What is the best strategy to stop maladaptive daydreaming?

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Well, that's what the forum is about, isn't it?

-) I would recommend by starting to read up on the topic, the how for me was just as important as the why, maybe for you it is different. Depending on what level of "difficulty" or emotionality you prefer to read, you can read the *) past forum topics, or try *) reading the actual research papers. My personal favorite to start was "Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry, by Eli Somer, Ph.D." as it has many quotes and thus is easy to read. There are a few more papers, also by the forum admin, Valeria Franco.

-) Then, read Eretaia's blog or forum posts. Take your time with them, it's only 10 pages or so, but very insightful. There is a lot of "How" already in between the "Why" in there.

-) Stop the MD habit: Then, I guess, you could take active steps to avoid your triggers. Find something else to fill the time when you're emotional, like journaling. Anything that is firmly physical: Journal, write, cook, talk to people, do difficult sports, paint. You want to be in a state of flow, complete focus. While MD is a complete focus through self-hypnosis, you need complete focus in real life, no matter how mundane or complicated or trivial.

-) Squashing the MD habit for me was different than squashing the need for MD. You need to get rid of the habit, but also become aware of your reasons behind MD, why you do it. Then start working on those. Eretaias blog has many clues that could apply to you. If you don't feel that this resonates with you, you need to find in yourself the reason. Either way, start trying to do mindfulness meditation. Two to five minutes, maybe only 30 secs, of being in the now with your breath and your body. There are a lot of apps and websites to help learn this. BUT: with MD, the clue, the crucial moment, the key, is when you want to MD, you feel like launching into a story - then you need to become aware of that craving, of that need, stop in your footsteps, and try to feel how your body and mood feels right in that moment. Best to write it down quickly. You will see that it's often the same feelings and definitely other feelings than you expected them to be. Especially take care to ask your body how it feels. Maybe it answers you, with feelings you also did not expect.

-) When you find you're in MD, your characters may want to tell you gently to get out of MD again, and bar you the entry to more story time. Your mind's actors don't act the story, but usher you out the door, only in your best interest. MD only wants the best for you, so it can help you, as it helped you by cushioning and shielding you from reality.

-) In my opinion, it is important to completely stop MD. The moments you want to MD the most, those are that house the kernel of pain that MD hides you from. You need to expose yourself to it, and it will be painful. Even if you lose a lot of sleep, and so on, it is worth it. It will feel extremely inhibiting, tight, unpleasant, boring, awful, restricting, lonely, and that is okay. It is okay to feel all these awful feelings and it's okay to feel them for a longer time.

These "new" feelings and experiences are different than the overpowering sugary sweetness of MD, but all the more sublime and refined. Here, I have had an epiphany: I have never, ever, dreamed with the content of MD. The content of MD is trivial to my subconscious, worthless to my heart. Only the true emotions and experiences of life could reach my heart. Therefore, it's okay to feel and acknowledge these sometimes awful feelings, and give them space, not overwrite them with MD.

This is a very interesting answer! I agree with almost everything you said.

I agree especially with the "why".

Improving your life is the only final strategy, in the meantime everything that can help controlling addiction or bad habits can be copied.

Mostly, a person really need to feel the urge to take his or her life and change something, and the urge to do something more then daydreaming.



Kalliope said:

Well, that's what the forum is about, isn't it?

-) I would recommend by starting to read up on the topic, the how for me was just as important as the why, maybe for you it is different. Depending on what level of "difficulty" or emotionality you prefer to read, you can read the *) past forum topics, or try *) reading the actual research papers. My personal favorite to start was "Maladaptive Daydreaming: A Qualitative Inquiry, by Eli Somer, Ph.D." as it has many quotes and thus is easy to read. There are a few more papers, also by the forum admin, Valeria Franco.

-) Then, read Eretaia's blog or forum posts. Take your time with them, it's only 10 pages or so, but very insightful. There is a lot of "How" already in between the "Why" in there.

-) Stop the MD habit: Then, I guess, you could take active steps to avoid your triggers. Find something else to fill the time when you're emotional, like journaling. Anything that is firmly physical: Journal, write, cook, talk to people, do difficult sports, paint. You want to be in a state of flow, complete focus. While MD is a complete focus through self-hypnosis, you need complete focus in real life, no matter how mundane or complicated or trivial.

-) Squashing the MD habit for me was different than squashing the need for MD. You need to get rid of the habit, but also become aware of your reasons behind MD, why you do it. Then start working on those. Eretaias blog has many clues that could apply to you. If you don't feel that this resonates with you, you need to find in yourself the reason. Either way, start trying to do mindfulness meditation. Two to five minutes, maybe only 30 secs, of being in the now with your breath and your body. There are a lot of apps and websites to help learn this. BUT: with MD, the clue, the crucial moment, the key, is when you want to MD, you feel like launching into a story - then you need to become aware of that craving, of that need, stop in your footsteps, and try to feel how your body and mood feels right in that moment. Best to write it down quickly. You will see that it's often the same feelings and definitely other feelings than you expected them to be. Especially take care to ask your body how it feels. Maybe it answers you, with feelings you also did not expect.

-) When you find you're in MD, your characters may want to tell you gently to get out of MD again, and bar you the entry to more story time. Your mind's actors don't act the story, but usher you out the door, only in your best interest. MD only wants the best for you, so it can help you, as it helped you by cushioning and shielding you from reality.

-) In my opinion, it is important to completely stop MD. The moments you want to MD the most, those are that house the kernel of pain that MD hides you from. You need to expose yourself to it, and it will be painful. Even if you lose a lot of sleep, and so on, it is worth it. It will feel extremely inhibiting, tight, unpleasant, boring, awful, restricting, lonely, and that is okay. It is okay to feel all these awful feelings and it's okay to feel them for a longer time.

