Where do paranoid thoughts come from?

i feel like i’m taking over the forum and posting a lot so i’m sorry if i’m always writing these long-winded topics! but my boyfriend actually brought up something that i wanted some input on.

he always has negative, paranoid thoughts that he says randomly pop up in his head. things about the people in our town caring about him in some negative way, everyone thinking he is a rapist or an evil being of some sort, people thinking he’s mean to women or wanting to take him away and beat him. he thinks i’m doing unthinkable things i’d NEVER be doing (orgies with my mom and her friends, flirting with old men, having sex parties at work etc)…

and he always says they don’t seem true and he tries to believe me, but he’ll say “why do i have these thoughts if they’re not true? why do i think these things if they’re not even a little bit real?” and i always answer jokingly, “because you’re schizophrenic.” but i have no other explanation of why THESE thoughts are always coming to him.

why the thoughts about me? why the thoughts about the people in our town? why thinking there’s a huge conspiracy happening or dragons coming to earth etc? what makes people think certain things? why are his paranoid thoughts about these things? what makes certain thoughts more prevalent?


My paranoid thoughts come from fear. Some of them used to be hyper exaggerated incidents from childhood. Some of them come just from panic.

When I was young and my voices started amping up, I believed that I was developing hypersensitive hearing (sonic hearing) and that I was hearing what the neighbours were saying all over town. Since the voices are about my thoughts; I was sure people were talking about me, plotting and watching.

But a lot of my paranoia steamed from some family incidents that my brain latched onto and just made bigger and bigger until I was sure it was pure truth.

His fear of loosing you could easily become his perception of you leaving him… hence leaving him for someone else… hence doing outrageous things to get rid of him.

My paranoia amps up with panic attacks, and of course being high will really alter perceptions. I was just thinking of how scrambled my memory is…

My faulty memory, while drunk, while high, while psychotic and in an agitated state. Wow, I’m glad I got stabilized.

1 Like

When they came to me they said alot of horrible things, and to this day they still say horrible things.

They drown us in negativity and paranoia, they leave us alone or try to, try to make monsters out of us you know, etc…

Just put it this way, if very evil screw offs could do things to your head what would they do and why? Then you will understand why.

My past boyfriend was also diagnosed as schizophrenic and thought there were conspiracies going on in our apartment complex and that some people were in a sex trade ring. He would also think people would say that he would have cancer or sometimes he would call me and think i was cheating on him. He was a sweet and caring guy but sadly our relationship ended. I think he wanted to break up because of his insecurites. But I still care deeply about him.

I asked my psychiatrist the same question about six weeks ago when I was experiencing a relapse. All that she said to me was…'it’s the illness". So maybe to tell your bf that his paranoid thoughts originates from his sz is not wrong. How this debilitating illness trick our minds in having paranoid thoughts and delusions and hallucinations I can unfortunately not explain to you.

1 Like

To me, paranoid thoughts (night mares) come from the pressure of too much responsibility.

My theory is that these thoughts are not so different then the negative thoughts that a lot of people have, however we can usually push those thoughts away recognizing that it is our own brain/sub-conscious and make a decision to not act on them. I have read some articles trying to connect some symptoms with a section of the brain that deals with memory. Our memories are build from all experiences including movies etc. The lines between reality and non-reality are not so clear. Based on my life experiences there are times that for a second I will think things like “Is that number on my hubby’s cell that I don’t recognize his old dealer or a girl.” or “Where did that $100 really go?” or “Did he used to get really jealous because he was the one cheating?” These thoughts can happen frequently. I push them aside as I recognize my own lack of self esteem or confidence. I understand that a negative thought does not translate into reality. If I had a paranoid personality disorder and these thoughts were happening all the time then it would be harder to push them away. Also if it was another voice telling me… A voice so close to me… Honestly I can say that I have had and will continue to have some pretty negative thoughts on occasion. I don’t think these thoughts make me a bad person however if another voice was hearing all these thoughts and telling me what a horrible person I was for having them…

I don’t know if I’m even close in thinking about it this way but it makes sense to me.


You are so right @BarbieBF We schizophrenics just take it too far


I think you hit on something here :smile:

My theory is that paranoid thoughts are from the brains primal survival instinct.
Whether you believe in Creation or Evolution, fact is that humans used to live in tribal societies. They were just learning the world and seeking knowledge of it. They had to be on constant lookout for rival tribes that would raid them, and ferocious animals that could harm or kill them. then there was the spirituality and/or superstitions they held that might be filled with many mysterious entities, some of which watched them and could do harm.

A type of healthy paranoia would have been hard wired into their brains, and for good reason.

You have mentioned that it is our own brain and subconscious, and that some symptoms may be connected with the part of the brain dealing with memory. There is a theory, especially in shamanism, but held by others too that we all carry within us genetic or ancestral memories passed down through the ages. J.R.R. Tolkien who wrote the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings believed in these as well, also calling them “racial memories” Carl Jung, the psychologist also believed in a collective unconscious and genetic memory.


