41 thoughts on “Religion and Mental Illness – How we define “hyper” religious and what does that mean

  • September 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    watch my video oil and gas on youtube under my name it is awesome. and tell me if mental illness is connected to religions altough to be fair i would say it is a blindness to reallity now if that is mental illness then yes

    Reply
  • September 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I have often thought that parts of the Bible – like the book of Revelation was written by a person with
    schizophrenia.

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    • September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      that’s a very interesting comment and prespective. if parts of the bible were written by someone with schizophrenia, then that mind set and use of language would speak to like minds.

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      • October 6, 2014 at 6:30 am

        I doubt that the Book of Revelation was written by a schizophrenic, schizophrenics that I’ve met don’t believe in God, the ones I’ve personally met believe in Governmental Conspiracies and Aliens.

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      • December 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm

        I’m not so sure it’s useful to speculate on the mental status of those long dead, especially when they lived in a completely different time and culture.

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  • September 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    If their religiousness harms people- others or themselves- it is a mental illness. If it in some way disrupts their lives, or disrupts the lives of others. I do think that mental illness can make someone super religious, but I also think that super religiousness could lead to mental illness in vulnerable individuals. I think it’s depends on biological and environmental factors.

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    • May 26, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      AMEN TO YOUR LAST COMMENT!!…
      “Super religiousness could lead to mental illness especially in vulnerable people”

      Reply
  • September 19, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Surely any kind of religious belief, or even certain kinds of respect for the religious belief of others, are forms of mental illness.
    – How can it be that if you claim to hear voices in your head telling you that Jesus is your saviour, that is considered perfectly normal, but if you claim to hear exactly the same voices telling you to dance naked down the street you are considered a lunatic?
    – How can it be that EVEN NON-RELIGIOUS people support the right of others to cut bits off children’s genitals, and that is not considered to be abnormal or concerning in any way?
    – How can it be considered normal for 40% of Americans to refuse to accept overwhelming scientific evidence, and believe that 1,000,000 BC with Rachel Welsh was a documentary?

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  • September 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Good question. I know some people that are ultra religious and have mental problems. Is there a connection? I can’t help thinking that if a person is told every day that they are a failure and not worthy, then this must affect them mentally. There is no capacity to think rationally in both cases. I would say “definitely”, but that’s just an observation.

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  • September 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Jesus advocated hyper-religion. His constant obsession with religion and refusing to avoid crucifixion and rioting in the temple proves it.
    Jesus went as far as to say that God must be loved with all the heart (emotions) and our entire being. Thus we must value people only for his sake and not for their own. Love your neighbour does not mean you are to love them for their own sake but for his. Only a psychopath could manage that and it is extremely abnormal. The Church says that loving your neighbour is not about how you feel about them but about how you act towords them. But we need to be liked … what kind of morality is that? If you think God talks to you, the notion that he comes first forces you to obey him no matter what harm is done. Think about that!

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    • February 4, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Plain and simple, if what you think you are hearing does not line up with the word of God,it’s not God. God would not tell anyone to kill because it is against His Word.

      Reply
  • September 19, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I can sum it up this way, for me. When I meet with a new therapist I say “I’m an atheist, I do not believe any evidence exists of a creator. But, when I become manic, I’ll become a Christian again.” Even good therapists struggle to get me to question my beliefs when I’m manic because they don’t want to seem as if they are attacking a religious belief.

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    • September 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Carolyn,

      What a coincidence! Here in Spain, where half of the country is hyper-religious, I see therapists from this half that automatically assume that you see things the way they do.

      The following link isn´t totally connected with this topic, but I think it has some relevance:

      http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/187

      Reply
    • September 19, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Yes! I am an agnostic, but the more manic I get, the more religious I become. I’ve joined a flexible, liberal, Christian church denomination that accepts me whether I’m questioning or feeling very close to God. When I’m agnostic, I go through the motions and feel like church is good for me, like going to the gym. When I’m hypomanic, at times I will “feel the spirit” so strongly I cry or feel warm butterflies inside. I’ve gotten manic before and thought that God was talking to me through the music on the radio, but that was before I started getting treatment.

