Lateish reply but there’s no fear or pain in them when certain events happen or people (and a pet that passed) show up.
Since childhood my vivid dreams always took a turn towards the morbid and I’d get stuck in loops: getting stuck in a cemetery that suddenly spread out endlessly in all directions, dolls/toys “waking up” to kill me, being chased and stabbed and not dying, seeing dead relatives whose funeral I just went to walking around ghostly in random mausoleums, having someone close to me get a crazed look in their eye before driving us both off any cliff, falling with sensation whenever I took a step down stairs to “land” in my bed with various leftover remnants dancing along the dim walls of my bedroom in the middle of the night. Tasting food intensely, feeling dulled pain of injury, never “dying,” and breathing under “water” same as air.
Marathon dreams that I could “return” to if I went back to sleep fast enough or thought about them enough but the nature would alway shift. Remembering the last vignette and maybe snippets of previous dreams in a session. Dreams that happened once a year just about. Knowing if I said something bad was going to happen that it did but never being able to do the opposite no matter how hard I tried.
When I grew up the fantastic still existed but there wasn’t as much fear unless I’d witnessed something terrible irl or watching (I just don’t do horror, my mind goes too many places with that). I knew more often that it was a dream during the experience.
Now they’re still weird, but more observational instead of feeling I can’t escape. Did get annoyed that my ex husband was in a couple of them like “why are you even here?” But that was only after the fact. It was like he was a character in my dream (and a stranger at that).
They’re more fantastical or odd or campy. like there’s no reason I should see both my dead parents on either side of me in a claw foot bathtub in the middle of some random room while they affect the atmosphere of the bath as they talk/argue. If my cat would appear in my dreams, both before and after his death, before this he wouldn’t suddenly slip into a room through an impossible gap in a window pane. I did miss him, so it brought me nothing but happiness.
I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop… to wonder if my nightmares after my mother passed will be something I have to endure again, but so far it’s been fine.
Long winded, but I hope that explains it a bit.