After I felt God touch my heart and heal my soul, I looked at many things differently. I could see more clearly how my life experiences affected my desires and relationship with others. I realized that just as a black hole’s gravitational pull distorts space and time as objects approach its event horizon, similarly, our emotional black holes distort our perception of reality, creating delusions regarding our personal identity and our emotional needs. Additionally, the stronger the pull that these holes have on us, the greater are our delusions.
No one is in a position to judge another person and discount the pain they feel. These comments regarding delusion and victimhood are for self-examination and should not to be used as a tool to judge or denigrate anyone else. They are intended to help those who are stuck in a victimhood, or other deluded states of mind, find the desire and strength to escape its crushing grip.
Our sense of self is the primary thing that becomes distorted. We develop superiority or inferiority complexes, which lead right into our three innate fears: abandonment, loss of value, and lack of control. Our erroneous self-image and these fears generate a deluded sense of entitlement and a need for validation. All of these issues produce dysfunctional behavior that leads to pain and heartbreak.
Because we are so focused, without even realizing it, on filling our own needs, our perception of reality gets distorted. Most people develop a deluded sense of value or insignificance, which creates an unhealthy sense of entitlement or need for validation, putting stress on interpersonal relationships. Many studies show that most individuals think they are smarter, better judges, better drivers, better you name it than most other people. Pride surely distorts reality and hinders our acceptance of Christ. It is impossible to look up to God while we are looking down on others.
We typically hide from our own deficiencies with pride. We view ourselves as being morally superior to others. We convince ourselves that we are right while others are wrong. We view others as inferior, less capable, and even irrelevant. This delusional perspective greatly infects our society. One glaring example is when an international law firm got into trouble for referring to their junior associate attorneys as FRUs, which was an acronym for fungible revenue units.
The more pride we have, the more we see it in others because we view others as inferior. So naturally, we are annoyed by the pride we see in them, but the pride we see in others is generally a reflection of our own. When we feel resentful because we think someone else feels they are better than us or when we feel we are better than others and look down on them, even if we think we are just feeling sorry for them, we are almost always demonstrating our pride and are out of touch with reality to some degree. This pride is a distortion of truth that blinds us to our own faults. Pride invariably creates tension in dealing with other people, making it even more difficult to deal with life’s challenges.
A prideful person usually views the world as a competitive endeavor where one needs to be on guard, fearing that others are trying to deprive them of status or possessions that they rightfully earned due to their superior intellect, effort, or lineage. This attitude creates barriers to connecting with other individuals and the development of love, which is how we primarily realize joy and fulfillment in life. It is an interesting paradox that the more we view ourself as superior or more important than others, the more we feel isolated, detached, and alone. This drives a greater need to prove one’s self-worth. This loneliness contributes to an indifferent attitude toward others and more dysfunctional behavior, leading to even greater loneliness. And thus, the cycle continues as the gravity of our emotional black hole sucks us further down into a solitary world of misery and despair.
This competitive view of the world leads some people to attempt to do grandiose things without the resources to succeed, and when they fail, they become angry and blame others. It is never their own fault because they feel that they deserved to succeed. They view the world as a troubled place that needs them, and if others do not accept them or their efforts, then it is the fault of those people or other persons. Interestingly, even if one succeeds with these endeavors, this sense of pride increases at the same rate as the indifference and disdain for others, again drawing the individual further away from true fulfillment and joy in life. Regardless of the outcome of their efforts, someone with a superiority complex is usually impatient and easily irritated. This is a key sign we can look for during honest self-evaluation to identify our subconscious pride.
Pride’s opposite twin is an inferiority complex. This delusion inflicts more people that we realize. Some people even fluctuate between feeling pride and worthlessness as they spin around their emotional black holes. Many individuals view themselves as not as good as other people and as deficient in some manner. Often, they believe that life dealt them a raw deal because of the circumstances of their birth, upbringing, or unfortunate events in their lives. They may feel that they are broken, from either some innate flaw or an exterior force. Conversely, they view other people as blessed or privileged and feel jealous. They generally see life as unfair because others have more advantages than they do, and the whole world is against them.
Consequently, they are susceptible to depression and feeling that they are helpless to change their fate. They withdraw from society and then complain that people ignore them. They generally beat themselves up for the slightest error and feel that they are failures. Worse, sometimes they feel that they are completely insignificant and irrelevant. They may become hypersensitive to certain situations or personality types. They may find it hard dealing with individuals who are authoritarian or be hypersensitive to criticism. These perspectives, attitudes, and actions typically result in a defeated, bitter disposition that alienates others, reinforcing this delusion of being worse than other people. Subconsciously, however, they realize that they really do have value, so they feel a need to combat their feeling of worthlessness, sometimes by being extreme or through other inappropriate means.
