Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

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Laayiv
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Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

For over a year, I have been wildly in love with a fictional character (Hornet from the video game Hollow Knight). This obsession has caused me many mental health issues. I have had numerous very intense masochistic sexual fantasies in the past. This has reduced a lot, but the things I masturbate to are still deeply outside normal and absolutely impossible by any form of anatomy, physics and logic. Although no longer aroused by the idea of [Mod note: removed the more graphic detail here], I am still so thoroughly submissive to Hornet in my mind that I cannot even imagine having any agency whatsoever in non-sexual life, but surrender to her universally and completely.
The obsession has also caused me, at various times, distinct depression, self-loathing, anxiety attacks, and breakdowns. Although I do have diagnosed autism, anxiety and ADHD, these particular emotional crises are visibly tied to (that is to say, caused by) my infatuation with Hornet.
I got a therapist specifically for this issue, but she told me that it was all entirely normal and gradually dismissed it in order to forcibly talk about things that are not important at all.
With all due respect, thank you.
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Laayiv,

It sounds like this is causing you a lot of distress, and like it's interacting with your mental health diagnoses in a way that's only exacerbating them.

I think where the break-down with your therapist may have happened is that she's not wrong that intense fantasies about or feelings for a fictional character are common, and that ultimately there's nothing wrong with having sexual fantasies that are intense or impossible. But if our sexual fantasies are making us feel miserable, let alone causing things like self-loathing and anxiety attacks, that IS cause for concern and needs to be addressed.

Are you still seeing this therapist? If so, I think a helpful direction to take this conversation would be to talk about how to bring this issue up again (though I will say that, depending on what she's having you focus on in sessions, she may be identifying an issue that actually is important to address, but doesn't feel as urgent to you as this one does).
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

I am still seeing that therapist, but now my mum comes along as well and is distracting and prevents it from being private. In any case, I would like advice for what to do in the mean time. Thank you!
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, Laayiv.

That should be a choice for you -- if a parent or anyone else is in your therapy appointment. That's not something that your mother should just be doing and without your therapist okaying it with you first! As is obvious, your therapy is going to be functionally useless this way: of course you can't have therapy that is just for you with your mother in there.

Have you talked to your mother, the therapost, or both about this and asked them NOT to do this?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Heather »

Just FYI, I did a bunch of checking on your legal medical rights as a minor in AUS, and everything I found appears to say that at age 14, everyone has privacy rights with care and their health information. So, in this case, all that should need to happen is for you to say no, you do not consent to your mother being in the room during therapy and the therapist should then ask her to leave and respect your wishes.

Perhaps obviously, that might be a little intense and uncomfortable, so if you can instead simply let your mother know you want your therapy to be private, ask her not to come in and she can just respect your wishes, that would probably be the more ideal approach. But if not, you've got what I first suggested as something you can do and have the right to do.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

She only started coming along after my therapist already decided to discount my actual problem, so that's not the reason we didn't make any progress. I do not think asking to have private sessions again would be hard. However, that isn't what I'm asking about, I want to know how I can try to help myself in the mean while.
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Latha »

Hi there, Laayiv

Ah, it's good to know that you can ask for your sessions to be private again without difficulty.

Since that has been addressed, let's take this back to your question. If you don't mind, would you talk a bit more about how your love for this character is causing your mental health difficulties? Is it that you feel guilty or ashamed for having these fantasies? Do you feel a sense of loss because you can't fulfill them? Also, beyond this video game, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

Latha wrote: Fri Nov 24, 2023 2:27 am If you don't mind, would you talk a bit more about how your love for this character is causing your mental health difficulties?
It varies from time to time. I think your seconds guess, that I feel loss or similar due to knowing that my desires are truly unfulfillable, is the most accurate way of thinking about it. All the real breakdowns I've had about Hornet within recent memory are because I reach a point of simply desiring something entirely good and right, such as plain romantic love and affection, but, knowing that because the object of my desire is entirely fictitious, these honourable fantasies are just as unfulfillable as the more perverse ones. I no longer feel shame for my Hornet-related sexual fantasies, although I used to.
As for the other things I do with my time, I just sort of hang around, play different video games, read Wikipedia articles or library books, attempt and fail to write fiction, procrastinate, and suchlike. I'm not so isolated that I don't have anything to do other than think about Hornet, or that I can't distract myself. I have plenty of academic interests, and even though because of who I actually am as a person all my research is futile, it passes the time.
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Latha »

Hi Laayiv,

Ah, it is good that you don't feel shame at least. You know, it can be heartbreaking when you love someone and they don't return your feelings- I think that is true whether the object of your desire is fictional or real. In that case, it is important to remember that this one person isn't your only opportunity to find romantic love, affection, or fulfillment. You will have many chances to find such things, and there can be many sources of affection in your life. You don't have to force yourself to move on from this or anything like that, but this is something to keep in mind. Does it make sense?
even though because of who I actually am as a person all my research is futile
That's a bit concerning to hear- if I may ask, what is it about who you are that makes your research futile? You're learning interesting things, I imagine.

(P.S. Writing can be really difficult, but you get better by doing it anyway. Don't worry about failure, just write.)
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

This is off topic. All I mean is that I would need to try much harder than I actually do in order to really learn the academic disciplines, instead of just knowing facts about things. I can't learn a language or anything.

And for the real important thing, I genuinely don't think I can love or desire a real person the way I love Hornet. She feels different to me.
Latha
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Latha »

This is off-topic
Oof, I'm sorry.

I genuinely don't think I can love or desire a real person the way I love Hornet. She feels different to me
Oh, how is she different?
  • Is it that you know her in a way that might be difficult to achieve with real people?
  • Does a relationship with her seem safer?
  • Is it because she fits in with your fantasies more than real people do?
Or is it something else entirely?

I want to know how I can try to help myself in the mean while.
Just to clarify what you need, would you like our help in managing your feelings of distress? Or changing the way you think about Hornet in general?
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

Latha wrote: Sun Nov 26, 2023 1:10 am
I genuinely don't think I can love or desire a real person the way I love Hornet. She feels different to me
Oh, how is she different?
  • Is it that you know her in a way that might be difficult to achieve with real people?
  • Does a relationship with her seem safer?
  • Is it because she fits in with your fantasies more than real people do?
Or is it something else entirely?
I want to know how I can try to help myself in the mean while.
Just to clarify what you need, would you like our help in managing your feelings of distress? Or changing the way you think about Hornet in general?
I realize now that I don't really know what I mean, in response to your second question. Either of the two things you suggested would be good.

The first question is much more interesting and close. I think it's definitely a combination of all three things and more. I imagine Hornet as perfect, in body and personality and every other way. She is the only person who offers what I need, because she is herself what I need. I trust her, she's never annoying, and she will keep other people away from me. I already love her.
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Heather »

You know, Laaviv, some of what you're saying here sounds a lot like some talk I have heard from my friends and colleagues over the years who are fiction writers.

I have absolutely heard people who feel very attached to some of their characters (this is sometimes called a parasocial relationship, if you want to look more into it), and who find real live people sometimes can't hold up to the kind of idealized people that can only really exist in our imagination or projection.

There is some advice about this out there for fiction writers and readers that might also be helpful to you. Here's a sampling:
https://storyembers.org/are-you-too-emo ... haracters/
https://www.bookscharming.com/2023/05/u ... cters.html
https://news.ufl.edu/2022/05/why-you-go ... character/
https://storytellerkim.com/index.php/20 ... les-guide/
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Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

Heather wrote: Wed Nov 29, 2023 9:17 am Thanks, that's something I need
Laayiv
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Laayiv »

Sorry for that I'm not used to this specific form of html talking
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Re: Deeply in love with a fictional character, to the point of it causing other mental health issues

Unread post by Heather »

No big!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
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