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So I am a female, 21 years old, and I have this imaginary friend. His name is Ben. Ben came to be when I first moved to North Carolina when I was 4 years old and didn't know anybody. He's always looked the same, but has not always acted the same. When I was younger, he was more of a playmate and supporter (even though sometimes I would imagine him spanking or being aggressive with me). I always had social issues (e.g. I would get a panic attack when I said something to someone and they responded with "what?", as in they didn't hear me or understand me. Never able to keep friends.

These days, Ben has been a constant voice in my head, telling me to stab my fiancé, kick the dog, scratch my face, etc. He can be very condescending to me and tell me I'm worthless, I'm a terrible person, I'm a slut, everyone around me wishes I was dead. On the other hand, Ben is extremely protective over me. If my fiancé and I are fighting, Ben wants me to protect myself and hit him first, "don't let him pin you down, attack him first." If someone outside of my head is being rude or mean, he tells me they're wrong, I'm beautiful, I did my best, etc. So he reverts back to the supportive friend he was in the beginning.

There are times where I have gaps in my memory. One time, my fiancé was talking about when his mom took us to Olive Garden, and I had NO memory of it. Ben proceeded to convince me that Drew (fiancé) was confusing me with an old girlfriend, until he got his mother on the phone to calm me down and convince me that it was actually me. There are so many incidents like this where I don't remember conversations, events, even entire days. I feel like Ben might be taking over maybe?

Also, I hear other voices, see other hallucinations, but none are as, I guess "important" as Ben.

This is a very scary situation for me. I have attempted suicide multiple times, stabbed an ex roommate, stabbed my fiancé, hurt my pets, etc. I have also had psychotic outbursts where I tried to bash my head into my driveway, slice my face up (which resulted in my fiancé having to pry the knife from my hands which almost cut off his thumb).

I haven't sought help because honestly, I am very scared to lose Ben. I feel like I am vulnerable without him, and I would be missing a huge part of myself. I don't want to be doped up on drugs and I don't want anybody to take Ben away from me. Ben was there for me when I was raped at 13, and has protected me from a lot of situations.

I don't want to lose him, but I cannot stand to see everyone around me continue to be hurt by me and by Ben. I don't know what this is, I've tried to do my research and it doesn't exactly fall into dissociative identity d/o, or schizophrenia. I need help figuring out what is wrong with me.

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Wow @MDeCa that is a lot to deal with.  

I would encourage you to seek help. It sounds like schizophrenia to me and while I am not a psychiatrist I have read that severe mental illness rarely gets better on it's own.  

I suffer from intrusive negative thoughts and it really worries me at times so I can relate to that extent.  

I wish you well and I wish you healing.  Feel free to vent here if it helps.  

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@MDeCa - I agree that this serious of issues are almost impossible to self treat. You need to go to a professional who can help.

I understand not wanting to lose Ben, especially since he's been a pillar of support for so long but physically hurting yourself and others doesn't just resolve itself. You need to seek professional assistance. Before you or someone you love becomes seriously hurt by these episodes.

Who knows, Ben may not even go away after you get some help. A lot of people have imaginary friends.

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Hi MDeCa. A really difficult situation for you and it seems to be getting worse, it does sound like time to ask for professional help. I've had psychosis and though I'm not saying that's what you have, one thing you can do in the meantime is mentally challenge Ben if he mentions something negative and get into a habit of doing that, assert yourself, after all if a real friend told you do something unacceptable that's what you'd do.

The truth is treatment can involve medication - though there are in some places psychological therapies, they are not very common. Don't let it put you off if you are at risk of hurting yourself/someone else - just make it clear you'd like to try a psychological approach if that is available at the outset.

Best wishes.

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I just want to say how much I appreciate how quickly you guys have replied. Its hard to find support. My parents arent even aware of the situation. My fiance has been so good about it and has obviously put up with so much. But its a constant fear that it will be too much for him. He's tried to convince me to seek help..and now hearing it from more people, I think that I should. Thank you all so much for being so understanding. 

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I know this isn't really the same but sometimes I feel like I'm in a tv show all about me. I find myself thinking up ideas of what people would like to see. 

I hope you get the help you need friend but people on this website have really really helped me before. They are a great group of people 

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I kinda feel that way sometimes. If Ben and I are talking out loud, I feel like my responses to him are what an "audience" would like to hear. Like trying to be politically correct, etc. 

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I have conversations in my head in response to people as if they'd said the thing that they didn't actually say. For instance, I thought the woman at the shop thought I was stealing, which I wasn't, but she didn't say anything, I just thought that she thought that. I paid for my things then played out the scenario when I got home. In my head I'm calmly telling her how offensive it was to assume the worst in me and that she needs to check her attitude. She gets aggressive and threatens to call the police. Which is bananas, because she didn't say shit. Not to mention that she knows me and wouldn't have thought that anyway. Such is strife. 