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      • September 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm

        I love your honestly and you truly provided further insight into my blog that is crucial to understanding the correlation to mental illness and religion… thanks you!! awesome, erica

        Reply
  • September 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I think religion can make children very fearful of committing a sin and going to Hell.I used to be like that…it was terrifying.Then i thought,if God is like that I don’t want to know Him/Her.I just trust I’ll be ok now

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  • September 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Someone told me that if you are schizophrenic, you have, at one time or another, thought you were God, Jesus or Satan. That would also cover hearing these voices.I have met some hyper-religions people. The worst, I think, were in college. I didn’t know enough then to even guess at their mental health status but some of them were rather – unusual.I have a dear friend who has become a Jehovah Witness. She does think, somewhat, for herself, which is a blessing, but otherwise she gets all the answers from authority. Given her background, if anyone should have a severe mental illness, it would be her. Actually, I think she does, but it doesn’t stop her. She has had a tough life and that is the key to her ability to function.Spirituality is definitely a part of recovery, but the connection with God appears to be looser than most religions. Not any less deep though.

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  • September 20, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Delusions, schizophrenia and paranoia (feeling you are being watched) certainly play a role in religious belief and I would add that many religious practices amount to little more than culturally endorsed OCDs (prayer five times a day, washing feet before praying, feeling something bad will happen if you do not pray or if you indulge or do not indulge in particular thinking or behaviours etc.).

    Reply
  • September 21, 2012 at 11:30 am

    This is a great topic, and one I have thought about often, both from my own experience and from the people I have met while working in the Mental Health field.Personally, I believe that “hyper” anything can be dangerous in vulnerable people’s hands, and it is even more confusing when, as I do, utilising a Holistic Healing approach to Wellness, as that requires balancing the spiritual, emotional, physical and cultural aspects of oneself.How an outside observer can know for sure whether someone is experiencing “hallucinations” or supernatural phenomena is something I am very uncomfortable with, and as all diagnosis is done this way, fraught with peril frankly.I have always felt that if particular beliefs aren’t actually harmful, then that is nobody elses business, but if they become an obsession that’s another story-but after all, people can obsess over just about anything, so religion isn’t really to blame I don’t think-everything in moderation is the key.

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    • June 26, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Yes, this is a great topic and a great bunch of people I’d love to be able to talk to. I come from a family where everyone (in my immediate family) is schizophrenic. I know it is not fashionable anymore to accept the idea of a “schizophrenogenic mother” but I have one. She has traditionally been the only “sane” person in the family and the rest of us, eventually, become schizophrenic. It is my belief that mental illness is a safety mechanism, a sort of tool the mind uses to reconcile the attempts at mental imprisonment and mental control when one is raised with torture in a prison camp-like setting. I had brief periods of respite from my mother when she had the company of extended family members outside of the immediate family to occupy her and I was able to function like any normal happy person: attending to my higher education (under mother’s control education and a career was forbidden), living in a clean and beautifully decorated home, enjoying good friends and hobbies. I tried to be the kind of mother to my children who was the antithesis of my mother, and since my children still love me I consider myself relatively successful at that. I held a number of jobs in the medical information field and spent a dozen challenging and happy years as a hospital administrator. I am very grateful I was allowed to experience all of that. But eventually as my mother’s outside interests and friends died off one by one, I would be pulled back into her sphere of control. I was raised in a generation that enjoyed zombie movies of a different sort than the flesh-eating ones popular today; the zombies of my time were humans whose minds were stolen by a witch, like my mother. That kind of person, I propose, could be considered a schizophrenogenic mother, one who controls what you eat, what you do, and especially what you think. I believe that the functionality of religiousness exists in the human mind for a purpose. It is a place of refuge where existing beliefs can be brought before a judge, where a suffering soul can find a champion to defend them from their persecutors, Where a pure soul who seeks only truth will find a sponsor, and perhaps a savior within themselves. The saviors and prophets of old religions still have validity because they provide a template, a roadmap, a paradigm to follow for others so inclined to examine the much vaster internal worlds of their human experience. Could this be an explanation for why the (saner-acting and -thinking) average human only uses a small fraction of their mind? I was raised as Catholic from my father’s side, and I prayed myself to sleep under the covers as a child, fearful that the devil would come for me for my sins while I slept.
      From the time I was 10 and throughout my adolescence I would go to the early mass alone and sit with the nuns for spiritual protection. Even as I did that as a child I studied the witchcraft, folk and fairy tales of old for clues into the nature of my mother. I found those clues in personages such as the Russian fairy tale witch Baba Yaga as well as the witch from Hansel and Gretel. Someone who eats children. As far as witchcraft spells go, they also use the same mental mechanisms that are used by the hyperreligious. But are these things effective? Why do the people who are given the diagnoses of schizophrenia, mania and OCD spend so much of their valuable human lifetime engaged in spells of protection, divination, clairvoyance, and hope for a better humanity? I can speak from direct experience that this is not a fun lifestyle. It sucks in fact. I would rather go fishing with hookless bait or flea marketing in the sunshine than stay stuck in a dirty house that hasn’t been cleaned in a year so that I can overcome my revulsion for beautiful, loving things in the natural world like dust mites and silverfish. So why hasn’t evolution and nature weeded people like this out? Perhaps it is because in some way we can assist nature and by assisting nature we can assist the growth of humanity. Before the modern age, people like us were respected and our words were listened to as gifts from the nonordinary world. Some were even written down and contemplated for generations. Schizophrenics like to speak in riddles because it leaves room for individual interpretation. This is because schizophrenics know that diversity is the essential driving force of matter and it will not be stopped, so it is best to coax it along in a gently engendering direction.

