One of the most annoying and irritating things about sorting through the aftermath of scapegoating and emotional abuse is the impact on sleep. Trying to assess the environment and appease the unappeasable has left me a bit on the hypervigilant side and I tend to worry about worst case scenarios, usually as I’m trying to drift off to sleep, but sometimes as I awaken randomly during the night or with a panic attack. There’s typical work stress in this day and age going on, some minor financial stress and one of my neighbors had an attempted break in, all of which made me edgy last night to begin with.
This article talks about the link between insomnia and catastrophizaton, which is something those of us subjected to scapegoating can be prone to. I definitely do this. I’m getting much better about challenging it when I’m awake, but it still an issue when I’m trying to sleep.
Then there are the dreams where I’m living at home with my mother again. I hadn’t had any of those in months since the last time when I told to stop talking like that to me. Last night I fell asleep ok, in less than an hour, which was a pleasant surprise. I went to bed by 10, so I was sleeping by 11. But I woke up briefly around midnight, stressed out mildly and talked myself back to sleep, but then awoke again at around 2:30 am. Sometime after 5 am, I drifted back to sleep. Only to be awakened before 6am by a dream where she and my brother were being overly sweet to me, but kept making me change rooms at their whim. I’m guessing that has something to do with how I constantly tried to twist and contort myself to please them. The dream in and of itself isn’t that awful, but the sense of dread and claustrophobia that living with her again, even in a dream brings is overwhelming. I’m so relieved when I wake up for those dreams and realize it was just a dream. But it’s gives me a bad feeling that’s hard to shake for the rest of the day. And the lack of sleep doesn’t help things either.
Also, it makes me feel like:
1) I’m a wimp for still being affected by this stuff 3 decades plus. I feel like I should be “over” it
2) she still has control even if only in my dreams. I don’t want her to have that kind of control
To some extent or another, I’ve had problems with insomnia for pretty much my whole life. It tends to vary with the stress level going on in my life. Most of the arguments between my parents took place during late night hours and there were a number of times I was woken up by their arguing or sounds of their fighting or the police or neighbors intervening. I used to feel like I had to stay up to “keep watch” and that when I did fall asleep and was later awakened that I’d somehow failed.
Also, I remember before I started appeasing my mother, a few nights where she woke up and got me out of bed to rage about things. When I was a teenager, I’d vented some angry feelings in a journal I kept. She’d encouraged me to keep a journal btw. I didn’t know that she suspected me of using drugs, which I wasn’t, and would search my room/things when I wasn’t home to find “evidence”. During one of these searches, she found my journal and read it. But she didn’t admit to that when she was raging at me for what I wrote. I didn’t even put it together at the time, but I realized after, everything she was angry about came from the journal. So she must have read it. I stopped writing anything other than the most inoffensive things after that. It was several years later when she told me she’d searched my room/things for “evidence” that I was using drugs.
These night time events weren’t very frequent, but I do wonder how they play into the insomnia. I’m trying to work on various things I know will help with sleep. I know I’m not helping things with my evening screen time (tv/computer) and the light from that can mess with the sleep cycle, so I’m trying to cut back on that and not get too off schedule on the weekends. I’ve tried lavender essential oil and ocean sounds. That all works pretty well when the stress levels are mild-moderate. I don’t have one big huge stressor now, but several moderate ones which are having a cumulative effect. I think it’s time to revisit the no pharmaceuticals decision to managing the anxiety. I’m going to discuss that some more with my therapist and at least take him up on his offer for a referral about that. The increase in the insomnia has been going on for well over a year now.
The title comes from this Barenaked Ladies song: