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#463686 - 04/04/14 11:18 PM dreams
1luckyman Offline


Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 9
I'm curious to know if anyone else started having very vivid dreams when they started therapy?I wouldn't necessarily call them nightmares but they're not pleasant dreams either.I did have one that involved abuse although I couldn't see the abuser I just knew they were there. Mostly they involve being lost or lonely. I can be with someone or even in a crowd of people and then the next thing I know it's dark and I'm all alone ,very strange. I also had one where I had to get a tooth pulled it went bad ,there was blood everywhere. I haven't had dreams in years until I started therapy now I have them almost every night and they're very vivid I can remember almost every detail.


Edited by 1luckyman (04/04/14 11:24 PM)

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#463689 - 04/05/14 01:12 AM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Yes - that happened to me too. Lots of long -buried stuff was getting stirred up. That seems to be one way we process it. It may be helpful to write down what you dream. I have found that dreams often give me clues about myself that I might not otherwise be aware of. Just don't take everything too literally.
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#463764 - 04/06/14 04:45 PM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
OCN Offline


Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 219
Loc: Western Europe
I have thought about dreams a lot in the past up to the point where i believed everything was/is a dream. Now i no longer try to see it that way, since it caused a burnout/breakdown the time it came to my mind.

But i'm intruiged by my dreams nonetheless. Lately i've been having some disturbing dreams which somehow remind me of re-enacting behavior of the past which i did when i was unaware of the abuse. Not so pleasant to be confronted with that in my dreams.
I'm no longer in therapy, but i might start again one day.

What changed my 'dream consciousness' was quiting smoking marihuana. After that my dreams became wild and vivid at the start..

and as Lee said, it's probably a good idea to bring some paper and pen to your bedroom so you can write down the dreams. Being able to remind your dreams can help you become more aware during the daytime too!

Good luck, luckyman!
_________________________
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

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#463786 - 04/07/14 03:52 AM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
1luckyman Offline


Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 9
Thank you for responding. So far there has only been one dream that has really bothered me, the one that involved abuse. The others I can somewhat understand because, although I know I'm not, I feel alone in this. I think that's why I may be having the dreams of being lost. It's also why I have came back here. Although I do have a support team, my wife, sisters, and my therapist, it's just not the same as having someone that has been through it. I know they they will always be there but I also know they will never completely understand the carp that's going through my mind. So in that sense I feel lost and alone. My therapist said it was common for survivors to start having dreams during recovery but I'm very fearful they will get worse. I think I will start writing some things down and keeping a journal on them, great idea thanks.

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#463817 - 04/07/14 06:02 PM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
I Want 2 Thrive Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 81
Loc: Florida, U.S.A
1luckyman,

I do not have them as often as I used to. Last week, I had the hyper-vivid dreams/nightmares that have started me on my journey. What is odd about mine, they appear to be tactile in nature. I actually woke up with sore muscles, and I could swear I could smell stale cigarettes (one of my triggers.) It was just like I was 8 and "on set" again. One of my worst dreams involves receiving a manilla envelope full of films and photos. It fills me with shame (I know it is misplaced) knowing that crap may still be floating out there.
_________________________
Izzy

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S. Lewis
My Story: Short / Long version. *TRIGGERS*

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#463886 - 04/09/14 09:06 AM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1629
1luckyman

Dreams for me became nightmares as the past continued to take over. When I was in control of myself the dreams were frightening but did not control.I would jump and scream, but I hid them because people around dismissed them and made fun of the noises I made during the dream. I pretended I did not remember because to speak of what happened after the reactions to my screams would have been unsafe and I feared hearing less than kind words. This went of for years, sometimes frequently and other times with long intervals of none. However, when the triggers were inflicted the dreams became more vivid and controlling. I would not sleep, I was a zombie. But I began to sleep and I could feel the abuser on me. They were turning into full fledged flashbacks.

When I began therapy and began to talk about the abuse the dreams were horrific nightmares and flashbacks. These feelings were exacerbated by my environment. The psychiatrist gave me medication to sleep and relax. I could sleep but the dreams remained. Then there were days when the medication must have accumulated in my body where I would sleep for 16 plus hours without remembering any dream or nightmare. I felt refreshed and I was accused of using drugs (the illegal type) but once again people did not understand CSA, PTSD or the effects of the medications. There were no illegal drugs. Then after these respites, the cycle would start over.

But now 3 years later the dreams are infrequent and when I have them, they are not piercing or as frightening. It takes time, the journey is hard but I believe the dreams, nightmares and flashbacks are unfortunately necessary to release what we have buried for decades. I can tell you the dreams become less intrusive and you gain control over what happened. I am sorry you are going through this part of the cycle, but do not give up because the end result is your life becomes your life and not one controlled by the past or others.

I believe when the dreams become vivid, the memories are beginning to escape the vault we tried to hide the past. Tell your T and if you have a doctor ask for some sleep medication,if is acceptable.

I wish you well and vent when you feel the need to. We are here and understand what you are experiencing.