      Reply
  • September 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    My boyfriend claims he can’t love me because God will not allow him to love (he hides our relationship). Says I’m perfect, but God just won’t let him love me. I have always been good to him yet he treats me as though I’m non-exstitant and talks horrible to me. He has claimed for sometime now that he is lost. That God has chosen him to be on a mission, but is frustrated because he doesn’t know what the mission is. God speaks to him (he actually hears the voice). He displays weird behavior especially when he drinks. I’m trying to understand this. I don’t want to doubt him, but I often wonder if these are signs of a mental disorder rather than than God actually sending him on the spiritual adventure. He has always kept me in his back pocket treating me badly and everyone else good. I don’t understand.

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    • September 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      it sounds like he is using god as an excuse to treat you poorly… deny your relationship etc.. this is not healthy and his weird behaviors is something to be concerned about and look into.. whether or not he hears voices of god talking to him doesn’t excuse his poor treatment of you.. you deserve better then that and if he truly hears audio hallucinations that is something to be concerned about.. there are several forms of mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders… which can possibly a disease he suffers from. you should seek help for your own well being..therapy. it sounds like he leans on god as an excuse for all his cruelness. that is not what god is about so it sounds like a lot of BS. he is manipulating you and by leaning on god as a pathetic excuse is not right. get out..e

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    • December 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      so Dick Cheney heard “voices” telling him how to get millionaire contracts … ok

      Reply
    • June 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      He acts this way because he is unprepared in life for your type of love and thus really unable to love you back in the way that you want to be loved. Most people are confused by love because it means something different to every single person. But usually when love involves two people, love is perceived as the feelings we want to feel from the person we have chosen to provide us with those feelings. People tend to treat love with the same economic attitude that they do work and money, namely, “I will directly get something back for what I have given”. Maybe the person gives sex, maybe attention, maybe food or other basic need. So they expect to get their sexual, attentional, and basic needs met in return. But since love is a feeling, and not a commodity, people frequently find themselves in despair, wondering what they are doing wrong. But in fact, what they are doing wrong is expecting love to conform to their own needs and wants.

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  • September 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    He tells all his friends he has “powers”. They all think he’s crazy. I’m the only one that will listen to him, but I’m the only one he gets mad at. And to make it worse I just found out I’m pregnant. And he is trying to make me abort it. Stating I will never make it to heaven if I have it because I have to go through him first. So he has discussed his “powers” and being on a “mission from God” with others, but only takes out his aggression on me. That’s why I feel there is more to it than just “not likeing me”.

