Persecution complexes are all about me, me, me


I encounter persecution complexes all the time. There is no shortage of people who feel that they are the focus of remote wrath on the part of an individual, group or organization. This is essentially what a persecution complex is. There is an element of paranoia in persecution complexes. Persecution complexes invariably are defined by the suspicion that you solely are in the cross-hairs.


There is confusion about what a persecution complex is. It’s easy to throw out description and some use it to mold just about anyone under its accusatory umbrella. However, I feel it is very important to spell out precisely what a persecution complex is.


A persecution complex, firstly, entails that you believe you, you, specifically, are the singular target of a concerted focus of harassment or attack. If you have a persecution complex, you believe that you alone are the victim. A black person who alleges that Whitey is out to make life miserable for all blacks, including himself by extension, is not guilty of a persecution complex as much as he simply believes there is an overall culture of racism. Suspicion of racism is not in and of itself a persecution complex. Now let’s say the black man tells you that his boss is specifically sabotaging his work environment and job reputation with definable actions aimed directly at him, whether unfounded or not, then we can say that this man has a persecution complex because the aggression and incivility is all about him and not his skin color or weight or style of dress. Sure, these secondary traits may act as catalysts for his boss’ behavior and general dislike of him, but the point is that he is claiming that the boss is seeking to make his life miserable, not that of his brothers or family or co-workers.


That ethereal sense of antagonism that we suspect is directed against us by ambiguous groups of people, the type which transcends individual attacks, is better defined as a displaced racism or sexism or any other institutional grudge -ism you choose.


I am a man of many complexes, but the “persecution” one isn’t it, though some may argue otherwise. I don’t feel persecuted because the antagonism I draw is rooted in disinterest or in massive social displacements of which I am an unfortunate bystander. Note, I said “I am an unfortunate bystander” not “I am the unfortunate bystander…” This is the important distinction between persecution and simply recognizing that one belongs to a segment of the population that suffers at the hands of another group for any multitude of immutable characteristics.


Many conspiracy theorists may fall into the “persecution complex” camp but I generally believe conspiracy theorists are correct to feel paranoid, but for different reasons than they might claim. One day I’ll write about conspiracy theories and why I don’t believe they are unfounded, but also why I believe they are not nearly as sinister as some would believe. Many of the beefs I write about may appear to some as persecution complexes, but they don’t exactly fit the criteria. For instance, when I wrote about the blonde chick on the elevator who I’m convinced doesn’t like me, I was hardly asserting that she is out to get me. This is what would make it a persecution complex. However, I am merely saying she doesn’t like me. It’s a statement of fact. I am capitulating that I’m most likely barely a blip on her radar and her disinterest in all things me is the overriding motivation for her dismissive attitude. I never sat here and wrote that she was trying to muck up my life or my work reputation. That would have been extremely vain of me. This is why that is not the sign of a persecution complex. I owe up to the fact that I meant, and mean, nothing to her. There is no persecution to see here, move on now.


Persecution complexes involve vanity and self-absorption. You alone are the reason another person devotes so much time and energy to destroy you. Self-anointed victims of persecution complexes are unable to process the possibility that perhaps disinterest instigated the discouraging behavior that feeds many persecution complexes. What greater vanity resides in man’s heart than the unquestioned expectation that he was molded from the hands of a higher being? That strikes me as very vain. The fact we are “made” in another’s image seems to me an excruciating vain thought pattern and this is why religious people are very much wrapped up in the “persecution complex.” Because their vanity is intertwined in their expectations that everything in this world is about them, and they don’t trouble themselves with the possibility, for one moment, that the possibility of “disinterest” is a motivating factor for anybody, least of all, god. It is against this backdrop that many religious people feel persecuted, rightly or wrongly, for their beliefs. When your life is holy and beyond reproach, it only makes sense that those who question such a thing are surely out to get you. If people question your devotion, you are being persecuted. The ultimate vanity!


For religious people, disinterest is akin to atheism. It is a void that has nothing to do with anything. A persecution complex is only as powerful as our mission to make everything accountable to our contrived notions. This is why I am the last person anyone should suspect of having a persecution complex. I believe absolutely nothing is about me. I don’t matter. There is no god to lend me objective worth befitting another’s persecution. I rail about disinterested and annoying behavior, but nowhere do I insist that people are out to get me. I’m merely the constant bystander who is mired in the muck of impersonal humanity.


  • Jennifer

    People are too judgemental to others who want to do good for his / her own reasoning. Very sick and I think these people young, middle aged or old need to shut the hell up and stop running the mouth!

  • Political Correctness IS the ULTIMATE Persecution Complex!
    I mean think of it this way.
    PC goes either way and makes sense no matter the meaning.

