If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you may have experienced paranoid thoughts before. If you have, you’re not alone.
Stress-related paranoid ideation is often listed as part of the diagnostic criteria for diagnosing BPD. Paranoid thoughts for someone with BPD typically are categorized as intense beliefs about the malicious intentions of others.
Sometimes paranoia can manifest as being afraid that two strangers on the street talking and laughing are actually talking and laughing about you. For others, it might manifest in fears of being abandoned or cheated on by a partner.
Folks living with BPD tend to experience paranoid thoughts after being triggered by stress or anxiety. If you can relate, this piece is for you. We wanted to know what paranoid thoughts people with BPD frequently experience, so we turned to our Mighty BPD community.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. “I’m going to be ‘stood up.’”
“Because of my huge fear of abandonment, I am always paranoid that I am going to be ‘stood up’ when meeting somebody. Whether that be friends, my girlfriend, family, mental health workers, literally anyone. I work myself into a state convinced that they aren’t coming because they don’t like me and don’t want to see me.” — Hanna T.
2. “People are talking about me.”
“Sometimes my paranoia gets so bad that I can hear people talking about me when they actually aren’t. I had to leave class because I kept ‘hearing’ my classmates talking about me but when I’d look at them, they weren’t even talking. [It escalated] me to a state of panic and I had to leave midway through class.” — James T.
“I always think everyone is talking about me. Even while I’m in the room. And I always think everyone just pretends to like me. And whenever I seem to let my guard down and believe someone is my friend, the friendship usually ends soon after. I think I overburden them with all of me.” — Falon T.
“That people are always talking about me behind my back, and that they don’t think of me in reality the same as they act toward me, that they are different in person than when not around and I’m only getting a fake view of everyone. And also that people are always lying to me.” — David M.
3. “People are just using me.”
“I’m also always paranoid that my wife is using me and doesn’t love me. It’s very unfair to her that I think that way when it’s obvious she loves me a lot.” — James T.
“That people keep me around just to use me, hurt me or have other motives.” — Kristie Y.
4. “My partner is cheating on me.”
“[I fear] my boyfriend is cheating on me all the time. Today, I was at the train, and a young woman came in texting and giggling at the phone. I immediately thought she was exchanging dirty texts with my boyfriend, and they were laughing and making fun of me… She was a complete stranger.” — Filipa G.
“[I’m] paranoid my boyfriends are cheating on me. That’s my major one.” — Danielle H.
5. “People think I’m ‘crazy.’”
“A big paranoia is that everyone thinks I am crazy or delusional and not worthy of being taken seriously… Also paranoid that maybe I am delusional and I can’t trust my own intuition and can’t trust my own perceptions.” — David M.
6. “Nobody really cares about me.”
“That no one really loves me and I’m just a filler in people’s lives.” — Kaitlyn M.
“When high anxiety kicks in so does the paranoia when the thoughts of people are watching me, nobody really cares about me… And then dissociation starts and I feel robotic.” — Erica B.
“No one really likes me I’m unlovable and people are only in my life out of pity and I don’t go out because I feel everyone is looking at me and laughing at me.” — Lesley W.
7. “People are plotting against me.”
“I always think people are plotting against me. And I didn’t realize it ‘til I heard one of my closest friends talking to someone else, ran to my work office in a panic, [and] when asked what was wrong, I told my girlfriend he was surely plotting against me. I do this with even family members… I see them speaking softly and automatically think they’re talking about how bad I am and plotting against me.” — Ashton R.
“I think people are talking about me whenever I go out. Waiting or planning to attack me.” — Aaron Y.
“Always paranoid that people who communicate with me have an ulterior motive for doing so. Like there’s a reason behind it and that they are going to humiliate me in some way or another. It’s hard.” — Amber N.
“Everyone is out to get me and destroy my life. I am forced to be independent because everyone tries to abuse me.” — Terra E.
8. “Everyone will leave me.”
“I’m positive everyone will leave or hurt me, my BPD paranoia makes relationships really difficult sometimes.” — Dannielle W.
“I have a huge, overwhelming fear of abandonment. I fear that every person I meet will leave, and the ones that do perpetuate and further that theory. Other than my partner, I’m terrified to let my walls down to anyone, because usually I’m either replaced, ignored or forgotten about.” — Olive R.
9. “I’m going to die.”
“I can’t have baths due to the fear of being grabbed by a shark. On my really bad days, just turning on a tap can send me into floods of tears. Pardon the pun.” — Emma R.
“I’m terrified of home invasions. I never leave my house and I’m afraid every knock on the door or random noise is someone coming to break into my house.” — Jordan C.
10. “Everyone hates me.”
“I never believe people who say they like/love me. I worry everyone hates me as much as I hate myself.” — Cindi R.
“I have a fear that everyone hates me or is always mad at me.” — April S.
“Everyone hates me and wants to get rid of me because I am a bother.” — Maria L.
11. “They’re always judging me.”
“That everyone is judging me just because I have BPD. I fear rejection so much, that it has caused the majority of my family to hate me. And what little family I have left, don’t want to accept that I have a mental disorder. I constantly fear that I am losing everyone I love because I can’t control my thoughts. Trying to explain to my family that I actually feel, and believe that they hate me. And even after they reassure me that they love me. My mind races with every possible thought that they may be thinking about me now that I accused them.” — Jessica B.
“That I’m being judged constantly and that if I die everyone would be extremely relieved.” — Eleanor B.
This is just a small picture of the paranoid thoughts people in the BPD community can experience as a result of the disorder. And there’s no doubt paranoid thoughts can sometimes feel debilitating. Know that if you’re struggling, there is hope. The following stories may help on days you’re struggling with BPD.