By Craig Childress, PsyD
Let me provide you with a little language option when discussing the persecutory delusion with other people – you can also refer to it as a “thought disorder” – as a “distortion to how the person perceives and interprets situations.”
The persecutory delusion is the label – the thought disorder is the description of what it is – a distortion to the way the person perceives and interprets situations – a thought disorder.
It’s caused by unresolved trauma. The unresolved trauma distorts how the person perceives and interprets situations.
They perceive threat where no threat exists – that’s the persecutory delusion – the belief that other people are motivated by a malevolent intent – a “wish to do evil” to them, or to the child.
The unresolved trauma distorts their perceptions and interpretations. When the distortion is severe, it’s called a thought disorder. This specific type of thought disorder is called a persecutory delusion.
The parent’s distorted perceptions are being imposed on the child, creating a shared delusional belief – a shared thought disorder – in supposed “victimization” by a “malevolent” parent.
That’s not true. The targeted parent loves their child. They’re not a malevolent threat to the child – that’s crazy. It’s called a thought disorder.
It has its origins in the unresolved childhood trauma of the parent. It is then being imposed on the child through aberrant and distorted parenting practices (called pathogenic parenting – producing pathology in the child).
It’s also called “the transference” – i.e., the transfer of childhood attachment patterns to current relationships.
Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857