I’m female, 17 and still have an imaginary friend in the form of an inanimate object (old, plush tiger). I refer to it as a “he.” I had him ever since I was 4 years old, (after my father had passed if relevant). I consider him my brother and I talk with him and carry him around with me whenever I’m not at school. I annoy my family with him as I get him to speak with them, however my family believe I’m too old to act like a “child.” When I’m with him, it feels natural and I enjoy it immensely. I’m mainly worried about when I’m older, since I still want to take him with me. I would get extremely anxious without him around (i.e. when I can’t find him/lose him). Is this abnormal behavior that I should be worried about? And what may be attributing to this? Thanks. (From Australia)17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!
17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!
Your plush tiger is a transitional object that soothed you at the time you lost your father. It makes sense that “he” is there for you as a symbol of support and guidance in place of your dad.
At 17, you are on the cusp of adulthood. I am always astonished at the number of stuffed animals I see freshman year when students arrive. They often become less visible in the first few months. My guess is that your beloved companion will be there a little while longer as you transition out of your childhood and into greater independence.
I do think it is valuable to talk to a therapist about any of the unresolved, or unspoken, issues with your dad. As you go through this transition, having a caring adult who is not part of your family would be good.