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Aug 122015
 

For countless generations throughout history, even in the Bible, people have believed that God (or gods) spoke to them in dreams foretelling the future and how they should prepare for whatever is coming.

Freud and Jung believed that our subconscious was talking to us via our dreams and I think that may very well be true. I look back at various dreams I’ve had that were “disturbing” enough to me that I can remember them over 60 years later. I think there were messages for me in those dreams that looking back I think came from my subconscious, letting me know that there was something troubling me that I either didn’t recognize in the waking state, or didn’t want to believe was true if I did recognize it.

After the plane crash that killed my husband and during the worst of my PTSD symptoms, I had what I call “frustration” dreams that had a theme to them, though the dreams themselves were always different. I called them “theme” dreams.

In the series of dreams on a nightly basis I was trying to accomplish some task but would stop doing that in order to ‘save” something or someone that was helpless, while my own life fell apart. The dreams were very symbolic and I talked to my counselor about them and we both said at the same instant “enabling!” And I think the message for me was that while it might be “noble” to save some kittens from drowning, or some old lady who was lost, to do that while at the same time allowing my own welfare to crash was not smart. Kind of like people who cannot swim but jump into a raging torrent to try to save someone who is drowning, and lose their own life in the process while not accomplishing saving the first person who is drowning.

I remember a story from the summer of 1981 when I was visiting Yellowstone Park and walking along the boardwalks between the “hot pots” of molten mud, and the ranger told us about a man who had jumped into a pot off the board walk the day before to try to save some woman’s dog that had fallen into the pot. He was instantly “cooked” to death and of course, even before he jumped in, the dog was beyond saving.

While I have recognized enabling in the case of others, I found it very hard to see it in myself, and I think those dreams were my awakening to my own enabling behaviors, not just with Patrick but with others in my life too. Once I had become AWARE of the “message” in the dreams, they stopped and I haven’t been troubled much by “disturbing” dreams since then.

What brought all this thinking about the “messages” in dreams to my mind was the last several nights I have again had “disturbing” dreams in which something went wrong…in one dream Patrick had gotten out of prison, and I realized my (Late) husband had paid a fine so he could get out, and I was very ANGRY at him for doing so. The next two nights were also “disturbing” dreams, and last night, I was ANGRY all night at several people (no one I actually knew, just someone in the dream) who had destroyed the inside of my house and property through malice and neglect.

In thinking about why I am so angry in these dreams at what someone else is doing to me, I think there is a “message” there about something in my subconscious that is bothering me, but haven’t yet figured out what it is.

We tend to “remember” dreams more when we are awakened in the middle of or at the end of the dream, whereas if we sleep through the entire cycle we don’t remember dreaming on awakening. Since my dog wakes me up in the morning to go out (and she IS persistent!) any dream I am having at the time she wakes me I tend to remember, and if I kind of “go over the plot” in my mind, I can remember it for quite a few days afterward, or at least parts of it.

While I eventually saw the “theme” in the dreams about enabling and it helped me to change my thinking and my behavior and realizing that sacrificing myself in order to try to protect someone or something else that can’t be saved I am not living in a healthy way.

Standing in front of your child if someone is shooting a gun at them, knowing you are likely to be killed, but hoping to save your child is NOT “enabling” but sacrifice. Sacrifice is a noble thing, it is putting the welfare of someone else in front of your own. But to continually try to “help” others who don’t want or appreciate your “help” at the expense of yourself is not sacrifice, but enabling.

Our dreams I think should be listened to, not as some precursor of what is going to happen tomorrow or fortune-telling, but as voices deep within our psyches that are trying to alert us to something going on below our conscious level that we need to find out what it is and “fix” it.

We can’t “fix” others, but we can “fix” ourselves, but we need to become aware of WHAT the problem is.

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  13 Responses to “Listening to our dreams”

  1. Article up!

  2. Dreams can be interpreted on a number of different levels. They can be helpful in resolving issues, by ‘showing us’ the answers or they can let us ‘know’ there is an underlying issue in matters that may need our immediate attention. Just as there are many websites and books about what our dreams mean or what things in them symbolize, there are just as many out there that tell us the polar opposite of what the first one says. But sometimes our dreams explain themselves, with no outside interpretation necessary.

    I had a dream just this morning about a house for sale. I honestly have no idea where it is, but somehow I had been there before and ‘knew’ the house, knew the layout, that it has a pool, everything. There are more details obviously, but I’m going to have to look into it further to figure out what I’m supposed to learn from this.

    • I missed this article, entirely! For whatever reason, whenever there’s a new comment or article, it doesn’t appear until I login.

      I used to do dream interpretation, myself, and I know that I had a recurring theme for many years. After the second exspath was revealed, these dreams became a nightly event that was typically disturbing, upsetting, or desperate, in some way. They’ve become less frequent in recent months, but they still pop up from time to time. I’m still working it out.

      I agree, Phoenix, that dreams can interpret themselves. Certain symbols are pretty consistent, but what they mean to each individual can vary from person to person.

      For me, personally, the theme of houses (or, structures) was pretty obvious – I was always searching for a new place to live. Most of the places that I saw were odd or in dire need of some TLC. Well? Howdy do! The house, of course, represents myself and I had been searching for myself all of these years. LOL!!!!!!!!! No need to go into greater detail, but the symbolism was pretty consistent for me.

      There are supposedly three types of dreams. Simple decompression which are the nonsense dreams. Dreams where we’re sorting it out (house dreams, the enabling dream, etc.). Finally, there are the “prophetic” dreams that many people dismiss and I, for one, can attest to actually occurring.

      When dreams become a theme or they’re infiltrating my daily “awake” life, I believe that it’s important to decode them, if I can. So……….I give it a go when I think about it.

      This is a REALLY important article, and I’m sorry that I missed it until now. Our subconscious knows SO much more than the conscious does, and dreams are one of the many ways that it communicates directly with us. Thanks for this, Joyce, and thank you for sharing your sensitive experiences.

  3. The very first dream I remember as a child I had repeatedly….and eventually I “got the meaning” of it, and even though I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time I had it, I knew the person I dreamed about did NOT HAVE MY BACK, and would not try to save me if I was in a tight spot, even if I were to die as a result of their inaction. I can look back now and remember the dream perfectly, and it is 60+ years ago. I always wondered what it meant and then BINGO, it was as PLAIN AS THE NOSE ON MY FACE. There were some symbols in it of course, but it was actually pretty plain.

    Then the theme dreams with the messages about my enabling, which was letting MY life fall apart while I tried to save someone or something else finally clicked too.

    So far this group lately has only had the ANGER part that is consistent, though Patrick was in one of them. But I am not stressing over them, just OBSERVING THEM for a message and if it comes I’ll assess what to do about it.

    I don’t believe in someone else interpreting my dreams, like if I dream about a “snake” it means I am going to be stabbed, or if I dream about a butterfly I will get money. I think a lot of the prophetic dreams we have are something our subconscious has OBSERVED that we didn’t really pay attention to it. Like for example, a person might dream that their dog died and in a few days the dog did die, but I think the subconscious has picked up that the dog is sick/old etc and so death isn’t too far away. If that makes any sense.

    There are folks who believe in astrology and palm reading, channeling etc. but I don’t go along with that belief myself. I think most of that is just “cold reading” by the practitioner.

    • Well, I don’t go in for someone else telling me what my dreams mean, either. I mean, there are certain symbols that are pretty consistent, but the interpretation of how those symbols apply to me, personally, can only be determined by me, alone.

      I mentioned the anger in another thread, so there’s no need to repeat it, here. LOL I “get it” about that, and it resonates with me, absolutely!

      I agree that the prophetic dreams are generated by information that the subconscious has gleaned. Before Victor died of a heart attack, I began having very disturbing dreams themed around death and dying. I thought that it was I who was going to die, and began to seek setting my affairs in order – thank GAWD I didn’t follow through with any of them as they would have given the exspath everything, even though I didn’t die. LOL But, to get to the point about this theme………even after Victor was buried, I continued having these disturbing dreams. Some of them involved journeys and maps, and others were symbolized with structures and dwellings – lots of water crossings, as well.

      Well, the day that I discovered what the second exspath was, the “death / dying” theme came full circle because it was the death of the illusion that I had been preparing for all of that time. Those dreams had nothing to do with Victor’s passing or my impending death. They were full of sadness, loss, and anguish, and I had experienced enough of those emotions in those dreams to face the end of the second marriage that was 100% illusion and fraud.

      So………..it’s important to pay attention to the symbols, messages, and directions, I believe. And, I completely agree that nobody else can interpret my dreams FOR me, just as nobody else can tell me about my future, etc. Nobody can. 😉

  4. Truthy you said what I was trying to say I think a bit better than I said it. Our symbols are I think PERSONAL symbols for us and us alone.

