Posts Tagged ‘dreams after child abuse’

Food chain (c) Lynda BernhardtI was plagued with weird dreams last night. I was visiting with friends at a mall in my hometown. I can only remember one friend (P – used to be my best friend in my 20’s, but I haven’t heard from her in years), but I think there was a second one there, possibly my sister. Anyhow, we were having a good time until they told me that two people were coming. The first was C, a high school friend who I would love to see, and the second was momster. I said I was sorry to have to miss out on seeing C, but there was no way in h@#$ I was sticking around for momster and fled.

I tried to blend into the crowd in a different store, but momster and the others found me there. Momster came up to me and wanted hug (like she did when I saw her last at my sister’s graduation). I gave her the weakest hug ever, and her end was just as weak. P and the others were saying, “See. I knew you would be OK seeing her.”

I ran out of the store and ran as fast as I could through the mall with P and the others trying to catch me. I leaned over and vomited. P and the others were still saying that I was OK and this was good for me, but I had to stop and vomit again even harder.

Then, it was Halloween (my ex-friend and I took our children trick-or-treating together on Halloween for eight years – this was our first Halloween not doing so), but I had to attend a make-up class that was being held in ex-friend’s classroom. (Ex-friend is a teacher.) I didn’t want to see her but knew there wouldn’t be a choice. She was polite to me (in real life, she pretends I don’t exist), but it was awkward. I borrowed a textbook from the speaker, but ex-friend took it from me.

Then, my son said he was hungry, and we went looking for food. He had bought himself a mansion filled with ponies, and I kept commenting how keeping ponies on carpet isn’t really the best idea.

Strange, strange dream. I had trouble falling back to sleep and am now pretty tired from being so restless all night.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »

I have had several hints over the past few months that I have more healing work ahead of me. Last night’s cluster of dreams was like a flashing neon sign that more work is to come.

I was at my child’s school (although the building looked nothing like my son’s school), and it was beautiful. The colors around it were vivid – lots of bright green grass on the grounds and a beautiful, mossy roof on the building. I walked up to my husband, who was standing outside the school on the grounds, and then my friend walked up. (My friend has the same name as my sister and always represents my sister in my dreams.)

I got nervous when my friend walked up because I was worried she would “tell” my husband, but I couldn’t identify exactly what it was I didn’t want her to tell. Instead, she and I climbed up a long ladder with many parts onto the mossy roof of the school. There I found a girl in her teens who was battered and bruised. She really wanted to go inside the school but couldn’t. So, she lived on the roof and tried to be as close to the school as she could.

There were people in the school who knew she was living on the roof (even though the ones in charge did not know). They would make sure she was OK and even educate her.

Then, I saw my son (always represents my inner child) and a bunch of other children having fun outside on the grounds. They were dressed like boy scouts and seemed to be preparing for a field trip or some sort of fun.

We went inside, and I was sitting next to a different friend as an older child showed me a “cool toy” that simulated giving oral sex to a man. I was bothered by this because the child thought it was great fun, but I could see the sexual nature of the toy. Then, my son picked up another toy like that and was playing with it, too, and I was upset by that. Then, I looked down, and all of the objects on the table were representative of penises.

Next, a small dog came running out, and I knew I had to leave the room. (Seeing my dog killed was one of my two most traumatizing memories. I suspect the “little dog” represents an extremely traumatizing memory that is not quite as bad as that one but still difficult enough to qualify as a “dog-level” of trauma.) I closed the door behind me, but the dog got out. The door caught the fur at the tip of his tail, but he was still able to get free.

Then, I ran into another child who said that all of the balls at the school were the same, so he made his own ball. He had taken two balls and packaged them together. The result was the “skin” of a volley ball stretched across two full balls inside of the one. I looked inside, and the small dog was encapsulated inside of one of the inside balls and was both frightened and angry. I knew the dog needed to be let out of the ball.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

Read Full Post »

In the comments on my blog entry Aftereffects of Child Abuse: Dreams of Abuse, Palucci shared a dream that she feared might be a flashback. From all that she describes, I agree that it sounds like her dream was actually a flashback.

