While most people have experienced daydreaming, many of them indulge at a healthy rate. Since childhood, I have been on journeys throughout time, often rethinking the past and conjuring up my ideal or feared future. I have only in the last few years become aware of how unhealthy my relationship with my own mind can be. In fact, it is this fantasizing/day dreaming that connects me to my addiction of seducing people. A partner that I was involved with in 2013 was the first to ever comment on my habit of daydreaming and how it affects the way that I interact with my world. At that point, I started monitoring how often I end up daydreaming and seeing if any themes emerged. I believe that fantasy, for me, generally consist of one of the following:
1. Rethinking the past
As someone who was very passive throughout her childhood, I would often dwell on what I “should have” said or done in a given situation. I continue this habit even as an assertive adult. There is always a “better” way that an incident could have gone. My imperfect year is about radically accepting myself and the choices I make. I have done well in life so far, considering; time to start trusting myself.
How does this present in my addiction? Once I begin losing desire for my current partner, I become consumed with idealizing my past partners- how amazing they were, how great that thing they do with their thumb was, how they treated me. It never ends. This is the cycle with me. I move on from my current partner while pulling my last partner back into my fantasy by telling them about their greatest qualities. At the same time, Ive begun eyeing a new person to loop into my world. None of this has been based in reality.
2. Planning and re-planning the future. Then re-planning again.
I run through possibilities A thru Z in my head about everything from the mundane (what will happen when I go to pick up my check from work today) to the exciting (what would life be like if my professor and I fell in love and ran away together. What would life be like?). A piece of this fantasy surrounds my planning for the worse. I gauge my reactions and come up with a solution. This calms
any most anxieties I have around any given situation. If I know what I will do if the worst case happens I will always appear cool, calm, and collected. And I do. People often remark at my “laid back” personality. If only they knew the turmoil of running through 101 possible outcomes.
How does this present in my addiction? Much like the example, I fantasize about how perfect someone and I will be together, focusing on all of the things we have in common, never the things that we do not. The scary part for me is that my fantasy is not always best case scenarios. I often run through an entire lifetime with a person including how we many end. Ive been dream-cheated on countless times, walking in on monogamous partners with someone else in bed. Ive also had unfortunate situations in which a potential partner is involved in a tragic accident- sometimes fatal, sometimes not. How would I handle that situation? This is the most frustrating and debilitating of my habits. After thinking through possibilities from your own perspective, I believe I limit the actual life that someone can bring into my world. Unpredictability makes us human. I want to let go and experience this.
Managing daydreaming has only been successful at times when I prioritize practicing remaining “present”. I practice this through meditation and overall bringing my awareness back throughout the day. Letting go of the past and reaffirming with myself that I am a beautiful, imperfect person allow me to refrain from dwelling on things that have already happened. Reminding myself that I am completely capable of managing situations as they arise have helped me refrain from over-thinking the “would be” situations in my future. I hope to shed some light on this in the near future through therapy.