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Is this normal, or do I need help?

(9 Posts)
ABitFuckedUp Mon 06-Mar-17 13:06:43

I met my first boyfriend in my teens and was with him for eight years. Over most of that time he was abusive to me, mostly emotionally and very controlling, but also at times violent. I was walking on eggshells for years and my own mental health suffered as a result. We had a child together and I finally left him when my baby was a few months old - the final straw was him attacking me whilst I was holding my baby.

That was 20 years ago now and my life is better than I could ever have imagined. I am married to a lovely man and we went on to have more children together - he adopted my eldest when he was young as my ex was permanently out of the picture - without going into detail. I have a lovely home, a good job, friends, etc - ie I am very lucky and I never let myself forget that.

But on a regular basis (say weekly) I wake up in a panic, having had a long running nightmare that I'm trying to escape from my ex and I can't get away. Last night's installment was that I had gone back to my ex, for some fuck knows reason, although I knew I hated him, and was trying desperately to ring my DH out of my ex's earshot to beg him to come and get me so I could come home confused.

I should be used to this by now as it's been going on for years, but every time it happens I lay awake for ages thinking about it all and then feel shit the next day.

So what I'm wondering is, is it normal to have nightmares about something like this years later? And is there anything I can do to stop it happening? It really pisses me off that in RL I escaped from that bastard years ago, but my mind isn't letting me get away from him in my sleep sad

I've tried googling this to see if it's a 'thing' before but never got very far.

TheObserverOne Mon 06-Mar-17 13:08:47

Could be a form on PTSD? Contact your doctor and see if they can refer you for some counselling. Perhaps getting it all off your chest and speaking up about it may give you a chance to heal and get the closure that you need?

gamerchick Mon 06-Mar-17 13:10:30

have you tried to face him in your dream and stand up to him? Tell yourself you're going to do it until you believe it and hopefully when the dream happens your subconscious will remember. If you manage to do that the dream should go for good.

Or some therapy to unlock that part of your mind.. it's obvious you've probably got some suppressed stuff in there that wants to be dealt with.

ABitFuckedUp Mon 06-Mar-17 13:12:56

I've wondered about PTSD before but at the same time wondered if I was making too much of a big 'drama' about something quite commonplace....

And the thing is, it's not like I haven't talked about it. Over the years I've talked it over with friends and with DH so much that I'm completely bored with the whole subject tbh. So I don't understand why it still must be mulling around in my head somewhere sad

ABitFuckedUp Mon 06-Mar-17 13:15:36

Gamer that's an interesting idea. I did read something along those lines a few days ago. When I woke from my dream last night I felt so pissed off with it that I closed my eyes and imagined myself in the dream again, and saw myself shouting 'fuck off!' over and over again at him blush. Written down I realise that makes me sound a bit nuts grin

I would love to believe that might have helped it stop happening...

ElspethFlashman Mon 06-Mar-17 13:52:44

There's a technique I read once - that if you have a recurring nightmare, before you go to sleep tell yourself to next time look for a lamp post with a red bulb in it.

So literally somewhere in your dream it will appear - even if you're inside, you will see it outside the window.

If you find it, it's a symbol that it's a dream and not real, so you can then take the power back inside your dream and kick ass super hero style.

But it's crucial that you practice/visualise it when awake, cos then it will come easier when asleep as it will be remembering an image from earlier.

ElspethFlashman Mon 06-Mar-17 13:53:59

(I always visualise it like the lamppost Lucy meets Mr Tumnus under btw)

ABitFuckedUp Mon 06-Mar-17 14:37:36

Thank you Elspeth - I am going to try that smile

Annabel11 Mon 06-Mar-17 15:11:26

We may never know just how dreams and nightmares work. In your case I think it is a subconscious trauma that has resurfaced as it was not properly addressed in the past.

It is normal, and I do believe I have a good recommendation: hypnotherapy. I know the very mention of the word scares some people, but the reality is that there are very well developed methods in hypnotherapy for dealing with what you are experiencing now. I think it is worth a research, at the very least.

I hope this is not viewed as spam, but I can even recommend a certain therapist that one of my relatives used to great success (although for a different problem): Zoe Clews

I hope you can deal with this, because you sound like a person that has been through a lot, and deserves a break from the past. smile

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