I Had Another Nightmare

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”
-Jonas Salk 

Last night I had a dream about my abuser.  It is not something that happens frequently anymore, but it happened.  Maybe it was because I spent so much time raising awareness and thinking about domestic abuse last month, maybe it was the Halloween candy giving me nightmares, or maybe it was because Halloween was his favorite holiday.  Regardless, he was there last night invading my peaceful sleep just like he used to… except things were different.

Unlike any previous nightmares related to my ex, this one took place post-divorce.  In fact, it was as if it were happening in our current lives.  He was trying to win me back after his second marriage failed.  I distinctly remember that he was driving a Lexus and working at a job where he was making significantly more money than he used to.  He was also paranoid, desperate, and completely out of his mind.  The funny thing is, none of this surprised me.  Yes, I thought he was absolutely crazy, but it was not out of the realm of what I would expect for him. He was raving about his manager at work being “out to get him” and mentioned how he had hired a lawyer.  He said he had to use his divorce lawyer because he couldn’t afford “a real one”, and I remember thinking that he shouldn’t own a Lexus if he was worried about money.  Anyhow, despite his full on delusional state and preoccupation with recording meetings and using me as a witness to support his case, he was also trying to get back together with me.  However, this time around it was not in the romantic wooing technique, but rather outright telling me what I needed to do. 

The one thing that was different about this dream was that I wasn’t buying it.  I didn’t feel powerless.  Instead, I was distracted by the fact that I loved Adam more than I ever loved my ex. I just kept thinking that Adam was the person I wanted to be with and I didn’t belong there.  I woke up before I had a chance to express this in my dream, but I was proud of my subconscious for turning around what otherwise would have been just another awful nightmare.  Even with the improved outcome, though, it was still disturbing for me to dream of my abuser.  In fact, it was as unwelcome as if I had run into him in real life.  He’s not someone I ever want to see again, even in my sleep.

The good news is, I feel like even if I did run into him today that at least I could handle him.  There isn’t anything he could say to me anymore that is going to make me feel badly about myself.  In truth, if one of us was going to leave an interaction feeling embarrassed it is more likely it’d be him than me.  After all, even if he still blames me in his twisted mind for pushing him to the point of physical abuse, he is still the one who lost control and put his hands on me.  Even someone as adept at manipulating the truth as he is still has to have some level of guilt or remorse regardless of whether he chooses to act on it. 

Although Domestic Awareness Month is over, I still felt like it was worth sharing this experience.  While there may be some people who get tired at times of my preoccupation with spreading the word about DV, the truth is that those people have the option of not reading my posts.  They can choose not to deal with domestic abuse or pretend it won’t affect them.  I and other survivors of abuse, meanwhile, cannot escape our pasts even if we don’t live there anymore.  Domestic Violence has left an indelible mark on our lives which will linger regardless of how fully we choose to live after abuse.

Please take a few moments out of your day and watch to video above and share it.  Domestic Abuse can only thrive where there is silence.  Help to put an end to the violence. 

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4 comments

  1. Ugh, I’m sorry you had a dream about your abuser. I deal with this as well. I’ve actually been tracking them on a note in my phone, trying to determine whether there is some sort of trigger or something. They’re the worst… but it is certainly nice to wake up and feel appreciation for no longer being in that situation.

  2. :-) I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Thank goodness it wasn’t real. I still have dreams that my ex shows up and tries to win me back. Once I tried to stab him in the eyeballs. I don’t know why, it’s SO not me. And why the eyeballs? ugh. Bad. weird. Dreams suck sometimes.

  3. Hey lady, I don’t think it’s a preoccupation. There are people who do not understand how important it is for us to speak out, generally because they haven’t been through it. If it some who have been through it, maybe they haven’t worked through their pain yet. It’s life-changing experience, and we cannot help how it affects us. I think maybe many of us come through to the other side with such gratitude and relief that we made it through, that when we come to a point where we realize the triggers decrease, the neurosis decreases, the sadness and anger decrease, as do the nightmares that used to terrorize us, we think of those who are still trapped or just coming out from their nightmare to the aftermath. It is impossible for me to even think of turning away from those who are like we once were. I cannot leave them there feeling alone and scared to fend for themselves. I just can’t.

    I don’t think it’s a preoccupation at all. We do it out of love… for ourselves, for those who watched us suffer, and for those who suffer the way we have. So you keep on talking and speaking out as much as YOU deem appropriate. If they don’t want to hear it, they can simply not listen.

    Kevin is in my dreams less and less… I would have to think really hard to be able to remember the last one. Practically all I remember now is he was in it but I can’t say what happened. Which is good for me, because I do not want to be thinking on that garbage any more. He stole enough of my peace. He isn’t getting it from me again.

    I hope you are able to come to a place where he just fades away into the fog. But it was encouraging to see how you handled the latest appearance of him in your sleep. It continues to get better.

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