    And I think even sometimes it is years later before some disturbing symbol starts to make sense. I know it was DECADES later before my dream as a child made sense to me, but I never forgot that dream. I had the same dream 2 or 3 times and it stuck in my head, but eventually it became VERY clear what it meant. Even as a little kid I “got it” subconsciously that that person did NOT have my back.

    • Yeah, Joyce, it’s SO fascinating to me that my subconscious knows more than my conscious self!

      Like I said, some of the ****symbols**** are consistent, but the meanings of those symbols are, absolutely and 100%, individual and personal.

      I’ve had some doozies, too, since the premonition dreams before Victor died, suddenly. And, I’ve had some serious and mind-numbing nightmares, too. But…….there are only a few that have stuck with me, even though the subject matter will become a reoccurring theme.

      It’s all so amazing to me and it reinforces that idea of “Mind-Body-Spirit” when it comes to recovery. It’s not just working on this, or working on that – it’s a whole self endeavor, and our dreams can often reflect how we’re meeting those challenges.

  5. To clarify: “….you said what I was trying to say I think a bit better than I said it.”

    (giggle) That’s such a funny sentence to me – I think you said what you wanted to say JUST as well. 😉

  6. Thanks, Truthy! LOL

  7. One of the most touching stories about sacrifice I have ever heard was told to me by a woman who had been a child in WWII in Italy. Her father was a slave laborer for the nazis and they would give him food. But every day he came home and gave all the food to his children and of course after a while the Nazis realized what he was doing and told him if he continued to do this and got so weak he could not work that he would get NO food.

    The man came home and gave the majority of the food to his kids, but did eat some to maintain his strength. His daughter said he would CRY with every bite he took because he knew they were still hungry, but in order to keep ANY food coming he had to be able to continue to work.

    That story told me a lot about that man, and I have never forgotten it, or his sacrifices for his children.

  8. I agree with you both, that dreams, the contents, the symbols and the stories they tell are very personal. I don’t mind looking online at dream dictionaries or asking for help if I get ‘stuck’ trying to figure out what something means, or asking someone what something typically is a symbol of, but again- it all comes back to us and what is going on in our life at that time. Someone else may have suggestions as to the meaning behind something we see in our dream, but the true meaning is ours to discover or figure out.

    As far as prophetic dreams- had those, knew who they were about, what was going to happen, but often not when. I have also heard that deja-vu is also something that shows us we are on the right path in life.

    I know there are also dreams where you connect with people. Last year I had one of those myself. I dreamt of a friend who I haven’t seen in about 15 years and we hadn’t spoken for at least the last 10 of them. The dream lasted but a few seconds at most.

    We passed on the street, he looked at me and that was it. Neither of us said a word and I have no idea where on the planet this was, but when I awoke? I knew he was going to be back in my life. He is one of those ‘seasonal people’ that you know for a short period of time, learn what you need to from them and move on. Only we have been off and on for seasons at a time over the years. One thing is for sure and has been proven over time. We will always know where to find each other, even if it’s only in our dreams.

  9. I have experienced some strange dreams…one in which I was bemoaning the fact I hadn’t had the money at the time to fight my mother in court over her taking the 15 year old Patrick into her home against my will, and in the dream my step father said to me “Well, you didn’t ask me for the money” and I KNEW then that he WOULD have given me the money to fight her in court about Patrick.Later, after his death, in a conversation with her about her taking him in she put the fact that “they” had taken him in on to my dad for HIM wanting to “give Patrick another chance” but I knew then she was lying, it wasn’t him but HER.

    Adding the dream to some things he said as well, I knew the TRUTH. So actually the dream only told me something I already “knew” subconsciously but not consciously. My step dad was a really wise man and if he said “s/he won’t do” I knew that he was right.

    The 18 months I cared for my dad during his last illness 24/7 we had some great discussions and I got to know him better than I ever had, to appreciate him even more for what a wonderful, loving and wise man he was. I also realized just how MUCH he loved me and that is a blessing I carry close to my heart!

    • Yeah…………some of the imagery can be REALLY confounding and unsettling, particularly when it’s involving PTSD!

      I took to writing down some of my dreams, at one point, when the PTSD symptoms were so overwhelming. It was helpful, and it provided a little insight into what I was feeling and thinking deeeeep down where I wasn’t going to tread in the daylight.

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