This time it was that my abuser had taken out an ad in a local newspaper detailing every thing he did to me. I kept running into people and they all knew who I was and every disgusting thing he did to me. It was awful. In my dream he did this to try and discourage me from continuing with the trial, kind of as a show that it's only going to get worse.
In real life I know that this won't happen. It would be an admission of guilt. I think what the dream really signifies is that I'm worried about testifying. There are hundreds of reasons I'm worried about it, but a major one is just the same as when I told my family: I feel like what he did to me makes me gross. I'm embarrassed to have to admit in front of a bunch of strangers what he did to me. I know I was just a little girl, but I still partly blame myself for not being able to stop him.
After talking with my therapist I think that the other major reason I'm afraid is simply because he threatened me when I was little in order to keep me quiet. It still feels scary and risky to go against that and tell.
So, what do I do after a nightmare? When they wake me up I make sure that I'm completely up. I get up and get some water or use the bathroom, this way I don't fall right back into the same nightmare. I might also leave a light on, or turn some quiet music on, if I'm really upset I might get a cup of peppermint tea. Then I usually do a grounding exercise such as petting my dog and really thinking about how he feels and reminding myself over and again that I'm safe in the here and now. Another thing I might try if my dog is being irksome is just feeling the weight of my body on the bed and feeling the sheets while reminding myself I'm safe. Then I usually try to think of something happy and daydream until I fall back asleep. Usually this allows me to finish sleeping without follow up nightmares.