tears of blood

*Warning to abuse survivors, there may be emotional triggers in this post*

Sometimes at night, if I eat chocolate before bed, I have really weird dreams.

But I didn’t have any chocolate last night, so I’m not sure about this one.

I was a woman living at home with her parents. An adult, but I still had school, because in the dream I was getting ready for school. I’m not sure if that was college or not. Anyway, in the dream I still had my dog and she still had arthritis so I was getting ready to give her pain meds with her food when I realized someone had already fed her and the bottle of meds was missing. I asked my stepdad who had fed the dog and where was her medicine. He said he didn’t know. I don’t know why, but I got irrationally angry. I tore about the kitchen looking for these meds and I found the bottle, which was open. Great! Now I didn’t know whether or not she had her meds. I continued to freak out and yell at my stepdad who then walked over and told me to stop freaking out about the medicine. I yelled something at him and he replied, calmly, by saying something about the way I feel about marriage.

This was totally out of the blue and I don’t remember what he said, but I remember thinking he was wrong. I remember feeling helpless, like I could keep telling him he was wrong but it didn’t matter because he would never believe me. So I was arguing with him now, not about the dog’s meds, but about how wrong he was, even while I was thinking “What does that have to do with my dog not getting pain medication?” So… then he tries to give me a hug. A very awkward hug. And that’s when it happened. I started to cry and push him away, not wanting him to hug me. I didn’t want him to touch me at all. The feeling of helplessness continued to get stronger and I began sobbing, still trying to push and push and push, but he kept hugging me.

Why would I be so afraid of a hug? Well, I am an abuse survivor. And said abuse was received by my stepdad. So while he’s trying to hug me, the thoughts that race through my head are along the lines of: Don’t touch me. Don’t hug me. You don’t love me. You’re just looking for an excuse to touch me. You’re manipulating me. And no, I’m not damaged for life.

But what was even more strange was the tears. They weren’t normal tears. Blood was pouring from my eyes, soaking my clothes and no matter how much I wiped from my face, I could feel it all over me. Even in the dream, I didn’t know why I was crying blood tears. When he finally let me go, he went upstairs to tell my mom that I needed to take a shower. While he did this, I looked in the mirror and tried my best to wipe the blood from my face. It was impossible. I was able to clear away my face and eyes, but it was all over my hair and my t-shirt was drenched. I looked like a murder victim. I felt like a disaster. I didn’t want to take a shower. I wanted to leave.

Then I woke up.

This is an extremely dark blog post and very personal. I didn’t really want to write it, but I thought maybe if I did someone else could relate and perhaps it could help.

My stepdad died about two years ago. When he did, I had another dream about him in which he was begging me to forgive him. I woke up and I, being a born again Christian, prayed about it… and I forgave him. Finally. I thought I could never do it. And I sort of felt like a cop out because I had forgiven him only after he died… but I found it hard to forgive someone who I thought had ruined my life (I say “thought” because at this point in time I don’t feel like my life is ruined). I find it hard to forgive anyone who preys upon children. But God makes it very clear how he feels about forgiveness…

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15

We have to remember that Jesus paid the price for everyone. We are all sinners and in His eyes all of our sins weigh the same.

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (23) If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

John 20:22-23 ESV

If you withhold forgiveness. Who are we to withhold forgiveness if we’re not to judge or condemn? Now I understand. God forgives everyone who repents. If God forgives my stepdad and I don’t… it’s like I’m saying I think God is wrong. I don’t. He knows much more than I do. It’s quite a humbling thought.

So I have forgiven him… but the blood tears in my dream make me wonder if there’s something else going on in my head that I haven’t quite figured out yet. I’m reminded of Lady MacBeth washing her hands in her sleep thinking she’s washing the blood off her hands. Except in my dream I was looking at myself in the mirror, confused as to why I was soaked in blood and only feeling like I needed to get out of the situation and fast.

Well… I have run out of time once again. I leave you with this eerie, awkward, and somber post, but I assure you that I am not depressed! In fact, I’m actually looking forward to a beautiful day. Church with my son and a super fun show at the Queen this afternoon!
If you have any thoughts to share, please do! Dream interpretations and survivor stories welcome 🙂

5 thoughts on “tears of blood

  1. First, let me say that I’m so terribly sorry that you had to endure such awful abuse. Second, I’m happy that you survived and have managed to find the joy in life despite the trauma you were subjected to. Third, I’m impressed that you were able to forgive him. I’ve been unable to forgive people for far less transgressions.

    I’m not sure if you have sought therapy, but you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My dad has it, so I know a little about it. It’s not uncommon for PTSD sufferers to have dreams or nightmares even when they don’t think there is anything wrong. The mind is very tricky. There could have been a word, a touch, a smell, or some other small inconsequential event that triggered this dream. Even when you think you’ve dealt with the monsters, they still lie deep in your subconscious and can reveal themselves when you least expect it.

