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Archive for February 1st, 2008

Microscopic View (c) Lynda Bernhardt

On my post Abusive Dreams After Child Abuse, Rebecca posted the following comment:

I am very glad that I found your blog. I have very few memories about my childhood. I generally know that it was unbearable and I spent most of it crying and sleeping. I am dx with PTSD, depression, and anxiety and am currently in therapy. I have three children and I am now starting to have horrible dreams about them being abused. It makes me sick even thinking about it. I recently had a pregnancy scare and even dreamt of my future child being abused sexually as a newborn. I haven’t had the courage to talk to my therapist about the dreams. I just tell her I have horrible dreams. It good to know that I am not going crazy or a evil human. It even took me several dreams to get up enough courage to google to topic because I feel so ashamed about the dreams. But I am desperate to stop having them. Thanks for the info. I will try to talk about it with my therapist on Monday. – Rebecca

I had horrendous dreams for years. I dreaded going to sleep at night because it was like having to enter into a horror show. As I have healed, my dreams have gotten much better. In fact, I sometimes even have pleasant dreams.

I have been able to track my healing progress through my dreams. In my dreams, I used to be a victim. I was frightened and struggling but unable to stop the abuse. Now when I have abuse-related dreams, I fight back and have much more power.

For example, I had a dream the other night that I was sitting on my father’s lap. I was wearing a man’s shirt that buttoned up the front. I was thinking about how good it felt to sit on my father’s lap and feel his love. However, his hands kept wandering to places they did not belong. Instead of getting upset over it, I pushed them away. I knew that I had nothing to fear because I was in control and was not going to let him or anyone else touch me anywhere I did not want to be touched.

In my awakened state, the dream is horrifying because I would not want to sit on my father’s lap and have any sort of incestuous relationship going on with him. (Side note – My father never overtly sexually abused me like this.) However, while I was in the dream, this behavior seemed expected but not a big deal. I could have chosen to get all worked up over the dream, but I did not. Instead, I focused on the power that I had in the dream. I knew that I was in control and that another person did not have the power to harm me.

Our dreams are one way that our subconscious works through the trauma we faced. We have nothing to fear in our dreams. Yes, they can be disturbing, and some can even be flashbacks. However, if you view them as an insight into your subconscious, they become much less scary.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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