Janine came in to see me after a breakup with a man she described as a narcissist. She said that after 10 months she finally realised that she had been manipulated by her former partner, Graham. She described his actions as that of paranoia as well as manipulation and control. It was a messy picture.

After many breakups during this relationship, the final straw came when Graham, once again, accused Janine of fancying younger men, based on a film she told him that she enjoyed. The film starred a middle-aged Mads Mikkelsen, who, unbeknown to Janine, was a former gymnast and known heart throb, in his younger days.

Graham scoured the interned to find images of young Mads with his shirt off, which was not relevant at all to the film that had caught Janine’s eye.

The film that caught Janine’s eye, Riders of Justice, was starring Mads in his 50s, overweight and rough in appearance, with a greying, Ned Kelly style beard. In addition, Mads was in fact older than Janine, which escaped Graham’s watchful eye. He then accused her of becoming interested in Mads from his earlier career, as a sex symbol, even though she told him that she had not remembered him in any previous films that she had seen.

How Paranoia and Low Self-Worth Can Look

The problem was Graham’s paranoia and low self-worth which sparked his illogical argument, insisting that she reveal these previous films which had apparently, according to him, incited her interest. He became obsessed with the idea that Janine had formed an interest in Mads as a young, fit man. He simply closed his ears to anything that she said to the contrary.

This was not the first time that Graham had accused Janine of liking young men, on screen and in real life, even though Mads was actually older than she was; and even though she did not find him attractive in the film she recommended and actually remembered.

The images Graham sourced of Mads only added heat to his already escalating paranoia. Up until now, Janine thought that she could help Graham with his paranoia and low self-worth, but now she began to realise that this was only part of the picture.

The paranoia was ever present, but the need to blame and vilify Janine was a dark and persistent trait that made itself known, yet again. It was a need to control Janine, to put her down and to punish her for his own lack of self-worth. This was emotionally irresponsible, and he knew it. Regardless, it did not stop him from relentlessly hounding Janine with the intention of causing emotional harm. In effect, this was abuse.

Graham’s Likely Subconscious Motivation

While Graham’s paranoia and low self-worth was genuine, his manipulative tendencies were inexcusable. He took no responsibility and he felt better, seeing Janine upset. At this point, she realised that the carousel of pain would never end, because Graham enjoyed it too much. He enjoyed the power trip and the blame and the accusations. It made him feel superior, which fed his self-worth. And this was the crux of the problem.

So while the scenario of Graham’s personal pain from low self-worth needed TLC, his way of ‘fixing’ the problem was to hurt others. The reason why he apparently did not experience this pattern in previous relationships comes down to his previous choice in partners. Following a particularly damaging relationship where Graham’s past partner did in fact cheat in him with a younger man, Graham had chosen women who were either unavailable or who he considered flawed in some way. This made him feel naturally superior, and he did not need to put them down. On the contrary, Janine did not carry any baggage.

The whole situation escalated with Janine after she tried to organise couple’s counselling. While Graham professed how much he loved her, how he would do anything to get over this, and how badly he had suffered at her supposed interest in younger men, he was reluctant to agree to couple’s counselling. When Janine brought his attention to this, he then agreed to attend. Within the same conversation however, he became more offensive, more accusatory and more disrespectful in order to ensure that the counselling would not go ahead.

Graham did not want any witnessed to his abuse. He did not want to change the pattern and on an unconscious level, he did not want to have a happy relationship. On an unconscious level, he was happy enough with the way that he operated and the opportunity to abuse his partner and feel superior. This fed his self-worth. His unconscious mind was actually getting what it needed, this way. At the same time, on a conscious level, his paranoia and his anxiety escalated dramatically. He suffered insomnia, pains in the arms, and other signs of a highly anxious disposition.

Unfortunately Graham was not prepared to look at or to treat the real issues perpetuating his paranoia and low self-worth. Because of this, there is little that anyone could do to help him. Janine could stick around and keep trying to form a loving relationship, but she knew by now that would only end in her illness, as Graham had already made her ill with stress as she struggled to be understood and accepted.

If a person does not want to heal, they won’t.

If you have been affected by a negative relationship, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.