“I love you. I hate you. I like you. I hate you. I love you. I think you’re stupid. I think you’re a loser. I think you’re wonderful. I want to be with you. I don’t want to be with you. I would never date you. I hate you. I love you…..
I think the madness started the moment we met and you shook my hand.
Did you have a disease or something?”
― Shannon L. Alder
Some of my favourite memories are of dreams I’ve had,
ones which offered escape from the hell I was experiencing while awake.
They were a rescue remedy for a troubled soul.
They knew exactly what I needed to keep me from going off a deep end from which I could never come back.
Some were beautiful…
like the one where I was a Japanese woman, standing on a balcony over a turquoise sea, loose hair blowing in a gentle caressing breeze, breathing in the scent of centuries past and those yet to come.
Some were ugly…
The most memorable one scared the crap out of me… and by doing so snapped me out of a living nightmare.
A detailed version of that dream is in this post – Graven – A Hypnagogic Nightmare – but if you’d prefer a quick overview of it…
I had a very vivid dream that my body was about to be possessed by a demon, thanks to a trick which a little old lady played on me.
(all the villains in my dreams at that time were little old ladies)
It felt very real when I had it, because… in some ways it was.
Let me just state for the record, your honour, that I don’t believe in demons… not of the supernatural kind anyway.
I do believe in the human type of demon – those passions which become obsessions and possess us making us lose ourselves in our own private hell into which we drag others… we didn’t mean to do that to them, but we did it anyway because we hoped they would drag us out of hell.
That’s basically what had happened to me at the time of this dream. I’d been dragged into someone else’s hell as they tried to use me to drag themselves out of it…
… and I’d been possessed by their demon, their passionate wound, their obsession, their unfinished business… which they still haven’t finished.
“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.”
― Salman Rushdie
I was given a role in their passion play, one which could go several ways…
either way it went demanded that I sacrifice my life for them.
They seemed to think I owed this to them,
that I had to do it and be grateful about it,
more than that they saw my life as something which was owned by them.
Their possession of me meant that…
they would leave me with a lot of unfinished business of my own while they used me to finish their own business…
which they would never finish…
as without it they feared…
the end of days of one sort or another.
“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”
― Vladimir Nabokov
There is nothing quite like the fear of giving up on a dream,
even if that dream is a nightmare.
Some people will do anything to keep the dream… the nightmare going rather than find out what happens if they let it go.
To let go of a nightmare is also to let go of a dream…
*inspired by watching post-hiatus season 5 of Once Upon A Time – where the usual heroes travel to the Underworld to rescue one of their clique… and it’s all about unfinished business keeping people stuck in their own private hell and dragging others into it…
there are a few resolutions…
Rumple finally told Belle where she could shove her sanctimonious – I can change you into a better person (into who I have decided you need to be for me which is not who you are and is never good enough) with my love (my controlfreakery which I call love because it sounds like chocolate… why not say I chocolate you!?!) – bollocks.
I love the image of old lady villains! 🙂 Also, your dream about being the Japanese woman is wonderful! I love the images I got from this post. Oh no, suddenly I feel bad for dragging others into my unfinished business, by writing a lot of sad and troubled blog posts, haha! More so in the past though, I guess… less and less sad blog posts the more time passes, it seems…. Thanks for sharing this, it awakes many different thoughts! 🙂
Thank you 🙂
What you do with your posts is very different from what I was thinking about while writing this. It can be healing to write about your sadness and troubles, both for you and for those with whom you share it.
There’s a big difference between sharing your story with others and dragging them into your story, between sharing your sadness and troubles and wanting others to fix it for you.
It’s about the intention behind the sharing. Most people share to figure out their own story, perhaps to get feedback from others or just to get it out into the open which helps to figure it out.
Those who worry about how their story, feelings, thoughts shared affect others aren’t the ones who drag people into their unfinished business.
Narcissists tend to drag people into their story, because they’re stuck there and are lonely, it’s the kind of misery which wants company.
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Yes, you are right of course, there is a difference there… I still try to be merciful to my readers though, haha. If I post about misery, I tend to post more lighthearted posts the next time. Perhaps also because I do not want to feel that the blog readers should feel any type of responsibility for me. That sounds a bit weird, but, it is perhaps something from the past, not wanting to burden people, you know. 🙂
Thank you for writing such an eloquent explanation! I sort of had something like that in my head when I thought about it… but you are always so good at sorting it out in clear terms.. I hope I can get such a clear head some time! 🙂 Thanks for your kind reply.
As a chronic insomniac, i have almost no access to dreams, but i can recall some very old recurrent ones which were so realistic that they anticipated real people behavioural patterns with no surprise at all.It must be wonderful to dream of something or being someone out of the ordinary routine.
i remember your mother lived in Japan, do you have the feeling your dream is related to her somehow? Sorry if this is indiscreet or blunt.
That particular dream had nothing to do with my mother per se, other than as an escape from her and her suffocating drama. The Japanese influence was, if I recall correctly, something to do with what I was exploring at the time.
Certain dreams are very helpful in figuring out waking issues, sometimes they do it years afterwards. You remember the dream and see the connections with the present reality, and what’s going on in your psyche. Recurring dreams are particularly insightful because they refer to patterns within.
I love the Alder quote. It describes perfectly the situation that we find ourselves in when in a narcissistic “relationship.”
Your dreams are rich and, I believe, protective. Your parents – what a pair. I once took a diploma in mediation and there were a lot of family court lawyers also taking the course. The one thing they were in agreement about was that people should be screened before they can become parents. And mostly, their reason for this was the fact that they had seen so many parents using their children, completely uncaring, completely blind about what they were doing.
Good post. 🙂
Thank you 🙂
That’s what I thought when I read the Alder quote. It summed it up perfectly in a few succinct words.
