Can Nightmares Be Heritable?

by Kim L
(Ontario Canada)

When I was a little girl (5) I always had this recurring nightmare. One day I was talking to my mother and we got on the topic of nightmares. I start off telling her the basics of the nightmare and she guessed all of the details saying she had the same dream when she was a little girl. Here is the nightmare:

It starts of at the top of some stairs. These stairs spiraled down in a square with walls on both sides of the staircase with no railings. The walls were gray like cement, the stairs were like old wood.

My mother stood at the top with me and she started running down the stairs in front of me. She told me over and over not to look behind me and no matter how much I wanted to I couldn't because of fear and the sense that whatever it was would have caught me if I did.

Each turn around a corner my mother got more and more steps ahead of me. I remember the stairs having many cracks in them and even some of them missing. Snakes, frogs, and flies were in the corner of some stairs so I skipped over them.

In the nightmare the last time I saw my mom was when she turned a corner before me and I never saw her again (although it sounds cliche the last thing I saw of my mom was her hair as she turned the corner). During the dream I never once looked back and when my mother disappeared I sped up trying to make it to the bottom as fast as I could, the thing still behind me getting closer.

It came to the point when (even though you shouldn't feel anything in dream) I felt the hot wet breath of whatever it was.

I finally made it to the bottom and it opened to this room much like a prison cell. Cement walls of an unfinished basement, cement flooring and the room only had two things in it. A toilet and a blue bunk bed (much like the one I had at the time.) I knew I had to go to sleep in the dream to wake up so I ran to the bed and got in the bottom bunk. On the top were many different animal parts coming over the top like elephant trunks and feet, zebra legs, ape arms etc.

That's the last thing that happened before I wake up. And it was the same every time. I know it could just be a coincidence but all the details my mom said were the same right down the the feeling of fear from whatever was chasing us and the small bugs on the stairs. The only difference is that my moms dream was with her mother.

This dream is my first memory of what true fear feels like and it was so vivid and the fact that I felt so much feelings during it I need to know if I should pay more attention to it.

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