How Can I Stop Dreaming About My Abusive Ex?

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only for dream interpretations, please). This week, a reader asks Lauri:

I dreamed about my ex-boyfriend today. I got hit by him so many times. I do not love him anymore and I feel much better since we broke up. Everything came together in my dream. He said nasty words and tried to touch my body. He wanted to get my phone when I did not let him. He chased me around the room and did not let me go out. I screamed out loud but no one could hear me. I ran up to the floor and I saw the dog was chasing after me.

What I should do about this? I still can feel my heart beats since I woke up. I am afraid of him. And I do not know why I dreamed about him. It’s just like a nightmare to me.

Lauri:  You are not alone with this sort of dream. I have counseled countless women who got out of abusive relationships yet continue to dream they are still being abused the jerk, even decades later. In my research I have found that there are two factors that seem to cause this:

1. It is a symptom of post-traumatic stress. When we go through something horrible like combat or abuse it leaves a scar on the psyche. That scar is not unlike a scratch on a record causing the record to keep playing the same little piece of music over and over again. In the same vein, the psyche gets stuck and plays the same scenario over and over again, most often in dreams.

2. The victim of the abuse has not forgiven herself for being in the relationship or not getting out sooner. The abuser beats the victim down physically and psychologically, taking away her sense of control and her self-respect therefore, long after the jerk is gone the woman continues to beat herself up resulting in dreams of continued abuse.

I think your dream is giving us two big clues on how we can help you. You scream but no one hears you. That is a tell-tale sign that you need some help moving past this trauma but you aren’t using your voice to ask for it. You also are chased by a dog. Dogs tend to symbolize trust, loyalty, and companionship. It seems that you may now be fearful of trusting again and may even be avoiding another relationship. That is not good. We want you to be able to have a long lasting, healthy, trustful relationship!

So the first thing you need to do is forgive yourself for being in the relationship. You had no idea when getting into it that he would turn into such a douche nozzle! And he also made it hard to get out. You are only human and you are far from being the only person to get stuck in an abusive relationship. This does not speak badly of you whatsoever. I suggest you write yourself a forgiveness letter. Sounds silly, I know, but it works. Writing the letter allows you to sort out your thoughts, and most importantly, it forces you to communicate with yourself (we are far too often our own worst critic) in a forgiving and loving manner. It will also help you to get a lot out of your system. Do this before you turn out your light and go to sleep. Odds are, that very night you’ll get a pretty cool dream reflecting that you are feeling better about yourself.

Then I would like you to please join a support group, talk to a counselor or someone that can help you move on from the fear and distrust. This will help you in your future relationships. Remember, you can never move forward if you are holding on to what is behind you.

Visit Lauri’s site,, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams each morning, check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert. You can see all of Lauri’s books here. And hey, if you want your very own pin-up painting of you or your luvva (either vintage or modern), Lauri can do that, too! 


  1. I’m speaking from experience here. I have wild, crazy, sometimes upsetting dreams. I don’t know why. As a waking person I’m emotionally and psychologically pretty level. My life has little in the way of abnormal or extreme stress. But it’s like the subconscious I spend all day repressing comes rip-roaring out at night.

    I actually don’t mind the experience, because these dreams don’t usually wake me up. But they’re so intense that it’s impossible not to notice the difference: if I smoke a little weed before bed, I do not dream.

  2. Don’t know if this works for anyone else, or if this is a suggestion op would be open to, but – totally serious here – weed.

    For some people, a puff before bed time causes blank, dreamless sleep. I’m not suggesting becoming a pothead here, but for a lot of people weed keeps Freddy away.

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