Reactions to stress vary greatly person to person but his are unusual. Believing in demons and goddesses suggest the possible development of paranoia and delusions — symptoms associated with psychosis. Psychosis is a break with reality. It can happen apart from more serious mental illnesses or it can be a sign of the development of a serious mental illness. Only time will tell which one may be the case.
It is also important to say that I only have a limited amount of “second hand” information about this case, so I cannot know with certainty if he is experiencing psychosis. I would not “confront” him in any manner because a confrontation suggests something jarring and negative. It would be better to suggest that he seek treatment.
Of course, a therapist will attempt to determine the difference between delusion and reality. Put a different way, the therapist will attempt to determine false beliefs from reality. What is real and what is not real? There either are gods and goddesses and demons or there are not. If there really are demons then there would be nothing unusual at all about one hiding in a dark corner. If there are not demons then logically, none could be following him or hiding in a dark corner of a room. But if there are demons, as he believes, then why would it be unusual or delusional for one to be followed by a demon?
Do you recognize the dilemma that a therapist would have in this situation? The therapist cannot accept the legitimacy of demons and goddesses and the efficacy of wandering a room and then deny them at the same time. A therapist must constantly challenge false beliefs. For instance, if someone believes that they will die if they leave their home the therapist will challenge that belief. The therapist will need to prove to the client that their fear is not founded in reality. If the client claims that it is their religious belief and that their fear of leaving the house is founded soundly upon religious beliefs, the therapist will nonetheless need to prove those religious beliefs to be false.
I hope you understand what I’m telling you. You need to believe only that which is real. You are never entitled to believe something to be true without proof that it is true. If you do not know if something is true, then you do not know if something is real.
In reality, you are not entitled to believe anything that you choose to believe. That applies to absolutely all areas of life. You are not entitled to believe that anti-freeze, is good for your health, even if it is a part of your religion. Why do I say that you are not entitled? Because no one is entitled to disagree with what is real. There will be a penalty to pay. Anyone, who partakes in a refreshing 16-ounce glass of antifreeze for its healing and medicinal properties, even if the ingestion of such is highly recommended by one’s religion, will be severely punished by reality. That punishment, is usually violent death.
Reality does not take second place to religion. Is this last example too extreme, too ridiculous? Of course not, that’s exactly what happened in Jonestown, where religious followers drank poison for their religious beliefs.
Please allow me to be as succinct as possible. If it’s okay with you for your boyfriend to believe in demons, then why isn’t it okay for him to see them? I wish you both the best of luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle