By Ozodi Thomas Osuji – In over two decades working as a mental health professional, I have not seen a healed paranoid person (and so is the case with other mental health professionals). The disorder is extremely difficult to heal. It is very difficult to heal because it was caused by a host of factors, including biological, social and existential. A whole lot of things make human beings feel small and they react by desiring feeling big. They want to feel like Mr. Big Stuff in a world that makes them feel like Mr. Small Stuff.
Because the disorder is very difficult to heal and there is no medicine that heals it what many professionals do is just understand paranoids and leave it at that. They appreciate their dances for importance and do not sweat it. The more mature psychotherapists go further and simply love and respect the spirit in paranoid folks without bothering about their ego dances. That is it to say that they overlook their egos struggles to seem important and simply love them.
Love the spirit in people and overlook their ego behaviours, for ego behaviours even in normal persons are not always pretty.
However, there is a problem with this approach to paranoia. Paranoid persons feel demeaned by what normal folks do not feel demeaned from. From feeling demeaned they do feel angry. Sometimes they attack and hurt those they feel demeaned and insulted them. They sometimes kill those they believe degraded them or their group. In effect, they are dangerous to people since they invariably misinterpreted folks motivations and see attack where attack is not intended.
For example, many Igbo paranoid persons feel that I desecrated their group and them individually and attack me verbally and if they could see me in person probably would physically attack me (to remove the source of their perceived social degradation). Some have made threats to my life. These people could be dangerous for they are invested in being seen as important persons and whoever makes them seem unimportant is their mortal enemy. (As a mystic I do not value my body and do not protect it so if it is destroyed I do not care; however, as a realist, not sentimentalist I have objective view of people as animals hence quite capable of defending myself by killing any animal who tries to stop me from speaking the truth as I see it.)
There is some validity in paranoids’ behaviours. Their struggle to seem important is really existential. They feel small and want to seem big. Though they are not big we must all still love and respect them. They are asking us all to love and respect them as human beings (our society respects high achievers hence low achievers feel not respected and put on shows to make them seem important hence accepted). Therefore overlook their dramas of importance (it would be a day when you see humble Igbo) and love and respect the spirit of God in them.
We are all the same and equal so love paranoids despite their obnoxiousness. Love their spirit and overlook their childish ego dances. They ask us, me and you, to love them and I love them despite writing about their problematic behaviours.
I am motivated to help them heal their inflexible and rigid drive to seem important, a drive that makes them anxious and stressed; I want to help them to relax and smell the roses.
Life does not have to be such a grim struggle to seem important. One is important as one is and does not need to put on an act of importance to be important.
In the end paranoid persons are calling on us to love and accept them, they sense that their inferiority makes them not acceptable to us hence put on airs to seem important in our eyes so that we would accept them. Now accept them before they even put on their neurotic dances of importance for you. Love all human beings in an unconditionally positive manner; love is what heals human psychopathologies, paranoia included.
Love the deluded paranoid person and you make him feel important and joined to you. Love is what heals paranoia. Love the paranoid person and you heal him; don’t just talk about his drama love him.