Processing Trauma In Dreams

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Dreams have long been touted as insights into your deep psyche, with a myriad of sites and experts claiming they can interpret your dreams and tell you … well, what you’re thinking, how your life is panning, and possibly even your future.

And it’s not all bollocks.

I’ll often find myself dreaming of spiders when I’m overly stressed.  Or that my car’s brakes don’t fully work – they sometimes slow the car down but never quite stop it, and sometimes they just don’t work at all – when I’m feeling like life has swept me up and I can’t slow down.

Last night I had a series of dreams.  There were five distinct ones.

In the first, I was loved and cherished, and I improved people’s lives by going full aspie on a water spirit who had people in its thrall (it’s not like there was a negative impact on them, just that they’d waste a lot of time in its thrall splashing around in its waters because it wanted the company).  It was so flattered that I was taking an unreasonably intense interest in what it was doing and what it was that it stopped the thrall and we sat and talked for hours and it realised it liked conversation more than splashy company.

The second one involved a frisbee, a stolen prototype helicopter, monster robots and a toy world warehouse.  There was a lot of screaming from me, and a lot of very creative piloting (of the suddenly small enough to fit between toy boxes and through open-backed shelving helicopter).

The third involved bears.  I couldn’t get the door shut and locked, and there were bears.  I finally got the door shut and locked properly (it required a huge shove and a perfectly timed key turn), then ran around making sure all the windows and doors were locked and the blinds were pulled so they couldn’t see in.  This was actually related to a conversation about Alaska and Canada and the bears and the fact that I won’t be able to go tramping out there without a big fuckoff gun because bears.

The fourth and fifth … well I’m not entirely sure which order they came in.  One involved It.  I’m starting to realise that a lot of Its behaviour, especially around sex, was abusive.  In this dream I told It he could take his blue balls and wank off, I wasn’t responsible for it.

The other … the other I’ve just realised is me speaking back about my sexual abuse to my abuser.  It and Thing (as that person will now be known) are two different people.  Very similar people, but definitely two different ones.  They were, in fact, best friends.  They suited each other well.  Both were self absorbed, showed little empathy for others, and were largely sexist.  They joked, they said they were joking, but their actions always said otherwise.

Mind you, I never realised this until this year.

So this part of my dream.  This final, crucial part of my dream.  I was at work.  I wasn’t at my current work, I was somewhere else … not entirely sure where, but I was in an office and I was working.  There was a loud male colleague over the other way, a real jokester, and he’d leer at me.  I got up to do some work at one of the benches.  He got up and came past and stood behind me as he reached for the printing next to me and ground his crotch against me.

This is what Thing did.  At parties we had at our house, he would get drunk and then pester me to give me a massage because he “gives great massages” and later because I “loved his massages”.  I’d already been conditioned by It to agree, to do what I was asked to do, to do what I was told and to not make a scene.  I’d inevitably agree.  We’d then go to the room I shared with It, I would lie face down on the bed, he’d insist I take my top off and try to convince me to take my bra off (that one never worked), and he’d give me a massage.  The first few were actually really great massages.  It was only later that he started to press his erection (in pants) against my ass and rub while giving me a massage.  I would wait a few minutes (so as not to be rude, how laughable) and then say ‘that’s great, thanks Thing’, and I’d put my top back on and we’d go.  Much later, he’d grab me by the waist during parties and sit me on his lap and grind his erection against my ass.  I’d escape pretty quickly then.

He breathed heavily.  I still panic when there is a male heavy breather around.

So back to the dream.  This ‘colleague’ ground his crotch against my arse and then sauntered back to his desk with his printing.  I was furious.  I held the end of the bench, then I went and sat down, and then I thought, no, I’m going to tell him that what he did was inappropriate and if he did anything similar again I would report him for sexual assault and pursue him to the full extent of the law.

So I did.  I got up and I went over there and I leaned on his desk and he smirked.  I told him that what he did was unacceptable and if he did anything similar, I would report him for sexual assault to HR, and then I would file charges against him.  And he started laughing and making light of it and started turning his chair away from me to laugh with his other colleagues and make a big joke of it.  So I grabbed the back of his chair and spun him around to face me fully, and told him in a much louder voice (which always carries in an open plan office) that he did not get to laugh this off, or make light of it.  That grinding his dick against my arse was sexual assault, and I would pursue him to the fullest extent of the law, and I would make sure he was locked up.  That what he did was serious and absolutely inappropriate to do to anyone.

His little beady eyes glared up at me as I woke up after delivering my grand and impassioned speech.

It’s been on my mind all day.  I’ve been turning it over and over again, trying to understand what it was.  It was only this evening that I realised that dream was me confronting Thing and not allowing him to dismiss his actions, to dismiss his impact on me, to minimise what he did or make light of it.

Once It is no longer a part of my life and I am fully in the clear of It, I will no longer have to pretend to like Thing should I ever see him again at mutual friend functions.  I will be able let mutual friends know that Thing and It have traumatised me and abused me – probably not the details, but I can let them know in no uncertain terms that these two creatures have seriously harmed me.  I won’t have to pretend.  About any of it.

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