Liked and Crazy

I wonder about the crazy people on the streets, the ones who talk to themselves. Are they really crazy, or is their reality so different from the reality they live in that they don’t know which to believe?

One of the girls in the group has taken on the “nerd” role. She’s a really nice girl and I don’t know what she’s like outside of this program, but she talks all the time. It’s hard to have a conversation because of the subjects she chooses to talk about–they’re often very abstract, and have little meaning. Is this terrible of me to write about this on my blog? I don’t mean any disrespect or even to talk about her behind her back–I was only trying to make sense of something:

What happens when one person’s reality is ignored or disregarded by others in that reality? If reality is more or less a collective hunch of other people’s opinions, then is it fair to say that a reality of disregard and indifference directly affects the person’s sanity? Consider: studies show that a child who grows up in a home with little to no encouragement and plenty of demeaning insults will have some sort of self-esteem issue. That child’s only reality is rejection and insults. The child will also not assume anything is wrong with his homelife until he compares it with other children from loving families. What then? I see two paths: either the child will seek to please others (teachers, other parents, etc) just to get compliments, which will eventually help his self-esteem, or he himself will reject the “evidence” of his abuse and convince himself it is merely coincedence that other families are like each other and not like his.

If, hypothetically, a person chooses the second choice (even though I think the first is most likely) he will believe the lies for himself, that he really is stupid, or a waste of time, or worthless scum. This becomes reality.

Also, I have in mind a similar case that happened to me when we were missionaries in Mexico: I tried so hard to get the other children to like me, but it was difficult to speak the language, and everyone laughed at my accent. I reverted to talking to my stuffed animals. They didn’t laugh at me. They loved me. They always wanted to hear about my day, and they always understood how I was feeling when the other children made fun of me. During that time, I also started talking to myself a lot. I think this is because I desperately wanted someone to ask my opinion, or to ask what I was thinking about. I believed that if I talked quietly out loud, someone would take an interest and ask me what I was saying. I never talked about anything important–I just talked. Most of my subjects were very abstract and hard to follow. Once someone did respond to what I was talking about, I just wanted to have that person listen and agree with everything I said. Perhaps this was a reaction to the negative response I was getting.

I feel like this is more or less the same situation with the girl from the group. It’s weird to see it from the other side.

So, crazy people: are they still just crazy?


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