30 Delusional And Completely Out-Of-Touch Things People Heard Others Say (New Answers)
Nobody can be correct 100% of the time. We’ve all been misinformed at one point or another, whether it was believing a commonly spread myth (no, that gum you swallowed by accident did not sit in your stomach for seven years) or misunderstanding a situation until more information became available. It’s completely natural for our ideas to grow and develop over time, but confidently spreading objectively wrong ideas is another thing.
Reddit user mouldygoldie reached out to Ask Reddit to hear about the most severe cases of "people being completely out of touch with reality”, and the answers did not disappoint. We’ve gone through and gathered some of the cringiest examples of delusional beliefs for your entertainment, but be warned: reading them may cause an uncontrollable urge to facepalm.
Keep reading to also find an exclusive interview between Bored Panda and Dr. Jim Taylor, a psychologist and author. And if you can handle even more ignorance after reading this list, check out our last publication on the same topic right here.
My brother told me “I’m avoiding Asian people if I see them on the street or anything. You know, for safety because of the coronavirus.” He’s Asian. OUR ENTIRE FAMILY IS ASIAN.
As much fun as it is to read these ignorant beliefs, it can be concerning to realize how many people are going about their lives with a warped sense of reality. This made me start to wonder whether reality is relative or if people are just prone to their perceptions becoming indistinguishable from reality.
In a Psychology Today piece titled “Perception Is Not Reality”, Dr. Jim Taylor discussed how perceptions will never be equated to reality, no matter how real they “feel”. He starts by defining the two to clearly state the differences. Perception is “the way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression”, while reality is “the world or the state of things as they actually exist… existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions”.
Work with a girl who is a flat earther and on top of that denied the existence of space. When the topic came up and I disagreed she asked if I had ever been there... obviously I haven't. I told her I have also never been to Japan and that does not mean it doesn't exist.
She complained to management about my intolerance of her beliefs.
We reached out to Dr. Jim Taylor to ask why humans can be so confident in wrong ideas, and he told us, “Human beings are wired through evolution to seek safety, comfort, and certainty. To change one's beliefs, even in the face of clearly contradictory evidence, disrupts that those three attributes. Additionally, psychologically and emotionally, it is threatening to our self-identity (e.g., as a competent person) and our self-esteem (e.g., how we feel about ourselves) to have to admit that we are wrong about something, particularly beliefs that we hold dear (e.g., religion, politics)."
We also asked him if everyone experiences reality differently. He told us, “Actually, humans experience reality much the same because we are all very much alike in terms of our brain structures and functions. However, we perceive reality through the lenses of past experiences, attitudes, beliefs, needs, goals, and social feedback. That is where so-called reality can differ.”
I used to work at a software company in downtown Boston. One of the best perks of the job at the time was the flexibility in hours. Many folks had regular wfh days. Myself, I knew I could drop my kids off at school, get into the office by 9:30 and my boss had no issue with it whatsoever. Others with kids had similar arrive late or leave early schedules depending on their childcare.
After a few years a new CEO comes in, spends a month observing how the office works, then calls for a company wide meeting. During the meeting she tells everyone she believes having a full office 8-5 is the most productive environment, and at the start of the next month, all wfh was canceled, and she wanted everyone in the office during those set hours. No showing up late or leaving early.
A lively debate ensued, with discussions of there being very little warning, to pleas of flexibility, to concerns of making necessary childcare arrangements - especially given that in many cases (i.e. schools) we couldn't adjust those times. Plus, commuting into Boston sucks.
After listening to all of these arguments, she finally responds with a long speech of appreciating the sacrifices everyone has to make to better the company, everyone doing their part, blah blah blah. She ends it by saying, "I understand where you're all coming from! Years ago when my kids were little, my husband and I had to hire three nannies to cover all of the times we had to work!"
I remember we all looked around at each other, speechless. It was also the moment I realized I would have to start looking for another job. When the millionaire CEO thinks hiring 3 nannies is a relatable example to her middle class employees, it's pretty clear she's not going to change her mind.
My mother, and a several people in my family, believe that God marks people. If someone ultimately has a good soul they're white and I'm sure you can guess where it goes from there. If only non-White did s**tty things that would make sense but you don't even have to look at much of the world to see that is not the case. When I try to bring up that tons of white people do awful things her logic is "they're lost souls that will eventually find their way". Meanwhile she'll believe a non White will never find their way even if they act like they have. The level of delusion this takes is one of the most frightening things to me.
Next, we asked Dr. Taylor why it’s important to keep our perceptions as close to reality as possible, and he told us, “There is actually evidence that so-called positive illusion (i.e., perceptions of ourselves that are slightly more optimistic than our reality) can help us to strive toward and achieve bigger goals). At the same time, if the difference between perception and reality becomes too great, there is a shift from helpful illusion to delusion when a disconnect develops between perception and reality. This is what happens with serious mental illness, for example, and it prevents us from effectively dealing with our shared reality.”
