Still having nightmares of layoff after 2 years. Forced into retirement to save house

Hi! Im skhanna and my job was eliminated in 09 (I would have celebrated my 20th year with the company in two months), then had to take early retirement in order to keep our house. Friend suggested your help.
I keep having nightmares--scenes from my job elimination, the 'job interview' to get the job they promised me I was getting, "Just a formality, you see!" A lie!
My job was eliminated in summer of 09--just months before my 20th anniversary at the company. I even told them all I wanted was to retire from the company, and they offered me nothing. Instead they promised me another job with better pay--only thing was, they had to interview others--just a formality for records--and all would be well, then if I chose, I could retire whenever I wanted or stay on. sounded like a plan. Bought a snazzy suit for the interview, which I thought went well, then later I get an email--an email--not even a real person contact--telling me I "did not get the job" but to have a "great weekend". Can you imagine that!? Like I was gonna have a great weekend! I tried to contact/call Human Resources, email about the 'snag' but nobody returned calls/emails. I was just dumped and the 'job interview' was just a formality, all right--for them! I was told later that the hired person was hired at much lower salary than they were 'promising' me. There's your reason.
Anyway, although the bad dreams have slowly become less frequent, I still have them. Got to the point of sobbing in the backyard after watching a Harry's Law with the older man who was laid off. He spoke of how empty his life felt. And I've been gone from my job since 09!
I finally confessed to my friend how I was lying about how great I was feeling about being retired and she suggested finding a support group because she felt I was experiencing a form of Post Traumatic Stress.
I try to stay active, am working on house/yard improvements in order to sell our house to move to the country, will soon help my daughter and hubby move into their first house, and give my many pets the attention they did not get when I worked. I have kept up my journaling, which does help some. I began a mission of forgiveness a couple years ago--to forgive myself for my past stupidness and to forgive others of all past transgressions real or imagined. It has made a big difference in my happiness and I have reconnected with quite a few long-time lost old friends, so I feel that has been a big positive factor in my life and I'll continue to use forgiveness as a tool. Just wish I could apply that to my layoff. I don't have any personal animosity to heap on any single person, just those seldom seen upper management people who make random decisions for not very good reasons--I'm sure simply financial in nature. I know it was not personal and the folks who had to do the personal deed to tell me, cried with me. They were laid off later, too.
Our whole department was eliminated, not just my one position, so there were others in pain with me--but not WITH me. Funny how you can be 'friends' with people at work for 20 years but they disappear from your life after you've lost your job. Only two people still are in contact with me from my company.
BUT . . .
I do NOT miss getting up at 6 each day, nor the stupid requests from other employees who try to sluff off their duties to me, nor the bad weather waiting for the train.
I really want to leave all these bad memories behind me somehow and get on with the rest of my life in peace and happiness.
Anyway. That's my story. Sorry I blathered on so long.

Skhanna, welcome to Support Groups! Thank you so much for being here with us and for sharing your story. You may possibly be experiencing a bit of post traumatic stress from your lay-off. It was almost 20 years of your life and you didn't have time to prepare for retirement or a lay-off, it all happened so quickly for you. And, you are 100% right, it's absolutely not personal, not at all. It's all business and that's how corporations think...it's all about what's best for their bottom line. I've been laid-off, and at the time it seemed like the end of the world, but looking at where life has taken me, I wouldn't have gotten here unless I had been laid off. So, now I thank them for doing so. I had so many friends at the company and at each company where I worked before and after, but haven't really remained friends with any of them. I realized that our common bond was work and outside of that, we didn't really have any common interests. This is a way of life; people come in and out of your life for a reason.

For me, reading about your life now, it sounds absolutely incredible; a move to the country and giving your dogs more time, love and attention. That's so fantastic. Though, I am so happy that you came here to help yourself work through these feelings and emotions. Know that we are here to "listen" anytime. Please keep sharing.

