In the earlier article, we covered what can be the causes of maladaptive daydreaming if you constantly dreaming about doing something big and impactful in the world. In this article, we will cover what it means when your daydreams consist of being a famous person. You will find yourself being a highly successful sportsperson, movie star, singer, politician, writer, businessman, etc.
Sometimes your maladaptive daydreams involve being a better version of your self and your imagination is close to reality. For example, if you are a student, you might daydream about being the most famous and brilliant person in your college and how people who undermine you feel jealous of you. How you landed upon the perfect job/internship opportunity and all the college professors and students were aghast seeing your success.
But sometimes, your dreams cross the realm of reality. In other words, you might also imagine yourself that doesn’t exist in real life, like superheroes, historical or mythological characters, or characters from a movie/novel/show. You dream about becoming a politician and work in an excellent way that stuns the entire nation and the world.
The common factor in all these maladaptive daydreams is that you get a large audience that claps for your work. You are surrounded by fans and are very famous for your excellence in the work.
There might be villains, too in these daydreams i.e. the opponents who are jealous of you. Sometimes you create a vivid imaginary story that how your enemies created plans to destroy/defeat you and how well you triumphed. At the end, how your opponents are realizing their mistake and feeling guilty about the way they treated you.
These types of daydreams are slightly different than the dreams we covered in the last article. In the daydreams about doing impactful work, you may or may not dream about being surrounded by fans. But in the “celebrity type” of maladaptive daydreaming, your focus is on how people reacted around you. In the previous type, the concentration is on the nature of work and the satisfaction it brings to you are the primary themes. While in this celebrity type, the emphasis on the appreciation you are receiving from the world. Sometimes, your daydreams are a combination of both of these attributes.
Maladaptive Daydreaming Causes: Why am I Dreaming This Way?
You are craving for appreciation. It doesn’t mean you are an attention seeker. But, you feel that your contribution is not appreciated by the people around you.
You might be an employee who is putting great efforts into learning new skills, completing assignments on time, working overtime, and bringing brilliant ideas to the table. However, none of your efforts are recognized and appreciated by your colleagues and superiors. You might be denied promotion or work duties that you truly deserve. You might be stuck with a superior who is always finding faults in your work but doesn’t speak two words of appreciation for the good work you do.
You might be a man that works really hard to provide your family a decent living. Yet, from the inside, you are feeling that your family members don’t value your hard work and they are always nagging. You might be a woman who is taking care of the home perfectly and/or working long hours and has made a lot of sacrifices for your family. And now you feel that “no one cares”. You feel people around you are always complaining about small-small things and not able to realize the struggles you face every day for them and the compromises you have made so far.
You might be a student who is working hard to get good grades but from inside you feel that everything is meaningless. You might not be able to secure a good job/internship due to high competition and the overall economy. You feel all your efforts are going in vain. There is a deep sense of despair when you see your future. You might be an unemployed person who feels that all your education and previous work experience are useless, and all the time invested in gaining them was a complete waste. You have a strong feeling that you are a hardworking and intelligent person but everyone around you has failed to see that.
You might be a retired person or veteran and feels that no one appreciated your contribution towards the country or organization you worked for. You feel unacknowledged. You feel that the world is a thankless place.
These are just some examples. Look into your life and find out in which particular area you feel unappreciated.
But the main cause for your maladaptive daydreaming is that you crave words of admiration. You firmly feel that the world should be thankful for your work. But when your mind doesn’t experience that type of feeling from the outer world, it creates a dream world to feel valuable. It creates a world where you are a celebrity or a hero who is admirable by all.
You might imagine being a star employee, who gets quick promotions or start your own business and become a billionaire and everyone around you (especially the unthankful ones) realize their mistake of undermining you. You might imagine marrying a famous person becomes a news sensation which makes everyone around you (especially ex-es) and people that made fun of you of being single and not able to find a good spouse.
If anything above resembles your maladaptive daydreaming journey, please understand that suppressing your daydreams won’t work for a longer period of time. So as feeling guilty, self-pity and frustration would also not work. You must start with appreciating yourself first. Don’t be self-loathing and bitter to yourself. Find some work like volunteering where people appreciate your contribution.
If you think any of your family members, colleague or friends are sensitive enough, talk to them about how underappreciated you feel. There might be a case that they are not doing such behavior intentionally are once your point out, they can be more conscious about how they treat you. It is also observed that when you appreciate people for their contribution, they reciprocate in the same manner. Start appreciating your colleagues, classmates, and family members’ work and see if anything changes in their behavior gradually. If you don’t find any work to appreciate, start giving compliments about their other things like appearance. You will find many tips on how to give compliments to others in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
Of course, these things will be applicable in some situations only. There will some circumstances where you need to find some new and innovative ways to receive appreciation from people. You can also use these general tips as ways to curb your maladaptive daydreaming. If you think the situation is getting out of control, don’t shy away from taking help from a mental health professional.
Maladaptive daydreaming is a deep and complicated subject and there isn’t much scientific research done in this area. We are trying to understand maladaptive daydreaming from a behavioristic point of view. If you think any of the above scenarios resemble your daydreaming journey, please share this article on social media.