Dreams and Nightmares

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Morocha2015

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Dreams and Nightmares
« on: May 14, 2020, 07:17:07 PM »
I'm 1.5 years into NC, at least on my end, but I keep having these dreams. At first they mostly involved me telling my parents exactly why I'd gone NC and what they'd done to me. Sometimes I was nice, sometimes I screamed it. Then the dreams started to be me in my normal life, but I'd realize my HPDm was there. Her presence would be in my home or shopping with my family. Here recently, I've been having dreams where I'm right back in their world. I'm an adult, but I live alone with them in their space and under their domain. My husband and kids don't exist. I'm powerless again.

It's strange because I feel healthier than ever, so it's almost as if my dreams are moving in reverse of my progress. I wake up shaking and distraught, and occasionally disoriented about where I am.

I'm sure there are lots of things in my life triggering these dreams, like Covid19, the chaos of having small kids, when I lose my patience with my kids and fear I've acted like M, or the fact that I'm pregnant and she doesn't know. Does anyone have any insight into what these dreams mean? Any thoughts on what to do? And has anyone gotten to a space where they are no longer having nightmares?

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 07:34:58 PM »
I donít know but Iím right there with ya. Having dreams where Iím suddenly living back in my parents house and worried because Iím going to fail history due to not having been to class all year due to being in my thirties.  :unsure:

The ones where your mother is silently invading your space sound super freaky. Being pregnant might have something to do with it. (Congrats!) For me the dreams have come and gone sometimes without any seeming correlation with whatís going on in my waking life. (Other than pregnancy. Anything can happen then.) But dreams are our brainís way of processing our waking lives, so perhaps itís a healthy processing thatís happening. Maybe being healthier is allowing your brain to deal with what it needs to deal with. EMDR uses a lot of our brainís natural abilities to reprocess in a similar way.

Perhaps when you wake you can tell yourself, ďI am an adult now,Ē or, ďI choose who may be in the safe circle of my family,Ē or whatever affirmation you feel like you need to truly believe. Maybe you can even write it next to your bed for when you have those disorienting moments when you are still half-dreaming. Stating it, especially out loud at that time just may be helpful to you!

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Maxtrem

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 02:02:19 PM »
In your nightmares, you say that your children and your husband aren't there, maybe you dream of the life you would have without your FOC, often it's the presence of a FOC that allows someone to go NC and not feal powerless.

The only time I remember my dreams is when I have nightmares and things go wrong in my life (uBPDM being the cause). The last nightmare I had was zombies (clean and well-dressed) trying to bite me. I avoided them quite easily and decided to run away from the city. Afterwards, it was vampires I was trying to save myself and there was someone trying to help me (I never saw his face). There I failed and the vampire stabbed me dozens of times. I was thrown into the water and stabbed again (I was clearly already dead). I interpreted the zombies as my family members and the vampire who kept stabbing me even though I was already dead as my uBPDM and the person who would have tried to help me, I think it was a person who would have validated me as a child, whom I would have forgotten.  But my therapist told me that dreams only have the meaning you want to give them. The fact that I have perceived my family members as monsters/parasites actually says something about how I perceive them. 

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Liz1018

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2020, 07:50:13 PM »
I have these from time to time. Theyíre very unsettling, especially after time has passed (almost 5 yrs NC for me)  and you feel like youíve moved past it. But the dreams reiterate the fact that they are never truly out of our lives. At least on an unconscious level. But better to show up in dreams than in real life, though!

These are anxiety dreams, no doubt made more intense given Covid and your current situation. You are not your mom, though. Donít worry about losing patience with you kids during this very stressful time - itís totally normal. No one knows how to deal with it. We are all winging it. Just make sure you give yourself a break when you need it.

Plus, the pandemic has made it inevitable for our PD parents to creep into our thoughts. I havenít once thought about breaking NC, but dammit - I am thinking about them way more than I would like to these days.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Itís weird to not share milestones like this - ones we always thought theyíd be a part of, for better or for worse. But in the long run it sounds like NC was right for you and your family.

The dreams just mean youíre still working through it, and they will abate. Even if they come back -and they most likely will - within a couple of days you will forget about them and move on. I try not to read too much into mine. I have similar scenarios- them trying to pull me back in. But I triumph in the dreams and never give in.  So thatís what I focus on.

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blacksheep7

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2020, 01:09:08 PM »
Plus, the pandemic has made it inevitable for our PD parents to creep into our thoughts. I havenít once thought about breaking NC, but dammit - I am thinking about them way more than I would like to these days.
I can relate to that.

I've had many of those dreams with or without my kids.  Often I was back in the home where I grew up to the abuse and going to school or working but always being late or not able to get there.  Anxiety dreams.    We are processing our stresses.

Congrats on your pregnancy.  This is something wonderful in your life right now. :cloud9:
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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PeanutButter

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2020, 01:27:15 PM »
I use to have nightmares like these every single night after I went NC with my foo and xH. I had them for years and years.
The more time went by the less often they came but they still came. At some point I only had them a couple of nights per month during pms. Now it is RARE. (15 years NC)
The dreams I had were of a time with and without my new life. Sometimes with kids sometimes not. Sometimes my new H would be there with me even. (Like living with me at my home where I was raised) Sometimes my kids were little again but my new H was there too.
I never did figure out any pattern of what brought them on. Stress probably sometimes, but not always.
 I look at it as my mind working out all of the fear that had built up for so long but I had repressed. Because even if the 'storyline' was nonsensical what always struck me was I was completely reemursed in the emotional turmoil which would linger a minute or so even after I awoke.
Thanks for posting this I didnt know if I was the only one? I Know Im not now. But Im sorry you are experiencing these bad dreams. Im sorry for the trauma you went through.
PS I think I sleep better now since I started meditation.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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Liz1018

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 03:33:37 PM »
PeanutButter-
Interesting point about the PMS - same here.

