Posts Tagged ‘disturbing dreams’

I had nothing but intense nightmares last night, but even in my world, these were really, really, bad. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and would have just watched TV to clear my head if my kid had not climbed in sometime during the night. I just woke up this morning, and I am shaking. I would love any theories on what my subconscious is trying to tell me so I don’t have to endure another night like that.

In the dream, my mother/abuser has been missing for months. The police have been searching for her, and I have been able to say honestly that I wouldn’t have a clue about her whereabouts since she and I are not in contact.

I receive an anonymous text telling me that “what remains of her body” has been found. I am suddenly in a meeting with a guy from the FBI as well as a group of other people, and he is filling me in. This whole time, her body has been decomposing in pieces on her own porch, but nobody noticed. After her last letter from me, she went out on her porch and killed herself piece by piece. She used some weird tool (like a cross between a pizza cutter and a box cutter) to cut up her body piece by piece and spread it all over her front porch and lawn.

I dreaded telling my sister the news. She walked in the room and was very young. The FBI agent began with condolences, so someone had already told her. Her (dream) boyfriend was there – a blonde high school jock who asked what happened. My sister looked at him, was young, and a very young alter’s voice came out saying, “My mom is dead.” He reached out to her, but I grabbed her and held her like a baby, and she was as light as a newborn baby in my arms. Her boyfriend said he can’t deal with this and left.

My sister was very upset, but my feelings were mixed. I was horrified by the state of her remains, but I was relieved that she was finally out of my life forever.

Then, someone gave me a newspaper with pictures, and that is what really shook me up. It had black and white photos of my mother’s remains. Her body was more liquid than solid, but there was enough definition in her face to be able to tell that it was her.

It took me a long time to get back to sleep, and then I had more intense dreams but none as terrible as that one. The last one centered around dirty laundry, and I get that metaphor.

Still shaking…

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Last night, I had a very disturbing dream that was really a flashback. People frequently have trouble identifying a nightmare as a flashback, so I thought I would share my nightmare and then explain the flashback elements.

Here was the dream. It might be triggering, so proceed with caution.

+++ sexual and ritual abuse triggers +++

Hub and I were about to make love. He wanted it, but I was just going along because I was supposed to. He wanted to move it outside to the back deck. (Our bedroom and house was nothing like our real one.) We continued on the deck with the lights on at night, and there was a building across the street where several apartments backed up to our deck. I feared that people were watching, so I asked hub to turn off the light. He turned off one light, but we were still illuminated, and I knew that someone was watching, videotaping us, and uploading it to YouTube. I was horrified but could not stop it.

Afterward, hub told me to clean the sheets. They were extremely messy and sticky, and his bodily fluids got all over me – my hands, my legs, and my whole body. I could feel it oozing down parts of my body, but I could not make it stop.

+++ end triggers +++

I awoke with a start. My heart was racing, and I was triggered.

This was a flashback, even though this particular sequence of events never happened. The flashback was in the feelings and my reaction to different things that did happen to me, such as not having a choice about sexual contact, being watched and on display for multiple people, being filmed, and being covered with bodily fluids after being raped.

I cannot eat cereal because I get triggered if a drop of milk oozes down my face. I suspected that this tied into the sexual abuse. This dream confirms that this is exactly why I react in the way that I do.

The reason that I awoke feeling triggered is because this was a flashback, not just a dream. For this reason, telling myself, “It was just a dream,” is not helpful afterward. Instead, I have to comfort myself. I have to soothe the hurting little girl inside who is still haunted by the horrors that I suffered as a little girl.

I will probably always experience flashbacks through nightmares from time to time. They are not fun, but they are a normal aftereffect of trauma. Recognizing these dreams for what they are – flashbacks – empowers me to comfort myself through them.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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