Nightmares

Postby bob7777777 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:47 am

I've just woken up from my fourth night of nightmares in a week. That's why I came to this forum.

I had nowhere else to go. Now that I think about it, I suppose this fact starts to explain the nightmares. If I had a support network to turn to instead of strangers on the internet, maybe I wouldn't have the nightmares.

I have a parent and a partner, but I don't believe either can help me as they have their own problems. Frankly they don't even want to hear about mine. I have friends, but they're too wrapped up in their own lives as well.

People say it's good to talk. But in my experience, it's not. People don't want to know. Sometimes, when they hear too much, they cant handle it and walk away.

The fleeting discussions I could have with a therapist of say an hour a week don't seem enough. I feel like I would like two hours per day at the moment. Anyway, I have gone for consultations with about four counselors, and so far I haven't been keen to proceed - they were either too young and inexperienced or too ideological.

Maybe I should keep trying. I don't know. I'm a functioning depressive I suppose. I have work and a roof over my head, a good sense of humour and a fair amount of optimism. I appreciate that I am more fortunate than many people in many ways. Am willing to be self-critical and try to be self-aware. But the anxiety, intrusive thoughs and rumination hits me from time to time like a sickness. It's developmental and trauma-related for sure. The nightmares now were surely triggered by recent events.

Maybe I just don't feel that I have the mature, loving relationships that I would like to have. Maybe that's all it is.
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#1

Postby Livetowin » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:37 pm

I think you create obstacles through a self-fulfilling prophecy based on how you see others. If you noticed, you have already discredited all resources available to you. You believe this forum of strangers may be the root cause, but you can't talk to your family or friends because of their personal "deficits" and your counselor only gives you one hour when the magic number should be two. Yet here you are posting to the beast that is the root cause of your pain.

Can I take a moment to be completely frank and honest with you? There's only ONE thing in life you control and that is yourself. People come in all varieties of psychological shapes and sizes and how much you require from them often says more about what you don't do for yourself.

Whats another hour with your counselor going to achieve that you can't have with yourself? Do you think if you throw out enough conjecture with them listening, you will be able to prove to them what you think for yourself? If that's the case, why do you need their okay to accept it? And how can you objectively examine yourself when you are too busy passing judgment on the people assigned to help you? The answer is your not. You're looking for people to agree with you and you're construing it by going through this backdoor ideology that says, " If I can respect them, then I might find the answers that I won't accept on my own terms." It's a classic case of deflecting and transposing your own lack of self-worth onto others because you don't want to believe the problem is actually you.

Ultimately the best thing a good counselor can do is hold a mirror in front of you and walk you through what you need to accept about yourself and the life you have. If you're too busy looking at their resume, then you're not looking in the mirror, because you don't think you're the problem. How well we understand ourselves speaks to how much or little we ask from others. And honestly we can not read others very well if we're too busy looking for something from them.

Clarity comes from sitting down with yourself and having that frank discussion that says, " This is what happen to me in my life. Because of these things, I have these good tendencies and I have these bad tendencies. Because I'm like this, I need to look at my past, accept the truth of what has imprinted these qualities in me, and start working on how I can improve myself and put the past behind me so that I can heal my wounds and build myself to be who I want to be."

It sounds simplistic, but the most obvious goals are often the hardest, because it requires a degree of honesty that many people don't like to experience. It requires leaving your buffer of excuses and stepping out into the bright light completely naked to observe who it is you REALLY are with no one else in the picture. Only through that view do you see what is good, what is bad, what needs to be worked on, and where you need to start investing in YOU. When you come out of that, you consider yourself first and then you begin to see people as they are. Once you realize who you actually are, then you know who you need to be with and who is not a good fit for you. Clarity is startling in others when we can see ourselves first. Only through that do we know who is truly good for us and who we should hold at arms length. I invite you to take that journey...with just yourself in the audience.
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#2

Postby bob7777777 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:32 pm

I think you create obstacles through a self-fulfilling prophecy based on how you see others. If you noticed, you have already discredited all resources available to you. You believe this forum of strangers may be the root cause, but you can't talk to your family or friends because of their personal "deficits" and your counselor only gives you one hour when the magic number should be two. Yet here you are posting to the beast that is the root cause of your pain.


Dealing with this section first, there appears to have been a slight misunderstanding. At no point have I said this forum is the beast that is the root cause of my pain. I don't believe this forum of strangers may be the root cause.

Secondly, I don't believe have discredited my parent and my partner. What I said is that they are unable to help, which is slightly different. To go into more detail, one of them is going through a bereavement, and the other has major personal issues to deal with at the moment. They have both stated that they are going through too much themselves to support me, and I understand them for that. I also believe it is their right.

As to therapy, I said that I could use two hours per day of it at the moment, i.e. 10 hours per week rather than 1 hour per week. I therefore came to this forum for supplementary support, believing and hoping that it is a healing community and a resource.

This said, I agree that it is human nature to create obstacles based on how we see others. I am as guilty of that as anyone. The point can be expanded: we also create obstacles based on how we see ourselves, too.

Herein lies the solution.
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#3

Postby laureat » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:36 pm

First i think you should consult your doctor if there is some kind a problem which can lead to nightmares such as being overweight however depending how you feel it also leads to nightmares

I always care for my daughter: to give her hugs and play because if i dont she cannot sleep well and relaxed
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#4

Postby Livetowin » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:44 pm

bob7777777 wrote:
I think you create obstacles through a self-fulfilling prophecy based on how you see others. If you noticed, you have already discredited all resources available to you. You believe this forum of strangers may be the root cause, but you can't talk to your family or friends because of their personal "deficits" and your counselor only gives you one hour when the magic number should be two. Yet here you are posting to the beast that is the root cause of your pain.


Dealing with this section first, there appears to have been a slight misunderstanding. At no point have I said this forum is the beast that is the root cause of my pain. I don't believe this forum of strangers may be the root cause.


Normally I would not pull quotes, but I think your evasive qualities are already running to the forefront here. You said, "Now that I think about it, I suppose this fact starts to explain the nightmares. If I had a support network to turn to instead of strangers on the internet, maybe I wouldn't have the nightmares." That statement doesn't leave allot of room for misunderstanding as you gave it context.

bob7777777 wrote:Secondly, I don't believe have discredited my parent and my partner. What I said is that they are unable to help, which is slightly different. To go into more detail, one of them is going through a bereavement, and the other has major personal issues to deal with at the moment. They have both stated that they are going through too much themselves to support me, and I understand them for that. I also believe it is their right.


In terms of other people helping you, you DID indicate your parent and partner have problems but added, "Frankly they don't even want to hear about mine." With your friends you indicated they too are pretty involved in their lives, but you sprinkle that with, " But in my experience... People don't want to know. Sometimes, when they hear too much, they cant handle it and walk away. " Again. You are placing a blanket value judgement on everyone which preconditions you to see the worst. In other words, lift their involvement in what they have going on, and you state they don't want to deal with you anyway. I'm not saying that, you are.

You have to be careful how much you inject attitude when you make an observation about others. Because you color over what they have going on with what you believe they would (or wouldn't do) outside of those factors. Those comments resonate because they ask the listener (or reader) to negate everything else. This is where I say you have to learn to own what it is you do and say. Saying, "Well I said that but I meant this," is a buffer to the fact you don't want to completely own your belief that people will always disappoint you.

bob7777777 wrote:As to therapy, I said that I could use two hours per day of it at the moment, i.e. 10 hours per week rather than 1 hour per week. I therefore came to this forum for supplementary support, believing and hoping that it is a healing community and a resource.

This said, I agree that it is human nature to create obstacles based on how we see others. I am as guilty of that as anyone. The point can be expanded: we also create obstacles based on how we see ourselves, too.

Herein lies the solution.


I want you to read this - "The fleeting discussions I could have with a therapist of say an hour a week don't seem enough. I feel like I would like two hours per day at the moment. Anyway, I have gone for consultations with about four counselors, and so far I haven't been keen to proceed - they were either too young and inexperienced or too ideological. "

This is a complete no-confidence vote on the therapists you have been seeing. By your account the counselors on hand do not possess what you deem are the necessary skills to help you based on age and ideology. Are you talking about you in these sessions or having a philosophy discussion?

But the first thing you need to accept is you do not have faith with people in your personal or professional corners of life. You ARE saying this. This not something I or anyone else is asking you to defend. It's a statement you need to make to yourself because you're saying it to us. Perhaps you feel there is some unsavory implication it says about you although I see no one passing judgement here. So why not just call it what it is? You have no faith in the people around you, regardless of personal or professional label. Own that. It's okay. In many respects it might the happy accident in all this that is a good development.

In terms of bad dreams, I believe that conflict is keeping your brain on overload. Anytime I have allot on my mind, I tend to take that into my sleep. If i am projecting a bad outcome to something that will typically find it;s way into my sleep pattern and dream subject matter. Your brain is it's own animal that still operates after you go to sleep. If you have given it allot to micro-manage in life, that brain will try to find ways to sort things out while you sleep. End result - bad dreams.
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#5

Postby HumanB » Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:11 am

bob7777777 wrote:The nightmares now were surely triggered by recent events.
Expand... what events? What has been troubling you? (besides not having enough people to share your troubles with).
Any themes in the nightmares?
Welcome to the forum!
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#6

Postby bob7777777 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:13 am

Dear HumanB,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome. Your intelligent questions are also very helpful, and this interaction is precisely what I was looking for here.

Your questions prompted analysis, which I have written down in detail and will provide an overview here.

Yes there was an identifiable theme in the nightmares, and the theme connects to the recent trigger.

The recent trigger is the aftermath of the death of my partner's parent.

My nightmares were mostly about the traumatic aftermath of the death of one of my parents many years ago. The one nightmare that was not about that subject was about a traumatic professional-social situation many years ago.

What's noticeable is that there is a thematic continuum between all the nightmares that even runs through the one nightmare that isn't about the aftermath of the death of a parent. That theme is multi-dimensional. It is a combination of injustice, deception, betrayal, theft, neglect, violation and abuse; of being hated and isolated, and that isolation being taken advantage of.

Also noticeable is that a sequence of four nights of nightmares then shifted to two nights of equally vivid but pleasant dreams. The first was back in time, I was with the now deceased parent and we were sharing a happy moment together. The second was about a friend standing up for me in a group of hostile people. As I see it, the common theme of these two pleasant dreams are of being loved and supported.

With admiration and respect,

Bob
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#7

Postby JuliusFawcett » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:23 pm

the love we experience is equal to the love we create
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#8

Postby HumanB » Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:43 pm

bob7777777 wrote:That theme is multi-dimensional. It is a combination of injustice, deception, betrayal, theft, neglect, violation and abuse; of being hated and isolated, and that isolation being taken advantage of.
Wow that is quite a cocktail with respect to the aftermath of the death of parent / partner's parent. Hard for me to relate to TBH. How all of that was triggered. I guess it must come back to the character of the relationship you had with your parent? Did your partner have a similar relationship with their parent who died (or maybe the opposite, maybe they had a v supoortive relationship)? It sounds like (fairly obviously) that you have not resolved your feelings about your parent who died, it still troubles you. And is still perhaps reflected in the present, wrt your current relationships and how you don't feel you have someone to rely on for support. Aren't the nightmares just playing that out?

The positive dreams... maybe you could look upon that as the nurturing side of yourself showing through in reaction to you feeling so isolated and neglected? It's good to know that side of you can be active. That's what you need to build on, ultimately. Especially if support from close ones is not forthcoming or reliable.

You said in your first post "maybe I should keep trying". Yes you should. And that includes (especially) trying to resolve your past in a way that you can sit with without trouble, letting it go. If you can find a therapist who you feel you could work with I'm sure it would help, so do keep trying! You sound like you want to be honest, so (to my mind) there is always hope that your mind can be accepting of difficult things as "well, that's just how it is. Let's get on with making the most of it now.".
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#9

Postby Theorease » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:27 pm

Livetowin wrote:Clarity comes from sitting down with yourself and having that frank discussion that says, " This is what happen to me in my life. Because of these things, I have these good tendencies and I have these bad tendencies. Because I'm like this, I need to look at my past, accept the truth of what has imprinted these qualities in me, and start working on how I can improve myself and put the past behind me so that I can heal my wounds and build myself to be who I want to be."

Yup. Know thyself.
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#10

Postby bob7777777 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:27 pm

HumanB,

To be precise that's the complex theme just running through the nightmares, most of which were about the aftermath of my parent's death, one of which was about a professional relationship.

I didn't mean to say that I had observed this same complex theme running through the aftermath of the death my partner's parent.

There is however a connection I have noticed. In the aftermath of my parent's death, a family member exploited their own feelings about that death in order to attack me constantly across several years in especially cruel and shocking ways. This included the manipulative use of blame to create a situation of emotional blackmail against me. My kindness and sympathy was used to trick me. My grief was irrelevant to them, even a challenge to be stamped out. It's a long story, but one thing that happened was that my own kindness was used against me by that person, to deceive and trick me. It was traumatic, and I have read that one of the symptoms of PTSD are nightmares.

In the aftermath of my partner's death, I tried to help on a practical matter and in response I was attacked in a very cruel and shocking way. I felt it was manipulative and a case of emotional blackmail. That connection was the trigger for the nightmares, I believe. I'm aware that my perception and response to the behaviour is key.

Certainly, as you suggested, there are longer-term issues about my deceased parent as well. There is a lot more there in addition, including my own childhood trauma.

Aside from the nightmares, I tick most of the other boxes for the diagnosis of PTSD too, but I am not going to jump into using that term too quickly. I am relatively functional and am able to have very good days and am capable of regulating my behavior; it may be that I have some mild form of PTSD. I have known victims of especially violent rape as well as casualties of war zones, and my suffering is not the same as theirs. I am very fortunate not to have gone through as intense trauma as that. I am grateful for that and aware that this gratitude can help overcome the 'narcissism of the victim'. I welcome the idea of forward-looking thinking, and the other practical steps of CBT that can be used with PTSD.

So far, I have not found a therapist who is a match. I often find that little successes, travel, exercise, socializing and new past-times serve as good solutions. So good, in fact, that therapy doesn't appear especially helpful by comparison. But I also accept that these may be short-term distractions. I am prepared to keep looking for a therapist I feel comfortable with.

HumanB, your tone and your open-minded line of questioning has been constructive and is most appreciated. I have clearly held back from more detail because this is a public forum. If you felt like continuing this discussion by PM, just drop me a line.

In any case: thank you.
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#11

Postby HumanB » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:38 pm

I appreciate the thanks and vote of confidence. I would like be able to help more, but this is already beyond my scope here. The info you gave does make me think of a couple of resources you might find helpful, with regard to Complex PTSD, a (non-DSM)diagnosis that might relate to you. These links were originally provided by a long time member here Candid:

https://youtu.be/otxAuHG9hKo -- complex trauma (can ignore the Christian slant)
http://www.pete-walker.com/fAQsComplexPTSD.html -- cptsd info
http://outofthefog.net/C-PTSD/forum/index.php cptsd support forum

You should find more traffic and hopefully more personal in-depth understanding of those issues on that forum.

I hope the nightmares cease.
The other thing that came to mind about dreams is to consider all characters/aspects in the dream (or nightmare) as actually being YOU: various (& perhaps darkest) aspects of yourself that may not get expressed in normal day to day because of fear/abhorance. See if you can listen to the dreams in that way?
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#12

Postby bob7777777 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:58 am

Dear HumanB,

Right, I'm aware of the C-PTSD diagnosis, aka Developmental Trauma, and I have done some reading about it. I will read your links with much interest.

I wouldn't expect you or anyone here to get too much into that with me, and there plenty of professionals specializing in this area who I can approach.

This straightforward conversation is productive. Earlier you wrote "Did your partner have a similar relationship with their parent who died...?" and I haven't yet come back to you on that. There is indeed a similarity, in that both were relationships mixed with a great deal of pain as well as a great deal of love. That similarity is not something that was at the forefront of my mind in my analysis. Given I subscribe to the understanding of modern psychology that it is human nature for there to be a gap between the subconscious mind and the analytical mind, I look forward to thinking about considering your observation some more.

My first notion was that the trigger for the nightmares was about the parallel between the troubling behavior of my partner at this time of bereavement of their parent, and the troubling behavior of my family member at the time of my parent's bereavement many years ago, which left me traumatized. The fact that both I and my partner had relationships with our deceased parents that are at least in some way comparable may be abstract but it is certainly food for thought.

You also wrote: "consider all characters/aspects in the dream (or nightmare) as actually being YOU various: (& perhaps darkest) aspects of yourself that may not get expressed in normal day to day because of fear/abhorance." Right, I'm familiar with the idea that dreams are an expression of ourselves and this is a good point worth remembering. My first reply to that point is that if the dreams were especially taboo, embarrassing, surreal or outlandish I would find it easier to see them as allegories for unexpressed aspects of myself. Because they are about real past events and real people in my life, it seems to be a rather more intricate task to see them as aspects of myself, but one I would gladly undertake. At the very least, nightmares about real traumatic past events indicate that I am a person who is bound to that trauma. And by the same token, the dreams of love, solidarity and happiness shows that I am person who yearns for that. I have said that they may be unexpressed feelings about my relationship with my partner, as well as about my past trauma. But aside from that I'm not yet clear at this stage how else they show me the deepest aspects of myself. If there are any more leading questions to help me down that path, I would gladly take them.

You also wrote:

"The positive dreams... maybe you could look upon that as the nurturing side of yourself showing through in reaction to you feeling so isolated and neglected? It's good to know that side of you can be active. That's what you need to build on, ultimately. Especially if support from close ones is not forthcoming or reliable."

I wonder, could you expand a bit more on what you mean by building on this side of myself that can be active?

They say the hardest steel is forged in the hottest fire, and I'm a believer in that. Yes, I'm confident that I have a very rich resource of positive, optimistic, self-sufficient emotional strength that has got me through the hardest and loneliest times in my life, since childhood. That may indeed have been expressed by the happy dreams. I have a friend who I can turn to inside myself, we all do. The flip side of that is that we can become so self-reliant that we become risk-averse with others, and our relationships suffer for it. But look at those happy dreams: there are other people in them and that is what they are all about.
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#13

Postby bob7777777 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:19 am

Error: "I look forward to thinking about considering your observation some more."

Should be: "I look forward to considering your observation some more."

That really comes across as an amusing Freudian Slip, and I am hereby correcting it.
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#14

Postby HumanB » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:25 pm

bob7777777 wrote:I wonder, could you expand a bit more on what you mean by building on this side of myself that can be active?
I don't have much more to say than that really. Just general. Just seeing the nurturing spirit as a basis, for making progress, and practice being in that spirit, pro-actively, so that you are in that spirit more of the time (because it's not always active is it, especially when a person is doing things that really they know are undermining to health/progress). It's good that it's there 're-actively', as a reaction to very bad cicumstances, but you can also foster it pro-actively. Similarly a buddhist might say that compassion is a key thing to reducing suffering: practice being more compassionate, practicing the things that lead to deepening compassion (eg understanding, developing empathy).

How has your sleep been?
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