I'm utterly stuck right now in an important section of a text RP. My two protagonists, Casper and Vincent, have recently escaped from three weeks of torturous captivity. I'm trying to write a nightmare sequence for Vincent dealing with his captivity, and having trouble keeping him in character while making the nightmare effective and terrifying.
Vincent is typically very stubborn, not one to give up without a fight, but weeks of starvation, pain and despair would affect him as deeply as any other -- perhaps even more than any other, since his greatest fear is being helpless, and he certainly is that while captive. The nightmare I want to give him involves being brutally beaten by one of his captors, with Casper unable to help him. I want Vincent to a) be very helpless and b) legitimately fear for his life while still keeping in character with regards to his stubborn nature.
I've received complaints (from no one here, luckily) that making him despair and be afraid is out of character, yet I feel it is a perfectly normal human reaction in such a circumstance, even for a stubborn person. Some have suggested having him fight back against his captor, but I'm not sure how well that would go over either, as Vincent is in too much pain to move very much while he's being beaten.
Now, as Vincent is dreaming and fearing for his life, in the real world he's in the hospital recovering slowly from his wounds, with a few of his friends there for emotional support, because his family can't be there for him for a number of reasons. The dream occurs on his second night in the hospital; he isn't comatose, just sleeping normally, though he will likely have a lot of painkillers in his system, and so he'll probably need outside help to wake up properly. (That's part of the reason why his friends are there; they'll be sleeping on cots in his room.)
To the point: How can I balance pre-established characterization with the logical consequences of severe trauma to make an effective PTSD-induced nightmare for my poor tortured protagonist?