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Imagination? Or psychosis?

Nov 8, 2009

    1. I realize this is a pretty sensitive subject, but I've seen it touched on in other threads and thought it could be expanded (basically I'm just curious, and I want to know if anyoen feels the way I do). It's kind of hard to put into words, but I'll try, and I hope nobody will find anything offensive in this thread!

      Lots of people on this forum see their dolls as beautiful pieces of plastic and nothing more. Others on the opposite end of the spectrum have strong bonds with their dolls, even believing they have souls. (I'm not saying either of these views are wrong, by the way.) But is there a line between imagining a personality for their dolls, and actually believing that their doll is a separate, sentient entity? In other words, if there's a spectrum between pretending the doll is real, and actually thinking the doll really is real, at what point does imagination become psychosis? Because I really think we've all crossed the line at some point.

      Now, where do you draw the line between imagination and psychosis?

      Mods, as ever, if this is unsuitable for whatever reason, please delete! Thank you.

      EDIT: This is a HYPOTHETICAL thread. I'm not crazy, and I'm not asking you whether you think I'm crazy. Just tell me where YOU think normal imaginatin stops, and worrying behaviour begins.

      also- I'm taking psychosis to mean what my psychology tutor told me it meant- an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. A symptom, not some kind of disease.
    2. (All yous are general)

      There is a big difference in imagining a personality and projecting it onto a doll than actually believing that doll has that personality. The imagined personality can exist without the doll therefore it's clearly pretend, made up in your own mind. It's thinking the doll has that personality just because that's who it is which is different, thinking you in no way made it up yourself.

      And it's pretty obvious when someone is just pretending compared to when they really do think it's real. For one thing, they will clearly say they think it's real (and someone who doesn't will clearly say it's pretend, specially in the case where people resell a doll to reshell a character or something like that), they will defend it like you were just saying their sibling/parent/dog weren't real and didn't have it's own personality. To those who believe it, it is real to them, and it's at that point it's a bit mental, as far as I'm concerned. Though not psychosis, that's much more serious and not at all like what's described here.
    3. I think that there is a huge difference between pretending and believing. When I was younger myself and my school friends would use grass clippings to create the floor plan of a house and play happy families. We would pretend that we were in a real house with walls and furniture, but we didn't for one moment believe it. I have created personalities and back-stories for my dolls' characters, but I don't for a second believe that my dolls are living entities with thoughts and feelings. I suppose that in a way I use my dolls in the same way that myself and my childhood friends used that grass house, to be creative and perhaps explore certain facets of my personality. I don't think I've crossed a line at all.

      As I said before in a previous thread, I think that we often romanticise our thoughts towards our dolls. One example I have previously used is the way in which many doll owners will make sure their dolls are sitting in a comfortable manner. I don't think that this is necessarily because they think that the doll might actually be uncomfortable, although that may be their belief. I think it comes from the subconscious need to have a human looking object sitting in a comfortable position because it makes us feel uncomfortable if they are sitting awkwardly. Perhaps when doll owners feel bad for neglecting their dolls they are much more comfortable to give an emotion-based explanation rather than thinking that it is simply because they aren't using an object that they have paid a lot of money for? If I haven't touched my dolls for a while I feel bad for not utilising a beautiful object that I have paid a lot of money for, not because I think that they are going to be in a strop with me.

      I think that some people feel far more comfortable in themselves when they can try to assign valuable emotions to situations instead of perhaps looking at the cold, logical facts.

      Mods, as ever, if this is unsuitable for whatever reason, please delete! Thank you.[/quote]
    4. I feel that movies like Toystory are setting us all up to feel that way. I have always felt that my toys had feelings. Not in the same way as real animate beings feel but feelings of some sort to be sure. It is difficult to put into words, but I know how you feel. Let me try.

      (When I say "you" I am not refering directly to anyone in particular :sweat)I have always thought that if you love something to a certain extent then you put a bit of yourself into them. You put your own emotion into them, so that even if they don't actually feel, you think they do. This is called projection, and it is something everyone does to some extent. So for some of us, especialy those of us who get attatched to things easily, this feeling is pretty natural. Even wanting to apease these false emotions, to make the doll "happy" is pretty normal for most of us.

      Crossing that line, IMHO, is where you honestly truely feel that they have emotions, or souls. ummm like really beliving in the story line of the first Toystory movie, that if you dont keep them happy, it (the doll, karma, what ever "it" is) is going to come back on you.

