Like most trauma survivors I have had over the years many haunting dreams. These dreams have evolved for the better over the years. When a survivor first starts their healing journey, it’s so hard to swallow, the often given advice, “it gets better over time”. There can be times when you wonder what does that mean anyway…nope, this is never going to go away, and this is as good as it’s gonna get; so I better learn how to get used to feeling like this. I think a lot of people’s despair comes from such a place as that. Thinking that the pain will never go away, and that they better get used to feeling like they are trapped in a dungeon cell and dying. Healing then becomes…a dream. Like one of those life long goals that some of us make that always seems to be unattainable for what ever reason…it becomes a fantasy that only happens in the fairy tails. Awe yes, that fairy tail fantasy called…healing.
I can honestly say that it DOES get better over time…as long as…you are truly fighting for, seeking and receiving your healing. A person can hand you your healing on a silver platter, but if you don’t accept and receive it…you’ll never obtain it. I have found in my own healing journey there were just some things that I had to accept, and only with that acceptance was I able to move forward. Let me give you an example from my own life. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried I could only go so far in my healing, and I kept bumping into the same old wall unable to break through it. I knew I had more healing to do so I just couldn’t accept where I was at. I knew I had to keep fighting for my healing. While doing some group therapy I had a revelation. I started to understand what that wall was all about that I kept running into. You see, I was afraid that if I fully and truly let go of it all it would some how mean that what Jon did to me was ok. That if I didn’t scream it from the mountain tops that no one would. If I didn’t stand up and say what he did was wrong no one would, and then by default what he did would no longer be wrong. I had to come to the realization on my own that wrong would still be wrong weather I scream it from the mountain tops or not. That God would always see what Jon did as being wrong, and that God would always be my vindicator. I took Jon to court and he was found guilty; so, I had to give myself some credit for standing up for myself and standing up to Jon. I had to ACCEPT these things so that I could let go and move forward in my healing. So, that is what I mean when I talk about accepting and receiving our healing. Some times we may have to accept some things (even things that may seem difficult or impossible to accept) in order to be able to take hold of our healing, to grasp it so we may receive it and walk in it. At least that is what I have found to be true in my own life and my own healing journey. It wasn’t easy for me to let go of the need to scream it from the mountain tops and being the voice that said “what he did was wrong”, but knowing the freedom that would come from letting go of the drive to do that made it all worth it. I can still be, however, that voice who tells of the misdeeds that were done in secret, and scream it from the mountain tops (if I so desire)…but it will no longer define the “rightness” or “wrongness” of what was done to me.
Now, onto the topic…the evolution of my dreams. They started out, as you probably can guess, with Jon attacking me, and me trying to get away from him. There were times when the attacks felt so real that I could physically feel like I had been attacked after I woke up. Those kind of dreams can leave me feeling emotionally off for a few days. Slowly I start to fight back in some of those dreams, instead of just trying to get away. Then there are the dreams where I’m trying to convince my mom of what a bad guy he really is and she just doesn’t get it, or she does and just doesn’t care. I also have that same kind of dream but instead of just trying to convince my mom I’m trying to convince anyone and every one I see in my dream…usually I’m just ignored by everyone in these types of dreams, but at least I’m speaking out. Ah, yes, then there are the dreams where I’m trying to make my mom pick…it’s either him or me, and she can’t choose both. I usually loose out on these kind of dreams (she refuses to pick, has a mental break down, or just ignores what’s going on…either way what ever the reason it doesn’t work in my favor), but at least I’m taking a stand. There are also the ones where Jon has gotten out of jail and my mom still wants to be with him even though she knows what he has done. I will say that I have had a few dreams where my mom was trying to help me get him out of our lives by simply trying to get away from him. I have dreams where Jon is coming after me and I fight back. The things I do to him usually don’t affect him in any way, and it’s like I’m not even hitting him with anything. It’s like no matter what I do it has no affect, and no one cares, but at least I’m fighting back. Some dreams that he is in aren’t even about him…he is just another person in the dream (and that’s just fine with me when you consider what the dream could be like); I do fine as long as he doesn’t try to come near me, but as soon as he does I lose it in my dreams. The good ones are when I get right in his face and yell at him. These are the most common ones that I have these days. I tell him I’m not afraid of him, I’m not afraid of telling everyone, that I can’t stand him, and that I want him to leave. His reactions to my words usually isn’t the best. For example: in my last dream he swung at my head twice with a wooden base ball bat, but I went back after him with a metal one. So, as you can see, in my dreams, I’m becoming increasingly more bold and less afraid of fighting him. I can feel my confidence in facing him and taking him on in a fight growing in my dreams. However, after I’ve said what I had to say the dream usually ends right about that time; so, I have yet to get to see him turn around and actually leave, but I think I will one day.
I have gone long periods of time with out having a dream with him in it. What I consider at this point to be a long period of time is anywhere from a few months to about six months (which I think is the longest that I’ve gone). A while back I noticed that I have dreams with Jon in them when I’m stressed out. So, now when I have a dream with him in it I know I am probably more stressed out than I think I am with what ever it is that is going on in my life at that time.
What I would like for you to receive from this post is: yes in the beginning the dreams are very unpleasant to say the least, but I would like for you to see and to have the hope that it won’t always be like that. The more I worked through the pain and hurt, the bolder I got in my dreams. The more I healed the more the dreams changed in my favor. I believe that one day they will stop all together, and that is my hope for you as well. That you will have your own dream evolution for the better, and one day they will stop for you as well.