The following can indicate a delusion:
- The patient expresses an idea or belief with unusual persistence or force.
- That idea appears to have an undue influence on the patient’s life, and the way of life is often altered to an inexplicable extent.
- Despite his/her profound conviction, there is often a quality of secretiveness or suspicion when the patient is questioned about it.
- The individual tends to be humorless and oversensitive, especially about the belief.
- There is a quality of centrality: no matter how unlikely it is that these strange things are happening to him, the patient accepts them relatively unquestioningly.
- An attempt to contradict the belief is likely to arouse an inappropriately strong emotional reaction, often with irritability and hostility.
- The belief is, at the least, unlikely, and out of keeping with the patient’s social, cultural and religious background.
- The patient is emotionally over-invested in the idea and it overwhelms other elements of their psyche.
- The delusion, if acted out, often leads to behaviors which are abnormal and/or out of character, although perhaps understandable in the light of the delusional beliefs.
- Individuals who know the patient observe that the belief and behavior are uncharacteristic and alien.
Additional features of delusional disorder include the following:
It is a primary disorder.
It is a stable disorder characterized by the presence of delusions to which the patient clings with extraordinary tenacity.
The illness is chronic and frequently lifelong.
The delusions are logically constructed and internally consistent.
The delusions do not interfere with general logical reasoning (although within the delusional system the logic is perverted) and there is usually no general disturbance of behavior. If disturbed behavior does occur, it is directly related to the delusional beliefs.
The individual experiences a heightened sense of self-reference. Events which, to others, are nonsignificant are of enormous significance to him or her, and the atmosphere surrounding the delusions is highly charged.
The above could almost describe Karl to the letter.
The only real quibble I have with any of the above is: the notion that the delusion(s) – and resultant behavior(s) – are somehow “out of character” for the victim.
Quite frankly – at least in Karl’s case – he is literally nothing more than a bundle of mental problems:
- Compulsive hoarding
- Persecutory delusions involving (but not limited to): The “Illuminati”, his parents, the “malevolent entity” he – supposedly – “detected” by means of his EVP “research”, Project Monarch, etc.
- His dogged refusal to ever seek psychological counseling/help of any kind (because he thinks they would “chemically lobotomize” him, because he “knows too much”.
- His incessant yip-yap about “drawing a line in the sand” (IE: eventually having to shoot his way out of what would otherwise be a routine traffic-stop).
- His weird fixation with the notion that the “Cosmos” is trying to communicate with him – by means of an inordinate number of burnt-out license plate lights.
- His screeching tantrums when challenged on any of the above.
I could go on, but you get the idea: Karl is so irremediably psychologically fucked that he is almost incapable of actual functioning in Reality. The only thing that keeps him from completely going off the deep end is his extreme paranoia and utter cowardice:
- His extreme paranoia/persecutory delusions ensure that only those unfortunate enough to be “close” to him are privy to his deluded babbling.
- His total cowardice ensures that he will (most likely) never escalate to the point where he would end up emulating Bill Cooper – and going down in a hail of bullets as a result.
Realistically, the only thing most people see is: a dumpy, rather frog-like individual with a 3-stoogest haircut and “fashion sense” straight out of a bowling-alley, driving around in a rusted-out shitbucket of a jeep, or lurking around the Wal-mart parking lot.
They’ll never find out about the myriad of storage-units crammed with the detritus of decades of hamfests. They will also never go inside his trailer to see the other morass of such debris.
Only those stupid enough to actually waste time attempting to “befriend” him will ever encounter the real Karl: a compulsive harder with a myriad of other delusions which are so firmly entrenched that the merest dissent – no matter how timorous and carefully-phrased it might be – will inevitably be met with screeching tantrums about how “That’s just what ‘they’ want you to think!”
Quite frankly, I genuinely hope the stupid dickhead enjoys wallowing in his own filth.
Such a fate is richly deserved.