Newest Members
journey4two, VASurvivor, jayceemac, rwolf, FindingNemo
12328 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
cja (49), crackerjack (55), nursemanda25 (33)
Who's Online
4 registered (Greg56, Going forward, tbkkfile, 1 invisible), 16 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12328 Members
74 Forums
63403 Topics
443292 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#5634 - 03/30/06 01:37 PM Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I think one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences for an abused boy, as well as for the survivor he becomes in adulthood, comes when he has nightmares. If his bed felt safe in the past it no longer feels safe now. Night and darkness are the source of new fears and sleep brings new terrors instead of a respite of rest and safety. Even if the survivor is in bed in the arms of someone he loves, the safest person for him in all the world, he can still awake screaming, shaking and drenched in sweat.

I think this is an area where "creating safety" becomes absolutely urgent. We can talk to our T about this, and of course we really HAVE to do that. But at night there we are again: it's dark, there's our bed, and we are tired. What's going to happen? We desperately need our rest, but are we going to get any? How can we sleep and actually rest when in reality we feel that rest is just letting our defenses down for yet another nocturnal ambush.

As with so much of what I have to say here, I will be looking back to where the whole mess started, in our childhood when we were being abused.

Even in family environments that are less than ideal (except in really horrific cases), I think a young boy looks at the world around him and feels safe in it. He doesn't think that catastrophe awaits him, simply because the world has never held real danger for him in the past. But then when the abuse starts all that feeling of security disappears.

I remember that in my case, and even though I was raised in a loving caring family, I did not feel safe even in my own house. I was afraid something I would say or do would give away what was happening to me, and the only place I felt safe was in my room.

Even there, however, there was the danger of night. I had horrific dreams of faceless boys in an underground chamber being maimed and killed somehow by growling machines, and as I lay in my bed I feared that disembodied hands and tongues would come up from underneath the bed and touch me and do things to me.

Looking back now I can understand all that better. The dream about the chamber and the machines was the work of the imagination of a boy who had discovered that the peril of the world is boundless; nothing was so cruel or terrifying that it could not happen to him. My dream about the machines was just a night-time version of my general feeling of fear and doom. During the day I wondered what was behind a bush or what might be in the trunk of the car.

The dream about the hands was due to the fact that the abuser would sometimes strip me naked in the middle of the room and make me shut my eyes while he "explored" me. I had to stand there with my arms at my side, trembling and not knowing what would happen to me next.

Coping with nightmares and feelings like this has not been easy, but I do think I have had some success. For one thing, I stress to myself that the source for all this lies in my childhood. That's obvious enough, but what can I do with that information? I can tell myself that this was all in the past and that now, as an adult, I am not in danger like I was years ago. I can see that my task is to convince Little Larry that he too is safe and that he has nothing to fear now. I will not allow him to be hurt again; he is not alone like he was four decades ago. By viewing my task as a job for Big Larry to reassure Little Larry, I "create safety". Big Larry approaches the task from a foothold of security. He is not at risk, there are no machines and no hands. The problem lies with Little Larry, a hurting boy he so desperately wants to protect anyway.

Another thing I do is forget about the idea of trying to force myself not to think about what might happen at night. As a boy I would lay in bed with the covers pulled up over my head thinking, Please no machines, I don't want the hands again, etc. But of course by doing that I was just branding the images further into my mind. As I have said elsewhere today, imagine someone telling you, "You are absolutely forbidden to think of a purple giraffe for five minutes!!!" Could you do that? Of course not. You may never have thought of such a thing in all your life, but for the next five minutes at least, your head will be full of wonderful purple giraffes galloping and grazing over vast African vistas! \:\)

What I found I had to do was, bluntly put, just say "fuck it". If it comes it comes, and if it does I will deal with it. For reasons I don't yet understand, that already robs the possibility of a nightmare of a lot of its terror, perhaps because I am not going to bed with the attitude that I am a defenseless target.

I also think in advance of what I can do to "create safety" for myself if a nightmare comes. I have told my wife about all my nightmares, and that already gives me an ally. I have a dim night light that I can use if I need it. I keep a book of poetry that relaxes me on my bedside table, and in the past I have also kept a packet or album of cool photographs handy. So again, I go to bed not entirely defenseless.

If I DO have a nightmare and wake up gasping and sweating and knowing I won't be able to get back to sleep right away, I don't lay there in the dark brooding. I snap on my night light and read a bit, and if I see that's not going to calm me down I just call in the artillery - I wake up my wife and we go downstairs for a cup of herb tea and talk about what happened for a few minutes. That's one of the hardest things for a survivor to do, by the way - asking for the help he needs. But I think this is a good case of a time when we just need to reach out to those around us who love us and want the best for us.

Some guys might see ways of adapting these ideas. For example, if you have a dog, there's a fantastic ally!! \:\) Or a stuffed animal? Use it. If you live alone but have a really close safe friend across the hall, ask for his/her help.

I want to end with a word to teens on the site. You all know what I am talking about when I say how terrible nightmares can be. All of us have gone through that stage when we think we have to act tough like all our friends; all of us have been afraid to do things that might get us called names like "girly", "sissy", "pussy", and so on. But it's all bullshit. All of your friends freak out over nightmares the same as you do, and there is nothing stupid about "creating safety" for yourself or asking for help. Have you disclosed to your parents yet? If you have, let them help you. Tell them you get bad dreams and ask if you can come talk if you wake up really scared. Are you going to a cool sleepover and you're embarrassed to take a stuffed animal along? Stick him in the bottom of your backpack - YOU will know he's there! ;\) Anyway, you would be amazed how many of your "tough" friends have their own furry pals stashed in their room somewhere, same as you do.

But at the same time, consider your options. Suppose the sleepover is going to mean getting stoned and watching slasher flicks until the middle of the night. Does it make sense for you to go to that one if you are having trouble with nightmares? Will it be fun anymore if you wake up at 4 am trembling, scared in the dark, and soaked in sweat while everyone else is crashed all around you? Part of recovery, and "creating safety", is making realistic decisions that are good for YOU.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#5635 - 03/30/06 02:48 PM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
shadowkid Offline
WARNING from ModTeam, September 2013: user "Shadowkid" was exposed as a hoaxer. His entire online persona and stories of sexual abuse were fiction. We encourage you not to become emotionally concerned by anything you see in any of his posts. Thank you
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 2437
can i really talk about my nightmares here with out causing worry for those here ,what if the dreams are dangerous,what if they cause undue worry for who ever i talk to about them ?what if people think i should be under some kind of care or at least watched over ?my dreams are dangerous to me and to those who know about them .not only do they cause problems for me ,talking about them is not possible even here i think . adam

_________________________
its not hard to fall
when you float like a cannonball - damien rice

Top
#5636 - 03/30/06 03:23 PM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Adam,

Dreams are our fantasy world, though of course they are related to what we think and fear in the real world. EVERYONE dreams, and we all dream about the strangest things. That is not under our control.

It's the most normal thing in the world to fear for what your nightmares mean; that's part of why they are nightmares for you. But even the most "normal" person will dream about terrible things. When we are sleeping the brain has a lot of idle time on its hands....hmmmm, nothing to do....let me make up something about THIS!

If people could/should be locked up for what they dream, 95% of us would be in asylums, my friend!

If you fear other guys here could be triggered by what you have to say about your nightmares, just put a trigger warning on your post (as I did). But do talk about what's bothering you. Talking about it is a great way to rob these things of their power to trouble you, and THAT is what recovery is all about.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#5637 - 03/30/06 09:27 PM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
Malidin41 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 140
Loc: Utah
Hello my friend,

I really liked what you stated above about nightmares. Most of the time when I get off work and climb the stairs to my bedroom I dread every step that takes me closer to that bed of doom and fear. I can honestly say that I hate sleep and wish with my whole being that I didn't have to face the long nights or in my case days of that torterous dark. I will have to try some of what you have suggested. Thank you for your insight.

Also I would like to add to what you have listed if that is ok. My T once told me that I should try and create an ending to my dreams. You see all of my dreams would end with someone chasing me and me waking in fear or someone trying to kill me and me waking right before they did. Or just lying peralized while people that I didn't know or recognize took advantage of me and when it became to much for me to take I would wake up screaming not knowing where I was.

So my T told me to write out the dreams and create any ending that I wanted. By doing this it gave me the control and the power to change the out come and more than that it gave a sense of closure and has really helped me and continues to do so. Thank you again my friend...

Shadowkid (Adam), It is my opinion that you should be able to discuss anything and everything that you need to in order for you to become better. This board is supposed to be hear to give you support and understanding surrounding all things that you are going through. I hope you will write about your dreams and anything else that is hurting for you.

I know that some people on this board can be lets just say less than understanding but you are not hear for them. You are hear just like the rest of us to become better in everyway possible. Please don't let the few that are ignorent push you away from your goals of progressing for a better tomorrow.

Always remember that you are not alone and that what happened to you is not your fault and that you just like everyone hear deserves so much more than they have recieved. I look forward to more of your posts and to getting to know you better. Bye for now...

malidin41

_________________________
Mother of the kingdom of silence I have obeyed you long enough!!!

Top
#5638 - 03/30/06 09:35 PM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Malidin41,

The idea of creating our own endings for our nightmares sounds really good. I'm glad you added that. If others have ideas for things that have worked for them, please, just add them here as well.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#5639 - 03/31/06 01:32 AM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
nymij Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/06
Posts: 16
Loc: Dallas Metroplex
Larry

Thank you for reccomending this thread. Wow! It hits home. Like I've experienced in my short time reading on MS.org, there is something someone says that helps me to further define or validate my own thoughts and/or experiences...

