What Do Your Monsters Look Like?


This is so interesting! Although I wake during the nights in panic, it’s very seldom I remember my nightmares (and I’ve never remembered a good dream ever =(…). My monsters have come in the form of recurring nightmares I call my “lava dreams.” It’s basically volcanic lava on its way towards me and I’m responsible for saving the people I love - who seem unaware and uncooperative despite the fact the dangerous lava is right there headed towards us. There’s always lots of obstacles (sometimes zombies or criminals trying to kill us or being trapped in some place we have to escape)…but the overall feelings of immensity of the lava is the worst part.

Other nightmares… my abuser appears as himself (no need to change into any other kind of monster I guess). Or it’s my SO engaging in my abusers behaviors…which is the worst because my SO is a nice kind person. I always wake up so mad and I want to clobber my sleeping SO next to me for what he did in my nightmares… and then later I feel glad my SO isn’t the “man of my dreams” cuz “that guy is awful.” At least when I tell my SO that we get a good laugh.


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The comic artist / memoirist, Lynda Barry, has a great book called "One! Hundred! Demons!" where every day for 100 days she draws one of her demons. I've been meaning to try it.

I actually had a very, erm, 'Jungian' nightmare a while back. I've been having them more and more, which, who knows, might be good, might be bad. Anyway, I saw myself from above, and something was sort of orbiting me, spinning like a ball tied to a string, and it came to stop right in front of my face. It was a kind of sickly mask, very angular, only pink with some grotesque features. It was right in my face, and when I tried to push it away, my fingers kind of got stuck in it, like it was ooze. In the dream a voice said, "You can't turn away." So, like I said, very Jungian, Shadow blah blah blah type thing.

That would be my monster. And pretty much is.


I drew mine. I'll have to dig out the picture and post it.... I drew it in an art class over a year ago ......my monsters are shadow creatures of my past......For the longest time, felt like they were pulling on me.....and when I'd start to get in a better spot emotionally, they'd tug me back into the anger, fear, and helplessness. I suppose they are my anger, fear, and the helpless feelings I had. But the relationship I have with them now....is different....as I grow stronger and more confident, and work through my anger, their hold on me has diminished significantly.....and they only time I feel them is if I'm triggered and in a helpless situation which I can't regain control over, again.
I’d suspect that, initially, every living creature might seem monstrous to a child. Yet I can’t recall myself as every being traumatized when viewing unfamiliar animals for the first time. If such traumas were likely, I’d suspect that young children might be denied admission to zoos.

However, if an adult were to visit a zoo with no prior knowledge that such animals existed, they might view these same creatures as grotesque. So perhaps anything perceived as being abnormally distorted might be thought of as monstrous.

My early childhood inability to apply logically thinking to these experiences had likely blurred my understanding of reality, so much, so that nearly every thought or visualization within my mind seemed possible. Thus, monster movies on TV were often frightening to me, resulting in sleep difficulties.

I’m aware of the subtle and ever-changing abstract luminous shapes within my visual-field that I’ll see when my eyes are closed within my darkened room. As a child, I can recall once asking my mother about these luminous moving lights within my eyes. I wasn’t frightened by them but rather more concerned. My mother merely suggested that I not look at them.

When age 4, my father’s intentional erect penis exposure seemed monstrous to me. At that time, I haven’t realized that his erect penis was actually part of his own body. I thought this penis was a strange creature floating in space in front of his. And what frightened me more was that this penis creature had no eyes and yet it appeared to be alive and bobbing up and down on its own while my father just stood there staring at me.

I could then see that my father’s hands were at his sides and that he wasn’t making any attempt to protect me from it. I then suddenly felt abandoned, as if he didn’t care about my safety. Yet, he had to have known I was frightened. Neither parent ever admitted to nor had they apologized for my CSA suffering. When I told my mother about my CSA at age 24, she responded by saying I’d only misinterpreted my father’s sleep-walking in the nude, as CSA.

The ‘skeleton like’ creature with very long arms that had grabbed me to pull me into a darkened space was one childhood monster that appeared within my dreams. Another childhood monster was a giant King Kong like creature that trying to grab my sister as she slept in our bedroom. In my dream, this monster’s huge arm entered through our bedroom window and was reaching for my sleeping sister, while I was viciously attacking its arm with an axe or saw. I didn’t want to make this vicious attack and yet, I felt I had to protect my sister at all costs. This nightmare was so graphic and immensely frightening that I’d never forgotten it.

Later, I had another dream where this same ‘King Kong like’ creature had returned and was again, trying to enter through my bedroom window. Then suddenly I realized that this was my dream and that I was in control of the narrative. And so, within my dream I boldly demanded this creature simply leave and it retreated. I can recall telling my first T about how empowered I felt within this dream.

This ‘King Kong like’ creature was somewhat like the imaginary creature that I had once described to my first T. Only that this monster was rather about the same size as a human adult. I’d sometimes imagine it, as if standing behind me and that this same visualization, would randomly pop up out of nowhere and provoke a fear within me. My T responded by suggesting that, I think positive and affectionate thoughts towards this imaginary monster. My second T suggested that I imagine myself affectionately petting this monster. Yet I'd told both T that, I couldn’t imagine myself doing that.

So then, my first T responded by saying that, I should learn to tolerate my vivid imagination while, my second T advised me to simply never talk about it again with anyone.

