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Is Fantasy and internal emotional manipulation bad for you?

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posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 01:30 PM
Is fantasy bad?

A friend of mine recently presented this as fact, so I decided to do some digging and see how fantasy, or “make believe” as Mr Rogers would say, effects us. Before you read, know that most of my commentary is based on theory and speculation.


According to this article, if treated with caution a fantasy life can be very constructive to imporving one’s life. Adding motivation to make those fantasies a reality. Offering an escape from daily life. Making you a more interesting person to others, and making friend more easily. Offering potential romantic connections that people may not even be aware of.

At extremes, it is a barometer. If you have no fantasies, you're bored and boring to others. If you can't distinguish between fantasy and reality, you're no good to yourself and others. I think life will be happier if you not only fantasize but linger long enough to explore what those fantasies are telling you. Like the fantasies themselves, those messages are unique to every individual, yet the times when they are shared can have impacts on our lives, culture and society.

The article also lists many bad outcomes of fantasy, but they aren’t the kind of outcomes you might expect. Forcing children to relive the parent’s life. Removing the person from reality. Maintaining a balance is important to one’s mental health.

What about the things we don’t consider fantasy, the fantasies we put up for others?

This describes the times we’re forced to lie, forced to pretend. This can be because of a job, a family member, a child. Whatever reason you have to go out there, put on a smile, and lie your way through.


This article mentions that a forced smile, a lie, may actually be good for improving your outlook. This idea makes me sick. Forced emotions can not be good for you!

After following the drivers closely, the researchers found that on days when the smiles were forced, the subjects’ moods deteriorated and they tended to withdraw from work. Trying to suppress negative thoughts, it turns out, may have made those thoughts even more persistent.
But on days when the subjects tried to display smiles through deeper effort—by actually cultivating pleasant thoughts and memories—their overall moods improved and their productivity increased.

That practice they are encouraging sounds very dangerous.

You cannot change or control your emotions. You can learn how to be with them, living peacefully with them, transmuting them (which means releasing them), and you can manage them, but you cannot control them.
Think of the people who go along day after day seeming to function normally, and all of a sudden they will explode in anger at something that seems relatively trivial and harmless. That is one sign of someone who is trying to control or repress their emotions but their repressed emotions are leaking out.
The more anyone tries to control their emotions the more they resist control, and the more frightened people eventually become at what is seen to be a “loss of emotional control”. It is a vicious circle.
It’s important today to be politically correct. And that means not challenging or disagreeing with what the average person believes. It means not expressing negative emotions in public. Showing emotion in public in North American and European societies represents being “out of control” a great sign of weakness. People feel uncomfortable with those who express strong emotions. We are a society that is taught to hide our emotions, to be ashamed of them or to be afraid of them. Regardless, we are born with them and must live with them. This means learning how to know them, be with them, and release them.


This is not as credible as the others, but does it sound right to you? I have seen people that try to control or manipulate their emotions, have an outburst. It’s fairly common for those working with the public daily to do this.

Personal experience and theory
I have known those that have dropped the phrase, “you make yourself happy or sad”. They have suggested that I manipulate my emotions for my own benefit. I have refused to do it on the level they would describe. Changing your way of thinking at the base level, while in a bad situation, and using the conscious brain to change and control something that in my opinion shouldn‘t be controlled in that fashion. These people have all had mental stability issues. An emotion that they can’t manipulate, can’t suppress, comes along. They have no idea how to deal with it. It gets the best of them, and they do things they aren’t proud of, and probably regret. In my opinion this is the result of long term internal emotional manipulation.

I support the idea of allowing your emotions to live, and dealing with them situational rather than through internal manipulation.

What’s your theory?

posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by AnarchysAngel

I don't think it is healthy to pretend you are happy when you aren't - I think it is healthier to find the reasons that you aren't happy and do something about them. In addition, I am always honest with people - I try to never say anything I don't mean - but this doesn't mean I can't be tactful about it.

