The Insular Paranoid

The insular paranoid combines aspects of the paranoid and avoidant personalitiesOpens in new window. Such individuals are often moody, apprehensive, and hypersensitive to criticism, especially where their worth and achievements are concerned.

Extremely vulnerable, many insular paranoids seek solace in self-focused ways.

For example, they may engage in abstruse intellectual activities to enhance their self-esteem or indulge in drugs and alcohol to calm their fears.

Especially fearful of shame and humiliation, insular paranoids seek to defend themselves against both real and imagined dangers.

More than most, they seek to protect themselves from a world both threatening and destructive. As such, they may isolate themselves for long periods of time, a means of keeping the inevitable judgments of others out of their lives.

Insular paranoids also have an unusually strong fear of being controlled. They not only seek to prevent external influence but also desire to rely solely on their own conclusions and beliefs.

Unwilling to check their thoughts against consensual reality, they grow more and more out of touch with the surrounding world, eventually losing the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Fears of shame and humiliation, an important component of both the paranoid and avoidant patterns, easily inflate to full-blown conspiracies. Eventually, their thoughts may become so painful and terrifying that they begin intentionally to interrupt the continuity and focus of their perceptions, distracting themselves from their own thoughts. By deserting themselves, their inner world becomes a chaotic mélange of distorted, incidental, and unconnected notions, the threshold of a decompensated paranoid state.

    The research data for this work have been adapted from:
  1. Understanding Paranoia: A Guide for Professionals, Families, and Sufferers By Martin Kantor
  2. Personality Disorders: Toward the DSM-V By William O'Donohue, Katherine A. Fowler, Scott O. Lilienfeld.
  3. The Fundamentals of Psychological Medicine By R.R. Tilleard-Cole, J. Marks
  4. Personality Disorders in Modern Life By Theodore Millon, Carrie M. Millon, Sarah E. Meagher, Seth D. Grossman, Rowena Ramnath