Escaping into Fantasy

by David

Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger

Photo Credit: Sean Dreilinger

I'm placing this question here because I'm too embarrassed to ask my therapist about it.

When I was a child, I used to go off into my bedroom and secretly escape into a private world of fantasy. Now you're probably thinking "that's normal." There's more though.

As I fantasized, I tightly clutched a piece of rope between both hands, so that the rope was formed roughly into the shape of an arc.

In each fantasy situation, I imagined myself taking part in a science fiction scenario (e.g., space wars and that sort of thing). The fantasies ended when the battle was over and I was on the victorious side.

Each fantasy lasted 1 - 2 hours and gave me a feeling of pleasure and relief.

I was very sensitive and shy as a kid. I grew up in a home where I was a victim of lots of verbal abuse.

Does anyone have a name for this kind of odd behaviour? If I can put a name to it, I might be able to research it and eventually decide to tell my therapist about it. Otherwise, it'll probably remain a secret that never gets told.


All About Psychology Reply

Hi David,

I'm not sure I'd define what you describe as "odd behaviour", rather just an important part of your child development at the time. Variations of the scenario you describe are much more common than you think.

There has been lots of research into the fantasy play of children. For instance in 1986 a research paper by marjorie kostelnik entitled "Living With He-Man: Managing Superhero Fantasy Play" was published which examined reasons children find superhero play so attractive and discussed how it relates to childhood development. In conclusion the author makes a case for allowing superhero play and suggests strategies to make such play a constructive experience for children.

I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed to talk to your therapist about it.

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