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significance of dreams


PatPaul
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Hi,

The past few weeks I have been having some disturbing dreams. I would not describe them as being nightmares, but they are emotionally charged. The theme is usually the same; I confront someone I have held a resentment towards and get angry at them. Many of the people I confront are former friends, or colleagues and bosses from jobs I was fired from. To me it;s a sign of all this pent up anger and frustration I have held, which I never was able to express or vent in person...Can anyone tell me if this is a healthy sign, or maybe on the other hand, these dreams are telling me I have a lot more personal work to do?

Thank You,

PatPaul

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Hi Patpaul,

I have all sorts of dreams, many of which carry very traumatic memories and I spent years studying them. At one point in my post-doc fellowship training, one of my therapists was a psychoanalyst who did want to explore their nature/content--- and at some point I had another therapist (all required as part of our education) who approached dreams from a Gestalt angle. In the end, I reached this conclusion that dreams rarely have a singular interpretation or approach to being viewed thru. Overall, dreams can:

  • Help sort out ongoing issues and create a sensible storyline regarding non-integrated aspects of who we are
  • reduce tension by allowing or creating closure to unfinished business
  • take one back to re-experience a traumatic event, not to resolve or understand it, but simply to re-experience the pain, much like when one runs their tongue over a broken tooth to feel the stinging sensation of an exposed nerve

There may be other reasons as you suggested; however, my thinking is that easiest way to look at your dreams is to assume the role of every player and give each one a personality and perspective, thereby creating a situation where you can see it from the angle of every one. You can use chairs and move from one to the other and assume the role, voice, thought process, persona, perspective on the issues, etc., of the person assigned to that chair. Move about until every voice has been heard and then begin to-- don't shy away from this-- have each person look at every other person's angle. This will begin the integration process for that dream sequence.

Do this alone and w/o distractions (and to avoid your family and friends trying to hospitalize you:eek:)--- you may find it extremely eye-opening, entertaining, and enlightening.

Good luck and I hope this helps,

David

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I've been fortunate to have had some therapists who approached dreams from a Jungian perspective and with whom I could explore mine. They yielded much useful information. Jung felt they were symbolic messages from your higher Self for the purposes of your growth and development. All the people in your dream, whether you know them or not, are aspects of yourself, as David says.

One recurring dream in particular would pop up every time I was at a certain point and when I dreamt it, I would know what I needed to look for - even if not where to find it! They can be very cryptic but it's amazing to see just how much your subconscious knows about what you need to do.

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Hi David O, Luna and I_WMD,

Thanks all for your thoughtful and prompt replies to my question. As a matter of fact, I just had another very disturbing and powerful dream last night in which I confronted my 2nd older brother. I did not wake up in a sweat, but the emotions I felt were so poweful that I could recall so much of what I said, remember the expression on my brother's face, where we were, and other details. So in the past 5 days, I have dreamt about my oldest and 2nd oldest brother (both of whom I have strained or estranged relationships with), and one of my former supervisors at the last full-time job I had, which I was fired from 2 years ago. To me the dreams signify some kind of sub-conscious release for me to express and get all the &%$#* I have on off my chest. I have wanted to do this for a long time, and I have spent a great deal of energy in my mind mulling and brooding over these unresolved issues.

Well, sorry for going on so long about this. Thanks again for your support!

PP

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Yeah, possibly because I'm less visual and intuitive than some, and possibly because I rarely recall my dreams in sufficient detail to analyze them as described by others, I usually "interpret" them by how I feel about them afterwards. How do you feel about the expression these dreams have allowed you? Do you feel more, or less, angry towards these people, now that you have had a chance to confront them, at least in a dream?

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Not sure how good I am at analyzing the meaning behind dreams, but I try to remember that my dreams are always about me and they are symbolic. I also agree that there are many different possible interpretations. I tend to think that analyzing can be like this on a lot of fronts, though. Often times the meaningful answers are the ones you discover yourself.

I had an unusual dream some months ago about a Ferris wheel in the sky. I was sitting on a cloud and everyone started falling off the Ferris wheel and into the water below. The people were all so small and far away from me. I remember screaming because I wanted to catch everyone before they fell into the water and drowned. Eventually I jumped off the cloud and into the water to try and help them. I think it was symbolic of my wanting to help folks who are in pain. Weird stuff, but definitely interesting as well.

I wonder if personality plays a role in what pictures our unconscious mind comes up with. Maybe those who are more direct may have dreams that are less vague and symbolic. So there is also a chance that a dream might not have so much deeper meaning as well. I'm off on a speculating tangent here.

I hope you discover the meaning behind the dreams, Patpaul, and that it helps you to feel peaceful around these situations.

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Hi PatPaul, interesting to read about your dreams.... My sense is that you are dealing with issues of assertiveness, or that you feel you should be more assertive about something. The dreams seems to have that recurring theme anyway..... around the idea of standing up for something. Just my two cents worth :D

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Hi PatPaul!

I was taught that a dream always contains something for you that you didn't know before. If everything about the dream is what you already know, you need to look at it again for the message.

A technique taught by Robert Johnson in INNER WORK is to list all the elements in the dream and then for each one, list all the qualities you can think of for that element, letting yourself brainstorm losely. You will find yourself having an "aha" connection when you hit on a particular quality or association, and follow that where it leads.

Dream imagery is a very archaic, fascinating part of the psyche. It can pun, play, turn you on your head, knock you straight, wrap you in compassion..... set you back on your path.

best wishes!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

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