“Imagination rules the world” is a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte and I can’t think of a truer phrase from many years of observations of human behavior when working in private practice. Many clients with severe emotional problems are literally governed by an imagination that is fully out of control. This is especially true of jealousy issues I referred to recently, but also OCD and other such “stuck states” Sometimes the client can exhibit overwhelming signs of paranoia and it’s not uncommon for such cases to believe that “everyone is out to get them” or in cases that they are even being followed. Sometimes such individuals quote other people’s experience as their own to the extent of relating stories as if it were their own experience. In these instances, the client’s imagination truly “rules their model of their world” and of course there is literally nothing you can say or do that will convince them otherwise. In many ways this is an excellent example of hypnosis in action on either an individual or group basis. The person’s world has shrunk to a tiny little box and they seek attention from others (and often get it) which again reinforces the perception. They essentially become status seekers, endlessly wanting to “belong” to a group or have some perceived role in life that gives them a sense of self importance…
Status Seekers and Group Identity
Such types yearn for what they perceive to be “status in life” and truly would like to belong to any club that would accept them as a member! Most such individuals have little creativity, but instead seek to emulate others and/or seek “status by association” with those they perceive as “important”. This often leads to seeking group identities where they can “feel safe’ where their perceptions are not challenged by others. Often such characters talk endlessly about “groups” and being part of a group, usually when they perceive themselves to be high up on the pecking order! Essentially this behavior is an attempt to boost an imagined low self-esteem.
Often such people are never genuinely happy, despite their best efforts are often “pleasers” who crave attention, so they can feel valued. The age for such individuals can vary, but is typically 25 – 40 and in the era of digital communication, often such people’s brains are literally out of control communicating without realizing or thinking about subsequent consequences and inevitably find themselves in problematic situations. Standard hypnotherapy can work well with such client cases, but Provocative Change Works in my experience works extremely well, but sometimes it can be hard work if the client is seriously delusional. I have had clients who fall into this category and who insist that their view is the only one that counts! Many such individuals come from foster home backgrounds and seek out parental figures for reassurance, often moving from one profession to another but due to poor concentration rarely develop solid careers. They also can often get into trouble in a professional capacity as they have poor communication skills which result from constantly mindreading what they imagine others may be doing!
Group Imagination in action
The challenge for any therapist is that they actually believe the delusion and often individual cases can spiral into group activity. It’s not dissimilar to cult like activity where the group literally is “so certain” of what it imagines to be true that everything that doesn’t fit is deleted. Once a member leaves the imagination of the rest of the group predictably goes into overdrive. In such group situations this can produce a fanaticism which clouds individual discrimination and people find themselves “ruled by group imagination” which rules the group’s world. This reminds me of the emperor’s new clothes syndrome where nobody dare question what has obviously quite ludicrous, but of course it’s the therapist’s job to o do so and Provocative Therapy and Provocative Change Works is excellent in provoking different responses.
A Personal Example
Over the years I have personally experienced this behavior which often comes in the form of accusations where because a person imagines something to be true they claim it to be FACT! Such characters never contact in person to ask if there is an issue but instead start making proclamations which of course suggest that they have such a level of importance that people would want to communicate with them in the first place! Here’s a recent example that prompted this blog
Here’s one recent ludicrous exchange from someone running a personal development group
“We are at a loss as to why you are wasting time sending us alias e mails. Can you please grow up and stop wasting your time and ours.”
Here is part of my reply
I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
With respect I have a very busy schedule and have far better uses of my time. It’s also very rude to start accusing people of such behavior simply because you imagine this might be the case…”
My advice if you are on the receiving end of such behavior is to send a short clarification to put on the record what is actually happening. It’s wise to keep a record of all such communications as if such status seekers start making public statements you may need to seek professional recourse if this starts to question your professional standing as a practitioner or therapist.
I don’t think Napoleon saw private clients and my own imagination does indeed wonder what he saw and heard that prompted this quote…
Mr. bear says “Imagination rules the world”