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I usually keep a dream or nightmare diary after a very intense dream. I have always been interested in dream analysis not so much word for word but more in the general context of the dream. As I have been learning in therapy and during EMDR, traumas get stuck and arent’s processed properly. That means that they are felt in the present as emotional flashbacks rather than as seperate memories from our past. They completely hijack our current state of mind and can be as terrifying and upsetting as the day they happened. EMDR (Eye movement desensitization & reprocessing) is helpful in treating complex post traumatic stress but usually after the trauma starts being treated, it can bring up memories that were forgotten during the day and also during REM sleep.
A lot of my traumas (abandonment, abuse, etc) are re-lived in nightmares every other night and also in my day to day life through triggers that set them off.
This morning I woke up after a horrible nightmare that my father lead a double life as a disgusting abuser and that he held a sister (unknown to me) in a cupboard under the sink for 20 years. The dream was very confused as it jumped between my father being this evil torturer who tortured other victims as well and killed them like a serial killer and was known by a different name to the public. I remember finding clippings, evidence and other ‘sick discoveries’ that my father was indeed this serial killer known by a different name. I also remember finding my ‘sister’ and releasing her from captivity and showing her all these wonderful things she had missed out on. I also found a photo album with my name on, up to the age of 4 years which I had never seen before. I opened it to look at the photos and was crying in the dream as I couldnt understand what was happening and why there was so many family photos in there.
In the dream, I couldnt understand how it was possible that my father could be so evil. I also couldn’t understand in the dream whether this unknown sister to me, actually represented me. It was very confusing..My mother was also in the dream and claimed to not know any of what had happened, but in reality she had turned a blind eye to the abuse, as she did in real life.
I find this dream/nightmare very symbolic of my current state of mind and situation. I have been having recurring nightmares with my father ever since his suicide attempt and subsequent abandonment. They have varied from him being relatively ‘nice & normal’ (as he was a lot of the time when my husband and I would see him before everything went downhill) and then in other dreams he was being cold and distant (as he is now).
I am realising that this dream reveals a lot about my current struggles emotionally. I am struggling with the fact that my father was indeed very sadistic in his private life with women, inclusive of my mother, current stepmother and many other women.He enjoyed causing them emotional pain. I found this out in multiple txt messages on his mobile when he was in intensive care after his attempt. I was trying to understand what was really happening in his marriage that led him to wanting to die.
I am struggling with the fact that my father was and is a very ‘sick’ man and has always had serious psychopathology in the fact that he is narcissistic, probably quite high on the spectrum.
With the EMDR that I am currently doing to treat my trauma, I am very scared of what memories from my past this may stir up. I have been worried about it bringing up things that I don’t remember from my childhood and upsetting me further. Maybe that is why my nightmare was so confusing in regards to whether my father was a serial killer or not..I definetely know that I am uncomfortable with the current state of my relationship with my father and worried he will still cause me more harm and pain..
Christmas is coming up which has always been a difficult time for me..last year I was grieving over the ‘lack of a healthy mother’ after a huge fallout with my mother and this year I will be back home and for the first time ever, will not be seeing my father. This really hurts but is also the right thing to do for my sanity and health.
I am hoping that this ‘holiday’ back home will be drama free and that I will not have to deal with any ‘craziness’ from family.
I am determined to try and focus on the positives in my life. My husband, spending Christmas eve with my sister-in-law and her family, visiting friends, seeing another friend who has finally just had a baby after years of dissappointments..Despite all the emotional things I will have to deal with, it is also my choice what I decide to do with those emotions..I of course will find it strange not seeing my father but at the same time I might also feel relieved to not be part of his toxic family anymore..
We will see…For now all I can do is make the best of each day and remember to focus on the positives as much as possible..