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Dreaming about my abusive ex-husband when will it stop?
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Dreaming about my abusive ex-husband when will it stop?

When will I stop dreaming about my ex-husband?  We have been divorced for 10 months.  I keep dreaming that we get back together, or he is with another woman and I am hurt, or other variations on these themes.  Every dream is soooo emotionally charged.  I end up crying for hours the next day.  I was married to an emotionally and verbally abusive man for 20 years.  He was very controlling and made me so anxious I was physically sick.  I got the courage to divorce him in spite of the fact that I love him.  I knew that I must to survive - the life I had would have killed me eventually.   But now I'm having these dreams that are tearing me apart.  I see a psychologist, and I am working through understanding what happend, but I am so tired of being sad all the time.  Has anyone been through something like this?  When does my heart heal?
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1072551_tn?1258206866
I wasn't with my abuser for nearly so long as you were but I had the dreams as well. One psychologists theory about why people have these dreams is that your mind has its own way of healing us and it helps us to become numb to the bad memories. I think they will go away over time. mine did.
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Avatar_f_tn
i myself have no idea why one would put up with abuse for that long, love or no love, but the only way to forget id\s to not let him win, as you are doing you are letting him ruin what is left of your life say to yourself he was not worth it and he is not taking over i am the winner and i will lead my own life, he is the loser, bnecause he is an abuser and desrves nothing but contempt  luck  jo   i hate abuisers  
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1079218_tn?1297032444
From 1 abuse victim of child abuse, rape & gang rape to another victim of abuse.  There is no definate time line to remove the trauma however, I did finally get control over my nightmares of repeat abuse.  My current therapist & I are working on my PTSD & one of my exercises that I had to do was take control of all the anger I felt toward those that  hurt me so badly.

So I was instructed to figure out a way that I may demolish that person or persons that hurt me or didn't protect me.  And take out my pain, anger & frustation on them.  I used water balloons.  I took each on & focused all my anger, frustration of each of them & once I had gathered as much anger for that particular balloon I would then scream at it as I smashed it against the grown.  Repeat as often as need until you finally begin to feel relief.

Eventually you will discover that the nightmares will go away or not occur as often, & if they do occur it will probably be on a very traumatic event in you history, repeat the exercise above & focus on what the trauma might have been for that time frame during your life with your abuser & than focus on that event to repeat with the exercise & smash the event until you feel relief.

Debra
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your post.  I know that you are right in that he was not worth it.  That conclusion was what eventually allowed me to leave.  

Your comment about not understanding why anyone would put up with abuse for so long interested me.  Every situation is different, but here are a few facts about why I stayed. It might give you some insight for the future.

1.   I was emotionally abused by my mother as a child, and this lead me to accept (at only 20 years old) an abusive situation with my husband as "normal".  

2.  I was the only person willing to pacify him (translation - be a door mat) and so he "loved" me for it.  My self esteem didn't allow me to see I deserved better.  Of course all spouse abusers seem wonderful in the beginning and get progressively worse.

3..  My husband was abused as a child too.  Weird as it seems, there can be a bond through this type of thing.  I saw him as a person who was hurting too.  He was and is.  The problem was he took out his pain on me.  

4.  I take marriage seriously.  I wanted to make it work. I saw myself as a "loyal" person, it took a long time for me to stop thinking of loyalty as a character trait that I valued over self preservation.

5.  We have a child (now 12) who we both love.  Being a child of divorce, I didn't want to put my child through that.

6.  I was just plain scared to do anything but try to pacify him and avoid the next confrontation.  Every confrontation killed me a little more and drained my strength.

The good news is that psychological therapy, and drugs that tamp down my anxiety allowed me enough room to grow.  Eventually I grew to have enough strength to leave.  I am so sad that it took 20 years.  

My advice to young women is that if you feel put down or scared to be yourself with a man.  If you avoid certain topics, or try to "make everything just right" to avoid his anger - you are with a man who has serious problems.  Whatever it takes, find the strength to leave.  It won't be easy  - in fact it may be heart breaking - but it's the only way out.

Thanks for listening.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the post.  I am so sorry that you were abused.  I hope you have your share of happiness now.    

