A friend and I were hanging out one day and she decided to tell me that she is part hellhound. Thinking she was playing around, I laughed it off. Deciding to ‘play along’, I asked her how she knew. She replied by saying that someone told her this, apparently these ‘special beings’ could detect other special beings (something of the sort). I asked her whether she really could trust the words of some person and she apparently can. This was a few weeks ago. Recently, I asked her again whether she seriously thought she was part hellhound and the answer was the same. I’m not sure whether she is simply pulling my chain or not but it seems as though she’s serious. Any advice on how to handle this would be wonderful, please and thank you.

A. With regard to how to handle the situation, there is little that you can do. You can listen and attempt to provide evidence to disprove her delusion but it may be ineffective. By definition, a delusion is something that someone believes despite there being evidence to the contrary. No matter what you do, it’s possible that she will not believe you.

You might recommend that she receive a mental health evaluation but you must be careful about how you make the suggestion. You don’t want to be unintentionally offensive. You must be quite sensitive because merely suggesting it may be construed as offensive by many people.

You might want to try something like this: “I am concerned about you. You believe in ideas that are untrue and I am worried that something may be wrong. Would you consider seeing a mental health professional? I’ll be here to support you.”

You may consider speaking to one of her family members about your concerns. Perhaps they could convince her to see a mental health professional.

You’re right to be concerned. Her ideas are not reality-based. All that you may be able to do in this situation is listen. Try to convince her that she should consider professional help. Try speaking to her family. After that, there is little else you can do. You can’t force someone to think differently or to seek treatment, even if it is clear in your mind that treatment is warranted.

I hope this helps. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog