In order to survive and live a psychologically healthy and rich life, it is important to be able to differentiate between your concrete and abstract reality vs. your creative reality. The reality itself doesn't just include the sense of outer world but the sense of proprium (self; Gordon Allport).
Having the knowledge and understanding about our own identity where we see ourselves in the positive regard as well as not demeaning the other person's existence and emotions says, Dr.R.K.Suri best psychologist in India. Humanistic psychology has talked about individualism, and why having self esteem is quite essential to lead a healthy life. Abraham Maslow, Humanistic Psychologist, has built the foundation of individual differences by providing us with the 'Needs of hierarchy', where self esteem is on the 3rd level, clearly defining why having a positive self regard is a need.
According to the best psychologists in India, we all are psychological beings and the brain is an organ, sometimes and most of the times, our brain, due to many external and internal factors, has dysfunctions. Disrupting the daily life activities we are engaged in. Delusions are one such disruptions. Delusions are about having a false sense of reality and mainly people with psychosis suffer from it. Delusion of Grandeur is a type of delusion, comorbid with many other psychotic disorders.
So what exactly is the Delusion of Grandeur?
It is a false and very unreal sense of self, where one keeps themselves on a higher pedestrian level than others. It is also known as Grandiose delusions (GDs). It can be found in the patients diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Narcissistic Personality Disorder etc.
People with Grandiose Delusion can be seen making statements like 'I am in a relationship with so and so celebrity' or 'I have found the cure of cancer', these are the most common examples. People suffering from it aren't able to understand other people's emotions or feelings. Their sense of reality and self is so distorted that it can lead to severe mental conditions disabling the person to even carry out a 'normal life' and making it extremely difficult to survive in this world. In my belief, as a social being, we shouldn't expect them to adjust to our realities only because their reality is different from us. We should create a world where they feel welcomed, by adjusting the world according to them. But there are many should's, aren't there?
How is it different from High Self Esteem?
Whereas the high self esteem is totally different from the GD, because a person with high self esteem is still connected to reality and able to understand other people's emotions and feelings, not necessarily showing empathy but maybe sympathy. High self esteem can be present due to positive parental care and upbringing, and many environmental factors.
From many studies it is found that having high self esteem doesn't equate to good performance in any area of their life. They have an understanding of their weaknesses and strengths. They might be perceiving themselves better than the others or average population but not in a demeaning fashion. Researchers have also found that high self esteem makes one attractive and more likeable in social settings. Let's not confuse it with Narcissism, narcissistic individuals are not really delusional but have very high sense of self, they are less morally intellectual and also might seem attractive at first but since they alienate others and other's feelings, eventually this becomes quite unattractive and unapproachable. There can be various factors that contribute to one being narcissistic.
What are the main characteristics of Delusion of Grandeur?
Holding beliefs that are entirely untrue and unreal in any possible way,
Dismissal of or anger at people who refuse to accept the delusional belief,
Experiencing other delusions, as it is not just related to only one type of disorder,
Continuous attempts to make other believe their beliefs,
Will not agree even if the evidences challenge their beliefs
Impacts on daily life and changing entire lifestyle to fit to their beliefs,
Socially isolated because of the delusional belief, they find it difficult to adjust to society.
It is observed that to identify one as Grandiose Delusion, it is mandatory that the beliefs do not relate to anything going on in their lives at the moment. The events and beliefs they are experiencing should be totally disconnected to their real life happenings.
Why do Grandiose Delusions occur?
There can be many reasons due to which these Delusions take place. Some conditions that can cause these Delusions are Schizophrenia, it is a positive type of symptom. Delusional Disorder, which might not include Schizophrenia and works in isolation. Bipolar, in the depressive episodes of mania, one can experience high self regard which is disconnected to reality. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, etcetera. All of them are mental health conditions people may face due to various factors.
All these reasons might have a permanent effect on people's lives. It is to understand that all these disorders do not necessarily work in isolation, they can comorbid with one another, and also that the people who experience delusions often feel 'normal' and valid about their beliefs, because it is something real and true to them. That's why they are often resistant to treatments.
A temporary type of Grandeur of Delusion can be seen when an individual is on certain toxins like alcohol, marijuana or other types of drugs. Their effect can be temporary.
Relating Grandiose Delusion and High Self-Esteem
As I've discussed, the Grandiose Delusion is totally far from reality itself, whereas high self esteem stays connected to reality.
Even though in both the cases a person holds such high opinions of themselves, might be rational or irrational, but a person with the GDs is deeply and unshakably convinced that their illusions are true and real.
Having high self esteem doesn't really guarantee that the person is suffering from any mental disorder. In short, High self esteem isn't a 'symptom' of some mental condition. Whereas GDs direct us towards some serious and severe mental health conditions as I've discussed above. Though some researchers say that GDs are merely a defence mechanism, there are not many studies that can support this argument. To survive in this world people with delusions may need extra care.
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