When I dream I wouldn't say it are nightmares but I seem to have a subconscious habit of belittling myself in dreams. I end up in a situation that is not favorable for me, almost clownish with people laughing hysterically or pointing their fingers at me. They often start out fine and promising but always end on a negative note.
The feelings I have while awake are just repeated in a fantastical world when I dream. Negativity and pessimism regarding my self are ingrained into my system. I wonder if it can be reversed over time.
I agree with the BIB. I'm of the opinion that dreams are just 3d versions of a person's current emotional state, with the caveat that when we sleep we lose all inhibition. So, while we're awake, we may consciously avoid entertaining certain kinds of thoughts or feelings by making an effort to maintain a certain mindset or "be logical", but when we're asleep that inhibition stops. So we confront how we actually
feel when we're dreaming which may differ from what we consciously experience while we're awake. But then we respond to our dreams, too, while we're having them, so our emotions change and the dream changes with them, which is why dreams may get better or worse.
Anyway, my dreams tend to fall into a couple categories:
, where I'm being chased/hunted by something that wants to destroy me (ghosts, possessed objects, cannibals, serial killers, Nazis, giants, bears, zombies, aliens, etc.), or I have some kind of weird and horrifying disease (body parts rotting and falling off, or sprouting strange growths, etc.), or the world is ending in some cataclysmic way (tornadoes, floods, etc.);
2. stressful anxiety dreams
, where I'm back at my old job and everything that can go wrong is going wrong and everyone is mad at me and I'm going to lose my job; and
3. weird/random wandering around lost dreams
(most of the environments are decaying or threatening in some way); sometimes my wandering around dreams include "animal running" (where I'm running around on all fours like a dog or something)
I generally remember 1-3 dreams a night when I can be arsed to and most of them fall into one of the above categories (I have literally hundreds of nightmares written down in my dream log). It's pretty rare for me to have positive dreams. I get maybe a couple a year that make me feel good. On the whole, my dream life is pretty relentlessly terrifying and horrific, far worse than anything I've ever experienced IRL and worse than most horror movies (because, obv, they feel like they're really happening). I honestly think my PTSD comes from my nightmares, not from things that have actually happened to me IRL, but I can't seem to sell this idea to anyone else, lol.
I think, if you want nice dreams, you have to have at least some hope for the future and not be in negative emotional states all the time. Dreams are definitely not, ime, any kind of escape from reality. They just turn whatever you're already feeling into complete sensory experiences. My dreams very rarely ever reflect anything that is actually happening in my life except on an emotional level.