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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Going Low/No Contact with Abusers => Topic started by: plantsandworms on September 04, 2018, 03:47:03 PM

Title: Neverending Nightmares after Years of NC
Post by: plantsandworms on September 04, 2018, 03:47:03 PM
I've been NC with my FOO for about six years now. In so many ways it has been the most freeing thing I have ever done for myself. In other ways it feels like a wound that will never close. My FOO is huge and I've always existed within the context of my many family members. Now, being a family unto myself leaves me feeling deeply deeply alone. I have chosen family and I love them and often they are enough, but they do not fill the wound.

Anyway, I am plagued by nightmares about my parents. Often in my nightmares I am being chased by them. Sometimes in my nightmares one of my parents commits suicide and I discover it and believe I am the cause. Sometimes it's just nightmares of flashbacks of abuse, or frightening memories. But then last night I had a nightmare where I was a teenager again, and my mom was being her usual verbally abusive self. But in the dream I start berating her, so much so that she is stunned into silence and begins to cry. In the dream it's coming out of my mouth like a flood and I just continue to verbally eviscerate her just to see her pain. Dream-me gets a deep satisfaction and a feeling like I am better than her and like I have won. I woke up feeling horrible, guilty, disgusting. It left me feeling like... like the only way I know how to seize my own power is through taking on the role of abuser and seeking my revenge. It left me with a lot to think about, but mostly it left me with a lot of pain and guilt and self-hatred.

My therapist talks to me a lot about techniques to reduce my nightmares - but I can't help but feeling like my dreams are trying to tell me something about myself or clue me into something I need to do or reflect on. Do others experience these types of dreams? Do you find them insightful, or are they just a symptom that needs managing? Are they useful at all?
Title: Re: Neverending Nightmares after Years of NC
Post by: woodsgnome on September 04, 2018, 10:21:04 PM
Yes, I've had dream sequences that closely resemble what you describe. Almost all the elements discussed are there--including residues of guilt early on, but not at all lately. However, the images are still recurring, but my power to react has changed.

Early on I experienced dramatic chase scenarios but they often ended with my finding refuge with someone I'm now content to call my wisdom self, someone who provided enormous amounts of comfort for a shaken kid who had just fled all his known life.

Similar dreams would occur, but in some of them it seemed like the abusers (FOO & teachers in religious schools) were "catching up" again, like my inner dreams had become an ongoing war-like scenario. At least I always escaped. The remnant though was a deafening barrage of horrible voices screaming all the original threats and taunts as if I'd never fully be able to escape them.

My T speculated that even these screaming voices weren't entirely bad (easy for her to say, lol, that sometimes when a re-visit occurs that way, it seems like a sign of desperation on their part; in my case it went from envisioning the chase parts to just hearing the albeit horrible voices. Then she suggested I talk right back to them, and I did, and while it didn't eliminate them, their power seems to have been stymied over time.

The guilt pangs, too, were there, but have also faded. In my case, though, it wasn't a quick turnaround--what I'm describing took maybe a 5-6 year period, the last 3 of which I've been working with the T I mentioned. In effect, they seem to have taken on more of the characteristics of a lucid dream, making me feel less trapped by it.

I guess I'm still working this all out, especially the self-hatred about having to unravel my normal peaceful daytime person into the forceful response that helped me re-create, as it were, the dreams' outcomes. But I had to give myself permission, coaxed by the T to try it, as it seemed almost unreal, but this fear works itself out.

It is hard work to undertake, but in this realm of cptsd I'm coming to realize that even if it is, I want/need to grasp at whatever way relief comes about, and go from there. It's sad, but also freeing, as you say. But it's only one person's--mine--experience, and who knows if it would turn out the same for others. But I thought I'd share it, as it has been a significant feature of trying to regain some ground and keep it together while searching the way out.
Title: Re: Neverending Nightmares after Years of NC
Post by: milk on September 27, 2018, 05:20:24 PM
A few years back my T told me the dream world was how we worked through hard emotions in the physical world. It made sense. There are dreams I have had since my childhood and the outcomes have changed over the years; imagining my own endings (lucid dreaming) in response to dreams that play out based on fears —- becomes a way for me to self heal ( I am my own T). So, yes, dreams are useful, they are telling you something about yourself.

The times I have gone through healthy NC felt like a purge of toxicity. When the time was right, I felt it —- I had come into my own and it was physiological: my body feels balanced, healthy, my mind is calm and responsive —- when ‘craziness’ comes my way (FOO or others) it doesn’t have power over me, so i can be who I am, which helps others and myself. Yeah, the wounds are still there but its a scar, a part of who i am but it doesnt run me (sure, I feel guilt about acting out based on fears, and then I hug myself because I learned unhealthy coping mechanisms as a child to self preserve —- I also recognize that I am not that child anymore; I catch myself when old behavior patterns slip in), in fact every positive moment heals it over, again and again.

may you find your way with being who you are in your dreams and with that strength, become who you are in your waking life