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