I used to watch this UK TV program which was called The House of Tiny Tearaways. It was basically a house where parents could stay with their ‘problem’ child/children and the whole family would be studied by a child psychologist who would then give their opinion on what the problem really was, and advice as to how to fix it. Usually the ‘problem’ child was not the problem, it was the parents. In many of the cases the only real problem was that the parents were anxious about being parents, especially about being bad parents and they were passing their anxiety onto their child who was acting out because of it. They just needed reassurance, support and some encouragement to relax and enjoy being parents rather than stress about whether they were doing parenting right or wrong. Some of the problems were caused by the parents trying to do what society said good parents should do.
I don’t think screening people before they become parents for their suitability as parents would work because we don’t know what kind of a parent someone is going to be until they actually have a child on a 24/7 basis. And those most likely to pass the kind of tests set up for them would be those who pass social tests all the time because they know how to play that kind of game. Narcissists in particular do really well in the screening process – they are always prepared for their close up and know how to look good in a way which pleases others.
Things like divorce can turn the best people into the worst for awhile. They tend to rely on the legal system to help, and the legal system often makes things worse for them and for their children. Perhaps those family court lawyers should have focused their attention on finding ways to change how the legal system works with regards to handling divorce and custody battles, because when something like that happens the parties involved maybe need the legal system and their lawyers to help them be less blind.
I wonder whether those lawyers would have passed the screening system which they were devising?
They were taking the course to beccome family mediators – the government had mandated that all custody disputes were to be solved outside the court system, barring cases where charges might be filed. So, they were taking part in training that was supposed to alleviate some of the issues. Discussing this now seems so quaint, almost. Custody in this country is now automatically joint, unless there’s a legal reason why it shouldn’t be.
I don’t believe that a screening system would work, either. It was interesting to hear them discussing it, though. They were spitballing, batting the idea around. Another interesting thing was that a lot of them didn’t have children.
I’ve listened to people brainstorm issues which they were peripherally attached to. I’ve done that myself. They sometimes sound like geniuses fixing all of the human world’s problems, but then they go off and live their own personal life and their genius theories get forgotten, sometimes because those genius fixes don’t work when we try to apply them to real life and real people living real life. Life doesn’t work according to the human version of how it should work, if it did it might be even more of a mess than it is 😉
Very good post and reminder. You described my version of hell precisely. I had to go in reverse in my particular situation. I had to let go of the nightmare first, to let go of the dream, that was just that – a dream.. some kind of twisted dramatic fairy tale, that I was waiting for the happy ending – that never came. That’s the mind fuckery of it all.
I died in a dream once. They say you can’t and I did, or what I believed to be me. Woke myself up trying to wake myself up in the dream. Wonder what woulda happened if I just “let go?” 🙂 To be continued.. Dreams are cool.. even the scary ones sometimes.
Thank you 🙂
If you die in a dream it’s not really you who is dying, it’s usually whatever part of you which is represented by the dying/dead you that has come to an end. And if anyone else dies in your dreams, that someone else also represents a part of your psyche because your dreams are all about you. Death in a dream is allegorical.
Chances are if you ‘let go’ in a dream, you’ll let go of that story in the dream and move on to another story.
There have been some intriguing studies of the purpose of dreaming, and the effects of lack of REM sleep. The most interesting one is of a tribe known as the Senoi. This is a post on that – http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/how-remote-senoi-tribes-use-dreams-for-personal-growth.html
One of the things most likely to keep us stuck to a narcissist is our desire for a conclusion which suits our imagined view of how things should be. Just for once we want them to [fill in the blank]… but we’ll never get it and that drives us nuts, the kind of nuts which keeps us in their hell which has become our hell too.
Interesting article. I never put much thought into controlling my dreams. But it reminds me of the film, Inception. Great film!
I just had a doozy last night. I saw a kid wreck on his ATV. I went to help him and found he lost his arm. I went to go get him assistance, and he started to crawl after me like a super fast zombie, and bit me! It scared the cripe out of me, and woke me up. I think I know what this one is about, but I still haven’t come to any conclusions with the one where I died. It was weird, because I was a kid fighting in Vietnam, but the kid wasn’t me. I’m far too young to have been in Vietnam to have any tangible attachment to it. Very lucid dream though. I left ‘my body’ in the dream, saw myself lying dead, and started drifting off to the infamous white light. I struggled in the dream not believing I was dead, and woke myself up, but not in a shocked manner. I wrote down the dream so I wouldn’t forget, and went back to sleep. Makes me think life is a dream. New theories are all of this is just a hologram.
Spot on about wanting conclusion. I just want her to be ‘normal’ and not for me per say. Even is she was magically cured I would still have trouble getting over all that was done. It doesn’t change or take away the fact that I got bit by the kid with the missing arm. There’s no change, growth or evolution for CBPDs. They’re just stuck, and that’s what’s most saddening about it all. Makes me stay on stuck in a sense like you said.
I meant to ask you, did you paint those pictures with the woman on the balcony and deer? They’re amazingly beautiful. Interesting articles about deers – http://www.spirit-animals.com/deer/
Thank you 🙂
Yes, I made those pics.
Life is a riddle and we figure it out in our own way!
Wow, they’re exceptional. The what I see as the sea in the one with the woman on the balcony reminds me of a Monet. But even better, because the sea looks 3 dimensional. I would definitely hang that one in my house.
My life has been more like a Chinese finger puzzle as of late. Still trying to get unstuck.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you very much 🙂
You’re going to be fine, you have a strong inner self. Sometimes the outer self crumbles, life does that to all of us, and a relationship with a narcissist can shatter us, but that kind of shattering reveals our core self to us. Takes awhile to rebuild, but the foundations on which we rebuild are strong… and made stronger.
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