I don’t know, if, my creature visualizations have anything to do with my current, occasional panic episodes at my kitchen sink at night. These panic episode have been occurring for decades and I still feel venerable to them. What I’ll be visually imagining within my mind during these episodes is a blurry black shape, as if standing, in my kitchen doorway. Yet I can’t actually see it. During these panic episodes, I’ll feel so convinced that this monster is there that, I’ll be too frightened to turn around and look. I can only look towards my sides but not directly behind me. I have to wonder if this black mass might be the same black mass that, I've sometimes imagine as being at the foot of my bed, at night.

These days, my monsters seem more like a vague, blurry formless black mass, as if, cloaked in black — perhaps, somewhat like the grim reaper yet without the sickle blade or as something like a black bushy pine tree. Whatever the case, I fear being engulfed within this black formless mass.
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Nurse - chasing me, but faceless and formless, trying to get her hand over my mouth and nose......
I would say that, the invisible, faceless and formless monsters are the most frightening. How would one fight or flee from them. I can certainly relate @Freddyt

As for myself, I haven’t been able shake the brief that my invisible monster is silently approaching me from behind with the intention of suddenly physically grabbing me by my shoulders and overpowering me. At that point, I’ll actually begin to feel chills running down my spine. Fortunately, these frightening inner experiences rarely happen anymore.


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Lots of body horror. Most of the "monsters" in my nightmares are tortured people subjected to cruel treatments, imprisoned. I am forced to watch and can't stop it or save them. Most of the time, I'm the camera- just a point of view. Other times, I'm there, imprisoned with them. All are fragments of what used to be people, now half-mangled lost and forgotten souls. Some are animals that have been twisted into abominations or resemble demonic creatures. Think Jacobs Ladder meets Event Horizon and Overlord. Just straight Hell.


Big, black, smoky, shadowy figure with claw-hands that grab my crotch, throat, abdomen. They sprout up bloody violent screams through my inner thighs and then cowardly disappear.
Big, black, smoky, shadowy figure with claw-hands that grab my crotch, throat, abdomen. They sprout up bloody violent screams through my inner thighs and then cowardly disappear.
The big, black, shadowy mass I can relate to — but then, I can’t recall nor have I ever imagined a monster sexually grabbing me nor showing any sexual interest in me. Within a few nightmares a monster had grabbed me, yet even then, its wasn’t sexual. But then when I’ve sometimes been sexually aroused I’ll begin to imagine these monsters as if, near me. This thought then evokes my fear and I’ll simply shut-down.

Once during a guided hypnosis session by my T in 2002, I had imagined that my forearms were being held and pulled towards a monster. But then, this imaginary monster wasn’t human. I don’t know why I was imagining this imagery -- I only know I found this to be immensely disturbing.

This is how I experience the dark shadowy figure that, I’ll sometimes imagine behind me when I’m at my kitchen sink. I’ll imagine it as approaching me from behind and yet, it never touches me.

What I will be experiencing during this experience is a subtle sensation in the back of my head, neck and upper back. Perhaps this sensation is the onset of my fear response which then, flows down my spine. This feeling of fear makes me want to arch my back while bringing my elbows in towards each other behind my back. This seems to be my only body awareness during these experiences.


3 monsters, they exist in monster-land and IRL:

1 - we wear the same uniform, their faces are blurred and grey. They have the power to harass me, make my shifts miserable, come after me with dirty needles, refuse to back me up on calls, refuse to provide treatments to patients to punish me, attack me physically. They gaslight, to the point that I believe I'm a liar, about anything and everything. They call me IT. They tell me to kill myself, and how & where to do it: you know where the narcs are, go OD in a back alley in a puddle of piss.

IRL, when I know I'm not working with my regular partner, ^^^^ that is what I might end up working with. And I have. Physically I'm at work, going through the motions and counting the seconds until the shift is done. But really, I'm back in that little room, sitting in the corner, behind a locked door, wanting to not exist, remembering the plan.

2 - the anonymous person on the other end of the phone/email/paperwork/case. The ''case manager''. The one with all of the power, who can deny treatment while ordering endless rounds of assessments and exams, to be completed by others who are fed leading info and have judged me before I ever walk through their office door. They gaslight, until I believe I'm both faking and crazy.

IRL, this person can ruin me professionally and financially if they interfere with my ability to work, or demand repayment. I am still $15 000 in the hole as a result of the first case manager.

IRL, if enough of their BS makes it into my medical file, they can ensure that all medical care going forward will be viewed through the she's mentally ill, her symptoms are all in her head bias. I could have something as diagnostically simple as a broken leg, and still be treated as if my physical pain is exaggerated and psychosomatic. When I'm injured at work I don't report it. Tendonitis, sprained ankle, back pain from being slammed around the back of the ambulance... no reports. Not ever again.

3 - the murderers. The first 2, I know. The others I don't, just north.

IRL I know 2 of their names, even the changed name. I know they're both in this end of the province. I'm always at risk of running into them.
During my childhood, I had feared that there were big black shadowy shapes (imaginary monsters) within the darkness beneath my bed. There were times at night when I’d feared stepping out of my bed for fear a hand might reach out a grab my foot. I’d also feared the shadowy darkness within my bedroom closet. And when my closet-door wasn’t entirely closed I’d sometimes imagine that a monster was slowly emerging from it.

Perhaps as a young child, I wasn’t able to understand the concept of negative empty shapes or spaces — thus, to me, these darkened shapes and spaces seemed more like openings hiding frightening monsters within.

As for my abusers, these are real people and I clearly know who they are. However, my monsters I'm still unable to understand.