Do you feel like you are losing your mind? Are you exhausted from everyday living as you desperately try to figure out every possible negative outcome to keep your spouse from coming unglued? Are you beginning to believe that you are the problem and everyone else has it all together?
If you are married to someone who is chronically paranoid, your life is in a perpetual state of stress as you jump through whatever new hoop that is presented to keep your spouse calm. This, of course, is at great expense to your own mental health as you spend less and less time thinking about what you want and more and more time thinking about what your spouse wants. You find that you can’t do anything without running it through the “what will my spouse think” filter.
But this is precisely where your spouse wants you to be, completely and totally dependent on their opinion, unable to make the simplest of decisions. (As a side note, this is not about submission. Submission requires you to know and voice your opinion first before agreeing to go a different direction if necessary.) Rather, this is about control.
While it may seem as though your spouse is trying to control every aspect of your life because they are power freaks that is not the case here. Instead, your spouse is controlling because they are fearful of the dangerous outcomes that obsessively swirl around in their head every second.
Here are some common signs that your spouse maybe paranoid:
- Constantly thinking that others are trying to harm them, you or your family
- Fearful of being deceived
- Believes that others are being disloyal to them
- Struggles with trusting family, friends, and co-workers
- Cuts off family, friends, and co-workers if trust is betrayed only once
- Reluctant to confide in anyone
- Suspects others will use information against them
- Sees hidden meanings where others don’t
- Holds grudges for long periods of time, way past the time of the offense
- Unforgiving of insults or slights
- Perceives attacks on character or reputation that is not apparent to others
- Quick to react angrily or counterattack
- Suspects without justification that you are being unfaithful
- Hides money from you and believes others are out to get their money
- Insists that you pull away from close friendships or family members
- Reluctant to discuss their profession in any detail
- Uses security cameras in inappropriate places such as facing inside the house instead of outside
- Tracks all phone and internet communication repeatedly questioning meaningless conversations
If you find yourself in a marriage to a paranoid person take heart, you are not alone. Usually it takes a considerable amount of time for your spouse to reveal their full paranoia as most of the actions mentioned about happen slowly over a long time frame. Of course, your spouse can give you numerous reasons justifying their behavior, perhaps you have even done something to contribute to their paranoia. However, understanding where you are is just the first small step in the process. The next step is to decide if this is something you can live with or if it is a deal breaker. Only you can make that decision.
Remember, this is not a decision about trying to change your spouse; you cannot change them. Even with therapy they will have to decide to change on their own and that could take years. But you can change yourself and how you view your spouse. This kind of paranoia is so deeply rooted in insecurity and fear; it is hard not to have compassion for person who lives with this intense anxiety 24/7. Get some help, find a support system, and read over this list until you can spot the unhealthy behavior and not let it cause you additional unnecessary anxiety.
There is hope for your exhaustion. Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort. If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment. Or you can send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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