Hi Heather -
Next time before you go to sleep, I want you to imagine a new ending to your dream. Imagine that you tell your mother to get out of your house - you tell her not to come back and to stop bothering you all the time. Tell her that you’re tired of her chasing you and that you’re not going to have this dream anymore. Then open the door and throw her out of your house - and don’t be afraid to use a little force if necessary.
If you woke up from a dream like that, how would you feel? Most likely you’d feel empowered... and that’s the point. Researchers have found that rehearsing positive changes to troubling dreams results in new dream endings. Rehearsing also enables us to simply stop a recurring dream - by waking ourselves up from it - once we recognize that we are having “it” again.
In “Crisis Dreaming,” dream researcher Rosalind Cartwright outlines the RISC program for ending bad dreams.
RECOGNIZE when you are having the dream
IDENTIFY what it is about the dream that makes you feel bad (in your case, your mother’s violations of your boundaries)
STOP any bad dream
CHANGE negative dreams themes to positive.
For example, if you feel powerless in a dream, you want to imagine the dream to where you feel powerful. You may need to rehearse the new ending(s) several times before you see change in your dreams - but often simply being able to stop a dream is success enough.
The theory behind RISC is powerful: If we can change our dreams in our inner world, it gives us confidence to change our lives in our waking world.
Heather - Why don’t you practice a new ending to your dream - anything you can imagine that makes you feel powerful and strong. Rehearse it before you go to bed, and if you wake up during the night, rehearse it again as you fall back to sleep. We’d love to hear back on your success.