Was it a visitation or a product of your grieving mind?
One woman whose sister passed away had a recurring dream that her sister was sternly reprimanding her about her drinking habit. It felt like a nightmare to the woman because it wasn’t a joyful reunion or visitation dream, but she couldn’t deny that it felt lucid, clear and specific. In contrast, another young man whose brother passed away had a nightmare that a demon was trying to trick him into trading places with his deceased brother, so that he could come back to life. On waking, though very disturbing to think about, it was clear that it was his mind trying to work through his survivor’s guilt and grief by fabricating a nonsensical scenario where he could restore his brother’s life through sacrifice of his own.
It can feel overwhelming to work through these experiences alone, so it can be helpful to talk with an open-minded friend, a support group or a therapist that will listen objectively and help you see things you might be missing, and help you discern what’s really driving the nightmare.
Was it a nightmare or a warning?
Even if you don’t see your loved one in a nightmare, but you’re plagued with disturbing bad dreams after they pass away, it’s really important to take an honest look at the underlying message that might be trying to come through. It could either be a warning that your loved one is trying to convey to you to help protect and guide you in a way that you’ll pay attention to, or it could again be your mind trying to process something you’re subconsciously aware of, but potentially avoiding dealing with in conscious day-to-day life.
One woman whose grandmother had passed away started having nightmares about her grandfather trying to rip her apart from the inside out. While they hadn’t had a physically abusive marriage, it was an unhappy one, and the woman took it as a warning to protect and distance herself from her surviving grandfather with whom she had had trouble connecting with but could never figure out why. While the threat of being ripped apart may have seemed nonsensical to someone else, the woman experienced the dream as rational, lucid and extremely vivid. On waking she knew it was a clear warning and not an unprovoked imaginative thought that her mind conjured up.
No matter what, it’s important to listen to yourself and trust how you feel as you work through the recollection of the nightmare, and be honest about what was or is really happening.
What needs to be healed or resolved?
If you wake up from a nightmare, do some honest reflection, and still have no idea what it means, you can always ask for a clearer sign from God, your guides, your deceased loved ones, whoever you trust is looking out for you on the other side. They’re there to help and they want to support you, so ask! There’s also nothing wrong with asking for less-scary experiences.
I used to be terrorized by recurring nightmares when I was younger and well into young adult life, and now my favorite ritual before bed is to thank God and my guides for the day, and ask for my dreams to be guided while I sleep so that I receive information that is helpful in the most gentle way possible.
No one’s trying to make you miserable up there, so don’t worry!
Nightmares about deceased loved ones can be resolved
- Establish the source – was it a visitation or something your mind is calling attention to?
- Uncover the meaning – what’s the theme or message embedded in the nightmare?
- Resolve the issue – take decisive action (and if you’re not sure what to do, ask for help)
Putting in the effort to unpack the message your nightmare is delivering – regardless of whether it was truly a visitation or the product of your own mind as you process your grief – will help you release the anguish so that it doesn’t continue to occur. As an added bonus, your waking life will improve as well, as you eliminate the circumstances that are triggering the nightmares.