Who Should You Tell About Your Maladaptive Daydreaming?Last Updated:
If you were to take a poll of those who have maladaptive daydreams and you were to ask them how many other people in the "real world" know about their maladaptive daydreams, the vast majority would likely say zero.
Maladaptive daydreamers almost uniformly keep their daydreams to themselves. They choose not to tell their friends and family about them because they're afraid that they'll be judged by them.
Of course, I was entirely the same way when I went through my maladaptive daydreaming phase. I wouldn't have ever dreamed about telling my parents or my friends about my maladaptive daydreaming because I thought that they wouldn't understand and would judge me.
After all, it sounds utterly bizarre to tell people that you have daydreams that interfere with your "real" life and that you seemingly can't stop no matter how much you want to.
I've increasingly come to the view that there's another reason why those who engage in maladaptive daydreaming don't tell anyone else about them, though. I don't think it's just concern about being judged.
I've increasingly come to the view that maladaptive daydreamers are terrified of the allure of their daydreams being ruined by letting someone in on your secret.
For many maladaptive daydreamers - in particular, those who have had trauma in their life - maladaptive daydreams provide a sense of control. While you think you can't control everything in your exterior life, you can control the daydreams you engage in.
This is also why it's so common for maladaptive daydreams to be utterly divorced from your own reality; involving main characters who don't look like you, talk like you, or even act like you.
While maladaptive daydreaming comes in many forms, one very common form is of the escapist daydream. However, if those around you in the real world all of a sudden know that you engage in these escapist daydreams then maybe they'll continually bring it up to you or ask you about it.
So, now this one thing in your life you can control (your daydreams) are no longer just yours. Now others know about them and are likely silently judging you at least a little bit for having them.
I'm often asked by people whether they should tell others in their life - their friends or family, for example - about their maladaptive daydreams. On the one hand, if you're looking to stop your maladaptive daydreams, this can be an incredibly effective technique.
For many who engage in these very abstract daydreams, just telling people in the real world about them tends to break the spell that they have over you. Suddenly these daydreams aren't so enticing because they aren't just yours. In other words, they're no longer your secret retreat that no one else knows about.
With that being said, I do worry about telling people in your real life about your maladaptive daydreams because of the reaction you're likely to get as a result. Most people simply don't believe that maladaptive daydreams are real or believe that it's a sign of a much deeper problem and get quite concerned. While telling others in your real life may help you get over your maladaptive daydreams, I do worry about whether or not it will bring you lingering shame or embarrassment due to having had them to begin with.
So, if you're looking to get rid of your maladaptive daydreams I always recommend trying to do it yourself first without telling other people. In the course I put together on how to stop maladaptive daydreaming, I go over a number of techniques and tricks to try to quickly grind the gears of your daydreams to a stop.
One of these is by writing down, in as much vivid detail as possible, everything about your daydreams. You can either do this on your computer or on a piece of paper.
An interesting thing about maladaptive daydreamers is that they can spend hundreds of thousands of hours on a daydream, but yet never write down anything about them.
For many of those with MD, the act of just writing out as many details about your daydreams as possible has a cathartic effect. It somehow breaks the allure of your daydreams as you embarrassingly lay out how comically absurd your daydreams likely are.
Importantly, after you write out everything about your maladaptive daydreams you don't need to ever show anyone. You can throw out the piece of paper you wrote them on. Just the very act of finally expressing in words what is going on in your head can have a similar effect to when you tell a friend or family member about your maladaptive daydreams (but without the potential embarrassment or judgment that comes along with that).
I believe so firmly in this technique that I actually created a Maladaptive Daydreaming Survey - as part of the little course I put together - in order to help prompt you to really flesh out what your maladaptive daydreams are, why you think they rationally could have occurred, etc.
Many people say that after going through the Survey they found a significant reduction in their desire to maladaptive daydream altogether. This seems hard to believe. But many of those with MD are under the mistaken impression that their daydreams are firmly embedded in them and that it'll take a great deal of time and effort to dislodge them. Luckily for all of us, when you approach trying to stop your daydreams properly they can go away exceedingly quickly.
If you're still trying to figure out whether or not your daydreams are really maladaptive, feel free to take a look at the maladaptive daydreaming test on this site (it's entirely free).
As always, I wish you the very best of luck in your journey.