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How do you tell someone they're delusional?

Discussion in 'mental health' started by Ronette, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    I have a friend, who has had mental issues on and off for years. She suffered a lot of trauma as a teenager and I think it fucked up her mind.

    A couple of months ago she told me a story about a party we attended and claimed that all our friends had drugged her, I saw her drinking a lot that night and she vomited outside. She was drunk. She claims she felt out of her mind (she'd just started taking new meds) and that she was drugged. I kind of just brushed off the comment and ignored it. Didn't bring it up.

    Now she claims that this girl who is so lovely it is unbearable, has been coming to her house and has slashed her tyres three times, tried to steal from her, is jealous of her etc etc. These are claims that I simply cannot believe at all, just like the drugging scenario at the party.

    She also claims a whole range of other physical attacks that noone has seen or witnessed and she shows no signs of, from this random bunch of people. That her ex bf (whom work with out of coincidence) tried to steal her birth certificate to stop her going to the USA... and other paranoid shit. I spoke to him at work and asked if she'd shown signs of delusional or paranoid thoughts before and he just kinda put his head in his hands and said that once he realised she was schitzophrenic he stopped hating her for everything she'd done to him. He said he'd tried to help her but couldn't.

    Anyway she's been sending me abusive emails/texts/calls for a couple of days now because I went to a concert and gave a lift to one of my friends, whom she believes drugged her. She's declared that if I don't stop being friends with him I am disrespecting her.

    How do you tell someone delusional that they are just that? She is not rational right now. I could try telling her Mum but I am not sure how much her family knows about her problems. Her boyfriend is out of the country at the moment. I don't want to just ditch her because of this, we've been friends 12 years but I can't really put up with her dictating who I can talk to either. She needs help but I don't know how to make her see that.
  2. cantankerous

    cantankerous Banned

    i think trying to tell a delusional person that they are delusional is almost impossible.

    quite literally it makes about as much sense as when you are arrested, the last question you are asked in the arrest rights is whether you want an interpreter. it should be the first. but anyway.

    if she hurts someone else or breaches a part of the law, you could get her sectioned? but you probably already know that.
  3. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    you are right of course :( so do I just ditch her then? I think I will tell her Mum, her sister is as nuts as her so I don't think she'd be sympathetic somehow. I'm friends with her whole family.
  4. petals


    yeah unfortunately telling her she's delusional will probs just result in her thinking you are a part of whatever grand conspiracy there is against her.

    idk if you are really worried could you contact the boyfriend overseas and ask him who the appropriate person to contact would be?
  5. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    I have a feeling he must know, how could he not? She said awhile ago that he asked for proof of the drugging. So she must have mentioned it all to him. I will email him, I'm just worried since she is on his computer at home she might read it.

    She's already told me I am "one of them" for seeing the guy I work with at work....
  6. petals


    Sad. I would find that really distressing :(

    I guess all you can do is wait until someone helps her. Hopefully when she has her senses about her again you guys will be able to resume your friendship.
  7. sour girl

    sour girl Well-Known Member

    I don't think there's much you can do for this girl. Since she's suffering with a psychological disorder, there is no way to tell her. My sister was diagnosed with "bipolar" which I'm not sure is correct but I'm not a medical professional. For more than 20 years she has been on cocaine, more recently crack and become a pathological liar. Just like your friend, she makes up stories and maybe believes them to be true. This is where it gets strange: My mother, who lives in central Florida has a friend who needed a house-sitter while she was taking a holiday for the summer and invited my sister to come on down.
    Well, sis wasn't there but five days and suddenly the house was robbed of computer and big screen televison. Once the sheriffs got involved they were in contact with the guard gate (since it's a senior citizen gated community) They have records of my sister coming in and showing her ID along with some friends. Yet she swears they are lying and trying to set her up. The homeowner's still is away so we don't know everything that's been stolen but she confronted my mother as to why she didn't reveal that her daughter has a big arrest record. The police had notified the poor woman as to what happened but she won't be returning for a few more weeks. Sorry this is so long, just spoke with my mother who is heartbroken. She never wanted to believe that her daughter is a sociopath and doesn't know how to handle this, besides the fact that the association could force them to move. I refuse to deal with my sister anymore because countless times I've reached out to her after she screwed me over time and again.
    In a nutshell, some people can't be reached.
  8. sour girl

    sour girl Well-Known Member

    "You're one of them" sounds like classic paranoia. Definitely I would
    try and speak with her mother and hope she is receptive. This girl
    needs to be evaluated not just for her own sake.
  9. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    This all flared up again cause she wanted a lift to a concert with me and one of the guys who apparently drugged her was getting a lift with me. Here is a sample:

    Im not putting you in any position. i love you and I am trying to tell you the truth about how I feel. If someone had physically attacked you in the way these people have attacked me, and continue to do, and damaged you as much, it wouldn't even be a fucking question to me as to what my actions would be.
    i care about my friends and I wouldn't have anyone try and attack them in this way, ever. This Is what I don't get. i simply cannot understand how everyone acts as though its nothing, or turns a blind eyes. To me, that says you don't care about me at all.
    Do you understand this at all?