These two delusions regarding our self-worth contribute to the growth of our innate fears of rejection, loss of esteem, and lack of control, which are created by a loss of love. Our distorted self-image and these fears create the deluded right of entitlement and the need for validation. These needs affect both those who feel they are better than others and those who feel that they are inferior, but for different reasons. Regardless of the cause, the effects are typically the same.
People with an unhealthy sense of entitlement believe that they deserve more either because they think that they are better than other people or because they are trying to counterbalance a feeling of inferiority. In both cases, they feel deprived and mistreated if other people do not accommodate their delusion. They feel unappreciated for their efforts and contributions and direct their ire at this perceived slight toward those who do not share their delusion, claiming that they are ungrateful or evil. They resent those who they feel deprived them of their fair share. If someone does not agree with them, then that person is an ignoramus or, at a minimum, grossly mistaken. There is little room for differences of opinion. When society does not cater to their demands, they claim that the world is unjust and demand immediate change. If they do not get what they think they are owed, they become upset and insist on enforcing their perceived rights. Indeed, over the years, I have discovered that most bullies feel they are victims. Regardless, the delusion that we deserve more creates disappointment, driving us further away from the path to happiness.
The need for validation and to be recognized results from an arrogant person counteracting the gnawing subconscious suspicion that they are really not better than other people or someone with an inferiority complex striving to prove that they actually do have value. They generally view themselves as fake and are worried that they will be found out. They are uncomfortable around people who are genuine and often feel the need to denigrate them. They often feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed out. This is because they are always onstage performing to the audience around them, so they can never be themselves and relax. What makes this even worse is that they typically view the world as judgmental, constantly looking for them to mess up. Of course, this is natural because that is generally how they look at others. Consequently, they have a difficult time enjoying life in such a dangerous world.
We find what we look for. If we look for differences and deficiencies in other individuals, groups or things, we will find them. If we focus on these differences and deficiencies, then that will become all we see, transforming this person, group or thing into an object of hate and fear. However, as we look for the good in others and the world around us, our love and understanding of these individuals increases, creating greater unity and harmony in our life.
One of the greatest delusions is victimhood. It afflicts those who feel that they are better than others and feel deprived of the honor, respect, and benefits they deserve. It likewise afflicts those who feel that they have minimal value and are victims of the plethora of problems they deal with.
Everyone has and will be a victim of wrongdoing, and some, unfortunately, will suffer horrendous evil and trauma that may take a long time to recover from. These individuals need our compassion and understanding.
A victimhood state of mind, however, is a very seductive and destructive delusion. It is so seductive because it provides such an easy excuse to not perform. Victimhood alienates its prisoners from others, including loved ones who desire to help them. Indeed, they often view an olive branch extended in love as a threatening club, so they retreat further into the lonely darkness of their misery where they perceive offences where none is intended.
The allure of victimhood seduces many who are not grounded in truth to wallow in self-pity. The pit of victimhood has no bottom, and it becomes a very dark place, making it even more difficult to see reality, increasing their pain and delusions. When we look for offense, we will see it, even if it is not there. However, if we look for love and support, we will find God’s love and recognize the support he offers us, typically through those around us, and sometimes even through those we are shutting out of our life.
Unfortunately, victimhood is celebrated and encouraged by some segments of society today. Because we are social creatures, we value the importance of getting along with others. However, the death of God gave birth to moral relativism, with tolerance becoming the ultimate societal virtue. Consequently, when someone expresses an opinion or moral value different from someone else, the “offended” party feels that their perceived rights have been violated and are justified in striking back to protect their right to undisturbed comfort in their delusional world. This distorted worldview exacerbates cultural and political conflict as various groups battle to claim possession of the societally approved orthodox position on any number of issues so that they can then use the force of government and social pressure to silence all dissent. This dynamic has turned the virtue of tolerance into a sword of intolerance that is used to slay all opposition.
Much of current psychology and counseling advises people to immediately confront those who offend them and then write them off if they don’t conform to their expectations. Certainly, it is best to face and deal with abusive and truly destructive behavior. However, this approach too often leads to adults demanding that the universe revolve around their deluded view of personal rights and needs like spoiled little children. This leads to greater distortions of reality, more conflict, irrational expectations, and ruined relationships.
To the extent that we allow God to fill our emotional black holes, we are able to see reality more clearly so we can better distinguish between abuse and mere perceived offense, intended or otherwise. We are able to act like adults with the power to distinguish which wrongs are worth bothering with and which ones we should just leave on the side of the road of life as we move on to enjoy a brighter future. As we deal with and overcome the personal delusions caused by our emotional black holes, we become less hypersensitive to perceived offenses. Instead, we become more patient, long-suffering, and forgiving. We are able to build stronger relationships and attract rather than repel others.