I had wanted to post today about the positive changes that have taken place in my life the last couple years but after the nightmare I had last night, my mind apparently wants something else. I have had terrible nightmares for as long back as I can recall, as far back as early childhood – vivid, detailed, violent nightmares. A few years ago I read an article that stated that a lot of people dream in black and white. Well, I know for a fact I dream in color because I can see the red blood in my dreams every time I am stabbed or otherwise hurt. Yes, I have had nightmares where I am being stabbed, usually after trying to get away from someone bad.
Up until the last five years, my nightmares had consisted of terrible things: being chased, being stabbed, being lost alone, drowning in flood waters, running from fire, being crushed by a house as tornadoes and hurricanes hit, haunted by a beheaded little girl – that one was terrible and has stayed so vivid in my mind. In my dream, I was a little girl again and a strange little girl, who looked a lot like me, was in the house trying to kill me. I told my parents but they didn’t care – they thought I was over-reacting. I knew I had to take her out before she could kill us – I cornered her in the bathroom and started stabbing her with a kitchen knife, she ended up beheaded – I ran out and shut the door behind me, completely out of breath – I ran to my mom and asked her to check that the girl was dead but she told me everything was fine now but I had to check and make sure – I opened the bathroom door slowly expecting to see the little girl dead on the floor but as I got the door open, she was standing right in front of me, covered in blood, with her arms reaching out to me – that’s when I woke up screaming. That was one of my worst nightmares ever but violent, horrifying nightmares were and are common for me.
I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting my dreams. The ones about fire, floods, and tornadoes come when I am feeling helpless about something, when I feel I have no control. The funny thing with these is that I always used to be the one saving everyone else while putting myself in danger. After the family drama started, I had one of these dreams for the first time ever where I saved myself. This was clearly mirroring my real life. The little girl nightmare above, I believe it represents the battle within myself, the abused little girl I was, battling with the little girl I wish I could have been.
Since the beginning of the family drama, my dreams have changed a bit. I still have the bad weather dreams but not so much the violent, bloody ones anymore. I have new ones now – these
dreams nightmares are about my family and my son. They started plaguing me during and after my family and sons’ estrangements. They were always similar in nature: my sisters lying to my mom about me, my mom choosing my sisters over me, my mom throwing me out of the house, my dad being alive again and standing there silent and not standing up for me, etc. In every dream I was telling the truth and no one would ever believe me. Imagine for a moment being rejected by your mother in real life and then having to relive that pain over and over again in your sleep – the weight of it all is crushing.
I eventually started having dreams of my son and the odd thing is that those dreams were always normal, as if nothing bad had ever happened, or it would be that he would show up at my doorstep, tell me he loves me and that he’s sorry. These dreams are especially difficult to wake up from – realizing it wasn’t real. God, just writing about it chokes me up. The funny thing about these dreams is that my son is always younger in them, a young teenager from before all the bad stuff, the one that I remember as the little boy that so loved his mommy, the boy that doesn’t exist anymore.
The last couple years, as I have healed and started to move forward with my life, these dreams had faded, occurring only occasionally, maybe every couple months. But now, with my son’s wedding approaching, with knowing I am about to see everyone, the nightmares have returned – I am having them every single damn night. Some are almost funny, like me and my sisters having our weddings on the same day and everyone caring more about theirs’ than mine. I can laugh at those. But some – some are devastating to my heart, ones where I wake up emotionally distraught and it takes almost the whole day to recover. My husband, who has been so supportive in everything, says that dreams are just dreams – he doesn’t understand how they can affect me. I can’t fault him for that – he doesn’t have bad dreams and he hasn’t been through what I have been through so I get that he doesn’t understand. The problem is – yes, they are just dreams, but the heart and the brain experienced it as if it was real – I have the memories of dream, I have the emotions that went with it. It may not be real but my body reacts biologically as if it was.
My dream last night, very much a nightmare – was such a dream. It was long and I don’t remember a lot of it now but I remember the last parts: I was in a house with my mom, my sister Sandy, my sons’ father Dave and his parents, my best friend from high school Cathy (the one who introduced me to Dave and who will be at the wedding). Cathy had a little baby with her and they were having an intervention to see if I was allowed to be around the baby because I had been such an unfit mother! During the intervention, my mom was sitting next to me and she kept telling me that I need to apologize to my other sister Sharon. I kept telling her NO, that Sharon should apologize to me but my mom yelled at me and told me NO, that I was the one that needed to apologize. I finally had enough and got up and left the room. Down the hall I walked by Cathy and she told me I was a terrible person and that’s why I was alone. I told her she was wrong and that I had a wonderful husband to prove it – but she said that I was lying about even being married. I woke up shortly after that, my heart feeling empty.
I don’t know if I can handle these dreams for another 6 weeks. I am hoping they will stop after the wedding, although I’m sure that will depend greatly on what happens at that wedding.