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I have a friend who seems to suffer from a persecution complex.  He's highly intelligent but his thought processes are irrational.  His symptoms are:

suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others
is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner

Our friendship has been seriously compromised because he's decided I'm a user.  It's very sad because he's a wonderful human-being...one of the funniest people I've ever met...and well-educated and therefore a great conversationalist.  Our friendship is new and showed great promise...we're talking soul mates...and now he's withdrawn with his irrational thoughts that I'm not to be trusted.  Any treatment?


Mike in Chicago
9 Responses
370181 tn?1595629445
There IS a cure for your friend and it's called a psychiatrist! He needs to get in front of one pronto. But of course, if you suggest this, I can only imagine what he'll make of that.
Since he is a "new" friend, do you know how long he has been feeling this way? If it came on suddenly, he should possibly be seen by a neurologist as well. Either way, he needs help soon.
I wish you luck and applaud you wanting to help your friend.
Avatar universal
I was married to a woman that was very much as you described your friend to be. Sometimes we could be having dinner,not talking, and all the sudden out of the blue she will "go off " and tell me I had anger issues. I loved her, and knew this was VERY real to her. There was nothing I could say to convince her  otherwise.It got to the point I was always waitig for the other "shoe to drop". As much as I loved her,there was no way that I could show her that she was being Irrational. I couldn't help her as long as she thought I was the problem.
I knew, as much as I loved her,and hoped I could help her,I couldn't. I had to reach a place where I ask myself, "Is this what I want for me,for the rest of my life" I don't think I was being selfish when I  KNEW..I can't help her,and it's futile to try to help those who may live and die with those "demons".
Mike, I suggest that you find someone to love, that is capable of returning that love. You must be a veru compassionate person to be willin to do whatever it takes to help someone that you love. but, sometimes you can't. So find a good place for your heart to live.That your love may be best given!
Avatar universal
I am currently married to a lady who exihibits all the signs of persecution disorder.She believes that i am out to use her , harm her and that i am having extra marital affairs. She decribes my "attacks" on her to people in graphical details. She explains how i move with other women with convincing precision.Out of the blues she may even lock herself in and claim that i want to hurt her. These and many more allegations from her 'imagination' have made the marriage to be a very painful experience. I really wish to help her overcome this but she is very un co operative.
She takes every word said or action done and interprets it as an attack to her.
Avatar universal
I'm definitely one of those people with the insane persecution reactions.  To this day, I have difficulty believing that a light that suddenly turns red on me did not deliberately try to mess with me. I regularly flame out of control, like this.  So far, I believe that the only solution is to develop and practice an instant reaction to these flame-ups by telling myself, CALM DOWN.
Avatar universal
I was in a relationship with a man who has behaviors very similar to those you are describing. We fought a lot, often because he would say hurtful things, and when I would tell him that what he had said hurt me, he would get defensive, discount my feelings, and accuse me of trying to start a fight. Little things I did would set him off, also, and he would make very hateful accusations over minor things such as telling a man he had a "pretty dog" when we passed by him on the street. Any little thing could send him into a rage, or into sullen silent treatment.

He would often think that other people were trying to "screw him over." I would explain to him that I really didn't think that was the case, but it usually did no good. Once he perceived it that way, those perceptions were all he believed.

He also told me I had a terrible temper, when I was the one who was trying to stay calm, while he got angry and verbally abusive over nothing. I started referring to his two different modes of behavior as "Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde." He would be loving, affectionate, and kind one minute, but any opinion that I expressed that he didn't agree with, any joke I would make that he misinterpreted, anything I said that "rubbed him the wrong way," and he would instantly turn hateful, accusatory, and verbally abusive. After he had gone into Mr. Hyde mode there was no convincing him that I didn't have terrible intentions toward him. Trying to convince him that he was wrong about my intentions only made things worse.

And then he would eventually calm down and get back to Dr. Jeckyll mode. Then, when we would talk about what had happened, he would finally realize he was wrong in his accusations, and that his behaviors had been unacceptable. He would apologize. He would say that he would try to not be that way again. And then, a week, or days later, it would always happen again.

I knew he was depressed, but this seemed beyond depression. I wondered if he had multiple personalities, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But when I looked up the symptoms of each of those, none of them seemed to fit. I knew there was something very wrong, but he didn't have medical insurance, and couldn't afford to go to a therapist.

I ran into a friend, and I started talking about my problems with my Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde boyfriend. She told me it sounded like her brother, who has Schizophrenia. I said that he didn't hear voices in his head, so I didnt think it was Schizophrenia. She said that Schizophrenics don't necessarily hear voices. She then said that her brother also has Asperger's Syndrome. I don't even remeber where I had heard of it before, but I asked, isn't that like emotional Autism? She said yes. And that just fit. I got home, looked up Asperger's on Wikipedia, and its symptom description matched his behaviors completely.

Obviously a qualified psychiatrist needs to be consulted for a diagnosis. I am just mentioning a condition that could explain behaviors similar to the ones you described. There is a test you can find online developed by Simon Baron-Cohen, called the Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test. It's not a diagnosis, but it is an indicator.
Avatar universal
i have my girlfriend with the same symptoms and actions and reactions,

i'm really having a hard time with her, but i'm manageing to deal with it as much as i can, to the farest limit, after all she's the one i love and i want, hopefully she get better and get to manage her actions and tempor and self confident and self estim.
Avatar universal

You understand your wife well. Was she emotionally/physically abused as a child?  If so, this could be the reason why she has a persecution complex.

That was my life through 2 marriages and several other relationships until I had hypnotherapy sessions to find out the deep-seated cause of the complex. Now, when I feel a session coming on, I step back and reason with logic. 9 times out of 10 the thought is totally illogical so I dismiss it.

I have lost the love of several truly good men, who like you, understood my plight but couldn't help me. No one could help me until I had the self-respect and personal integrity to help myself.

In one of your wife's lucid moments, try to help her to seek help before she loses everything, as I did.

Best of luck

Avatar universal
At present i am living with someone you describe. i so adore this man, but feel i can no longer take his verbal battering. the smallest thing may set him off, if my tone of voice is wrong,my face is wrong.He can suss out my mood he tells me as soon as i walk in the door and he tells me im in a bad mood often,then this lets him "have ago" at me about it. I find i have learnt to careful choose my words .The verbal abuse can be harsh as he believes most things i do or say...i do just to upset/anger or wind him up. I have tried so hard but now am exhausted with it. He seems to have no concept of how i might be feeling .i love him so much but he makes it very difficult.He has a very bad temper  so i find it better to say as little as possible or admit all the guilt for whatever it was and take the punishment for it..he wont let it lie.. There is no way i could ask him to seek help..he doesnt see he may be wrong in any way..I have tried so hard to help him,showed him all the love i have in me, but it never seems  its  enough..,people who suffer  with this terribly sad way of perceiving the world, do so hurt others. My self esteem is so low. as im the one who is always a fault . sometimes i want to bang my head against the wall  with the frustration of it all as i know i have done nothing....Living with a person with this condition takes alot of care.I so wish all the best to those that are struggling like me,and those that suffer..x
I am in exactly the same position with my husband..we have been married for43 years and he has always been  difficult but now I do not know where  to turn . we have no friends left due to his treatment of them and my family do not like him so rarely visit..he fell out with his only sister years ago..everything is my fault but he depends on me for everything..cooking cleaning washing decorating.. and I work full time ..he has a stoma after bowel surgery 5 years ago..I do not have the energy or the finances to leave him..feel totally stuck..thankyou for your comments..All the best to you too x
Just to say, for some of us, life is very hard and over years it can make us not easy to be with -- and increasingly hard to be with, as aging is no picnic.  I've had a lot of problems the last few years and am pretty isolated and not happy but my wife has her own friends and her own family and does her own thing.  So I'm not sure why your husband's problems with life are also your problems with life -- you can make your own friends and see your family without him.  It won't make him happy, and it might frighten him as well, but there's no reason two people should suffer because one is suffering, at least not all the time.  Peace.
11137611 tn?1415617403
I have a persecution complex myself.  A doctor told about 7 years ago if I didn't get help with dealing with the things people did to me it would follow me my whole life.

I didn't get help and it did.
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