They woke me most nights.
As I relaxed into my home and surroundings, and felt loved and protected, my sleep changed. The more safe my little family was, the more intense my dream world became.
In my day to day living, I had bouts of existing in survival mode. In my outer world I minimized my trauma as a coping mechanism. I had compartmentalized what had happened to me and my family, and filed it away in the furthest reaches of my vaultlike memory.
The more relaxed I got, the more vivid and dramatic my night time dreams. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me at the time, and thought it was bizarre. I was working out my trauma in my dream world. My subconscious mind was processing what I had stored away. It refused my minimization and denial.
There was no way out of it.
There were dreams of my X shouting at me. There were dreams of him threatening me. There were dreams of him hurting me. There were dreams of him coming after me. There were dreams of him taking my child away. I had varied reactions in each dream. Sometimes I stood up for my self and was a powerful, mama warrior and sometimes I cowered away.
Each and every time I woke up, my heart thumped wildly in my chest, and for a moment, I would think it was real.
I bought a journal and placed it on my bedside table. Each night or morning, when I’d startle awake, I’d write my dreams down. Sometimes I could understand what my psyche was working on, and sometimes it took a reread days, months, or even years later, to understand what I was processing.
I’ve journaled my dreams now for 25 years. It has been an instrument and practice of deep healing and awareness.