Following on from an earlier blog I got to thinking about our experience of dreams as a way to heal ourselves from psychological and emotional traumas. This was inspired partly by conversations with numerous women all of whom have experienced some form of gas lighting/abusive situation and all of whom seem to have a similar set of dreams once they are free of the relationship concerned. I wonder how many people out there (male or female) experience the same sort of recurring dream.
I realised a few months back that I do actually have memory issues – both false memories (where I believed I did something that I actually didn’t do because I was constantly told I had done it) and also huge gaps in my memory throughout the period from around 1987-2001. People say that something or other happened, I really have no memory of it at all. Considering a lot of what I can remember is pretty hideous I have no wish to go delving into these bits of my brain. Perhaps this is where the dreams come in.
The worst of these (worst as in I feel awful all day afterwards) is what I call the ‘nothing has changed’ dream.
In this dream I wake up in bed, look over and realise I’ve gone back in time. Somewhere inside I know that I have a new life, but suddenly here I am. Was that new life just a dream? I feel sick to my stomach thinking I still have to extricate myself all over again. The other party carries on ‘business as usual’ as if nothing is amiss yet deep down I know that I should not be here. Worse thing is I also know that they know it too and are deliberately acting as if it is all a fait accompli, this is what is ‘real’, and in doing so they succeed in perpetuating my imprisonment in this new reality.
I can actually feel the helplessness of feeling stuck in a situation where essentially I am monitored and controlled and living at the behest of another individual. I have a ‘dream hangover’ which lasts all day.
In the early days of freedom these dreams would occur at least once a month, nowadays I may have one every 9-12 months. This is a vast improvement but considering I have been out of the relationship almost as long as I was in it and I still have some processing to do it is a real testament to the mage level gas lighting skills of the other party!
I am quite happy to let my dreams continue to repair any residual damage and have no wish to pick at the scab ‘in real life’. There is something about the process of ‘the change’ and moving forward into my crone years that has given me time and space to really ponder a lot of this unresolved ‘stuff’. I find writing these blogs strangely cathartic and liberating and I hope they are of help to others who have been through similar experiences.
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