Addiction to fantasy is a defence mechanism against the pain that we feel in our lives. It is a behaviour that is generally rooted in childhood, and it is a coping strategy that was learned to enable the child to survive the pain.
Very often the child will use stories like fairy tales to escape from the present moment, and often these children have incredible imaginations and can tell great stories. They imagine that they will be rescued by a charming prince on a white horse… or that they will meet a kind, sweet princess who will make them happy…
As a child this strategy is very successful, but as you grow into an adult it can become quite destructive. For example, a child that has learnt to escape into fantasy when its parents shout, may find that when they hear an argument, or take part in an argument as an adult, they escape again instead of dealing with what is in front of them. They can also impose a fantasy scenario onto the reality that is not agreeing with them, and this can be very frustrating for other adults who do not perhaps understand what is going on.
The child inside the adult thinks that it is unsafe when it hears the shouting and does the only thing it knows how to do to keep safe. The adult may not even be aware that this is what his or her unconscious mind is doing, as it is a deeply entrenched behaviour pattern.
Fantasy addicts are usually highly emotionally wounded individuals who find life very difficult to take part in. Some of the characteristics of fantasy addicts are that they cannot concentrate on what is in front of them if they feel threatened – they tend to switch off and vacate the premises, whilst still being physically in the room. They also project fantasies onto other people, and so often suffer huge disappointments when reality is not as they imagined.
Fantasy addiction is a survival mechanism for the pain experienced in childhood. It is not widely understood, although many people suffer from the condition.
Recovery from fantasy addiction is a process of dealing with whatever the pain was in the first place and learning to accept life as it really is, and not as you would like it to be. It is about becoming really honest with yourself and watching as you check out, and asking what happened at that time that may have triggered you. Once you are aware of your triggers, you can begin to persuade the inner child that you will keep him or her safe and that you will make sure they are never hurt in that way again. Be patient with yourself! It could take some time to understand your behaviour.
Fantasy addiction is just one of a number of ways that we try to survive as children and, like all other addictions, it involves behaviour without choice. The mind of the addict is thinking that it needs to escape into fantasy in order to remain safe. Even if this is not true, the addict has to escape anyway, because that is what they learned to do as a child.
There is hope. Every day is a new day. Be patient with yourself as you learn to live life as it really is. Surround yourself with supportive people and remember, you survived, and now you need to learn to live.
My website is the culmination of many years of seeking answers about my own health and well-being, and studying the human condition. I write articles, am a healer and give talks about subjects relating to spiritual growth and personal development. I am passionate about healing, recovery, and assisting others to grow.