Why does my ex torture me again and again

A psychotherapist explains why you keep dreaming about your ex

Singles and those who have been awarded are equally affected - dreams of ex-partners. Of course, these can be nice dreams in which you remember the time that was good. But also nightmares that revive traumatic moments. In both cases, however, it does not leave you cold to dream of ex-friends. Be it because you have long since finished with the situation or because you feel guilty about your new treasure ...

But what if the ex-dreams repeat themselves and you wake up tired and confused night after night? And why do we care about these dreams long after we have had them? We asked the psychotherapist Magdalena Ségur-Cabanac these questions and got an insight into the world of dreams. Because: This is how the subconscious communicates with us!

WOMAN: What can you learn from dreams?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
You can learn a lot from dreams. In my Gestalt therapy direction, we all consider what occurs in dreams as part of ourselves. Dreams contain important messages that want to reach consciousness. It is important that I can always turn to my dreams and learn more about myself. But: It is not a compulsion! Nobody can force me to deal with my dreams. It should be a self-determined decision because I want to get to know myself better. If I am afraid of the potential message, I can also seek professional support.

WOMAN: But some dreams keep coming back ...

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
Yes, dreams can be persistent! Then it is already helpful if you take a look. Because it can be that unconscious parts want to tell me something that I don't want to hear or show me something that I don't want to look. This can point to the current life situation that torments me, or to something that I have not yet dealt with. Or unfulfilled longings show up!

WOMAN: How about nightmares? Am I part of my own dream there too?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
Yes, my self shows itself in the nightmare with its fears and feelings. If everything in the dream are parts of myself, then I am also the monster that scares me. For example, the monster could represent its own suppressed aggressive impulses. Most of the time, however, a monster does not appear so striking in the nightmare, but rather situations in which I feel abandoned or feel strongly responsible for others, cannot save someone important. This can indicate an internal imbalance.

WOMAN: It's not easy to believe! How can I decipher a dream without the guidance of an expert?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
If you want to deal with your dreams, you can write yourself a letter or keep a dream diary. And if I am preoccupied with the monster, it may be helpful to talk to a friend about it and ask what response he or she has to the dream. You should always remember that you have control over what you take from the feedback. Because the feedback from the other person is colored by their own opinion and view of the world.

"I can always turn to my dreams and learn more about myself."

WOMAN: Many people keep dreaming of their ex-partner, the ex-partner. Regardless of whether the relationship was days or months ago, or whether you are in a new, happy relationship. Does an "ex-dream" inevitably mean that I'm not over the person yet?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
Yes and no! A dream about this or the ex doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not over him or her. It is much more an indication that something in me is in resonance with the shared experience. For example, if these are nice experiences, I may long for them again. In a dream it can show how the new partner differs from the ex. And I can also miss these different aspects. For example in sexuality, for example when it was more exciting with the ex than it is with the new partner. The dream then maybe shows me that I miss this excitement, passion and invites me to integrate these qualities more into my life. It is important that the dreamed longings are not necessarily linked to the person I dream of.

WOMAN: How can I still look at beautiful dreams about my ex?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
For example, as internalized resources of warmth and security. Good memories of beautiful moments. As I said: That doesn't have to mean that I want the person from back then. But it can indicate that I am currently missing something that I experienced back then.

WOMAN: And bad dreams?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
This could be an indication of experiences that you have not yet processed and that are currently blocking you in life and in your own strength. Sometimes the ex in nightmares is representative of other previous experiences with men or women. Or for a period of time in life when you felt used, felt objectified, or showed yourself too little respect.

"Guilt blocks the way to inner wisdom."

WOMAN: I'm in a happy relationship right now and dreaming something nice with my ex? Do I have to feel guilty and tell my current partner that?

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
In no case do you have to feel guilty! Feelings of guilt and shame block the way to inner wisdom. Dreams about the ex - no matter what nature they are, are perfectly normal and perfectly fine. Because there is always valuable information behind it that says something about myself. And of course I can tell my current partner about the dreams, but again: I don't have to! If I recognize the wish or the unfulfilled longing from my dream, then I can bring that into my relationship. For example related to more passion! I don't even have to say that I derived this from a dream with my ex.

WOMAN: No internal or external compulsion - that seems to be very important when it comes to dreams!

Magdalena Ségur- Cabanac:
Yes, this is really important! Coercion hinders growth and development and assumes a deficit. Nobody can force me to occupy myself with my dreams. Neither can you force someone to talk about it. I can see my dreams as pointers and resources, even gifts from my unconscious parts. I decide for myself whether I want to use this information. Finally, a good example of how dreams of an ex can also be useful for saying goodbye: I had a pregnant client who "dreamed through" all of her ex-friends - one after the other. With some of them she had sex again in a dream, but afterwards she explained to everyone that it was finally over, since she was now fixed with her partner and was expecting a child. After this intense dream phase, she felt ready for the future.