These "new" feelings and experiences are different than the overpowering sugary sweetness of MD, but all the more sublime and refined. Here, I have had an epiphany: I have never, ever, dreamed with the content of MD. The content of MD is trivial to my subconscious, worthless to my heart. Only the true emotions and experiences of life could reach my heart. Therefore, it's okay to feel and acknowledge these sometimes awful feelings, and give them space, not overwrite them with MD.

Thank you so much for your answer, It means allot to me.

Thank you Sara!

Valeria, thank you. I am too curious because you wrote "almost" everything! I re-read my answer, and think that maybe the part with the awful emotions is the one you do not agree on - or probably that I didn't include other techniques to control bad habits?

About the "improvement of life": I find myself wanting a forum post titled: “How to keep on stopping MD?”

Talking with Sakshee, I wondered whether reading fiction, TV, games, are the same "running away" as MD provided. Intriguingly, stopping these along with stopping MD felt incredibly restrictive, tight. Sakshee surprisingly said that practicing self-love is a better solution than turning to fiction or MD.

Eretaia says that MD comes out of repression, self-inhibition, and powerlessness to release built-up emotions in the moments when they are generated (bullying, stress…).

Self love and releasing inhibited feelings - is this the next step? How?

Maybe you tried to just straight away stop your entertainment, that's why you feel restricted. I think you should try to convince your mind about this first. Try to face this fact : we watch the TV or read stories because for some time they take our focus away from our real life ( and its problems) and towards the life of those characters on the screen. Their life seems much more interesting and desirable than ours'. This is why many people can imagine themselves as the main character of their favourite storybook. Because they crave to live that kind of life. Doesn't this simply imply that these people don't actually like their own life? This situation of 'not wanting to live Your life and wanting to live like somebody else' similar to our MD right ?

So I think any sort of passive entertainment is a form of escapism which is very similar to MD

And its cure is also similar to MD's : living in the reality, accepting ourselves the way we are, and facing problems when they come in our lives rather than escaping them.

:-)

My "almost" was about "In my opinion, it is important to completely stop MD".

I'm not sure it is the right way.

I'm very positive of life being very much improved by totally eliminating MD, but I'm not sure that should be the first step.
It could be perceived as such a big step that people can get scared. Many tend to reject the idea of quitting fantasies forever.

If someone says "I hate this, I want to quit", that's very fine, but if someone is uncertain, it is better to start with "What's important is to gain control over dreams". It's a more reachable target.



Kalliope said:

Thank you Sara!

Valeria, thank you. I am too curious because you wrote "almost" everything! I re-read my answer, and think that maybe the part with the awful emotions is the one you do not agree on - or probably that I didn't include other techniques to control bad habits?

About the "improvement of life": I find myself wanting a forum post titled: “How to keep on stopping MD?”

Talking with Sakshee, I wondered whether reading fiction, TV, games, are the same "running away" as MD provided. Intriguingly, stopping these along with stopping MD felt incredibly restrictive, tight. Sakshee surprisingly said that practicing self-love is a better solution than turning to fiction or MD.

Eretaia says that MD comes out of repression, self-inhibition, and powerlessness to release built-up emotions in the moments when they are generated (bullying, stress…).

Self love and releasing inhibited feelings - is this the next step? How?

Okay, yeah, you're absolutely right! I didn't see it from this perspective! :D

It's interesting and understandable how strong the attachment to MD is.


Valeria Franco said:

:-)

My "almost" was about "In my opinion, it is important to completely stop MD".

I'm not sure it is the right way.

I'm very positive of life being very much improved by totally eliminating MD, but I'm not sure that should be the first step.
It could be perceived as such a big step that people can get scared. Many tend to reject the idea of quitting fantasies forever.

If someone says "I hate this, I want to quit", that's very fine, but if someone is uncertain, it is better to start with "What's important is to gain control over dreams". It's a more reachable target.

As an exercise (adapted from an answer in https://wildminds.ning.com/forum/topics/do-you-get-overly-emotional...):

So, in the case of finding oneself in MD again, and realizing this mid-dream. I would try to hold that scenario in mind and "turn off the lights" in it. Whilst the lights go out, imagine how all the emotions and vitality of the characters and the surrounding seep out of the scene, into the floor, and the scene becomes pretty dim. All of the light and energy drain into you (but not you as the character), or rather the floor. It's pretty dim all around, and the MD characters themselves fade out to greys and shadows, and lose their animation, their vitality, becoming inert.

It didn't help to think about and analyse the characters at that moment, because that would just jumpstart MD again. But spending time unmoving in that cool, lifeless, dim scenery slowly drains the need to MD. As if the story doesn't need to be told on and on, it can wait a very long time for you, like a beach you visited in childhood. The turning point simply comes by waiting it out in that cool, dark place, until the frame of mind shifts and you're focused on something else, not by doing anything (or thinking action).

What I find is a difficult part is the moments when one MDs because of boredom. When commuting, in traffic, especially, when there's little other reprieve... When waiting for a bus, when there's not much to do, or doing chores and you need to keep moving/your hands full.

Listening to audiobooks helps somewhat... any other ideas? Honestly, doodling around with the phone isn't that much better than MD. or is it?

Well, since you refer audiobooks, I recommend podcasts. There is a podcast for everything (including MD). Buy a kindle and read e-books. Tricot and crochet may be tricky to perform in commuting, but it is doable. When doing chores that involve movement I turn on the TV out loud on a 24h news channel. And I have the “doing the dishes” tv series.

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