Also interesting that so many of us go through the same things during our recovery. Even though our stories are sad and awful, I am still amazed sometimes just how similar they are. How much the same the family patterns and roles are. How downright predictable PDs reactions, traits, methods and intentions are.

When you boil it down to statistics, it hurts a lot less. When I first came to OOTF, I was honestly so surprised to find out how many other people had been through the same things. The more I read, the more validation I got. This site is one of the best things that ever happened in my healing journey.

So finding out how common FOO related nightmares are really takes a bit of the sting out of them. But man, those first few minutes after awakening are terrifying. More than once I have emerged from sleep in tears because the dreams were so real. Fascinating, really, how our brains work.

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PeanutButter

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2020, 04:12:22 PM »
PeanutButter-
Interesting point about the PMS - same here.

Really? Wow!

Also interesting that so many of us go through the same things during our recovery. Even though our stories are sad and awful, I am still amazed sometimes just how similar they are. How much the same the family patterns and roles are. How downright predictable PDs reactions, traits, methods and intentions are.

Definately changed my perspective to find out how predictable it is.

When you boil it down to statistics, it hurts a lot less. When I first came to OOTF, I was honestly so surprised to find out how many other people had been through the same things. The more I read, the more validation I got. This site is one of the best things that ever happened in my healing journey.

Me too. It propelled my healing forward at a time when I had hit a plateau. My life was changed by OOTF. I am forever indepted.

So finding out how common FOO related nightmares are really takes a bit of the sting out of them. But man, those first few minutes after awakening are terrifying. More than once I have emerged from sleep in tears because the dreams were so real. Fascinating, really, how our brains work.

Many a night I would wake myself up screaming or sobbing. Other nights my H ever the sensitive couldn't stand to hear me whimper so he would gently wake me. I would soak his chest with my tears and he would just hold me helpless to do anything to make it better. He would place his big hand over the side of my head trying to "block" the bad from my mind.
If there is a hidden seed of evil inside of children adults planted it there -LundyBancroft  Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong good or bad -DebbieFord The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none -Thomas Carlyle

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theonetoblame

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 05:02:42 PM »
I've commented on other threads about dreams I had in childhood, but I do have one recurring dream as an adult that is inevitably in response to work related stress.

In short, I dream about doing the trade my father trained me in to. He owned a business and working was not optional, every spare minute of my life outside school was spent working from the age of 14. I hated the job, and it hurt my body, especially as a young teen.

Now, when things are stressful in my work (which couldn't be more different), I'll sometime dream that I'm back doing that trade. When I wake up my stress levels are usually through the roof and the dream can trigger many associated memories of being yelled at, forced to work etc. It will usually take me days to get back to a place where my inner self believes working at any job is a good idea -- it makes me want to run from any type of job. sigh.... but, I have carried on and remain gainfully employed  :D




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theonetoblame

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2020, 04:29:22 PM »
I've been reflecting on this dream since writing the above post. And, I had it again last night... amusing really.

I believe it is tied to the previous comment about feeling powerless and back in the world of my parents where they controlled and dominated me. It's sort of like the worst case outcome for my life to still be in that place, so great fodder for a bad dream.

Last night I had a second dream right after, this one involved trying to drive this little piss-pot car I had that I could barely afford to keep repairing as a young adult. In my dream the motor blew up, par for the course. Being financially vulnerable was part of the control my father had over me, it's all just 1 - 2 - 3 in terms of logical progression.

And people dare to say dreams don't have meaning. HA!

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Morocha2015

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2020, 05:39:36 PM »
I know this is an older thread but I just wanted to comment and say a huge thank you to everyone for your support!! Your comments were very helpful and validating for me, and I actually haven't had any of these nightmares in a few weeks. Thank you all so much, I love this community!!! :bighug:

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MamaDryad

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2020, 11:43:59 AM »
These are exactly the two types of dreams I have about my u-BPDM (and sometimes my u-NGM): 1) unloading all my rage at her or 2) forgetting everything and being enmeshed again. They've both decreased a bit as time has passed.

I think the second kind is actually a sign of progress, a sign that our brains have fully realized that these people are not safe for us. The reason I think that is that I've had the same kind of dream (i.e. suddenly I realize I'm in the middle of doing something that my waking self would not do) about quitting smoking, about taking risks around Covid-19, about other toxic and dangerous things.

Realizing that brought me some comfort, because it reframed the dreams from "am I more conflicted about this than I consciously realize?" to "this is what my brain does when it's afraid I'll stop protecting myself."

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blues_cruise

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Re: Dreams and Nightmares
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2020, 01:08:21 PM »
i'm roughly 3.5 years no contact now and for a while had a lot of dreams about NF. To begin with they were horrid, then they just started to get a bit sad. I think my brain was trying to process the trauma while I was asleep because it was the first real time I had the emotional space to do so. The dreams were never based in my current home, always the house I grew up in.

I also held a lot of guilt and shame over being no contact for a long time, and since recently letting go of some of this and placing the responsibility where it truly belongs (with my abusive parent) the dreams seem to have eased up. It also seems to have coincided with stopping anti-depressants too, though there's debate as to whether these contribute to vivid dreams or suppress them. They were certainly very intense either way.

As you learn to process trauma and to come to terms with the reality of the situation it does get easier. :hug:
"You are not what has happened to you. You are what you choose to become." - Carl Gustav Jung

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou