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So when I was little I made up this imaginary "other mother". She was the exact opposite of my mum. She's always nice, always smiling. When I was little we would play (you know the way kids play with bears/dolls/imaginary people tea party type stuff) and she would be upset when she couldn't stop things happening to me. When I was a little older I named her Felicity after one of my favorite teachers. (I never really got to talk much to the teacher and she wasn't quite a mother figure, she was just really nice to us.)

I evetually grew out of Felicity.

But now I'm older I still imagine her. I talk to her like she's there even though I know she really isn't, then I get upset after because I know it's all in my head.

I'd imagine she's interested in the things I do - my uni interviews - that she'd get tearful that I'll be heading to uni and saying she's proud of me.

I'd imagine her giving me a hug when I'm in a really bad way after a bad "session" (sh etc.).

This can't really be normal, especially when I feel like I don't want to "let go" of Felicity. So what do I do about it?

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I think that whatever healthy things we need to do to cope, we should.

I also think this means you're a very creative person and that is wonderful. I do things like that. I never really had imaginary friends, but I make up characters and things, and even now I imagine one of them to have the same MI issues as I do and he and I go through it together. I imagine us at cafes, talking about our loves, and talking about our issues and just being friends, and I want to be as assertive and awesome as he is. Probably not normal, but again, I think that makes us creative individuals.

Imagination is a wonderful tool to help you through hard times and it helps enhance your life through the good ones, so I think Felicity is still helping you out. She's real to you, like my friend is real to me. We're not the only ones who do this, trust me.

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I don't see anything wrong or unhealthy in what you describe. Actually, I think it's a positive thing. I often think about certain people from my past, or people who are far away, and imagine talking to them about things that are happening in my life. It can be very comforting and encouraging. Also, sometimes things that the person says in your imagination can even give you a new perspective that you hadn't consciously considered.

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  • 4 months later...

This is so eerie that I saw your post today. Just last night I had a re-visitation from my childhood imaginary friend - a guy, also a parent figure - a father surrogate, I later realized.

He didn't have a name. He had black hair and dark eyes and a kind expression, a sort of searing glance. He was elevated, sort of just above the trees. He watched me constantly, never took his eyes off me. He cared for me, and as I got older there was also something vaguely sexual about him. I craved his attention and I got it. This didn't happen in any other context - I got attention from adults, but it was always the wrong kind - chaotic stuff, interference, managing, correction, punishment, etc. Mostly, though, I was simply ignored.

So he was like Dad and like God. I was between eight and ten when this happened.

I've been unhappy in my marriage lately, and I've had a resurgence of weird behaviors and impulses that I thought had been sorted a long time ago. I'm throwing myself at unavailable men, getting rejected by them (sometimes brutally or quizzically, other times gently, and still other times ambivalently). SImply going out of my mind right now, and I don't have a therapist, so there's no one to talk to about this.

I feel like I'm just falling apart every day. I keep waiting for my "self" to sort of run out, but it seems like there's always more of me to be torn down anew each day. So strange.

I had this idea last night that I could put together a sort of shrine to my childhood friend. I'm an artist - I thought I could paint a picture of him, visit him every day, ask for advice, just be with him. So weird. I keep remembering that Old Testament injunction not to make graven idols. It does seem really childish. But I still crave the sight of this guy's face, his deep gaze. I can't imagine anything else that could help me as much as that.

So anyway - no, this is nothing to be ashamed of. Imaginary friends are like people in dreams. They're projections of aspects of ourselves. My childhood friend is a part of myself that's been called to action because I'm in crisis. There's no help from outside, so my inner forces are being marshaled. I think the same thing is happening to you.

Thanks for the interesing post :)

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I know The Feeling.... well, the feeling of seemingly never had a mother.

Heck, the German band Rammstein wrote a song about the concept (appropriately titled "Mutter", which of course is German for "mother").

Anyways, I personally don't see anything wrong with your active imagination and this faux-mom thing going on. It is just another coping mechanism. In fact, I wish I had thought of it 25 years ago. I grew up in a tiny family (only child) with two very clueless and naive parents to serve as my guardians. With the grandparents 10,000 miles away, and my parents had to rely on "surrogates" for parenting advice. My mother, in particular, didn't like relying on anybody's advice and took on her own style of parenting (unfortunately, one with verbal abuse for just about everything, and sometimes nothing at all, and solely due to her desires to vent on someone, I'd be on the business end of 100% it).

I guess what you've done is somewhat analogous to someone "finding" religion and some sort of God, code of morals/values, book, or whatever, which is what I finally did three years ago, finding solace and life purpose in Quaker Christianity, much as you may have done with this imagined mother. And in my opinion, there is neither anything wrong with your method of coping nor mine.

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