Thursday, April 16, 2009

How Dreams Can Help You Heal From Childhood Sexual Abuse

From The Complete Dream Dictionary written by Pamela Ball, Chartwell Books, Inc., Edison, New Jersey, 2000, page 324:
"If ideas of rape appear in a dream, then it can be as much to do with violation of personal space as with the sexual act. Sexual rape is unlikely to appear in the dreams of sexually abused children, though the adult may later suffer from nightmares. Rape itself may only manifest when the adult is ready to deal with the trauma. Most rape dreams are based around the need for, or perception of power issues between the male and female."

Why did I search out the above quote to share with you? I had a dream a few days ago in which I was raped. I looked in my dream dictionary for more meaning to the dream than I, alone, may have given it.

This isn't the first dream of rape that I have ever had. Years ago, after I had been working on my incest issues for awhile and was learning about choices, I had a dream in which a man was going to rape me. I remember that there were two men and that I couldn't prevent the rape but I could choose which of the two men were going to rape me. I remember looking into the eyes of both men and making my decision. I knew that one would be kinder than the other. He is the one that I chose to rape me. I woke up in a lot of confusion until I realized that the dream was more about the fact that I had choices, that I could actually choose the path that my life and my recovery was going to take. That is when I really learned that our choices control the path that we take in life. Choices, which I never felt that I had as a child, gave me a sense of freedom that I had never experienced before that dream.

I do believe that many of my dreams are about healing. As small as making the choice of who would rape me would seem to others, for me, it was the beginning of knowing, really knowing, that I could make a better life for myself, a life in which I felt safe and valued. My choices, my opinions mattered. Unless you are a survivor, you may not understand how really big that dream was to me.

In my dream of a few days ago, I didn't see the rape happen. I just knew that I had been raped as well as the other two women in my dream. I may have dreamed about the rape happening but if I did, I didn't carry those memories to my waking state. I remember leaving the two women behind as I walked and cried, walked and cried, walked and cried. I have cried over the years in my waking state with the grief of dealing with my incest issues. I have never cried with the deep, deep grief that I cried in this dream. The grief was so consuming that I can see myself stopping and just crying before starting to walk again until more grief came through.

In the next part of the dream, I found myself walking into a courtroom with people all around. I knew that I was going to tell them about the rape. That is when I woke up. Just as I woke up, I heard the word "justice" and knew that was why I chose a courthouse. I knew that I wasn't going to remain quiet as I did after my childhood rapes by my uncle and dad. I knew that I would no longer be silenced by the men.

I believe that this was a healing dream in that I deeply grieved and I was willing to seek justice for myself whether the other two women did or not. Also, those two women are reflections of female parts of me that are still living in the abuse and afraid to speak for themselves. So there is still some healing for me to do.

I have been taught that numbers are always important in dreams. In my dream there were three women, counting myself. I called a friend who does numerology and asked her the significance of the number three. She told me that the number three is about expression, creativity and the trinity. In this case, I think that the trinity has to do with my healing on the emotional, physical and spiritual levels of my being. Emotional healing also means physical healing because of the tears and pain that my body releases and no longer carries around. Any time that you let go of emotional pain, it gives more room for spiritual growth and love to enter your body and heart.

As my dream dictionary says the rape happened in my dream because I have made the decision to deal with any remaining incest issues that may come up. Because of this dream, I know that my decision is right. Divine timing is always right. I am exactly where I am supposed to be in my journey.

Thanks to Enola ( ) and Surviving by Grace ( ) for letting me know that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month across the U. S. Use this month to make yourself more knowledgable about the signs of Child Abuse and how you might be able to do something to save a child.


Enola said...

In the midst of my therapy I began to have a reoccurring dream that my office was invaded and the attacker was going to rape either me or another younger woman. I chose to sacrifice myself over this girl. Like you it was about choice being power. Also, I always felt like if I conceded I would keep my sister safe. I think the theme continued. Great post

Patricia Singleton said...

Enola, like you, I always hoped that if my dad used me, he would leave my sister alone.

rollyocampo said...

Patricia, thank you for visiting my blog and for the very kind acknowledgment. I believe it was John Milton who wrote, "They also serve who only stand and wait."

But I guess we do more than just "stand and wait." By actively being there, a sentinel on the Web against child abuse and abuse of women, you do a lot and you help others stand up and get on with their lives.

Stay strong and true Patricia. Remember God watches over and cares for all of us.

Patricia Singleton said...

Rolly, you are very welcome. I have not been a "stand and wait" person in a long time. I am more of the charge ahead and look later type which sometimes gets me into trouble and it sure makes life exciting. It is good to see more and more of us stand up against child abuse.

Just Be Real said...

Thankyou Patricia, for sharing about the dreams. Blessings.

Patricia Singleton said...

Just Be Real, you are welcome. I believe that dreams can be important tools to your advancement in your journey.

Rick Belden said...

I'd like to second Patricia's comment above about the importance and usefulness of dreams. I've found my dreams to be invaluable sources of information for learning about myself and my inner world. My dreams were especially helpful to me in the earliest phases of beginning to explore myself and my history, when my conscious awareness of who I was and what I was feeling at any given moment was so minimal. The dreams I had at that time in my life woke me up, both literally and figuratively, and I don't know who I'd be without them.

Patricia Singleton said...

Rick, I will read your two posts on dream work. I took a dream class several years ago at my church and learned so much about myself through my dreams.

Colleen said...

Thanks for your post and for your support of me and others. I have an award for you on my blog.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we have so many dreams but mostly they all are about our abuse or being trapped somewhere and never getting out

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you for the Love Ya Award. I am just now beginning to reach out to other bloggers in the child abuse community. I have been touched by the struggle and the courage of these men and women that I am beginning to know through their blogs. I look better to knowing you all better with time as we grow together and make the world a better place for future children.

Patricia Singleton said...

Jumping In Puddles, I pray that the healing dreams will some day come for all of you. I look forward to getting to know you all better. You are so brave.

A few years ago I took a class to learn more about my dreams. What I found out is that each of us has our own unique symbols that mean something to us. I have learned to look more at what my overall view of the dream is and how do I feel about the dream. Some are still just nightmares.

Prayer Girl said...

Hi Patricia,
First, thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. I love to hear from new friends.

Second, during the hours of deep sleep, I have had throughout my life some of the worst and also some of the most blessed dreams.

I believe that God has sent me several dreams and actual events that were so special that they have stayed with me all my life and have encouraged me as I have walked through more difficult times.

Thanks again,
Prayer Girl

healandforgive said...


Thank you so much for sharing this dream and the healing significance it had on you. My own dreams have often been the catalyst for clarity in my own healing journey.

Thank you for reaching out! I've tagged you again with the Love Ya award!

Continued blessings on your journey,

Patricia Singleton said...

Prayer Girl, you are welcome. Some dreams can have a profound effect upon your life. Thanks for visiting. Friends have always been an important safety net in my life.

Patricia Singleton said...

Heal And Forgive, thank you for the honor of the Love Ya Award. I look forward to us getting to know each other better.