Grandiose Claims/Beliefs About Self - What Sort of Disorder is This?

In my freshman year of high school, I met a guy named Aaron who was clearly delusional. He claimed to be the CEO of a major internet provider. He told me that he knew everything. To test him, I asked him what Hyperlexia was. He it was similar to Hypertension - oops.

He told me that he uses twenty percent of his brain, unlike the usual ten (perhaps he uses twenty percent as opposed to the usual hundred - the “ten percent” thing is a total myth). He told me that he solved NASA’s hydroponics problem when he was in elementary school.

There was no indication throughout any of this that he didn’t mean to be taken seriously. I do not know whether or not he believed it or if he was intentionally trying to deceive me, but he said it all with a straight face. It was not some subtle form of humor. He wasn’t being a jokester or anything like that.

What kind of personality disorder could he have?

Major Idiocy Disorder.

Or perhaps Narcissistic personality disorder? IANA mental health professional. I’m a guy with access to Wikipedia.

The manic phase of bipolar disorder will cause grandiose delusions.

Pathological liars will make such claims without any delusion of their being true.

I have access to Wikipedia and I’ve stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. (I’ve also worked in a mental hospital and group home with pathological liars; one claimed to be a two star general in the CIA [work that one out if you can] and another- who had a history of petty theft and juvenile delinquency- was, when he told it, something akin to Don Corleone with millions stashed offshore and in graves all over the city.)

I can’t tell from your post if Aaron was your age or not. It really makes a big difference, I think. For an adult to tell lies like that one would have to conclude they were either stupid to the point of being retarded or delusional. But lots of 13-14 year olds are profoundly ignorant. Couple that with someone who is a pathological liar and it doesn’t seem surprising they’d come up with such seemingly delusional claims.

Most children that age might know better, but I don’t think it’s extreme for a 13 year old to think being a CEO is a realistic lie. Lying about using double the normal brain capacity actually strikes me as very similar to the type of lies children that age told me.

If he were 13-14 years old I’d say it sounds more likely he has a problem with lying than a problem with delusional thinking.

I concur (and I have [del]six[/del]eight Ph.Ds and was a psychiatrist for many years in [del]New York City[/del]Vienna).

I once knew a guy like this, though he never quite reached the CEO / CIA General stage. He’d often claim to have covered distance in his car (a clapped out Volvo 144, IIRC) at impossible speeds: Burlington VT to Boston in 1:50 was one I recall.

Another interesting aspect was that he’d react to video game feats as if they were real. Seeing some cartoon character leap over a building was to him as impressive as seeing (live) a 105-yd kickoff return.

You know, I was just discussing this subject the other night, with my wife: Morgan Fairchild!

Yeah, that’s the ticket…

Noter to self, Fairchild

I once employed a woman who told fantastic untruths. The wild thing was, initially none of us realized her tales were bullshit! The tales became more and more fantastic, then one day we realized they were all falsehoods. After we knew she was nuts, we just sat back and enjoyed the tales as one would when listening to a storyteller.

Worked with a guy at the Armored company. Keep in mind that this was an $11.00/hour job.

Claimed to have been a tour bus driver for Kenny Chesney.

During firearms certification, claimed to have been an Army Sniper.
At the range, it became glaringly obvious that he had never handled any kind of firearm in his entire life.

Always had some big story, some big claim.

His name became synonymous with a big grandiose and utterly bullshit bald faced lie.

Tried to impress one of the tough old guys, our MECHANIC, who was coming up on 40 years with the company, by trying to diagnose what was wrong with a truck just by the sound of the engine. If that wasn’t enough, tried to tell the guy how to fix it. Very lucky he didn’t end up stuffed in a box for that one.

We’d hear him telling these grandiose stories of fictitious experience over the phone to prospective employers once he started looking for a job.

When he finally left, he was trying to tell everyone that he’d gotten a job as a fleet manager for a large trucking company.

Can, not will.
Recently minted PhD’s also seem to come down with a case of grandiose self beliefs with alarming frequency. Fortunately most of them get over it in a few months.

