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Abuse dreams that are different to nightmares

KayW

Confident
When I first got PTSD symptoms, I used to have nightmares that would wake me up in a panic convinced that something terrible had happened. I kind of understand that initial stage of unprocessed trauma and what I describe as flashback dreams (not sure that's the right description)

But now I'm further on in my healing, I have dreams that are different from the jolt me awake in a panic sort. Last night's dream was of an abuser abusing me - it wasn't exactly how it happened, it was like he came back now to do it again, but my feelings and attitude was different. I still did everything he wanted because he would kill me if I didn't and it still made me feel as it always has.

But there was anger more than fear, anger at people that didn't understand why I was 'letting' him do it and anger at him for knowing he was forcing me. I was saying out loud to him and trying to explain to others that I was doing it because he was giving me no choice.

In the previous day, I had had an interaction with someone that reminds me of the abuser in my dream, so guess that's what triggered it.

But I'm confused about whether this kind of dream is a bad thing because it's showing me I'll never be completely over it or if it's showing that I'm more able to stand up and say, it's not my fault.
 
,@Sideways , I see that they could be counted as re-experiencing and I guess this says that I'm not over it and have some way to go.
But this is quite different to flashbacks as I've experienced with more severe PTSD symptoms. It feels different, and okay, I might still have PTSD but this is a new development in my healing, so I don't know how to take it.
 
in my own recovery, i take changes in my nightmares as solid progress. in a couple of cases, the dreams evolved to where i was in charge of the whole scenario and able to send the perpetrator running. i took that as resolution profound enough that i had found my closure, at last. case closed.
 
Thank you for sharing that @arfie . I think I have some way to go before towards that resolution, but the terror has gone and I think I wasn't blaming myself in the dream. So that's a good thing from a bad dream
 
i just want to say that i have a lot of anomalous nightmares like this one. i have the ones where i am full of adrenaline running from people and things, and then i have these quiet/ordinary ones where in the dream i am calm or even consenting, or the abuser is present but the dream isn’t primarily about the abuse.

these are the ones where i often wake up with deep unease and even terror. the ones that are more ordinary. whereas most of the time the more proper nightmares i wake from and may still feel a bit rattled but don’t feel as “off,” and the effects are shorter lasting.

last night i had one of the quieter ones and i can’t stop thinking about it, it’s haunting me all day and messing me up. there was violence done to me by an abuser but i didn’t experience it in the act, only saw the aftermath on my body, stealth violence. so i didn’t experience any fear in the dream. more like surprise and confusion that i didn’t notice he had done it. someone else had to point it out to me. this happens in my dreams a lot, where i look down and see an injury i don’t remember getting.
 
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