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My Imaginary Companion


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I am either losing me mind or experiencing way too much transference! My therapist has become my imaginary friend! He is with me constantly, when I am studying, doing housework, driving, lying in bed before going to sleep, when I wake up and am having my coffee. He talks to me and I talk to him constantly in my mind. I imagine him sitting next to me all of the time. He is in the car conversing with me while I drive. Is this bad? :rolleyes:

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Tobe, I'm afraid Dr. Schwartz is away on vacation at the moment, so he won't be able to answer quickly.

Personally, I'd tend to tell my therapist whatever came up. After all, if it means they have to refer you, in their professional judgment, what would it mean if you kept it a secret? Clearly, you'd be doing something your therapist would find dangerous.

I think it's far more likely that it would be something productive to talk about, in session. After all, are you talking to your imaginary therapist to seduce him, or are you just processing your day? I mean, if the conversation you're having helps you process your thoughts, isn't interfering with real life (like stopping other conversations, or distracting you from driving), and doesn't seem out of bounds to you, is it even a problem?

I went through a period of talking to an imaginary person (a girl I had known who had left, though I didn't talk to her much, in real life), as an audience, for a while as a teenager. And look how well I turned out! ;-) I mean, it didn't seem like a problem to me, and I gradually stopped after a while.

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No, not to seduce him, although there have been those thoughts at times. It's more like I enjoy his company and like having him with me all the time I play out fantasies in my mind like he is a single father and he asks me to be the nanny and all the things that would entail like cleaning his house and taking good care of his child, and being able to talk to him more and be a part of his personal life. Or I fantasize about him coming to my house and observing me there for a few days. Or us taking a trip together and the conversation while driving there. Not a romantic trip, but just a road trip. These thoughts do consume me, though. I wish I could stop thinking about him so much. :confused:

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You mentioned in another thread about wanting your therapist to push you...could it be that you have turned up the fantasies to avoid the deep work that might be presenting itself now in therapy? Just a thought. At any rate, I would definitely bring it up in therapy with your therapist. Talking about things openly might ease the intensity behind the feelings. I also tend to think that not talking about your feelings might make them that much stronger. I know I felt a great deal of relief in expressing myself. When things came up for me during therapy, I saw them as a message that this was something that needed to be discussed and dealt with. Are you concerned that discussing this with him will get you referred? Have you ever talked about any of this with him before?

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Yes, IrmaJean, the main reason I don't want to bring it up is because I'm afraid that he may think that the therapy is becoming too much about him and not me, but actually I guess it is about me because there is a reason that I am doing it, and I need to know what that reason is because that is the only way I can change,right? I think it is because whenever someone, mostly men are nice to me and I respect them, like the therapist or a pastor or teacher, I go through this. It has happened many times before with others, starting when I was a child and used to fantasize about teachers being my fathers or brothers and how good they treated me. I guess because I longed to have that in my life and still do. So, where do I go from here? I realize why it happens, but how do I change it? How can I tell him that I live in a fantaly world that he is the center of? It is so embarrassing. We have talked briefly about transference issues. Several months ago when I was in the hospital and cried in my bed for a long time I emailed him about how I was wishing for him to be there holding me when I was crying. Holding me like a brother or father would. He said he didn't see anything far out about that in the situation I was in. A few months ago, when I was worrying about how it would be when therapy ended and that I was thinking of ending it then because I felt like I wanted to leave him before he had a chance to leave me he said, "Amy, my door never closes to you" in an email. I do trust his words, but at the same time I'm not sure how he can promise that. Actually I guess this is some of the deep work I need to do there, so maybe you are right about me using the fantasies to avoid the deep stuff. I don't know.

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You are very insightful. :) I agree that this pattern is very much about you! Maybe the idea, rather than changing it, is to find ways to have your needs met in your other relationships. Of course you'd want to eventually stop fantasizing about your therapist, but you might find that this happens naturally when your needs are met elsewhere by others. Hopefully he can help you work through this. Maybe it would be helpful to write down your feelings first? I know it's challenging expressing such thoughts. I recall knowing the therapy room rug and my therapist's shoes very well during such conversations. :rolleyes: Good luck, TBITH.

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This site is such a great place! When I am feeling like crap because of issues like this one, it helps so much to talk it out with y'all before going to my therapist about it. You guys give me the strength to face up to things! I emailed my therapist and told him all about what's going on. I see him on Wednesday next week and I asked him to let me know that he got it so I can try and be as prepared as I can to talk about it. So, now I just wait nervously. :rolleyes:

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Tobe, I'm glad you decided to keep your therapist informed. I really don't think you have anything to be ashamed of.

You asked how you'll ever get over the tendency to fantasize about male role models you admire. I'm no expert, but I would guess you that it would happen when you were allowed to work through the process in a safe environment, and hey, that's what therapy is.