Flashbacks can happen in a number of ways. While most people think of flashbacks as being visual, they can tie into any of the senses. For example, I will often get a body memory/flashback of the taste of cigarette smoke in my mouth and lungs. This ties into a memory in which my abuser first smothered me and then resuscitated me after smoking a cigarette.

Flashbacks can come in dream form. While the facts of the dream might not be accurate, the feelings are. And sometimes the facts in the dream are accurate as well.

For example, for most of my life, I have struggled with a recurring dream. I am following someone who I trust. He or she opens a door, and I follow through the door. We walk into a small room. There is a door on the other side of the room. The other person walks through it and shuts the door. I try to turn the knob, but the door is locked.

The first door then slams behind me. I try to open it, but that door is locked as well. I realized that I am trapped inside of this small room, and I know that something terrible is going to happen. Sometimes, I awaken at this point. At other times, the dream goes on to my being raped.

I no longer have that dream because I finally recovered the memory. The dream was actually a flashback of a trauma I endured. My female babysitter told me that she had a special doll for me in her room. She led me through a large walk-in closet that had access to both the hallway and her bedroom. The doors locked just as they did in the dream. She then came back in and hurt me.

It was such a relief to recover the reason for the nightmare. It was also a relief to stop having the dream. Once I understood the trauma that my mind was trying to work through, I no longer needed the dream to process the trauma.

The dreams do not always have to be accurate for them to be flashbacks. For example, I struggled with recurring dreams of my son jumping or falling off high places, such as the balcony at my church. Of course, this has never happened to him. However, I later recovered the memory of watching a toddler fall from a high place while I was forced to watch but could not help. So, even though the facts of the dream were not accurate, the dream was still a flashback.

Pay special attention to recurring nightmares. They are often actually flashbacks.

Related Topics:

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »

Bush and houses (c) Lynda BernhardtEven after doing all of the hard work of healing from child abuse and being in a place where I consider myself “healed,” I still sometimes have dreams about issues that arose from the child abuse. They are always intense, and I wake up feeling “off” in the morning.

Once upon a time, those kinds of dreams were my norm, so I feel grateful that they only happen every once in a while now. Also, it helps that I can analyze the dreams after I wake up and observe my progress.

When I used to have dreams about the abuse (which was pretty much every night), I was a victim and passive. Now, I fight back and feel much more in control.

Last night, I dreamt that I was in the house of my most sadistic abusers, S & L. I was using their bathroom. (Bathrooms are always a symbol that I am dealing with my most private thoughts and emotions.) I had trouble washing my hands in their sink because the faucet was this bizarre doll, and it was hard to turn the tiny handles on the doll’s body. I feared that I broke it but didn’t.

L (the husband) walked in. I apologized for the trouble with the doll faucet. He asked why I was using his bathroom. I told him it was the only one I could find in the house. I concentrated very hard on not blacking out. I did not want him to abuse me again.

Then, I was making love with hub. We stopped and decided to walk to a shopping center. He was fully dressed, and I was wearing nothing but a cheap white towel like the ones you get in hotel rooms. A group of men passed us walking the other way. One of them grabbed me and kept walking like it was no big deal. I tried to scream to hub, but as often happens in my dreams, I had no voice.

This kind of scenario played out a lot in my dreams in the past. Somebody would just “help himself” to my body. I would scream, but nobody would hear me. Sometimes my body would be immobilized so I would just lie their while another person – often a complete stranger – harmed me.

In this dream, I fought back. I could only move my head, so I bit the man as hard as I could in multiple places until he dropped me. That made my sister, who was suddenly in the dream next to hub, notice and come help me.

I felt shaky when I awoke, but I am pleased with the power that I am taking back in these kinds of dreams. I am a victim no longer. Nobody is going to take me without a fight.

Related Topics:

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »