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Coping with Dolls

Feb 22, 2010

    1. 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.
       
    2. Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse)

      Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Though I have not suffered physical abuse, I have suffered verbal and mental abuse which is still horrible by any means. I'm currently working on a story with my dolls right now that reflects what I experianced with the abuse I suffered.

      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?

      The story isn't online yet, but my dolls do wind up harming themselves throughout the story. I don't wish to go into detail about how I coped just to not get any hate or anything.

      Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened?

      It depends, I haven't fully finished the series yet but I don't wish to spoil the ending.

      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?

      Mhmm, after doing a couple of parts I started tearing up so my boyfriend had to come comfort me, hes a good boyfriend and he was with me through the times when crapped happened to me ( not all of it needless to say but enough to hug me.)

      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?

      After I finished a couple parts and talked to my boyfriend I felt a helllll of a lot better.

      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?

      Somtimes I do change stuff just for the hell of changing it. So, yes some things are inaccurate but I think its okay for people to realise as much information as they want from their past. Just because it may be a true event, some people might want to keep some real personal or not important information to themselves because it may still hurt them to talk about.
       
    3. Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse)
      Fortunately enough I haven't lost people when I have made characters up- Parents Divorce may have had a hand creating Stallion and his other counterparts.
      I was bullied a lot in the past so I have an over-active imagination. I finally decided to enter the hobby and give up my video games... and I've not been so happy in a long time.
      Since creating who my dolls are I am near loosing my Grandma.... If anyone knows where i can get a felitaur from... i will be in your debt- I will need him more than you'd think.

      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?

      Stallion and Lysander probably both keep on trucking as much as possible- But i wont put it past my smaller doll to have a nailbiting habit, and for Stallion to keep animals nearby (I bought my hamster- He 'made me' buy him a plush bear)

      Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened?

      Stallion does get depressed sometimes because of his death (he's an angel) But he usually is a voice of reason and compassion to those around him- The doll in his honour likes hugs!

      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?
      There is no way of showing their problems, as there is with me... I only have a small scar on the back of my left hand from my self harming episode and its faded away to practically nothing.

      Fleance might end up being the typical ostracised doll- but Souldolls Elden does have an almost sad looking faceup... And he will have friends around him that will be there when he wants to need them.

      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?

      Stallion has the facepaint of his people- Not facial tattoos, but more permanent since I painted them on him. Native American tribesmen typically don't have facial tattoos, where Stallion spent a lot of time with the women (example of self ostracism). He never let that bother him - so why should I?

      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?

      In regards to abilities to overcome- Sometimes discussing trials in an impersonal manner it may help to find newer ways of coping or letting your past out covertly.

      Inability to overcome- Some people cant so they make their dolls unable to before they reach their breaking point. Having the doll unable to cope helps people sound out what happens... or could do.

      -- In the past I have made characters unable to cope and not do... it is a good way of reflecting... only I wouldn't do it to my dolls as willingly.
       
    4. I'll try and keep this brief as I do find it so personal and don't feel like sharing too much, but I also wish to let you know you are far from alone in this matter. :aheartbea

      All I can really say is yes, my dolls are kind of a way for me to cope with things. From little daily life things as anyone else experiences, to the very deep issues which are not so common and I am very much alone in. When I have a bad day I can go play with my dolls and I feel better. The same can be said for the more extreme things like losing a family member.

      I lost a very important part of myself when I lost a certain family member. The twin dolls I have planned for the future will be a way for me to cope with that and just their existence will make me more happy than I can ever put into words, and I won't have to because they will show that all on their own. I know this probably doesn't make sense to most people, but this is the best I feel like explaining it. :sweat Sorry lol.
       
    5. Oh darling it does make sense. And I am glad that your twins will be able to help you because you will want them to.
       
    6. I don't use dolls nor any other form of art to portray the more unpleasant things that have happened in my life primarily because I am not too comfortable being terribly open to others about personal things. I've also found it to be harder to move on if I dwell on something; making a doll to represent anything that I find to be a source of pain to be like continuously picking at a wound.
       
    7. Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse)

      mmmm I do and I don't. Reija has the most of me in her but her back story is far more horrific(?) than mine ever was. Eva has my "other side" the more emotional side to her.

      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?

      I am a recovering self harmer, I would never want my dolls characters with this problem though, as I think for me it would be too traumatic having to think of it...

      Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened?

      Reija and Eva have had the most traumatic pasts, Reija has gotten over hers by finding love and a family she never thought she would have but Eva is still haunted by hers.
      Which in a sense is similar to where I am mentally right now..

      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?

      mmm not really as their things are different to my expierences, the only thing I can relate to is the death of loved ones.

      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?

      guilt maybe...

      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?

      personally I don't like doll characters that have self harming issues etc but that's just me, I've been though a lot of this myself so would find it hard to have a character like that or to be able to talk about someones doll who had that..
       
    8. I'll keep this short -

      I don't use my dolls as an outlet for any of my issues, because I consider my issues what I want to get away from. They're my break from it all. Of course, certain dark themes carry over, but I doubt I'd give a doll my particular issues because I don't see the point, personally.

      For me, my dolls and their stories are more escapism than a coping method. The coping method aspect of the hobby, for me, is customization. Nothing puts me in a better mood like doing a nice faceup. :)
       
    9. I have noticed that when I'm overworked (usually from a lot of double-shifts in a row at work), I tend to buy resin. You know, some people overeat when stressed, or use drugs, or go shoe shopping; I buy dolls and doll parts. I suppose this is a coping mechanism, though I don't generally view it as such. (Also, since the cause of the stress is having a TON of overtime, I have the money to cover the purchases.)
       
    10. I deal with the IRL shit, my dolls have a nice time.
      I have to admit, it annoys me a tiny bit when people use certain abnormal coping methods/suffering as a plot device in fanfic or doll characterisation when they're subjects I know close up. Not only because they can be triggering to those trying to recover but also because it seems insensitive, I dont know, it just makes me uncomfortable.

      I have to say, (and I'm guilty of this) if you cant let go of your problems and you need to play them out with dolls or in any other creative outlet, then you're not recovered. While ignoring problems is not the way to go, dwelling on them isnt, either.
       
    11. Myself, I use the dolls to let go of my problems and stress. I've got a high stress life and for me, the dolls are a lifesaver. Just being able to zone out while changing clothes, customizing, or surfing DOA keeps me sane.
       
    12. Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse)
      I do. I think it's because whether those past experiences were positive or negative they became part of me, and I don't always intend to incorporate them into my doll. When I do incorporate past negative experiences into my doll, I change the what exactly happened, but so they could still feel the same way about it.

      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?

      I've been though my own period of self destruction and I prefer not to dwell on it. I prefer to let my dolls make better choices.

      Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened?
      It may take a while, but I always in the end have them overcome whatever it was. I'm a fan of happy endings.

      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?
      It's more like venting. You get all the toxic stuff out of you, but without yelling, kicking walls, self destruction, or expensive therapy (maybe not, $$dolls :doh).

      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?
      If I'm writing about it, I've already worked though whatever has happened. But sometimes you find a different side to everything.

      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?
      It will depend on what it is and how it is shown.
       
    13. I have to admit I got a little chuckle from your thread title "Coping with Dolls" because it sounded like the dolls were the real-life headache to be "coped with" and yes, they can be when they run up my credit card or take up too much space :lol:

      Now that I see what you really meant, I have to say I don't do that with my dolls. One reason is that I don't make up detailed backstories or characters for my dolls, so just like I wouldn't write out those characters' coping in a story, I don't graft it onto who my dolls are. That's not to put down people who do enjoy writing backstories (or fanfic for that matter), it's just not something I do at this point in my life and also is not how I play with dolls at this point in my life.

      I know I did some of the above, with both fic and doll play, when I was a young child/ preteen living at home. I would use my Barbies or other dolls occasionally to act out some conflict I was feeling. As I got older, in high school and early college, more of my "coping" went into written stories, and if I'd been the type to have dolls act out my stories or personify people from the stories, I probably would have involved the dolls. I didn't play with dolls when I was that age, though. I dropped the doll concept at about age 15 as being too "babyish" and didn't get back into it until I was more like 20. Also, we did not have dolls available that were as detailed and realistic as BJDs back in those days many years ago (and even if there had been BJDs, I wouldn't have been able to have one then due to the cost and my family situation). The nicest dolls around tended to be Barbies, and I don't think I could have grafted my own problems and coping onto super-perfect, uber-skinny gorgeous fake Barbie.

      I realize it can be annoying to see doll stories by other people where they work all sorts of abuse or addiction or depression or other "issues" into the dollie plot, but it does seem like doll play (or puppet play, same deal) is and always has been a really basic way for humans to work out what's bothering them, so it doesn't surprise me.

      The way I tend to play with dolls is more like the person above said, I deal with the RL garbage and the dolls just have fun :) Seriously, I might make them up to be some sort of static character with some issues but I really wouldn't want to have to deal with a doll encountering problems and coping all the time and an ongoing plot. I just want to make up the doll to be whatever it's supposed to be, whether that's a happy go lucky fellow or a really depressed tortured individual, and just leave it as an art object and on to the next thing. I'd rather do my own real life coping directly, not through dolls, and if I need to work something out, I'm more likely to talk to a family member or friend that I trust. I'm not a kid any more, I don't need the doll to work out my angst or because I have no one else to communicate with.
       
