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My ex threatened me with a gun in his sleep


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Lately, whenever I have panic attacks, I get this weird feeling that someone is pointing a gun at me. It's so vivid, I can clearly picture the gun and the hand holding it. I thought this was really weird until I made a connection recently between associating anxiety with being held at gun point and an incident that happened with my emotionally and sexually abusive ex.

 

One night, I stayed up to wait for his laundry to finish while he went to bed early because he had an early meeting at work. When his clothes were done, I went into his room to hang them up. I made a little noise, and he half-woke up, confused and babbling about things that didn't make any sense, which wasn't terribly unusual for him. But at some point, he freaked out and couldn't remember who I was (he kept asking me what number I was? and was startled that I wasn't his mom?). He jumped out of bed and dove at the desk drawer where he kept his gun. He kept his gun in one drawer and the cartridge in another, so I knew the gun wasn't loaded, but it wouldn't have taken him very long to load. I shut myself in his closet and started yelling for him to please, please, please wake up. When I didn't hear any more movement, I peeked out of the door to see him sitting on the floor, looking confused, with his hand in the open gun drawer. I said something along the lines of "You're still asleep, you're having a bad dream. It's just me, C. Go back to bed." And he got up, got into bed, and immediately fell sleep. I went in the living room, laid down on the couch (this was one of the many times where he had told me to sleep on the couch instead of in bed with him "so that he could get some sleep") and cried myself to sleep.

 

The next day, and for the rest of the time we were dating, he could not understand why this upset me or why I thought this was a big deal, since according to him, he was awake enough not to shoot me and the gun wasn't loaded. He never apologized, or even acknowledged that the incident terrified me. He claims that he never touched the gun, but then again, he wasn't awake enough to recognize his own live-in girlfriend. He thought I was being ridiculous for being scared. I'm just wanting some other opinions on this. Is it crazy that this still affects me? I wasn't consciously dwelling on it. There's just been a lot of unpacking going on after this relationship and it makes me feel crazy. Have I been making a mountain out of a molehill?

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No, you are not making a mountain out of a molehill. You are suffering from post traumatic stress. Suggest that you make an apointment with you family physician and he will guide you. It is good that you got out of that abusive relationship. ..chi

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No, you're not crazy. I agree with Chi, you need to make an appointment with someone and get some help. Having a gun pointed at you by someone aware or unaware of what they're doing is not a joke. Loaded or unloaded makes no difference. He knew he had problems with sleepwalking or whatever anyone wants to call it. It certainly sounds like that's what he was doing. Having an easily accessible firearm with that type of problem is the height of irresponsibility and stupidity. It should have been kept in a lockbox or safe. I hope this guy never has kids.

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That sounds terrifying... unfortunately I know what you are going through and it is a serious issue. Maybe it would help you to hear the perspective from the other side: I've had two episodes like that, once with my current girlfriend and one with my ex-girlfriend. Both times I woke up and saw my partner as a faceless entity that wanted to kill me, I got scared and angry and started shouting at them with my fist ready. I can't even begin to imagine the feeling of a gun rather than fists.

 

I remember having a very serious intent of defending myself to the point that my adrenaline was pumping and heart was racing when I came to. It must have been a very traumatic experience for you. I know my ex took it hard for months although my current wasn't fazed by it. She actually slapped me awake lol.

 

I would recommend you talking to an adviser about your experience.

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My brother's ex gf had 'night terrors'. She'd come a live screaming bloody murder and running around the house, from a dead sleep, and all the while she would look like she was fully awake. I was at their house one night when this happened (my brother and I were still up watch a movie). She was screaming "there's somebody in the bedroom!" over and over, and completely not responding to the sound of our voices. She slowly came out of it and was her normal self.

 

It makes sense that you would have some sort of PTSD from it though. Especially since he refused to acknowledge your fear or feelings (and made you sleep on the couch - that is horrible). I think you can find a way to come to terms with this with counseling, and I also think this may have more to do with the way your abusive ex made you feel during your relationship (anxious all the time, probably) than it does with the gun specifically. Perhaps the episode clearly showed his recklessness and his indifference towards your feelings in a way that you could not deny any longer? Maybe the question isn't "how could he point a gun at me?", but rather "how could I be with someone who treated me like dirt?". It may not be the gun episode that you're struggling with, but the larger issue of why you stayed with someone who repeatedly hurt you. Him pointing a gun at you (conscious or not) gave you a crystal-clear visual representation of his aggressive and dangerous personality.

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OK, the first and most important thing here is your actual physical safety. If he's the type to sleepwalk like this (and this is a form of sleepwalking), then he shouldn't have a gun anywhere he can access it during his sleep. I would NOT live with someone who did this if there was a gun he could access easily. It needs to be in a gun safe in another room, and perhaps have a key in a separate place so that it would take multiple steps and reason to find it. But better yet don't even have a gun in the house.

 

I also think someone who was normal who did this would be terrified himself rather than minimizing it! He could have killed or seriously injured you! I think i would move out rather than stay with someone who behaves this way.

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OK, the first and most important thing here is your actual physical safety. If he's the type to sleepwalk like this (and this is a form of sleepwalking), then he shouldn't have a gun anywhere he can access it during his sleep. I would NOT live with someone who did this if there was a gun he could access easily. It needs to be in a gun safe in another room, and perhaps have a key in a separate place so that it would take multiple steps and reason to find it. But better yet don't even have a gun in the house.

 

I also think someone who was normal who did this would be terrified himself rather than minimizing it! He could have killed or seriously injured you! I think i would move out rather than stay with someone who behaves this way.

 

Yeah, I tried to suggest this, or even that he see a doctor about his sleepwalking, and he said that if he needed to get to it during a break in, it would "be dangerous" to have to fiddle with keys. Apparently, it was worth risking my safety to make his gun easily accessible, but not worth risking a few extra seconds to get to his gun in the case of a break in. We did have a break in, but it is highly unlikely that someone would've broken in while we were there. Less likely, at least, than him shooting me. And he insisted that he was awake, which made the whole incident that more hurtful. He made it clear that he didn't care how I felt about it. Like being held at gun point by a completely irrational person--the person I loved--was not a big deal.

 

It's really nice to hear that you guys think that this was a serious thing, too. It's nice to not have my feelings about this minimized. Thank you.

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