Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
Before I begin, I would like to point out that I do have Asberger’s Syndrome, so if I say anything I shouldn’t, please let me know and I will do what I can to correct my mistake(s).
In my daydreams I’m always the “bad guy” doing extremely violent things to other people and causing a town’s Armageddon. The characters and location(s) in my daydreams are from a show I loved as a kid (and still love today) that eventually lead to multiple severe mental health issues in the past, which may be why I have these daydreams in the first place (suppressed anger and a desire for revenge). In fact, the only character in my daydreams who isn’t originally from the show is me, who is represented by an Antichrist character with unlimited god-like power and a thirst for blood.
One of the things that I find rather interesting about my own daydreams is that it’s not just one storyline playing out over time. Rather, it is a series of timelines that can be restarted and/or altered by me at any point. The personalities, role significance, attitudes, etc. of each of the characters varies from from timeline to timeline, which can mean a character who is a brilliant and kind-hearted person in the show can be quiet and reclusive in one timeline, and be a dangerous sociopath in the next. The themes can be altered as well as the order of events and many other plot elements in this universe, and I have never had a single daydream that was similar enough to the original series for their storylines to overlap.
There is also one character in these timelines that, no matter which timeline it is, I end up obsessing over and using my power to watch constantly. He is generally the main focus of my fantasies and the main reason my alternate self does what she does. I often fantasize about doing bad things to him (usually rape and/or torture), which I really know I shouldn’t be, but I honestly just can’t help it.
I daydream about all of this violence and unlimited power constantly, and I always get a sick feeling of enjoyment out of it. Sometimes it’s almost impossible for me to think about anything else, and I will end up pacing for large amounts of time blasting the same song on repeat. My daydreams are usually the source of inspiration for my stories and art, and I will sometimes spend hours on end writing or drawing out one or more of my alternate timelines. Others around me even have to monitor how much time I spend daydreaming so it doesn’t become as out of hand as it has been multiple times in the past. Additionally, I often feel alone; like no one understands the kind of feelings I experience whenever I do this, because no one does understand. Whenever I tell someone that I daydream constantly and do whatever I can to become closer to the emotions I get out of it, they think I’m insane, delusional, or overly desperate to live a certain way. And, yes, I know that what I’m feeling is wrong, but it’s impossible for me to stop, not that I want to anyway. And whenever I do try to stop to focus on things that I know should be more important, it keeps on going, and even if I try to “end” one timeline, another one begins, and it’s completely out of my control. And I haven’t even been able to identify any triggers to it - my daydreams often become more intense out of absolutely nowhere.
Another thing I should point out is that although I do have these fantasies constantly playing in my mind, there’s no way I’d ever do anything like that to anyone in real life. My therapist says that as long as I don’t want to hurt anyone in the real world, I’m safe and okay. So, no, to shut down any thoughts you may be having about this, I’m not a serial killer, rapist, or anything like that - never was, never will be, and I don’t encourage anyone to go down that path. I may find pleasure out of doing such things to characters in my daydreams, but I know that harming others in the real world is not okay.
Sorry this was so long. What do you guys think? Do any of you do anything similar? Or am I the only one out there who has this kind of violence with unlimited power in their daydreams?
I have violent power fantasies, too. The heroine of these fantasies is a good person, whose actions are justifiable, but she has to hurt a lot of people in order to save others, and I take sadistic pleasure in the pain she inflicts and the fear she inspires.
I don’t think it’s unethical to take sadistic pleasure in my heroine’s actions, because after all, no real people are hurt. I know perfectly well that if these people were real, my emotional reaction to it all would be very different. But for a long time, I felt that having these kinds of daydreams might nevertheless be morally unhealthy. I worried that dwelling upon this kind of thing might make me crueler in real life. I thought at least it must say something bad about my character.
But I don’t think so anymore. I read a book called Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super-Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence by Gerard Jones, which basically says that children need violent fantasies to learn self-efficacy and get a sense of their own boundaries. As long as kids understand that fantasy violence isn’t real, and that real violence is normally not ok, they aren’t going to become violent people. I don’t think it’s really any different for me as an adult.
Certainly I know that by daydreaming I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy and talent that could have been used to care for other people. So in that way, my daydreams have gotten in the way of my efforts to be a good person, and so have made me a worse person. But I don’t think the violent content has made me a worse person.
For me, it all boils down to this: I have to learn to accept that by nature, I’m capable of doing horrible evil. Everybody is, that’s the human condition. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, it just means that I have the potential to be one, just like everybody else…
I also find that sometimes it’s almost impossible for me to think about anything besides the daydream. I spend hours and hours on end lying on the couch or my bed just daydreaming, and I also haven’t been able to identify any triggers for it.
I also feel extremely ashamed of telling people what I daydream about. It took me, I’m guessing,18 years to admit that I had fantasies of absolute power over others, and that I was addicted to these fantasies. And then after that, it took me forever to work up the courage to tell someone else exactly what my daydreams were, and when I did, it was almost impossible for me to think about both the daydream I was telling and the presence of the other person at once. My mind would freeze and I would have to pause, try to forget about the other person, and then continue. I’m still super nervous about telling people my daydreams, but not as much as before.