Does anyone else have a fantasy life? Not a sexual one.

I was wondering if anyone else uses fantasy to escape life? I’m not talking about dissociating, at least I don’t think so. When I was a kid, a way for me to escape my life was to fantasize. I know normal kids do that, imaginary friends etc. I did that my whole life, but, and this is embarrassing, I still do it. I’ve never talked about this even with my therapist. It’s the same fantasy I’ve had since I was a little kid and it started when my mom started hitting me. Back then, when I was about 6 years old, my mother was hitting me, calling me a whore and she left me at home alone at night a lot while she went out with guys or something. So, when I was alone, I had a name that wasn’t my name. This is stupid but I was called “Baby” because I was little. I had other people with me that weren’t there. I had two brothers and I remember my older brother was named Gary. I had two older people who took care of me when I was alone and the lady’s name was Opal. Of course none of this was real but they stayed with me. It still happens and they’ve stayed with me throughout the years even though they’ve changed a little. This is still horribly embarrassing because I’m a grown woman. So, during the day, I have a fantasy life. It’s the same scenario, my name is not my name, I’m Taylor and I’m 18 years old. I’m not me, my house isn’t my house, I live somewhere else, in a different house. I still have two brothers. The older one is very much like Gary was but his name is Matthew, we call him Matt. My other brother who’s younger than Matt but older than me is named Johnny. Actually I stated that incorrectly because they aren’t my brothers, they’re Taylor’s brothers. She, like Baby has two older people who are like parents to her and Opal is still one of them. The father figure is named Max. Taylor stays most of the day until the evening gets closer and her brothers stay too. This has to be the most insane thing I’ve ever written and I can’t believe I’m even saying this. Yes I’m insane. Yes, I’m acting like a child when I’m actually a grown woman. Ugh. I’m completely humiliated.

About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
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21 Responses to Does anyone else have a fantasy life? Not a sexual one.

  1. Holly says:

    I’m glad you posted about this since it bothers you so much. Because let me tell you, this is common. I’m a big fantasizer, always have been. And it is a form of dissociation, absolutely. I have inadvertantly created alters by fantasizing them into existence. And I don’t think I’m the only one, not by a long stretch.

    Fantasy is a kind of self-hypnosis. Many, I’d guess MOST, people with DID are very good at it and many lead rich fantasy lives. When you think about it, that’s what DID is, in a way. Sometimes I describe DID as a game of pretend so serious it became real. I remember reading a quote from some DID specialist whose name is escaping me that basically said, “DID is a little girl pretending the abuse is happening to someone else.”

    Don’t worry, tai. You’re not alone. Within the context of DID, what you’ve described is not unusual at all.

    • tai0316 says:

      So you’re saying I’m not actually insane Holly? 😀
      On a serious note, do you really think most people with DID do this? It’s always seemed so embarrassing to me. I’m curious how many people do this…

      • Holly Gray says:

        Ha! Well, no – I don’t believe you’re insane. Unless I am. 🙂

        I think most people with DID are capable of very powerful, very compelling fantasy. They can transport themselves. I don’t know if most choose to do it that often though. Like I said above though, I’d wager that many do. It’s just a form of dissociation. So those people with DID that don’t fantasize that much, they still dissociate in ways that are no better or worse than what you’ve described.

        This is really just a guess right now so take it with a grain of salt, but I can’t help but think that people with very severe DID, who have impermeable amnesiac barriers between states, who black out regularly, have zero communication … you get the idea, I can’t help but wonder if those people don’t use fantasy that much. Whereas systems that aren’t as rigid can. If I’m right – and that’s a big if! – then ultimately your fantasy life is indicative of more awareness (in terms of the DID continuum).

        I understand your embarrassment. The straw that broke and eventually led to my diagnosis of DID was when I finally mustered up the courage to tell someone about “the girl in my head” who took my place in daydreams. I was embarrassed about it too, I thought it was very odd. I knew other people had daydreams but as far as I could tell, they were in their own daydreams and I never was. So it really weirded me out. But it made sense after I was diagnosed.

        And in hindsight, I don’t think my embarrassment and shame was about the daydreams anyway. DID was a secret. And though I didn’t know I had it, I felt the feelings that would keep it a secret.

