I’m examining a dream about a favorite toddler who appeared to be dead in the dream. I have pointed out to the dreamer that the dream is not intended to be literal, and we’re in the process of going through the five steps of dream interpretation. Scroll down to my last posts to review the details.
The dream in its metaphoric restatement
In my last post, the dreamer and I isolated the symbols and determined their metaphoric meanings. What follows is the toddler dream restated as a metaphoric message.
There is a part of me that is very close to my own flesh and blood. Unlike other parts of me, it’s young and not formed yet. The other parts of me are older, less impressionable and more secure in who they are. I get to spend time with this young part of me for a while, and I delight in this early phase of development. This part of me brings lightness to me, and I look forward to the experience. But something happened to this part of me that was unexpected and shocking. It seemed inconceivable; it couldn’t be true. I was in a state of panic. It was all about fear. It was supremely uncomfortable. This young part of me was in a safe place, but I knew something was wrong. The life was gone from her.
My conversations with the dreamer
When you read the restated dream, its message is pointed and clear. It is also intense, and one would think that the dreamer could easily relate it to some aspect of her life. But this was not the case.
I began by offering her the gist of the dream in a summarized form: Some new, lighthearted part of herself that she loved being with was suddenly taken away from her, and she was shocked. Could she relate to this? She answered that she could not. She felt that her life was fine, that there was nothing going on that would warrant such an extreme and upsetting dream.
The nature of her reply is a lot more common than one might think. It isn’t that she is in denial or that the dream is off-base, or that she is thoughtless. Two things contribute to this type of reaction. The first is that the shocking dream images of a child dying are still poignantly burned into the dreamer’s memory, and she has difficulty separating herself from them. They continue to elicit an emotional reaction, and as long as that is going on, it is hard to step back and look at a dream objectively.
The other issue is that we can become so accustomed to our lives—even with their extreme burdens—that we stop seeing them as weighted and difficult. We lose sight of the lightness and fun that we have sacrificed in our efforts simply to “stay above water.”
In the final post, we’ll learn what helped this dreamer finally relate her dream to her own life.
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