Day Dream Believer
Having an active imagination doesn’t make a fantasy addict. Fantasizing and day dreaming is not in itself a bad thing. Letting our mind wander and explore something we might enjoy is normal and healthy. Depending on our intent, we can fantasize over preferred futures and scenarios and it can help us work out what we want in life. It can energize and inspire us as we explore options. However, it can also keep us stuck where we are. Instead of imagining how we want things to be, it can be a way of escaping emotional distress. With a fantasy addict it can be a defense mechanism from the pain of our day to day lives and pain from the past.
As a defense mechanism it is often a coping mechanism learned in childhood to help the child escape and survive pain. The child may have an incredible imagination and create stories in which they are brave, powerful, or are rescued by someone who will care for them and make them happy. This can be helpful and work well as a child, but as an adult not so much.
Fantasy addicts are generally emotionally wounded people who may have a low level of distress tolerance. They find life hard and when challenged or find things too difficult revert to a deeply entrenched behaviour of creating a scenario. That either suits how they feel, or a scenario where they would like to feel more powerful. This scenario isn’t an accurate reflection of what is really happening and can be confusing for others around them. Because the behaviour is so deeply entrenched the person acts automatically, as if without choice. In some ways it’s as if the person is gaslighting themselves.
Fantasy addicts can find it difficult to concentrate on what’s happening right now if they feel threatened. They can lose their ability to assert themselves and problem solve as they ‘switch off’. They also tend to project their fantasies onto others and feel crushed when inevitably they are disappointed when the real person does not meet their idealized version of them. It is a common characteristic of people with love and relationship addiction.
In order to recover from fantasy addiction, it can be helpful to understand and process the emotional pain that was felt in the first place. In counselling, working on nurturing and understanding the inner child can be beneficial. Begin to accept and love yourself and life as it really is, keeping ups and downs in perspective. That powerful and wonderful imagination can be utilized in a more productive and creative way. Learn to recognize your triggers and learn healthier ways of managing emotional distress.
This article was written by sentientcounselling