My nightmares do not involve any exotic monsters. Just the monster I know. A real, a charming, psychopath.
In my nightmares I am back there. Not necessarily in the same time as when I was living under his watching eyes, but in his sphere. Controlled enough that I cannot have honest responses to his actions, for fear of consequences to myself or the children.
Last night it involved another, he was taking advantage of a wealthy older woman, in my dream. There were some similarities to the relationship he had with another when we got away. Both vulnerable women, both wealthy, and in both cases I had to keep my mouth shut and not announce my connection to him, hiding the fact of the children, of myself. Denying our own existence, denying our feelings.
This triggers me. I believe. This is a key as to why parenting can trigger my PTSD. There are so many times in parenting that you cannot have an honest emotional reaction. You have to keep quiet and mete out the consequences, not make a big deal out of behaviours you want to eliminate, etc.
When I cannot be honest, the act of holding it in, denying my emotional self, upsets me disproportionately. It infuriates me, to pretend not to feel. I cannot do it anymore. I did it too much.
It makes me feel helpless. I couldn’t help this woman he had taken up with in real life any more than I could warn the one in my nightmare. I feel responsible for this girl, who was beaten by him. Responsible for believing his lies about her, for not seeing past the smokescreens he threw in my way to hide his double life. For thinking, as he claimed AS HE WANTED ME TO THINK, that she was so fragile that she could not handle contact from me when I threatened to do what he would not, and tell her about him, about us. The guilt is crippling.
He has a public criminal record, now. I hope that absolves me, even if it does not stay the nightmares.