Do you believe that people are out to get you?  You just can’t trust anybody?  There is always a somebody who has it “in” for you?

There is a large number of people who believe there is someone out to get them.  I would multiply this number of people by another 50% because there are many more people who don’t actually express this particular fear.  “The fear may just come in as a passing thought, but there as many as 40 percent of people who are convinced that negative comments are being made behind their backs, 20 per cent worry about being observed, or followed, and 5 per cent are afraid that there is a deliberate conspiracy to do them harm” says, Daniel Freeman, author of Paranoia: The 21st Century Fear and professor of clinical psychology at Oxford University.

Psychologists label this type of fear as paranoia.  Paranoia is the irrational and persistent feeling that people are out to get you or that you are subject of persistent and intrusive attention by others.  This type of fear can make it difficult to trust people.  There was a time when doctors would have dismissed paranoia as a disorder suffered by only drug users or schizophrenics, however, it’s now a growing issue in our world today.  It is showing up in many of our relationships and in our everyday lives. The causes of paranoia are stress, traumatic life, repeated mental programming, brain chemistry (chemicals such as drugs, or alcohol would affect someone’s perceptions), or a combination of these factors.

But why are there soooo many who believe there is “someone is out to get them”?

Well, let’s look at your life and the world today.  There are so many people who are experiencing traumatic life events, stress and are being mentally programmed.  We hear about job losses, divorces/breakups, crime, terminal illnesses, violence, and well just an overwhelming amount of hate, pain and fear.  We are inundated with “bad” news whether through television, print or internet. We start to think we’ll be next or when will the next shoe drop.  It’s going to happen to me.  Multiply this by any type of stress or trauma we have or are already experiencing in our lives or through the lives of our family members and friends that we love.   It’s hard not to believe or think anything except – I am next or it’s going to happen to me again.  “They are out to get me.”

We are left vulnerable – open and raw with emotions. Unsure of who to turn to and trust.  We worry and lose sleep.  Watch too much Netflix.  Eat too much.  Drink to “take the edge off.”  We numb out, disconnect, and become distracted with things that really aren’t the key issues.  Making our paranoia only worse because we are not dealing with our beliefs or feelings of fear.

“Paranoid thoughts stem from a perfectly natural instinct to explain the world around us,” says Professor Freeman. “But when we’re stressed and feeling low, tired, anxious or irritable, our explanations are likely to be negative, and we think the worst. There is also a ‘snowball effect’ — once the paranoia has taken hold, it grows with every new fearful thought.”

We’ve become a paranoid generation.  And why would we not be?

With every thought, belief and feeling we have, our paranoia multiplies tenfold.  The more we look over our shoulders in fear our fear and worry grows exponentially with more intensity.  And even those of us who have not experienced the same past hurt or disappointment as another it’s hard not to begin to wonder… after watching the local news, reading your current Facebook news feeds or newspaper… Can this happen to me?  Will “they” hurt me?  And begin to believe and feel that “they can and will hurt you.”

Is it true that you or the people you love were hurt in the past?

Absolutely.  Perhaps mistrust and betrayal have and may even continue to play a large part in your life experience. This is really disappointing and sad.  People that should be or have been there to comfort, love and guide you betrayed you or your loved ones.  And when this happens early in life or if it happens repeatedly throughout your life, it colors your perspective of the world today.  Imagine having dark gray glasses that you are holding up in front of your eyes. Everything you will see through the glasses will look gray. The gray glasses are your earlier experiences and they are tinting everything else.

Does this mean everyone is out to get you now?

No.  It means that you or your loved ones were indeed hurt.  You/they have attracted certain individuals into your life who are mirroring to you your fears in an attempt for you to heal your pain.  The law of attraction states that the world is your mirror.  You do not see the world as it is but as you are and so if you are fearful or mistrusting then you will attract certain people who are untrustworthy and/or hurtful.  The purpose of this is to help you to heal, learn and grow.

Even though you were hurt in the past, doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you now.  The work is to recognize that not everything are those gray colored glasses. If you move the glasses from in front of your eyes you will see that the world can look very different. The gray tint is still there, but it doesn’t have to color all that you see.

So what can you do to help you feel safe and trust people again?
• Understand, accept and validate for yourself that it is normal to feel what you are feeling. Yes, anyone else in your shoes would feel that same way you are feeling.
• Feel your feelings. Feelings buried alive never die.
• Express yourself. Keeping your fears secret will only fuel them so share them with rational friends and loved ones to help you regain perspective. Ask yourself what your best friend would say.
• Get support. A coach or counselor can help you to sort through the dynamics of the history of betrayals and what is currently happening in your life. They can help you to retrain your brain to see events and experience feelings from a different perspective, helping you to deal with the distress that paranoia can cause. Working with someone will help you to accelerate your healing, learning and growth.
• Develop and maintain healthy boundaries so that you don’t allow anyone to violate your boundaries. The more you maintain healthy boundaries the more you feel safe, sane and secure.
• Develop a healthy self-esteem. When you know yourself and have a healthy self-esteem it is easier to maintain boundaries, and trust yourself and those around you.
• Seek out the ways that you are loved and supported in other relationships and people you don’t necessarily know. When you do this, you will begin to see that not everyone is out to get you.
• Be in community with like-minded people, people you can count on to support you through your healing.
• Make sure you are sleeping and eating well, and cut down on drinking. The better your mood, the less likely you’ll feel suspicious of other people.
• Reduce the amount of news you watch and read, drama and negativity you expose yourself to. This will increase the amount of positive experiences, love and kindness you will attract to you.

You are so loved so love yourself just as much.