Thought Manipulation And The Psychotic Mind

May 23, 2014 Dan Hoeweler

A common theme amongst people with schizophrenia is that our thoughts are being manipulated by unseen forces. We often find ourselves obsessed with the idea that our thoughts are being erased, inserted and manipulated. Psychiatrists consider these delusions particularly bizarre and to have no basis in reality. I would argue otherwise.

Our Thoughts are Manipulated, Sort of

Every day we are bombarded with commercials, political rhetoric and jargon from people who do not have our best interests in mind. They are used so that our thoughts, ideas and perspective will be fundamentally changed. If it was not for the newspaper articles, books and magazines that we read, our thoughts and ideas would be radically different. In this way our thoughts are constantly manipulated by outside forces.

The Psychotic Mind and Thought Manipulation

Average people recognize that our thoughts are influenced by things like ads, but the psychotic mind may believe in direct thought manipulation.People with schizophrenia take the concept of persuasion and misinterpret it in ways that are detrimental to us. We believe that our thoughts are directly being manipulated and that we are not in control of what we think, which could not be further from the truth. No one can force us to think in a particular manner, and yet we remain so convinced otherwise. When is it that we will realize that we are not slaves to our thoughts, but free think and choose as we please?

Thoughts are not objects that can physically be removed, made or rearranged by unseen forces. They are made through choice, experience and rationality. The world may seem more interesting if forces are implanting falsehoods in our heads, but this is simply a delusion that makes us miserable. Why we choose to destroy ourselves with falsehoods, I will never understand. Life is worth living, I choose to think this, and no government agent, thought ray, or alien being, could convince me otherwise.

APA Reference
Hoeweler, D. (2014, May 23). Thought Manipulation And The Psychotic Mind, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Dan Hoeweler

Leslie Rodriguez
January, 5 2021 at 10:43 pm

I would like to suggest a slightly different perspective. To the extent that our traumatic childhood (experiences) are forgotten and relegated to the realm of the subconscious, our (rational) choices are limited. Perhaps you have heard of the studies that have been done which prove that some of our fight, flight and freeze responses bypass the frontal lobe area of the brain which is responsible for (rational) thought. Experienced meditators can begin to control this and slow down the tendency of our animal brain to short circuit our more evolved brain. Meditation is a choice but the tendency of our biology is not. The potential of the human mind truly astounds me. I do not think that we purposefully destroy ourselves with falsehoods. Instead I think there could be a method to our madness. When trauma has occurred the mind attempts to make sense of it. If we lose our trust in ourselves, experience extreme shock and betrayal, lose sight of what is true and what is false; we experience extreme distress. Cognitive dissonance is terrifying and the mind and body always seek some form of balance, equilibrium (homeostasis.) For that reason, I suggest to you that perhaps a delusional person would rather believe in a lie if it can make some sort of sense to them. Perhaps they find patterns in their delusions and these feel safe. In other words, perhaps we would prefer a well defined lie over a truth we cannot comprehend. I came across your blog while researching the effects that cults have on people who are traumatized. My theory is that cult leaders are folks who have learned ways to manipulate vulnerable, traumatized, confused people by offering them delusions that feel safe. These are usually extremely rigid beliefs. In addition a dependency on the cult leader is created. This allows the cult member to stop thinking for themselves and they are spared a constant state of confusion. The thing that most fascinates me is the ways that humans seeking healing begin to outgrow cults and rigid belief structures. We often need help to do this but we can do it. Once our desire to live an authentic life overpowers our fear of disintegration, we can heal. I will never forget a quote I once read: " Everything that is alive is flexible whereas rigidity is associated with dead things." Thank you for your thoughts.

January, 6 2021 at 12:13 pm

Dear Leslie, Thank you for your comment. Just so you know, I didn't write the article you commented on--the person who wrote it hasn't worked here for years. But, in order to respond to your comment, I did read his article. When I first developed schizoaffective disorder, I was delusional. I thought I was being followed and I thought the voices I heard were real. I did not choose to believe these things. They were lies, but until the antipsychotic, I was put on started working, they were my reality. When the antipsychotic started working, I was able to see the truth: that my delusions weren't true and that they had been the result of an illness. I agree with you when you say, "I do not think that we purposefully destroy ourselves with falsehoods." The trauma I went through that led up to my psychotic episode was an emotionally abusive roommate situation, but my uncle also had schizoaffective disorder and I had a long history of anxiety and mood swings before the roommate situation so genetics played a large role. Maybe my mind turned to delusions so I wouldn't have to face the painful fact that I'd been emotionally abused, I don't know. But that was decades ago and I'm grateful for the life I have now. Best, Elizabeth