Lastly, Dr. Taylor wanted to add that changing others’ perceptions can be a difficult task. “Aligning perception with contradictory, though accurate, reality can't be accomplished with the presentation of facts, data, and info because the perceptions we hold aren't rational or logical. Research has shown that beliefs can only be changed when threat is removed and people are able to experience the reality that differs from their perceptions and they come to see that their perceptions aren't accurate and are willing to change them (e.g., a person with racial prejudices meets those of other races that don't conform to their beliefs).”
As much as we love the internet, it does allow misinformation to run rampant. Donald Trump famously whined about how “fake news” was hurting him during his campaign and presidency, but it is an issue worth addressing. 52% of Americans say that they regularly encounter fake news online, but what’s even more concerning is that 10% of Americans have knowingly shared fake news. The effects of misinformation spread offline as well. 83% of people believe fake news has negatively impacted politics in their country. Certain websites, such as Facebook, are beginning to crack down on misinformation by removing as many fake claims as possible, but readers must always be wary of what they find online.
An ex became really religious and I'd still talk to her sometimes. Somehow the topic of flat earth theories came up and she said she thinks it's actually possible that it could be true. I tried to explain that we have more than enough imagery and data indicating that the earth is round, and she said it could all be planted there by Satan.
You just can't come up with a response to that.
My cousin was spoiled and sheltered her entire childhood through college. Then her parents stupidly cut the leash without any preparation and released her into society.
She quickly got in trouble for bouncing checks all over town. My mom picked her up and asked why the hell she was writing bad checks everywhere. Turns out my cousin was under the impression that as long as you had checks in your checkbook, you had money in your account. She didn’t understand that you deposit in a number and then can spend or withdraw up to that amount.
Please teach your kids basic finance.
Note: this was like 1996 before it turns into a “who writes a check anymore” discussion.
I had a customer come into my office to rent a car. Said she had a reservation for a car, she didn’t. Told her our deposit structure and she SLAMS a $20 bill on the counter and exclaims that’s enough for a deposit. I politely tell her it doesn’t cover her minimum rate. She then proceeds to ask what rank in the military I am. Completely confused, I tell her I am the manager and that has nothing to do with our policy. Then she says she out-ranks me and I was disobeying a superior’s orders. I kicked her out and she threatened to deport me...a completely white Chicagoan male adult. I couldn’t even be mad at her lunacy.
Warped senses of reality can range from innocently believing misconceptions to being consumed by dangerous delusions of grandeur. One particularly dangerous subset of delusional individuals is cult leaders. In 2002, the American Psychological Association formed a “task force to investigate mind control among destructive cults” and to help protect people from falling victim to cults in the future. When it comes to the delusions of the leaders themselves, Stephen J. Morgan told APA that “cult leaders are usually psychopaths with a desire for power and often take ideas from politics, religion and psychology to fulfill their purpose”. “Through mind control, they are able to filter their thoughts and behaviors into ‘fanatical faith and belief’ among followers.”
This was from a Regional manager of Starbucks, after they removed merit based raises that could go up to a 5% increase, changed to a flat 2% increase.
When she asked if people liked the new raise plan,
I said actually no, they feel unmotivated with no reason to perform any better than just normal.
Regional manager “your staff need to realise working isn’t about money”
I met a lady who thought that High Fructose Corn Syrup was a conspiracy by the OIL INDUSTRY, to kill more people so that their bodies would be cycled through the earth in order to produce more oil.
Y'know. The oil Cycle. That process that takes billions of years??
Talk about a long con.
I will never forget the man who angrily told me, a wheelchair user with no feet and no prosthetics, to go down the stairs if I didn’t want to wait for the elevator (I had been talking to my friend, and mentioned we were going to be a little late because of the huge line).
Once they’ve been sucked into a cult, members develop a skewed perception of reality as well. Mind control, or brainwashing, is a tactic “used by cults to recruit and maintain followers”. This can include behavior modification, “such as thought-stopping techniques and instilling an ‘us-versus-them’ mindset, former cult member Steve Hassan told APA. “With thought-stopping techniques, members are taught to stop doubts from entering their consciousness about the cult, often with a key phrase they repeat. Phobia indoctrination is also used, where cults play on a person's irrational fears, with threats such as the person will develop cancer or go insane if he ever leaves or questions the group.”
My 'friend' stole my card information and bought loads of expensive stuff. I asked her if it was her before reporting it, knowing that a) she was going through a tough time and I wanted to give her a chance to make it right and b) that I could be in trouble for conspiracy to fraud if I reported it and they believed I'd got stuff delivered to my friend to claim fraud for the money back. She said no, I thought someone else had done it so I reported it.
