chased by my family

THE CORRECT ANSWER IS... B. An unresolved waking life issue

Dear Anonymous—

Ouch! I think you put most of the pieces of the puzzle before us. You had recurring nightmares as a child of your mother and sister chasing and hurting you, and then when you stopped all contact the nightmares also stopped.

One thing about nightmares that most people, surprisingly, don’t know, is that they go away - they stop occurring - once you take concrete steps in your life to correct or eliminate the situation that is causing the nightmare. It really is that simple. In your case, and without knowing your family history, I suspect you did not have a happy childhood as far as your relationship with your mother and sister is concerned. The fact that you stopped all contact with them ten years ago confirms this suspicion; at some point you decided that for your own health and well-being, you no longer would be able to maintain contact with these two people. While it always is a painful and difficult process to “draw the line” with family members - letting them know what behaviors we will tolerate and which we will not tolerate in our relationships with them - it also is tremendously self-affirming. Often it seems that we are forever bound to family members and “good friends,” that somehow we must keep on living with them, hanging out with them, or being their friend, even when they are not supportive or healthy presences in our lives - even when they do not show us the common courtesy we expect, and receive, from strangers in a supermarket. Dysfunctional people might like us to believe that we are forever bound to them, but the reality, as your mother and sister are learning, is that this is not true at all. We can all go it “alone.” The old adage really is true: It is better to be alone than to be with bad company. The company we want, need, and deserve to keep in our lives are our real friends, who are supportive and respectful of our needs, desires, and wishes.

I applaud your decision, ten years ago, to speak up for yourself and remove unhealthy influences from your life. Great job, and I know it wasn’t easy. I suspect that your nightmares have returned, with the passing of time, because you either fear the return of your mother and sister into your life, or because you have begun to feel sorry for your mother and sister and accordingly have begun to second-guess your decision - and now may even feel guilty about cutting them out of your life. I’ll give you some food to think on, however. If you have started to second-guess yourself or feel guilty about your decision to remove these two from your life, do two things. First remember the little girl inside you who was almost smothered by these two’s thoughtless and cruel behavior toward yourself, and who took advantage of you when you were a defenseless child. Do you think she wants these two back in her life? Second, recognize that, in reality, it never was your decision to cut them out of your life. It’s certainly not what you wanted. But when they treated you like they did, they really left you with no option. It was either sink or swim, and you chose to swim. You did the right thing, the decent thing, the strong thing. If your mother and sister are reaping the difficult karma of the ill seeds they have sown, recognize that it is their karma, and not yours. It’s very important for them to understand consequences for their actions - one of which is that if you treat people poorly, you quickly will find yourself alone in this world. In the larger picture - it’s not sad at all. It’s positively fair.

Thank you for sharing this difficult dream with the Ask the Dream Doctor community. I know many people will draw strength from your experience. Best wishes to you and please return again soon.


Dear Dream Doctor,

Great insight, great site, and great guy.

Thank you.

Yours truly, Anonymous

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