When dreams are worse than nightmares.


So I've been gone for a while. I was actually doing pretty well for a while. With dozens of EMDR sessions done, the nightmares and intense flashbacks are at least gone, and that's a relieve.

Lately I've been dreaming though. I don't wake-up. I don't sweat. I don't scream.

They are about the abuser from when I was seventeen, the most difficult one. In the dreams, everyone knows what he did to me, but in the dream we are suddenly a couple. Everyone is around, often even my husband. The abuser starts to have sex with me, people I love are watching and approving, I don't do anything to stop him (I never really did), but he isn't violent - he is actually quite loving (nearly throwing up typing this), saying things to me like: 'Well tell me, so you don't want this? Why didn't you do anything? You wanted it before too'. In the dream I definitely DO NOT want it. I am filled with horror and disgust. But I don't say anything, and I don't do anything.

The day after those dreams get me so confused. The things he says to me, are things I used to say to myself. I thought I was passed that, that I didn't blame myself, that I was a victim. But when I have these dreams I don't know anymore. I can't get them out of my head, I doubt myself and drive myself completely crazy, feeling like a fraud, feeling so disgusted with myself. I can't function. I have no job anymore, forget to drink and eat or go to the bathroom. I'm just purely existing and it's painfull.

I really rather have a nightmare where it's obvious that there's an attacker and a victim, even if I'm the victim. It messes me up too, but in a very different way.

I don't really know what I want with this post, I guess I'm hoping to find some recognition.


I guess I'm hoping to find some recognition.
I think what you're talking about is understandable. Common, even.

Would it help to recognize that bad dreams aren't always called "nightmares"? It sounds like you're having bad dreams.

Dreams are a strange mash-up of a lot of different unresolved subconscious thought. Because of that, they can be very disturbing.
In the dream I definitely DO NOT want it. I am filled with horror and disgust. But I don't say anything, and I don't do anything.
Abuse makes us powerless. But the more subtle it is, the easier we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are somehow responsible. It takes awhile to work those thoughts out of our heads. I know you wrote that you'd already come to terms with it, thought you were past blaming yourself - but are you working o anything in therapy that might be churning those feelings/thoughts up to the surface again? Or, anything else in your life you're feeling stressed or guilty/ashamed about?


Yeah, I guess you could call them bad dreams.

I know what triggered it, it was a good thing actually.

There's a lot of stressfull things going on right now. On top of that, me and my husband are both at our limits and fighting often, with a bad tension in the air the rest of the time.

I really can't handle all of this right now.


I am so sorry you're going through this. I have so many dreams like that, and I agree they feel worse than the nightmares. At least I wake up from the nightmares feeling like myself because the nightmares usually involve him chasing me and I run away.

I've had dreams where my current partner is just my abuser reformed and I've given him a second chance, I might say to myself in the dream "look how much he has improved! He hasn't assualted me since we got back together." I've had dreams where we've just become friends again, or we've simply never stopped (in reality, I stayed friends with him 5 years after we broke up because we had mutual friends and I didn't understand that what happened was abuse).

Waking up from the bad dreams as if everything was normal just makes me feel so gross. I feel like I can never trust my own judgement.


I just recently heard it said, don't try to interpret dreams, just pay attention to what you feel, and what you feel with what follows in the bad dream. (Though we can often see where subconsciously things get inserted from the days preceding it).

So for example, you might feel (insert 'x'), @lovak I felt I had to keep up the appearances; no one understood; it was confusing. Followed by, I wanted to get away, like you said feeling like a fraud and disgusted with yourself. And maybe powerless.

But then, forget about the content and ask yourself, where or with what are you currently feeling those things in the present about?

I have really bad nightmares, but more so now mostly bad dreams, about 2/3- I thought those were just 'dreams'. And some bad dreams/ procedural dreams where I dream I'm working. I almost never have a 'good' dream, that I remember anyway. All I can say is I know I dream in very vivid, happy colors. :rolleyes: