How To Stop Fantasizing

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was sexually abused by my older brother (he is 6 years older than me) when I was 6, 10 and 16. I have no other siblings…parents did not provide therapy after these incidences.

After the abuse at age 6, I had an imaginary friend. Being a shy child, the imaginary friend helped me when no one else would talk or comfort me.

I also started Kindergarten at age 6 and, from what I understood from all the children (since my Mom didnt really give me self esteem), I was ugly…so I spent many a lonely day at school without friends, sitting alone on the playground or not being chosen for games because everyone said “she’s ugly”…

…during those lonely times on the playground, I watched kids play…especially “cute” boys or girls who always got attention from other kids and teachers…I watched their behaviors…I watched their movements…and if I was close enough, listened to how they interacted with each other.

When I got home (I’m still at age 6 in case you fast forwarded), I immediately went to my room, closed the door AND ROLE PLAYED ANY ONE OF THOSE CHILDREN to get out of being “ugly” self and being one of them. My parents rarely came to check on me until dinner, so once that door was closed, I was out of my mind/body and into another kid…if there was a fly on the wall, that fly would think I was someone else totally.

If someone did knock on the door, I would instantly “snap” back into myself and carry on as usual. But leave me alone, it was like my ugly self would drop to the floor and I was into whomever I wanted to be.

I have been doing this for 37 years…and have role played in many personalities that I see where these people get attention, love, sex, appreciation, etc….always doing the fantasies alone — no one around…like turning on a light switch. My voice and EVERYTHING about the person and place I want to be…I’m there and into it.
Has there ever been a time I NEVER fantasized and was happy being me? Yes, a few times I can count on one hand. It happened when I was dating my husband and when my two children were born.

Again, I have to reiterate that I only do this when I’m alone…if anyone is around me, I AM me…but when I’m working and no one is around, or on the train commute home and no one knows who I am and dont look at me, I transform in my mind with a poker face.

Right now, I’ve been in a role play fantasy for one character for over 3 years…too long to discuss here, so I’ll ask my question (thanks for reading).

How can I get rid of this problem? I dont take care of MYself, hate MYself and am only happy when I’m role playing or fantasizing being someone else. I only find comfort, control and esteem when I am one of my many characters and would like to switch the character to be ME and find happiness in my life. No one knows (except now this forum) that I do this…I dont involve anyone in these fantasies…just me when I’m alone…I’m so tied into my characters that I swear I could write a movie…they (like my imaginary friend(s) when I was a child) support the “character” me, make the “character” me feel important, sensual…EVERYTHING.
The real me I hate…fat…bad skin…old…unwanted…you name it…a nobody…

A. It is normal for children to fantasize. Some children fantasize more than others. Children who are more creative and artistic may fantasize more than noncreative children. According to psychodynamic theory, children fantasize or daydream about aspects of themselves that they wish were true. That seems to be what you were doing. You were fantasizing about the other children who you believed to be better than you. You wished you were them and so you became them in your fantasies.

Teenagers fantasize as well. It’s not uncommon for teenagers to fantasize about being friends with celebrities. They may even brag to their friends that they know and socialize with particular celebrities. The rationale for lying to their peers is that it makes them seem more important or desirable than they feel they are. This may serve to increase their self-esteem.

As an adult, you continue to engage in a high level of fantasy. Daydreaming is normal but not to the point where you neglect and never develop the “real” you. This issue is related to poor self-image. You don’t like who you are and because of this, you pretend to be someone else. The solution is to develop a better self-image. This can be achieved with therapy.

According to psychoanalytic theory, it is important that individuals learn who they are and to be happy with themselves. Carl Jung refers to this process as individuation. Abraham Maslow, founder of humanistic theory, calls this process self-actualization. Self-actualization is the process of becoming more fully yourself and to realize your potentials. Self-actualizing individuals are thought to be the only mentally healthy people, according to this theory. They are considered psychologically healthy for many reasons, two of which include being satisfied with who they are and not desiring to be someone else.

The aforementioned remarks are an oversimplification of psychoanalytic theory. Carl Jung’s individuation process and Maslow’s theory of self-actualization state that it is important to be satisfied with who you are. You are not satisfied with yourself but you can change this, with therapy.

Here is a link to Psychology Today. It is a website in which you can type in your zip code and search for a therapist in your area. I wish you well. Thank you for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 Apr 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). How To Stop Fantasizing. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/24/how-to-stop-fantasizing/