Rather weird, caricature like individuals we often see in movies, those socially inept people with strange beliefs and bizarre prejudices are probably reflections of the sad reality of people with Paranoid Personality Disorders, which, it is thought may occur in about 0.5%-2.5% of the general population. It is more common in men than it is in women.
Paranoid personality disorder is a real affliction that is characterized by a general suspiciousness and mistrust of other people. People with this disorder are often socially isolated, unable to lead lives of meaningful emotional involvement and are forever on the lookout for imagined sources of danger.
The common behavioral traits that people with this disorder display are as follows; and any three of these could mean that a person does actually suffer from the disorder:
1. One of the characteristics of people with Paranoid Personality disorder could be extreme sensitivity to or even inability to accept or handle any failure or setback. Any rejection or rebuff, either real or imagined, is also difficult to accept.
2. There is the tendency not only to bear grudges but to nurse them. Any perceived slight things or insults remain unforgiving and the person responsible may forever be relegated to the category of ‘enemy’.
3. Normal or friendly overtures of others are misconstrued and viewed with both suspicion and hostility. Regular social intercourse is viewed in a much distorted manner.
4. An overly suspicious nature that views actions of a spouse or partner in an unreasonable manner and attributes behavior without justification.
5. A very jealous guarding of perceived personal rights, which may often be misplaced and/or exaggerated. This may result in combative and antagonistic behavior.
6. A self referential attitude that gives undue importance to one self. There is the belief that the actions of others are dictated by their desire to harm. There is a persistent sense of self importance and the conviction that actions of others are motivated by that.
7. Seeing the ‘Conspiracy Theory’ in everything. This would refer to known persons as well as the world at large.
Though this disorder is prevalent in different cultures, the behavioral criteria that characterize it may not be the same everywhere. The fact that there are differing rules, obligations and social norms may make criteria differ in different cultures.
However, this is a disorder that can greatly impact a person and their quality of life, making it difficult if not impossible to have normal social intercourse and form meaningful personal relationships.