Living a Nightmare: A Very Real Look Into My Nightmares About My Abusive Ex-boyfriend

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“Sometimes in the middle of the night I can feel you again. But I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man” Little Big Town

I’m waiting outside to be picked up. I’m nervous but excited. A car pulls up. It’s red. I get in and it’s him. I’ve missed him so much. I get in and buckle up. He puts his hand on my leg and smiles at me. I’ve missed him so so much. We laugh and joke like we used to. We go to pick up lunch. We hold hands everywhere we go like we used to. I miss his presence so much but can’t remember why I haven’t seen him in so long. I can’t figure out why we’ve been apart. Our day continues and I feel so happy. I forgot what it felt like to feel like that.  I forgot what love felt like. But then I start to feel uneasy. I feel uncomfortable and nervous. All the sudden it hits me. I remember that he hit me. I remember that he had me bloody and bruised in the bathroom stall. I remember the emergency room. I remember my surgery. I remember the restraining order. I finally turn to him and say “don’t you remember? Don’t you remember what you did to me”? He smirks. He always smirked the exact same way in real life. He smirks and he whispers “Yea I remember”. “I can’t be with you again you hurt me” I scream. He keeps driving. He doesn’t let me out. I can’t get out and he’s laughing. I keep yelling that he hurt me but he doesn’t care. “Why don’t you care”?! I shout at him. “Because I’m a psychopath”. I wake up drenched in sweat. Panicking. I search around me frantically because it feels like he was right there. I feel him all around me. I can’t shake the feeling of him being near me. That feeling follows me all day long. It feels all too real. Every. Single. Time.

“I was trapped in that nightmare

shaking

trembling

terrified

afraid

scared.

my nightmare didn’t happen just once.”

As hard as I try to forget what happened to me and who did it to me, the one place I can never seem to forget it all is in my dreams. He’s in them every night. The dream is always different, but they are always way too real. It takes me a whole day to recover from one. It follows me all day like a dark cloud hanging over my head. It’s like a dream that feels real, but 900 times worse. Every dream starts the same. We get back together and we’re so happy. I miss being around him so much. We could spend days or hours together, it always changes. After being back together and being so happy again, I start to feel weird. I start to remember what he did to me. But once I remember it’s too late. He knows I remember and he thinks it’s funny. He thinks he’s tricked me and starts laughing. Once i remember everything he did to me, it’s too late. I’m trapped and I can’t get away from him.

“The most frightening nightmare of all is neither of monsters, ghosts, lost teeth or great falls but the simple lovely awful dream of a lover who loves you no more.” Beau Taplin: My Lovely Nightmare 

I’m walking to class. I can’t seem to find the entrance to my classroom, but I’ve had the class all semester. I keep walking to the wrong building. I can’t find the right door. I keep circling the building but I can’t find the door anymore. I finally go in through the back of the building even though I know it’s the wrong door. I push my way through filing cabinets. I walk into what seems to be an office. For some reason it seems like a legal office but also a help center office. I’m not quite sure but the people know me there. They greet me. They hand me some papers at the front desk. It’s a police report. I feel like I’ve been out of it, or away for a few days. I read about what happened to me. He hit me, I went to the hospital, I was covered in blood. I keep reading. Page after page it’s mostly stuff I know in real life. But then I get to a picture. This picture then transports me inside it. I’m standing next to him. He’s laying in a hospital bed. He’s hooked up to so many wires. His mom is standing over him crying. They can’t see me but I’m standing right next to them. I put my hand on his but he can’t feel me there. I’m standing in the past. I can’t do anything to save him. His mom starts getting more and more upset. He’s gone. He’s dead. His mom is crying and yelling. I snap back to the office. I am staring at the picture of him in the bed. I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the heart. I have never felt such immense sadness. I can’t breathe, I’m sobbing. I throw the papers down on the floor and run out. I try to go see him but it’s too late. It happened two days ago. He’s already gone. I check his mom’s Facebook to see if he really passed away. He had. I was crushed. I couldn’t stop crying. I had lost him. I never felt a sadness like that before. I couldn’t believe that i had lost him. I tried to do something for his family. I found them and they started yelling at me. I couldn’t understand why. I loved him. I was just trying to help. His mom began yelling at me. I killed him. I was the one that killed him and it was all my fault. I ruined her son. Her Facebook feed was covered with my face. She was sharing my blog saying that I wrote it for attention. She ended up writing a book about how I killed her son and ruined his life all for attention on my blog. But then I woke up from that dream. But I was still dreaming. Like inception. He was actually alive. I was so torn apart about thinking that I had lost him. I was so sad that I could have lost him that I made my way down to the office again. I talked to my prosecutor about dropping all the charges because I was so upset about not being with him. I tried to convince them that I loved him and wanted to be with him again and they had to drop all of the charges. When I woke up I was drenched in sweat again. Pretty bad this time since the dream seemed so incredibly real. I was somber all day because I felt like I had lost him all over again. The whole day was like having my head in a cloud.

It’s like he still has some hold on me even though we have no communication anymore. He still has the power to ruin my day. He still has the power to make me miss him all day long. I hate that he has this power and he doesn’t even know it. He ruins my days without even trying. Just the mere memory of him can drag me down for an entire day. He distracts me from work, school, driving, eating. Sometimes I drive from point A to point B and have no idea how I got there. The entire time I just replay the dream over and over again. It’s like I live in the dream throughout the entire day. The only way to get out of the dream is to go back to sleep and hope that I don’t have one about him that night.

