Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nightmare on Hoarding Street

Titanic painting via Wikimedia
When I was living with OCPD ex, I used to have nightmares, not infrequently.  I would dream of being on a sinking ship, or in a big magnificent house with the roof all tattered and open to the elements.

Once I moved out, the dreams mostly stopped having that horrific nightmare quality, though I do still dream, and they aren't all rose petal on the bed fun dreams.

Last weekend, I had my ex over for a brief afternoon, friends-type of visit, for the first time in many months.  The cat loved playing with him.  I was glad to see him - and relieved when he left.  Because he's still untreated OCPD, and some of the signs and patterns leaked out, although he was on his very best behavior.

I was filled with sadness and pity for him, but not even marginally tempted to take up where we used to be.  An objective person might find him attractive, for his age.  I see him wearing the cheap straw cowboy hat he obsessed over on one of our vacations, and it's a total turn-off.

Anyway, although our visit wasn't dreadful, I'm pretty sure my dream that night was related.  One of those horrible nightmares where you wake up with your mouth dry and your heart pounding.  (My dream interp books say these are "venting" dreams and one should be grateful for them.  Mentally, I can accept that, emotionally, it's harder to get there.)

In my dream, I was both observing (like watching a movie) and being the lead character, a young woman in her mother's hoarding house.  Not a horrible hoarding house, either, probably along of the lines of Living Room #3, here.

However, the items that had been hoarded were all possessed and/or morphing into portals into another, creepy dimension, a la Poltergeist.

So I/she was hiding out in the stark, uncluttered bathroom, trying to devise a plan to leave/escape.  Her mother was there, too, very sorry and finally ready to admit there was a problem.  We removed the shower rod and found some other stick/rod/poker kind of device, to beat back any attacking items as we tried to leave.

When we opened the bathroom door, all was quiet.  We headed for the first door to the outside, and opened it only to find another, locked door behind it.  Still the clutter didn't attack, though I saw some of it, crawling up on the walls, oozing and transforming into something threatening.

Reached the sliding glass door, pulled it open, and RAN.  Thought briefly about grabbing the cat, but was afraid to slow down or delay.

Once outside on the sidewalk, I/she found groups of neighbors gathered at another house, across the street and a couple doors down.  (The mother was no longer in the dream, although there wasn't the sense she'd been left behind in the house.)  There'd been a burglary and ransacking at that house some nights previously.  I began wondering if perhaps the creepiness of the hoard had been all in my imagination, if I'd somehow picked up the other bad vibes from the robbery and projected them into the hoarding house.  It looked so normal - from the outside.  Then about 7-8 dogs on their owner's leashes all turned to face the hoarding house and howled.  And I knew I'd been right to get the hell outta there.  The cat came strolling out then, and I felt a little scared of it, though it seemed normal.

It looks so harmless, here...
Then for some reason, in order to leave the neighborhood I had to walk past the house between it and the garage, which had several big glass windows, and I saw inside the garages mounds of clutter, topped with old Christmas paper and garland.  And I knew that it, too, was possessed by evil spirits, and I was terrified of being sucked by in, but I made it through, safely.

In the last scene/frame I was adjusting a GPS tag/marker that would be attached to the hoard, which my boyfriend ( a dream boyfriend, not anyone I know in real life) was preparing to sink to the bottom of the ocean.  Not quite sure what the mechanics were (how the clutter got gathered up, who did it, and how it got onto a raft into the middle of the ocean, all bundled together with yellow hazard tape), or the logic behind it, I just knew a tremendous feeling of relief, knowing it was sinking, and that it would no longer be able to threaten me or anyone I loved.

Pacific Ocean Garbage
Don't hate me - I know it would not be okay to ACTUALLY
dump more crap in the ocean.  It was a dream metaphor.
And I woke up.  Feeling like I'd done some heavy lifting.

I have several good dream interpretation books, and I pretty much know what all these dreams have meant: sinking ship (feeling overwhelmed), damaged roof (damaged/missing boundaries), and this latest, as well.  I definitely believe that dreams are worth paying attention to, though we must be thoughtful and leave some wiggle room when working to decipher what they are trying to tell us. 

If you'd like to add your own thoughts/impressions in the comments, or share a scary or thought-provoking dream you've had, I'd love to hear about it.