Son doesn't reveal delusions to others

Is anybody else familiar with this situation? My son’s baseline has remained pretty poor. I find that my son hides his delusional thinking fairly well with most of the professionals he interacts with. However, at home and around me (as well as on Facebook I am finding out) he “lets it all hang out” - railing at the top of his lungs, and in my face, against the military that is messing with him, about being spied on, about aliens - and expresses a lot of violent ideas.

Sometimes I feel they might not ‘get’ how bad he is, since whenever he is hospitalized he seems able to isolate and keep all this stuff inside. I feel they don’t get a complete picture of what we are really dealing with.

1 Like

Sorry to say… when I was younger… I’d be on my best behavior in the docs office… I’d watch my self like a hawk and make sure not to say too much… didn’t want to arouse suspicion.

then when I got home… I couldn’t hold it in any more.

My sis would journal stuff and when I broke enough to end up in hospital…that’s when her journal about my rants came to light… I used to get so angry with her about that…

As someone who has been diagnosed, I most definitely do not always share the delusional thoughts I have had with professionals. I believe the “being spied on” delusion is extremely common. I myself believed I was being spied on by the government, also the “aliens” might be very common. Don’t get me wrong I do believe in life elsewhere in the universe, but I don’t worry about it so much (I find the aliens to be more on the friendly side when I have delusions). At times even now I wonder if I’m spied on though I know it can’t be real for several reasons. One is sure there may be a surveillance program to keep the nation safe, but what could be so important about me that they’d keep tabs on me. Note, do not immediately tell your son this because it may anger him. Two, it is a common symptom of paranoia, logic indicates it is something that comes with a particular mental illness. Here is what helped me, researching the condition I was diagnosed with and finally after some time accepting that I have a mental illness. It sounds to me like you love your son very much, and that is the most important thing. It may help to try to list positive things you feel about him and let him know. Also, do not blame yourself.

SurprisedJ added excellent input, delusions may seem so real that saying they’re impossible or judging them may make the sufferer angry. It is best to say something along the lines of, “Can we talk about something right now?” Whenever you find the person in a more a good mood and more coherent. Also do not say, “It’s impossible.” Say, "Why do you believe this? (etc). Nowadays I feel a sense of humiliation and embarassment when I recall the delusional thoughts i’ve had. (Occasionally, I can laugh about them.)

I rant and rave where I feel comfortable. I your son is same that is kudos on you mom!

My son hides his experiences from his team too. I think it’s quite common, and I understand. It has to be terrifying to feel that sharing what you are honestly feeling and experiencing may send you back to inpatient care.

I addressed this with his pdoc, and assured me that even though he doesn’t share, he is trained to realize when there were/ are issues. I am learning to trust my sons team of professionals, and tell myself they know more than I do. I know how you feel… It is concerning, and I feel like I have no control. But in reality the only one who has control is my son, and I think that although it’s hard for me to not jump in and try to fix everything , I must let him do a lot of the work on his own.
I just give him a pep talk, and reinforce that his doctors and therapist cannot help him if he is not honest with him.
Hang in there… There IS hope!

Thanks for all the helpful responses.

I wasn’t questioning or attacking my son’s delusional thinking at all, just expressing the frustration that the people who need to know what he is experiencing often don’t seem to get the full picture, and I worry that it means he won’t get the treatment he really needs.

I try to communicate to the treatment team the behaviors I see, but there is nothing like actually experiencing it!

That is exactly what I need to hear from my son’s doctors. This gives me reassurance that they do recognize it when they see it.

When I was delusional I kept my cards pretty close to my chest. I think pdoc’s are aware that this can happen. Let your son’s pdoc or caseworker know what is going on. Maybe they can get you son on some appropriate med’s.

Whoops sorry I misunderstood. For the record, most psychiatrists know when something is a bit off especially when they have experience.

I personally don’t tell my pdoc everything, mainly because I feel safer if I’m the only one who knows what’s going on in my head.

One thing I use to help not cause problems with my wife and family is I try to think if my actions are going to help or hurt me. It’s one of the things they teach in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) classes. Like whether acting out or accusing someone of something is really going to prove anything or benefit me in anyway, in fact I realize it is more likely to push people away and harm my situation, so I just let it slide.

Plus, weed only really activated things. The only exception is weed low in THC and high in CBD. It is thought that CBD acts as a weak natural Antipsychotic. Though, I’m not sure how you can get him to switch weed types, or even if its a good idea.

I find it funny, the reason he “lets loose” at home is because he is comfortable there. At least that is a good thing.

FYI, no weed involved.

Lol, must have read the weed stuff from another thread. Sorry.

Yes , those are the standard delusions. Why do you think he is hiding it from the pdoc?

I’m sure he keeps silent about his delusions and voices with the doctor for fairly standard reasons - because he feels the stigma of having mental illness, doesn’t want to admit it, doesn’t have insight that he even has it.

That he does try to hide it is understandable - I was just expressing frustration and concern that the people who need to know his full illness do not see it.

I could only imagine how much that must of frustrated my Mom. I bet she was ready to pull her hair out… or mine.

My middle brother and my youngest brother also hid their struggles very well… until they couldn’t anymore.

My son made a return trip to hospital. Dr is pressing for him to move back to group home. I really don’t want to do that to him.


I think I would want to curl up and die if I had to put him back in a group home. And I can’t even begin to imagine how he would feel and react.

If you are contemplating having your son return to your home it might be a good idea to make a list of ground rules you’d like him to try to follow that would make both your lives easier. Share it with him. Try to be mindful of how your son may react to such a list by not coming off as too demanding. Share your feelings with your son. The fact that you would feel horrible if he went to a group home again but that you want what is best for him should it come to that.

thanks, good suggestions.

I know I’m late responding…

I find that if I step in and ask questions in a different format that my son will usually answer more truthfully around his treatment team.

For example voices. We call them entities. If my son’s pdoc asks if he has voices my son’s auto-response is no. Ask him: How are the entities? and his answer will be: Yeah I have voices they are still there.

His team may ask what he has been up to? My son will say: watching TV, playing my games…
If I ask: What game have you been playing or what have you been watching?
Then we get a more truthful response of: Well I haven’t been doing that in awhile.