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No contact - nightmare family - still having bad dreams - any advice? (stately homes type thread)

(32 Posts)
CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 18:53:38

Not sure how much to give here, but went completely no contact with family few years back, after some very hellish times/control/manipulation (that took me ages to realise) etc

Briefly as possible, left home at 15, had major issues - never knew why I was so miserable. Met and ended up in a very abusive relationship. Long story short, 'D'M was happier when I was unhappy. Took a long while to leave. Many problems.

Met wonderful DH some time after, and life is good now smile

'D'M wasn't happy. Lots of criticism, tried to stop us going out, but didn't succeed. Any achievements I had were played down, but in such a passive aggressive way you could never tell if it was truly nasty or not. Head screw. Any stately homes people out there will know what I mean.

It took a long time to realise how toxic they were, and this extended to other members. Being in a healthy relationship does wonders for highlighting the toxic ones.

The worst of it came about when the manipulation of our children was getting really nasty. It was almost like they were their children, not ours.

There's so much history, so much nastiness and jealousy/lies/shit stirring/back stabbing. Far too much! Suffice to say, going no contact was one of the best things I have ever done in my life.

Problem is, there is still contact their side. I changed my email address, but they use my work one. I feel like I can't go out as I don't want any confrontation (it's a small place - you always bump into someone). For ages I kept trips to a minimum, but then I got fed up. We took the DC's to the park, and lo and behold, after half and hour, my sister was there. Unbeknown to me, she took a picture of my DC's and sent them to my Narc parents. Which then came a postcard about how much they'd grown!

This isn't even the half of it as far as contact goes on their side.

I have had really awful dreams on and off since the break in contact from our side. Reliving rows, having new rows, really nasty, hurting me, criticising me, taking my DC's away from me, murdering me (yes, that one was especially nasty) things like that. They seem to come in cycles, and usually directly after contact or at a special event/time. I cannot for the life of me get these dreams to stop. I cannot wake up, I cannot change the dream. I go to bed happy, DH and I have lovely evenings, sometimes I read before bed to put happy thoughts in there, I do not think about them at all. But then the dreams come, and they seems to last all night. I don't feel rested at all, and I can't work out how to make them stop.

Has anyone had any experience of this? Going no contact, but still living extremely close by to all family members? Still receiving contact from narc members, and anyone else had bad dreams that you can't control because of this?

Obviously moving would be the answer, but there is no chance of that. Not only that, the DC's are in great schools, so we cannot disrupt their lives, just because I can't deal with the way things are.

Any ideas? x

Leafitout Sat 10-Oct-15 19:46:14

Maybe some counciling as you may be traumatised from what you have been through. Bad dreams are a reaction to this. Keep going with the nc you have done well.

CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 20:01:04

Thanks Leafitout x

The crazy thing is I feel happy, in control (most of the time!) and feel like I've moved on, dealt with the past etc but the dreams don't seem to reflect that at all?!

After the relationship with my ex, I did have similar type dreams for a couple a years after, but they went away. The very occasional dream he's in, but very rare now. Maybe it's because there is completely no contact at all, I was able to move on eventually.

As there is still unwanted contact with family, it seems to stir it all up.

holeinmyheart Sat 10-Oct-15 20:24:06

You have my utmost sympathy as you are so upset.
BUT first of all you can do nothing about the people you are NC with. Realistically the only persons behaviour and reaction you can alter, is YOURS.

I suggest you go on a MINDFULNESS course. This will help you relax and be philosophical and accepting.

However you react to your family, they won't know, or presumably care. If you cry about what is going on OR are indifferent to them, they won't actually know, either way. It is YOUR mind that is beating yourself up. Haven't they punished you enough? Why are you doing it to yourself on their behalf?

You need to get to a state of indifference to them. The most important person to you, needs to be you. The most important people to you are your DH and your DCs and you.

Go to your GP and get something that temporarily relaxes you and put your rotten relatives out of your mind and concentrate on the positives in your life.

Well done for escaping their clutches but now you need NOT to waste any more time thinking about them. They don't deserve any more of your precious time, do they?
You can do it!

CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 20:40:07

Thank you holeinmyheart, that's great advice x

I thought I had it all under control, but subconscious seems to say otherwise. I think I am more on edge than ever before, as I am pregnant and wish it to remain as quiet as possible as I feel vulnerable. Don't know why, just do. Also, that hasn't helped with how vivid the dreams are (pregnancy dreams are crazy!), they feel so real.