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I've been told that the nightmares will slowly disappear as my life takes on other challenges. I would like to get rid of the feeling of being 'thrown away' still. Tried for 9 months to find a job--folks would be interested when they saw my samples, then after personal interview, nothing--or the 'we've gone with another candidate' email. I KNOW it was age bias and that makes me soooo mad. In the design world age should have no bearing--just talent. I try to remember my mom's favorite saying, "It's THEIR loss!" I agree, but just feel exiled. I've put my design talents to good use designing my egg empire brochure and logo, ideas about a website, informational egg handout, etc. Also doing owl sketches for daughter, and some art for our rv club. So I do have design outlets. I have an article I re-read about "letting go" --this article put me on my quest of forgiveness and I'm hoping though all this that I will move on. I sure would like those nightmares to be gone. I hate waking up all upset over stuff that's in the past and cannot be changed.
I am now helping daughter move into a new home and will have many things to occupy my mind, so am hoping these new adventures in life will push out all the old useless crap and fill my dreams with great ideas for future home projects!
Thanks again. Looking forward, not backward.

YES! Please continue looking forward and not looking backward. I totally understand how are you feeling, as I've been through it myself. But it truly is "their loss"...in the wise words of your wonderful mother. Believe me, everything in life happens for a reason, and I promise that you will look back and thank them one day so soon. Please let me know how things are progressing for you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Well, had another incident/dream, at least not so bad I woke up upset, this time, so I feel progress is being made. This dream was where I was trying to stay positive on my last day--checkout procedure--trying to see it as a 'new beginning'. I was in the HR director's office, a fellow I'd known for years and who was very sympathetic and supportive--telling him how today wasn't the end but a beginning of another adventure, but tears finally came. He gave me a hand on the shoulder, telling me the rest of the checkout process was very easy and not stressful. I woke up as I was walking out.
I was just annoyed that I'd wasted good dream time on this topic instead of it making me upset, so am feeling I'm making progress. I have noticed that the dreams all seem to be moving through that awful time, from the day they told me my job was being eliminated, to this day of checkout, so maybe they are coming to an end. That would be great. I try to stay busy, concentrating my time to getting house ready to sell and doting on my animals and a little travel mixed in. I banish thoughts that creep in about those times. When they happen, I turn on the TV to watch something I like or surf my many interest forums. I thoroughly intend to remove these thoughts and dreams from my life and enjoy each day as it comes.

Thanks all for helping me do that. You all are very valuable to me and everyone else who maybe just reads in hopes of finding help.

Hi Skhanna, oh my goodness, it is so so so fantastic to hear from you, I've missed you. I am so happy to hear of your very positive updates, thank you for that. Your subconscious is totally coming through in your dreams and helping you work through this. I know that they will become less and less frequent and I know that you will start to have very pleasant dreams. Sometimes I get frustrated when I have stressful dreams, because I look at that time as time when I should be able to totally relax and drift off to a happy place. But then I remind myself that it's healthy to get these worries out, and if my dreams are a way to do so, then that's perfectly fine. As well, I think that it's so great that you have so many positives; selling your home, spending time with your animals and implementing some travel. All so amazing! Please let me know how things continue to progress for you, I am always here for you.

Well, good news to report. Got a new computer that does not have a zip disk reader, so had to take all my old work files and sort through, to trash or put on cd. worked for two days doing that--opening all the design stuff I did at work--I was pretty good! Saved only stuff that could be used as samples if I ever needed any, threw away a lot, and saved a couple files to use with freelance.
Have not had ANY bad nightmares and did not feel sorry for myself or angry at my situation during the whole process. I guess I'm finally 'well' and I want to thank everyone here for their support and I hope the information we've shared will help another person over this terrible phase in their lives. Peace and Love to you all! Farewell.

Skhanna, thank you so much for the wonderful update. I am so happy for you. Please know that we are always here for you if you ever need us. Wishing you all of the very best!