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October 22, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Personality

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Bothersome dreams

Question:

My last dream started with me moving out of where I live now. I moved into a small place, with only a couple rooms. In the dream it is night-time, I get ready for bed, lie down, and try to sleep. Through the uncovered windows I see two kids riding their bikes. They ride in between my house and my neighbors, and stop by the window above my bed. I think nothing of it, they are just kids fooling around. But when they look down at me I get a bit uneasy. One of the kids pulls out a shot gun, says "We are going to make all your dreams come true" and shoots me in the stomach. I gasp and try to reach for the phone. The first kid says to the second kid "Use the expanding bullets and shoot her in the heart a couple of times", so the second kid does. The kids ride away. I finally get my hands on the phone, gasping for breath the whole time, and dial 911. Before the call goes through I hang up, I think to myself "I can't call, I don't know my address, I just moved, I'm going to die".

I've had these types of dreams for around 6 months now. The dreams don't have the same scenery, or even the same people. But it always includes someone or myself being shot and dying. Examples: My parents getting shot, my friends, and myself several times. Now I don't have suicidal or violent tendencies, I've already asked myself that. And these dreams don't really give me any fear, they are just bothering to think about. The only thing that even comes close to giving me shivers, is that I've had dreams come true before.

Is there any reason to analyze these dreams? If so what could they mean? If not is there any mental exercises I can do to not dream these dreams?

Cloey (22 year-old woman)

Answer:

Cloey,

Thanks for your letter. You have recurring dreams in which your life, or the life of a friend or family member is violently threatened. In your dreams, you or a friend gets shot. In the specific example you gave, you were shot at close-range, with "expanding bullets" in the heart more than once. Yet these dreams are not particularly troubling. Hmmm...

I have two (very obvious) questions. What were the dreams like which "came true" before?

What has been going on in your life for the past six months (since you have been having these dreams?)

It's probably very significant that the violent content of these dreams does not trouble you. What threatens you even more, it seems, is the tendency you may feel for your dreams to come true. Dreams do not 'come' true; they are true. In the dream you described, for instance, there may be some truths about you. You may be feeling that you are 'moving' to a new stage in life (perhaps) and dealing with some difficult adjustments. You might feel inadequate. You might feel helpless. You might feel vulnerable. Ordinary things in your awake existence which might seem benign (like kids on bikes) may hold dangerous threats (like guns).

Maybe you have felt new insecurities recently due to something which has occurred within the past six months. Perhaps you are acknowledging that aspects of you as a child or teenager are dying off as you become an adult woman. Maybe you sense that your relationships with friends and family members are dying off as you change, grow, and move into your own maturity.

If any of this applies to you, then the most intriguing aspect is how violent and abrupt this change must feel for you. My guess is that you have recently been catapulted into some new risk or adventure, and that your "bad dreams will come true" belief is the self-doubt you have about taking this risk.

Depending on one's personality and life history, becoming an adult woman might be intimidating in and of itself, but my guess is that you have some recent intense stressors (in your awake life) which are adding to your fear.

My experience tells me that dreams do not become reality; they reflect whatever already exists in one's awake life, and can add insight and understanding to whatever one is feeling day-to-day.

My guess is that, as you become more aware of the unconscious fears and anxieties you have about the past six months and about life in general, these dreams will lessen or change. If these dreams do hint at some underlying anxieties you have in your life right now, then no effort to not have these dreams will work.

The dreams are important, and only tell you what is already going on inside you. You are attempting to process (existence-threatening) fears, at least unconsciously.

If you make your concerns conscious and talk about your anxieties with a counselor, support group, friend, family member, etc, the dreams will probably abate, because they will have less purpose and value. Then, you will have other, equally informative, and probably less violent, dreams.

Hope that helps.

Margaret "Peg" Burr , MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr . She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.

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