Extreme or 'delusional' celebrity worship - what drives it?

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by Ceke2002, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. Ceke2002

    Ceke2002 Purveyor of Strange
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    Just another one of my regularly scheduled curiosity cat questions. :cat:

    Some back story for context to start off with. As some of you may, or may not remember I run a loosely affiliated online international group of fans of CBS's Hawaii Five O's, Alex O'Loughlin, who are dedicated to supporting organ donation. Basically Alex O'Loughlin is a spokesperson and supporter for the same cause so we are able to use his interest in the issue as a spring board to bolster our own efforts to do things like raise awareness, perform fundraising campaigns, help sign up newly registered organ donors, and so on. Because of my involvement with the group, and the success of our campaigns (we've raised more than several thousand dollars for various organ donor and transplant charities over the past 6 or so years), I have some limited contact with Alex O'Loughlin's publicist for the purposes of assistance with campaign promotions, exchange of ideas, that sort of thing - we're not allowed to state that we are officially supported by Alex or anyone who speaks on his behalf, but we do get support and encouragement nonetheless so long as we are upfront that we are a fan based organisation only (which is fair enough).

    Now 95% of the fans I deal with are reasonable, if somewhat passionate people. The other 5% are bug f**k bonkers. For example, it may seem petty but there is actually a fairly sizable issue with fake Facebook profiles purporting to be Alex O'Loughlin engendering mistrust within the fan community at large and in turn affecting both ours, and Alex's ability to a degree, to effectively support the cause of organ donor awareness (etc) to the extent that we'd perhaps like. Being able to show fans screen shot statements from email exchanges with Alex O'Loughlin's publicist stating outright that certain pages and profiles are fakes has helped enormously over the years, but there's always that small percentage of fans that still collectively lose their sh!t when informed 'Hey sorry guys, but you're being duped by an imposter'. It's like the imposters communicate more directly, they make the fans feel cared for, as if they have a personal relationship with an actor, and then someone (in this case me) comes along and says 'Sorry, none of this is real' and their entire world falls to pieces and they decide the best course of action is to shoot the messenger (yeah I've had some really doozies in terms of hate mail over the years - including a rather bizarre attempt to assign me some level of complicity for the Sandy Hook massacre, because apparently people like me disappoint other people and then they go insane and shoot up school yards therefore I kill children en-masse from the other side of the world. o_O). And it's not just the 'lalalala I can't hear you', 'crush, kill, destroy' mentality that is mind boggling, it's also the fact that it does not matter how much evidence you provide these people that they are being taken for a ride, even when the sites are so obviously fake they're written in broken English by a celebrity for whom English is their native language, they will have none of it.

    Now obviously this isn't quite to the 'dangerously deluded potential stalker' levels of celebrity worship, but it's still way above and beyond what I'd consider normal. So is this a pathology? If it is what's driving it? I get people being excited over a celebrity, and being a fan of his or her work, but this all consuming need to have that personal contact with someone who is essentially a complete stranger, what's up with that? Some sort of Cluster B process at work? Histrionic maybe? These people both fascinate and utterly confound me at the same time, I'd love to have some insight into how their minds work.

    :prof:
     
  2. nitemagi

    nitemagi Senior Member
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    1. Celebrities seem important.
    2. Feeling direct contact with a celebrity makes that person feel important.
    3. Having that taken away is a [narcissistic/ego] injury.
     
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  3. Ceke2002

    Ceke2002 Purveyor of Strange
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    Thanks. *goes to look up narcissistic ego injury* :)
     
  4. F0nzie

    Physician 5+ Year Member

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    It seems like a line is crossed with the narcissism. Like... Someone writing love letters and fantasizing about Eminem vs. my patient who truly believes she is married to Eminem. Makes one wonder what happened to cause that radical shift.
     
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  5. Ceke2002

    Ceke2002 Purveyor of Strange
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    Yeah I've come across a very small number of truly delusional fans over the years, at least one of whom believes she is married to Alex O'Loughlin, gave birth to his eldest son, and he just doesn't remember her because they were both in a CIA brainwashing program and his wife is a government plant. That level of crazy I just pass over to Alex's publicist to deal with, but that's only been like 3 people in 6 years.

    But yeah I don't really bother to get to know the fans who go off the rails to a non delusional degree so I don't know what they're actually like when they're not frothing at the mouths over a celebrity. I do wonder though why they are like they are, I mean why the sheer desperation to have that intimate degree of contact with a celebrity to the point where you'll bombard someone with a stream of verbal abuse if they provide you with proof that you're not actually in contact with said celebrity. Nitemagi's explanation of narcisstic ego injury makes sense, especially now that I've read up a bit on it (definitely see a lot of over the top fan behaviour in the description of narcissistic type behaviour), but what makes someone get to that point in the first place? The whole thing is just really odd to me, in a kind of fascinating 'I want to poke it with a stick, but hope it doesn't actually wake up' kind of way - and especially when you consider the the fact that if these people are so desperate to contact a celebrity, then their very behaviour being so over the top will tend to preclude them from that, but they don't seem to have the insight to actually understand that their behaviour is wrong it's just everyone else who's trying to keep the celebrity from them.
     

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