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Reality Check: How to Deal with People Living in a Fantasy World

This one's a little tough... Like navigating an emotional landmine in a non-reality-based universe, where the rules & goals keep changing - level tough. Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who seems to live in a world that is completely disconnected from reality? It's difficult to connect and you're not sure whether to play along or run?!

Where it gets even dicier is when they're not quite that obvious. The person who is talking about what's going on with them lately, sometimes it's all the great stuff they're doing, or all the accolades & opportunities coming to them because they're so amazing. The person who's always on the precipice of "something big" - always... Or it can go the other way where the world is so dark, or mean, or sneaky - they're doing "everything they can", but the world just keeps handing them challenges (or worse).

These folks can be hard to read, particularly if they're more subtle in their delivery. Either way, as you chat with them, you realize can't tell what's real, what's an exaggeration, or what is complete fabrication?!

Whether they are a friend, family member, or colleague, dealing with people who live in a fantasy world can be challenging and exhausting. These types of people can often ignore facts, twist events to fit their narrative, and resist change. Let's explore some strategies to help you navigate your interactions with people who live in a fantasy world while maintaining your sanity.

Don't Take Things Personally:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when dealing with people who live in a fantasy world is to take their behavior personally. In most cases, their delusions and skewed perceptions have nothing to do with you. Instead, understand that their reality is based on their own experiences and emotions. When they say or do something that doesn't make sense, don't become defensive or engage in an argument, instead acknowledge their perspective and move on.

Set Boundaries:

While it's important to be understanding and compassionate toward people who live in a fantasy world, it's equally important to protect yourself from their negative energy. Setting boundaries is key to maintaining your mental and emotional balance. This can mean limiting your interactions with them, carefully selecting topics of conversation or even avoiding certain situations altogether. It's crucial to remember that you cannot change others, but you can control your responses to them.

Be Empathetic:

It's important to understand that people who live in a fantasy world often do so as a coping mechanism. They may be trying to avoid pain, trauma, or they may be struggling with mental health issues. Being empathetic toward their situation goes a long way in establishing a healthy communication pattern. Show them that you care about their well-being, listen to their stories, and try to understand their perspective. Doing so can create an opening for meaningful conversation and a chance to express your concerns in a non-threatening way.

Don't Enable the Fantasy:

If you want to help someone who lives in a fantasy world, you must understand that enabling their behavior isn't helping. In fact, enabling behavior can exacerbate the situation, leading to more delusions and unhealthy thought patterns. It is important to call out false information kindly and offer alternative perspectives while being mindful of their fragile state. Encourage them to seek help from professionals, challenge them to reflect on their thought patterns, and expose them to a reality not distorted by their perceptions.

Practice Self-Care:

Finally, it's important to look after yourself when dealing with people who live in a fantasy world. Interacting with those living in their world can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, so it's essential to make self-care a priority in your life. Whether it's practicing yoga, going for a walk in nature, taking the time to read your favorite book, or simply taking some time for yourself can help you recharge your batteries and be in a better headspace to handle the challenges present in your life.

Dealing with people who live in a fantasy world can be a challenging experience, but it doesn't mean that you have to suffer in silence to protect their ego. It is essential to understand that their behavior is linked to their unique experiences and that your reactions to their attitude control your psychological state. Setting boundaries, maintaining your own sanity, being empathetic, avoiding enabling behavior, and making self-care a priority are all strategies that will help you navigate your interactions while building a healthy relationship that benefits both sides. Remember, by helping maintain a piece of reality in their life, they will be better equipped to navigate the world they live in, and you can potentially have a genuine relationship with them not based on false pretenses.

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