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#41632 - 02/08/03 08:44 PM Strange sleeping problem
ecb Offline

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
I'm curious weather this problem is normal among survivors.

When I'm sleeping and someone touches me I wake up swininging at them, no matter where they touch me. On more than one occasion, a friend of mine would shake my shoulder to wake me and would have to dodge out of the way of my fist. One time a buddy of mine thought to bypass the problem and shake my foot and I kicked him.

Fortunatley, by now most of my friends know better, and I am a fairly light sleeper so just calling my name a few times will usually wake me up, but it's still kind of disconcerting.

I presume that it has something to do with the fact that I was abused, but I was never assaulted while I was in bed so I don't know why I do this. It started when I was in my teens, which was when I first began to realize that what was done to me was indeed abuse, but it still goes on now.

Has anyone else heard of this sort of thing?



#41633 - 02/08/03 09:05 PM Re: Strange sleeping problem
Don-NY Offline

Registered: 08/06/02
Posts: 546
Loc: Long Island, NY
Absolutely. I have gotten injured more than once when someone touched me while I was asleep.

Mostly it was my hand striking the wall or a metal pipe once that gave me a gash I should have had stitched.

I banged my head so hard once I got a concussion.

I never actually swung at anyone, or hit them, it was just frantic attempts to get away.

It also started in my teens for me, but late teens, and not until after I attempted normal sexual interactions and found that they were impossible for me. That's when the touching became unbearable and triggering, especially when I was so vulnerable.

I can't say if it would be true now. It's been a long time since anyone had the chance to touch me while I was asleep. But it did go on for many many years. Of course I wasn't in recovery or even acknowledging my abuse during that time.

If I was sleeping in the same bed with someone, it wasn't a problem or issue, but If I had gone to sleep alone, it kicked in big time if I was touched.


If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.

#41634 - 02/08/03 09:15 PM Re: Strange sleeping problem
RJD Offline

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
I don't know if it has anything to do directly with the issues dealt with on these pages, but it is not uncommon.

When I was in the Navy as a corpsman, or it may have been in boot camp, but one of the instructions we all recieved was to be sure to never wake another man up by touching him in any way. We were instructed to tap the foot of the bed and be sure we were out of striking distance of his hands or feet. Some men slept through the noise made over the P.A. system. For those men we tapped the metal bed frame with something metal. If that didn't work, then 3-4 of us would carefully take hold of the edge of the mattress( only 2" thick) and flip him to the floor. AGAIN, NEVER, NEVER BE WITHIN STRICKING DISTANCE OF A SLEEPING MAN. Aparently there have been serious injuries caused, and the injured have tried to sue. The finding some 35 yrs ago was that the man was found not guilty of the harm he caused because he was considered not yet awake when the incident occured. IT IS A STARTLE REFLEX.

My personal thoughts about it were that the men who wakened that way were physically abused on waking by their fathers. I've never asked a man that. You are the first.

#41635 - 02/10/03 04:44 AM Re: Strange sleeping problem
ecb Offline

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
Thanks guys,

Now that you mention it, I do recall someone mentioning to me that a guy he served with in the military had the same problem.

Personally I wasn't ever assaulted in bed (not the one I slept in anyway) so I don't know if there is any kind of correlation or what.

A friend who had to be fast on his feet one time did mention that when I woke (and swung) I looked incredibly scared. I guess I'm just uncomfortable with other people in my personal space because when touchy feely kind of people get near my i get really uncomfortable. Makes perfect sense I suppose, I'm just concerned that this problem would interfere with any kind of long term releationship. I shared a bed with a girl once and got no sleep because every time I'd doze off, she'd end up making contact with me and I'd hit or kick her. Ultimately I stayed up the whole night. Eh, burn that bridge when I get to it I suppose.

Thanks for your imput guys.

#41636 - 02/10/03 05:31 AM Re: Strange sleeping problem
MrDon Offline

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I know that my younger brother was this way when I grew up and I sort of chuckled when I read what you wrote. I remember having to dodge his fists and legs just like what you described. I would shake him and run because if I didn't, I would either get hit or kicked. He didn't mean to either, but it was just an automated response for him. And I know he is a survivor as well. I don't know if that has changed for him to this day or not, but when we were kids, it was evident.


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#41637 - 02/10/03 03:34 PM Re: Strange sleeping problem
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
When I was in the Air Force, I had a seargeant friend who had been in Nam & almost knocked out another friend when we went into his room for a planned time together. He wasn't awake yet, and he just missed my other friend who tried to wake him. This guy once knocked his seargeant across the room when he tried to wake him. Kung fu chopped him. Damn good thing he didn't have his num chucks in bed with him!

They say combat trauma and SA trauma have a lot in common...


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck


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