It's encouraging to hear that the dreams stop.  I am making changes to get on with MY life, but unresolved feelings keep popping up at the most unexpected times.  I think it would be easier if I could have no contact with him - but there has to be some contact because we share custody of our 12 year old son.  Whatever my brain needs to do to process this **** is fine, I just want to get through it.  

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for posting.  I am so sorry you have been through so much.  Any one of those abusive situations is horrible.  I understand about PTSD, it paralyzed me for years.  I'm glad to hear you are having counseling.  You might ask your psychologist about EMDR (google it).  It was the single most effective treatment for me.  The armed services use it to help vets with PTSD.

I went from one abuse situation to another too (from mother to husband).  My psychologist helped me understand why I did that.  Don't get me wrong - it's never the victim's fault - no one has the right to abuse.  My point is that there are reasons why I made the choices I did.  I'm quite frightened of making another bad choice in a relationship, so I'm working really hard on looking back to see the "signs" that I ignored. I like to think I can learn from my mistakes!   Abused women DO tend to end up in more abuse situations and I'm determined to break the pattern.  Sounds like you are too.  

May God bless you with peace beyond all understanding.  
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Avatar_f_tn
PS.  Forgot to mention this.  Your technique about letting out the anger I think is useful.  Before I say this, please understand that my mother is bi-polar, has personality disorders, is an end stage alcholic, RX abuser, manipulative, mean-spirited and emotionally abusive to every single member of our family, including my 84 year old Grandma.  She refuses treatment.  To top it off she's tried to kill several members of the family when drunk.  As you can imagine, even as she was abusing us, we were constantly trying to "save" her.  Enough about that....

My moment was when a year ago at the age of 41 I told her that she was a self centered, selfish *****.  (I have never talked like that before)  I told her that she had hurt me for 41 years.  I told her that she had hurt every single person I loved.  I told her it was done, she wouldn't be hurting me any more.  I left and have no intention of having contact with her in the future.  It was an incredible relief to be angry with her.  I had suppressed it for my whole life and now it was out.  I think this was a turning point.  

Now to work on my anger at my ex.....

Thanks again.  
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757137_tn?1347200053
Maybe the dreams you are having are based on sex, not love. You probably do not have a partner right now. Join the social scene. Find one.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your reply.  You may have something there.  I don't feel ready to be in a relationship or date yet, but my mind does go there (dating and sex) more and more....  by the way, is there a social scene for middle aged divorced moms?  Ha!  
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757137_tn?1347200053
Sure. Doll your self up and buy a pretty dress. Take a cruise if you can afford it. Gve parties. Goodness, you are only 41. In this day and age you are just a kid.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the advice !  I'm going to work towards "getting out there".  I feel like I'm starting my adult life over again.  A hard, yet good thing.  I like the sound of "only 41" .  Thanks.  : )
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285927_tn?1380802356
Are you sure you are not confusing love with co dependency? I am not sure it is possible to love someone who abuses or hurts you, is it? Maybe your identity of yourself is in that time period? I am guessing it is co dependency and you might think about counseling if not already in it. You need to learn a new way of thinking apart from the way you lived for so long. Or you will be in the midst of another relationship just like it if not the same one all over again.
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Avatar_f_tn

I too suffered dreams after my abusive marriage. They always went the same way. I would find myself dreaming that we were back together. I cannot adequately describe the fear, agitation and sick feelings that Always resulted from the dreams.

I did some research on dream analysis. And they all said the same thing......

UNFINISHED BUSINESS .....

That really, really p****d me off. I mean how much more could I take of this???

But then I learned that at the very, very bottom lay my fear that I was untrustworthy. I couldn't rely on myself to keep myself SAFE.

Took a long while to work through this. Logic and rational thinking have nothing to do with the Reptilian part of the brain. UNLESS it is brought out into the open. Then you can start to create new ways of thinking.

I hope this helps.....