    • Amy


  • jynxi

    You are being persecuted. You are being persecuted for the crime of having more than two brain cells. You are aware that it is a crime , are you not? Don’t be a sucker. The dumbies are always plotting your demise. The idiot in charge who falls up-hill in to the seat of power knows in his little-yellow-heart that he doesn’t deserve his ill-gotten throne. The guilt-ridden sleepless nights pound away mercilessly on whats left of his inflated ego. The Pain! The Pain! Something to stop the Pain! Enter, you. Mr. Different. Mr. Smarty-Pants. Mr. No-Shits-N-Giggles. Mr. Unfortunate-Bystander. Mr. Pain-Reliever. And so the slimy scheme is hatched. You can see it in the down-cast eyes. You can hear it the nervous laughter. You can smell it in the huddled corners. Don’t be the martyr. Walk stealthily.

    • David

      I love that. Would it all fit on my gravestone??

  • Now I know what to label my MOM! Dear lord, does that woman think everyone is out to get *her*… it can be rather annoying, though I love her. Aannyway…

    I’m gonna stay out of whether or not *you* have that complex (aren’t I a smart one? or maybe just chicken…) and just say that this post was very enlightening. Very. I had thought about this for quite a while and had never associated vanity with it. Self absorption and vanity *do* go hand-in-hand. If you’re self absorbed, you’re vain. If you’re vain, you’re self-absorbed.

    People with this persecution complex simply need to take themselves less seriously and can’t seem to do so. Hence, why it’s a ‘complex’

    While many times it’s annoying, it’s most certainly amusing (at their expense).

    • David

      Like they say, even paranoid people have some enemies. I suspect paranoid people, by their behavior, create haters. It’s a vicious circle.

  • OK, I’ll tell you that you have no idea about Blondie. It is just your FEELING. Your FEELING while an indicator is not always an indicator of like or dislike or sheer neutrality.
    The fact that you spent time writing about means that it BOTHERS you at a level. If it does not, then no post. You’re (Did I write that correctly?! LOL!) looking for validation.
    This blog is about YOU. It is not about anything else. And that is fine. It does make for interesting reading. But yeah, neither of us are headshrinkers. So reading many of these posts, I strongly disagree. You DO have a persecution complex. The whole Unmarried Man schtick is just oozing with your disdain about women. You automatically think that people do not like you, yet have no clue. Again, IF YOU DID NOT CARE if you do or do not have the PC, this post probably would not have been written. Relax, have a drink or two and come up with more amusing material ;-)!

    • Amy

      Social Anxiety Disorder is not the same thing as a Persecution Complex. Worrying about people’s disapproval is not thinking they are out to get you. See also: Avoidant Personality Disorder.

      I’m definitely not a headshrinker and don’t have much respect for the profession in general, especially the way they try to throw meds at everything based on a lot of guesswork.

      But here goes nonetheless: David is projecting his judgmental, perfectionist attitudes on everyone around him. He assumes everyone around him is judging him in much the same way he judges them.

      Most of us aren’t wound that tightly. Most of the time, people aren’t paying much attention to you at all.

      Mark, I’m tempted to agree with you re: his attitudes toward women, but as David has demonstrated disdain for massive swathes of humanity, I’m inclined to think he’s not a misogynist.

      • David

        Last week, I made a very un-PC, crude joke about Blacks to a friend. She was sorta taken aback, said something like, “David, that’s soo bad!” and I said “Whatever. I don’t like anybody, not even my own people.”

        • Amy

          Here in The Happy Valley, one must be cautious about making non-P.C. jokes. Happily, the spouse and I can get them out of our systems with each other, because we are “soo bad” that way. Here is an oldie but a goodie:

          Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Ted Kennedy are on a sinking ship. People are heading for the lifeboats. Carter says “Women and children first!” Nixon says “Fuck the women and children!” Kennedy says “Er ahh…do we have time?”

          • Gay State Girl

            How is that un PC? I thought that only etnic/racial/sge/religious affliation fit that criteria.

          • Amy

            Maybe it just seems that way in Massachusetts, where the Kennedys are treated like royalty, however much they act like pigs.

          • Gay State Girl

            I don’t like jokes that moralize Carter though. Everyone should be fair game for ridicule.

            The people of Massachusetts deserve to be subjects because willingly go along with the Kennedy worship.

          • Amy

            That’s my objection to that joke as well. I thought of replacing Carter but decided to go with the classic version anyway.

          • Gay State Girl

            Any good Carter jokes?

          • Gay State Girl

            I do imagine I’ll be telling the next generation old Clinton/Lewinsky jokes in their original form.