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    • January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Run!!!

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  • May 7, 2013 at 1:24 am

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to
    your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    Reply
    • May 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

      I use Godaddy.com. Thanks for your input on my blog.. religion is a sensitive topic for most 😉

      Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 6:09 am

    So because you grew up in a Catholic upbringing and believed in God at some point you appear to think that makes you an expert on actual Christianity is. Real Christianity is a relationship. Here’s a parable to illustrate my point.

    I was walking down the street the other day and saw a woman admiring a car, I said ‘Amazing engineers’ and she said ‘No it self assembled due to Natural Selection over Millions of Years.’ Now I then said to imagine there was an engineer who made the car, and that he wanted to have friendships with people who like his creations, and that you can call him anytime you like off the inbuilt phone system within the car. She said no I don’t believe in the Car Manual.

    Will you give the Car Manual and the Engineer a chance?

    Please take a chance to invite Jesus into your life.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2014 at 6:15 am

    I read the moderation guidelines just now and I think my first post may not be allowed. Below is what I choose to say instead.

    ‘The comments here appear very one sided.’

    Reply
  • December 6, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I see a strong correlation between *hyper-religion* and mental illness that is for all practical purposes power oriented. The dysfunctional individual has a need to legitimize fundamentally flawed behavior. Religion gives anyone an opportunity to do that. Power in this case is brought about by agreement on one hand to legitimize forceful behavior on the other.

    The dichotomy of victim-victimizer is played out in the minds of the dis-functionality faithful while a subjunctive tone of *good and evil* filters out personal accountabilty. The believer does not need to be accountable to those they harm (including their self), but instead is *forgiven* or punished by their mentally-private god.

    Any religion that closes off and boxes up the truth is no religion at all and is in fact a cult. The opposite is true for a good belief system that opens up the practitioner to the truth. Self-reflection, honesty, and truth are the gifts and tools of being and staying whole as a human being.

    Any religion can produce fanatics by closing itself off from the world. Fundamentalist communities often times use a bait and switch tactic to attract and keep followers. They appear to have arms wide open, but once they get theirs hands on *raw material* in the form of a prospective convert they then proceed to cultivate and groom their thoughts by playing upon and building up fear. Mentally ill people make great targets for such enterprises.

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    • June 26, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      I agree and I would recommend that treatment for a violently oriented hyperreligious person should involve ramping up their evolution along the cosmic wheel, which will eventually return that person to a place of goodness. This person should be reminded that the god force is the culmination of everything that ever was and ever will be and all of this was made for every one of us, is in every one of us. God’s messengers are tasked with knowing evil but not acting on it. God’s messengers must know evil so that they can use it to prune their own thoughts of evil, not to do evil to others. This action is against the all-loving, all inclusive god. Our thoughts help god to make the world; practice good hygiene and keep them clean and we can make a better world. The cosmic wheel includes both good and evil at opposite ends and everything that ever existed lives on the cosmic wheel. It is the mentally ill’s person’s responsibility, especially, to act in accordance with god’s wish for the greatest diversity. It is the mentally ill person’s responsibility to learn to love all religions and act in accordance to none.

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  • March 7, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I would like to start off with the fact that I am atheist, so my view on this may be different than a religious person’s. Please hear me out though because I see nothing wrong with religion so long as it does not effect another living being or oneself in a negative way, you may believe what you want to believe. Anyways, I work at a mental health hospital in southern USA, so I have seen many people who are hyper religious. They will read their bible, pray, speak in “tongue”, “cast out” demons, etc 24/7 for days, weeks, or even months. That is literally all they do. Some won’t even eat or shower. THIS is a problem. These are obviously very extreme cases and it is a spectrum. My question has always been “when should you take the bible away?” As I see it, religion can potentially be a good thing in moderation. However, so can drugs such as pain relievers. BUT, when one becomes addicted to pain relievers, they need to be taken away and substituted with something less harmful. When religion becomes an “addiction” or a problem, it needs to be taken away and replaced with a less harmful substitute. What that is? As an atheist, I say learning to believe in oneself and becoming more empowered through oneself rather than a higher power. But that is just my two cents.

