Dreams and other thoughts

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Hope66

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Dreams and other thoughts
« on: December 24, 2016, 08:28:33 PM »
Last night I had two dreams that I found disturbing, so I will write the words 'Triggers'.... here, as I think they might be triggering - I am fairly new to this forum, so not sure exactly how to phrase that.

Firstly, I am estranged from my FOO - a NPD mother and a sexually abusive father who was an enabler.  However it is Christmas and I guess some feelings of guilt at not seeing them for the holidays is surfacing.

I feel anxious, I feel over-whelmed, but I wanted to talk about my dreams.

The first dream I had agreed to go to see my parents and had gone with my partner to a house they had organised for us - not my parents' home, but some kind of rental property - my Mum had put presents on my bed, and wanted me to kiss her on the cheek, but I felt so anxious about seeing her and I couldn't touch her.  She expected my partner to sleep in an adjoining room, but we weren't allowed to sleep together - we're both in our early 50's incidentally! 

Everything in the house seemed large and like it was unreal - like being in a fun park - really weird.  I felt really anxious, and my partner decided he would go and try to find a place for us to stay together so we could escape my parents - but while he had gone to search for somewhere, he left me alone in the house, and then a huge guy with a kind of lawn-mower or 'crusher machine' started to attack me - trying to crush me in a room, and then he was going to rape me.  I thankfully woke up before he could attack me - and I remember feeling so relieved that I was safe at home.

Later, I dreamed again - this time me and my partner were in a guest house but I was shocked to find that we had to share the room with about 10 other people - and there was no privacy and no space, and I felt shocked and upset.  Scared.

I've had quite a lot to cope with the past few weeks, as I've had to say 'goodbye' to some people who have meant something to me - and that was within another forum I had found to be helpful.  I have also recently had communication with a family member that I had only recently made contact with - but subsequently fell out with - and I feel vulnerable and anxious about both those things.

I am due to spend Christmas day with my partner's family, who do accept me, but I feel sad about the fact I am still finding Christmas to be so challenging, even though I have such a supportive and lovely partner - who helps me through and helps me cope.

I really wasn't sure where to post this, and I wasn't sure it makes sense, but it feels good to write it down.

I'm not sure what I'm hoping for, I just wanted to ask what people think about my dreams, and maybe if there are any ways I can reduce them, or help myself to deal with them.  I know they get worse when I'm stressed. 

I have to go - I'd hoped to write more, but I am finding it hard to put my thoughts together in a constructive way. 

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2016, 07:03:58 PM »
I just wanted to say that now that Christmas is over, I haven't had further disturbing dreams - I felt really shocked that I had actually written those dreams down - but at the same time, putting them in this forum, meant that they were away from me, and the process of writing them down helped me to somehow process them, at some level at least.

I hope others are coping at this difficult time of year.  It's tough, but thankfully, time passes, and I am glad that I got through it.  :-)

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Three Roses

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2016, 09:58:59 PM »
I'm glad you did too :hug:

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 07:09:56 PM »
Thank you, Three Roses, your reply means a lot to me.  :-)

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bring em all in

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 09:24:40 PM »
Hope66- I'm glad you posted as you did! I know full well how dreams can really shake a person to the core. If one more person tells me, "Tell yourself it's JUST a dream," I'm going to scream!

As for not having the dream since you posted, it might be that the stress of the holiday is over, but I suspect it also had much to do with confronting the reality of the dream and its impact on you by writing about it. I'd had the SAME dream (with minor variations) for over a decade. I'd spoken to several people about them. I finally confronted the dream in a series of journal entries, and it's been almost a month since the last nightmare!

I hope your relief from the nightmare is permanent. I encourage you to, if they return, continue to take them seriously and process them in whatever way you see fit. I read that the human brain does not differentiate between a dream experience and a real experience. The more vivid the dream, the more real impact it has on our mind and body.

For me, minimizing the significance of nightmares is just as dangerous as exaggerating them.

Sweet dreams!

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Eyessoblue

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2017, 09:53:49 PM »
I had 3 months of non stop nightmares so consequently didn't sleep for 3 months. My therapist got me to write my dreams/nightmares down and we used to discuss them. The therapy of writing/journaling is very beneficial to me as it kind of helps me process them and work them out. I use writing/journaling a lot and do find it really helps me to make sense of things, hope it works for you too.

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2017, 07:29:45 PM »
Thank you both so much for your comments, Bring em all in, and Eyessoblue - it was great to see what you'd both written, and the fact you've both suggested writing about dreams and confronting the reality of them, analysing them and I feel sure that will be a helpful thing to do.  I think it did help very much to 'leave it here' in this forum - and whilst I was initially a bit shocked to have taken the step to put it 'out there' - I am glad I did. 

Bring em all in - I also had a recurring dream for much of my childhood, which I viewed as a nightmare - always the same content, and I am thankful it's not followed me into adulthood, but I can't help wondering what it symbolised for me as a child.  It was a massive collection of winged moths - that seemed to block the way to an out-building that was at the back of the garden in our family home.  I know my sister had spoken of a chicken having its head cut off and running around for a while before it died - our father did that - but I wasn't aware that I'd actually seen that, it was purely something that my sister had found disturbing.  I was much younger than my sister, so maybe I was very scared by that - and the moths represent hiding the fear and upset away.  But I don't know.  This is purely what I'm thinking now - I have no idea what it actually meant.

Eyessoblue, it's great that you've found that writing/journalling have helped you make sense of things and that your non stop nightmares have abated.  That must be so great.

I am glad that I've not had any bad dreams for a few days.  I feel so much better for having better quality sleep.

Thank you again for your replies, they are very helpful to me.  :-)

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bring em all in

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 09:22:31 PM »
Glad you found our posts helpful.

What's surprising to me is that my dream meaning was very obvious- I was terrified of being evaluated on my job and often felt "lost" to the point of dreaming that I could not find my classroom or even my school at times. These dreams continued even after I was forced into disability retirement- you'd think I'd be relieved to be free of the stresses of teaching but my teacher-dreams continued unabated for months until I journaled.

I did have one teacher dream the past week, but that's better than every freakin' night, week after week, month after month!

I had a different nightmare last night (totally non-school related) and woke my wife with my screaming. I hope it's just a one-off and not the beginning of a new nightmare script.

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2017, 07:18:03 PM »
Hi Bring Em On,

Dreams and nightmares are so interesting aren't they.  I am going to start a Dream Journal - I'll need to look and see if there's a place to put them, but maybe I can use this thread if not.  I've started a Recovery Journal, which feels like a great place to 're-group' and order my thoughts a bit, or just share whatever has come to mind. 

I often wake my partner in the night, as I often scream out in my sleep, but I don't always remember why, and I feel really sorry for him that he gets woken so violently by me screaming out. 

Sorry to hear you had that experience last night, were you aware of doing it, or was it because your wife told you about it?

I got a 'tracker' for Christmas, which can track my sleep, so I am wearing that now, and I found it really interesting that the fact it put on the screen of my computer - 'Leave it to us, we'll do the rest' - was almost like I was 'handing over' the comfort of my night to a digital gadget - however that only calmed me for a couple of nights, as the effect after that was that sometimes the gadget flashes or lights up, and then my brain was recognising that as something frightening and traumatising, and I was then misinterpreting it, and ending up scared!!!  But, I am persevering, as I like to see whether I can improve the quality of my sleep over time. 

What I have been finding is that the process of writing things down in this forum, and hearing people's replies means I am making new links, and learning new things, and then new things come to mind, and I feel like the puzzle is beginning to slot more into place than it has ever done.  I am so grateful, as I really want to get through this, and manage things better, and live more in the moment, and try to be less hypervigilant.

I do hope you have a better night tonight, and I wish the same to myself!  :-)

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Spirals

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2017, 02:39:22 AM »
This is really interesting to me. I also have dreams that have symbolic meanings in them but they usually are not the exact dream reoccurring over and over. It's like the themes/symbols will reoccur and I have to "translate" them to get the true message from my subconscious. These dreams often are very surreal, and the surrealness is usually the symbol.

 Usually it's a warning or sad truth of some kind. I really feel that dreams are where we process trauma or other stressful emotions. I've begun dreaming (and remembering my dreams) a lot since I came out of the fog.

I have a lot of dreams with a wish - fulfillment aspect to them, too. They are usually enjoyable, though.

 Are your guys dreams very vivid and/or realistic? Sometimes I literally have to check stuff to make sure it was a dream and not a memory of what I did the day before!

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2017, 03:52:16 PM »
Hi Spirals,

Yes, my dreams are also very vivid - sometimes to the degree that I physically move - e.g. I've run out of bed in an 'escape' themed dream/nightmare, and they are usually very lifelike. 

Thank you for replying and for talking about your dreams - the wish-fulfillment ones sound good - it's great that you've some pleasant nice dreams as well.

You spoke of translating the symbolic meanings of your dreams - and the surreal aspects of them - I think mine tend to be more 'in my face' in terms of reflecting something that has happened.

I remember one time when I was in my 20's, and I had a dream where there were 6 identical versions of my Mother and 1 version of my Father - and I was in a massive Hotel trying to escape from them, but I'd keep getting trapped by my Mother - as there were so many of her, it was difficult to get away.  It was a nightmare - not a dream.  I'm glad I've not had that one again, but the memory of that stays with me.

Actually, although I think my dreams are more vivid and realistic, I am usually clear it was a dream and not a memory, so that is interesting.

Thanks again for your reply.  :-)


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Spirals

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2017, 10:59:23 PM »
Your welcome :)

Yes, I have only started having the confusion about memory vs. dreams the last few years. These dreams are always really realistic. Like I may do something totally ordinary, like eat a bowl of cereal. But I have had memory issues for a while, so I think they are more related to those.

The wish - fulfillment ones are the best!  :yahoo: They are very vivid and sensory. I've eaten chocolate and really experienced it. I also make out with people a lot in my dreams. But some of them are more serious. I've confronted my abusers (or people who've hurt me) and gotten the reaction/response I've wanted or knew they would give.

I sometimes have nightmares about some of my abuse, but it's a lot rarer than my other types of dreams. Do you think the nightmare you had about your mother was symbolic? Like there are multiple sides (masks) to her personality, or she would use her flying monkeys to trap you (and her six doppelgangers represented the flying monkeys) in an abusive relationship?

I love analyzing my dreams. But I usually don't take mine literally, because I don't feel my own dreams are reliable in a factual way (most of the time). It's interesting that other people's dreams are, though.

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Hope66

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 10:44:12 AM »
Hi Spirals,

Your wish-fulfillment dreams sounds great.  I remember once that I dreamed about having a baby - and the feeling was so amazing when the baby was delivered and I could hold her - I think she was a girl.  It was like total elation - I have always remembered that feeling - so lovely!  I don't have any children.  So maybe that was a wish fulfillment dream.

I think the dream/nightmare about my Mum represents being trapped in an abusive relationship with my parents - they had complete control over me in so many ways - I have related to books about cults and the feelings that cult members have when they are within the cult and then when they 'escape' - (if they manage to escape of course).  My Mother seemed to be the more controlling and scary one out of the two of them. 

I definitely think it is helping me to write about my experiences and share my dreams in the forum, and thank you so much for replying - and sharing your experiences - it really helps to talk about those things.  Thank you!   :)

I woke up crying in my sleep last night - and the centre of my head really hurt - normally it's the left-hand-side that might hurt, near my left eye socket and above that.  But I understood that I was crying due to having had to leave a role I loved recently - and so it was normal to process and grieve for that change.  I don't like any form of 'goodbye' anyway, so it has been a challenging time, but I am glad I'm managing to process things, rather than dissociate and distract myself from them.  So it feels like progress.   :)

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Spirals

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2017, 09:20:56 PM »
Hi, Hope66

They are great! And I think that sounds like a wish - fulfillment dream. It's amazing how real a dream can feel. It's like you really get to experience something you may not otherwise. Like a personal version of virtual reality. I think that's a cool dream you shared, and you're welcome :) I love discussing dreams, I think they are fascinating.

Sorry you are going through a difficult time, hopefully it gets better!

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bring em all in

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Re: Dreams and other thoughts
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2017, 10:10:35 PM »
Hello again, Hope and Spirals!

My very vivid "school dreams" are back with a vengeance. I recall them in vivid detail upon waking. It's like my chronic nightmare is a reliving of just one of the traumatic aspects of my life. I've had such a variety of traumas over the years (many much worse than teaching), but my sleeping mind seems fixated on this one.

My therapist suggested that my childhood traumatic experiences left me constantly feeling observed and judged by others and feeling that I was never good enough. So, it makes sense that my chronic nightmare consists of being observed and judged inadequate in my role as a teacher- even though I am no longer a teacher.

I've only had one wish-fulfillment dream that I can remember- I was in a concert playing lead guitar for my favorite singer-songwriter. Other than that, I've found that there are no "sweet dreams" to be had.