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Home » 17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!

17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!

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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!

Answered by on -

A.

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.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). 17 and I Still Have an Imaginary Friend as an Inanimate Object!. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/04/23/17-and-i-still-have-an-imaginary-friend-as-an-inanimate-object/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.