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    • March 7, 2015 at 11:42 am

      I forgot to mention how obviously controversial taking a bible away would be due to “freedom of religion”. It makes our jobs much harder and they stay sick for much longer.

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    • March 7, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks Kay. You might be the only one out of a very few that actually understood points of my article. e

      Reply
  • October 14, 2015 at 1:29 am

    I personally have dealt with two parents that suffer from this mental illness called religion. My mother has always been a “good” born again Christian. She had some revelation at 27 and has been completely obsessed with God ever since. Not a sentence goes by that doesn’t mention Jesus or at least corrolate to her beliefs in some way. My Father on the other hand who is bi polar to the extreme is also very into his brand of extremist Christianity. He has a we are in the end times kind of beleif. That all man is Evil. I believe he uses this as an excuse for his abuse of our entire family. As well as others. Man is fallen. There is no point in trying to fix the world’s problems cause we’re all going to hell in a bucket anyway. Cause everyone is evil. He is just so lucky cause he is part of the few that get to go to heaven. I most definitely think it is mental illness. The earth is 5000 years old? God came down to earth as Jesus so he could let us murder him? And a hundred more ridiculous claims. I have witnessed radical Christian right wing crap for 30 years. It is nothing but broken lonely and usually weird people. I wonder how my own life has been tainted by my exposure to this obvious nonsense. I feel I was robbed of my real parents in a way. The ones I would have had had they never come into contact with this religion. I briefly believed before my teenage years, before I developed my critical thinking and came to understand how much bullshit is shoveled to the public by the powers that be on a daily basis. I would say this. Lying to large groups of people like cities and countries is nesessary. Can you imagine if the the gov. Actually told the truth to its citizens? It would be chaos. Sensible social lies have been around for a good long long time. Although with the apathy level of this county I doubt there would be enough people that would even give a damn if they were to admit to the atrocities they have and continue to commit Religion is just one more lie that was made to control people and to rob them of their free will not to mention ten percent of their paycheck tax free btw. (Tithing) A tip people. Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see. Good luck people. Much love. –David

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  • November 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Hi,

    I have been reading through this topic page and it fascinates me in regards to how there seems to be mass confusion between Demon possession, mental illness, hyper religiosity and true faith. I can say that for myself I was a victim of hyper religiosity but there were many things leading up to it. I’m doing some personal research and a research for an argument regarding the difference. To add that I was also suffering PTSD with added symptoms but now I am on a great road to recovery. IF there is anything that I can say that mental illness may have in common to some extent it is the argument of having a sound mind and fighting fear in itself. Also, “stinky thinking” play a significant role in the mental health of the person and sometimes we confuse these realities with our religious or faith based teachings. Bi polar disorder can play a huge role just like Schizophrenia can impact our lives. So I am glad I came upon this place. If you would like to hear my personal journey with this I would be more than happy to share with you what helped me, how I coped, and where I am now in life. I hope to hear from you and keep reading for my research.

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I am currently undergoing an incredibly stressful living situation with a woman in the throes of religious mania and apparent psychosis. She has been my friend for five years, and we decided to move into a house together with our children recently, my one child, her two, to split the exorbitant rental costs in our area, after we both divorced. Within two weeks of moving in all hell broke loose. She forbid me having guests, particularly my long distance ltr, a man I’ve been dating a while. A good kind gentle man. A man she had never met. She had delusions about him being harmful and dangerous to her children, and was invoking god and hysterically screaming at me that he was forbidden. She forbid him even coming when our children are with our exes, on nights that it is just she and i. She went so far as to say that anyone I wanted to come to our home had to be interviewed first by her off site. I fought her on it, demanded she seek help.

    I’ve lived here three months now with her and have been terrified to have anyone to my home. I’m terrified of her. She listens to sermons and religious podcasts constantly. She has not spoken a word to me since that evening when she went beserk about my planning on having a guest, and I was firm with her. Not a word. She literally pretends I don’t exist. It’s spooky and bizarre.

