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To be scared he'll hurt me in his sleep

(53 Posts)
LittleLionMansMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 08:18:50

When I met dh 14 years ago he had quite regular night terrors. They were quite bad and he used to imagine things coming through the walls and would leap out of bed and knock picture frames off walls etc. They've calmed down over the years and now only happen once a fortnight or month and mostly only involve him sitting up quickly in bed and thinking he's choking on something, or running to the bathroom because he thinks he needs the loo. Until last night.

I was woken at 1am by him leaping around the bedroom screaming and waving his arms in the air, rampaging around the bedroom ripping wardrobe doors open, knocking clothes onto the floor absolutely terrified (fast breathing, fast heartbeat etc). When he's had these episodes he doesn't respond well in his sleep to being told it's not real, so my usual method is to very calmly tell him to keep calm, I know how real it seems but im here and will help him. After a while he comes around and wakes up properly full of embarrassment. But because I was woken so quickly from deep sleep and it was such a shock to see him like that, I wasn't prepared for it and so said 'for goodness sake, it's not real! You're dreaming'. At which point he grabbed my wrists and held me down and said "Listen! I saw something on my phone this morning about things dressed as elephants coming through the walls!" He's never, ever been physical with me before during these episodes and I was genuinely scared. I changed tack and spoke calmly to him and eventually he let go of me and slowly woke up, realising what had happened. He was of course mortified and very embarrassed and apologetic. He'd managed to hurt himself too - a big lump and bruise on his shin from when he was leaping around.

Within minutes he was fast asleep again but I was really unsettled by the thought it could happen again and he might smother or strangle me next time. Stupidly I Googled night terrors and found that some people can become violent to partners etc. It took ages to go back to sleep and I was on edge all night. I mean, we have since giggled about the elephants comment because it's all just so surreal and tbh humour helps us cope with it. But ultimately I was scared.

AIBU to be worried or have I been watching too many films and letting my imagination run wild? This has never happened to such an extent before and I have no way of knowing if it will happen again. It was all very bizarre. Unfortunately it seems the condition is hereditary and our ds has inherited it, though thankfully not yet to this extent. I do worry about him too though as we've also found him sleep walking around his room.

duckyneedsaclean Fri 03-Jun-16 08:21:43

Do you sleep nearest the door?

It's not silly to be worried that he may hurt you - it could happen. Is he under stress at the moment that could be making it worse?

DoItTooJulia Fri 03-Jun-16 08:22:25

Has he ever been to a sleep clinic? Because it sounds to me like it's time to get some help for this, especially if your Ds is experiencing the same terrors.

It does sound very frightening. flowers

cariadlet Fri 03-Jun-16 08:22:27

I've only had experience of coping with small children having night terrors, not adults so can't offer any advice but didn't want to read and run. That sounds so scary.

Has your dh ever been to the dr about his night terrors? Might be worth trying to persuade him (even if he feels embarrassed).

Nanny0gg Fri 03-Jun-16 08:23:07

Should he not go to the doctor about this?

LadyStarkOfWinterfell Fri 03-Jun-16 08:24:46

He needs to go and seek some help for this - GP or sleep clinic. And you should sleep separately from him.

branofthemist Fri 03-Jun-16 08:25:19

Yanbu to feel the way you do. I am like your dh and don't know how dh sleeps. Although it hasn't happened for years. My were worse when I was exhausted and stressed, so the first year of our kids lives were a bit of a nightmare.

Has he been to the GP, admittedly I didn't go. I didn't know they were night terrors . I assumed they were an extension of my sleep walking and talking. But if you are in fear, he (and you) needs some help.

Is he particularly tired or stressed at the moment

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 08:27:04

I think because they'd calmed down so much we got lulled into a false sense of security - neither of us felt it needed intervention. They're now very infrequent so I'm not sure a sleep clinic would even find a problem unless he slept there for several weeks.

I asked him if he was anxious about anything. He's going for a new job (in the same company) and I know this triggers stress in him. I'm also pregnant so although we're very happy, there must also be an element of worrying about how we'll all adapt again to a newborn etc.

2nds Fri 03-Jun-16 08:27:29

He definitely needs to go see about getting into a sleep clinic. His actions sound so severe so I think he should be seen by professionals.

RegentsParkWolf Fri 03-Jun-16 08:29:03

I second getting some medical advice - if your GP can't help ask for a referral to a specialist. My DH was on medication for another condition for a while which made him have nightmares and he would often kick out in his sleep. I only got kicked once or twice but I couldn't relax at all. You can't get proper rest if every time your DH moves you wonder if you're going to get hurt. I considered separate rooms but it got better once he came off the medication. I too, worried that he might smother me in his sleep - YANBU at all. Even if he's had advice from the doctor in the past it's worth asking again - medical opinions change.

sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 03-Jun-16 08:31:29

My friend was strangled - she's ok - in a similar episode -

So please seek help

PolaroidsFromTheBeyond Fri 03-Jun-16 08:32:29

YANBU. How frightening OP. It sounds like him hurting you badly is a very real possibility - he's already pinned you down. He needs to see his GP and get a referral to a sleep clinic ASAP.

Do you have a spare room he could sleep in?

MyBreadIsEggy Fri 03-Jun-16 08:37:00

You are not being silly at all! The things people do in their sleep can be completely apart from the person they usually are when awake.
DH suffered with PTSD after his second tour of Afghanistan. He had night terrors too. He would often lash out in his sleep - vocally at first. He would shout at the top of his voice and not wake up! Then it escalated to him thrashing around. And the worst episode was where he was shouting, then suddenly turned towards me and started pushing all his weight really hard into my chest. I did manage to wake him up and he was really confused and scared. He went back to the doctor the next day, had his medication adjusted, had a few extra counselling sessions and the sleep issues gradually resolved themselves. He still has the odd bad dream now, but nothing like what used to happen.
Has your DH seen a doctor at all??

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 08:43:11

Dh has never seen a doctor, certainly not while we've been together. I've never felt scared of him before, even when he knocked pictures off walls, it has never been directed at me. I have told him that I was genuinely scared though, so might discuss it more with him tonight. I feel sure he'd do anything to avoid me getting hurt or feeling scared and would go to a GP if I asked him to. I don't know whether to wait and see if it happens again - I don't want to blow it out of proportion. It seemed he knew who I was and was conscious enough to know it was me he was speaking to.

MyBreadIsEggy Fri 03-Jun-16 08:46:32

I wouldn't wait and see if it happens again.
Obviously you can't force him to go to a doctor, but you can tell him how much it scared you - and hopefully that will be enough to convince him to go. He probably feels bad about hurting/scaring you and is probably scared himself because he can't control it while he's sleeping. I know my DH was so upset with himself the time he hurt me. He sat in the bathroom and cried that I shouldn't go near him because he had hurt me. flowers

ScrambledSmegs Fri 03-Jun-16 08:51:11

I know someone who was strangled by her DH during a night terror too. Please encourage him to go the GP. You can't guarantee that he won't get stressed and hurt you during a violent one in future.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 03-Jun-16 08:52:57

She survived btw, hence why we know what happened. He went to see a sleep specialist after that (possibly at a clinic, can't remember).

RubbleBubble00 Fri 03-Jun-16 08:54:51

My bigger worry would be having a newborn in the room while he's thrashing about. What if he picked baby up during a terror

neverAdullmoment79 Fri 03-Jun-16 08:56:12

Your pregnant ffs!!!! Get him to a doctor. I would sleep in another room tbh esp with a baby on the way!

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 09:06:03

That's true Rubble, stupidly I hadn't even thought of that. This is all so unlike him, he's so gentle, loving and considerate. sad

Boomingmarvellous Fri 03-Jun-16 09:06:08

He needs to see a dr and if possible get some help, but I know night terrors are difficult to treat. Meanwhile I would look at an escape route for you until he comes round. If you have an en suite make sure you sleep nearest it and have a strong lock on the door. When you get heavier maybe sleep apart? Tbh I would not put a baby in the same room to sleep with someone who acts out his night terrors.

Esmeismyhero Fri 03-Jun-16 09:08:45

My dh doesn't have night terrors but has some form of sexsomnia, he went to the gp and was referred to a sleep clinic and then given certain medications.

I'd wake up with him basically trying to have sex with me and sometimes he would be physical, it was hard. Thankfully it's calmed a lot but we don't sleep in the same bed anymore. My advice would be see the gp, dh was very reluctant but after a good mumsnet roasting he went and saw the light.

Esmeismyhero Fri 03-Jun-16 09:11:13

here's my old thread

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 03-Jun-16 09:12:25

That's good advice Booming. We have an en suite with a lock on the door in the meantime. I feel sure now he's been physical he'll agree to go to the doctor.

SuburbanRhonda Fri 03-Jun-16 09:14:03

He has a condition this severe and he's never seen a doctor?

OP, for your familiy's sake, get him to a GP quickly.

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