Paranoia or anxiety or rational? Trigger warning?

At what point does a worry become paranoia? What if there are some very good reasons behind having that concern?
I ask this because I often worry that my bf’s best friend may kill me one day. They don’t really talk anymore and I feel like he blames me for taking him away from him since we moved to a new city. He owns numerous weapons including an assault rifle. He also has a severe drinking problem and is not exactly mentally stable. I’ve seen him be violent before but he’s never outright threatened me or anything.
I’ve had this worry for a couple years now. Have even wrote down in one of my notebooks that if I end up dead it’s probably because of him.
I have had other concerns that other people would kill me before but he just seems like he would be the most likely person to do so. Really nervous too for when we move back to the city next year.
Really scared to even put this out there.

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I see paranoia as very much a part of a healthy persons life. If something’s making you paranoid maybe something in that. Just needs to be in a healthy sensible level not irrational response to the problem. Hope that make sense.

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Sounds very difficult. I hope you find a way to put this idea out of your mind. There is a great divide between irrational and killer. You are probably worrying over nothing.

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I don’t know when does anxiety become paranoia it’s a good question.

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Hmm that’s tuff…alcohol and guns don’t mix well…I would just be careful around him…have you expressed this concern with your bf?..I know if my gf said she felt this way about any of my friends I would just choose not to hang out with them anymore…so maybe try that and tell him not to tell his friend about how you feel…

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I have and he somewhat acknowledges my concerns but mostly just brushes them off. That’s the thing though, ever since we moved and even before really he sort of stopped talking to him. We’re moving back in a few months though and I’m sure they’ll reconnect. I feel like my bf isn’t the greatest at recognizing dangerous situations in the first place though.

Paranoia of the mental illness variety involves delusion, coming together to form paranoid delusions in which people have fears that are based on delusional notions, i.e. notions that have no supporting evidence.

For comparison, there are also grandiose delusions in which grandiosity and delusional thinking come together to form grandiose notions that have no supporting evidence.

The underlying issue is the delusional thinking, whether it manifests with a paranoid, grandiose or some other angle to it. It’s not unusual that the two will combine, as well. “I know all the secrets (grandiose), and that’s why the government is trying to kill me (paranoia).”

There is also a difference between fearing that something might happen, and believing that something will definitely happen.

Fearing that something might happen is not a delusion if it’s within the realm of physical possibilities. If you are afraid that someone with a gun might shoot you, that is not a paranoid delusion because they could shoot you. You might also get killed by a jet falling from the sky, because that is also entirely physically possible, so there is also the factor of likelihood to consider. If you live with intense, pervasive fear over a possibility that is highly unlikely, then it’s probably an anxiety problem, which can have its roots in a few different sources.

From what you describe in your post, it sounds like there are factors that make your concerns make sense:

  1. Person might have reason (in their own mind) to be upset with you personally.
  2. Person has access to highly lethal weapons.
  3. Person has mental health problems.
  4. Person is frequently intoxicated.


  1. Person has never tried to kill anyone before.
  2. Vast majority of people with mental health problems are not violent.
  3. Person has never expressed holding a grudge against you.
  4. Person has never threatened you.
  5. Person seems to have moved on with their life, since they are no longer in contact with your boyfriend.
  6. Life has just been moving on, as it naturally does.

So it sounds like you have an anxiety problem, as far as worrying that people will try to kill you, but you haven’t described anything that sounds like a paranoid delusion. But there are a few factors about this person that your mind can latch on to and basically be like, “Well what about this person? This could be the real deal!” and so your anxiety is flaring up especially bad.

SO my 2 cents opinion is to focus on managing your anxiety. Do you see a therapist? Do you have a pdoc who knows about your anxiety? Because as of right now there are no active threats towards you in your life, so if you go through each day with intense fear, it’s going to wear down your mental and physical health without really helping you in any way. Ideally we want our survival mechanisms (fight/flight response) to work for us, to activate (fear/flight or anger/fight) when we are suddenly faced with a threat, in order to enhance our mental and physical capabilities in the face of a threat. So you wouldn’t want to just erase your ability to experience fear, it’s an important part of your survival toolkit. But if your fear response is going off all the time and you’re unable to manage it, again it will just wear you down and actually fatigue you, making you less able to respond to a sudden threat if one actually pops up.


Well Turnylips I think you could write a book.