Category Archives: night terrors

Wrestling with the Terror in the Night by @BobbiLParish


Why Too Many Flashbacks Might Be a Warning of Deeper Story Problems

I just enjoyed the heck out of this post.

It’s part stand-up comedy, enough vulnerability to make Brene Brown proud and teeming with great points about flashbacks.

Survivors live in the world of flashbacks. We experience them often in our day-to-day, hour-to-hour lives until our heads hit the pillow and then they often dominate our unconscious dream time.

What appeals to me here is that it gives us an element of control to our otherwise uncontrollable lives. Many of us owe our past a debt of gratitude for making us a fierce, strong warriors of the present. We’ve endured some major shit and can often yawn in the face of adversity as adults. But this gives us the tools to pull the meat of those experiences off the bone and finally end that pointless blabbering of our flashbacks.

Kudos to Kristen Lamb for this gem.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image vis Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Yuya Sekiguchi. Image vis Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Yuya Sekiguchi.

This week we have been discussing flashbacks. What are they? Why do readers, agents, editors generally want to stab them in the face? Is it truly a flashback or is the writer employing an unorthodox plotting structure (The Green Mile or The English Patient)? Shifting time IS a legitimate literary device, but like ALL literary devices, it has strengths and weaknesses.

Theme is wonderful. But if we lay it on too thick, we can turn off readers because our story comes across as preachy or lecturing. Symbolism? Love it! But overdo this and readers can get irritated. Can the drapes JUST BE BLUE? Deus ex machina IS a legitimate literary device. Feel free to use it. I wouldn’t recommend it, but knock yourself out.

As I like to say, Have fun storming the castle! *waves and grins*


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gonna kick the demon in the ass today….

4006206a3e604e4d8860122730daf432Unlike my usual self, this will be short and to the point.

No graphic, triggering details.  Just the facts.  

Haven’t slept well in days, watched the clock go from 2 am to 3 am to 4 am….Tons of body sensations on my skin, in my brain.  I’ve gnawed at my fingernails and took my anxiety meds.  Practiced DBT and trauma release exercises.  I’ve been through this enough now to know what is happening and how it will play itself out. I’ve identified it, named it and tackled it.

In other words, I’ve got this covered.  I have tools and support.  The memory still came in my sleep disguised as a writhing rattlesnake in my mouth.  That’s what I woke up to was the feeling of it in my mouth and that’s what I’ve spent the day shaking off.  Doesn’t take an expert in dream interpretation to figure out this awful phallic metaphor.  

But you know what?  Its okay.  Today, I can hold onto my soul and refuse to let you have it.  I’m gonna kick the demon in the ass today and let it know who is really the boss around here.  

I’m the alpha bitch and that’s just the way it is.

pushing through

Heartbreak changes peopleAlthough I’m borrowing this phrase from a fellow blogger, I’m going to let her story speak for me today.  How long have I just been pushing through?  A day, a month, a year?

Over a year ago, I lost a situation that was pure joy for me.  I lost it due to my emotion regulation problems that are a result of abuse.  My lifeline of joy that fed and distracted me from the pain is gone.  I’ve not been successful at replacing it yet although I do try each day.  I push through.  Just like my friend  A Heart of One does in her blog post.  The particulars of her life are a bit different yet the result is the same.  Our hearts are broken and we just don’t know how to fix them.  That’s all there is everyday….heartbreak….

     All of my life, I’ve been pushing through…pain, grieve, exhaustion, lack of supports.  I’ve made it work, kept going.  Do or die.  If I felt myself getting sick, I’d will myself to not be sick, keep going, don’t have time to be sick, take a rest, stay home, do nothing.

     I tried to push through today, still want to on some level.  I tapped into a painful memory last night.  Curled into a ball, on my side, clenching my bottom, mouth shaped into a scream, eyes wide, head jerking back, shaking all over, then crying.  Me, but not me.  A past me.  In pain, terrified.   He did not care about pain he caused or the fear that I felt.  It was a moment of complete horror.  I lived it and lived through it again.

Full article at

the hole

AS SHE WALKED HER PATH, THE EARTH STARTED TO TREMBLE, the air around her thick and still, its surface opening up and swallowing her whole, plummeting her downward, downward into the pitch black darkness and muck.

the dark terrified her instantly, she sat paralyzed from shock, unable to move for hours, unable to make sense of the instant void that surrounded her

the dust settled while her heart stopped its pounding to realize the was in  that place again

it took hours to leave the shock, to gather her wits, find her courage to scratch her way out, scaling the walls only to fall back down over and over and over

eventually she wore out; exhausted, crumbled, weeping and scraped, she began to pray for hours while looking up at the light and the heavens beyond the opening of the cavity that contained her

she heard voices and leapt up thinking her prayers were answered, the people came and looked down the hole at her

“help me please, help me out of here”, the people didn’t move but said it was her place to help herself, it had to be her journey out, no one can help you but yourself

