Newest Members
Bennett, 0128, jeremywickers, JScott12, TMatti2
12503 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
asdude1981 (33), Avery46 (51), hans32 (46), jean-noel (49), Kirk (59), Kirk Wayne (59), Mechanical (21), OldTrafford (50)
Who's Online
2 registered (myrlin, Cthulhu), 14 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12503 Members
74 Forums
64194 Topics
447974 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#35746 - 01/18/03 06:38 PM Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Gary - CDN Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 28
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario Canada
I found during the last few months I was deluged with nightmares and images (both sexual and extreme violence) at night that had me terrified to the point I was afraid to go to sleep. The one sequence was so crisp and clear I was starting to second-guess my memory and was wondering if I was in deed going to have to deal with a second perpetrator. I discussed this at length with my counselor yesterday and the first issue he raised was the content of the nightmares/dreams themselves. Are they real or not? Just because it appeared does not make it real. He cited an example from his past that terrified him and the content was so absurd, there is no way the event could have occurred. The second point he mentioned was that since this was fairly traumatic, we have to deal with it and put it in itís correct place. You just cannot forget about it since it has occurred so we must find a way to deal with the issue.

The first thing to do is revisit the sequence, remembering that it was just a dream. Now replay the sequence again, but this time, view it from a distance. Imagine the image being projected across the room on the wall and it is 10 feet in size. If the image was in colour, play it in black and white. If you remember sound or a smell, remove those also, one at a time. Now play the sequence back a few times. As you gain comfort, start to reduce the size of the screen. Push it down smaller and smaller until what you are viewing is the size of a postage stamp. It really never goes away since it occurred, but now you are viewing it from a safe distance. It is there, but at that size, it can no longer harm you.

I have started with this myself and am having some success putting a few of the images back into their correct place.

I hope this helps,

Always keeping a good thought,

Gary-CDN


Top
#35747 - 01/18/03 09:04 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Gary:
That technique makes a lot of sense. If it works for you, that's great. Hopefully, it will also work for others. The forum has mentioned EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as a technique that can also reduce the intensity of upsetting memories/feelings.

Both techniques can be useful to help reduce the symptoms without using medications or negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drugs (street), or compulsive behaviors such as sex, tv, video games, or other diversions that go to excess as a means of numbing out.

Ken


Top
#35748 - 01/18/03 09:15 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Gary - CDN Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 28
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario Canada
My counselor mentioned EMDR, but due to the fact I am dealing with numerous abuse issues, he has advised I avoid it. I am not sure of the reasons but I do trust his judgement.

Comments one way or teh other would be welcome...

GARY-CDN


Top
#35749 - 01/19/03 06:14 AM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Mark S Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 130
Loc: England
Thank you Gary.

If you don't mind I will save that to a file. As Ken said it seems to make sense. My nightmares were so real it was as if my abuse was actually happening again. When I woke I would be so sacred and confused.

As for EMDR I wonder if any of our English contributors have come across it over here. I have tried to look for books on the subject but haven't had much joy.

Thanks again Gary.

Mark


Top
#35750 - 01/19/03 03:26 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
rax Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/00
Posts: 75
Loc: Newark, CA
Hi,

I had a dream/nightmare this morning.

**stop if this triggers you ***
I was a boy again, and I went to visit someone who was like a father-figure and we slept in the same bed. I was lying on my side with my back was towards him.
later at night, he tried to pull down my shorts and penetrate me, and i screamed "no" and turned around and tried to push him away and he kept trying to come closer, and my arms were the only things keeping him away. I wasnt screaming, but i was shocked and without words.

And then he said "BMI overload" and ejaculated all over my stomach.
***********

This was a morning dream, so it was very vividly clear. I was confused at first about his words "BMI overload", and then it came to me. He was being a robot : A thing without feelings.
"BMI Overload" sounded like a computer/robotic thing to say, like "malfunction". Hence my mind actually put in those words to convey that message.

Weird dreams!

