What’s your earliest memory involving another person? Recreate the scene — from the other person’s perspective.
My little girl was only three years old when she started waking up, crying, from bad dreams. Where these dreams came from was a mystery. There was no television in our home yet, and I didn’t read her scary stories.
We always tried to comfort her, assure her there were no bad people chasing her, but she was afraid to go back to sleep. She said she could hear the footsteps of bad people chasing her, and the footsteps would get faster and faster. We were beside ourselves, not knowing how to help her. It was clear she wasn’t making it up. She was truly fightened, and we just didn’t know what to do.
Eventually she would drift off to sleep again, and one night I stayed by her bed until I was sure she was sleeping soundly. It was then that I noticed how she turned to her side, tucking one hand under her ear.
Voila! She was hearing her own heartbeat! As she became more frightened, her pulse would increase, which was why she heard the “footsteps” getting faster.
I carefully turned her over to her back, and she slept peacefully the rest of the night. In the morning, I told her what I thought was happening, and she put her hands over both ears, listening. Sure enough, there were the footsteps.
And that was the end of the nightmares.