Home » Blogs » Therapy Unplugged » Are you delusional? Paranoid? Masochistic? Hey, I resemble those comments.

Are you delusional? Paranoid? Masochistic? Hey, I resemble those comments.

A fabulous book to read is Nancy McWilliams’ Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process (a bit of light-reading for insomniacs). She describes various personality structures and one of them is a paranoid-masochist. Someone who thinks everyone is out to get him/her and then does their damnedest to make sure that is exactly what happens; the person who buys a gun for protection, but ends up shooting themselves in the foot.

She embarrassingly, but very charmingly, recalls being in the grips of a rescue fantasy towards a young paranoid-masochistic client who needed transport to get to therapy and she was so eager to be seen as the good mother towards him, she lent him her car and quite predictably he ended up driving it into a tree. My therapist recently drew my attention to this example.

I too can sometimes be completely unaware that I am setting myself up to be the fall-guy in my life. Take blogging, for instance.  I write about highly intimate details of my relationship with my therapist and then get surprised and hurt when I receive some criticism. Most of the comments I get are resonant ones, but occasionally one takes me by surprise, but instead of self-destructing and wanting to annihilate the person who commented, I try to see what I can learn from them.

That’s not always an easy task, sometimes I can get a bit paranoid and think the world is out to get me, but hey, then reality kicks in and I realise that people post, people comment and then get on with their real lives. Just because I am thinking of them doesn’t mean that they are thinking of me. I’m just not that important.

I can cringe about something I said to someone thirty-five years ago and feel my face flush until I remember that they died ten years ago. That’s when I smile to myself and think, hey, in a hundred years, none of this will matter?

So maybe I’m not as delusionally paranoid-masochistic as I think I am; only just make sure that you never, ever lend me your car.

Are you delusional? Paranoid? Masochistic? Hey, I resemble those comments.

Sonia Neale

Sonia Neale was recently awarded the Inaugural Barbara Hocking SANE Australia Fellowship to study and research Borderline Personality Disorder overseas in the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland. Her previous Psych Central blog was called Therapy Unplugged. She is the author of two books, The Bad Mother’s Revenge and Death by Teenager, both published by ABC Books/Harper Collins. She lives in Western Australia, is married with three adult children, has studied psychoanalytic psychotherapy, has a Certificate IV in Mental Health and is studying for a Psychology/Counselling degree. She currently works as a peer support worker in the mental health field. Please email her on davson at

2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Neale, S. (2010). Are you delusional? Paranoid? Masochistic? Hey, I resemble those comments.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Mar 2010
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.