“don’t leave me please, i have been trying very hard” but the people who looked down on her said they loved her and would be with her when she got out and reminded her to use her skills and then they were gone

their words cut her heart and she bled

she wept with despair in the damp dark place, in that place

night came and then daylight, days came and went, she was thirsty and in agony cried out for her mother, for God, for mercy

many more times she attempted to scale those walls, looking for solid surfaces to grasp, rocks came loose, sliding down again

the people came back to look down on her and ask what she needed, “i need help, throw me a lifeline, get someone to help me please, i can’t do this myself”

again they didn’t move to help her but tossed her some food, saying that they were embarrassed to call for help, they had never known someone so dirty and trapped, it would bring shame to their family but would be happy to be with her when she got out and then they were gone

their words cut her again and she bled, but this time the bottom of the hole shifted and gave way as she felt herself plummet deeper into the abyss

she screamed long after they were gone, long into the night until she didn’t recognize her own voice any longer, as if it came from somewhere else in her soul

the nighttime animals began to come to her and encircle the hole and give comfort, they offered their wisdom and insight while she reflected on her place in the hole. it brought her peace but still no answers as to why she was denied help, why she wasn’t worthy of assistance

more days and nights;  weeping, raging, begging, accepting

the people came again and looked down at her.  “its such a beautiful day, the sun is shining and we’ve been enjoying ourselves so much,  how are you doing on such a lovely day?”

to this, she raised her hands and with what little strength she had, threw rocks at their faces, cursing at them for leaving her alone in such a desolate place.  she screamed at them for ignoring her cries for help and for their empty words

the people were horrified at her angry outbursts and quickly retaliated with scolding and finger pointing “we will not be yelled at after everything we’ve done for you”, their shouting so loud, it echoed deep into the cavernous hole, reverberating off the walls and into her brain until she felt her insides shake with their fear and hatred

and then they were gone

it is here that she finally breaks.  no more hope, no more tears, no more believing in love, no more trying to get out.  she slumped against the filthy wall of her prison and surrendered to her  inevitable demise

The day child

We will call her the day child…a child who only has conscious awareness of herself during the day, the fractioned piece of her total self. Her transition from night is slow and very unsteady. She knows the process of waking which comes to her first through sound. She hears house noises, the air conditioner running, her dog snoring beside her, very faintly the school buses heading down the hill to empty the children into the playground. Great care has been taken to soundproof this room from the outside world, there is no room for intrusion on any level. She must know everyone’s whereabouts and location at all times, if she doesn’t she will vigilantly check and scan the room for anything that looks or feels amiss.

Vigilance is hardly the word to describe her behavior, it is more like hyper vigilant, obsessive and panic driven, energy funneled completely into the one thing she seeks more than anything, which is safety. She is exceptionally bright and visually a master at observation. Nothing can or will ever go unnoticed in her environment or it might lead to danger. An impending assault, an unwelcome visitor or simply the men noticing and starting to sniff her out.

Sometimes the sound is completely muffled by the earplugs which are to her the greatest invention ever and her constant companion. They numb and muffle much better than alcohol or pot which in her experience just make you not care if someone is stalking you and that’s the last thing that’s true for her now is that she doesn’t care.

As usual, her eyes are squeezed shut as tight as they can go and she feels the familiar twinge of a headache as a result. Its the price she pays and actually has grown accustomed to the familiar process of willing her eyes open, one at a time for her first glimpse of the day. So far, so good. She hears nothing unusual and sees her bedroom, just as she remembered it from the morning before. It is at this point that she can let her body uncurl, pulling her arms and legs from the fetal position and gradually unfolding herself from her nightly protective stance. She creaks and pops as her shaky muscles aren’t as forgiving as they were in her youth. They want to snap back into the contracted position held in the last 8 hours. Its always at this point that she wonders how long her body will hold out, what is the limit of torture that one can physically take?

night child…

i am in the dark and she almost feels safe, the blankets,  two of them are on top of me and tucked under my legs and knees. i feel cocooned and am feeling the warmth start to seep in. the sounds are gone, the vision is gone, my eyes are closed and the lights are all off, the only light i see is from the full moon which is watching me and holding the space for me. she knows about feeling safe only revealing herself once a month and then slipping quietly away. the house is bolted shut, all doors locked and windows too. husband and daughter alerted to not come here, the night child is here and in control, complete control, i give her absolute freedom, she wants dark and alone because there is no one who understands now. no one who cares, she is doubtful and trusts nothing right now but tries so very hard to remember that people tell her that god is always there, focusing and willing herself to remember that she doesn’t always feel this awful, maybe it is true and there is a god, NO, i hate the idea of a man, it has to be a she goddess. that makes more sense, doesn’t make sense at all that it is a man. they don’t watch over you but she will.

eyes closed but keep opening every thirty seconds to check out the surroundings, everything is still good, warmth feels good. my mom appears to me now to come and  sing her lullaby to me, things are getting better, more good energy is showing up, she never liked her voice but i did, so sweet and kind but she hated and feared her voice, her thoughts and her words, so timid… “here comes the sandman, tripping so lightly skipping along on the tips of his toes, as he scatters the sand, with his own little hand, in the eyes of the sleepy children…go to sleep my baby…go to sleep…goodnight.”

the night child is incredible… she is here and in control. she can maneuver in the dark like the sandman tripping so lightly, she has coped and survived like a dinosaur throughout the ages. i love her, its too bad that my husband is so afraid of her, its his loss, he could know someone really incredible. tonight i realized how awful he is to her he told her that she has “no one, that he is the one, the only one who does everything for her”, she apparently isn’t grateful or normal enough for him…i have heard that before many times before from men entirely more abusive than you will ever be, “i am the only one, i’m the best you will ever get”. i don’t believe that at all but actually i did for a bit tonight. the words impacted like a kick in the gut when he was saying it, the child who hates herself came roaring up, raging forward, ready to believe his words, ready to take herself out, she is so ready to die, give her any reason and she will, go ahead i dare you, she looks for it, she waits for it…she is the sacrificial lamb, she hates herself, she loathes who she is, she is reactionary and compliant when mean people tell her she’s worthless or alone or too much trouble or a slut or a whore or a frigid cold bitch or lucky to have me or alone or doomed to be alone or to believe that there is no hope.

it is this moment when i pray hard to my goddess to send me something, anything, a person, a phone call, an animal to give me words of encouragement and hope and love to give to this wounded child. i have to try to turn this around, i have to try to find love, please help me, please help me…but his words are still there, collecting energy from anyone who has ever said that to me, they chant in unison…”there is no one…there is no one…you have no one…i do everything for you”…over and over…”there is no one” and then…suddenly a new set of words came from inside my head, wait, what?  “there is someone, there is someone, yes, there is, don’t believe that, i am here, i love you and i love her, she is wonderful and acts just fine for everything she’s been through and doesn’t scare me at all. i made her just as she is. i will help her, i can help her, i love her as she is, there isn’t anything wrong with her that love can’t fix” and slowly the words echo again and again until i stop holding my breath and let go to fill my lungs with air…take a breath. it feels good, i am my own strength, i can be my own source of strength, it doesn’t come from anywhere else, it is mine and the goddess and her angels.

she is there to lend me a hand and dismiss all the lies and fear and untruths that i allow in my life. but the night child has endured everything that she now tolerates nothing, there is no room for any abuse of any kind. even the gentle husband with his own issues, disassociated and defensive doesn’t get to stay. i protect the child at all costs letting no propriety stand in her way. she chases the husband with mean words away, sends him into the night, he won’t come back enlightened, i know that, i know that now. it isn’t something i hope for anymore the night child doesn’t like him, she doesn’t like his driving, his passive aggressive nature, and she understands the deep sadness that permeate her other parts at the potential loss that she faces. another love relationship gone, another home to move out of, another place for my daughter to drive by and look at and remember that it was once her home. you see, he is so afraid, absolutely terrified of my girls that he won’t be able to make this work, he is so very afraid of trying of working hard of attempting anything that would take courage…so sad…he’s so very afraid…but i’m not, i just figured out how to live and i’m going to make this work no matter what…

blessings from the night child

For the past month or so, I have been having lots of dreams…dreams of epic proportion as well as being filled with an extraordinary amount of details…last night was a repeat of some of the same topics…the same cavernous, dark, old, somewhat dilapidated house that keeps reappearing.  at least I’m consistent.

This dream had more current people from my present day life…my husband, sister in law and co-workers  and am struggling to get out of this school building but am not being chased by perpetrators any longer.  I am just tired, very tired, been up all night trying to find my way out of this building after spending hours looking for my dogs.  My feet were so heavy and slowing me down…finally busted my way out of the building right into traffic…My dog Rosie got ran over as soon as we escaped and had one breath of relief, my daughter was screaming, the world started spinning out of control, that horrible feeling that no matter how hard you try for no matter how long, you may get one moment of reprieve before something hits you again and again…we got my dog to a vet in this hideously small town that we were in…and she recovered fine..a woman sitting beside me started chatting, stating she was a film maker and asked me if i I wanted to make this movie of my life and story…I couldn’t understand why and the thought of telling terrified me but i wanted to tell my story so badly I said OK…so the night child speaks to me and tells me to go ahead, she wants this story told, she is giving me permission and her blessing…


yesterday, i did meditation and EFT tapping to rid myself of the sheer  terror and anxiety that i feel.  i need to write and i need the block to be gone, i have to speak regarding the past and the sexual abuse.  hopefully we are lifting the veil.  last night i slept some but woke up with that nightmare feeling, the screaming in my head.  i definitely remember dreaming about my dad, fighting with him, in a physical sense of fighting, aggression toward me, i’m little, maybe 4, i’m physically fighting, screaming, making noise.  that same scenario repeated over and over but that where is everyone, where’s my mother? my dad was forceful, unrelenting, out to get what he wanted, i was raped i know that.  i now know that i was raped a lot.

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