Just wanted to add my story of idiot psychos.
I was training a new security guard about 10 years ago. He had the crappiest pair of boots on that I had ever seen.
I took him on a tour of the property. Before we got 50 feet from the office, he told me that he had been a Navy Seal or a Green Beret, I can’t remember. Before we got another 40 feet, he asked to borrow 2 dollars for something to eat. Before we got finished with our tour, he told me that he was a special pet of John Gotti (this was in the hotbed of Mafioso activity, Oklahoma City), and that Big John hated rats, that’s why Sammy the Bull had been killed.
When we got back to the office, he, another security guard, and I were sitting around. He then got up, marched over to the phone, called somebody and started talking about moving back 40 divisions, etc…
He then hung up, pointed to the phone and announced “I was talking to a real general!”

I finally got to go home for the evening, and from what I hear, he kept up the good stories for the remainder of the evening.

I wondered if he was delusional, or if he thought that he was impressing anybody. Of course, if he thought that he was impressing anybody, he *was *delusional.


I’ve been around veterans and wrestlers (two different groups) telling horror stories when I swear in their eagerness to top each other they at least drifted into this territory. One that I know for a fact really did survive a fall from a chopper in Vietnam (a fall of about 30 feet) in the course of an evening quite literally elevated that to more than 100 feet, while another survived a fall from a chopper AND took out six Vietcong with his teeth practically. Wrestlers are notorious exaggerators, though I’ll admit a couple of the more extreme stories I’ve heard did check out (i.e. there were reliable witnesses or news accounts).

Of course the Kristen Wiig character who one-ups everybody on SNL is just a modern day descendant of my grandmother’s Competetive Physiological Nightmares group from when I was a kid. These were old Baptist Ladies who met to play a form of pity poker where one would lead with “I had the gout in my toe so bad the other night I thought I was gone die!” which would be met with an “I’ll see your gout and raise a kidney stone” and go around the table until not one of them didn’t have at least some condition that either “the doctor said it was the worst one he ever saw in his life and was near to tears when he told me” or “hospital said wadn’t nothin’ they could even do, it was beyond their powers”. Sometimes it would be flashbacks. “Childbirth nightmares- distended uteruses are wild, Joycelyn leads”- “When my Karen was born it was a dry birth on the hottest day in August and I was in labor for 16 straight days and on two of 'em they pronounced me dead and embalmed one my legs 'fore they figured out I wasn’t” which would lead to “…and when the twins Billy and Bobby came out they had to bring in a chainsaw, six nurses, two Jew obstetricians all the way from Memphis, had me cut near in two like a magician’s assistant, transfused sixteen gallons of blood into me, Bobby weighed eighteen pounds and Billy weighed nineteen pounds twelve ounces and they had to get twelve women from over in the prison to come nurse 'em and I didn’t wake up for six weeks” or something not much more exaggerated (and “had to call in a Jew obstetrician” is an actual line I remember- not antisemitic so much as Jew being a synonym for “the best there is in the medical field”). Even when I was about 8 years old or so I remember thinking “How are any of these women still alive, let alone walking and smoking and going to each other’s houses and eating seconds on the chicken?”

“Who’d have thought thirty year ago we’d all be sittin’ here drinking Château de Chasselas, eh?”

As do new physicians. :smiley:
I think this behavior may be fairly common. Being present in a few different mental disorders as well as in very insecure people.

I don’t know where we draw the line between insecure boasters and pathological liars.

My son’s first wife told fantastical lies. She once told me she was 6 inches taller than she actually was. My son was 6’ tall. She claimed to be 5’11", even though she only came up to his shoulder. :dubious: When she was confronted with her lies, she pretended not to hear and changed to subject.
She also stole my husband’s identity and ran up nearly $50,000 in credit card bills. She’d tell son that the stuff she bought were gifts from wealthy friends. When she was finally caught, she ran away back to her home country.

I’ve seen this phenomenon described as Walter Mitty syndrome.


Is this a name for this guy’s behavior? (be sure to click on the photo gallery)

I’m bipolar, the symptoms started around the age of 15. I’m in my late 40s now. I had many more instances of hypo mania than depression when I was younger. They became less frequent in my early 40s. I had a full blown manic episode in my mid 30s, and I had some pretty outlandish delusions during that time. While I didnt communicate these things to many people, I remember being apalled when I was questioned by some of those I did.

I actually did have many accomplishments and experiences that were extrordinary, and I attribute many of them to the energy and mindset that were a result of my disorder. When I think back on it, I wonder why I came up with these delusions of grandure even though some of my real-life experiences came close to matching said delusions. I should note that the delusions were very real to me at the time, and were presented in a way in which few people challenged the veracity.