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@Small Thank you. Yes, it is increasingly difficult to deal with. Since I made this post, it gave me a little more confidence in ignoring Ben and being more aware of when he is manipulating me. Since I've had a little bit of control, I haven't looked for help. I've been doing intense research to try and figure this out. My situation does not exactly fit in D.I.D., nor into schizophrenia, based on the DSM criteria. I've been exploring other, more profound explanations.

I've spoken to a psychic who gave me a very religious perspective to it. I'm not religious, but it was interesting information.

My latest research is on tulpamancy, more specifically, spontaneous tulpamancy. Tulpas are basically imaginary friends that are all too real. It's very fascinating.  

BEN.jpg

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@Small She basically told me that Ben is a REAL spirit person who has never been created by me or anyone. He is someone who has died who has been attached to me by my arc angel. This was because both Ben and I needed to understand the concept of karma and taking responsibility for our actions. They put us together so he could learn he can't make me do his bidding for him and be the one responsible. Also so I could simultaneously learn not to do other peoples bidding and do things for myself. She also touched on the fact that it is dangerous to have him around because he has a sexual attachment to me and if he rapes me or we have intercourse, I could become completely possessed by him. She has advised me to get rid of him. Just typing that is like nails on a chalkboard to me. It makes me angry to hear people say to get rid of Ben. 

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@MDeCa

My initial suspicion was that it was a spirit of sorts, and I'd still lean towards that judging by what you were told by the spiritual reader you consulted. I'm not saying it isn't tulpamancy of course, maybe it is indeed a mental construct. I'm left wondering if they are typically this hostile though, I'm unfamiliar with the concept. Which does it feel like to you? What's your gut instinct? 

 

I can also understand if you have a bond with him & wouldn't want to let him go. Sometimes spirits (or imaginary friends) bring a special intimacy that we're not ready to give up. 

 

However, the hostility which he has demonstrated be he a spirit or imaginative, seems dark & threatening. How do you feel about his hostile nature? Do you like it? Are you drawn to the uncertainty and the threat? Or would you rather be rid of it if you could?

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I personally believe that we are fragments of the same mind, like an optical delusion of our own making. Spiritualists get so bogged down with Karma these days, but imo it's just another way of extending our feelings of guilt and that heals nothing. Ben sounds like a forgiveness lesson for you. You learn what you need from him, he learns what he needs from you and who knows, in the next life time he might be human too and you'll be friends again. We need to see everyone as an extension of ourselves and nowhere is that more obvious than with imaginary friends or spirits. He offers comfort but can also be manipulative, sounds like everyone on the planet. If he's appearing to you then maybe you need him for now, maybe letting him go eventually will be your release into the eternal, but for now you can travel together and help eachother. I believe we're dreaming this whole life personally, sometimes it's not even up for debate I believe it wholeheartedly, I think I'm the dreamer and I'm reliving an old movie that was over long ago, but sometimes it's way too real and I panic and stress and try to fix it. But we're all splits of the one mind so we're all making it up. It's like stories for the mind to keep is unaware of our true identity in God. I try my best to love everyone and forgive what I see in front of me every day, but it can be hard because it's so damn alluring. Every time I try to get out, it pulls me back in lol. I noticed that Ben looks like David Bowie as the Goblin King (Thin, alien looking, well dressed, huge bulge and the world at the tip of his fingers), the true epitome of our Ego and human identity. Our strength in the world, our sexy, dangerous but occasionally sinister side. Maybe that's why you see him, because if he's outside of you he's not inside making decisions that could harm you. I hope you find the answers you're looking for, but I'd be wary of psychics unless they come highly recommended. All this rape possession sounds bogus to me, but hey, what the fuck do I know? Trust your instincts. 

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7 hours ago, YOTH said:

Every time I try to get out, it pulls me back in lol. 

Lol. Now where have I heard that before? I watched the labyrinth again yesterday with my niece. 

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My instinct tells me he is more a part of me than an external being simply attached to me. It tells me that he is mine and I am his. 

I have absolutely no knowledge about spirit persons or religious views, so I can't exactly say whether I agree or not. 

If it was socially allowable for me to just take off with my fiancé and live in my own little demented world with Ben, I would. I'm not desperate to get rid of Ben because I understand him as an actual person, aside from what he really is. He has emotions. He can be happy, and sweet and comforting. When I was raped, he was there the whole time. He talked me through it. After that is when he became protective. He tells me to hurt people if he even thinks they look at me the wrong way. 

I want Ben, but I want us in peace together. I feel special that I have him because not many people get into a situation like this, being perfectly (what I think) to be sane. 

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I do have to admit, I am drawn to the dark side of him. I've always wanted that protective factor. Whether it be my father, an older brother, male teachers, etc. I always searched for it, but the only place I get it is through Ben. 

It does go too far though. His protection FOR me, usually turns on me. I'm stupid for not knowing that guy was going to rape me, I deserved it to learn a  lesson, If I wasn't a worthless slut this and that wouldn't have happened.. Tough love in his eyes I suppose

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Just wanted to comment always remember you are in charge re. Ben. The 'protective factor' should be light and reassuring. Plus no one deserves the lesson of rape.

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MDeCa, do you think it's possible that Ben could represent different aspects/parts of yourself? Also, inner critics often serve some kind of purpose, such as protectiveness, but can be self destructive too.

You shared that you want Ben, but you want to be in peace together. That sounds like a healthy view. I imagine it would be super challenging to sort through all of this and come to a place of understanding and healing on your own. Have you considered seeking out professional help?

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Hi, MDeCa.  The first thing that struck me is that you left the rape until the end of your first post.  I'm sure it has had a far greater effect than that on your life.

Many survivors report having split off part of themselves (not exactly deliberately) so that the rest of them did not have to bear the full experience of what happened.  Also, many, in order to feel more control over bad things happening to them again, try to justify the belief that they were to blame, so that there's something they can do differently next time.  Unfortunately, it's not possible to prevent all the bad things that might happen to someone.  More importantly, nothing someone might do could make them deserve rape.

As to attempting to decide by yourself what diagnosis you might receive, there are several things.  First, you wouldn't try that for medical conditions;  abdominal pain could be appendicitis or an abdominal tumor or many other things.  That's what docs are for.  You don't have to follow blindly what they say, but their training is worth something.  Second, the DSM is based on a concept of illness that's like scattering a bunch of bins over the landscape of human experience;  if you fall into a bin, then you have that disorder.  I don't think we're really like that.  We don't have sharp cutoffs between health and illness.  Moreover, I think there are continuums (continua, for Latin scholars) for many different traits, such as anxiety, psychotic manifestations, mood problems, and so on.  I think a person can tell if they're obsessing over something, for instance, without them receiving a full OCD diagnosis.  Third, you don't seem to have considered PTSD as an option.

Leaving Ben out of it for a while, you said that you see and hear other things that you are aware are not in the outside world.  You are aware of at least one occasion where you "lost time".  You've been both suicidal and a danger to others.  You describe experiences that you acknowledge are psychotic episodes.  You've said that you're scared.  Honestly, I don't care what you call it, those sound like a stack of good reasons to seek some kind of help.

Now, my thoughts about Ben.  Keep in mind that this is simply a person's opinion;  use it only if it helps you.  I think Ben is a part of you, whether you call him a spirit or a complex or an imaginary friend.  That means that you can't be forced to give him up;  he represents thoughts and feelings and skills that are yours and that you will always have.  His characteristics helped you survive a terrible experience;  they have value.  But they're actually your characteristics, split off to deal with something the rest of you couldn't, at the time.  You were thirteen.  You did what you had to, and so did he.  He took on the pain for you.

Now you're twenty-one.  You have resources you didn't have then.  You have people who care about you;  you have more experience;  you seem to have considerable awareness.  Personally, I think treatment would bring you closer to Ben than ever;  in fact, it might allow you to re-merge with the capabilities he has, while allowing your gentler nature to temper the rage and desire to strike first that are causing you problems, hurting people you know wouldn't hurt you (including you.)  Also, I don't think that your treatment would be medication alone.  You've been through a lot, and I think that it will take a lot of healing before you feel, um, some kind of, safe again.

Okay, end of opinion.  I just hope that you will keep in touch, talk about the pros and cons, even let us talk to Ben if you think it would help.  We've talked to a fair number of abuse and rape survivors;  their stories are scattered around here.  Maybe those other experiences can help you.  That's why we have them recorded here, so that each survivor is not forced to start all over again.  Finally, welcome, and take care of yourself until next time.

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@malign I feel a lot of truth and a lot of relief in hearing your opinion. I completely agree with the whole "bin" concept. I always kind of thought I just had my own "Michelle disorder" that was made up of various degrees of various psychological issues. 

Whatever Ben is, I agree that he IS a part of me. At first I thought he was just somebody I thought up as a kid to take the blame for when I would act up. But there is so much to him. It's like he exists as an actual person, which is the most confusing part about him. If someone outside of me could see and hear him, they would be mistaking him for a human being as well. There is so much detail in everything about him, and his personality is all his own. 

I hate to think he is weak enough that some psychiatrist/psychologist or some pill could just POOF him away. Maybe it would bring us closer if I got help. I would love to redefine the relationship him and I have, because he has been and can be SO positive. He can be such a good influence. 

The strangest part about all of this is my "considerable awareness." I've always been interested in abnormal psychology, so it was fascinating to do all this research on myself. I've got three, 3" binders full of information, haha. And yes, overall, I do feel like I'm crazy, but I can't ignore how self-aware I am. I didn't think that was normal either. I don't think other people are usually this in-tune to their mental state and the details involved, especially when there is all this going on. But I've thought of nothing else for years. Ever since my friends in elementary school they didn't want to play pretend with me (and Ben), they wanted to play house or school, etc. Ever since I knew something was wrong, I've been studying myself. I've been trying to crack this case for the longest time, so I stay 98% focused on it, on a daily basis.

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