    I finally invited my boyfriend to my home the other night after three months of living in fear. I knew she would pull something, but i had no concept of how bad it would actually be. She parked herself right outside my bedroom in the common area and blasted sermons and religious music at us for three hours. Three hours under siege as she sat there rocking and singing about Jesus and eternal life… He and I couldn’t even have a conversation, it was so loud and assaultive. I cried at times and he held my hand. We waited it out, for all those hours, as I believe she was attempting to provoke him into a response, and had we said a word, the police would have been called. We gave her nothing. She was trying to drive us out. We stood our ground. Did not fold, and did not react.

    Her parents will not listen to me. Her sister contacted them about what happened, and they are in denial. They think I am persecuting her for her faith, saying, she has a right to worship in her own home.

    What? Worship? That was not worship. Please. They are also religious, normal relgious, and are afraid to intervene. Her sister actually tried to help me and came over, interrupting her siege, and my friend began screaming “Leave this home in the name of Jesus!” Her sister cannot get anyone to listen. She saw it all and is being black listed for speaking truth.

    It is disgusting, it is chaos.

    This is what untreated religious psychotic breaks can do to the lives of those around the sufferer. The thing is, despite the veneer of god, and goodness, there is a dark line of cruelty and abuse in the disorder, a holier than though “me against them” mentality that can erupt into sudden violence. I’m a hard working, emotionally stable single mother and I now live like a frightened animal, bullied and tormented in the name of the lord. Their delusions cannot be challenged, and lies and manipulation of others into the circle of insanity is rampant. She has even begun involving our new neighbors, who are also christian, normal stable christians, into her campaign of terror on me, having them over the following night to “protect” her from me. They have no idea that she is religious hypo manic yet, that she is a psychotic, and they believe that I am romantically involved with a dangerous person, and that I am persecuting her for her love of god. That I am bad. They may figure out soon enough that she is delusional, but in the meantime, I walk in fear and shame, afraid of her parents, afraid of the poor well meaning neighbors, and very, very afraid of her.

    Four years ago she snapped as well, and became convinced by some bizarre religious Internet group that a tsunami was coming to punish sinners and cleanse the earth. She packed her car and kids and fled our seaside town on the designated evening. This episode ended her marriage and had her temporarily lose the bulk of custody of her children. She stabilized. Kids back. But she continues to struggle and now this latest psychotic break, with her fear being focused this time on a gentle man she has never met.

    I have nowhere to go for help, as I believe she is dangerous and am afraid of retaliation in the home if I speak out or act. I cannot move out, having spent thousands to move in with her three months ago. I fear for me, my cat, my child, her children…every day is a nightmare. I tried speaking to her the other night for the first time since she forbid me guests months ago during that bizarre blow out, as my boyfriend was on his way and I was scared.I begged her not to do anything to us, to get help, to stop carrying on. She turned on a religious hymn on her phone in response. Refused to engage me, and began singing and rocking in the kitchen. My boyfriend pulled in the driveway and I couldn’t let him come in. I was devastated, angry, afraid. He took me for a ride and after a half hour we finally dared come back to my house, and the endless madness began. I couldn’t even show him where I’ve been living. We just sat on my bed together, being tormented, as she carried on outside my door, sometimes involving her children, gathering them around the table, forcing them to sing… It was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever been subjected to.

    I have no idea how to stop any of this. How to help her children. It’s one thing if I tell people she believes my boyfriend is an alien, quite another to try to explain obsessional delusions that involve a bizarre fear of evil people and fear of harm. People want to help those in what appears to be realistic crisis, and are prone to believe a woman who says she is afraid of a strange bad man. A woman who lies and says she was just worshipping in her home.

    It’s mind blowing how she has entangled others in the insane web of her latest religious mania, and how I am in the bullseye. I never thought I’d be the target of her delusions. However, knowing of her struggles previously, this is all on me now. I signed up for this- it is entirely my fault. But when those in hyper religious mania stabilize, they can convince you it never happened, and you forget, because they seem so normal. She was fine until june. Summer appears to be her trigger-perhaps this is the case with others.