    As far as interpreting the dream, I’d only be guessing. I think your brain has taken seperate events and created a composite world in your dream. The thing that stuck out the most for me was when your stepdad went upstairs and told your mom that you needed to take a shower. It was as if he was blaming you for the bloody tears, and trying to deflect from the fact that he caused them. Also, you state that you “looked like a murder victim”. I wonder if maybe you didn’t feel like a murder victim as well. I think abusers kill a part of their victims. They kill their innocence, their sense of security, and in some cases, a part of their soul. Although one can lead a productive and happy life, they will always carry with them the scars from their abuse. It changes you in profound ways, and it’s unfair. The abuser gets to continue living their life while the survivor now has to find a way to live with the trauma. It’s a rotten shitty deal.

    Ok, this was really long. Sorry about that. Let me say that I may be way off base with this comment. I don’t know you or what you went through, and I would never attempt to characterize your feelings or thoughts. It’s just my two cents and should be taken as such.

  2. Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment, Rob! Believe it or not, some of it did hit home.

    “Third, I’m impressed that you were able to forgive him. I’ve been unable to forgive people for far less transgressions. ”

    Forgiveness is a tricky thing. Before getting back into Christianity I did a lot of research on other religions and I ultimately found myself relating a lot to Buddhism. I was reading a book by Thich Nacht Hanh about suffering and how suffering is good for you, ultimately. Long story short, there is a part where he talks about forgiveness and how we must learn to forgive others so that we don’t hold onto that pain (in so many words). I remember at that time thinking “….I could never forgive him.” and knowing that I had to, but also knowing that I didn’t want to. I figured that if I never did forgive him then maybe I would in the next life. I thought maybe I wasn’t spiritually mature enough completely understand forgiveness.

    About a year ago I said something to one of my best friends about how I couldn’t forgive him and she said “Evita, you HAVE to forgive him! God won’t forgive you if YOU don’t forgive him!” The urgency and concern in her voice made me think deeper on it. I did some research about what forgiveness really does and what it really means. It’s hard to simplify… but I will attempt:

    We are all suffering. We’re all messed up. We all carry pain and hurt from things that happen to us while we’re here on earth. Unfortunately sometimes it gets the best of us and we become the cause of pain and suffering to others. You mention that abusers can go on living their lives like normal… I know for a fact that this is not true. They have to live with the suffering and torment and the guilt with what they’ve done… even if they burry it beneath a facade of contentment with who they are. It’s truly sad. I think being a survivor (I say survivor instead of victim because I don’t want to perpetuate the victim mentality) has given me the insight to understand those who cause the abuse a little bit (there are some things that I truly do not understand, of course) because now that I know it can be done (and gotten away with) I understand how easy it would be to give in to the temptation to hurt others and how it gives you a false sense of control and power. So… understanding that. I forgive him. I forgive him for his lack of self control and his actions. I pray that his soul is at peace and that before he died he understood what he had done and the pain that he had caused and asked for forgiveness and received it. We shouldn’t put the pressure and responsibility of revenge or justice on our own shoulders. I know that he was abused as a child himself. I know that he went to jail for a few years for what he did. I know now that God provides the perfect justice in the end and I trust Him to do so. It’s quite the liberating feeling 🙂

    “I’m not sure if you have sought therapy, but you may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

    I have sought therapy and enjoyed it very much, although I’m sure I could use much more of it. 🙂 I don’t think I have PTSD, but you’re spot on with the triggers, there. That’s why I put the warning at the top of this post. Some things I do avoid because triggers can get my mind reeling and really put me in a dark place. I’d hate for someone to read this post and get put into that place.

    Your interpretation was helpful! Made me think of something additional. Maybe my trying to clean up the blood without using anything other than my hands was a symbol of me trying to recover from what I went through and my fear of not being able to fully recover.

    Very interesting indeed. The mind is an amazing place.

  3. Kittens? Wow. Like, a good kitten dream? Or a psycho killer kitten dream? Kittens are deceptive. They are all cute and stuff, but they have a dark side. I don’t trust them. Nothing can be that adorable and innocent.

    “We are all suffering. We’re all messed up.” SO true. I’m wary of “normal” people. And you are probably right about forgiveness. But it still isn’t easy. Maybe you are right about abusers not living their lives as normal. My grandfathers on both sides were abusive. I never knew my dad’s father, but I grew up around my mom’s dad. I heard all the stories about how he would beat my mother and her brother and sisters. My grandmother had a 6-inch scar on her face from where he threw her out of a car. My grandfather just died this past January, and he spent his whole life never even acknowledging that he did anything wrong. But who knows what was going on inside him.

  4. Rob, I’m sorry to hear about your grandfathers. Abuse really does torment the entire family. It tears them apart even though sometimes it’s only on the inside.

    My father was abusive too, toward my mother and my sister. He was violent. I don’t want to get into specifics, because it’s my mother and my sister and not me, but it really did take a toll on all of us. In the end, I don’t think he ever acknowledged it either, but I’m happy to say that both my sister and I went to his grave a few months ago and forgive him together. That’s another loong story, though.

    They were cute cuddly kittens. 🙂

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