I attended a wonderful memorial service last week. My precious friend Charlene said good-bye to her sweet mother. What a blessing to experience a memorial service filled with love and happy memories, funny stories and a family who longed for other people to hear about their loved one’s many beautiful qualities and the impact she had on their lives. For a son-in-law to say that he had Dream In-laws seems like a rare and truly remarkable sentiment.
Turning the tide
Having grown up surrounded by mental illness, things like healthy relationships and happy childhood memories seem like a rare thing to me. But that’s just my perspective. My sad childhood. That isn’t true for everyone. Some families get it right—obviously. It was so refreshing to see a good, loving, Christian family celebrating Mom and Grandma. It really was a Celebration of Life—in the truest sense.
For those of us whose parents blew it in many ways,
we can take The Healing Journey
and turn the tide, can’t we—
with God’s help.
Last time on Choosing Peace, you read about two revealing dreams we received as gifts last year: The New, Vast Estate followed by The Reunion, The Parking Lot and The Hotel. Today you’ll read about three more dreams. One of them is about turning the tide.
Sunday, April 15
Brandon had a dream last night about being around 10 to 15 years old, being at Uncle Henry’s house (although an unfamiliar, huge one—three stories tall) and finding snakes inside the house. He kept picking up the snakes and putting them outside. He kept getting lost in the house. After putting a snake outside, he saw Shelly [—his abusive sibling—] sitting on a staircase under construction. She was sitting with her back to a banister, with a sign taped to her forehead. He didn’t read it, but kept looking for a staircase he’d used before that wasn’t under construction.
I told him that snakes represent evil.
Theme: The wideness of the evil
Unpacking the dream
Brandon’s dream was fascinating. The huge, three-story house represented the Douglas clan, his mom’s side of the extended family. Groups of families/descendants come from three siblings: Delia, my sociopathic mother-in-law; Uncle Henry—the one who wrote The Sneak Attack letter; and their sister, the former debutante—Aunt Marilyn.
All three groups were represented in the dream. The house belonged to Uncle Henry. During this dream, Brandon saw Aunt Marilyn sitting in a garden area or patio. And, last but not least, Brandon’s older sister, Sadistic Shelly, was there, positioned in the middle. She sat on a staircase between one floor and the next. The staircase was under construction—doubly unsafe. I wonder what the sign said… the one taped to her forehead. I can think of some appropriate words. Dangerous. Violent. Nightmare. Crazy. Evil. Beware.
Ignoring the danger
Obviously, having snakes in the house is extremely dangerous, but no one else was doing anything about it. They didn’t even seem to notice those snakes. Young Brandon saw the problem and was doing what he could to get the snakes out of there. Snakes represent evil. Do you remember the coiled snake in the vision in Trauma Interrupted? Very interesting.
Also, Brandon kept getting lost in the house. What did that mean? It’s one of the most revealing aspects of this dream. Evil manifests itself through lies. Lies are confusing. I wrote about confusion in this post and in the section called My Feelings in this post. When we’re confused, we feel lost. More to the point—when we’re surrounded by evil, we can easily get lost. It goes like this.
(Evil + Lies) → (Confusion + Lost)
Brandon getting lost in the house and the snakes in the house both represented the evil on that side of the family. Now I’m not saying that everyone on that side of the family is evil. But I am saying that there is evil represented in one or more people in all three groups. And evil is dangerous. Very dangerous. See this six-part post, How a Sociopath’s Victim Feels, for some of the impacts of evil.
Thursday, August 16
Brandon had a dream right before his alarm went off. His dad grabbed Logan (current age/size) by the arm and pushed him into a chair and started to berate him verbally. Brandon pulled his gun and pointed it at his dad’s head, 10 feet away. Then his alarm went off.
Theme: No more child abuse
Unpacking the dream
This dream can be summarized in three words. “You. Will. Not.”
Translation: The child abuse stops here and now.
Furthermore, the sociopaths—my in-laws—were dangerous. They are dangerous. They will be dangerous. Therefore, their access has been terminated.
Monday, October 15
Last night before going to sleep, I told Brandon that my life is better now that my parents are gone. Brandon talked about dreading the funeral phase regarding his parents. I told him I understood and that we’ll take it one step at a time….
I had a dream last night. At the beginning, there were two dead rats and a third rat that was nearly dead. At the end of the dream, there were four dead rats. ‘Nuff said. TBTG! I texted the dream to Brandon.
Theme: The end
Unpacking the dream
Personally, I think it’s absolutely hilarious that our parents were personified as rats in this dream. That totally cracks me up. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find rats cute and cuddly. If you ever watched the Penguins of Madagascar, you will appreciate the expression, “Cute and cuddly.” I don’t see a rat and think Come over here, sweet thing, and let me give you a hug. Our big dog is sitting beside me on the couch while I’m writing this. Now he’s a four-legged animal who deserves big hugs. Most definitely. Our precious dog? Yes. A rat? No.
This dream was short and to the point: Two down, two to go—with one departing soon. Even though my definition of soon and God’s definition of soon don’t necessarily match, this dream comforted me with an important truth. “This mess will be over relatively soon. The sociopaths will be dead and buried.”
Just thinking about that makes me want to stand up and do my Happy Dance. **Clunk!** Oops. I tripped when I stood up. I’m not very coordinated sometimes. But it’s still Happy Dance Time. I’m hearing that fun music from the Peanuts movies in my head. Mm-hmm.
