Last night, my 6 year old step daughter came running into the living room after she had a bad dream. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she had a dream in which her daddy died. I assumed it was a dream about his deployment since he is gone at the moment...a dream about the "bad guys" shooting him which she has had before and after talking to him will calm her down. She then began giving me more details. So here it goes...the dream:
In the dream, her Uncle Herbert (her dad's brother) comes to our house and smokes "the bad stuff" (what we have called pot in front of the kids). He then goes out side and rips up all of our roses, flowers, and veggies in our garden and throws them away to make our house ugly. They he comes inside the house and throws away all of our flowers and "pretty things" in our house. He goes out to our garage and find's my husband's hand gun and goes through the house. We all fight him and he kills her dad first, then myself, then her...
That dream should leave you very much on edge - it is a very clear call for help from your step-daughter. While it can be an unfortunate norm for kids to have nightmares under the circumstance of her father being away in a war zone, etc. this dream carries far more meaning. That's not just based on an examination of the dream - it's what she opened up to you about afterward - that's a lucidly expressed, very real concern.
You've got three immediate needs:
- Ensure that Herbert is kept away by whatever legal means necessary - you cannot afford to have him around, or even for your step-daughter to even think he can come around again. He has no business near your home.
- Enlist your husband's understanding and help - it's his brother and you will have a tough relationship issue on your hands involving both his brother and mother, no doubt. You may need some help to do this well - do not hesitate to get some counseling on how best to approach this issue as constructively as you can.
- Check into counseling for those children - what they've already said about Herbert does describe abuse. Whether there may be more can come out in time, but the terrors your step-daughter is experiencing after what has gone before needs attention. It is also legitimate that some of her fears may center on fear for her dad - be careful not to demonize Herbert - but what's real is real and must be addressed. She needs help with all of it, no matter how it fits together - the whole of it seems bigger than you can effectively deal with alone.
Don't worry about your knowledge of Herbert's use of drugs - you must not be blackmailed into silence over that. That's small stuff compared to how he has treated these kids in the past as you are now finding out. What's been described is abusive enough - whether more comes out later or not.
You've already done very well to send 'Uncle Herbert' away - now you need to do whatever it takes to keep him away. You do really need to be able to assure your step-daughter that he is truly not going to have the chance to harm her or the family.
All easier said than done of course - but necessary. And again, I realize this is your husband's brother. You will need your husband's support - it will be vital to help him understand what has happened - from the revelation of Herbert's past treatment of the kids to his daughter's nightmares. She is truly still in harm's reach even by just having those dreams - do not underestimate that.
Again, counseling on how to deal with this would be a very good thing - you may well need that help. Your efforts will not succeed in the long term without his help - these things are easily undone if both parents are not firmly on board. You don't want to hurt him any more than he will have to be about dealing with his brother - he's in a tough spot where he is. But he must know - and help as best he can by supporting your efforts.
Herbert's 'problem' - the drug use - is not your problem. You did not cause it, the kids didn't, your husband didn't. You cannot fix it - nor can you allow concern for that to come before the security of your family. Do not get lured into believing that you have to 'help' Herbert get 'fixed' to solve this. I cannot stress it enough - security means keeping this man away and helping your children know that he cannot reach them - not 'fixing' a problem that does not belong to you.
What probably triggered the dream at this time and in such manifest horror is that your husband is away - in harm's sway to boot - and not able to be there as protector. She would have quite normal anxieties - so the dream may not be all about Herbert, so again, don't let him be demonized. Just deal with the facts - but they appear adequate for you to need to keep him away.
It is not clear just how your husband has dealt with his brother in the past, but your comments and your daughters vision of him being overcome in the dream suggest that he may have been a bit reluctant to use a firm hand with Herbert in the past. None of this needs to be unkind - just firm. Your husband needs to understand what has happened and the gravity of it and how badly you need his firm support. And again, do get help in approaching this from a counselor if need be - that is vital not only to your relationship, but in ultimately succeeding at getting things under firm control.
Once the immediate needs are met there will be time then for any other details to come out, if any. You already seem to have a good, loving touch for encouraging that without suggesting things - that's good, but that counseling resource for the kids will likely be needed. You can get that through a community health service if need be.
It troubles me to even have to think of you having to face these things with your husband overseas - my heart goes out to you. But be firm and stay your course - that dream means a great deal - especially given what your step-daughter finally opened up about. You've done well - keep guarding your family. It sounds as though your kids know they can count on you for support and protection.
Bless you for facing this so well - I hope some of this may be helpful and that things will improve for you all.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but is there ANY chance that uncle Herbert could be abusing her or may have in the past? Other then something like that I cannot see why on earth she would dream that. I would ask her as best you could if he ever molested her. He could have told her if you ever tell anyone I'll kill the family and that is why she is telling you about this "dream" because she thinks that way she is not telling you what happened but still telling you something is wrong. I have been there so that is why I ask.
Maybe she is frightened of losing her dad or she is afraid of her uncle. some dreams as a child really haunt you... ask her if shes seen anything like this on TV or in a film, or maybe even a game.
Ah KIDS KIDS KIDS KIDS...
& Their Wild Imagination
Get ur bro-in-law out of ur house. Send him to de-addiction centre. Make ur childs uncle a " GOOD MAN " . Tell her that her uncle will turn good, when he returns from the deaddiciton centre.
Dreams Are...$HIT. You know That. But I had dreams which happened later [dejavu] who cares.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.