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27 Mar 2024, 3:24 am

Has anyone dealt with delusions of grandeur, particularly religious ones? I need some insight and I am returning here after many years being gone, because maybe you amazing folks can help me somehow.

Little background:
I am NT (well, that is questionable but we'll leave it there for now lol) but this is about my husband who is undiagnosed but 100% on the spectrum somewhere. High functioning, but socially and emotionally it is very obvious and his brother, parents, and grandfather are all on the spectrum.

We are late 30s, been married 16 years, together for 17. We have had a fairly uneventful marriage, some minor conflicts and hard disagreements about finances and some religious views but no real big fights or bad issues. No kids, cat people, and self employed, devout evangelical Christians. We've never been super connected emotionally, but I accept his quirks and love him as he is, and we've made it work really well.

We have been part of a vibrant church for 10+ years. We're both musicians, and were on the worship team. He has a servant's heart in all aspects of life, and quickly rose to a well-respected position in the church, including being allowed to lead music services and helping manage the technical side of things in the church, straight up holding keys to the church and being everybody's favorite "go to guy". He masks VERY well, as he was overshadowed by his brother as a kid, so while people think he's a "little odd", they generally think he's the best thing since sliced bread since he's so willing to help anyone with anything.

Now to the hard part:

Last year, hubby wrote a 36 page delusion of grandeur letter to our church leadership, after 16 months of odd behaviors, and that letter got him removed from the church for safety reasons. It was completely out of nowhere (although he was angry at not being appointed music director) and out of character for him. He claims he doesn't have the delusions anymore, has quit counseling, only had one psychiatry appointment after 2 ER visits, all of which were demanded by me, and they cleared him and said that he does not seem delusional or mentally ill because he claims he can stop the thoughts when they come.

I am not unsafe, we have no weapons, I am in counseling and have places I can go if I need. He has not physically hurt me nor threatened such and is treating me very well. But I am at a dead end because it seems like there is nowhere to go from here. I want to help him, but I know I can't pry, can't force, and ultimatums aren't good.

It was a delusion of grandeur because he told the church he was going to be the richest most powerful man in the world. He was also saying he'd be like God's right hand man, the "Ancient of Days", and everyone would have a chance to be his friend and all women would have a chance to marry him - he would live between supernatural and regular time so this could happen. He claimed "God" told him to tell the church to repent of various things, and if they didn't, God would remove a lot of people in the church. He never mentioned killing anyone but mentioned God would "remove" (by death, like in the Bible) people who were a barrier to his (and God's) mission. Including me. The purpose of all this, he claimed, was that all would have a chance, through him, to come to salvation so they don't go to hell.

One thing I think may have affected him and been the "straw that broke the camel's back" is that he is late 30s and has owned his own one man computer store since he was 19, and financially it is failing as he is not needed as much anymore and we live in a rural area. I think he feels incapable of providing for me or like he will be incapable, and that is an issue as I have a number of health issues preventing me from making a full time income.

He also has hidden many of his truly legalistic beliefs and has never pushed them on anyone until now. We have had mild disagreements about these things but he has "let" me do what I want and has not tried to stop me beyond expressing his wishes. I thought he had just softened and did not believe so legalistically anymore, but it seems he was just seriously masking this whole time.

He recently caught me talking to one of my girlfriends about how frustrated I was one day with how he was hovering in my office (I don't like people hovering over me, and he was excessively doing that on one my overstimulated nights), and for that reason, he no longer will trust me with anything deeper. That day, he quit counseling and told me that he will not trust me again with anything deeper than surface level. He feels I was disrespectful of him, and therefore, I broke his trust. That was a few months ago, and there has been no progress since then.

He has admitted that he never should have dropped that letter, and that I should have known about it, and that it was wrong, but he will not contact the church to admit his wrongs, but instead is treating it like it just didn't happen or doesn't exist.

I don't want to push him, intimidate him, mistreat him, misunderstand him, or ask him to do something that he literally can't do. And that is where I need help. How do I assess what he can and can't process or do? How can I approach him and what is reasonable for me to ask of him to do? I am not afraid of him nor do I feel unsafe, but I feel he will reject anything I say or not even allow me to speak since he doesn't trust me. I certainly don't believe he will talk to me about how he's feeling or what he's thinking.

After being married to him for so long, I am crushed at how much I don't know him - and yet I know him better than others, which is why I stayed despite pressure to leave him. I have let things settle for a few months and given him time to decompress after quitting counseling and all that. But I need to see something more from him, if it is possible. I need to see him owning up to it and trying to take some responsibility for his mental health. I am very, very concerned for him.

I can see he is not mentally stable, but can't see anything past that. He needs a new career, but doesn't want to work with or for anyone, doesn't want to go back to school. He wants to wash windows full time, but doesn't have the equipment and we don't live in an area conducive to that. He says he wants to do that because then he can avoid interaction with people. His greatest desire in life right now is to be uninterrupted, unbothered by people. Also as a VERY good guitarist and vocalist, he used to sing and play almost every day, and has not picked up the guitar or sung since June. I miss it. Tremendously.

Aside from that, he's just gone on with life like nothing happened. He is working as usual, keeping his routine as usual, and there is very little out of the ordinary. My belief is that he just wants everything to be the same, so that it is predictable and he doesn't end up doing something crazy like that again. And yet he yearns for the occasional adventure to experience new places. He did say he's lost his purpose, and he doesn't trust himself, and also does not trust any voices anymore because he was so sure they were God's voice, and now he knows they're not. He has not attended church since, but wants to start going somewhere soon which I suppose is a positive, but also terrifying considering what happened.

So...how can I navigate this in a way that is respectful towards him, understanding of his capabilities or lack thereof, and yet helps this come to a reasonable resolution? I don't want to leave him at all. Again, he treats me really well and is super understanding of my health issues as I am of his mental health issues.

Sorry this is so long. It's been a long several months and I have been physically ill as a result. I just don't know what to do anymore. I have been afraid to do anything because I don't want to ask him to do stuff he literally can't do and don't want to stress him out any more than he already is - he is currently juggling 3 jobs, his main job, small side taxes job and window washing.

I hope that there is some kind of hope out there for this situation. So many people have said this is in our hands, it's up to me to put an ultimatum out, it's up to him to choose to get help and whatever...but nothing is happening right now. I just haven't had energy. He means the world to me, and I want to love and support him and help him the very best way I can, without sacrificing too much more of my physical or mental health.



belijojo
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27 Mar 2024, 4:06 am

There is some logical inconsistency between him claiming he could control his delusions but writing letters to the church

You mentioned that he likes to sing. If he wants, he can go live. He doesn’t need to face others directly but can interact through other people’s texts.Having a fan group can provide psychological help. Fans in the group will urge him to start a live broadcast or upload a video,make him feel that life has meaning and comfort him when he feels pain. The biggest advantage is that if him feel irritated, he can block messages from the fan group at any time, so won’t be crushed like a real social network.

I don't know what your financial situation is like. If your quality of life really declines due to a decline in store performance, finding a way to make money may be the most important thing, and this is something I can't help with.


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blitzkrieg
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27 Mar 2024, 4:12 am

When you say "and also does not trust any voices anymore because he was so sure they were God's voice" - it is probably worth pointing out that hearing voices can be a part of the medical condition schizophrenia.

You mention he has mental health issues, so perhaps he has that? I am not sure what to make of his former delusions, but they seem quite elaborate and severe.



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27 Mar 2024, 11:42 am

Yeah it's complicated this. It does seem like there maybe some hidden trauma or anxiety that may have happened in his past and this is how it's manifesting. I only say this because a similar thing happened to me many years ago. But I don't wanna go into it here.

I wish you both well


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randomgirl
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27 Mar 2024, 2:52 pm

belijojo wrote:
There is some logical inconsistency between him claiming he could control his delusions but writing letters to the church

You mentioned that he likes to sing. If he wants, he can go live. He doesn’t need to face others directly but can interact through other people’s texts.Having a fan group can provide psychological help. Fans in the group will urge him to start a live broadcast or upload a video,make him feel that life has meaning and comfort him when he feels pain. The biggest advantage is that if him feel irritated, he can block messages from the fan group at any time, so won’t be crushed like a real social network.

I don't know what your financial situation is like. If your quality of life really declines due to a decline in store performance, finding a way to make money may be the most important thing, and this is something I can't help with.


Agreed, with that said, he only wrote one letter and in the aftermath, the doctor appointments following that letter, he claimed that he realized that the voice in his head that he thought was God was clearly not, and he would just shut it off and not listen anymore. So I guess he thinks he won't have the delusions now that he knows they're not real.

He has not picked up the guitar and refuses to do anything with music since June, he won't even consider it, not even for me. What he wanted, from what I can tell, is to control what songs the congregation was singing, because he didn't want them to be singing songs that would make them lie to God or themselves (like singing I Surrender All, for example, when they are not truly willing to surrender all). He wanted to be in control of the church in some way as well. He doesn't want interaction with anyone right now, and has all but disappeared socially online and IRL, except for working.

Financially we're sort of stable at the moment but we are on benefits now. I work as much as I can reselling from home and building websites, doing some photography, etc. He needs a new career but isn't willing to do much. It's complicated.



randomgirl
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27 Mar 2024, 2:58 pm

blitzkrieg wrote:
When you say "and also does not trust any voices anymore because he was so sure they were God's voice" - it is probably worth pointing out that hearing voices can be a part of the medical condition schizophrenia.

You mention he has mental health issues, so perhaps he has that? I am not sure what to make of his former delusions, but they seem quite elaborate and severe.


Totally agree with you. The reason I say about mental health is because of how out of the ordinary he is being compared to what I've known all along. Before all of this, he seemed really stable. I am concerned about him now because he's just not himself, yet claims he's shut the voices down. The symptoms he was presenting before the letter, and then combined with the letter all point to Schizo-affective disorder. He claims he can just shut off the voice now that he knows it's not real but then says he doesn't know whether he will know if he can discern which voice is God's voice and since he refuses to counsel with anyone at this point, it's not like he'd get help figuring that out.

They were very elaborate and severe delusions. It was the most demented thing I've ever read. But he has not shown any signs of similar delusions or anything since then - though he won't talk to me and he isn't writing anything anymore. It's almost like he went into full shutdown mode and refuses to go anywhere with his mind other than focusing on work and routines. It's like he's scared to go there, because he really didn't know he was delusional, and now he's afraid of being delusional again so shut himself down to everything and everyone.



oboeyoudidnt
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28 Mar 2024, 3:15 pm

I read the original post. If more developments have arisen I've missed them, very sorry.

This is all really heavy... I'm not quite sure if I have the life experience to give you a well-informed answer, so please take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt as I am only 22.

For some people, "delusions of grandeur" can be something of a coping mechanism for when life has gone really awry. I'm one of them. I consider myself an ambitious person, and I imagine lots of unrealistic fantasies for when I achieve my ambitions. "Someday," I tell myself, "I'm going to have a huge mansion, or a castle, and I'm going to have a pipe organ in it, and I'm going to dress in extravagant costumes and go up and down spiral staircases like a Disney villain, and it will have a big electric fence and lots of thorny rose bushes to keep the trespassers away." Of course, something like that is totally absurd and unreasonable for a person to want. It's a fantasy. A really amazing fantasy, but still a fantasy. It's something I soothe myself with because I want to feel like all my struggling will be worth it, because "someday I'll have all of this".

I don't know if your husband's delusions of grandeur are the same sort of thing as what I do, though, since you said something about him "hearing God's voice" which sounds more like an auditory hallucination. I'd need to know more about the time leading up to that letter he sent, as you said he was acting strangely beforehand. It's possible this might be a prodromal episode of schizophrenia or linked to another form of psychosis, but I'm not a psychiatrist...

I'm concerned for you in your relationship, though. If your husband says in his letter that God would "remove"/kill you to fulfill his (and His) mission, then I think that speaks volumes about how he views you as a person. What sins does he think you need to repent? Why would the man who claims to love you consider you an obstacle or a barrier? And now it's even harder to ask him, because he thinks you've betrayed his trust. If I'm going to be brutally honest, I'm worried this marriage of yours might not last.

I don't know what solutions I can offer you. All I can really say is that I hope that you are doing well, as well as you can, because this all sounds very frightening and confusing. Please give my words some thought. May God bless you. :heart:


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randomgirl
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29 Mar 2024, 8:25 pm

oboeyoudidnt wrote:
I read the original post. If more developments have arisen I've missed them, very sorry.

This is all really heavy... I'm not quite sure if I have the life experience to give you a well-informed answer, so please take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt as I am only 22.

For some people, "delusions of grandeur" can be something of a coping mechanism for when life has gone really awry. I'm one of them. I consider myself an ambitious person, and I imagine lots of unrealistic fantasies for when I achieve my ambitions. "Someday," I tell myself, "I'm going to have a huge mansion, or a castle, and I'm going to have a pipe organ in it, and I'm going to dress in extravagant costumes and go up and down spiral staircases like a Disney villain, and it will have a big electric fence and lots of thorny rose bushes to keep the trespassers away." Of course, something like that is totally absurd and unreasonable for a person to want. It's a fantasy. A really amazing fantasy, but still a fantasy. It's something I soothe myself with because I want to feel like all my struggling will be worth it, because "someday I'll have all of this".

I don't know if your husband's delusions of grandeur are the same sort of thing as what I do, though, since you said something about him "hearing God's voice" which sounds more like an auditory hallucination. I'd need to know more about the time leading up to that letter he sent, as you said he was acting strangely beforehand. It's possible this might be a prodromal episode of schizophrenia or linked to another form of psychosis, but I'm not a psychiatrist...

I'm concerned for you in your relationship, though. If your husband says in his letter that God would "remove"/kill you to fulfill his (and His) mission, then I think that speaks volumes about how he views you as a person. What sins does he think you need to repent? Why would the man who claims to love you consider you an obstacle or a barrier? And now it's even harder to ask him, because he thinks you've betrayed his trust. If I'm going to be brutally honest, I'm worried this marriage of yours might not last.

I don't know what solutions I can offer you. All I can really say is that I hope that you are doing well, as well as you can, because this all sounds very frightening and confusing. Please give my words some thought. May God bless you. :heart:


Thank you for your kind and understanding response!

It definitely is heavy no doubt about it. VERY heavy. It's been a long several months lol.

It's interesting you mention about your ambitions that are somewhat unrealistic. He has always had a super ambitious idea that he will someday "have it all" by creating or inventing something that will make him rich and in turn he can help loads of people. His big dream has always been to have a whole bunch of businesses and housing which he can help the less fortunate rise up (think single moms, military folks, poor students, etc) and to give them something to stand on and launch their career from.

I've always thought it was cool he had the faith for it but never thought it would be reality although he certainly has the intelligence and work ethic to do something that could make him wealthy if he just found the right lane to go into. Personally I think he would be an excellent programmer and he likes programming, just hasn't done it in 20 years.

My analysis is that he has always been great at anything he's done - successful and everything has been easy for him, including school, learning anything, music, his store, etc. With the store failing, he feels like he's failing me because all he's ever wanted is to be able to provide for me so that I don't have to worry about finances (he knows I super stress about it because I come from a poor background). I have mental and physical health issues that limit me from fully functioning all the time, so I work from home as I can but he would rather I work because I want to, not because I have to.

He told me that he didn't want me to die, but rather he felt that I would suffer immensely in this new life of his that he thought he was supposed to live, and he didn't want me to have to suffer, so he felt that God would want to "take me home to heaven" so I wouldn't suffer anymore physically or emotionally. Me dying was not because I was in the way, but because I wouldn't be able to handle that new life and he wanted me to be free. Super weird.

Not sure what sins he was trying to forgive, I should probably ask him about that. Throughout the letter, he said many times he didn't want to hurt me and hated how this seemed to be playing out, how it meant losing me.

He also had, in the letter, some kind of hero complex, like he wanted to be in control of everything so that he could make everyone's lives better. Particularly, he wanted to save women and girls from abusive situations. This parallels to a point how I came from an abusive situation and how he wants to make sure I never want for anything.

I think because he feels like he is failing me, and failing at his business, something snapped in his mind and went kind of to that psychosis of the opposite - losing control, so the opposite would be a delusion that allows him that fantasy of the kind of control and power that he wants.

The crazy thing is, he is normally a super quiet, humble, hard working, completely selfless generous guy. He runs his business as close to a non-profit as he can. He will help anyone in need whenever he can. He never seeks any kind of recognition and is truly one of the best people I've ever met. The letter is completely, 100% opposite of anything I have ever seen in him.

He admits it was wrong, and says he's lost his purpose in life. For now he is just going through the motions, doing his responsibilities, making sure he doesn't do anything scary or weird or wrong. I think it scared him and embarrassed him but he also isn't really willing to face it. I just have no idea how much I can expect from him or not right now. I don't know what his limits are. As great as he's been, I honestly have no idea how to approach him or deal with this.

We have such a great relationship otherwise. But there is not a lot of depth emotionally. I don't know how to reach him. He feels lost, and so do I. I know he doesn't want to lose me but I also don't know if he is willing to do what it takes to keep me. But then again, what is he even capable of doing and what is reasonable for me to expect? I didn't exactly have a good marriage to follow growing up, so I really have no idea what to expect.