Anyone who has ever dealt with a narcissist on a long-term knows how they can be paranoid sometimes. If you observe carefully, you will realise that their paranoia tend to come when they are going through some life difficulties, and when things are not going their way.
After doing some searches on-line, I realised that most people have a superficial understanding of paranoia, including some professionals. Some believe that paranoia is caused by mental disorders like schizophrenia. Others consider drugs the main cause, in those who are not schizophrenic. Of course this is partially true because we know that paranoia and schizophrenia go hand in hand. Drug users are also likely to get paranoid. But this theory fails to give a logical explanation on why narcissists are likely to get paranoid even though they wouldn’t be suffering from the given conditions. That’s why it’s important to understand the real cause of paranoia in general before you know its correlation with narcissism.
Unconscious Mind Goals and Paranoia
Our unconscious mind_ the mind that operates below the level of our awareness, can use irrational fears like paranoia in some people, to help them achieve a certain emotional need that they can’t achieve otherwise. Each person has gaols in their unconscious mind, most of which they are not aware of. Let’s take for example a 30 years old man who is extremely kind. He would give his precious time to anyone who needs his help. He is very generous and kind. When asked of his objective in his too much kindness, he said that he does it selflessly, without any expectations of getting anything in return.
Surprisingly, this man had an unconscious goal being accepted. In his childhood, he didn’t feel accepted by his parents. Growing up he never felt accepted by his peers at school. This made him develop an unconscious need for being accepted by others. Like most people, he wasn’t aware of this need. Being kind made him feel appreciated and accepted in his community. Of course this is a healthy goal and a good method of achieving it.
Now back to paranoid people, they also have unconscious goals that they seek to achieve. The most common emotional need among paranoid people is the need to feel important. We all need to feel important to a certain degree. Mentally healthy people get this goal met through doing something important to themselves and to the society. But what if someone who badly wanted to feel important failed to get it in a normal way? What if he or she didn’t have the courage and resources need? That’s when paranoia comes into play. (See: do narcissists feel guilty)
What Causes Paranoia in Narcissists
When a person who badly want to feel important fails get their need satisfied in an acceptable way, they unconscious mind usually helps them achieve it using a different method. One of those methods is paranoia. As illogical as it may sound, that’s how this inner mind operates. Paranoia usually puts a person under constant tension that something bad is about to occur. In extreme cases, a patient believes that people are plotting to harm or kill them.
Their unconscious mind uses the logic,” If everybody wants to harm me, I must be very important. They want to see me unhappy because they are envious of my achievements.” This may not make sense at first but if you look at how some presidents and elites were assassinated for being in high positions, it makes a little sense.
Now back to narcissists, they have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. They badly need to feel important at all costs. When they fail to do so through healthy attempts, their brain usually uses paranoia to help them feel so. In short, it’s their tremendous feel important that makes them susceptible to paranoia.
Are all Narcissists Paranoid?
Of course it’s wrong to overgeneralise all narcissists as being paranoid. Take paranoia as any other emotion. Some people are likely to get depressed than others. Some remain depressed for years, while others get over it in few weeks only. Paranoia in narcissists is not different. As I said earlier, they usually get this irrational fear when they are going through some life problems, when they are least feeling important. Poor coping skills can worsen it. (See why are narcissist so mean)