August, 21 2021 at 2:46 am

I didn't hear voices. I just had this sense that I was perceiving things, having visions and psychic perceptions, and a sense that I was seeing spirits. I thought that I could be experiencing some kind of psychosis, but in the end I chose to believe that what I was experiencing was real. I went on for three more years in a continual state of mild to severe psychosis before I finally had what seemed like a major detached episode. It was confusing but the thing I realized durring the episode was that everything I was perceiving was actually an echo of something that actually happened to me when I was a child. All of the "visions" I was having were subconscious memories of abuses I had experienced and I was projecting the memory of it onto people around me. I had one identifiable auditory hallucination durring that episode, but the thing was I had already remembered the memory of the thing actually happening when I was a child. The hallucination was the perception that someone I was living with was babbling non-sense in the hallway, but I remembered someone babbling the same non-sense when I was a child just a day or so before. I don't know why mind chose that scene to hallucinate, but thinking on it later, I see that all of the strange perceptions I was experiencing had their root I some subconscious memory. The episode was like my subconscious turning over. I called it a decompression because that is what it felt like my mind was doing. Like a cork popped off and all of the memories started bubbling up. I suddenly became aware of all the memories that we're fueling the delusions, and I became aware that much of the abuse I experienced was manipulative in nature. Litterally, my caregiver was messing with my head with hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion.
Just saying, maybe the perception of the mind being manipulated in some psychotic patients is more than just a fantasy delusion. It could very well be a repressed memory of the kind abuse they experienced.
And also, Jesus Christ reminds us there is an evil in the word. There is a devil, and he seeks to deceive and manipulate our mind. It is an unseen force, and sometime it controls the people around us. As for me, I believe it is real, and I believe Jesus Christ led me to an understanding of what was actually happening in my mind.

August, 29 2021 at 8:57 pm

Dear SD, Thank you for your comment. I am glad you were able to find a way to an understanding of what was actually happening in your mind. Best, Elizabeth

Misty Weathersby
May, 20 2016 at 10:06 am

Well I have been with my boyfriend on and off since December 31, 2014. He is schizoeffective, bipolar, manic and it has been a trying battle for the both of us. I love him with all that I have left in me and I feel he loves me too but sometimes I wonder. What I'm asking is there someone I can talk to or good books that you know of that could help me and or the both of us in helping me to understanding his mental illness. Thank you and looking forward on hearing back from you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 5 2018 at 6:00 am

YES I DO!! Omg only if this wasnt from 3 years agO fml

December, 29 2014 at 5:11 am

they are watching us. they can change our thoughts. they do change what we think. we are like sheep to them. you have no idea. they are controlling all of us.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 25 2018 at 3:17 am

But reality is your fear is just being manipulated. Ignore it and you'll be good. Focus on life. The scary stuff is an illusion, don't fall for it.

Kunal Chatterjee
May, 31 2014 at 10:47 pm

Thanks Dan. Being a father of a girl who was first diagnosed as Schizophrenic in January 1985, I have better understanding of the mental torture she has been going through for nearly last 30 years. What a waste of life ! She was a hugely talented girl.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dan Hoeweler
June, 4 2014 at 7:33 am

It's tough. Nice to help some.

Lisa Silver
May, 31 2014 at 4:27 pm

People never choose to be an addict/ alcoholic & ruin their lives either. It happens.

May, 31 2014 at 3:35 pm

Thank for sharing your experiences. It is much easier to understand different illnesses by hearing a description from the person who is living with it.

May, 29 2014 at 5:23 am

Funny how you start off and recognize that our thoughts are being manipulated by the media in various ways. And then you lose this train of thought and start that no one can force us to think is a different manner....
I think you were much more on the track at the beginning. Those who feel much more sensitive to the changes in our thoughts, and much more vulnerable to the manipulation of our thoughts may over react and maybe react differently then the majority.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dan Hoeweler
June, 4 2014 at 7:34 am

Thanks for the comment.

May, 28 2014 at 7:44 pm

Hi Dan,
I agree with you. The schizophrenic mind perceives differently the thoughts. And I believe we are more aware of the influence of media and surroundings.
Out of curiosity sometimes I have the impression that I receive messages. I check the owner and then, well I speak to the person that I can trust of course and they ask me how you know that.
Well welcome to my world. I can perceive a lot of thoughts and emotions, and even I can receive images. My most difficult task is to find the owner and understand the message.
The most common feedback I have received: It is a gift! You should develop it. Or mistrust.
Sometimes I am just tired of this gift. It requires lots of effort to deal with my mind besides takes a lot of my energy and focus. Not always I can distinguish between my thoughts and someone else.
I can do it easier with animals as they express themselves like 'someone has stolen her bone' than I know it is my dog worry with me after I have been robbed.
But yeah why not to perceive it as a gift and not as a torment.
I am looking for people with similar abilities.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dan Hoeweler
June, 4 2014 at 7:35 am

Never really had those thoughts towards animals. I guess it is different for everyone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 16 2018 at 1:11 am

Thank you for explaining it so clearly. I receive information too. It scares people. I call it my superpower.

May, 25 2014 at 5:21 pm

My daughter is in the rare group of childhood on-set Schizophrenia. Sometimes it is hard to argue that her thoughts are not manipulated from somewhere. Some of the things that have come out of her mouth she was not exposed to in our home. She tells us they are trying to change the way she thinks. For the last 6 months she has been telling us they are going to make her body stop moving.
But I do see where the TV is influencing Her reality. One day when she was 11 she ran through the house saying George Lopez (a beloved TV show that she had spent the summer watching re-runs of) was following her with a video camera recording everything that she did. for the first year of the illness she believed that all the stars in Hollywood thought bad things of her and hated her because of George Lopez. Even thou she had never met him.
And that was the day that our family was forever altered.

Leave a reply