My DH has issues with his family too, alcoholism/violence as a child (yes, we make a right pair!!) - but he has no issues at all with moving on and going NC as an adult. Doesn't give them a second thought, and certainly doesn't have dreams about them. He says he won't waste any time thinking about them, and he's absolutely right.

springydaffs Sat 10-Oct-15 21:21:26

Oh I do feel for you. I don't know how it would be for me if there was a chance I'd bump in to my family (nc). There is a very faint chance and I can just about live with that.

I have dreams to but not a lot, usually when I've heard some info about them. The dreams aren't all-consuming tho.

I know you said you can't move but is there any way at all you could move to the next village or something? I know it's not great but it's better than being right on top of them. How long do the kids have to go at the school? Is it primary or secondary school?

It sounds like it might be PTSD?

holeinmyheart Sat 10-Oct-15 21:27:01

Aw, it's not that easy, don't I know! I had a toxic Father and when I think about myself as an innocent little scrap being welcomed into the world by my abusive Father, I could weep at the injustice. SO I refuse to think about him.

He took away a lot of my life so he is NOT having the rest of it. I deserve to be happy. I did nothing wrong.
So whenever my mind has a blip and harks back, I stamp stamp stamp on it. What's the point of torturing myself.
Your Dhs attitude is correct. Life is really short and we should be the most important person to us.
Come on, chin up, think about the positives in your life. It is wonderful to be having a baby. I love babies.
Best of luck with your pregnancy, by the way.

Meerka Sat 10-Oct-15 21:38:31

Dreams are horrendous. You can be happy as anything in the day ... but the dreams slide under your daytime defences and can hit you in the worst way.

I don't really know any solution except to move, as people say, even to the next village. I actually think that's a good idea because when your children are older your toxic family might want to develop a relationship with them ... and if they've been so bad for you, they won't be better with them. At the least they might try to turn them against you ... it's happened before, very very sadly.

Also, some things you just can't block out. Some things you have to have the courage to say 'okay i can't handle this'. Acknowledging that yoru family is in that category may be the first step forward for you and your sons. You being stressed and distraught won't help them any, even if you try to hide it. You'll slowly become a different person away from them.

I'm sorry, it's an absolutely huge order to say 'move'. But it may be the best way.

Alternatively, prepare yoruself for a long fight. Record -every- contact they force on you for some months. Then send them a letter saying you absolutely want no more contact and will ask the police for an order to prevent contact, if there is any more. Then -do it-. It will really take it out of you in the short-medium term, but keep a cold awareness that this is a plan of battle that may lead to police-enforced no contact.

good luck, you really are in a difficult position. flowers

CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 21:42:20

Thanks springydaffs - although sorry to hear you are nc too, and also have had dreams (it does make me feel a little less crazy...) but with me, same, it seems to happen after contact or hearing some information. Otherwise I tick along just fine. But having said that, it is a little prison like, not wanting to go out locally. We are totally stuck, financially, and one DC is primary one is secondary. No issues with moving little one (hope that doesn't sound cruel) but older DC, we'd never consider moving him. However, if we did have the money, we'd move and travel in.

My DH thinks we should just get out and carry on normally (just like they are) hold our heads high, and if we see anyone, just ignore or say 'we have nothing to say to you' and carry on. He's right. Just think my pregnancy state is making me really not want to deal with any confrontation at all, so would rather hide.

holeinmyheart - I'm so sorry about your father, and what you went through. Yes, stamp stamp stamp on it. I do feel otherwise, so happy and content. My family is my world, and I'm so excited at adding to it with new baby. My life is a world away from what is was! So grateful it has turned around for me, and I feel almost I am self sabotaging things (which is not me at all). We ventured out again the other weekend, and ended up virtually walking past sister and family, but I clocked them and turned back - heart pounding. Wanted to avoid them seeing the bump and dealing with ANY contact. How crap is that? I guess when I write this down, I am allowing them to STILL control me.

CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 21:50:01

Thank you Meerka for understanding how awful dreams can be. My DH doesn't dream at all, so he doesn't 100% get it, although he knows it's not nice.

Moving would be heaven. We have a tonne of debt, and our wages have gone down considerably, so selling and getting a new place; they wouldn't touch us. We do love our house, but could walk away if money wasn't an issue. We always said we'd have a 5 year so hard, try and clear debts etc and then older DC will have done secondary school and hopefully we'll be in a position to move then.

Apart from moving, anyone for DH's view of just getting out there and not worrying about bumping into anyone?

springydaffs Sat 10-Oct-15 21:53:14

I'm not sure your dh is getting it. He may be able to do it that way but you can't (and neither would I). You're pg and that naturally makes you feel more vulnerable. You don't choose to be like this, it's how you are - completely understandably imo.

