What Do Your Monsters Look Like?


I was going to post this in Studies/Research, as I came across it looking for something -almost, but not- completely different. I haven’t finished reading it, yet, but I find the topic/premise crazy interesting.

It made me wonder… what do your monsters look like?



Interesting what body sensations this just threw at me.

They are always big, like the universe big, sucking up all the space.

Male gravelly voices, dark swirly voids - they have fingers and hands but not necessarily arms, maybe like the wraiths in LOTR?


But sometimes it is an actual figure. And human form, I just can’t see the face, although there are always eyes.

And my personal favourite (joke) when it is me. Puke.


This just made things make a whole lot of sense to me. It is probably why my T thinks that my deeper issues stemmed from childhood. I told her that I used to have recurring nightmares about monsters as a child.

My monsters were always invisible. I knew they were there but I could never actually see them.

My nightmare was that I was playing in the field on a sunny day. All of a sudden a monster would see me and start chasing me. The house became really far away. When I finally got there, it morphed int a huge house with bunches of rooms. Other people would hide and I could never find a hiding spot, I so would hide in plain sight. The monster would see me and be about to attack me and then I would wake up.

Thank you @Friday for sharing the article. I am going to read the rest of it.


Him, I always see him, my abuser. He's always there, doing what he does and even other stuff to terrorize me. I'm also running from something or someone that is trying to kill me, but I don't always see their face or even know what it is. A lot of the time it's animals attacking or trying to kill me, big monster animals, or just beefed up versions of regular animals- wild hogs, wolves, etc. A lot of the time these animals or unseen monsters are after my son and I'm trying to rescue him or keep him safe.


What a brilliant article.

I don't believe in heaven or hell. But my primary abuser professed to, and shaped my abuse around them.

My monster is a demon, straight from the fires of hell. I saw it most vividly when I was hallucinating from anti-depressant toxicity. It emerged from my stomach and flee off down the street, growing gigantic as it did.

And yeah, I reckon I agree with the author that I probably should have addressed that in therapy at some point. It's featured in a lot of my art therapy over the years, both before and after that experience. But after drawing it, I've always thought "nuff said really". Maybe I haven't said enough just yet.



I've always found the concept of 'monsters' very abstract if not bizarre. I don't recall ever having been afraid of 'monsters under the bed' or similar, for example. I remember being really scared of... something ... unnatural... like when being in a forest at night, I certainly was scared shitless of ... I don't know... ghosts? It never was tangible. My fears never were attached to a specific ... shape? Image? It never were 'monsters'.

So, clicking on this thread and reading the question "what do your monsters look like", I was going to answer that I don't have monsters. Because to me 'monsters' are ... well... bizzare and maybe scary looking creatures. Outerwordly. Maybe showing up in movies and books with vivid descriptions, but nothing that has equivalency in the real world. And I've never 'seen' those. Never in dreams. Never in hallucinations. Never in imaginations. (I wouldn't be able to draw a monster. I'd just be copying something I'd seen in a movie or other image somewhere)

Then I clicked on the link, started reading... images showing up in nightmares... huh.

There is obviously quite a few consistent imagery in my nightmares, none of which I would ever label 'monsters'. (nah, car crashes aren't monsters, that's just my normal anxiety going haywire, neither are shootings or plane crashes)

Except for ... wild, vicious animals. Chasing me. Trying to get to me when I'm hiding from them inside someplace. Suddenly showing up. Big cat species. Sharks. Bears. Wolves.

I still remember this one nightmare from when I was maybe 7? It involved my mom being killed. By anthropomorphic human-sized speaking ... foxes. Why the f* was my mom being killed by foxes? I'm not nor ever was afraid of foxes. Or really of any of the other animals that show up in my nightmares with the exception of sharks (and spiders, but those just freak me out by showing up in my mental imagery, they don't try to actually harm me like the others).

Again, Huh.

(going to continue reading the article, now)


I am just too tired to read the article yet, and I don't recall my nightmares usually, except they are filled with terror, often horror, usually death of others, or threatened. Often it's being trapped with a killer, usually death or torture or torture coming then death, frequently of loved ones , quite a few times I'm shot (but it seems for no particular reason) or a loved one is for a reason. But most frequently there is racing heartbeat and running that isn't- like if you can't run anymore, and I'm doing everything in my power to drag myself along the ground or up stairs by my forearms, with great pain in my chest. They are usually in darkness, but I remember colors, especially pink. No 'monsters' though, just humans. Though in nightmares they could be the same thing. They almost never involve dead people, only living. Oh ya, and I usually can't be heard when I call out a name, or they ignore it, or if I scream nothing comes out.
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I've always found the concept of 'monsters' very abstract if not bizarre. I don't recall ever having been afraid of 'monsters under the bed' or similar, for example. I remember being really scared of... something ... unnatural... like when being in a forest at night, I certainly was scared shitless of ... I don't know... ghosts? It never was tangible. My fears never were attached to a specific ... shape? Image? It never were 'monsters'.
I can so relate to this. And I had to laugh about the monsters under the bed. My monster was real and in another room at night. I had imaginary mice under the bed, and they were my best friends.
images showing up in nightmares
Funny...I very seldom have bad dreams or nightmares.