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for your thoughts.  I know I've been co-dependent, so I think you are right in a sense.  As for loving someone who hurts you, I think a person can, I did.  Though I don't recommend it. I am doing counseling, Lord knows it's the only thing that helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, yes, yes!  This is EXACTLY what my recent therapy sessions are about.  I have this actual fear that I don't have good judgement when it comes to relationships.  I have hard evidence to back that up.  But I don't want to feel that way anymore.  I want to be secure in the knowledge that I can trust my instincts.  I almost feel like I need to prove something to myself.  Thank you for sharing your feelings.  I'm glad you are making progress, it gives me hope.  As for unfinished business...I think I need to confront my ex with the truth, even though he'll never see it.  I need to stand up for myself.  This will be hard since we share custody of our 12 year old son.
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Avatar_f_tn

Wow !  We seem to have hit the nail squarely on the head here !!

I think you have great insight. It's ALWAYS about our own feelings. I too had terrible trust issues. You know the odd thing was that at first I thought it was because I couldn't trust them. But then it dawned on me that it was MYSELF I couldn't trust. I had decided that I exercised such poor judgement in the past, and why should I believe that I knew anything about anything ???

It's a long process isn't it ? But I think I just started to listen to that inner voice who said ..Hang on a minute, that doesn't actually tally with what happened...

It's the hardest thing in the world sometimes to completely change your own Belief System.

Sounds like you have made terrific inroads already. Being AWARE is the first and best way to start healing. Congratulations on using that self-awareness to benefit yourself. I think that is commendable and very very praiseworthy.

Well Done You  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Avatar_f_tn

I like the way you express yourself. Clear and concise, informative and compassionate.

Anger Management was and is a difficult area. Especially when Repression was the keyword to survival.

I started piling up dirty laundry (whilst waiting for a load to finish) and kicked it round the kitchen floor. I felt frightening at first, knowing how deep-seated my anger was. But Oh the RELIEF !!!

Now I tend to do the cushion-bashing thing. Get a really good swing and smash it down on the bed.  

Thank God for privacy.
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Avatar_f_tn
I came across your thread as I had googled about dreaming of my violent and abusive ex. Seriously, it's every night. We split up almost six years ago!!! He only seems to come back in such a way when I am troubled or upset with something. Annoyingly in the dreams he is always lovely and the man I first met. However, he is not lovely, I have 5 years of mental and physical scars to show that.
I was compelled to write on here as I was quite shocked to read some comments on how long you stayed and suchlike..
Only people  or in an abusive situation would ask you that as they could not possibly understand the fear and the emotional drain of being with someone. When my ex had beaten me quite badly, I could not move the next day, not because of the physical bruises but the mental ones. Only someone in this situation will understand this felling. In your mind, you need to get out, you need to go, but you're just too weak.
Equally I am unsure how people link this to sex. It's not. That's just the only thing people think about nowadays and no one has any control or restraint anymore.
I hope you are well and have been able to move on with your life and have found happiness.
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757137_tn?1347200053
Maybe your biggest problem is loneliness. You were married for a long time. Seek male companionship.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi.  Our mind is an amazing thing.  We can subconsciously try to work out things while asleep that are troubling us deep down.  Not even aware that you are still thinking about something, your subconscious will go there and try to "work it out".  Sometimes we can suffer post traumatic stress syndrome after certain events in our life as well and certainly, escaping a violent and abusive partner could lead to that.

I lost my mother tragically and would love to have wonderful, pleasant dreams about her.  I don't.  99 percent of the time they are dreams I do not want----  nightmares really where she is dying again or hates me and has been hiding from me all these years or both.  She's been gone for 17 years and I loved that woman so very very much and miss her terribly.  It is the great tragidy of my life.  That I have dreams like this could be puzzling to some.  But I know that I'm troubled by her death and my subconscious brings me back to that.  What I do when I have these dreams is to see them as my mind trying to help me rather than hurt me----  to help me work through my subconscious thoughts so that I can be free of the pain.  I rarely have the dreams anymore.  I switch to happy thoughts when I wake from a bad dream about my mother's dying----  actively go to something else.  