So in those above cases, I would say fantasy is not healthy.

However, I have a lot of goals, you know, aspirations - to be a better gamer, to be a better musician, to be a better scientist, to be a better businessman, to be a better person, to find someone to love - which takes some fantasy because it isn't all real... yet... but to be honest, without the fantasy, a lot of it would never happen.

But with the fantasy, a lot of it has come real in my past experience.

In addition, as a creative person, I would say I participate in "fantasy" when I am writing a fantasy novel or a new musical piece - even with music, I am often imagining scenes as I write.

Funny story - when I do gaming, I am firmly grounded in reality, as I'm pretty competitive about it, and the games I play require a lot of factual and tactical knowledge.
edit on 6-8-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 04:38 PM
I'm a major supporter of imagination and fantasy...

So I disagree with any notion that it is bad...

posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 04:48 PM
reply to post by AnarchysAngel

Playing out a fantasy and achieving a sort of internal emotional manipulation can be a good sort of sand box for working out an emotional issue, testing out an unfamiliar circumstance, or simply desensitizing yourself to something that may be negative in a safer environment, i.e. in your own head.

Escapism is necessary to help maintain mental health, and the need for how much is subjective. So, fantasy can actually be helpful, even essential. However, a general rule of thumb is when your escapism is negatively effecting your real life it has become harmful, and you need to re-assess if you are avoiding problems with fantasy or using fantasy to help you cope with them.

Just my two cents, and if I misunderstand your meaning OP I apologize.

posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 04:53 PM

Originally posted by AnarchysAngel
Is fantasy bad?

Awesome question

I tend to agree with you. when i have bad days, i note that it's a bad day and i warn people, take it slow, and try not make anything worse than it needs to be.

I've explained this to my kids and they tend to agree it works better than pretending.

Curious to see other feedback

edit on 6-8-2012 by harryhaller because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 07:15 PM

Originally posted by darkbake
be a better gamer

edit on 6-8-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

Are you a fan of Day [9] by chance?

@ all

I too am a firm supporter of exploring your own and others imaginations though their books, movies, art, ideas, and all forms of expression.

I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy books. My favorite series involves a massive naval war in the pacific on an alternate Earth (the Dino killer missed the earth) between multiple sentient races including

1: Humans from various points in history whose ships were sucked into crazy space time anomalies and ended up sailing the seas of the alternate Earth. The initial main characters are the crews of the fictional destroyers USS Walker and USS Mahan who were followed though the "squall", the space time anomaly, by the damaged Japanese battlecruiser Amagi. These are not lone cases.

2: Genocidal and literally social darwinist furry raptors apperantly native to Africa, the Grik. Most are chosen to be killed and eaten before they get old enough to become truly sentient. Rare favorable candidates are allowed to mature. They practice a system of slowly escalating genocide against any predators they consider 'worthy prey'. The Battlecruiser Amagi is offered membership in their empire after destroying many Grik ships, and they accept. The Japanese start teaching them bits of modern technology, leaving things like Radio secret.

3 mostly sea faring cat like humanoids descended from lemur like primates on Madagascar. Humans call them Lemurians and they call themselves The People, or the Sea Folk. The Grik drove them off their homeland in a slowly escalating conflict. They used their impressive construction skills with wood to craft aircraft carrier sized city ships and flee to the east indies. Now, countless years later the Grik have found them agian and seek to finish the job. The USS Walker stumbles across the first conflict in this new war and save the city ship Salissa. The Americans help them on a crash course modernization to give them a fighting chance for their lives.

I love this book because it presents so many interesting concepts so quickly and can introduce one to moral situations and 'what ifs' they would probably never imagine.

That is the benefit of fantasy. Imagining yourself in completely alien circumstances and learning from it.

The article fails to distinguish between fantasy and lies. Lies are lies. Fantasy might have a bit of a blurry border with lies but most of the time you know where you stand.

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