I’m driving. I know exactly where I’m going. I don’t know how I know, I think someone told me. But I can picture exactly where he is. I know which apartment is his. It’s across from Taco Bell on Speedway. I pull into the parking lot. I can see him in the window from outside. I’m not supposed to talk to him. I have a restraining order against him and if I talk to him I could ruin anything in evidence. I know that but I can’t help it. I sneak inside and count the number of windows all the way down to his door. He opens the door and sneaks me in. He hugs me once I’m inside. It feels so good to be in his arms again. He hurries me in the corner and says I have to hide. His family is visiting and staying in his apartment. When his mom comes in she starts to yell about me. She says that I ruined his life. I exaggerated about everything for attention. He tries to argue that I didn’t that he’s the one that hurt me. He tries to tell her how stupid he was. She doesn’t listen. Finally  they turn the lights out to go to sleep. He comes by the bed that I’m hiding next to and gets under the covers with me. He holds me and it feels so safe. I’m about to fall asleep when the lights switch on. She knows I’m there. He tries to run me out of the apartment and into my car. He tries to hurry me into my car but I don’t want to leave him. He urges me to go. I beg him to come with me. I need him I can’t go without him. He promises that I can come back for him once his mom leaves. But he forces me in the car alone and I have to drive away watching him stand in the parking lot alone. I can’t stop crying and I feel so alone. I’m so mad that I had to leave him.  The whole next morning I’m just as sad.

I know my subconscious is telling me that as much as I miss him and want him back in my life, he’s not meant to be in it. I always try to get back with him because naturally, I still miss him. Your mind only thinks about the good memories. It conveniently always seems to ignore the bad ones. So every night I go to bed and my mind replays all those tiny good moments. And when I’m asleep those good moments are just enough. They’re just enough to make me incredibly happy in that moment. Because in reality I’d give anything to just have those good moments back. But then my subconscious remembers how much he hurt me. Not just the last time, but every emotional and physical scar he left on me in the course of our relationship. Once I remember what he did to me, I snap out of it and try and get away. But I can never escape in the end. To me that’s my mind telling me if I ever tried to go back to him, I would never be able to escape. Something way worse would happen to me before I could. I’m lucky something way worse didn’t happen to me in real life. But I’m glad my subconscious knows to shake me out of it.

We’re standing in my kitchen. We’re dancing around cooking dinner like we used to do. He’s twirling me around when I stumble and fall into his arms. I look up and him and smile. Everything seems so right in this moment. It all seems to go back to normal. But then I remember. I remember what he did to me. It hits me so fast. When I realize what he did to me, I try to tell him. “You hit me Jeff”. But he just laughs. “I know” he says. I try to get away but I can’t. I try to ask him why he did it. “Why did you do it? Why?” But he just smiles and says ” Because I’m a psychopath and that’s what I do Sydney”. 

We’re driving again. This time tensions are high. I’m trying to talk to him but he won’t listen he keeps turning up the radio. His hand is on my thigh and he’s caressing me in a loving way. He turns over and smiles and I try to smile back. We’re driving for a while and everything seems normal. I seem happy for a bit. It seems like real life before everything happened. I keep trying to ask him what happened but I get scared. I don’t remember the night everything happened. I don’t remember why he did it. I try to ask him. He tells me it doesn’t matter. But WHY did you hit me? He assures me it doesn’t matter. I can’t figure out why it happened. He says don’t worry. He loves me. And we keep driving and listening to music as he rubs my hand. 

I’m not sure if I will ever remember what happened that night. Looking back at pictures has brought up a few new memories but I still can’t remember why he hit me. Other times he had hit me I was fully conscious. The last time it happened seemed like a huge dark blur. When I look back at pictures, all the lights were on behind me. But in my memory, all the lights were off. In my memory it was so dark I couldn’t even see anyone in front of me. So it’s natural that not knowing why he hit me is going to haunt me in my dreams. It’s like he knows the answer and I always try to ask him in my dreams but he just laughs. I still may never know why. These dreams are like a huge tease. I feel like I’m back with him, but I’m not. I’m about to get answers, but I don’t.

They say that nightmares or dreams that repeat themselves, or have repeating themes, are extremely important. They are trying to tell you something. I hate to say it out loud or even write it down in words, but I still love my ex. I still love him so much more than I ever wish I had the ability to. But that’s normal. Of course, when you tell someone that, their reaction is always the same. “You’re insane, how the heck can you love someone like that after what they did to you”?? But I can’t help it. So listening to friends and family give me the same answer over and over again isn’t helping. I have to figure it out on my own. I have slowly begun to realize that these nightmares are my way of figuring it out for myself. Every time in the dream I realize, he’s no good, get out. But I can never escape. That’s my answer right there. I can’t love him like that ever again. If in some parallel universe that final night never happened, somewhere down the line he would still find a way to hurt me just as bad. I tell myself, well what if he didn’t hit me that bad that final night and we worked our relationship out after that? UM FUCK NO! That’s crazy talk. He would still find a way to hurt me. But I have to figure that answer out for myself. And slowly along the way I hope that these nightmares continue to help me realize that. Because nothing feels as real as waking up and feeling like I can’t run away from him. Eventually I think the nightmares will subside, but for now I will let them run their course. It is just a way for me to heal my own wounds. I will let the happy memories continue to exist only in my subconscious and try to bring the rational thoughts about our relationship into my reality the next day. He will always know what he did to me and he can never change that. Not in my dreams or real life.

“I drag myself out of nightmares each morning and find there’s no relief in waking.”

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