I read up on this from a clinical perspective, and there’s 3 neurotransmitters in your brain, dopamine, glutamate and acetycholine.

glutamate imbalance causes the paranoia and can be seen in diseases like alzheimers too

1 Like

I still think a lot of the fodder (or the present day term “memes”) for my paranoid delusions came from books I read, TV shows I watched and movies I saw. I saw the movie Logan’s Run as an 8 year old kid and it really freaked me out at the time (I think it was the first time in my life that I had the experience of what paranoia was like).

The media capitalizes on shocking people… the more deviant and disturbing it is the more people will lap it up. Think of popular books: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, 1984, etc… Movies like Terminator, Silence of the Lambs, Halloween… None of this stuff portrays average human living.

Hollywood and publishers make profits off paranoia.

In small doses this stuff is fun, but when you are young you are a sponge and take everything in. The trouble is it comes back to bite you in the butt later.

Garbage in. garbage out and I know I had a lot of garbage info fed to me as a kid. Schizophrenia is partly genetic… but it doesn’t help also having an environment that is sensationalistic and glamorizes danger.

If the brain is just a computer, we’ve all had some lousy inputs.

They say sz occurs in 1% of the population worldwide, but what is the content of people’s delusions and hallucinations in poor countries that don’t have mass media? Delusions and hallucinations seem to be pretty tuned to their culture.

I too think paranoia had benefits in the past but is now somewhat vestigial.

I’d say what we “ingest” mentally also contributes. Some of the storylines in books and movies are also trying to tell us something - what things COULD be like, or in some cases how things actually are.
Look at the movie “Enemy of the State” made in 1998, 3 years before 9/11 and all the additional surveillance that has gone on since then, what is now public knowledge.

I’ve always thought more than 1% would get an SZ diagnoses if they went for evaluations, and if they told everything at those evaluations. Truth is a lot of people never even go to a doctor, especially those who would be considered functioning SZ. Just look at the number of people like new age channelers and alien abductees. they claim to hear voices and see things others don’t see, and some have delusions about being the spokesperson for whatever spirit or alien they are in contact with. At most they are called eccentric.
Then, you have people who do go to doctors but never tell the doctor about the delusions and hallucinations, so they end up with another diagnoses…maybe general anxiety, PTSD, personality disorder, but not SZ.
considering that there are large numbers of people undiagnosed, the percentage has to be higher.


Yes… I think people can have delusions— or just call them beliefs— that don’t seem to jibe with our understanding of “reality” but they can get away with having them if those beliefs don’t cause them any harm or actually help them function in some way… I am still getting trying to get used to the idea that there are “good delusions.”

There are positive grandiosities. I know, because I had one, and was told by people I’d never do it. Wanted to own land, and a house, and on top of that OWN it with no mortgage. I was told by many people no way, i was dreaming, wishful thinking. It would be nice but aint gonna happen, you’re gonna slave for the man and pay rent in crappy apartments till you die.
yes, some people were that rude. they all basically said it was a grandiose delusion.

I was 39 years old with 2 cents in my pocket and homeless in a tent with just a backpack full of clothes. That was in 2000. In 2005 I bought this land with cash and started building the house. used my hyperness in the summer to work overtime and save money for 5 years…
Wasn’t an unattainable goal, but I certainly remember people thinking it couldn’t be done.

1 Like

I believe that these paranoid and intrusive thoughts come from demons.

thanks for all the insight, theories and experiences. i feel they are fears he has based on things he doesn’t want to happen and the type of subject matter he reads about online (illuminati, rappers, aliens, astrology pointing towards changes in the world, blood moons, power of meditation etc.)

but he says the thought will pop up in his head and sound more like a fact. like all of a sudden, he’ll hear “she hates you” or something. and he feels if it’s not real at all, it’s strange to even have the idea told to him. but i guess it’s just a fear he has that makes its way into his mind as a statement.

i wish he would just stop smoking weed. he’d stopped for a while and we were really happy. now he is back to breaking promises and being overly paranoid about nothing. i’m sure we’ll have a terrible next few days with him saying we’re not meant to be and that i’m a jerk etc. because i’m mad at him right now for lying to me.

Ah ha! That could contribute to paranoid thinking - the weed. It doesn’t do it to everyone, and when i first started it didn’t either. But as time went on I found myself getting paranoid almost every time I smoked. I eventually gave it up on my own, years ago.
I had thought people were watching me from cars that went by, that people were out to get me, got paranoid that I would get sick and die, felt trapped in my own head.
The way you say you were really happy together when he had stopped might be that the weed is making him paranoid.

1 Like

I did notice that I felt better when I got completely rid of the T.V. No T.V. in our house. My sis can download stuff on her computer in her room. But for me, I’m better without it. No sick movies, no screaming commercials, no blood. My mind likes having no T.V.


I got rid of the tv in my life too, I feel better. I watch the news and then turn it off, go outside, walk, or play with my dog ButterNut. TV seems to upset me or bore me, i stopped watching it.

1 Like