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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dreams

Warning: Another one of those posts that is better left unread.

When I first started blogging I had one person who regularly read and commented on my blog--and he was about as messed up as I am, although that's probably debatable. Now that normal people seem to stumble onto my blog fairly regularly, I sometimes feel guilty exposing them to the things I feel, so even though I still fully endorse the belief that I am entitled to write whatever I wish on my own blog, the warning makes me feel better.

I received some email and one comment on my last post about dreams in general, which gave good advice and in a normal setting, would probably be very helpful:

"I find that most of my nightmares are less frightening when I concentrate on the symbols within them. Usually those symbols represent things in my life that need attention or something that I've forgotten to do. If I pay attention to those things and take care of them, the nightmares go away."

"You should look for hidden meanings in the dreams. There really is no such thing as nightmares. It's just your brain trying to make sense of life. So don't be afraid of that."

"I used to have nightmares until I found out that they were caused by not doing things I needed to do. When I quit putting off things I slept better."

"Writing down and understanding my dreams contributed significantly to my healing. In the nightmares I viewed from a child's point of view were grown-up messages of love and concern to myself for myself. And when the nightmares were replaced with pleasant dreams I knew I was well."

When I've had "regular" types of dreams (i.e., not nightmares), I have occasionally shared those with Tolkien Boy, dream interpreter extraordinaire, who finds logical meanings in them that are probably very true, but which I don't always wish to accept. Nonetheless, there is no question that dreams have meanings, and that confronting or analyzing them is worthwhile. So I appreciate the advice and suggestions offered above, but I believe I need to further explain what I'm experiencing. Perhaps, if those who have offered that advice had more information, they could give me more help in this area, especially if they have experience or expertise in dealing with dreams and nightmares.

I actually spoke at length about this with a friend last night--not because I was trying to solve the problem, but because the haunting feelings that accompany the dreams make me feel ill, and admitting that to someone who won't despise me for being a coward helps me feel more human. He had some good ideas, as well. However, on with the further explanation of my nightmares.

My fearful dreams are simply a reenactment of my encounters with my cousin. In them he continues to violate me in every possible sexual way, and when he is finished he leaves me and I am left alone to clean up and try to comfort myself. The physical pain is felt when I awake, even though nothing has occured. The loneliness, self-loathing, fear, anger, guilt...all the feelings I felt as a young girl are seething inside me. I am left with a horrifying sense that I can't protect myself, and no one else will come to my aid.

Differences between the dreams and the reality:
1. In my dreams I am an adult. And yet I'm still immobile and weak. I allow him to perform the acts that make me feel inhuman and objectified. Somehow, even as a grown-up, I'm afraid of him. How can that be?
2. The setting is not always the same. Sometimes the incidents occur in my childhood bedroom, sometimes in my current one. Perhaps I feel unsafe in my own house? I know this is true.
3. I am unable to ask for help. And in spite of the fact that I long to be strong enough to save myself, I also feel an ache inside that there is no one to help me--and I really want help. As a child, I don't remember acknowledging that I wanted someone to save me. I just remember a horrifying acceptance that no one would. In my dreams, I don't want to go through the horror alone. Even if I have to endure all that my cousin does to me, I wish for someone beside me to help me endure it and to comfort me when he leaves. And I feel guilty wishing for that, because no one should have to be exposed in any way to the things I've experienced--vicarious or otherwise. But I still don't want to be alone.

I look at my life today. Each weekday morning I get up and meet with some of my favorite people in the world, to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My only qualification for this vocation is that I love the gospel and Christ with all my heart--and I love the students I teach. I spend a few hours each day advising clients how to invest and spend their money and helping them to maximize their pretax spending. I prepare their tax returns and paperwork. Then I teach students how to love music and enjoy learning to play the piano. I spend a few hours practicing. I run a few miles. I clean my house and work on learning to be a real mom someday. I think about and implement ways to keep my marriage and love for my husband strong in any circumstance. Then I go to bed and find out that I'm not even strong enough to deal with past experiences that still haunt me, and I wonder where my reality lies.

Something I haven't mentioned is that the nightmares seem to be occurring more often and with greater duration and intensity. And my ability to cope with the aftermath is becoming less effective. I'm going to have to do something about this. I'm just not certain what that will be.

5 Comments:

  • At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:26:00 AM, Blogger G'pa Bob said…

    i am going to break this up into several posts so that the unhelpful ones can be deleted. You have suffered enough and I do not want to add to it in any way so if there is any level of discomfort with any or all posts they can be deleted.

    I would have emailed if I could. That would have made the management of them easier.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:50:00 AM, Blogger G'pa Bob said…

    How life ends is how it always was.

    As a seminary teacher you are aware that, speaking very generally, at the great and terrible day of the Lord:
    - a person who tries to always do good during his/her life will probably have a great judgement
    - a sinner who repents and endures to the end will probably have a great judgement
    - a person who tries to always do evil during his/her life will probaby have a terrible judgement
    - a person who does good most of their life then decides to act in evil ways will probably have a terrible judgement
    How life ends is how it always was. I say this because I want to make some generalizations. I do not know you personally and I do not know your situation so my comments are not directed at you.

    You were not complicit in any way.

    If something deep inside of you suggests or fears that you invited this or that you did not invite it but you enjoyed it or that you did not invite it or enjoy it but you let it happen then you can rest assured that, looking back from where you are now, you did not do any of these.

    How life ends is how it always was. Because what happened to you is so disgusting, you can safely know that you did not contribute to it.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 3:00:00 AM, Blogger G'pa Bob said…

    We were all there with you.

    Islam has a belief that a crime against a person is a crime against all of humanity. If I did not paraphrase that well I apologize and hope that my intent is clear.

    From the other side of the veil your family watched wishing you were not the one going through this but at the same time knowing that the Atonement would heal you when the time came.

    Many of us wish with all our heart that we could have been there to defend you and we want you to know that we are here now to help you recover.

    The Holy Ghost was there. That he will not stay around evil can be misunderstood. He leaves a person when that person chooses evil but he does not leave the person being hurt. He will validate your injury.

    We were all there with you during those awful times and would have stopped it if we could and offer our heartache and love to try to make it up to you.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 3:14:00 AM, Blogger G'pa Bob said…

    Possibly you can change your dream!!

    I had a dream that bothered me repeatedly. I would wake up in a sweat whenever it came.

    I was worn out from it and knew that I had to get control of my life. I had been tracking dreams for several months by then so had some hope. I made a plan to win. Each night at bedtime I reviewed the plan. Amazingly, when the dream came I executed my plan and got past the block. Each time the dream came I executed the plan. Eventually, the dream stopped coming.

    Make a plan to dream a different dream. Plan for the best. Maybe plan for someone who loves you to be there with you. Maybe plan that you will be completely disconnected knowing that the person's problem is his and not yours. What ever will help.

    Change the dream if you can.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 3:22:00 AM, Blogger G'pa Bob said…

    Don't panic.

    Take you time with all the ideas you receive. Talk them over with people you trust - including and most importantly yourself.

    I know you want to get through this as quickly as possible and I am with you on that but the best solution is what you want.

    Above all else, dear Samantha, know that you are loved and an important part of many people's lives. You spoke earlier about being unique and not fitting in. You are unique and you fit into a very unique part of the mosaic of humanity.

    Don't panic.

     

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