One of the most common questions I get is about how it feels for maladaptive daydreaming to end. Does it go out with a bang? A whimper? Something in between?
As I discuss in the maladaptive daydreaming program, there are a series of tricks that work for most people almost immediately (or at least cause a severe reduction in the amount of maladaptive daydreaming).
So for most people – when they have the right know-how – maladaptive daydreaming does end with a bang. The frequency and intensity of the dreams go away in just a few days or weeks.
In fact, over 50% of those who have taken my survey after doing the program have reported a 90% reduction in their maladaptive daydreams after just two weeks.
However, here’s the thing…
Maladaptive Daydreaming Ending Feels Like Nothing
When I was maladaptive daydreaming at my height I would often engage in daydreaming (I don’t know if it was really maladaptive!) about what it would be like for the maladaptive daydreams to go away.
It was a bit like Inception, but for maladaptive daydreams (which I think would actually be a good movie).
So when I began my seven-step method for ending maladaptive daydreams – along with a few tricks I created – I expected to really notice when the maladaptive daydreams left me.
Instead, they just kind of disappeared into the ether. Because I wasn’t engaging in maladaptive daydreams, I wasn’t even thinking about them.
Occasionally I would notice this and think about how odd it was that a few weeks prior I was consumed by my daydreams and now I wasn’t at all.
The Common Pathway
My pathway of going from non-stop maladaptive daydreaming to barely even thinking about maladaptive daydreaming is actually the norm.
My theory is that this is almost necessary because when a maladaptive daydream really gets going – after you engage in it for five or ten minutes – it’s almost impossible to stop it from extending out even further.
In other words, once the train gets rolling it takes a long time and a lot of effort to hit the brakes.
So my approach was to:
- Make the maladaptive daydreams less appealing (by using tricks like “poisoning the well”)
- Notice as soon as I was drifting into a maladaptive daydream and immediately move by attention elsewhere (through the seven-step method)
While I don’t pretend like I have all the answers, I’ve talked to hundreds of maladaptive daydreamers.
I don’t know of anyone who has made a recovery who every day decreased their maladaptive daydreaming by 5%. That just strikes me as almost being an agonizingly slow process that almost surely won’t work.
Instead you need to break maladaptive daydreaming. Not with willpower, but with a real strategy.
This was maladaptive daydreaming ends with a bang, but feels like a whimper. Maladaptive daydreaming ending feels like nothing because you don’t recognize it even happening.
…On occasion you’ll just notice – out of the blue – that those daydreams that so occupied your life are gone. You’ll then, hopefully, shrug your shoulders and move on. Perhaps even to engage in an adaptive daydream about your real life and your real future.
Take care as always,