Friday, March 22, 2013

Treatment Success For The Paranoid Personality Disorder

Understanding the mind, heart, and spirit of the Paranoid Arguer personality disorder lies at the center of treatment success for the Christian counselor.

Paul had this to say about the Paranoid Arguer pattern:
“When you follow your own wrong inclinations your lives will produce these evil results...hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong” (Gal 5:19-20 TLB).

To the Paranoid Arguer, God is only wrathful, quick to anger, and slow to forgive. In what is surely a self-statement, the Arguer hears God saying, “I mete out punishment to those with whom I disagree. I make a point of disparaging alternative views. I issue ultimatums to those not in my will. After all, ‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord.” 

Paranoid Arguer

But the apostle John replies: “Whoever says, ‘I am in the light,’ while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness” (1 Jn 2:9).

Arguers’ independence isolates them from social feedback, so they hear only the marbles rolling around in their own heads. Nothing else is relevant; nothing else matters. Over time their thoughts can take the form of delusions in which they are captains of fate struggling against formidable forces, a theme strengthened by selectively interpreting most stimuli to fit this internal scenario.

Their highest ongoing priority is to maintain freedom in a world of their own making—a mentality that shares much in common with schizoid, schizotypal, and schizophrenic ideation. On the other hand, they share with the histrionic pattern ideas of reference whereby they interpret insignificant or innocuous events in ways that suit their dictates and confirm their suspicions.

WHY?
Compass Therapy suggests this explanation for paranoid Arguers’ stubbornness and vainglorious pride: they have desensitized themselves to the Love compass point as a defense against caring, and to the Weakness compass point, where hurt, shame, and self-doubt are barred from consciousness.
The decommissioning of Love and Weakness reduces their interpersonal connection with humanity to a defensive vigilance against perceived threats. The short-term gain is a remarkable lack of intrapsychic conflict achieved through an aggressive reflex-arc that utilizes the mid and lower brain stem—what I call the “reptile brain”—to create a psychology of hate, suspicion, and retribution. The neocortical functions are recruited to verify these assumptions by sifting for evidence to build a case that other people have ulterior motives.


In every vocation paranoid Arguers vent their malevolence on those under their control. They train underlings to walk on eggshells to reinforce their power over others, criticizing them over nothing as a form of stimulation. And, of course, there is not the slightest remorse for dressing someone down because “if he (or she) had done the right thing, I wouldn’t have had to blow my stack.”

Paranoid Personality Disorder

HEALING TREATMENT
Understanding the above features helps the Christian counselor selectively empathize with the pain the counselee has known in life, while at the same time feeding back a certain amount of truth serum about the toxic effects of the paranoid Arguer pattern. While taking care to speak in a diplomatic and non-inflammatory way, you nevertheless remain firm about how pattern recognition can serve the counselee’s self-interest better than the paranoid pattern itself.

You identify with their pride, yet suggest that a realistic integration of both strengths and weaknesses will increase their capability to understand motivation. You temporarily align with their grudges against others, while suggesting that this narrowed perceptual field creates a vulnerability all its own. You compliment their no-nonsense realism, while delicately pointing out that the reason they are in marital therapy (or some other difficulty) is related to a general lack of empathy and caring.

Over time you construct the mental possibility that the world might be a friendlier place than they assume, and that other people could find them interesting and attractive if they’d quit baring their fangs. Many paranoids are genuinely surprised to learn that there are people in the world who want to like and love them, but have never been given the chance.

As a Christian counselor, suggest to a Christian counselee that they consider learning to:
  1. Talk with you about painful times during childhood or current situations that are aggravating.
  2. Speak from the heart.
  3. Confess their sins.
  4. Pray for a deeper trust in God’s love.
  5. Immediately distrust their knee-jerk angry reactions and practice replacing these with the deliberate cultivation of patience.
  6. Offer quick apologies after any lapses into the old inflammatory behavior, seeking to make peace, not war.
  7. Experience the grace of forgiving and being forgiven.
  8. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
  9. Discover the pleasure of becoming a more caring person.
  10. Pray to “put away…all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Eph 4:31-32).
Forgiving others as Christ has forgiven you

For more, read: 

COMPASS THERAPY: Christian Psychology In Action

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