Paranoid? Moi?

Bert replies to “War with what is”:

Didn’t like that last post.


Too long.  Too many quotations.

Yeah.  I tried to shorten it.  Ran out of time.

And I’m afraid you may have pissed people off.

How so?

Are you kidding?  You called them crazy.

I did?

Look at your freakin’ last line.

“Because everyone you know is just as crazy as you.”  Oh.  Well, I didn’t mean that literally.   Figure of speech.   

Really.  Do you tell your clients they’re crazy?  Even when they are?

Not directly, no.

Be diplomatic, moron.  You’re a social worker.

I’ll try to remember.

(Pause).  You don’t think I’m paranoid, do you?

Well, sure. 

You do?

A little.

I’m not paranoid.  I’m careful.

That’s what they all say.

All my controlling is absolutely necessary.

They all say that, too.

How is it not necessary?

Most of what you’re scared of isn’t real. 


Like just now.  You were worrying I pissed people off.


People you don’t even know.   You act like you can read their minds.

I know some of them.

Not the point.  The point is you have no evidence that they’re pissed off, outside your fevered imagination.   You’re projecting all over the place.

It feels real.

Projections do.  Doesn’t mean they are.

Another example.

Friday night, at the wedding.

I was fine at the wedding. 

You didn’t dance.  Cait wanted you to, but you avoided it.

But I don’t dance.  

I know.  Why not?

 I look silly.

The family says you look fine.  They like it when you dance.

I’m still afraid I’ll look silly.

Why is that?

People will judge me.

How do you know?  Has anyone ever said you look silly when you dance?


Has anyone ever watched you dance and laughed at you?


Mocked you?  Threw food?


Then how can you be sure anyone has ever thought that? 

I just know.

No, you don’t.  You can’t, unless you ask them.  You can’t even be sure they would notice you.  But let’s take it a step further.  What if you did ask, and they did say you looked silly.  “Yes, Steve, I watched you dance, and yes, you looked like a jerk.”  What then?

I don’t follow.

Why would it matter?  Ninety percent of the people at that wedding were total strangers.  You’ll never see them again in your whole life.  If  they notice you dancing, and if they think you look silly, who gives a crap? 

(No answer.  His brow is furrowed in pain.  This means he’s thinking.)

So as I see it there are two problems here.  One is, you scare yourself with your own projections, which are pure fantasy.  Remember: “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” 

Again with the quotations.  Who said that?

Anais Nin.

Was she at the wedding?

No.  The other problem is you think you need to control other people in order to feel good about yourself.   Emerson had a good line about that.

I’ll bet he did.

“Why should the way I feel depend on the thoughts in someone else’s head?” 

Good question.  Why should it?

It shouldn’t.  But it does.  Because we’re monkeytrapped.  All of us, control addicts.  It’s just how we’re wired.

Yes, but:  Remember that button people wore back in the sixties?  “Even paranoids have real enemies.”

True enough.  But it’s a problem when you can’t distinguish real enemies from imaginary ones. 



4 responses to “Paranoid? Moi?

  • Charles

    I think, “We see things not as they are, but as we are.” can be taken even more literally in this example. The reason we think others will think something, e.g. we look silly, is because we have thought that about someone in the past. After all, we can’t be scared of something we don’t know exists, and we’re probably not scared of something we don’t think is real. We don’t project just anything onto others, we project ourselves.

    Maybe that’s what you we’re getting at.

    and I wasn’t pissed.

    • fritzfreud

      Yes, that’s what I’m trying to teach Bert here. Projection is what happens when I mistake something in my head for something in yours. So it’s always my self (usually the scared parts) that I project out onto the world. I’m usually convinced that what I project is true, whether it is or isn’t. So it’s more accurate to say, “We can’t be scared of something we don’t BELIEVE exists.” And it can be very reassuring to find out just how often I’m wrong. (I’ll tell Bert you weren’t pissed. He’ll be relieved.)

  • marsha

    “We see things not as they are, but as we are.”
    Good quote.

    My version of crazy; when I really get to know someone I realize they are no less crazy than I am. Now that’s scary!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: