1. Do widely varied people all tell you the same things about yourself (or a situation), yet you’re certain they’re all crazy? For example, if eighteen different people over the course of three years all tell you that you have body odor, but you don’t smell it yourself, do you choose to believe that all eight of those people can’t smell properly? If so, you MIGHT be delusional.
2. Do you twist the facts of a situation on a regular basis to make it seem like you’re more in the right and others are more in the wrong? For example, if someone told you that they thought brown shoes might look better with your outfit than pink shoes, do you instead twist it just a smidge so that when you retell the story (to yourself or others), you have the other person saying that you can’t dress yourself? If so, you might be delusional.
3. Do you state things that are in direct contrast to the obvious facts, but yet you find that you’re baffled when people don’t understand what you’re saying? (For example, have you ever said that it’s not raining when it is raining, and then when people disagree with you, you just can’t even fathom why they would do so?) If so… you just might be delusional.
4. Do you gather people around you who are essentially “yes-men,” agreeing with you and supporting your delusions? (And these people are able to do so because they only hear one version – your delusional version – which makes perfect sense as long as nobody looks too deeply.) Yeah, maybe you’re delusional.
The sad part of being delusional is that, oftentimes, the delusional person doesn’t see it. (um, duh.)
My mom, for example, was extremely delusional, and even though this post is kind of making light of being delusional, it really wasn’t funny at all. But what was even less funny was the realization I eventually came to – she wasn’t lying about stuff. She was telling the truth. She had lied to herself so much and so thoroughly (and was so willing to believe these lies) that she no longer knew what the actual truth was. Oh, sure, deep inside, she knew. But the loud part of her conscious mind just beat that part into submission. She and the truth had parted ways so long ago that I truly believe it was difficult, even painful, for her to remember what the truth was.
I’ve met several people who show somewhat lesser degrees of being delusional, as well. The common thread is the need to lie to oneself about a situation. Being unable to cope with the reality of the truth, the person makes just enough of a shift to turn the situation into one that is easier to cope with.
It’s very sad – very sad.
But it’s also extraordinarily frustrating to deal with.
I know we all have a bit of delusion in us. We choose to see a situation differently than its objective truth. And just like most things, in moderation, a little delusion doesn’t hurt anything (usually). But when it gets large-scale enough to warrant a series on TLC… then it’s a problem.