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Should I Wake Him up During The Nightmare?

Discussion in 'Social' started by OneDayAtATime, Oct 27, 2006.

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  1. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Member

    My BF has a recurring nightmare about the bombings he experienced in the Military. I have only seen him have this nightmare once.

    My questions is ... Is it better to let him continue having the nightmare OR would it be better if I woke him up?
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  3. Pitt Bull

    Pitt Bull Member

    BE careful if you decide to wake him up. My wife has waken me up when I was having a nightmare and I almost hit her. I did end up grabbing her and I started choking her. I would suggest talking to him about the nightmare and find out what is happening. This could save you from something dangerous happening to you.
  4. Andrea42

    Andrea42 Active Member

    lol not that its funny....but i am afriad to wake my hubby up or even sleep next to him sometimes....the other morning i got up around 5am to get ready for work and i reached over him while he was sleeping to get my phone from the bed and i guess i must have touched him and he jumped up like a ninja and i thought he was going to hit me (we have had a few close calls) be careful... we have had some weird situations..... one time in the middle of the night he woke up screaming and he was terrified of me and i grabbed his shoulders and started yelling "its me, its me" finally i just let him go (because i was scared) and burried my face in the pillow and he calmed this is a very good question considering my hubby has nightmares due to the military as well so it will be interesting to hear what is the best thing to do :)
    I guess usually i dont notice when he is having nightmares...but if i notice he is troubled i call out his name and he wakes up
  5. veiled

    veiled I'm a VIP

    I feel it would be in your best interest not to try and wake. First off he is going to come awake on his own disoriented as it is and still have had the nightmare. You do it in the middle, I would be ready for a hand to hand Combat as he will have the same disorientation going and he still would have had the nightmare.

    You are likely not going to be recognized upon waking from a nightmare. This can be dangerous. If you are around seeing a nightmare of this sort... If it were me I would grab a blanket and head for the couch and be supportive if it is just holding a hand or giving space. For us support does come from space a lot.

    A friend I had years ago you flat would never wake. I was a very close friend and the only one with the nerve to wake him as he ALWAYS woke swinging if you woke him. I knew to tap him and run far and fast right away. He was up swinging in a flash but I was far enough away he could gain his snap back before persuing.

    He knew he had to be woken but always was mad at me for doing it because it would have killed him to know he hurt me. But I knew him and how to do it safely with him

    The way you described, but you did not say he was diagnosed (sorry if you said he was and I missed it) his PTSD in uncontrolled. I don't think it would be a wise move on your part.

    On this one leave sleeping dogs lie... and scoot over. My opinion.
  6. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

    Here's my 2 cents worth:

    Wake him up!
    Do not grab/touch/shake him.
    Call out his name until he wakes up.

    Nightmares are so exhausting.
    They are terrifying, realistic, and repetitive.

    The best thing to do would be ask your partner what he/she would want you to do in the event of a nightmare...
    My boyfriend, always calls out my name now... it's so nice to be woken up, and realize that all the terror I was just "going through" was a dream.
  7. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Member

    I never thought about danger for myself!

    Thank you all for the replies. I never considered that I could be in danger. He is such a gentle, kind man that it never crossed my mind. I am such a Pollyanna!!!

    He told me that these dreams really haunt him and he is exhausted the next day. I think I will try to call out his name if/when this ever happens again and see if I can wake him up that way. I don't want to frighten him more and I don't want to get hurt myself! He would feel terrible if he hurt me.
  8. Andrea42

    Andrea42 Active Member

    I know my husband would never ever hurt me but yes when they have been in combat and have violent nightmares even the sweetest most gentle person can become confused and violent... I say call out his name...i dont like to see when my hubby is having nightmares so i usually do say his name and he does hear me the second or third time and responds... yet at the same time you say your bf is exhausted even the next day?! that is something severe and should be looked into.
  9. veiled

    veiled I'm a VIP

    Y&A, just an observation and wonder if this could be why you react with relief. Total shot in the dark, here and may be off the mark... Your trauma was not from an attack so to speak but a horrible accident. Does not lessen it by any means. Those that had to do some sort of combat/fighting and the nightmares are around that may be why they "wake up swinging" and unsafe. Where as with you you you were living a trauma in your night where being awoke could bring you some relief, you were not in fight mode s to speak. What do you think?