Really, look again at moving, find a way, any way. It's no small thing you're plagued by these dreams, it indicates the trauma is deep. He has to get that, it's no good him telling you to do it his way, you simply can't.

Congratulations on your lovely babby btw flowers smile

MustBeLoopy390 Sat 10-Oct-15 21:53:54

I can't advise but can totally relate, no matter how many times I reiterate the point that we are to have no contact with my grandparents and aunt they ignore me. I still have nightmares about them turning up and taking my eldest DC away (another story for another time) they take Christmas and birthday presents to my mils so they can be passed on, which makes me feel very uncomfortable as I don't want or need these and I literally crave full nc. Hoping this gets easier for you

spanky2 Sat 10-Oct-15 22:04:27

I'm relieved that it's not just me! I use meditation to help me try to get back to sleep after. You need to practice the scene you find relaxing during the day, several times and in as much detail as you can manage. I am on a woodland walk in mine. Also there are sleep meditations that can be downloaded to help you get to sleep. I used to get palpitations as I was so fearful of the dreams about my parents.
Also I have found cbt really helpful.

CarrieLouise25 Sat 10-Oct-15 22:19:40

Absolutely springydaffs - I am me, and I can't change how I feel. Thank you for your understanding; makes me feel normal [smile.] Thank you for the congratulations too! 20 weeks now x

Thank you MustBeLoopy390 - nightmares about my children being taken away is awful. Feels very very real. Would love full NC too, totally understand, and thank you for sharing, as again...just makes me feel normal and not alone.

spanky2 - thank you so much for advice, and for sharing. Not that I want to hear about anyone else's pain, but it is nice nevertheless, to feel like I'm not the only one. Glad you've found something that helps. I will be trying the same! x

PreemptiveSalvageEngineer Sat 10-Oct-15 23:18:02

I don't have a lot of unique advice to provide, apart from this: your take on dreams isn't quite "there".

From what I've learned, dreams aren't just about your day, but what you were thinking about that day, even - especially - that day.

And another thing: your subconscious that day .

So, nothing physical might have happened on a.n. day, but sometime that day, your conscious mind would have suddenly twigged: "blah birthday is coming, cool!" Whereas your subconscious might have thought: "blah birthday .... Bad people may be imminent - aaaarrrgggh!"

And then you see things in your dreams.

Once you absorb this, some of the dreams will at very least diminish, but will probably go away.

Bear in mind, though, that dreams are your mind's way of talking to you.

I don't know if this works for everybody, but my main way of interpreting my dreams is emotional: when I wake, how do I feel about this? Combine this we with what you [logically] know you might be going through, and you'll be grand.

Meerka Sun 11-Oct-15 09:10:54

I think that preemptive is right.

Have you considered counselling ? giving yoruself space in the day to consider the nightmare family might help your subconscious get it out of its system. (it might possibly also make it a bit worse, but you won't know which way you'll go unless you try).

Your DH, well, he's lucky if he can just shut them out. But other people can't, and being told to just 'forget them' simply doesn't work. Hence being away from the situation would so, so help; maybe hold that 5 years goal in your mind.

By turning away from your sister, you're still reacting to her, but in a situation where you are limited in your options it's probably the best one. You're taking a certain amount of control, even if it's not perfect.

CarrieLouise25 Sun 11-Oct-15 11:45:22

Thank you Preemptive - yes you're right, it's definitely down to conscious thought of 'yay' and then subconscious 'aaarrrghhhh' without a doubt. You hit the nail on the head there. I think part of understanding that, should help. I've always had incredibly vivid dreams, and I think dreams are very important so would rather explore and fix than ignore. As you say, how do I feel, and combine with what's happening to understand what my mind is saying.

Luckily last night, I didn't dream about them at all. I wonder if by talking about it on here helped?

Hi Meerka - Sometimes when DH and I talk about them, as I remember something that made me/us angry and I'm still getting stuff out of my system...I then dream about them. However, yesterday, I did talk about things a lot, based on the dreams and then on here, and last night (thank god) I didn't. DH is very lucky he can shut them out, it's very cut and dry for him, and I'm really pleased he can do that, but I can't seem to. The 5 year goal is most definitely my focus. And thank you, you've pointed out that by me turning away, I actually took control (in a way) so that actually makes me feel better smile

Thank you everyone; I think talking it through and realising that these dreams are not unusual, and that I have a right to feel worried about bumping into family and to want to avoid the confrontation, definitely definitely helped xxx

PreemptiveSalvageEngineer Wed 14-Oct-15 00:37:57

Glad to hear it!

My experience of counselling is that it may trigger bad stuff, but even when it does, a substantial (and at least 50% + 1 of the vote) knows that it's just temporary badness, en route to healing. In other words, cathartic.

A side note, though: you seem to keep contrasting your DH's situation with your own unfavourably, and east don't beat yourself up like that! There's nothing wrong with vivid dreams, and it's not just reasonable but perfectly logical that you're more disturbedvthsn your DH is by the people who have abused you all your life.

Feeling guilty or weak or inadequate because you have vivid dreams and DH doesn't is a drain on your energy that you don't need. Ditto that you - of course! - have more things to process than him. Be kind to yourself.

Wishing you pleasant dreams tonight.

CarrieLouise25 Wed 14-Oct-15 00:54:20

Thanks Preemptive - that's important to realise how different we are, and how different we handle things - no right or wrong smile

I think I've still got a lot to process yet, and rather than viewing my dreams as something 'bad' - trying to view them as part of the healing process has helped my perception. Feel more at ease with what my subconscious part is trying to do.

Actually not dreading bed tonight x

PreemptiveSalvageEngineer Wed 14-Oct-15 09:03:14

Brilliant! You do sound very together. Keep up the good work.

Meerka Wed 14-Oct-15 13:00:50

It's true that. Different people do tend to reaction very differently. Trouble is, some people think that their reaction is the only possible one (not saying your husband is like that though). It's really unhelpful for people to say there ~their~ way of thinking and reacting is the only right one. People vary, you can't shoehorn them into one way of reacting.

pocketsaviour Wed 14-Oct-15 20:29:19

I haven't seen my abusive father in 25 years; he still turns up about once a year in my dreams.

I went NC with my mum more recently - earlier this year. I have had quite a few dreams where she has turned up and somehow "tricked" me into being back in contact.

Certainly the fact you are in danger of bumping into them all the time must make things very hard, and even though you are keeping positive consciously, I think your dreams are probably your nervous system sort of leaking your anxieties through.

I would keep really focussed on that 5 year plan and every day think of things you can do to bring it closer. EG Walked to work today to save petrol. Picked up someone's Metro from the staff room to use a coupon. Sacked off an expensive work night out by telling everyone I'm pre-booked at an event; stayed home and ate chips and beans for tea.

This works for me with similar types of worries in giving me a sense of control. Like I'm taking action to bring my goals closer, not just sat there feeling trapped.


CarrieLouise25 Thu 15-Oct-15 00:16:24

Thank you Preemptive - that means a lot to be told I sound together smile

And Meerka - absolutely. All reactions are so different, and cannot always be controlled. You feel, how you feel. I guess the only difference is how you choose to handle it; that bit you have the control over.

Sorry pocketsaviour that your father still turns up. I think sometimes it may always be the case; your subconscious can't ever forget. Thanks for sharing the dreams about your mum. Again, it makes me feel less odd grin. Oh yes, the focus is there, you're right about anything that can bring it closer, and right about those decisions that give you a sense of control.

flowers to you all x

something2say Thu 15-Oct-15 06:29:49


I think what you're going thro is normal and healing. Allow it, comfort it, would be my advice.

I used to dream about my fathers houses. They were ways old houses, we didn't live in them, maybe the furniture was covered in dust sheets, one time we had a party in there. Another time, I was going into rooms throwing the dust sheets off and trying to open the rooms. It wasn't nice to have them, but I did, and I had to learn to accept that my mind needed to process things in its own way.

My best advice for you is to allow what comes up to come up, and to accept it all. And in real life, ignore all contact. If it becomes harassing i.e. Doesn't stop and is frequent, respond one time only to say, if this doesn't stop I will report you to the police. Never reply otherwise as that would be playing the game. They never admit what they have done do they, they always deny it, so trying to get them to admit it only serves as playing their game with them. The better thing is to completely stop it, and respond to contact as harassment. Perhaps also get work to block their email or better yet, work to respond saying they will call the police.

Good luck and well done for breaking contact. It's been years for me and even tho I had done eight years or so of healing and therapy beforehand, I made far greater strides in getting over it all when I completely left the whole sorry lot of them behind. It was like a whole new life xxxxx congrats on your new baby btw x

PreemptiveSalvageEngineer Sat 17-Oct-15 07:16:36

How did you sleep, CarrieLouise? smile

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