        I hope all of that makes sense.

      • tai0316 says:

        It totally made sense Holly 😀 Let’s agree that neither of us is insane lol!

  2. I’m sorry you were hurt in this way. Very sorry. I think it’s safe to say that fantasizing is a subset of what dissociation is. Or you could also say they are very related, like Holly said. Fantasizing gets you away from “your” life. Dissociation does the same thing. What differentiates the two is subtle. Alter parts have rich fantasy lives in addition to their very real roles, self-views, world views, etc. There is nothing at all unusual about what you are talking about. I can understand your being humiliated by revealing it. But I can tell you that you are not insane for having a fantasy life. This is why fiction novels are written, why movies are made, and, not to put too fine a point on it, even why pornography exists.

    • tai0316 says:

      Thank you Paul 🙂
      It makes me feel so much better to hear other opinions on this since I’ve never talked about it with anyone before. And of course you’re right about movies, book and yes, as you said even pornography.
      You and Holly both made me curious about this subject and what other people with DID do that’s not exactly like dissociating in the “classic” sense.

  3. When I was a kid, I used to pretend that I was adopted and that my real parents were coming back to get me any day. I don’t think you’re insane. I think fantasy can be a good escape. And Paul is right. That’s why there are books and movies. Everybody does it to some extent. Fantasizing seems to be just a normal thing that people do as a part of the way the human mind works. Perhaps it is just enhanced for some who have dissociative disorders.

    • tai0316 says:

      Hello Ethereal Highway 🙂
      I totally get the ” I was adopted” fantasy. I’ve heard of many kids doing that, even kids who had pretty decent backgrounds. I like the way you said that maybe it’s just “enhanced” for some with dissociative disorders.

  4. Holly said it all so well. And heck no, you’re not insane!

  5. castorgirl says:

    Hi tai,

    Each time you give us a little more of what your childhood was like… I’m just so sorry that happened to you. I can see why you would create such an awesome world to go into and think about during those hours alone.

    I’ve read articles about the internal fantasy world of dissociatives, some of them were incredibly complex. They weren’t all about abuse, it was about the realities of the different parts of the system. So you’re definitely not alone in what you experience.

    Some people become rich out of their fantasies and imaginations, we get to use them as part of our healing. Kinda makes us rich in a way too 🙂

    Take care,

  6. Freasha1964 says:

    I think it is touching, really, that you were able to soothe yourself ( I am assuming that it was much better than the reality of being alone) with this fantasy family, and that they are still with you you. It seems healthy that you made up a GOOD family and not another messed up family.

  7. Pandora says:

    Wow, another spooky parallel! I was obsessive as a child in playing ‘The Game’, which was myself and a few others ‘acting’ out a storyline. They grew out of it; I never did. I don’t act it out anymore, but I spend literally hours on end in my own mind thinking about it, right down to the subtleties of people’s wrinkles, peeling paint on fences, tones and inflections in voices, etc etc.

    I wrote a pretty abstract post on it at: I just couldn’t bring myself to share the specifics, as you have admirably done.

    I’ve felt like a complete freak about it for years, but when I read this post, I felt only but a sense of ‘fair play to you’ for escaping in this way. Well, that and a little selfish gratitude that I’m not the only one to have done/do it, but mostly gladness for you. Thank you for sharing this; it must have been hard, but I’m so glad you did.

    Take care

    Pan x

    • tai0316 says:

      Wow Pandora! I went to you blog and read your story…there are some spooky parallels aren’t there!? You even lost a parental figure who was a grandparent lie I did. I’m putting you on my blogroll and I like your style. 😉
      I really apppreciated that you talked about having that fantasy life, it really did make me feel less crazy. Writing my post was difficult because I have few secrets left and that was one of them, but if I didn’t have this blog, I honestly don’t know how I would have survived this ongoing process. You made me laugh (not at you) when you listed all of your mental health diagnoses because it’s so similar to mine. I have seen people question whether a person can honestly have that many mental health issues seperately and I can honestly say yes, at least it’s been true for me. Some of us are just so blessed *strong sarcasm in cast that wasn’t clear*

      I talked to my therapist about the fantasy life yesterday and she said it made perfect sense: I had needed a family so desperately, that I made one. She said it was one of the methods that helped me to survive and not to die as a child. I told her that they feel like more than imaginary friends to me, in fact I said I would scoff if someone tried to compare them to that. She agreed and said that they are more than that, she just didn’t have a specific label to put on it and she knows how much I need labels lol!

      I’m really glad you came over to talk Pandora! 😀

      • Pandora says:

        I’m so glad you were able to take some reassurance from my similar experiences, and also that you were able to discuss it with your therapist – I remember trying that once about two years ago, and ended up just crying about being unable to tell him anything significant. I totally agree with what your’s said: I think it is something we did because we had to. A fantasy to escape from the horrible reality.

        I found you via Faith Allen’s blog and am very glad I did; I’ve been enjoying – if that’s the right word, which it isn’t – reading your blog. I’m putting you on my blogroll too 🙂

        Take care

        Pan x

  8. RoaringGrrl says:

    Thanks so much for having the courage to create this blog and to bare your heart and soul with each and every post. I can relate to this post-I too use fantasy to escape into another world where I am safe and in complete control. In the last year they have increased in duration and intensity. Lately my fantasies almost always include one family (who in reality are well known and have ties to the entertainment industry).

    There are variety of ‘scenarios’ I play in my head, but they always involve me being victimized by external factors-and my family “rescues” me and showers me with their time and love…something truly difficult given their busy schedules (proving their love for me and my worthiness). Truthfully, I have to be cautious that these fantasies do not cause me to cross the line-as I have found myself spending unhealthy amounts of time and energy researching them online.

    I can remember having ‘imaginary friends” whom I talked to out loud, and in front of others as late in childhood as 9 years old. It was about that time that I began escaping inward and using fantasy to avoid my home life and the chaos around me. The fantasies have at times caused me stay up all night-days on end, and have even interfered with my job. I recently was diagnosed as Bipolar1 and have started counseling and psychiatrist. I am cautious about this subject but know it’s one that needs further insight and consideration.

    • tai0316 says:

      Hi RoaringGrrl 🙂

      I can sympathize with your coping technique very, very much. The characters in my fantasy life have changed over the years and I also had the obsessive thing going on. I had changing scenarios too, the whole thing. I totally understand. 🙂 My fantasy always involves some kind of better family or friends and lots of affection and love.

      Congratulations on the diagnosis, I say that because it gives you something to work with. Of course I found the fantasy life to be seperate from the bipolar and of course it’s different from the DID as well since I’m not switching personalities or anything like that. It’s just another coping mechanism. I think it makes a lot of sense to use fantasy to escape painful situations, I just feel stupid using it as an adult.

      Thank you so much for coming by and reading and commenting!

  9. Sally-Ann says:

    Hello, I have an imaginary family – my husband & his family. He’s perfect, kind & loving (I actually got divorced after 14 unhappy years back in 2003). I’m not sure if I’m just lonely or if it is something deeper. Is there an actual term for this disorder. I’m 43 and have lived a fantasy existence for many years, different roles & people over time. I’m 43, bipolar, OCD and panic attacks. I’m due to see my GP in 2 weeks and was thinking of ‘confessing’ it to her….. all help happily received : )

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi Sally-Ann,

      I would think that talking to a doctor could be helpful and she might refer you to someone. I don’t know of a term for it, I just believe that if an adult has imaginary friends (not anything associated with DID), there’s probably something else at the root of it. Even if it’s loneliness, they may be able to help you feel more supported.

  10. jen says:

    A sane and creative response to insane circumstances. Everyone fantasizes to some degree (why the entertainment industry is so compelling….). Fantasies create brain chemicals that soothe and temporary relief from external circumstances out of our control. I’d celebrate the healing aspect of fantasy while not allowing it to take over: as long as you KNOW it’s fantasy, it’s fine. Meditation helps me observe the fantasies without judgment, watch them drift by like clouds, look on them with affection and they tend to dissipate, and know they were born of something very real.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi jen, that was very well put. The dangers of course come when fantasy gets confused with reality or as I often deal with, becomes preferable to reality. It’s definitely understandable in cases of abuse as an escape.

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