    I wish I didn't delete her first messages out of anger... They listed numerous things these people have apparently done to her, which aren't true. Ugh.
  10. sour girl

    sour girl Well-Known Member

    The mental illness has simply taken over all rationality. You know these accusations are completely untrue. But she plays this mind trip game so well, you really want to believe her in your heart. Your common sense says "bullshit. stop lying"
    Just like my sister who just texted mother saying "thanks for turning your back on me" What! You just got done committing grand theft, lying about it to save your ass and now guilting me for...for not standing up for you? (realising the depth of this sickness)
    Nobody wins in this type of situation because the sick person may truly believe everybody is out to get her & nobody wants to help. The true friends/family are left bewildered wondering what went wrong and if there was anything that they could have done to help or prevent these events from happening. This is just sad. Wish I had some better words of wisdom for you but I'm equally confused. ~Theresa
  11. Insomnia

    Insomnia Part-time narcoleptic

    Delusions are something you can never persuade the person of the falseness of, as far as she is concerned you are basically trying to persuade her she doesn't have two legs and two arms. Its a shit situation because she is creating trouble for you but at the same time she is probably terrified because she thinks all this stuff is happening to her.

    I reckon tell her mum, she probably already knows some of it because I doubt the delusions are just confined to this part of her life. Otherwise try and call the boyfriend, if she can read his email she'll think you are all against her.

    And probably the biggest thing you need to find out here is what she will do if this (tyre slashing, drugging, attacking) doesn't stop. Because if she thinks she is genuinely physically at threat, she might retaliate back. Which would obviously be a disaster.
  12. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    Thanks... I will try to text her bf. I don't want to her read me writing to him and saying she's crazy. She would have genuine reasons to think I am a cunt then :( I've been friends with her bf for longer than I've known her (they met through me) so I hope he will understand me going to him. I'm shocked he hasn't done anything about it really but he's been away.

    Someone must have really slashed her tyres though maybe? That would be evident I imagine and her bf said his were slashed once but there are lots of shit kids in their street.
  13. Insomnia

    Insomnia Part-time narcoleptic

    Probably was shit kids. I've had the air let out of my tyres before by shitty kids.

    As far as the boyfriend goes, there is probably an element of denial to it and also not really knowing what to do. I don't know what I'd do if my boyfriend starting having delusional beliefs, I'd try and get him to see a doctor but if he wouldn't its hard. You mentioned she was on meds so presumably some sort of mental health professional is involved- maybe he can talk to them?
  14. calalove

    calalove battle-scarred

    this thread is comforting in an odd sort of way as i'm dealing with someone that i believe to be suffering with an onset of mental illness. symptoms such as thinking things are being said that are not, social withdrawl, mood swings, blaming others, and delusional behavior YET still functioning in daily life. it's frustrating because he sees it as it's everyone else and not him that's acting this way. i'm at a standstill.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  15. VenusDeMilo

    VenusDeMilo honeyblood

    When this happened to me, I had to remove myself. Eventually he got put into a mental institution for something unrelated to me, and then he e-mailed me much later explaining that he had schizophrenia (which I could clearly tell after organizing my entire room in categories that made no sense while I was out of town, and told him he had it -- advising him to seek help). He apologized for the way he acted.
    I would reach out to the family, definitely.
  16. Insomnia

    Insomnia Part-time narcoleptic

    Another thing to do, which would be a bit manipulative but would hopefully get her to seek help, is to try and get her to go to the doctor over the "physical attacks" she thinks she has been having. Mention that some of the worst injuries can be hidden, like head injuries, and that she should definitely go see a doctor to get checked out. Hopefully then she'll bring up the whole repeated physical attacks and druggings etc to the doctor and he'll realise something is going amiss.
  17. Rotten Berry

    Rotten Berry Favorite Number: forklift

    I think that sometimes when people are delusional, it's actually sort of harmless in their daily lives. For example, if someone thinks that there is an entire underworld of reptilian battles going on for the future of the planet, it's totally "out there" but it also totally doesn't matter.

    When you have someone who is delusional like this though, I think that it's really pretty important to TELL them what happened. Like when she says that she was drugged by all of your friends, you might want to say, "You had recently changed your medications and you were shitfaced." This is not nice stuff and it usually doesn't end particularly well. BUT a lot of times people that are really crazy just need to go for a walk for an hour or so to chill out afterwards.

    It's really important not to let really crazy people dominate a conversation with you though. Because the bottom line is that we call them crazy people for a reason. But people, even delusional ones, can still think. And sometimes someone has to make them do it.

    I don't really know if that is the kind of role you are looking for here. But if you're dealing with someone who is saying really bizarre and/or impossible things, it doesn't really do any good to sugarcoat things in your response to it because you just give the delusion one more foothold (no matter how tiny).


    Also--Say what you need to say about the incidents and be done. Don't try to argue with a crazy person because it's like arguing with a really really belligerent drunk person and will not end well. You might want to outline that, IF you decide to say anything at all. Like maybe saying, "This is what happened and that is all I have to say on the matter." And then don't respond to continued provocations and/or attempted guilt trips through text messages.
  18. kwhatever

    kwhatever dead dot com.

    delusionalism runs in my family. my older sister is pretty high with it. she will tell stories from "our past" that didnt' actually happen.

    i'm pretty sure i do this too. paranoia sounds about right, but i'm unsure how to handle that.
  19. kwhatever

    kwhatever dead dot com.

    also you can tell my sister till the cows come home that whatever she remembers is false. and she won't believe you and tell you you're the one lying. so idk how well that works.
  20. Ronette

    Ronette Well-Known Member

    My sister fully believes that reptilian blooded aliens are controlling everyone in power in the world and trying to enslave the human race. I can only see that as paranoid delusion but it isn't really affecting anyone so noone says anything. I just kinda tune out when she starts going on about it.

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