advance is a far better approach than to focus on never trusting another person. Remember that being proven right about someone's untrustworthy behavior doesn't actually help you if you haven't strengthened your own coping mechanisms, as it will still be you who is left with any aftermath on the odd occasion things do go wrong. Yet, if you're already a strong, positive, and self-trusting person, you will manage such less common crisis points in life, especially if you haven't put all your relationship eggs into one basket. Isn't that more reassuring than thinking things like "I will just die if he's cheating on me"?
    • Note that this isn't about condoning untrustworthy behavior; rather, it's about building up your resilience so that you can cope should things happen for the worse and in the meantime, you continue to live seeking the best in everyone and not assuming the worst.
    • Ensure that you have more than one person you can rely on for support and friendship. Don't back yourself into a corner where there is one sole person in your life on whom you rely for everything emotional and/or financial. That's just asking for trouble. It's also double-trouble if you hold high expectations for that person that you can't be bothered keeping yourself to.
  13. Adopt behavior change. Be consciously aware of your thinking processes and make the changes to negative thinking patterns as and when they pop up. Learning how to change your attitude and thinking patterns will help you to put doubts in their place.
    • Work on building up your self-esteem. Overcoming negative thinking patterns can be learned by reading good books written by psychologists and other reputable authors but you can also ask your therapist to help you break any unhelpful thinking patterns.
  14. Don't be naive and do allow yourself to grow up. A suspicious mindset can be a means for avoiding taking responsibility for yourself. In this sense, being suspicious can be a very convoluted way of not facing the realities of failing relationships, or of making poor relationship choices. While painful, it is far better to face up to having made mistakes about becoming involved with someone who isn't right for you and preparing yourself to make a much-needed break so that you can get on with maturing away from their influence rather than resorting to blaming them for everything that isn't working out for you. If there are real reasons to suspect someone is playing you for the fool, ask them straight up and judge their behavior by their answers and how those answers make you feel. There is no need to be a martyr, a prisoner, or a prison guard within a relationship – if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and it's time to make constructive changes.
    • Nobody owes you anything. Success and respect is earned. If someone continuously and blatantly lies to you, you are giving them sufficient reason to behave in this manner towards you. Clear the air before their lying becomes a habit and let such people know when to stop or back off, and that you won't tolerate untrustworthy behavior.
  15. Use your knowledge of the situation, don't listen to what you have allowed others to implant into your mis-beliefs. Base your assessment of other people on your own summation, not on opinions you've heard from others. Each person's relationship with another is highly personal and you may be unfairly judging someone by just relying on someone else's summation and hearsay about another person. Instead of simply relying on secondhand judgments, base your assessment of another person on your own personal experience with them; after all, a person can make a great friend, a trusting confidante, or a caring parent and at the same time be a horrible and indifferent spouse, teacher, or boss.
  16. Be optimistic and expect good things to also happen in life. Be patient and make the most of things when opportunity strikes. Get involved in activities that keep you purposefully occupied and spend time with people who distract you in an enjoyable way. When you stay active and keep committed to doing things that really matter to you, it's harder to be overwhelmed by suspicions. Look for people you can connect with and learn from, as well as grow with. Where you intuit that someone is not good for you to be around, stand up for yourself and break away from such alliances. Ultimately, aim to lose the sense of self pity that drives much of your suspicious self and seize the meaningful opportunities that are bound to come your way when you keep a more open mind. And above all else, be gentle on yourself.
  17. Continue with therapy or professional advice when hope for recovering from a suspicious mindset still appears difficult and distant. Talking about your problems helps clarify your own feelings about certain issues. Having someone else listen to your concerns and provide another perspective can also awaken you as to how you may have overblown situations and negatively perceived things. Having someone to confide in can help you to overcome a blinkered approach to situations and allow you to set aside the suspicions.


  • An occasional suspicion founded on clear grounds is warranted and acceptable, and is part of staying vigilant to look after yourself. Paying attention to obvious signs of breaches of trust or intent to harm you will save you grief and heartbreak for the future. Obvious signs include catching someone cheating on you, finding missing amounts from your bank account, having the police confirm charges, etc.
  • Suspicious behavior destroys relationships.any negative thought to be entertained as uninvited guest.Do not give your power to will come and pass away.
  • Paranoia that stems out of control inevitably contributes to depression and mental illness. It is entirely up to the individual to take and pay attention to their own needs and mental health.
  • Part of life's journey is about learning to draw a balance between suspicion and becoming paranoid. As you mature, you will find it easier to make the distinction and to expect less of people and more of yourself.
  • Avoid staying on electronic devices for too long. Spending a lot of time on them and staying in the house a lot as well,could create paranoid symptoms.The more exercise and fresh air,the better.


  • Use common sense when adjusting a paranoid mindset. You don't need to become gullible and trust every person you meet. Being too trusting and accommodating, especially to the point of self destruction, is harmful and pointless.
  • If you feel out of control, a doctor's visit is in order to assess the possibility of any mental disorders that might require treatment. Don't deny yourself the relief that medication and therapy can provide; these forms of support can take you from a place of loss and fear and restore you to a fulfilled and connected lifestyle. Value yourself enough to find out if there is an underlying health problem.
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