      I guess that, to me at least, as long as you know deep down, regardless of how far you bury it (I like to bury it pretty far down) you know that these doll are just dolls, then you havent yet crossed the line into psychosis.
    5. I dont have my doll yet, but for an example I belive all my things have small souls. I name every inanimate object. I also hear voices. I think its okay to think your dolls have souls and you're (anyone) not insane. I personally might be. But you might not be. I think about the movie The Brave Little Toaster. Just as long as the dolls dont start walking around. Then you really might be insane.
    6. I think the idea that even inanimate objects have some sort of "soul" to them isn't as far fetched as we think; there has been studies (okay, maybe not definite proof) that obejects carry with them a sort of spiritual record with them in their "lifetime", whether it be a specific scratch from when someone dropped something on it, or a stain from callous cleaning or whatever other myriads of occurrences. Sure, the object's base materials also lend a hand into their "lifetime", but there have been times where people say that one table, whilst brand new, could break faster than the one that has been around the block a few times. In that sense, you could say human beings are inanimate objects when they come into the world and their personality builds on the experiences they encounter. (Also, on a related note, this "soul" or spiritual record can sometimes be tapped into by certain branches of psychics. Whether you believe in the paranormal side of this is up to you)

      Now, to project that theory into this specific topic, I would say as humans, we would look at the dolls the same way as we would look at the table in the example. They develop a sort of soul for themselves based on the personalities we project on them, on how we imagine their journey to us must have been like, what their previous owners (if applicable) treated them like and the personalities they could have put into them.

      This can enter psychosis, as been said, when the individual believes actual LIFE has entered something that no longer has or never had LIFE, despite having a SOUL. They take the soul they believe the doll has and begins treating it as an actual human being, with human rights and needs, going to the same extremes as some may treat a small friend, child or occasionally, maybe even lover.

      It does happen in society, albeit not a massive amount, or at least not highly reported.
    7. If you think you have a "psychosis" then you should really be seeing a doctor and not asking for opinions from strangers on the Internet.

      I realize that a lot of people think talking to dolls and inanimate objects is silly, but let's not overdramatize it.
    8. Let's see if we can put this plain and simple...

      Are they 'real' to us?: Yes
      Do we realize they are characters created by us?: Yes
      Does this in fact make the imaginary?: Yes
      Does this fact make them any less 'real' to us?: No

      I have read many and author account of actually going out shopping and purchasing ites for a certain character only to realize they are not 'real'. I Believe this whole concept has something to do with the artistic mind and the degree of creativity your particular characters require. We all create differently, simple as that.
    9. Some people believe in ghosts but I don't think they're psychotic. As such, I don't really have a problem with people believing their dolls have souls and can feel.

      I wouldn't really label it as psychosis until it becomes obsessive or disruptive. I know, vague answer, but that's my take. :P
    10. I don't think that comment is particularly helpful or insightful. Of course if I thought I was suffering from psychosis I would see a doctor. But I don't, so I haven't. And the whole point of this forum is asking opinions from strangers on the Internet- in this case, what in their opinion constitutes taking imagination too far, so it becomes some sort of mental imbalance. It's because I'm interested, not because I'm crazy.
    11. I believe strongly that every human being on earth has a living soul, but my dolls are nothing more than cute toys. They don't get mad if I damage them or not do much with them, they still keep thier never fading expression while sitting in the same pose on my desk for week. The way I have them move and act is based on the story characters I've built them around. I don't think that any of them are alive. Their heart and wills are my creation, and no more real than anything I can write.

      A doll isn't any more animate than this desk I'm sitting at, and I would never think it had a soul and feelings. It disorganized, messy, and needs to be dusted off. I would be a bit disturbed if someone told me I need to clean it off since I'm upsetting it. (Clean it off becuase it's a mess is entirely different!)

      The whole "my doll has a soul" thing bothers me a bit. I can't see how a thread asking if people who feel this way are mental are really helping our community, either. I don't find it an issue to have the childlike wonder and imagination of really feeling attatched to a doll, feeling them speak to you in that imaginary friend way. I find that kind of thing endearing and can be greatly distressing and relaxing, but that still doesn't take from the fact that these things are just dolls, fancy toys for adults.
    12. Huh, this is an interesting topic...

      My mom has always said that all inanimate objects have the ability to house spirits. For that very reason, she had been very reluctant towards my BJD hobby and has been irritated by my thrifty spending on dolls. <_< To be honest, I'm not sure if I believe in my mom's housing theory 100%, but sometimes I find it to be more believable than other times, especially late hours of the night. :sweat But that's probably not saying much in the long run--I'm probably too sleepy to differentiate reality from dreams at that point, heh.

      Whenever I give my dolls names and background stories and characters, I'm completely aware that everything is created in my head. However, I do feel pangs of guilt whenever I leave my dolls in their cases for months without touching them due to workloads or whenever I just set them on my desks for months too. It's not that I think they're talking to me, it's just that I hate to see something so realistic-looking and lifelike to collect dust when it should be played with more often and loved.
    13. I believe that any THING is markable or can be embedded. That is to say that objects, no matter how hard or soft, carry vibrations that we put into them. If you ever notice how you can enter a room or building and get a very unsettling feeling just to find out that something terrible happened there? Well, that is because the place and the items still carry the vibes of what has/had happened.
      SO, I believe that our dolls DO put back out (vibes) that we put into them in the first place, these vibes are love, attention, affection, time, consideration, etc.
      I give my dolls life. Yes, I am in touch with reality, but I GIVE my dolls life. As you've said, you can feel neglectful or what if the doll is bored. I have those feelings but I think that has to do with our own emotions. I think a lot of us put a tiny piece of ourselves into our dolls, afterall we have developed little stories, backgrounds and lives for them, they are our creations, they come from inside us...they ARE us.

      When I was young I was taught that if something hurt me (like I jammed my toe into the leg of the desk and it hurt really bad), hit the desk back, or pound on it and yell at it. It DOES feel better to do that! It hurt me and I hurt it back and told it off. I feel better. Does the desk actually care? No. But I feel better. It's the same scenario with the dolls and anything else. Our own personal emotional attachment. And I also believe it is very theraputic to have something to take care of and talk to and to make believe it can hear us and even have it's own thoughts or reactions about things.

    14. I don't believe I have a soul, let alone a doll with a soul. That sounds too superstitious to me. I believe I have a very loving brain and body, and biologically, I'm very capable of being human and sentient. Dolls, on the other hand, don't have brains or glands of any kind. Now, that may not always be true. Science may advance to the point that computers are capable of having humanesque feelings. When that happens, our dolls will love us and have personalities, the whole shebang. Anything short of that is imagination.
    15. Psychosis doesn't just pop up when you get into the doll hobby, it flares up in other ways irregardless of what you own.
    16. From a psychological viewpoint, I'm 6 mos. away from my degree, there is no problem so long as the person know that it isn't actually real. as children we create identities for our dolls and stuffed animals, treat them as real beings, care for their well-being and emotions. but we never say children are experiencing psychosis when they do this. The only reason it is considered unhealthy or unnatural in adults is because we are conditioned to put away these "childish" things when we become an "adult". So long as some part of you knows that it isn't real and that you have created it then there isn't a problem.
    17. Again, this is a huuuuuuuuuuuuge difference between pretend and crazy. Both my parents work in the mental health field so I know a bit (but I am no expert.)

      When someone believes that this doll is real, that it speaks to them, that it does things that start controlling their life... this could be considered psychosis. For example- if a doll was 'talking' an owner into self-harm, this would be a colossal danger sign!

      Belief is belief. Some people believe in a God while others don't, I guess you could put it. It's like how people believe in ghosts. There's a fine line between
      pretend and crazy but it can be very hard to describe. There are users here who believe the doll has a soul (there is a whole thread on it!) This would not be considered psychosis. The owner does not exhibit psychotic behavior, only a belief. Saying that their belief is a psychotic one is like calling every religion that you do not accept medically crazy. (For example, I am Christian. One of my very good friends is Atheist but does not see me as crazy. This is a part of who we are)

      If we do not believe it, we try to rationalize it.

      Sorry if I went in circles...
      • x 1
    18. Here's the thing, me and my friend have actually been discussing this because I am new to dollie realm but have always had an overly acute imgaination as some might say. I too am getting my degree in social work to work in mental health. I think that it can be useful in connecting with ppl. I connect with ppl through my doll every day in my internship and its amazing to see what a little belief can do.
    19. I don't think "psychosis" , this word is a right word here. Obviously, psychosis is a no good word. I believe everyone who loves their own dolls has an innocent heart and good personality. If someone who is psychosis, she/he will never know how to love a doll and take care of them.

      Also, the word "imagination" here is not appropriate. Even only from a doll's apperance, we can feel something about he/her, like she is a tender girl or a sad girl etc. So, imagination is not appropriate.
    20. There's nothing wrong with having an imagination, it's a perfectly healthy thing to have but the key is knowing where make believe finishes and the real world begins.

      I wouldn't say people who genuinely believe their dolls house souls or can talk to them necessarily suffer from something as extreme as psychosis but rather struggle to identify that line -or perhaps hope that line is little less defined than it is-. I don't mean that as an attack on anyone who might believe that (opposing views make a debate after all ;3 it's no debate if we all agree) but from what I've observed online and off there seems to be a mentality among some people that just because it's either human shaped or because it costs so many hundred dollars they MUST form this belief that a doll is somehow more than it is.

      Perhaps it's because I'm sceptical in general of this kind of thing, religion, mysticism and anything that basically boils down to 'I believe it so it MUST be true!' rather than there being anything tangible that can be tested or defined in real terms.

      As I said there's nothing wrong with having an imagination, I have a perfectly fertile one myself and can happily spend hours writing about my characters but I know that they're not real, that they're just people I made up in my head. My dolls are merely 3D representations of those characters that I like to photograph, I don't believe in the slightest that they're anything more than very pretty lumps of plastic I enjoy playing with and collecting.

      But I guess at the of the day, to each their own, even if it does worry me sometimes that people take their imaginations just a little too far.