    14. For me, dolls have always been ways to cope with life in different ways. When I'm depressed I go to dolls to feel happier and 'escape' my worries. And it's through dolls I have healed and achieved a greater self awareness. But it's what the doll represents to me that takes precedence. I don't write stories very often or portray personal past traumas. And my BJDs? Basically expensive toys.

      I have been in a field of work for the past five and a half years that never really valued me or my contributions. I'm starting a happier chapter in my life and what do I do? I sell dolls. I haven't sold BJDs but other dolls I bought and can say that even though one doll could never represent me, my overall collection does.
       
    15. I can safely say that I don't do this. My doll's stories all have personal experiences in them, but that is just the way I write. I don't use them because I need to deal with them, but because it is familiar ground and I know what I'm talking about or how to bring the feelings across. Most of those used experiences are so mangled to fit, that I don't even recognize them anymore.

      So when I'm writing about a character who is overcome by something that he's dealing with and how he cannot control it, it is not about me. It's just what the story needs.

      I'm curious; do you feel the same way when you read a book or watch a movie about a subject that is personal to you?

      Back on topic: Not everyone writing about certain topics is doing so to cope with their own pain. Some just like to tell a story. Of course they can be triggering, but no more than a movie or book can be. And just like with any media there are stories that portray a certain problem very well, and others that completely miss the point.
       
    16. Do you use personal experiences from your life as a reference when creating your dolls? (anything from loss of a pet to abuse)
      yep, I draw on my own life, and of those I have come into contact with

      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?
      Yep, once again I have experienced both of these behaviours and a lot of others, and one or another of my dolls has used all of my coping behaviours, be they adaptive or maladaptive. Some of my dolls also use ones far worse and more diverse than those I have used

      Have you ever shown your dolls overcoming what they went through, or are they unable to cope with what happened?
      a little from column a a little from column b. For example willow is an alcoholic, he can't seem t o kick that, though he DID get clean from being a junkie. For those reading the above comments I have never been either of these things.

      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?
      I don't feel it made a difference to this at all for me

      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?
      I would not say I am freed from guilt or justified or anything. I think it has given me a slightly different perspective, and while I do not think I handle things better because of it I certainly do view them differently.

      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?
      hmmm there are some things in the doll hobby that get up my nose, that make me think that there is a lot of insensitivity. The portrayal of homosexuality for example (including my own portrayal in some of my characters) is unrealistic and can be drtrimental to the ongoing efforts of the GLBT community to achieve equality. In some instances the way self harming behaviours are handled makes them appear glamorous rather than dangerous. The biggest peeve I have though is the ongoing portrayal of smoking in the doll world (and larger community) as cool or somehow glamorous or a valid coping mechanism. Honestly if smoking tobacco were totally outlawed in all countries I would be cheering.
      with allt aht said, however, I also ama ware for each ounce of glamourisation that happens there is also a moment of assistance, where someone who is struggling with issues and then finds them compounded due to shame over the coping mechanism they are using sees images or depictions that are not demonising the behaviour, and can feel a little bit better, a little bit stronger and less freakish. I know it sounds crazy, but as a Psuch and an ex cutter things like knowing you are not alone, even if you know what ytou are doing is abnormal or wrong, well just knowing you are not alone can give you the strength you need to keep fighting and get better. NOT talking about things can be as bad as over talking/depicting them
       
    17. If they're just using an issue as a off the shelf device for angst, then yeah, that does make me uncomfortable. I think what bothers me is when it's just salacious. Like, look how hollywood has distorted popular beliefs about mental illness. If it's a legitimate exploration of the issue that's different, or a person's exploration of their own problems.
      Having said that, people should have freedom of expression in any media, dolls included.
       
    18. Fascinating topic here.

      I guess, in some ways, my dolls help me cope with real life issues simply by giving me a means of escaping from them for a little while. Like with my writing, just playing around with them, creating their characters and stories and such, or even the act of changing their clothes or wigs or such, can help me to unwind and de-stress after a hard day (or night, as I work a third-shift job). It's not a cure, but it is a release, and it does help.

      As for having my dolls "cope" with issues, I never really thought about it. My childhood was relatively normal, actually, so there isn't much tragedy in their storyline. Most of their issues come more from my obsessive love of fantasy than anything that happened to me in real life, and I don't have them nearly as developed as characters as I do the characters in the novels I write.
       
    19. My incoming girl has a lot of the same manipulative/narcissistic traits that I have. She's ended up embodying those particular traits and I hope that will help me find why I've got them myself.
       
    20. To be very brief, yes. One of my dolls is my own twisted self image, and I have another in the works to "replace" some one very special who passed away recently. A third is a rememberance of a friend I had a long, long time ago, and who is now gone.