          • Amy

            I can’t remember any Carter jokes. Betcha the spouse knows some (he’s old enough to remember the Carter Administration better than I do); I’ll ask him in the morning.

            “Lewinsky” is still recognized as a slang verb for knob gobbling, which is pretty damned funny.

          • Gay State Girl

            Poor old bitch.

          • Gay State Girl

            I heard an old LKL interview with Monica and it was unendurable. Poor old bitch, you can’t talk like a valley girl when you’re forty.

          • David

            Why not? I find pitiful very endearing.

          • Amy

            We can’t remember any old Jimmy Carter jokes on this end. I’m sure there must have been some about the “killer rabbit” incident.

            I looked for old Carter jokes on Google but all I found were jokes about Billy Carter, like this nasty one: “What does Ted Kennedy have two of that Jimmy Carter wishes he had one of? Dead brothers.”

            And this: “Jimmy Carter needs Billy like Van Gogh needed stereo.”

          • David

            Billy Carter, sigh.

            Billy Beer!

            It wasn’t a complete loss.

          • Amy

            Pitiful can be very endearing–I’ve known this goofy song by heart since the first time I saw this movie:


          • It is an oldie but I really like that one. I just wonder which state will complete the political correctness derby first. California or Massachusetts.
            I think you have quite a few years ahead of us so I am going to go with your state winning the PoliC Derby.

          • Amy

            What do you consider the “finish line” in the PC derby?

            I’ve only been to California three times, but the first two times I was just a kid–the last time I visited I was in my twenties. I have to say, even for someone who had lived in Western MA, my last impression of California was way, way weirder and more “out there” than any part of Massachusetts. Though to be fair, on that last trip I mainly spent time in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Humboldt County, so I really focused on the hippie-heavy areas on that trip.

          • David

            The finish line isn’t a state, it’s a city. Berkeley, San Francisco and Humboldt County???? LOL you went for the trifecta, didn’t you?

          • Gay State Girl

            I say Portland/Olympia.

          • David

            I think of Courtney Love.

          • Amy

            Yeah. In case I never copped to it before, in college I essentially minored in “Deadhead.” I never skipped class to do it, but I spent many a week in summer or on spring break following the Dead and/or Phish (they were still a local band when I started college, but weren’t any more by the 90s). Part of the reason for that trip to CA was to see Phish play with Santana on some tour. I also had friends in all of those hippie places. Curiously, even then, in my group of friends I had a reputation as being “the religious one,” even though I only yet leaned that way at the time.

            And yes, the various hallucinogens, I tried most of them back in the day. Can’t say for sure how much damage was done. Can’t hardly miss the brain cells you’ve forgotten were there in the first place!

          • Despite what David says, we in So Cal are the civilized part of the state.
            Next time come down here to So Cal!

          • David

            I’ve revised the punch line:

            Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Ted Kennedy are on a sinking ship. People are heading for the lifeboats. Carter says “Gee, I feel like I’m President again!”

          • HE IS! Except for the skin-tone change, pretty much the same, failed policies. And he’s gonna go down another time in November ;-)!

          • Amy

            Hee hee hee, that’s funny.

        • You have friends?! LOL!

    • David

      I’m convinced some people do not like me but sometimes I look at it as a challenge. It’s difficult to find the suitable time and place to show you don’t like someone in return, especially in the work place. If you create the situation, you can get in trouble with HR :)

      • Who cares one way or the other?! If someone doesn’t like you, move on. It is a waste of time trying to figure out why. Are you going to like to hear why that person doesn’t like you? Are you going to take what that person says to heart and change? See, it is too much especially if, as you say, you really do not care. News flash. People do not like each other. There are people that I do not care for and pretty much steer clear of. And I am certain vice-versa. To me life is way too short to deal with that.

        • Amy

          Do most people dislike each other? Maybe I’m projecting here as well. I tend to assume people are as indifferent to me as I am to them. Most people aren’t terribly interesting.

          • I don’t know about MOST people. I am just saying that there are people that do not like each other. I don’t let a lot get into the way of a friendship if I even remotely like that person. There are people that I try to avoid because they are way too much drama for me. I like to be low-maintanence as possible.

          • David

            You made a very blanket statement, though. “People do not like each other.” Yikes. I think most people are neutral. I think most people are willing to let others define themselves.

          • WOW! Here you are more positive than I am.
            I guess because of my blog and my politics, etc, I see that there is some pretty visceral hate out there.
            Not on my part.
            I told you about the crazy guy that forced me into comment moderation, right?
            I did not know that person, yet all he or she could do is hate. Even on a rare moment of agreement. His or her comments were dripping with dislike.
            But I do not disagree people are neutral until they are sort of pushed.
            And then, regretably, the hatred runneth over.