I looked for a topic like this, but couldn't find one. If there is one, I'm sorry I missed it and please delete this. That being said, I'm not starting this to receive a flood of sympathy posts or posts talking about any of the experiences we've had in the past. This also isn't about wanting that perfect/beautiful doll so we can live the lives we've always wanted (and I'm not saying anything against that). It started when I read a book about a man who had a traumatic history, written by an author with a traumatic childhood. As a survivor of abuse and neglect, this struck several chords with me, the one that stuck being the fact that I'm not the only survivor who has characters and/or dolls with histories similar to my own. It got me to realize that by putting elements of my childhood into my characters and dolls, it made them easier to handle and talk about. What I want to know is this: Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse) Have your dolls ever used similar or the same coping mechanisms you've used, even if they were unhealthy - such as self-harm or anorexia? Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened? In showing your dolls' experiences, coping methods, or ability/inability to overcome a situation, did you feel as though you were able to better handle or talk about what happened to you? Or in showing your dolls' experiences, coping methods, or ability/inability to overcome a situation, did you feel exonerated or vindicated (freed from guilt or justified) about what happened and how you handle or cope with it? Conversely, if/when you find dolls that have similar experiences, coping methods, or abilities/inabilities to overcome a situation, do you feel as though this is insensitive or inaccurate? I realize that this is a very personal topic, and I appreciate anyone who wants to join in. I also understand if people don't want to, it being pretty controversial as well. I just want to know if there are others out there who use their dolls like this, even just a little bit.