sorry if its been asked before but i cant seem to find it; nightmares are mentioned a lot in this blog, and i was wondering what kind of nightmares are believable? straight up reliving of the incident; things vaguely related to what happened; a glimpse of good times until the incident, whatever it is, comes and ruins it, etc? i realize some of those sound a bit cliche so i wanted to know if they're grounded in reality. thank you!
In general I find ‘straight up reliving’ nightmares to be…. on the rarer side. I didn’t know many folks who dealt with that, though it definitely did happen.
More frequently nightmares looked sort of like the following:
- Realistically Could Happen Lead Up Events to the abuse. So, if a messy kitchen sometimes starts arguments that lead to the abuse? That character might have nightmares of coming home to find that the kitchen is a never ending mess and no matter what they do they can’t fix it. There’s always more.
- Non-scary dreams of an abuser. There’s nothing actually happening in this nightmare. They’re having dinner or going to a play or driving in the car. This one has two flavors, where even in the dream there’s a feel of ‘everything is about to go wrong’ or where the aftereffects is the focus. The dreamer is left feeling guilty or like maybe they made it up.
-Non-abuser being abusive/yelling/being violent. Sometimes this is ‘this person did something that sort of vaguely reminded me of when x happened and now my brain is spinning out of control’, sometimes this is ‘brain being scared of trusting people/assuming abuse is inevitable.’
- Nothing. The character can’t remember anything but wakes up knowing something bad has occured while they slept. Feeling gross and unsettled and being unable to place why.
-Non-abusive but tense/scary/out of control dreams. Not necessarily just a PTSD thing, some of y’all might have had the whole ‘trying to drive from the passenger/back seat’ dream as well. But things like that.
Hope that helps a bit,