The Cornered Cat

A new shooter often found herself fighting off recurring nightmares and vivid dreams about guns and self-defense. Night after night, she battled shadowy bad guys, reaching for her gun only to find it missing. Or she drew the gun, and it would not fire no matter how hard she pulled the trigger. A masked intruder entered her dreams, and she stood frozen, unable to lift the gun to fire at him even as he reached for one of her children.

The dreams made her feel puzzled, powerless and angry. She was frustrated about her interrupted sleep, and worried that the dreams meant something was really wrong with her.

This isn’t an uncommon tale. A fairly high percentage of those who venture into the self-defense world as adults will experience some level of sleep disruption as the subconscious mind struggles to integrate new thought patterns and organize the new information. Our brains are wired to process new information all the time, not merely when we are awake. The more fundamental the new information, the more the brain struggles to integrate it with what is already there.

Learning to cope with these active dreams can be an ongoing challenge, but it is possible to tap into such dreams and make them work for you. Here’s how.

Visualization really works both to erase the immediate sting of the nightmare, and to reprogram your mind to fight and win if you must. Together with sensible safety precautions to allay your conscious fears, careful visualization can help put your nightmares to sleep for good.