You said in your post: "That's one of the hardest things for a survivor to do, by the way - asking for the help he needs." I never thought others had trouble asking for help, like I do... WOW! I don't want to ask for help. I tell myself, I don't want to bother someone else with my own trouble and be a "whiner." In reality, I think I am totally avoiding allowing someone into my insane world, and risk further rejection and abandonment... I know it's somewhat off topic, but thought I'd share.

The topic of night terros are near and dear to my heart. As mentioned in a thread last night, I have experienced such terror during sleep, and it sucked!

_________________________
Phil 3:13

Top
#5640 - 03/31/06 04:51 AM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
TJ jeff Offline

Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3365
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
Larry,

Thank You for your insight...

Nightmares were a very big problem to me as a child and even into early adulthood

Nothing bad of my past ever happened to me in my bed at night (except for the shouting of my parents at each other in their bedroom through the paper-thin wall) - but I can clearly remember how frightnening the dark silence of the unknown was to me as a child - I had no plan of what to do if a nightmare did come - and by worrying about them - I was just giving them an open invitation to come...

I think haveing a plan of what to do when you have a nightmare is a very important thing - and I think you gave some very good examples of what to do afer a nightmare... - I myself keep a nightmare journal next to my bed (a place for me to 'write the nightmare out of my head') - I do not sleep in a very dark room - and I have a stuffed animal to sleep with if I am scared by a dream

it is very important that we creat a 'safe zone' for ourselves to go to after a nightmare or being triggered...

TJ jeff

Adam - I myself am part of Larry's 95% in that my own dreams would get me put into an asylum... (yes - they are grousome, demented, horrifying dreams sometimes) - but - they are only dreams - not reality - and no one can lock you up for anything that happens in a dream...

Malidin - I too write out my nightmares and then go back and make changes to them in my mind so as that I come out the victor - I have found that it really takes a lot of power away from the nightmare if I come out the victor in the end - thanks for shareing that...

_________________________
Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

Top
#5641 - 03/31/06 05:43 AM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
Bill_h_pike Offline
Member

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 67
Loc: USA
Quote:
I want to end with a word to teens on the site. You all know what I am talking about when I say how terrible nightmares can be. All of us have gone through that stage when we think we have to act tough like all our friends; all of us have been afraid to do things that might get us called names like "girly", "sissy", "pussy", and so on. But it's all bullshit. All of your friends freak out over nightmares the same as you do, and there is nothing stupid about "creating safety" for yourself or asking for help. Have you disclosed to your parents yet? If you have, let them help you. Tell them you get bad dreams and ask if you can come talk if you wake up really scared. Are you going to a cool sleepover and you're embarrassed to take a stuffed animal along? Stick him in the bottom of your backpack - YOU will know he's there! Anyway, you would be amazed how many of your "tough" friends have their own furry pals stashed in their room somewhere, same as you do.
You phrased that perfectly,
That's exactly how I feel/felt.
Thanks for helping me through one of the most difficult times of my life.


Top
#5642 - 03/31/06 05:54 AM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Bill,

You are most welcome. Remember that all the grown-ups here have been through the same terrible times; we are all with you!

Thanks also for replying here as well as in your PM. I do think you younger guys on the site need to see how each other feels, what your fears and problems are, and so forth.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#5643 - 03/31/06 06:54 PM Re: Creating Safety, III: Nightmares (***** triggers in two examples*****)
Kid A Offline
Member

Registered: 10/17/05
Posts: 85
Lucid Dreaming is a technique used to become aware while you are dreaming. Some people dream like this naturally, I'm not one of them, however; I do try to really feel that fear that is in nightmares. In Lucid Dreaming, it is believed that if you can become aware within the dream, then you can change the course of the dream. If you see a dog that's been chasing you since you were a child, with awareness, you can reason with or step on the dog's foot instead of eternally running. The thought is that you are actually directly confronting this unconcious belief/thought pattern that controls you in your nightmares. Anyway, like I said I've only had a few lucid dreams. It takes a lot of work, but there's a book called Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge. While I don't have the patience for learning how to dream like this, I do often wake up from a nightmare still feeling like my heart's about to pop from fear, and I try to embrace the fear rather than run away from it. I want to learn a way to do more than just embrace the fear, I want to fight, not freeze or flight in these nightmares. I like the idea of rewriting the dream in your mind and will try that.


Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >


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.