    Hopefully I’ll make it out of this, and someone will help her poor children, as I cannot get involved with reporting her behavior around them while still living there, not without opening myself to lord knows what kind of danger and revenge. The kids are being put through hell. My damage is beside the point. I’m a big girl. It’s her children who will be truly damaged, their lives forever altered by the mania they are forced to see and participate in. It’s awful. I feel for anyone who has to endure this.

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    I am currently undergoing an incredibly stressful living situation with a woman in the throes of religious mania and apparent psychosis. She has been my friend for five years, and we decided to move into a house together with our children recently, my one child, her two, to split the exorbitant rental costs in our area, after we both divorced. Within two weeks of moving in all hell broke loose. She forbid me having guests, particularly my long distance ltr, a man I’ve been dating a while. A good kind gentle man. A man she had never met. She had delusions about him being harmful and dangerous to her children, and was invoking god and hysterically screaming at me that he was forbidden. She forbid him even coming when our children are with our exes, on nights that it is just she and i. She went so far as to say that anyone I wanted to come to our home had to be interviewed first by her off site. I fought her on it, demanded she seek help.

    I’ve lived here three months now with her and have been terrified to have anyone to my home. I’m terrified of her. She listens to sermons and religious podcasts constantly. She has not spoken a word to me since that evening when she went beserk about my planning on having a guest, and I was firm with her. Not a word. She literally pretends I don’t exist. It’s spooky and bizarre.

    I finally invited my boyfriend to my home the other night after three months of living in fear. I knew she would pull something, but i had no concept of how bad it would actually be. She parked herself right outside my bedroom in the common area and blasted sermons and religious music at us for three hours. Three hours under siege as she sat there rocking and singing about Jesus and eternal life… He and I couldn’t even have a conversation, it was so loud and assaultive. I cried at times and he held my hand. We waited it out, for all those hours, as I believe she was attempting to provoke him into a response, and had we said a word, the police would have been called. We gave her nothing. She was trying to drive us out. We stood our ground. Did not fold, and did not react.

    Her parents will not listen to me. Her sister contacted them about what happened, and they are in denial. They think I am persecuting her for her faith, saying, she has a right to worship in her own home.

    What? Worship? That was not worship. Please. They are also religious, normal relgious, and are afraid to intervene. Her sister actually tried to help me and came over, interrupting her siege, and my friend began screaming “Leave this home in the name of Jesus!” Her sister cannot get anyone to listen. She saw it all and is being black listed for speaking truth.

    It is disgusting, it is chaos.

    This is what untreated religious psychotic breaks can do to the lives of those around the sufferer. The thing is, despite the veneer of god, and goodness, there is a dark line of cruelty and abuse in the disorder, a holier than though “me against them” mentality that can erupt into sudden violence. I’m a hard working, emotionally stable single mother and I now live like a frightened animal, bullied and tormented in the name of the lord. Their delusions cannot be challenged, and lies and manipulation of others into the circle of insanity is rampant. She has even begun involving our new neighbors, who are also christian, normal stable christians, into her campaign of terror on me, having them over the following night to “protect” her from me. They have no idea that she is religious hypo manic yet, that she is a psychotic, and they believe that I am romantically involved with a dangerous person, and that I am persecuting her for her love of god. That I am bad. They may figure out soon enough that she is delusional, but in the meantime, I walk in fear and shame, afraid of her parents, afraid of the poor well meaning neighbors, and very, very afraid of her.

    Four years ago she snapped as well, and became convinced by some bizarre religious Internet group that a tsunami was coming to punish sinners and cleanse the earth. She packed her car and kids and fled our seaside town on the designated evening. This episode ended her marriage and had her temporarily lose the bulk of custody of her children. She stabilized. Kids back. But she continues to struggle and now this latest psychotic break, with her fear being focused this time on a gentle man she has never met.

    I have nowhere to go for help, as I believe she is dangerous and am afraid of retaliation in the home if I speak out or act. I cannot move out, having spent thousands to move in with her three months ago. I fear for me, my cat, my child, her children…every day is a nightmare. I tried speaking to her the other night for the first time since she forbid me guests months ago during that bizarre blow out, as my boyfriend was on his way and I was scared.I begged her not to do anything to us, to get help, to stop carrying on. She turned on a religious hymn on her phone in response. Refused to engage me, and began singing and rocking in the kitchen. My boyfriend pulled in the driveway and I couldn’t let him come in. I was devastated, angry, afraid. He took me for a ride and after a half hour we finally dared come back to my house, and the endless madness began. I couldn’t even show him where I’ve been living. We just sat on my bed together, being tormented, as she carried on outside my door, sometimes involving her children, gathering them around the table, forcing them to sing… It was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever been subjected to.

    I have no idea how to stop any of this. How to help her children. It’s one thing if I tell people she believes my boyfriend is an alien, quite another to try to explain obsessional delusions that involve a bizarre fear of evil people and fear of harm. People want to help those in what appears to be realistic crisis, and are prone to believe a woman who says she is afraid of a strange bad man. A woman who lies and says she was just worshipping in her home.

    It’s mind blowing how she has entangled others in the insane web of her latest religious mania, and how I am in the bullseye. I never thought I’d be the target of her delusions. However, knowing of her struggles previously, this is all on me now. I signed up for this- it is entirely my fault. But when those in hyper religious mania stabilize, they can convince you it never happened, and you forget, because they seem so normal. She was fine until june. Summer appears to be her trigger-perhaps this is the case with others.

    Hopefully I’ll make it out of this, and someone will help her poor children, as I cannot get involved with reporting her behavior around them while still living there, not without opening myself to lord knows what kind of danger and revenge. The kids are being put through hell. My damage is beside the point. I’m a big girl. It’s her children who will be truly damaged, their lives forever altered by the mania they are forced to see and participate in. It’s awful. I feel for anyone who has to endure this.

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  • October 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I think this is a very timely piece as hyperreligiosity is something that we are only now coming to think of as a ‘real’ thing – a mental illness. It also has startling ramifications when we begin to think about matters taking place on the world stage and that brings with it a certain taboo which we must work on lifting if we are to give people the help they need and not demonize them.

    I just wrote a blog piece https://therapyjourney.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/toxic-faith-the-traits-of-hyperreligiosity/ on some of the defining characteristics of hyperreligiosity which I hope will be useful for those who want to know about what this condition actually is, from a lay person’s point of view (i.e not a mental health professional, but someone who has done their research and used R. S Pearson’s book as a reference).

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  • March 17, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    For 10 years now I have dealt with my son, diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and later schizoaffective disorder. His is the hyper-religious sort, and I can affirm that it came from nothing. It is the manner in which his brain disorder manifested and that is all it is. He is compliant with his medications and still believes firmly that God and Satan talk to him. He has been to heaven and to hell. He once was granted the power to destroy the world. and did so. He has a “time distortion” where years can pass as he waits to see his psychiatrist. He has time-traveled too.
    Every month he has several small psychotic breaks that he calls episodes, where the chaotic thinking of his psychosis overwhelms him. These can be severe of sort of mild episodes.
    I attend twice monthly support groups where many others share their experiences with their loved ones.
    Hyper-religiosity is but one manifestation and a fairly harmless one in many cases but not all, of course.
    As new people come in and discuss their loved one they can fall into “categories” of ideation. Some have surveillance delusions, which lead to tin foil hats being discovered sooner of later. Some are quite grandiose–imagined celebrity or marriage to a celebrity, billionaire status, etc.
    Some few came up with their own diagnosis and successfully undergo treatment and are in much better condition.
    Most seem to continue denying the condition.
    In any event, the prevalence of these disorders have absolutely nothing to do with the thinking or status of the family as pertains to religion or any other issues. They famously are what they are.
    Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims and everything else can fall into these disorders. Also Democrats and Republicans and every other part of any political spectrum.
    Something inside the brain is “broken” and there is a difficult journey for all of them and their individual support system to reach a better place for them, and in my experience it is not a perfect place. My son remains incapable of working but not sick enough to meet criteria for inpatient treatment.

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