The Denial of Abuse

Dream: 28/2/2017

I have a sister, who I’m visiting. My sister is the perfect housewife. She’s wearing a cute dress, with done up hair and make-up. Her house is immaculate. In my mind, I keep thinking that she’s super conformist. We get to talking about shoes. I want to borrow some of hers. As I’m putting them on, I’m talking about mom. All of sudden, my sister starts snarling at me and tries to grab my throat, “That never happened! I fixed it! Don’t you say that! I fixed it!” That’s when I realize, my sister spends her whole life pretending that we had a perfect childhood because she can’t deal with it. I wake up, hitting at her to get off of me. In my mind, I’m yelling, “You can’t fix it! It happened!”

Thoughts/Meaning

I had this dream immediately after agreeing to help a friend of mine, who was in the middle of an emotionally intense lawsuit at that time. It felt like this dream was about experiencing things from her point of view (i.e. putting on the shoes in the dream = walking in her shoes). She feels stuck because of old childhood trauma, which she feels unable to move through because her family is in denial. That’s not an uncommon pattern. Abusive families often sweep things under the rug and deny the abuse ever happened. Their denial then forces the victim to question their own memories/experience, which degrades their confidence in themselves and ensures that they’ll stay quiet. This suites the family fine because it means nothing has to change. The abuser can keep on abusing and everyone else can maintain the status quo.  A lot of people end up cutting all ties with their family because this dynamic can literally be crazy making. Sometimes, enough memories and evidence surface that it becomes impossible for the family to remain in denial. At that stage, major changes can begin to take place. I think this dream was showing me that the best thing I can do for my friend is to support her in remaining true to herself and her feelings. In the end, no matter what happened in the past, the best thing she can do in the present is to love and believe in herself.

 

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