Anyway, when i was a boy, i used to cope with nightmares by completing them "on my own terms".
Since i was pretty much awake by the time they were ending, i would end them as i wish. I would be victorious, I would kill the monsters, i would become superman.

Imagination is such a precious thing!

take care,
rax.


Top
#35751 - 01/19/03 03:33 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Rax:

Sorry about the horrible nightmare, or was it like a flashback?

Rax, you're right about imagination. Been there done that.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

Top
#35752 - 01/21/03 01:04 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Don-NY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
I don't mean to be cryptic or metaphysical or even mechanistic, but....

it seems to me that nightmares and dreams both have to be nourished and fed in order for them to continue.

When I was younger, I used to watch all those slasher movies ( Friday the 13th, Halloween, Elm Str.). Especially because, I think, most of these movies involved great violence against young people during or right after sexual activity.

Somewhere during this time, I began having horrible slasher type nightmares with a strong sexual component. I didn't relate these nightmares to the movies for a long time.

When I did, I stopped watching this kind of stuff, and those nightmares went away.

I know the nightmares we're talking about are different. They're the result of actual events, not fictional projections of light and sound, but I'm certain, that our psyches and brains don't really know the difference.

So I wonder. What is the mechanism by which we nourish and feed these nightmares?

I'm sure that neurologists and psychiatrists have long complex explanations, but I think that it's pretty simple really.

Just like my slasher nightmares (output) went away when I stopped watching them (input), my nightmares about abuse, being raped specifically, went away as I destroyed the input loop that was feeding them.

What I mean is that before I learned, a nightmare would occur. I would forget it as soon as possible. Ignore it, deny it, avoid it. Sometimes that meant using some type of drug or numbing behavior (porn binge, etc.).

I never spoke about the nightmares, thought about them, wrote about them. I stuffed them back in and eventually another nightmare occurred, closing the loop. And so on, and on.

I'm not claiming to be a genius in figuring this out. Like many things I only understand them after the fact, as I deconstruct them and compare them to other things.

So how to stop the feedback? How to break the cycle? Provide a different output. I started by writing them down. Every detail I could remember.

Then I would read them out loud. I would listen to them, but this wasn't enough yet. I recorded them, and then listened to them. Sometimes once was enough. Sometimes I listened over and over until they were just a story.

This often gave me great insight to the real events and my reactions to them. To the emotions, which I then owned and controlled. Always, when I was done with a particular recording, I moved the player to the window, and played it facing outside, letting it go. I then deleted the file. Done with that one.

Some, very few, of these nightmares I shared with my therapist. That was a great help too, especially the ones that deal with guilt and shame in particular, whether "justified" or not.

**********Slightly Graphic - maybe triggering section**********

My last nightmare occured last summer. I was in a pretty low place, and a few weeks away from the Retreat in September.

I was taking an afternoon nap in bed, when suddenly I snapped awake in an adrenaline rush, in great fear, and the very beginning of a remebered pain.

I had an erection, and I was lying in the exact position I had been in when I was raped.

I froze. I was instantly aware of what I had been dreaming, but I knew where and when I was. Actually I had been having a pleasant sex dream. But it had turned suddenly - I was being attacked again. The pain ended immediately. I was annoyed that the good dream had been disrupted. I said out loud "Fuck you Christopher".

I didn't move. I refused to move. I refused to let him have any more power or control. I fell asleep again, thinking this, "Do your worst asshole, this is MY bed, and MY dream. Fuck off!!!"

I went back to my pleasant dream, but I awoke again. It was the same replay of the attack, but it was a weak shadow of what it was just a few minutes before. I laughed out loud, rolled onto my back, and finished my nap.

****************END GRAPHIC / TRIGGER

Take control. Break the feedback loop. Provide a different output for the nightmares. Write them down, say them out loud, tell someone - therapist, significant other, someone.

Let them out and that lets them go.

And good riddance.

Donald

_________________________
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

Top
#35753 - 01/21/03 01:24 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Gary, Donald--thanks for sharing this helpful stuff out of your own experiences & recovery work!