I think my monsters became a part of my inner world, which is extensive and very detailed.


I had imaginary mice under the bed, and they were my best friends.
I also never had imaginary friends of any form or shape, human or non-human. I very much believed in magical creatures, I had a BIG unicorn phase. But I never 'imagined' them. Which is probably also connected with that I never make believe played with dolls/toys/stuffed animals. I role played the shit out of my childhood BIG time, but it was always us children role playing with each other. I had tons of Barbies and Polly Pockets and stuffed animals and of course they had names and I took them everywhere with me. But I don't recall playing with them in the way where you imagine them actually being alive and interactive and even talking and stuff. I don't recall playing with them. Even further, I've found it incredibly strange when my friends played as if their dolls/toys/stuffed animals were alive and real.

Funny...I very seldom have bad dreams or nightmares.

I rarely have bad dreams or even nightmares. But when I do, the imagery has been extremely consistent for over a decade (decades if I consider that nightmare from when I was a kid ... which, funnily enough, as I just realized after I made the post yesterday, is pre-trauma, but that common thread of 'animal' really struck me while I was thinking about that, yesterday)


I'm still reading through the article... holy cow, am I the only one having a really hard time reading this? Not for the content but for the language. Are all psych (if not philosophy) articles this... difficult to a point it almost feels forced (as in, make the language particularly convoluted and sophisticated to sound smart and enlightened)?

Anyways, while I was reading along, especially all the descriptions of "monsters" as they're depicted in mythology and art and movies and noticing they really refer to 'monsters' not in a metaphorical sense but to monsters how most everyone would define them (grotesque, scary beasts).

Something Sideways had written struck me and made me wonder.

I don't believe in heaven or hell.

Looking back at my own experience - or rather lack thereof - of monsters ever being a theme in my imagination as a child whereas I very commonly see this for others (the mentioned 'monsters under the bed' ... heck, there now is an entire animated children's movie about 'monsters'), and even in the article they talk about monsters in the 'demon' sense.... it made me wonder whether religiosity/spirituality plays a major role in whether or not we visualize monster monsters as manifestations of our fears - which then would also transcend into our trauma imagery*. Because in pretty much all religions monsters/demons play very important roles and are *meant* to induce fear.
(kinda really curious if the authors of the article will touch on that further into the article).

Not necessarily looking for a discussion. Just rambling/dumbing some thoughts that had come up for me on this topic.

This also made me think about parasomnias. I've never had sleep paralysis (I think), but pretty much all accounts of people having had one I've read over the years say they've hallucinated demonic-type monsters. I do, however, have night terrors with hallucinations - and those were never once monsters/demons despite my otherwise very vivid imagination and always, as already mentioned previously, spiders. Now obviously sleep paralysis and night terrors aren't equivalent as they occur during different sleep pahses, so the mechanics and results (hallucinations) might differ just because of that, but it still struck me as somewhat odd enough to at least draw my attention.


Nightmares are a big deal for me. I often wake exhausted from them. I often wake DH up during them.

The ‘monsters’ appear differently though. And I think there are ‘normal’ nightmares and the ‘ptsd nightmares’. They are different for me. E. g - if something horrid or stressful happens through out the day it’s normal healthy experience to have a nightmare about it - ‘bad dream’ . It’s not healthy when nightmares are crippling and the night time version of intrusive thoughts, or causing problems .

Imagery that is more abstract and ‘monstrous’ than obviously flashback type stuff for me is people reaching out from the Grave, screen or phone to hurt me or kill me, ( I know I saw this in a film when very young and was scared about it for a long while) groups of characters watching me suffer in various or attacking me or stepping over me. Trying to get help for others and failing .

Chaos , chaos in many forms. Shouting .

Interestingly my nightmares are much more prosaic than my dreams - my dreams are enjoyable, fantastic creative and often funny. My nightmares are relatively realistic and while the cause of fear might be abstraction from my trauma and fears- the dreams them selves are more grounded in realism or at least ‘urban fantasy’ sort of vibe.

I wouldn’t but the book of my nightmares 😂