I have been having really vivid dreams this past week. It’s not unusual for me to have bad dreams – particularly when I have stuff going on. But in the past they have followed a pretty consistent pattern. The same characters have been involved and although the scene was often different I was always helpless in the role I played.
This week the dreams have been very different. They have involved very different people and the stories behind them have been totally random. They’ve still not been good dreams though. I woke up from one of them with a full on panic attack.
So as I went for my walk today I was pondering on the most recent dream and what it had in common with the others. On the surface, nothing obvious. I believe dreams are just the subconscious sorting and filing and linking stuff that has gone on through the day. In themselves they have no meaning but stuff that happens in your day affects what you dream about.
I realised that the theme running through each of these dreams was that the people in it weren’t acting in character. They weren’t responding in the way I would normally know them to respond. As a result I felt I wasn’t being taken seriously.
The reason that these dreams are so difficult for me is the really intense feeling that I am a lone voice and that nobody will take me seriously – even when it is blatantly obvious that there is a problem.
That gave me the ah-ha moment.
I need to be able to understand something to be able to work on it.
In May I am going to be on the stand being questioned by a defence lawyer. They will be trying to prove that I made everything up. I have spent my whole life thinking no one would believe me. Heck, I have spent my whole life thinking I had made the whole thing up – even though I had all the painful memories to prove otherwise.
So I will be taking the stand and will have to justify myself. In the context of really horrible, humiliating details, prove that I am credible. That I should be taken seriously.
And I’m terrified.
Because abuse is mostly psychological and emotional. It is done from the basis of power they hold over you. They create a reality that you can’t escape from. It’s your fault. They’re doing you favour. If you talk there will be consequences. Whatever it is…the whole basis of it is not the physical act but the altered mental state. This is equally true of children as it is of adults who experience domestic violence.
And now I’ve called him out and said that all that conditioning was not true. That it was abuse and he should be accountable for that, and more importantly, he shouldn’t be allowed to do that to others.
And yet when I stand in that courtroom, how do I stay in the reality of being a 43 year old woman and answer the questions from that basis? Instead of a 10 year old girl.
That is why I am scared. That is why I am terrified. Because I don’t know how I can answer questions that are intended to prove me wrong.