I used to have this nightmare regularly from the time I was a child right through until my 40s.
It is dark and I am walking alone. I hear steps behind me. The steps start to go faster and faster until they are running after me. I try to scream but nothing comes out.
One night though, I actually did scream, waking my partner at the time and his deaf mother. It was a blood-curdling scream.
I hope now that I have told you about it I don’t start having it again.
I have just realised that the nightmare stopped when I started doing volunteer work with a charity. Perhaps the training gave me some sort of confidence that I lacked?
When I was little, I thought I was certainly second-rate to my brother and was sent to my grandparents most weekends. I felt I was a very disruptive person and that I had to prove myself. Sad but true!
I know it was a nightmare at the time but what a great dream. Many of us had recurring dreams during childhood that hold important clues for our adult destiny.
It is interesting that you made the connection between this dream and your relationship with your brother. Was he older than you? Did you feel that you were expected to ‘follow in his footsteps’?
Being in darkness implies that you are lost. You don’t know where you are and are unable to get your bearings. On the other hand, it is easier to hide in the dark so perhaps it was a safe place for you, a place where you wouldn’t be noticed…
Hearing only the sound of the ominous footsteps getting closer and closer must have been terrifying. And not being able to call for help – yikes!
It is amazing though that the dream stopped when you started volunteering. It is as if the footsteps chased you to your destiny of helping others. Valuing your kind and compassionate nature and recognising that you had something special to offer the world, you finally did ‘prove yourself’.
No more running. You found your voice.
As for the blood-curdling scream, there is a sleep disorder called sleep terrors (or night terrors) that is a recognised medical condition but I don’t think it would apply in your case. Were you under a lot of stress at the time?