When she got arrested she said she didn't think 'they'd take the fraud thing so far'. She thought you could just call up banks to get the money back and they wouldn't investigate.
Parents of a 35 years old woman, who was hospitalized after suffering severe anoxic brain damage 20 years ago. She had been in the same ward since, barely conscious.
They refused to get her transferred to a more suitable facility for 20 years, saying that there's no reason to do so: those facilities are for "lost causes", and their daughter is going to make a full recovery, finish school, get married and be totally fine.
Working in hospitals got me quite a collection of these stories, but this one I thought was one of the saddest ones.
My MIL told me that Pepsi has aborted fetuses in it and that drinking it will make you gay. As I was drinking a Pepsi.
Other highlights from her: she doesn’t trust doctors and says they’re all paid off by the government to hide some ominous truth from everyone else.
She believes covid-19 is a hoax and also believes it comes from 5g- how she believes both of them simultaneously is beyond me.
She thinks anxiety and depression are myths and that church is the only answer.
She thinks the only reason people don’t like Donald Trump is because he’s against abortion and if it weren’t for that 100% of the populace would adore him.
I could go on.
Sometimes people even try to capitalize on their delusions. In another harmful example of people spreading false claims, let me introduce you to Belle Gibson. Belle, a now 30-year-old Australian woman, was a popular wellness blogger with over 300,000 Instagram followers. Her claim to fame was that after being given only four months to live, Belle miraculously “cured” her terminal brain cancer through healthy eating. She even went on to publish a recipe book called The Whole Pantry, detailing her “journey of self-education to treat herself through nutrition”, and create an app under the same name. Belle claimed that a portion of the proceeds from the book and app were going to charity.
My old boss at the time was a girl of 26 who got 4 million dollars from her mom a year to play with. Her mom is very wealthy in china. Her daughter is here trying to be a CEO of a company for funzies.
I accidentally got a job at that "company".
One days she told us we were all going on a group outting for bonding. She took us to an outlet mall four hours away. Told the rest of us 7 people that she was going to go shop and she'd see us later. That was code for don't follow me, f*****s. Every 2 hours she'd let us know she was going to go unload her bags to the giant van they rented and would group text us telling us we can meet her there to unload as well. We all get paid under 50k. We have nothing to unload.
By lunch she had proceeded to fill up the van with s**t. She then asks me where all my new stuff is and I said Im budgeting right now. She goes "take out a credit card and go shop! That's the American way!" Seriously. Ok.
By 9 pm her bags were taking up people's seats and they had to sit with her stuff. She spent 30k. The rest of us spent about 70$. We were tired and bored and cold.
To this day I still believe she thinks she did something nice for us, and doesn't understand how polarizing and not at all team bonding that was.
Had a friend who insisted she was in a relationship with a C-list celebrity whom she met once during a comic convention.
All the celebrity’s Instagram and twitter posts were for her and everything had a meaning behind it.
When the celebrity got married, she said that it was just for the media so she and celebrity could live a quiet life.
When he didn’t do anything for her birthday, she had a breakdown. She went to therapy not long after.
My SIL legit believes she’s a strong, independent businesswoman who owns three major businesses. She does three MLM gigs.
Everything came crashing down in Belle’s world in 2015, when she was exposed for faking the entire story and lying about donating to charity. She never had cancer, but she had manipulated millions into believing her claims. She remained in denial, however, even after the house of cards had crumbled. In her 2015 interview with 60 minutes, Belle maintained that having cancer was “her reality” and refused to give a straight answer to any questions, including how old she was. In September of 2017, the Australian government found Belle guilty of five breaches of consumer law and fined her $322,000, but nothing can make up for the precious time and energy those battling wasted trying to miraculously cure themselves through Belle’s methods.
I knew a girl who cheated on her boyfriend. When he found out, he broke up with her. She said "you can't break up with me, it has to be mutual."
The pastor of a small town church *insisted* that members set up the parish hall and provide food and beverages for 125 people after every Sunday service, even though the average attendance was only around 20 people.
Week after week, month after month, much food would be disposed of and large urns of coffee dumped down the sink - and all because the pastor was in denial about the reality of weekly attendance.
I worked as a tour guide for some museums in my area as a teenager. One of them was an old military fortress from the 1500s.
It had a wonderful view from up top, so we let tourists go up and take photos. However, we (the tour guides) also had to go up every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure there were no problems (like people going into closed areas or damaging the building).
Well, one day I go up for my shift and the first thing I see as I round a corner is a woman standing on the edge of a platform, eyes closed, arms spread.
