what dreams may come

Last night brought another nightmare about my mother. I haven't dreamed about her in a long time, and this one was worse than most.

In some of my dreams, she's just somewhere around. Others are more directly about her. Sometimes she's trying to stalk me in a way that is annoying and maybe comical, but not scary. Sometimes I tell her off, strong and direct. When I wake up, I figure she's been on my mind, roll my eyes, and move on.

Last night, I dreamed that I was living with her again, and that I was trying to explain to her what I needed her to do in order for us to re-establish contact. I told her that I needed her to take responsibility for her own actions, to express this to me, and to treat me with respect.

She laughed at me. It was a mean laugh, a mocking laugh. I felt powerless, debased, and afraid. She told me that I was the one who should be taking responsibility, not her. I felt the way I did when I was 21 and she picked fights with me and told me that I had said and done things that I couldn't remember having said or done, and at the time, I entertained the idea that maybe I really was crazy, and that I had done these things, and had some psychological issue that made me block them out. In the dream I was back in that gaslighted place, half convinced that I was experiencing some kind of psychosis. At the same time, I knew she was the madwoman, not me. I started trying to plan an escape. How much of my stuff did I need to take with me? Could I afford an apartment? Could I do it that night?

There was a lot of fear in the dream. Fear of rejection, fear of getting caught, fear that I was the problem, fear of her mockery, fear of what she might do to me. I think I was worried about being consumed, becoming nothing.

The dream has bothered me all day, lurking around the edges of my normal routines. I'm fairly certain that it was induced by the arrival of a Mother's Day card from her on Wednesday. My eldest son found it in the mail, recognized an envelope addressed to me, missing a return address, as suspicious and called my attention to it. I recognized her writing and hated that my son knows which mail comes from her, and that it's unwelcome mail. My husband opened it - I had guessed that it was a Mother's Day card and told him that if it contained crazy-lady rantings, I would add it to my file, but if it was just signed minus the overt crazy, recycle it. Of course, I got it out of him what it said (simply signed "We love you and miss you, Mom & Dad"). I know I should just toss everything, unopened, but I have a morbid curiosity and a need to know all the facts. Knowing is better than not knowing. Still, I hate that I let her succeed in getting mail to me.

What does it mean, that I was talking to her about reconciliation?  Is it just a random thing? Is it my brain reminding me that I needn't feel guilty about opening it or about my son recognizing the card, because ultimately, she's a crazy lady who mocks and disrespects me? Or is there some deep-down desire for reconciliation? I don't think I want that. I don't like her. I don't want to be near her. So why the dream?


  1. I think it's more the former = "crazy lady who mocks and disrespects me." I have a lot of worst-case scenario nightmares like that, with my parents finding me and winding back up at my old house. I think what it does is reminds you how much it sucked and how lucky you are it is a just a dream! I think it also prepares you for bad stuff just in case. What's cool is you knew you wanted to run away and you were planning it! I guess I think of it like replays.

  2. What Lisa said; and, the dream seems to be a reassurance that you're not the one to blame for the lack of reconciliation. --quartz