When Imaginary Friends Turn Into Imaginary Enemies

Over the past year, Hope has had a number of imaginary friends. But her imaginary friends are all real people. Not members of our immediate family, but friends or people from school who happen to tag along with us everywhere we go.

Hope has been fixating on one of her friends lately, a teacher from school she sees once a week. She will constantly tell us what the teacher is doing. The other day, however Hope shared something new. She came to dinner and said “I don’t like [imaginary friend] anymore. She hurt my feelings.”

At that point, I didn’t know what to think. Had the teacher done something to hurt Hope’s feelings? Was Hope just making this up? Am I ready to start dealing with my daughter’s hurt feelings?

If I had to guess, I would say the teacher did something as a teacher that Hope took the wrong way. To a point, to her, her feelings were hurt. We’ve been talking about feelings with her for a while. But I didn’t know she was aware feelings could be hurt.

I asked Hope about why her feelings were hurt, or what her friend did, but she wouldn’t elaborate. Still, I was ready to console and help her. I’m sure in the future, her feelings will be hurt for concrete reasons by real people. And it won’t get easier to hear or to deal with but it will be okay.

It’s a few days later and things are back to normal for Hope and her imaginary friend, which I guess is good. Hope hasn’t talked about her feelings being hurt. But then again, her imaginary friend is back to doing everything with us.

Published by