Guest Room Ghosts: Causing Problems or Providing Perspective?

The guest room might need another cleansing. I went in there last night about 1 AM when I could not sleep. I woke up in tears after an incredibly vivid dream about my friend who ghosted on me.  In the dream I was in some kind of public space, like a piazza wth outdoor restaurants. She walked by me, avoiding me, aggressively not making eye contact. I was yelling in her face “what are you doing? why are you acting this way?” She just kept walking quickly away, shrinking from me. I followed her to a table where she was dining with friends and I shoved her, pushed her so hard that the food on the table crashed to the ground. She ran away.

We spoke on the phone while I was trying to find her. She applauded my pushing her, asked me laughingly if the bologna had really gone flying (it was a dream, ok?); I told her how much it had embarrassed me to do it, that it was a reaction to how hurt I was. Before she explained anything, I was awake.

Of course I know from whence the dream sprung. The emptiness that I feel and that is–in my house, in my office, where no one came to hang out or chat with me yesterday–is almost more than I can stand. I hear a noise and expect it to be followed by one child or the other’s presence. And it’s not. Talking on the phone is nearly impossible as I can barely speak without breaking down.

We have been texting back and forth today though, and that makes me feel like they are closer. Not here exactly, but with me somehow. I know I will continue to adjust, hopefully feeling less sad than I currently do.

Last night’s dream may in fact be helping me process my emotions, giving me an outlet. As my husband said to me this morning, when I told him about the dream, “our daughter is not going to drop you like a hot potato like [your friend] did.” True, if not necessarily comforting!

I wrote a piece about the years of dreams I had about an old boyfriend (that I submitted to the NY Times Modern Love column.) What I did not mention, as it would take too much explaining, is that nearly all of these dreams took place in the guest room.

Here is an excerpt:

“For nearly the whole time I have been married, my old boyfriend showed up in my dreams…

“There was a progression to the dreams. When they first started, we were together again, and once again he destroyed me. I woke with tears on my face. Next, we were together again, I knew things weren’t right and his leaving me was all for the best. I cried less at the end. Then, we were together, he treated me badly and I was strong and confident and left him. Finally, recently, and so far the last dream I have ever had of him, we were together and he apologized and said he loved me.

“I consulted a trusted friend, as I was disturbed and had no idea what to make of this, especially in light of my joyful life. She told me that subconsciously, I had changed the ending of the old story.

“I loved that.

“I have changed it consciously as well. It was painful and liberating to realize that I was complicit in what had happened so long ago: I was a terrible girlfriend, resenting any time he spent with others, or on schoolwork, or at his job. I didn’t like his brothers or sister or mother, and did not get along with his friends unless I was also friends with their girlfriends. I was embarrassed by him if I didn’t like what he wore, or did or said, and I let him know.

“With all of my energy, I forgave him, forgave myself, and sent my apologies into the universe.”

Perhaps rather than smudging the guest room, I should view it as a sort of sweat lodge, and use that disturbing energy to help me process my overwhelming emotional turmoil. It’s not an easy choice, as I would rather not feel pain (especially when I am asleep fercrissake.) And likely this would not be a linear process.

What would you do, my beautiful friends?

2 Replies to “Guest Room Ghosts: Causing Problems or Providing Perspective?”

  1. Cannot believe that you still harbor thoughts of that moron. Dumping you was the best thing that he ever did for you. You weren’t a bad girlfriend. As I recall you did so much for him. He was a user and a taker. Good riddance. Bury all remembrance of that relationship. He wasn’t even good-looking. Look who you have now: Justin. Duffy and Perri. How could life be any better than today! You are however making me nervous. I am going to be a Zombie when T.J. leaves me next year. I hope it gets better for you.

    1. Aw, you’re the best! I have not had active thoughts, that’s why it was so weird. It only came in dreams, and I could not figure out why in god’s name I was dreaming of, as you so eloquently put it, “that moron”.

      I am feeling better today. Spoke to Perry yesterday and texted with Duffy, so a lot less sad. For now.

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