This is a bad recurring nightmare I had as a teen,
and some of the story behind it (taken from the thread "Dreams Getting More Vivid," my response, dated December 12, 2002):


"I was raped by a gay couple my mother sold me to when I was 10--a memory I promptly dissociated. For 5 years after I had a recurring nightmare in which I was falling down what for a long time seemed like a bottomless pit. Gradually as I fell further down I began to see the bottom. Night after night it got closer & closer. Finally, one night, just as I was hitting bottom, I woke up screaming. But I never had that nightmare again.

Still I did think about it thru the years. Only last year, after about 10 years of therapy 7 psychiatric care, when my abuse memories began to come back, starting with that rape, did I start to realize what the nightmare had been about & why it had ended.

At first I knew it was connected to that rape, and thot the nightmare ended after the last time I saw the rapists, trying to "visit" me at the children's home, when I stood up for myself & put them off, even threatened them. That may have been part of it. But I don't think I was yet 15 at that time. (Maybe that's when I started seeing the bottom?)

But then around Christmas last year (another reason this isn't my season to be jolly! ), memories of the times my mother incested me started coming back.

Now I know why I quit having the nightmare at age 15: that was when my mother quit coming to see me at the children's home & moved out West. Deep down, tho I didn't know exactly why then, I was glad I wouldn't be seeing her anymore.

While I know therapy, particularly my current T who I started seeing a couple years ago, contributed to this, I didn't talking directly about the dream in order to come to this, just like I wasn't talking about SA when I started remembering mine.

Now, while all dreams don't necessarily have any clear symbolic meaning (this one was pretty easy once I remembered the whole story), talking about your dreams with a good T might help."


Now I wasn't necessarily proactive in my mothers' leaving which led to the leaving of the nightmare.
Fortunately, it "just happened."

But I suspect things might have been different, if I'd had a good T to help me "help her leave" in my mind, as my current T has recently done.

And as Don says, "Good riddance!"

To the nightmare, and to my mother!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

Top
#35754 - 01/21/03 04:59 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
michaelb Offline
Member

Registered: 04/21/01
Posts: 211
Loc: cincinnati, ohio
i was just in the hospital over a month ago because of bad dreams.....i totally disagree that they have to be triggered.....you cannot control your subconscious.......I SURE AS HELL DID NOT WANT TO DREAM ABOUT BEING ORALLY AND ANALLY RAPED AT 8 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!

my psychiatrist advised me that flashbacks in dreams is very common for people struggling with abuse issues...no not all dreams are true per se, but all have psychological significance and validity....my doctor actually put me on risperdal to remove the dreams from my conscious memory....i still have the dreams, but they are blocked from my memory when i awake.....i had gone about 10 days refusing to sleep to face the dreams again.....i'm able to sleep "safely" for 4-5 hours...if i wake up, i do not allow myself to go back to sleep, because if i do, the dreams come back......you might want to discuss this pill with your psychiatrist....it sure has helped me get some sleep again.....good luck.....michael


Top
#35755 - 01/21/03 06:32 PM Re: Coping with nightmares - 1 Strategy
Mark S Offline
Member

Registered: 08/25/02
Posts: 130
Loc: England
The mind is so powerfull.

I didn't dream about anything good or bad for around fifteen years. From the day I was raped for the first time, till I started talking about it I didn't have one dream that I remembered. then pow!!!

As I said they were so vivid, I even bit my finger and drew blood when I was asleep. I used to bite my finger to stop me screaming and to try and draw my attention away from the pain.

My girlfriend would wake me as gentle as she could and hold me till the fear subsided. My last nightmare was after a South African family moved into the flat above mine. My abuser was South African. Christ did I panic and once again the dreams were back only this time I was on my own, no girlfriend.

I haven't had nightmares for a while now. I often dream though, some of them are way of the wall, (I'm sure Frued would have found them interesting). I actually enjoy my dreams and feel well pissed-off when the alarm sounds just as it's getting interesting.

Mark


Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >


Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.