Stopping Nightmares

For nearly the last five years, my wife/my girls and I have been on a journey to heal her of her dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. From time to time nightmares have been part of that journey. But since Tina, the last insider, joined us last year, the nightmares have been persistent and disruptive.

I’ve talked with her a couple of times in the past about controlling her dreams, as I had done for myself once a long time ago, but neither she nor their counselor seemed to know how, and I wasn’t quite sure how I had done it either. So we have struggled with the fallout from the nightmares. Recently they’ve become so bad, that Tina was beginning to refuse to go to sleep at nights.

I finally did a little google search and within a couple of seconds I found the following two links that provide clear and simple steps to help deal with her persistent nightmares.

http://drphil.com/articles/article/206

http://www.nativeremedies.com/ailment/stopping-nightmares-and-scary-dreams.html

Were these a miracle cure? No. At first when I shared these links with Tina and the others, I was met with disbelief. Having been traumatized by these nightmares for so long, she totally rejected the claim that she could control them.

But the second night, she and I continued to talk about “re-scripting” the nightmares as it is called. Re-scripting simply means one changes how the nightmare ends while the sufferer is awake. The person can make a happy ending, or funny ending or anything else that she wants. She/he simply needs to talk about the nightmare and then make a new ending.

It was obvious that she was thinking about how to change the “script” of her repeated nightmares. Currently she has been being chased by vampires who then “hurt her” like her abuser did and then try to kill her. As we talked I suggested that I could join her in her dreams and fight for her like I have every other step of the way. But she objected: these are vampires; we need Buffy the Vampire Slayer she thought. She also knew the “rules” of fighting vampires even though the other girls and I watched Buffy long before Tina ever joined us on the outside: we needed wooden stakes, crosses and holy water.

The next night, she must have thought better about Buffy because now she wanted to know how I would fight the vampires. At first I tried to be “mature” about it and vowed to fight for her and never give up, dying if I had to. But she knew I couldn’t beat the vampires unless I played by “the vampire slaying rules.” So then I said I would use a cross and jump on his back so he’d let go of her. And then she and I could use the holy water together to kill him.

She was still working her way thru re-scripting her nightmare and my obvious role in helping her in the past was part of the story. And last night we had our first small breakthrough even though she sees it as a defeat. Last night I joined her in her dreams and helped hide her from the vampires. And though they repeatedly found us in her dreams last night, I have hope now that she has begun to change the narrative.

Today as we continued to talk about the narrative, I asked if she and I could fight the vampires together since I was now with her in her dreams. No, that was still too scary to her. So then I suggested, “What if we used a spell from Harry Potter and changed them into something else, like a butterfly?” She liked that idea. Unfortunately Harry never changed anything into a butterfly, but “Avifors!” changes things into little birds.

So I’m hoping to continue working with Tina and each night that we continue making progress as she changes the narrative of the nightmares by “re-scripting.” The nightmares have kept the trauma and terror fresh and alive many nights. They have also caused a huge lack of sleep. Both have been deeply draining for the girls. But now it appears we finally have hope in breaking their stranglehold on Tina and the others.

I wanted to share this with others in case you have been struggling with nightmares too.

Edit: 3/3/2014 I wrote this post about 8 months ago and I wanted to include an update. I struggled with Tina and her nightmares for a long time. I kept trying to help her “re-script” them, and it did help…some. But later in the fall, we were able to move Tina to a new inside room and a few weeks later she and Sophia connected their inner rooms…and voila…the nightmares largely stopped. The thing about d.i.d. that I have to always remember is that each girl is incomplete without the others, and once we got Tina connected to one of the other girls, she was able to draw strength and comfort and abilities from the other. I’ve always recognized in Sophia her innate ability to feel safe with me. Over and over as I have worked with Sophia thru the years she would tell me, “You make me safe.” And so I think once Tina was able to connect with her friend and adopted sister, Sophia, Tina was then able to connect to Sophia’s innate ability to feel safe from my presence.

All that not to invalidate re-scripting of nightmares, but to remind my readers that d.i.d. adds a layer of complication that others do not have.

 

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. survivingstill
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 13:50:56

    That’s great! I really hope it’ll help the nightmares go away. Thanks for sharing!
    What really helped me with my nightmares is, every night as I’m laying in bed going to sleep I repeat over and over things like “bad dreams can’t hurt me”, “I will not fear bad dreams”, “bad dreams are stupid”. It sounds silly, but it’s taken me from almost nightly nightmares where I was also afraid to go to sleep, to now only having occasional nightmares when I’m very triggered for some reason and even then, they are way less scary.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Jul 16, 2013 @ 15:37:02

      Hey,

      thanks for stopping by and thanks for sharing your experience too! I’ve felt so helpless to stop their nightmares, so I’m glad I finally did some searching, and I definitely hope we will see the end of them some day soon!

      Take care!

      Sam

      Reply

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