Arousal caused by horrible dreams

barefoot

Sponsor
I didn't really know which section to post this in. And didn't know what to call the thread and what I've ended up calling it makes me feel a huge amount of shame and distress.

I have a recurring theme that shows up in my dreams fairly frequently. In a nutshell, in the dreams, I am forcing someone (a random person, not anyone I know in real life) to have some sort of sexual encounter with me. And it's clear that they don't want to. But I don't care about that and, somehow I make them. In the dreams, I don't feel bad about it, I don't care that they don't want to, all I care about is getting the sexual satisfaction for myself and I have a great time.

It has been a running theme in my dreams since I started therapy and, I suppose, started stirring things up about my own past experiences where did things to me that I didn't like/didn't want them to do.

So, intellectually, I get why these dreams come up and I get that they're not saying I'm a terrible person who wants to go and sexually assault people etc. And I've had a version of this dream so many times that I am sort of used to it now and the content doesn't feel quite so appalling to me as it used to. I sort of understand, I think, why my brain spews it out sometimes...and realise that it's probably some sort of processing taking place...or trying to take place...

It still bothers me though. And, on top of that, what really bothers me is my body's response. Because, when I wake up from these dreams, my body feels excited.

And then, when I'm awake, although I feel horrified and disgusted by the content of the dream and horrified and disgusted by my body's physical response...I also feel 'erotically charged' (my therapist's phrase!) and a really strong drive to act on that charge. To have some kind of sexual relief/release....and it's a really intense, almost compulsive drive to do something about it.

I try not to give in to the urge to 'do something about it' because, if I do, it just feels horrible and, afterwards, I feel more mortified and upset and disgusted with myself. But if I resist the urge and don't do anything to bring any release, it doesn't feel good either....because I just can't shake off the urge and it becomes a bit of an obsession.

I have mentioned this to my therapist before but brought it up again today because, recently, some aspects of the dreams have become more upsetting for me, and that has then made the subsequent physical responses/urges feel more horrible. We're going to pick it up again next time. She said she will think about it, so I'm not sure if that means she doesn't really know where to go with it, or whether she wants to go and do some research or whatever.

I'm wondering if anyone has this sort of thing and whether anyone has come through the other side and these dreams have stopped? Or what anyone does about the erotic charge when awake? And the intense drive to do something, even though the stimulus is something you find abhorrent?

I'm just not sure how to move forward with it. What to do in therapy that might help? (I know that's also my T's job) Whether realistically I can do something that will stop the dreams. Or stop the feelings afterwards. Or just get me to a point where I don't feel so disgusted and ashamed about the whole thing. Wondering if this is 'just' a case of revisiting those past experiences and really diving in deep and doing some processing while conscious...I haven't really done that...I wonder if that would mean the processing wouldn't fly out sideways while I'm sleeping...?

If this is my unconscious waving at me and trying to get my attention so that I actually get down to it and do the deep work around this old stuff that I've been keeping at arm's length, I get it....but it's a horrible, brutal way to go about it!

Actually feeling really vulnerable and teary about it in this moment...felt good in a way to bring it up again with T and for us to agree to pick it up again next time...because that feels like I'm trying to do something therapeutic about it (?!) But being so open with her today and then posting about it here...it feels...well, pretty awful actually :( Going to post it now before I change my mind!
 

PlainJane

Moderator
I'm wondering if anyone has this sort of thing and whether anyone has come through the other side and these dreams have stopped? Or what anyone does about the erotic charge when awake? And the intense drive to do something, even though the stimulus is something you find abhorrent?

I do have similar issues with this. I haven't come out the other side of it. So, don't have anything useful other than I get it. I treat them like all my other night things, I feel like shit, I run, insert whatever coping you need here, to jump start my day with something I can control. This is where I am at with it when I get my bearings:

And I've had a version of this dream so many times that I am sort of used to it now and the content doesn't feel quite so appalling to me as it used to

It is what it it is, kinda thing. The physical arousal is a whole other type of mind f*ck. Like being aroused, or having an orgasm while being raped. Or initiating sex with my abuser. I liked it, I was asking for it. I struggle with all aspects of this. Being the helpless one or the one in power. Regardless of the position I was in within the dream I wake up with the same "sexual frustration." I haven't dealt with it, working on it, just not there yet.

Actually feeling really vulnerable and teary about it in this moment...felt good in a way to bring it up again with T and for us to agree to pick it up again next time...because that feels like I'm trying to do something therapeutic about it (?!) But being so open with her today and then posting about it here...it feels...well, pretty awful actually :( Going to post it now before I change my mind!

Yeah, it does feel awful. For me it feels like it put my morals and integrity into question. I am glad you put out there though, here's to challenging it. 🥂
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I'm wondering if anyone has this sort of thing and whether anyone has come through the other side and these dreams have stopped? Or what anyone does about the erotic charge when awake? And the intense drive to do something, even though the stimulus is something you find abhorrent?

i haven't considered it in this context before, but i believe i have come out the other side of this phenom. for me those abhorrent acts were psychotheraputed as, "hyper-sexuality" and "rage." i believe i am on the other side of the phenom because it has been a decade or three since the nightmares and urges have plagued me beyond what my therapy tools can handle. knock wood. . .

in my own herstory, i believe those abhorrent drives were my need to settle the conflict between the trauma and the justifications for said trauma. everybody kept telling me the most confusing things about the spirit in which i was supposed to receive those trauma.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
There is no shame in this at all.
And itt great you have posted. It's brave of you to do it. And I hope the responses and your T's response help you see there is no shame.

I often have various sexual dreams, that make me confused or anxious, and then recently I acted something out on myself.
I have no words of wisdom, other than: whilst this is causing you distress, it isn't shameful and no one is judging you about because there simply is nothing to judge.

I think your T might have said she wanted to think about it, perhaps maybe to see how best to support you with it? Rather than she doesn't know how to respond? That she knows she needs to tread carefully because it is a topic that bring you many feelings and how hard it has been to share? But also, if she is getting more advice and learning more herself: then that isn't a sign that you are too much or terrible or anything. It's a sign that she wants to do her best to support you.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Yes I understand. No, I’m not exactly the same. Not dreams, but I had repressed memories. All my stuff is shame based stuff, I was thinking about that today. This is a good thread My therapist always says that my difficulties in process have to do with the crossover . The fact of the pleasure that’s tied to the trauma .
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
Even without sexual acts being any part of my trauma I now realize how messed up some of my sex life is and has been. Apparently from what I have read if trauma happens before physical maturity orgasm becomes a way to get the calming and soothing chemicals that are released. Those hormones help deal with the feelings of rage. despair, and grief from betrayal. Self medicating if you will.

Your brain can come up with a lot of ways to get what it wants, and it wants that calm that comes after. Somewhere you may be tripping an unknown stressor that sets the whole thing off. Don't worry. As you get through therapy you will find it.

Just remember the dreams are a desperate attempt to get hormones and chemicals, not something you chose consciously.
 

Friday

Moderator
So, intellectually, I get why these dreams come up and I get that they're not saying I'm a terrible person who wants to go and sexually assault people etc.
So you get, intellectually, that desiring that level of CONTROL in order to relax enough to release… speaks to being a victim with severe trust issues? That by it being a random person rather than a specific individual it speaks to your overall sense of self rather than them (they could be KingKong or a Mouse, but since you’re the one IN control & they’re random? It’s about you. What you need. What you want. Not their fear, or their anything. Who they are doesn’t matter. What they are/need/want/etc. doesn’t matter. Because it’s not about them. It about you. Where?… there is no fear, no helplessness, no risk; it’s the absolute pinnacle of safety?

Or… have you taken the track that it’s about role reversal? (Equally valid, in a different way).

Or… that by focusing solely on your own needs/wants/desires in the most selfish and self serving way possible, it’s free d you up to be toooooootally present / available for focusing on someone else’s needs/wants/desires with little to no thought of your own needs/wants (since those were already met) NOR fears/hang ups. All. About. Them. Because of the depth of love you feel for them?

Or… something different?

There are a LOT of ways this could be processed intellectually, because there are a lot of core/foundational needs that could be being met. Because dreams do that. They break reality to find solutions, problems, questions, answers.

And then, when I'm awake, although I feel horrified and disgusted by the content of the dream and horrified and disgusted by my body's physical response...I also feel 'erotically charged' (my therapist's phrase!) and a really strong drive to act on that charge. To have some kind of sexual relief/release....and it's a really intense, almost compulsive drive to do something about it.
Because it makes total sense that after reaffirming your sense of self, safety, security, etc. in dreamland …in whatever way you presently need…that the self confidence would linger a bit. Until you squash it flat, with disgust and fear. And that it would repeat. Until you learn to manage the disgust and fear, or keep the self confidence. Rubix Cube Style. Many possible combos… until you arrive at the solution.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Thanks for the responses so far. And the support. I've read them all....need a bit of time to process and then come back to it to reply properly....I didn't want to just not acknowledge your replies and the experiences some of you have shared. I'm sorry that this is something that troubles some of you as well. I'll be back to this another time...any other comments still gratefully received...
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I do have similar issues with this. I haven't come out the other side of it. So, don't have anything useful other than I get it.

Sorry that you struggle with this too. But it helps to hear that someone else gets it.

The physical arousal is a whole other type of mind f*ck. Like being aroused, or having an orgasm while being raped. Or initiating sex with my abuser. I liked it, I was asking for it. I struggle with all aspects of this.

Yeah, it’s very head f*cky. I haven’t experienced the other things you mention but these things are so confusing and complex.

I haven't dealt with it, working on it, just not there yet.

If you’re able to share: what do you mean when you say you’re working on it? What does that look like? Do you mean with a therapist, or…?
I feel like this is a significant thing for me and worthy of some exploration…that I feel like I should be ‘working on it’…but just not sure what that would really mean/entail…?

it feels like it put my morals and integrity into question

Yes :(

There is no shame in this at all.
And itt great you have posted. It's brave of you to do it.
Thank you

I think your T might have said she wanted to think about it, perhaps maybe to see how best to support you with it? Rather than she doesn't know how to respond?

Yes, I think you may be right. I’ve said I want to pick it up again this week but that I don’t really know what else to say about it so I may need a steer from her. As you say, not a bad thing if she has done some research/asked other practitioners/her supervisor about it. I kind of hope she has, to be honest, so that she can take the lead a bit and have a bit of a plan about us working on it, as I’ve no idea what to say about it.

The fact of the pleasure that’s tied to the trauma .

Yeah…I guess this is part of the confusion for me. I don’t think there was pleasure tied to the trauma. I know that can happen and I’m not judging or dismissing that and think that must be a very head f*cky thing to deal with. But I didn’t experience pleasure (was dissociated so didn’t really experience anything!) So, I don’t really get why I get this ‘erotic charge’ now.

Just remember the dreams are a desperate attempt to get hormones and chemicals, not something you chose consciously.
Hmm…hadn’t thought about it very way…not sure about that…but will reflect on it!
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i don't understand the process by which the abused become abusers, but the cycle is hard to deny. however innocent i was as a child, i believe my place in the cycle is distinctly possible, even probable. when i view the abuser in my nightmares as an aspect of myself, i wonder if this is the me i will become without active intervention.

in my own case, that particular point of view serves as extra motivation to take my recovery seriously. support needed. let the buck stop here.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Edited to say: never mind.
I just don't want a discussion in this thread about the abused becoming abusers. That's not what the thread's about.


Regretting posting the thread at all. Can we perhaps just all pretend it's not here now?
 
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