    Andrea, being wiped out into the nest day is not new (ask any one here) as the night mares replay in our head awake too. The mental toll is just as exausting as any physical labor, and hard labor at that... wiped out, aches, pains... Don't think for a moment our minds cannot wear us out in the physical sense. It is a normal part of PTSD. It also gets better in time during healing.
  10. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!
    Premium Member

    I am also often exhuasted from my dreams. I also swing and curse when woken. My whole family knows to keep their distance when attempting to wake me. If I have a nightmare, they wait for me to wake up on my own. I will act out what is going on in my dreams and they are in danger of being severly hurt if they wake me.

    I do not recommend ANYONE waking us (ptsd sufferers) up during a nightmare. (I was not in the military either.) Although this is uncomfortable for the spouse to endure, the anguish of hurting a loved one when woken is horrid. (I've done it.) Just let them sleep and work through the dreams...

  11. Kerrie-Ann

    Kerrie-Ann Well-Known Member

    One Day,

    I have a slightly different bent on this than the others as I don't have PTSD and my husband Anthony is ex military. I used to wake Anthony (and still do from his horrible nightmares, although they are infrequent now) but I know to wake him up at his toes. If you are inclined to adopt this approach its best for you to get out of bed and do it, that way swinging fists (etc) won't get you. I can't say whether it was for Anthony's or my benefit (as I didn't like seeing him so distressed) but it used to work for us. He would seem to settle down after that and continue on in sleep but without nightmares. I also found that it helped to tell him who was waking him, where he was and that he was alright because he was at home.

    Some of those with PTSD have suggested NOT waking him up and that's obviously from their perspective of having PTSD ........which I have no experience of. I guess it all boils down to a personal perspective, the approach I mentioned works for us and it may work for you too OR it may not. Just be careful, its not social skills that they teach in the military!!
  12. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Yep... I must agree with my lovely wife... waking me up was better for me, even though I didn't remember the dreams anyway, I would still wakeup in the morning like shit, so her doing what she did, allowed me to go back to sleep and atleast get some rest without going back into whatever nightmare I was having.

    Double edged sword though, and use plenty of commonsense, not laziness when waking someone with PTSD from a nightmare.
  13. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

    veiled, that could totally be possible. Although I am never woken up by someone touching me. My partner calls out my name and reassures me until I wake up.

    When I wake-up from a bad dream, I'm in panic mode, but usually settle down quick as I realize my surroundings.
  14. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Yes, I am very quick to settle also. I don't really come up swinging as such, more instantly observant with fists ready to swing. This gives my wife often those few seconds to call me and tell me I was dreaming, so I go back off to sleep then. That hasn't happened though in some time... thank goodness.
  15. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!
    Premium Member

    Ahhh see, huge differences there. I not only come up swinging and kicking, I can be half way across the house before I realize where I am, that I'm awake and not in that dream. The only person who can safely wake me is my partner. As he can tie me up like a pretzel faster than I can harm him. LOL, he's actually done that a few times too. He's got the training for restraints though (judo instructor). Strange thing is, I've never attacked the dog and she has woken me up by crying and licking me. That I just don't get.

  16. Kells

    Kells Active Member

    yeah, when my husband is having a nightmare (he talks in his sleep a lot), I call his name several times first then I'll gently touch him while calling his name till he's awake. Then, I usually make him stay awake and talk to me for a few minutes before he goes back to sleep to make sure he doesn't have a "sequel" (lol, I hate sequels... I usually get those if I fall asleep right away after waking from a nightmare)
  17. YoungAndAngry

    YoungAndAngry Well-Known Member

    ahhh the sequels... lol
    yes, those aren't fun

    good strategy to avoid them :)
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