Everyone needs solid role models of both genders. We are one gender, and we have to live with/around the other. We will most likely fall in love with one or the other (allowing for the wide range of human attraction.) So it makes perfect sense that if we lack role models in childhood, we would seek them out later. Here you have a chance to incorporate that into your life and to differentiate admiring someone from falling in love with them.

I agree with IrmaJean that you're already getting some insight into what your needs are. I even wonder whether these fantasies are you pushing yourself to go deeper ...

In other words, I think it's all progress. :-)

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Did I mention this has been going on all of my life? It actually began when I was about 12 or 13 when I fantasized about a teacher I had. I just placed myself into his lifi in my mind. I fantasized that he adopted me and was very kind to me, using gentle words when he talked to me, and such. From there, it was other teachers, and when I grew up it was ppl I worked with, pastors or others I went to church with, and now the therapist. I wonder if this is some kind of disorder or something? It's been going on so long. I wish I could stop. It takes up all of my time. He is there when I'm studying, when I'm watching tv, when I'm exercising, cooking, trying to fall asleep, etc... It won't let my mind rest.

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Hi, Tobe,

I just want to tell you that we are very similar in this, too. Yes, my fantasies are different and have quite different reasons (your father was bad to you, I've never known mine, ...), but... the word "imaginary companion" and the fact that it happens so often - this we have in commun :(.

I hope you'll well. And wish you good luck with that "pushing" in therapy! :)

L.

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Hi Lala! It's been so long since we have talked! Glad to hear from you!

Do you ever just get tired of all the talking that goes on in your mind with all of these imaginary companions? That's kind of where I am now. I can't seem to stop. I try and catch myslef at it and tell myself no, but within a few seconds it is happening again.

Well, hope all is well with you and yours. :D

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Hi Tobe!

No, I'm not tired, I like it. That's the major difference between us: I don't blame myself, I take it as a pleasant part of my life. I'm sure it will stop sometimes, but... as long as it's here, I take advantege of it. In these 'conversations', I've found out so many new insights!

By the way, during my yesterday's session, I asked my T if he thinks [...]

[sorry, but I don't want to have these issues on the web. Tobe, I waited for you to read it, now you've answered to it and thus I delete it.]

So... as you can see, it's sometimes very useful to ask 'unpleasant/hard' questions... :D

What about you?

Edited by LaLa3
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That's really wonderful, Lala! I think you got something from your therapist most of us never get. But, then, you have been able to speak more freely than I. It probably was not always that way for you, I'm sure you had to learn to say whatever you are thinking without feeling like an idiot, which is how I feel sometimes, even when I email him about certain things. I wish I could just let things come out and not care what he thinks, but it's so hard for me to do. But, I am very happy for you, Lala! Blessings to all!

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Thank you :D

I think you got something from your therapist most of us never get.

I hope most of you will get something very similar; the same feeling, only mediated by other words, as every case is different.

you have been able to speak more freely than I.

I'd like to give you some 'inspiration' by my example. We only suppose "how bad it would be...", but... it's "bad" during some moments, when you are just doing it, but then, the "bad feeling" is over and new, positive, come...

Good luck! :)

L.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My therapist is a bit like my imaginary friend too. I imagine he is there with me quite often, sometimes even all day. We have never discussed this, however I figure it is related to tranference. I find I imagine he is there on my darker days or when I am in a stressful situation. I find it brings comfort to me and allows me to cope with my life. I see it as harmless personally, because I know through therapy, I will be able to move past issues and fills voids in my life, and I will not "need him" so to speak.

I suppose it's much like fantasizing about a celebrity or person of authority that you respect. You want them to be around you and you naturally crave their approval.

For me, I do not have a strong father figure in my life, and my therapist is male. I know for now he is filling the void left by my father's bad/absent parenting. I only see my therapist for 1 hour every 1-2 weeks, so in the meantime, I just pretend he's there to ease my anxiety and depression.

tobeistohope, why do you think you fantasize about your therapist?

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Buttons, your situation sounds very similar to mine. I live sort of an isolated life right now. I'm taking online classes and being at home all of the time with my kids. I think I do it for companionship mostly. I have always done it, depending what male is in my life at the time. Like pastors, teachers, co-workers, etc... Right now my therapist is it. I do respect him and admire him. I'm sure that is part of it. And it is also part of transference. He is replacing the people who were supposed to support and take care of me throughout my life, I suppose.

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I'm sure that is part of it. And it is also part of transference. He is replacing the people who were supposed to support and take care of me throughout my life, I suppose.

Amy, hello again! :) I'm glad to see that you take it so positively now!! :) It seems to me that you've already accepted the 'imaginary companionship' and don't blame yourself anymore! :)

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