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  1. thelostpiscean
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    thelostpiscean New Member

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    A delusional character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by thelostpiscean, Jan 27, 2016.

    My protagonist is a character who is coming out of a marriage she has been delusional about in the past. Can anyone help me with the traits of a person who is delusional about a marriage, relationship or life in general?
     
  2. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    A delusional person isn't in doubt that he/she is right about their conviction. In fact, they might not think of it as a conviction, but a fundamental fact. That is also the reason why psychotic people will think you're crazy for doubting them.

    It is "believing your own lie" gone too far.
     
  3. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    This phenomenon may allow people to not be very scrutinizing of those they fall in love with:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_hypothesis

    This is a brief summary of a book that deals with common reasons people begin relationships that often end in a break up. Although I have some minor issues with the book, it is insightful and a bestseller I imagine to be at most bookstores.
    http://solutionsforresilience.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Ideas_Are_You_the_One.pdf
     
  4. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    They tend to defend their partners wrongs. "Yea, I know he picks fights, but he's so sweet to me the rest of the time!" "He beats me, but I know he loves me and we can get past this!"

    They tend to feel as if they are stuck. Often an abusive spouse will make their significant other not work as much so they are trapped in it.

    They also may not feel good enough about themselves after their absuive spouse making them feel stupid or less beautiful than other people.

    They find the person so incredibly beautiful physically they feel as if they'll never do that well again.

    They blatantly ignore all the wrong going on and just focus on the good.
     
  5. Sileas
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    Sileas Member

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    Sadly enough that first post half-describes a couple of my sisters. One of my sisters has I think dependent personality. She clings to others because she feels terribly inadequate on her own. I think there could be many interpretations of a character in this situation, but trying to keep in mind that this is a protagonist, I think the traits shouldn't be about weakness. She could have stayed because of money, or possibly saw this person as having social status which she shared by association. It could be that the ex had a mega-ego and finding yourself again would be hard--rediscovering who you are away from the ex's ego would possibly be intimidating.
     
  6. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    What exactly do you mean by 'delusional'? I think answering that question is the most important thing here. You can be delusional about literally any aspect of a relationship, doubly so once it's over and you don't have to be confronted by it's untruth.

    You could leave someone because you unfairly believe they aren't as committed as you, or you when someone divorces you you might equally delude yourself into thinking you did nothing wrong what so ever and it's all horribly unfair. You could believe your partner was abusive for shouting at you, forgetting that you always started the fight. Or you might even believe that a dreadful guy is the one and you'll never be so lucky again.

    Unless your character has a genuine medical condition (which is a whole other thing) honestly it's hard to find a way that the character can lie to themselves and it paint them in a positive light. It doesn't necessarily have to make her seem weak but the other options aren't much better. If someone else made her believe something then it's a totally different story; one about abuse and brainwashing, not one person with a weird perspective.

    If it were me and I had to pick one, I'd go with making her believe her former partner was 'the one' even after he met someone else. Yeah, that's a bit sad, and yeah that makes her come across as a bit needy and pathetic but at least it's something you can work with as a writer. It makes her a hopeless romantic and that's got a lot of scope. Perhaps her husband was her childhood sweetheart and a part of her just wants to believe that somehow it'll all work out. As her character develops maybe she gets over it, maybe not (if it was me I'd get them back together but that's just me), but it's something that's not just flat out horrible that she might want to hold on to even as she realizes that it wasn't true; something she can get over by just living life and meeting new people not by years of therapy. There's a certain quiet melancholy to the idea that she meets someone else but never quite forgets her first love that I find quite appealing.

    The thing that matters really is asking yourself why this character wants to believe something that's not true. That kind of sadly romantic stuff is something we can all sympathize with, even if we haven't directly felt it ourselves. If it's something darker (don't get me wrong, darker is a good time) then it's really hard for us to stick with her now she's out of the relationship. She might just about be guilty enough about something to pretend not but it's hard to imagine what about without getting mind-abusingly dark. I mean; yeah, she might lie to herself about her being responsible for their kid dying or something and her husband left her because she couldn't face up to what happened; but that's way past just deluding yourself; that's into repressed trauma stuff. And that's all fine and dandy but if that was the story you wanted to tell I think you'd already know it.

    So go for her believing something positive about her partner. Maybe she won't believe that he cheated on her? Or that she believe he'll still come back to her? Something that's sad but understandable and can be as big or small in your story as you want it to be. If it's just a little thing, no problem, if you want it to be a big deal she slowly has to work through over months or years, potentially damaging a bunch of other relationships with both new boyfriends and old friends who know the truth? You can do that too. So that's what I'd do.
     
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  7. thelostpiscean
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    thelostpiscean New Member

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    Thank you so much for all your comments. A few more details about my protagonist. She's in a relationship where she has invested so much emotionally that seeing the reality can completely wreck her. So holding on to illusions has become a way of life for her. She chooses not to see the reality because of the trauma she'll have to go through. Hope I make sense.
     
  8. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I read a book with a character like this once, but it involved zombies. The MC was pregnant when the zombie apocalypses happened. Something about being pregnant when the world ended made it possible for her to control and herd the zombies. The folks in charge needed to control her, in order to control them. She went loopy and lost the baby during apocalyptic chaos, but insisted that she had it, so they had to keep her in a supply of newborns to pacify her delusions and get her to cooperate in herding the zombies. The face that she was delusional really added to the book. I wish I could remember the title because her state of mind was done really well.
     
  9. thelostpiscean
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    thelostpiscean New Member

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    I would love to read the book. Please remember the name if you can.
     

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