I think therapists are really terrific for these sorts of things.  Rather than letting your mind subconsciously bring up the issues you still struggle with internally, a therapist can work on them with you to bring clarity sooner.  

good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
I just got out of a 12 year emotionally and verbally abusive relationship. He was controlling, manipulative, and broke things in the house while he was yelling at me. He was a pathological liar, but if I caught him in a lie he got mad and turned on me. I am awake right now, at 2:30am m, because I had a nightmare about him again. We have 4 kids, he only has supervised visitation and I have an order of protection against me. In my nightmare he violates the order of protection, harasses me and tries to get me to take him back. When I her scared and beg him to go away he starts yelling at me and getting in my face. These nightmares feel so real because it used to be my reality. Like you, I also loved him when I divorced him. When I wake up from these nightmares I feel terrified and my heart won't stop racing. I want the nightmares to end :0(
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Well, I'm so glad you got away!!  I would speak to your doctor.  You may be suffering from PTSD after the trauma this man caused you.  Come here any time for support dear.  We have a PTSD forum as well as this one and many more.  Wishing you lots of luck and commend you for escaping.  Peace and luck to you
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Avatar_f_tn
To Stillgrowing Lisa,

When I saw your post, I had to reply.  I sooo Understand..and then some..I just had a nightmare last night..my ex trying to kill my violently.  I have other scary dreams with him but still cannot understand why I cannot get him out of my dreams.  
It took me 16 years to leave, and you're right...it never starts out as bad as it is..it just gets worse over time.  My ex was verbally, and emotionally abusive, and in the end sexually abusive.  The worst part is I left state with my children to get away from him.  He was able to convince the courts because of a state statute, to have the kids live with him.'
I testifed to the abuse of ALL kinds...graffic descritptions, but because I had no medical or police evidence...and he had a really high paid scummy layer, and a huge family that also lied to the judge for him, I lost my temp custody of my kids and they were ordered back to him.  Its been just over two years now, and even when my daughter tried to beg the judge to let her come live with me, the judge accused me of "pressuring" her.

My heart is aching.  Not only did my ex take my dignity, he robbed me of my children, and they now both hate him for it.

I have a hard time sleeping at night, but being a victim of sexual abuse, and since my ex was addicted to rape porn, I worry every day what is going on in the household.  The judge merely told him to "remove all pornagraphic material from home"...talk about a slap on the wrist.

Some days I get so angry at myself, for not calling the cops on him.  I cannot stand the sight of him when picking up kids.  He is So manipulative and controlling, he will call several times daily while the children are with me.

To make matters worse, he tells the the kids "he controls them now, and they do not get to decide what they want"..like living with me.

I am a perfect Mom, even the ad litem said so...the courts just let me down, because he made himself out to be so great and with so much family support..even thought they are all disfunctioanal..Dui's, arrests, bankruptcies, multiple divorces, alcoholism..etc etc.

Just be glad your ex does not have your children.  I feel like I have been robbed of my happiness, because I ran to safety.  Luckily, I have a good amount of family here, and am remarried now, but it will be  long time before things are ever "wonderful"....or even normal.  God Bless you.
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Avatar_f_tn
i understand you completely. my husband was wonderful at first he did anything just to spend time with me but within the first two years of living to gether i noticed a change. and was stupid to stay for ten years. i spent every holiday alone he would refuse to come i would constently lie to our children that he had to work but kids r smart they soon figured it out. it just hurt so much to see the look in their eye when they new he just didnt wanna be with us. he was to into having fun with his buddies or alone drinking, pott, dealing, fishing but for the kids i kept trying. i began to fight back by telling him what he was doing to everyone and all it did was become my fault because i shouldnt make plans with him he too busy. we started fighting about it alot cause even though i stayed and allowed it im not one to give up but he began throwingme on the floor or in our gravel drive repeatedlyu shoving my head into the ground. this went on for 8 years. i began to not want sex with him cause i was so hurt that he didnt keep his promise to us i left him many times over ten years and always went back from him promising things would change.he became sexually abusive and after awhile i didnt have the power to fight back i just gave up. im in the middle of my divorce now and its really gettting hard. he never wanted anything to do with the birth of our children and never been to a birthday of theirs never. now after this last year has gone by im feeling cheated be him. he wont stop trying to kiss me when we exchange the kids, and will contact me about what im missing out on when he has them and says i can make it all stop if i stop the divorce (we will be a happy family like i and kids were promised in the beginning) some have told me he may stop after the divorce is final but i have serious doubts. why cant he allow us to move on when he never wanted us around
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