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Advice on recurring dream

So this isn't weight loss / health related at all, but since I can't afford a therapist :-) I thought I'd ask my fellow PTers for their thoughts.

I've had a recurring dream for about 3 months, and now I'm dreaming it every night. I wake up crying, and it's pretty distressing. Yesterday I figured out why I'm having the dreams, but last night I dreamt the same thing again.

Background: My first boyfriend and I dated in highschool. I broke up with him when he was in the army. We remained close, and he wanted to get back together. Finally, when he moved on and found another girlfriend, I was devastated. I realized I'd made a big mistake, and tried to reconcile. He refused, but we continued to be friends for about seven years. The scenario of him wanting to reconcile and me not being keen, and vice versa, went on for seven years! I had other boyfriends in the interim, but he remained a big issue for me.

When I left my home country, I felt the need to call him up and ask him one final time if he thought we had any chance of a future together. His answer was no. I grieved for about 2 days, but that was followed by a HUGE sense of relief that it was finally over. And it is. I will always care for him, but I no longer regret that I messed things up.

Now I'm in the US, and am engaged to the most wonderful man. He adores me, and we're getting married quite soon.

In my recurring dream, I do something to piss him off (I never remember what it is)... He withdraws from me completely, I realize what I've done, but it's too late. He is very dismissive, refuses to talk it through, avoids me, and starts spending time with his ex-wife. I try in vain to make things right between us, but he eventually leaves me, saying that he no longer loves me.

My question / request for advice is this: What do I need to do to reassure my subconscious that this scenario isn't going to happen? I really want to stop having these dreams, because I usually can't get back to sleep, and wake up exhausted in the mornings.


Fri. Sep 29, 9:22am

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maybe discuss the dream with him? he may provide the reassurance you need.

Friday, September 29, 2006, 9:42 AM

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Based on what you've said, it doesn't sound like your dream is based on your first boyfriend at all. Though you sound very happy, you might have some doubt about whether your relationship will work (perfectly natural before getting married). Perhaps you're concerned about this & releasing it in your dream because it's not a conscious thought (at least not right now).

I agree with the above poster & I think you should bring it up to your fiance (if you feel comfortable doing so & hopefully you do if you're in such an intimate relationship). Maybe try foreshadowing it with telling him what you need: For him to listen & maybe even reassure you.

In the meantime, on your own, try writing down this dream on paper. Then look at it & ask yourself what you would do if this did happen (let's call it the "worst case scenario"). Would you grieve, then move on? (hopefully!) Now what's the best case scenario? (Paint a beautiful, PERFECT picture.) Now what's MOST LIKELY to happen? (Have normal fights, get annoyed with each other, love each other, etc.) This might help you face your anxiety (if that's what it is) head-on & dismiss the "worst case scenario."

I might be all wrong, but I'm just trying to help based on what you've shared. Hope this helps & your nightmares go away!

Friday, September 29, 2006, 11:00 AM

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To the OP -- I think you are in one of my teams? J

Friday, September 29, 2006, 11:11 AM

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To 11:11, quite possible. I'm also a J :-)

Thanks to the above posters... I have actually talked about it with my fiance many times. He reassures me each time that it's not going to happen, and on an intellectual level, I know that's true.

I really do believe it's based on the first boyfriend thing... feeling like I'm too late to rectify the problem, and grieving that he no longer loves me.

Will try writing the dream down, although by now I'm veeeery familiar with it, cos I've had it so often.

Friday, September 29, 2006, 11:20 AM

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could this be a self-esteem issue? or a codependency issue? or a fear of commitment? an abandonment issue? as far as convincing yourself that this isn't going to happen, i don't know that you can. it's a faith thing. you might want to list all the reasons you believe this relationship WILL last instead of focusing on trying to rid yourself of the subconscious feelings you can't seem to control. you know, positive self-reinforcement. and while you are exploring around in your head, think about what your course of action would be if this did NOT work out. the fear of the unknown is sometimes overwhelming-try to create a real-life scenario and write down how you might pick-up-the-pieces, so to speak. this exercise might show you that no relationship is the "be all, end all" in your life, and take the pressure off.

Friday, September 29, 2006, 12:02 PM

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You said you left the boyfriend. You're could be feeling guilty and thinking that now it's your turn to be dumped.
There are probably other issues from your past that are making you feel this way though, since the fiance has reassured you he's not going anywhere.
Maybe someone close to you died? Parents divorced when you were young? Maybe you just have low self esteem and don't feel like you deserve to be happy? Maybe it's not about the bf or fiance at all... maybe the dream is a metaphor for something else in your life that you are afraid will "leave you".

All I can suggest is that every morning you try to tell yourself how lucky you are right now to have the fiance. Rattle off a list of all of the things that are going well in your life no matter how small it may seem. Don't list negative things, just positive. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. The more you fill your brain with the good and positive things, the less room there will be for the negative thoughts.

And one other thing I just thought of... make sure you aren't eating weird / too spicy / too much food too close to bedtime. I can have some reallllllly odd dreams when I've eaten odd stuff too close to bedtime and can never figure out where those thoughts come from!

Friday, September 29, 2006, 2:02 PM

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OP here

Aha! You may be right. I do have a rejection issue, largely because my grandmother (who lived with us and was my primary mother figure) got up one morning and took a dive off an 18-storey building. I was five years old at the time. Thought I'd dealt with it in therapy, but I think there may be some leftover feelings there. I think you may also be right on the I somehow expect to be punished for all the bad stuff I've done to guys, particularly when I was drinking heavily.

Thanks guys! And I'm definitely going to kickstart my gratitude list again.

Friday, September 29, 2006, 2:13 PM

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i just can't say it enough. this site is amazing ! power to the peertrainer community !!!

Friday, September 29, 2006, 2:19 PM

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to the OP - I'm the 2:02 poster here again...

All of the hair stood up on me when I read your reply. Yah - it's no wonder you have some issues... that would do a number on anybody.
And as far as how you've treated guys in the past, especially when drinking, I have a little story...

About 12 months ago I was going through a box of old letters, cards, wedding invitations, stuff like that. I got to the bottom of the box and found an old "diary" I kept when I was like 15 to 17 or so. (I'm now 46).
I used to drink and dabbled in some drugs in my youth, and did some pretty stupid and mean things. Anyway, I had forgotten about most of it until I started to read that diary. I was so digusted at what I had written back then... about things I had done to people, the terrible things I thought about my stepfather, about the crap that I thought was such a hugh deal at the time...
I did not like the person who wrote that stuff at all. Here I had been in a really good mood, reliving all kinds of happy memories with the other stuff in the box until that point. And what if something had happened to me and someone else found that and had read it?
I was so upset with myself for even saving that damn thing in the first place. I totally am NOT that person anymore, so that's probably what was most upsetting... that I didn't even realize all of the stuff I had thought/done back then.
Anyway...I decided the only way to say goodbye to that person (angry teen me) was to hold a little ceremony that night. I got a glass of wine sat down in front of my fireplace, and burned every one of those pages plus some other letters from school mates that reminded me of that time. It was very liberating to watch each piece go up in flames and I felt a whole lot better when I was done.

Maybe you could write down some of those things that you think you need to be "punished for" and even write appologies to those people... and then burn the whole mess!

Keep me updated too - I really want to know if the dreams stop....


Friday, September 29, 2006, 5:21 PM

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to the op

so, how's it going? has the dream returned?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 2:42 PM

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