Kevin

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#463897 - 04/09/14 03:53 PM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
last night i had a dream of the sort that i thought was a thing of the past.it was disturbing at the time, but once i was able to think about it was very easily understood. my wife woke me up while i was thrashing around and moaning unintelligibly. i knew almost immediately what was going on, and concentrated on trying to remember the details.

here it is:

i was a teenager, on a field trip or something of the sort where we had to do several overnights, spending the night on the floor in sleeping bags. the spot i ended up in on this particular night had been occupied by a girl the previous night. i was jolted out of a deep sleep by the sudden awareness that i was being tightly confined and that a heavy weight was keeping me down. i struggled to free myself and as i woke up, i realized that a large guy was on top of me, pinning me in my sleeping bag and trying to molest me. i immediately assumed that he thought that he was attacking the girl who had been in that place the night before. when he realized that i was not her, or maybe when he realized that i was awake, he became angry and proceeded to assault me anyway. i tried to cry out to call for help, but for some reason, only muffled and guttural grunts could be heard - and that sound was not loud enough to attract anyone else's attention. everyone just kept sleeping, unaware of what was happening to me. at that point, i woke up to my wife calling my name.

to me, the meaning is obvious. i think that there are three factors that triggered this particular sequence of dream events:

1. we are visiting my brother - who lives in the same area where i grew up during the worst period of abuse - when i was ages 6-13. the last time i was here - last August - i revisited all of the locations that were part of that history - the family home, the elementary school, and the middle school. i thought i had laid all the ghosts to rest - but i guess there are still lingering vestiges.

2. when i woke up, the bedding was wrapped around me tightly - more confining than i like it. that feeling of being bound and unable to move was most likely the element that prompted that part of the scenario. given my history, the most plausible explanation for being restrained was molestation, so that is what occurred in the dream sequence.

3. when i awakened, my mouth was extremely dry and parched - so much so that i could not even speak. this came out in the dream as having had my voice stifled or muffled. although i was able to utter some sounds, they were inarticulate, as my feeble attempts to get attention or help were when i was a kid - no one heard or understood or responded. essentially, it was as if i was silenced or gagged.

additionally, i find several other points interesting.

i did not recognize and could not identify the attacker. i think that this reveals that the dream was not a re-play of a specific event - but a symbolic summary of the effects of abuse on me. i know and can name all my abusers except for one - who was a stranger but i saw him clearly and can describe him. it did not recreate any remembered episode - nor do i think that it was alerting me to a previously forgotten memory. it was generic and did not have the clarity of detail that dreams about actual events have had. but the attacker was definitely bigger and stronger than me - he was a dark and shadowy and very menacing figure.

interestingly, i was aware of having resisted and fought back in the dream - something that i did not ever do in real life. this, to me, confirms that the various events of CSA were never anything i wanted or willingly cooperated in - regardless of what i was told by the perps and how hard they all tried to make me believe it - and which i was uncertain about for decades. there was a mental and emotional struggle and resistance that went on internally in real life, even though i did not put up a fight physically - but which was represented by the desperate thrashing around in the dream. i think that shows what was going on inside me at the time.

at any rate, the end result was the same - helplessness and being overpowered. i can see why i used to think that my passivity was proof of complicity. this dream rang true in my intentions - if not in historic facts.

the gender confusion is significant to me as well. i thought at first that the perp in the dream mistook me for a girl. in real life i felt i was being treated that way. but upon reflection, he may have been faking that. i don't know what his intentions were - but i know that all my abusers vehemently insisted upon their own macho heterosexuality. so i am uncertain whether i was the victim of mistaken identity, or a victim of circumstance and accessibility - an object to be used, regardless of my gender, or the intended target all along - and that i had to be deceived in order to preserve the reputation of the perp. that uncertainty goes for both the dream and real life.

there are several bits of good news in this experience.

i was very shaken when i first was awakened. but that panicky feeling soon subsided - unlike the way it used to be when i would have nightmares. before, i would have a hard time calming down and sleeping again. today i am feeling ok - if rather pensive. so this time there are hardly any after-effects, whereas i used to be haunted by that kind of dream for days.

another good sign is that i am not worried by what would have happened if i had not had the dream interrupted. previously, i would be tormented by the nagging question of what would have "happened" if the dream had been allowed to play out to its natural conclusion. now i am not bothered by wondering that. i feel like i got out of it what i needed to understand.

the third thing is that i am not really concerned about the continued uncertainty of the real motive for the assaults - either in the dream or in real life. it was what it was. none of my worrying about it is going to change anything now. i used to think that the abuse that was done to me was a reflection upon me - my character, orientation, worth, and identity. now i can honestly say and believe that it was ALL about the perpetrators and NOT about me. i was available and convenient and accessible and vulnerable - that is all.

to sum up, i think i am now glad i had the dream. though unnerving for a short time, it has given me some reassuring insights. it has shown me that i have made progress in dealing with it all. it was a very minor trigger as far as the effects go. i did have a reaction - but it was less severe and of shorter duration than i used to have to such things.

just thought i'd share this in case it offers some hope to others that change and improvement in dealing with dreams and other triggers is possible.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#463925 - 04/10/14 05:20 AM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
1luckyman Offline


Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 9
Traveler, the way you broke that dream down got me thinking about a dream I've had several times as a child and as an adult. Its always the same. Its a short dream where I'm in my cousins basement, the staircase was in the center and you could walk completely around it without obstruction. In the dream I'm being chased by a shark and I'm running in circles around the stairs. I know that sounds silly and I've always thought it was but have always wondered why I have had that same dream over and over. Well it just came to me, I was abused by this cousin.(he was 6 years older) The abuse started in the bathtub. We took baths together when I stayed there and I remember playing with a plastic toy shark in the tub. When we were older and the abuse got worse it often took place in the basement. I cant believe I've never made that connection before.

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#463933 - 04/10/14 10:27 AM Re: dreams [Re: 1luckyman]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3377
Loc: somewhere in Africa
1luckyman - that sounds spot-on!

i am glad you were able to figure it out.

interesting that you seemed to identify the cousin/abuser as a dangerous predator even at a young age.

our subconscious minds are often wiser than we realize.

it is my hope that you will now be able to break out of that cycle of going around in circles and not getting anywhere - and escape the influence and effects he has had on you.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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