She had her heels an inch or two from the edge, so if she lost her balance for even a second she would be plumetting down a very high building, right into the middle of a very busy road.
When I asked her to go down, she pointed to her boyfriend, who was taking pictures, and said that it was alright. As the one who actually worked there, and would be in trouble if someone died on my shift, I told her no, it was not fine.
She just looked at me as if she did not understand she could die by pulling a stunt like that (because gravity doesn't exist in her world) and only got down when I threatened to call security (we didn't have security, but I was just tired of her).
It's actually a real problem in my country with tourists, since a lot of them believe locals are "hiding" all the good spots for photos behind silly little "beware" and "do not cross" signs. And not, you know, trying to stop people from dying horrible deaths.
Mental illness can definitely be a contributing factor to people believing false ideas. In fact, “delusional disorder” is a mental illness where people cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. The Cleveland Clinic explains that, “People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated.”
I was a stable hand of a very upper tier barn in a wealthy part of the country. The staff have to sign non-disclosure agreements to protect clients.
On one particularly scorching July day, I overheard a client venting to another about how she was "incredibly stressed" and "going to have a mental breakdown" because her first choice catering company was all booked up for the weekend of her last minute yacht party.
I'm paycheck to paycheck and had probably a total of 3 days off since christmas. I would love for a yacht party to be my basis for a mental breakdown. Needless to say, the staff had a healthy chuckle on that one.
My parents' neighbour thought that her garden was too small for her sons to play in. So when she met my parents for the first time, the first thing she actually said was "Can you give me some of your garden so my sons have more space to play in?". Thankfully my parents just said no.
For context, they live in a very expensive neighbourhood where houses cost on average from £750,000 to £1 million. The gardens in that neighbourhood are a lot bigger on average than the majority of gardens in the UK. I've never heard a story of somebody being as painfully out of touch as that woman.
EDIT: There's a lot of comments from Americans clarifying what our gardens actually are. A British garden is what you guys call a backyard!
In college I had a roommate from the most sheltered part of Long Island. We met an exchange student from Switzerland and I swear to god she said this in complete seriousness: "Oh wow I didn't know people actually lived in Switzerland, I thought there were just banks there!"
While the Cleveland Clinic notes that delusions can be a symptom of more common disorders, such as schizophrenia, “delusional disorder itself is rather rare”. There are several different types of delusional disorder which all manifest in different ways. These types include erotomanic, grandiose, jealous, persecutory, somatic, and mixed. The disorder can also be caused by genetic, biological or environmental/psychological factors. The Cleveland Clinic adds that “people who tend to be isolated, such as immigrants or those with poor sight and hearing, appear to be more vulnerable to developing delusional disorder”.
I knew someone who unironically tried to convine that not only is Pokemon demonic, but they exist in real life and there are reported cases of then attacking and harming people
A friend posted on his story that he’s tired of seeing everyone posting bad haircuts on social media. Saying that since he has “financial stability”(Forex pyramid scheme.) that if they don’t have $30 for a haircut, they need to “re-evaluate their lives.” He had no clue these people were posting at home haircuts during a global pandemic...
Logan Paul thinking that putting up a video of a suicide victim was a good idea to his mostly child-to-preteen audience.
Yeah I know he apologized but the guy literally spent time editing the footage before uploading it, thinking it would be good idea. Wtf?
Whether it’s a lie we tell ourselves for protection or a false belief we’ve picked up from the internet, believing delusions can become a dangerous game. Being out of touch with reality can be anything from living an extravagant life unaware of those less fortunate to someone believing they’re the savior of our world. Enjoy reading the rest of these stories, and don’t forget to upvote the ones you find most fascinating. Then let us know in the comments if you have any personal stories dealing with delusional individuals and how you managed to keep yourself grounded.
I went to a private international school in London as a teenager, most kids there had parents working good jobs but in-between them were some filthy rich kids with parents in the oil industry or something similar.
In 8th grade we were talking about our easter break and my friend from Belgium was talking about how his family had decided last minute to go there over the break, but had decided to drive there because there were no flights available.
Then this Russian billionaire classmate of mine asked him "why don´t you take a private jet?". She was so clueless when we started laughing.
I'm fairly convinced that my current shift supervisor thinks anyone who works an overtime shift is doing it out of loyalty to the company, and not because of the 1.5x pay rate.
My boss's wife 28, she grew up in a wealthy family and married to a man who was 3rd generation owning the company he was in, they were a regional power, etc.
She was talking to a staff that in general - made 36K a year, mumbling about a staffer who was on his Honeymoon.
"Tennessee?! HA! Tennessee?!" She looked around the room for everyone to join in. "My GOD! How did she agree to that? We did Hawaii and that was *least* I told him was acceptable."
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