Dreams of abusive father


Dreams of abusive father


your avatar   Cammie, 32-year-old woman

I am a survivor of sexual abuse by my father. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and I am currently on medication for both for about 10 years now. I have had no contact with my father in over 9 years.

I have had several losses in my family. When grandfather died, my father helped in no way - my mother was the executive for my father's father. He didn't even go to the ceremony for his memory. Three months before that my grandmother (my father's stepmother) had passed. Again, he helped with nothing. This happened in 2002 and now in 2003 I have lost my grandfather in February and then lost my grandmother in November, so I have been dealing with a lot of hurt.

Lately I have had these dreams which are quite worrisome to me. I dream that I am sitting down and having a conversation with my father. He is meeting my children (girls) for the first time and proceeds to tell me that his current wife has left him. But as I was walking around the house I noticed that there are pictures of some children that his current wife had and it has things written to them from him...things like he loves her and he is still her father. When I wake up I get an anxiety attack. I need to know what this means. This is not the first time that I had a similar dream.

Does this mean that he's going to try to contact me? Any kind of suggestion would be appreciated as I am not sleeping well - I'm worried what the next dream will say.


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear Cammie,

I am very sorry for the sexual abuse that you suffered from your father and the continual abandonment that he has perpetrated with you. Everyone deserves two loving parents and even people who handle the trauma extremely well have a wound that only gets semi-healed. It is as if there is a void that continues to ache for fulfillment even if consciously the sufferer realizes that they would be better off without the abusive parent in their present life.

It is impossible to foretell the future, so I couldn't tell you if he is going to contact you or not. Relatives often have a sixth sense about these things and one of the common mediums for their transmission is through dreams. This type of communication is certainly not always accurate.

There are many theories for analyzing dreams. These range from the belief that all the people in the dream are simply the dreamer in different forms, to the idea that dreams are just the random activity of the brain and therefore mean nothing. Other theories include the idea of rehearsal dreams, in which the dreamer is practicing dealing with a stressful situation via the dream in the hopes of mastering the problem. Many analysts stress the symbolic nature of dreams and view each character from that perspective. As with most theories, they usually accurately describe part of reality, but do not explain everything. All of these different theories are accurate with certain dreams, but not all.

My guess is that your dream relives the early trauma that you experienced and the hopes and fears that you have now about that trauma. The part about him meeting your girls would be a natural fear in the present, and a wish of what you would like to happen if he was healthier. It would also mirror the terror, and the wishes that you yourself had about your parent, and the parent that you wished you had.

I imagine that you felt further abandonment when he got remarried, since he left one family and started another. The lie in the dream about his new wife and children leaving would again be a secret wish, and finding out he lied again would indicate that deep inside you have discerned the real essence of who you are dealing with. Often, people relive the past when they have children. When their children reach the age where a trauma has occurred to them, they relive that trauma by viewing their children. This does not necessarily indicate dysfunction. Rather, it is an opportunity to grieve out more of the original pain.

I hope this has helped. Take care.

Jef Gazley, LMFT

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit: http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/


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