Kylah Benes-Trapp

What It Means To Dream About Your Rape, According To An Expert

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A while ago, I collaborated with famed dream expert, Lauri Loewenberg, to decode any and all of your freakiest sex dreams. And I've had a guilty conscience about it ever since.

I know there are far freakier sex dreams than the 22 general concepts that are mentioned on that list. We all have deeply personal, weirdly detailed dreams that we sometimes just can't seem to shake out of our heads. 

Like, WHY did you dream about that guy from the grocery store yesterday? WHY was he wearing a top hat and nothing else?! What does it mean? Do you have to tell your boyfriend? Are you actually into the weird grocery store guy?!

So, I've decided to start a column. You guys can submit your sex dreams to sexdreamsanalyzed@elitedaily.com, and we will have Lauri interpret one dream a week.

This week we have 24-year-old Jennifer*, who can't stop having dreams about her rapist:

I am running down a long hall, with doors lining both sides, trying to remember which one I'm supposed to go through. Suddenly, I fly through a wall and I'm in my brother's room, having sex with my big brother and feeling guilty as hell, but I couldn't stop or go away. Then, my whole family walks through the door, pulls us apart and my step dad starts whipping us with his belt. I have had this dream quite a few times. My brother raped me in real life, and my step dad was extremely abusive. It's just been freaking me out.

Here's Lauri's Interpretation:

Repetitive nightmares that mimic an actual, real-life trauma are a classic symptom of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is most commonly associated with combat veterans, but you don't have to have been through a war to have it. Any sort of horrific event that scars the psyche is fertile ground for PTSD. If you haven't yet, please, please, PLEASE seek out a mental health practitioner, so you can be properly diagnosed and treated. In the meantime, I'll tackle this dream for you, and then, I'll give you a powerful technique you can start doing tonight to help end these nightmares.
Any sort of horrific event that scars the psyche is fertile ground for PTSD.
Your dream takes place in a hallway, which means you are in some sort of transition in waking life because we use hallways to get to another room or another part of the house. This does concern me that, since you've had this dream quite a few times, you are in limbo somewhere in your life. Just as you can't remember which door to go through, what area of your life seems to be getting you nowhere? I think your dream is showing you that the source of your limbo is the rape you suffered at the hands of your brother AND the abuse from your stepfather. The emotions you have in this dream are indicative of what is going on in your psyche to this day: You feel guilty. I have dealt with countless women who were abused in their past, and they continue to get dreams that the abuse is still happening. And one of the reasons is that they carry guilt over it and beat themselves up because some part of them feels they allowed the abuse to happen. It is a vicious cycle: The guilt creates the dreams, and the dreams enforce the guilt. Therapy will help you get to the bottom of the guilt and help you to release its hold on you. In these dreams, your family pulls you and your brother apart. This is because your psyche desperately wants to separate from your past. It seems you are still holding on to it.
It is a vicious cycle: The guilt creates the dreams, and the dreams enforce the guilt.
Here's what you can do to start the separation process, so you can be free from the guilt and the painful past... and these dreams. Tonight, at bedtime, right before you turn out your light to go to sleep, write this dream down in a journal in as much detail as you can remember. Write down the thoughts you had in the dream, how you felt — everything. When you get to the end, the point at which you normally wake up, keep writing! Then, write out a different ending, where you somehow take control. Create the ending you would like. It's a dream, so you can be as creative as you'd like. There are no rules! You can pull out your Harry Potter wand, cry out "Furnunculus!" and watch in delight as boils pop up all over your brother's and stepfather's bodies. Remember, this dream is a creation of your own mind, so you have the ability and the right to recreate it. It is also important that, in your dream recreation, you also write out what you would love to say to them if they were sitting right in front of you. Get it all out of you and onto paper. Curse those mother-effers out, if you want to. Just get it out of your psyche and onto paper. Once you feel you have exhausted yourself, rip it out of your journal and throw it in the trash. This sends the message to your subconscious that these dreams are useless to you. I know one woman who, in doing this technique, peed on her journal papers after ripping them out. Ha ha! You are certainly welcome to do that as well.
This dream is a creation of your own mind, so you have the ability and the right to recreate it.
I recommend you do this every single night for, AT LEAST, one week straight, and then again every time you get the dream. You can change up the ending every night, if you'd like to keep it interesting. By doing this, you are reprogramming your subconscious and letting it know this is the new story we are telling ourselves, not that old, awful one. Your subconscious will follow suit, and the dream will change or even stop entirely. I've had clients whose dreams changed after the very first night! So promise me you will do this and that you will also get some professional help, if you haven't already. A therapist who specializes in PTSD, and who does dream therapy, would be your best bet. These dreams don't have to be a curse. They can actually be a very tangible and powerful tool in your healing process. And healing is absolutely possible!

I hope this was helpful to Jennifer and anyone else dealing with the aftermath of something so traumatic and horrible.

If this is something you're also dealing with, the PTSD Foundation of America has a hotline crisis number specifically for victims of rape, abuse and incest. Call them any time at 1 (800) 656-4673.

If you have your own sex dream you'd like to have Lauri interpret, feel free to email it to us at sexdreamsanalyzed@elitedaily.com. And read our last installment here.

*Name has been changed.