Is it right that everyone of us has fears on different levels? The answer is yes, and the way out of our fears is to face it, choose the biggest and the greatest fear you have and face it, do not run away of it, then you will find the other fears are nothing.
There is an Arab proverb “ Man is an enemy of which what he is in ignorance” , so do not let your fears takeover you, get to know your fears and face it starting from the biggest, do not let your phobia overcome your mind to hide the truth from you and take you away of it.
Islam was a fear to many people and still, however some of them were clever enough to face this fear and get to know it, which led them to the truth and they converted to Islam.
This an introduction for a series titled “Paranoia”. Which will be followed by “Islamophobia”.
Creation of Paranoia
Definition: Paranoia is unjustified beliefs that others are bad or a threat. This article starts from a discussion of everyday creation of paranoia in personal life and applies conclusions from that discussion toward understanding the creation of paranoia in society.
Creation of Paranoia in Everyday Life
In order to understand creation of paranoia in society, it is helpful to review common mechanisms that most people encounter in their personal interactions in their everyday lives. Creation of paranoia is very common. Every time a person is responsible for a problem but blames someone else for it they are creating paranoia toward that other person. Some of the reasons a person might create paranoia are:
1- To protect oneself against a threat as a way to deflect blame, to defend freedom to do what one wants, and to defeat competition.
2 - To protect or restore one's self-esteem in response to criticism and to rejection.
3 - As a justification of immoral behavior-e.g., of hurting someone else for one's own gain, of rebelling against moral restraints, and to eliminate obstacles to one's ambitions and goals; and to manipulate others in working toward one's goals.
Protection Against a Threat:
- As a way to deflect blame
Most parents of more than one child often hear the phrase "He did it" when they discover that one of their children has caused trouble. This is a simple and common example of creating paranoia as a way to deflect blame.
- As a way to defend freedom
Some spouses experience the frustration of unsuccessfully trying to stop their partner from engaging in an unhealthy behavior, such as overeating. Consider the case where a husband wants to convince his wife to eat less. She may rationalize that her husband's effort to control her eating is just a byproduct of the desire to control her. This is an example of creating paranoia in response to a threat against one's freedom.
- As a way to defeat competition
Some of the fouls and ensuing fights that break out at sporting events are probably an example of a result of creation of paranoia by members of one team to the other. Instead of viewing each other as friendly competitors these team members sometimes view members of the other team as enemies to be defeated. One motive to create paranoia towards the opposing team might be to justify fouling the star players of the opposing team in order to win.
- To Protect Self-Esteem
In 1956 Harry Stack Sullivan (7) wrote that "The paranoids feeling of worth is protected by the paranoid transfer of blame to other individuals." Since then psychological studies have been done which implicate defenses of self-esteem as a cause of paranoia in paranoid patients (8,9,10). Such defenses occur in the everyday interactions of normal people as discussed below.
- Defense against criticism
Most people have had the experience in which they have tried to give helpful constructive criticism to another person, only to be met with paranoia and hostility from that person. Why would a person react in such a hostile way to efforts to be helpful? The reason is that criticism may hurt their self-esteem. They may restore that self-esteem by rationalizing that they are not at fault but rather that the criticism was made because of malicious intentions. Relationships and marriages that start with high mutual positive regard often end with mutual negative regard and hostility. A lot of this is a result of creation of paranoia by partners toward each other. The creation of paranoia that I've observed in relationships is often in response to criticism or complaints by one partner toward the other.
- In Response to Rejection
Paranoia toward those who disagree with one's beliefs can be a mechanism for holding on to one's beliefs. If one believes that those who disagree with one's paranoid beliefs about a group are bad, one can explain away the uncomfortable arguments that they are making.
People often develop paranoia to the opposite sex as a result of rejection by them. Two of my male friends have expressed paranoia of women as a result of rejection by women. They would rather rationalize that the women are bad rather than view themselves as unattractive to those women. A woman friend of mine has told me about paranoid men's bashing sessions of female acquaintances of hers.
As a Justification of Immoral Behavior:
- Justification of hurting someone else for one's own gain
When people take something that isn't rightfully theirs from someone else, they often rationalize justification by creating paranoia to the person they take advantage of. For example, an employee who steals cash from a cash register might rationalize the justification that management hasn't given the raises the employee deserves. By creating paranoia towards management, the employee is protecting self-esteem from feelings of guilt.
- Justification of rebellion against moral restraints
When teenagers take drugs despite their parents' orders, they may justify their behavior by creating paranoia toward their parents.
Creation of Paranoia as a byproduct of justification of aggression:
- An aggressor who infringes on the rights of others for personal gain, but who is convinced that the infringements are justified, may develop paranoia towards those who defend themselves or retaliate against intrusions on their rights. The aggressor will experience being a victim of their unjustified aggression. This can result in a cycle of escalating paranoia as shown in Figure 1. (See hyperlink at the end of this article.)
- Creation of Paranoia in order to manipulate others into working toward one's goals
If one doesn't like someone and sees that person as a threat, the motive may exist to slander that person to others in order to motivate others to turn against that person and reduce the threat that the person poses.
Labels: How to Face Your Fears