What we learned
Dreams are vivid, colorful and extremely expressive—both visually and in the feelings they evoke. They not only tell a story, but we are in the story. We are in the truths that are revealed.
In the last post and today’s post, I wrote about five fascinating dreams from last year. What did they show us?
The first dream
The New, Vast Estate showed us the immense scale and beauty of our new No Sociopaths Allowed life. It also reminded us that the sociopaths, their accomplices and the casual observers would seek to invade our Safe Zone. Teaching points: “Enjoy the peaceful, beautiful place where you now live, but don’t turn your brains off. The sociopaths are still out there, spewing their lies, recruiting new accomplices and doing their usual thing. Be wise. Know the truth of who you are and who they are. Live accordingly.”
The second dream
The Reunion, The Parking Lot and The Hotel reminded us that we couldn’t leave the back door open. In other words, all of the people on my mother-in-law Delia’s side of the extended family were connected. For our well-being and safety, we had to leave them all, even the relatives we liked. The Parking Lot segment of that dream emphasized that none of them knew us anyway. Why not? I explained this sad reality in How a Sociopath’s Victim Feels, part 6.
Living where it’s safe
We’ve stayed extremely detached from the relatives in Brandon’s entire extended family due to the severe abuse dished out by his parents and his sister, Shelly, plus all the gossip and accomplices involved. Since we didn’t know who believed what, we protected ourselves by not getting close to anyone. We were cordial, but we weren’t friends. Everyone seemed to adore the abusive sociopaths, so we built our lives and our friendships far away from family, where we knew we’d be safe.
The third dream
The Snakes communicated three very important realities.
1. The evil is present in all three groups of the Douglas clan: Delia’s group, Uncle Henry’s group and Aunt Marilyn’s group.
2. The evil is dangerous and results in confusion/getting lost.
3. Other people are ignoring it.
The fourth dream
The Gun was short and to the point. Excuse the pun. My sociopathic father-in-law Andrew lives to control and abuse. He is dangerous and he will be dangerous. Brandon will not allow his dad to abuse Logan. We ended the legacy of child abuse.
The fifth dream
The dream called The Rats provided both humor and comfort. That is a wonderful and creative combination, to say the least.
Two of the rats—my parents—are dead. Another rat is almost dead. I suspect that the Almost-Dead Rat is Andrew, but time will tell. And, rest assured, all four rats will be dead soon. Hmmm.
The era of our abusive/neglectful parents will soon come to an end. As strange as it feels to think about that reality, my one thought is this: Thanks be to God.
Did these five dreams come in any particular order or sequence? Yes. They most certainly did. Here are the themes, in order:
♦ New life and the push-back ~ from The New, Vast Estate
♦ Escaping ~ from The Reunion, The Parking Lot and The Hotel
♦ The wideness of the evil ~ from The Snakes
♦ No more child abuse ~ from The Gun
♦ The end ~ from The Rats
There was a meaningful purpose to the order of these dreams. This summary—in medium and short forms—shows the helpfulness and significance of the order.
(1) Our new life is big and beautiful. We need to enjoy it while simultaneously understanding the reality of evil in our relatives. (2) Making a clean break from all of Delia’s side of the family was necessary. (3) Evil invaded all three groups on that side of the family and others are ignoring it. (4) Where our descendants are concerned, the child abuse ends here and now. (5) Our four parents will be dead soon, closing with finality that abusive chapter of our lives.
(1) Live with joy, gratitude and wisdom.
(2) Don’t look back. The decision was right.
(3) The evil is a reality.
(4) Ending the impact of evil will bless our descendants.
(5) Closure is coming soon.
When healthy, decisive, unpopular, seemingly-harsh action must be taken, abusers and their fans will assert pressure to get what they want: The return of the status quo. These five dreams were given to us last year to strengthen us. They were gifts from God.
These vivid dreams gave us these important things: Encouragement, reminders of truth, validation, clarity, finality and comfort—plus a little Rat Humor.
The dream about the snakes showed this reality: Lies bring confusion.
What does truth bring?
Truth brings strength.
We’re told in Ephesians to put on the full armor of God. The Armor of God begins with The Belt of Truth. That is a thought-provoking concept. While we’re on that subject, The Armor of God ends with The Sword of The Spirit, which is The Word of God.
Truth is good. If it’s good, it’s from God. And good doesn’t just mean I like it. Truly good means that it’s good for me—ultimately speaking—regardless of my opinions, my feelings or my preferences. Let me say it again. Truth is good. God is good. God is truth. Truth comes from God—from his word; from the still, small voice; from his creation; through people sometimes—spoken and/or written; through music sometimes; through dreams….
God is The Revealer.
“Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who forms it to establish it; the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me, and I will answer you, and will show you great and hidden things, which you do not know.’”
Jeremiah 33:2-3, New Heart English Bible
Coming next: Well, Peaceful Readers, you’ve waited patiently for the answers to The Big Why questions—“Why me?” “Why so hard?” “Why? Why? And, God, in case you didn’t hear me… why?” It’s time for some answers. Come back next time to read about generations and much more. Thanks for reading and for Choosing Peace.
Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.
Truth from The Word: John 1:14
Song for Healing: Today’s song was chosen in honor of Charlene’s mom—a great song for a great lady: “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe.