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Nightmares and fathers day

I don’t want to go into any crazy details of them, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of nightmares the past few weeks. A lot involving my former abuser. I am in therapy and have been processing that part of my trauma, so it makes sense why I’m having nightmares. I also knew this would be a possibility once I started working through that. But it’s doesn’t make the nightmares better or more bearable. Some I don’t remember details of but wake up with panic attacks. Others have been extremely detailed to where it’s almost like I’m reliving what happened. It has ruined my sleep schedule so much. I’m trying to keep with a good nighttime routine and with good sleep habits. But it’s hard when my brain still ignores them and I wake up from horrible nightmares.
It’s also Father’s Day today. Part of the nightmares have included my father’s response to when I asked for help when my abuser came back. I remember at the time I was worried he would lose it and do something out of rash anger. He always would always say how if someone hurt me, he would struggle to not hurt them worse. But when I went to him for help, he did absolutely nothing. He completely ignored me and made me feel like I was being overdramatic for not trusting my abuser. He didn’t protect me or the other children at our church. And he knew this man was in legal trouble for hurting someone the same way he hurt me. And today I’m supposed to celebrate the man who lied to me and didn’t protect me just because I’m his kid? I am struggling with so many things in my life because of his carelessness.

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Might be a minority opinion, but I think the kinds of celebrations like today are rightly shared with those you think are worthy of it.
To me, you can have some regard for a person for the station/role they have in your life, and honour that if you choose, but the person in that role can be flawed and could still need to earn your trust and love.
It’s the difference between saying “Have a good Father’s Day” vs “I wish you a good Father’s day”. Little things like that may be able to help you convey your feelings truthfully without confrontation? Parents can fail us when we are kids, sometimes unknowingly, sometimes consciously for a ton of different reasons. But when we’re adults and they fail us then, it’s also really rough. I’m sorry that your father did not protect you when you were younger, not stood up for you as an adult - those are his failings and failures, not yours. You survived, you found the courage to talk up about how you felt about your abuser. Those are your accomplishments, that’s what you were able to do for yourself.

I hope you celebrate yourself today too, and are kind to yourself. You’re loved, and you matter :slight_smile:

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You were hurt by a known abuser, and your father failed you, and dismissed your pain. Those two things in combination are still a source of pain and anxiety. You have been surviving while living with the pain. The nightmares indicate PTSD. It’s important for you to do whatever it takes to feel safe. Knowing you’re safe may diminish the nightmares. Your world changed when your father went into denial. Time will help you adjust to your father’s emotional absence. Now you know you have to look out for yourself. I had to come to terms with my dad’s abandonment too. I hope you’re working with a therapist. Talking about the nightmares could help a lot. Exercise may help you sleep more soundly. Some relaxing music in the room with you as you’re sleeping might help as well.

It’s okay to not have your heart in wishing your father a happy day. You need time to recover from your ordeal that he had a role in creating.

Take care of yourself. Stay safe. Let us know how you’re doing. Wings

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Hey @beth_the_fake_ginger,

Thinking of you today. I hope you’ve managed to take care of yourself last week-end. I hope you also know that what you are feeling, asking yourself and experiencing is absolutely valid.

You are not alone. You are so loved. :hrtlegolove:

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Thanks for all the support guys. It really does mean a lot to me. I was honestly caught really off guard yesterday I think. I didn’t really think twice about Father’s Day, and then the day of it seemed like everything that could trigger me did. So it just became the perfect storm of all the emotions to deal with. And I don’t think I did the best way of coping with it. But I know posting was probably the one healthy thing I did.

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You’re still here. You seem to have regained your emotional footing. Your way of coping is a work in progress, as is everyone’s. Considering all you’ve been through, your survival is an inspiration, and perhaps all the more awesome because you managed it with less than perfect coping strategies.

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This is a late response, but I wanted to take some time to acknowledge your strength, @beth_the_fake_ginger. Posting was definitely a good move. What you describe is so relatable, so valid and so understandable. Whenever I am faced with a kind of “anniversary” or celebration that would trigger some deep wounds, I generally feel okay-ish until the given day. With time, we learn to anticipate that we may keep being caught off guard those days, although that every emotion felt during those times is absolutely okay.

You’ve made it through, despite the pain and the storm of emotions. That is something to be proud of.

I’m thankful for you. :hrtlegolove: