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He Almost Strangled Me - My Then Husband's RBD

by Irene Riley
(Sacramento, CA, U.S.A.)

My then husband was having a nightmare one night. He was 6'2" and 240 lbs., I was 5'7" and 135 lbs. As he lay sleeping on his stomach, I lay sleeping beside him on my back. I was awakened by his yelling as his hand reached over to grab me by my throat. I was unable to yell and knew I would soon pass out from lack of air. I was unable to awaken him, and my feeble attempts at hitting him with my hands were in vain. My last attempt was using my feet and toenails to dig into his leg.

He was finally awakened when I scratched deep gashes into his lower legs. When he woke up and I finally caught my breath, I explained what he had done. He didn't remember what he did, but he said in his dream he was under attack and was trying to strangle his assailant while keeping from being stabbed.

Both of the kids were always told by their father that the bruises they saw on me were an accident from his rolling over in bed and accidently elbowing me. He always denied that he had a serious sleeping problem until the night we were sleeping on our daughter's sofa bed. It was just like so many other times when he had an episode. He had me by my throat and was trying to punch me as he yelled and cursed at the top of his lungs.

Our daughter came into the room this time and tried to wake her dad by telling him to stop. When that didn't work she put her hand on his shoulder to shake him. He turned his head and bit down on her thumb causing her thumb nail to pop off. She punched him reactively with her free hand. That was what actually woke him from his sleep.

When I took her to the local hospital the E.R. staff called the authorities to report an assault, even though we both told them it was an accident from an unknown or documented sleep disorder. It was only after he was contacted by the police that he finally decided to seek medical help and admit that after 15 years he may have a problem.

I spent years married to him before diagnosis. He refused to admit that he had a problem. I covered for him and his problem. The kids and I used to joke that when we heard him having an episode while we watched tv that he had Turettes in his sleep. They never knew how bad it really was until he bit our daughter.

Comments for He Almost Strangled Me - My Then Husband's RBD

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Jun 28, 2014
Wife should've gone to a separate bed NEW
by: Anonymous

As the author found out, it's never a good idea to try and rouse a person who is in the throes of a nightmare. She says that he had had this problem for 15 years before having something done about it. My question is -- why did she continue sleeping in the same bed with him? Why, for that matter, did she continue sleeping in the same room? It's not his fault for having nightmares. It's her fault for not making sure she sleeps safely away.

Jun 28, 2014
Not always as easy as it seems NEW
by: Anonymous

While I knew that my husband had a sleep problem, he would never admit that it was a problem. You can say that it was my own fault and I chose to continue to sleep in the same bed. Yes I will admit my part. I should have left him years ago. He refused to admit that he had this problem. He threatened me with divorce when I would try to sleep in another room. It was not just in his sleep that he would abuse me. It is easy for people to stand on the outside of a relationship and judge another for what they put up with. I took a vow. I gave my oath. I believed the person I married did the same. Reality is that he was a narcissist who refused to believe that he was the one with a sleep disorder. That he could and did physically assault me in his sleep. At work they called him the Boy Scout, because he had them believing he was that kind of person. At home, when no one else could see or hear, he was everything BUT a Boy Scout. Maybe I was secretly wishing he would kill me in my sleep. Death for me at that time in my life with him was preferable.

Jan 30, 2016
I have same story! NEW
by: Anonymous

I've been married to my husband for 36 years. Year two he woke me up by snatching me straight up out of a deep sleep and he was strangling me. I couldn't scream and eventually my kicking him woke him up. He's been to sleep studies twice and was told he had narcolepsy but he never fell asleep in the middle of a conversation. He is progressively getting worse - acts out all kinds of things in sleep -makes up sings and silly rhymes and does all kinds of crazy things and then wonders why he hurts so bad! He's clueless that this is happening. I moved I to another room 3 years ago as I was seriously sleep deprived. I can still hear him in the middle of the night even tho he is downstairs in the basement apartment in the opposite side of the house. He screams so loud and claps his hands. It's so bizarre. I videotaoed him two nights ago and sent the video to his doctor. I then sent to my son who said it looks like REM behavior disorder. I looked up some videos I. YouTube and agree. I'm hoping they can diagnose it and give him some meds for it. I'm scared because I keep reading how it turns into Parkinsins Disease when they get I. Their 60's - that's only 5 more years.

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