(Dreams No. 76-to-100)
Dreams and relevant interpretation I suggest
Dream No.76 I am on an island togeher with my mother. I am overwhelmed with distress as I expect a terrific volcano eruption to take place any moment. A very deep love-hate relationship ties this young man to his mother. At consciousness level he is aware of having a conflictual relationship with her but he does not know how intense his aggressive drive to her is.
This dream allows the analyst to understand that he will have to use the "brake" otherwise the patient runs the risk of being overwhelmed with the upcoming emotions. In these cases, unless the brake is used, rather than this one, the most probable risk is the not-agreed interruption of the therapy effected by the patient.
There was a new game to play, one had to dash against a vertical table with his fist clenched and his arm stretched forward. The game consisted in quickly getting as near to the table as possible without touching it. I got on very well.Here we can see a problem in handling ones pluck. In his real life, in fact, very often the dreamer avoids getting at the ultimate phase of any action he undertakes. He is on the point of arriving but at the very last moment he stops. He devotes much effort to try and implement his projects but he stops once he is at the final stage, at the time he could "harvest". Even when he shakes hands he starts resolutely but, when he comes to the point, he avoids clasping his hand firmly.
No reasons for this behaviour have come up yet. To know them it is necessary to wait for other dreams to come. Many assumptions could be made but without the "concrete" support of dreams they would not be beneficial to the patient to help him and change.
Dream No.78 I am going to the pawnbrokers. I know the way but I pretend to ignore it to avoid cutting a poor figure. There are two ladders, one on the right which is interrupted for repair and one on the left. An attendant comes with me to go upstairs the latter, but this shows to be not a ladder actually, rather a much entangled passage where we meet continuous obstacles compelling us to zigzag. In the end we have to let ourselves down with a rope and last, as the rope is not long enough to reach the bottom, it is absolutely necessary to jump.
I tell my companion to go down first as his rope is thicker than mine, hence he can pass it over to me once he reaches the bottom. Another person arrives and I try to make her go down before I do. I am beating about the bush, finding a lot of excuses, I am afraid of going down.
I say to the other person: "Look how many excuses we can find when we are afraid of doing something". The pawnbrokers represents the dreamers needy condition, her need for help. To get help she has to do something she is ashamed of and that humiliates her twice: she has to make use of "family things" (intimate events) and has to show to the others that she is unable to manage it "by herself", through her own resources, as she learnt it should be done in life.
The right hand is the direction of consciousness, the left hand is the direction of the unconscious and she takes this way. Thats what she is doing thanks to analysis. Those who followed me so far know the meaning of the rest of the dream, it is the resistance we meet whenever we decide to go deep inside ourselves, inside the unconscious. The details of this part of the dream are so eloquent that I could not explain them better than the dream does. It should be noted that difficulties increase as she goes further on: first a ladder, then a much entangled passage filled with several obtacles, it is necessary to go zigzag and, last, go down with a rope that does not even reach the bottom so also a jump is required. The latter represents the uttermost lack of support-safety and the utmost predominance of a blind force pulling us downward (gravity). The lowest part being always associated to something negative: "low istincts" as opposed to "high feelings".
The attendant is the analyst playing the role of a reassuring companion as either he can go ahead and he owns stouter means for going-down (a thicker rope). The other person is probably another patient.
The dream does not say, though, that "down there" one can find precious things that are essential to live better. But this is found out at a later stage of the analysis, as we have already seen in other dreams.
Dream No.79 I am having my sitting but there are also other persons, two men and two women. The analyst speaks to them, so I get annoyed because he is wasting the time that belongs to me diverting his attention from me. I threaten him saying: "If you go on like that, I am not coming any longer!" and I wait for his excuses that however do not come. Here we can see the competition-jealousy that often characterizes the relationships between brothers and sisters. The analyst is like a father and the other patients are like the other sons of the father. We would like the whole attention of our parents to be focused on us. When this does not happen, or it seems not to happen, a competition-jealousy reaction breaks out which, anyhow, is never perceived at consciouness level. The dream puts a remedy to this lack and allows us to elaborate and overcome these feelings that consciousness disapproves.
Sometimes these disapproved feelings are so totally removed that relevant energy pours over the opposite polarity and feeds it until this becomes hypertrophic, pathological. So, forms of excessive and pathological attachment-love appear and are immediately evident to the eyes of the others.
It is appropriate for me to specify that I never took even one second away from the time belonging to the person that had this dream. Nevertheless...
What a tough task being parents!
Dream No.80 I was inside a cave that had a communication with the sea. The level of the floor was such that sea water could get in staying at a very low level so that I could safely walk in it. I felt a very strong desire of going out of the cave to explore the open sea outside there but I refrained from doing so and stayed where the water level was low. In this case, sea represents the outer unknown world that on one side attracts and excites curiosity and on the other side frightens and rejects.
The cave with a low water level is the known world that protects and makes us feel safe but, in turn, it demands a very high price to pay, i.e. to remain chicks that is condemned to stay under the wings of a brooding hen.
The dreamer would like to become an adult but he is still afraid of what is new, the open sea, the high water so he condemns himself to remain immature. But he is not aware of this. Now the integrating role of the dream intervenes and a true photograph of the situation is conveyed to the concerned person so that he may become aware of the behaviour he is putting into effect.
We can say that dreams usually supply information that escape our consciousness. This is exactly their usefulness. We all know that an appropriate choice can be made only when all necessary information is available and we have a complete picture of the situation.
Dream No.81 The father of my boy-friend brings a basket of pomegrenates as a present to me. I take three fruits that are white therefore not ripe while the fruit he choses for me has a beautiful red colour. When I notice this I try to reach him but without success because he is already gone. This woman had three partners in her life.
The pomegrenate fruit is filled with SEEDS, so it is perfectly suited to symbolize fecundity.
The father of the boy might be a disguised representation of the womans father.
If this assumption is correct (thats why I am using the conditional) this dream would represent, in a very poetic style, an Oedipus complex that starts to come up only now and for this reason needs to be camouflated as much as possible.
The three partners the woman had so far are WHITE-UNRIPE-INSIPID.
Only the relationship with her father is TRUE-RIPE-SCENTED but unfortunately he is no longer there.
Dream No.82 I fall down and I am afraid that my fall might have caused my ring to break, I notice instead that it has become nicer than before because now it is made up by jointed pieces, it is no longer as rigid as it was before. I am relieved. A ring symbolizes femininity, both in a broad sense and in anatomic sense. As a matter of fact, a finger, which is an evident phallic symbol, can slip into a ring.
The dreamer herself made this association: FALL = Sexuality-Sin.
In this case, fortunately, a real sexual intercourse disintegrates this association but it doesnt always go so right. Sometimes, once the intercourse is over, strong senses of guilt spring up or one strictly refrains from having other sexual intercourses.
Dream No.83 I operate my washing machine but its door opens and water floods the kitchen. I am sorry yet I think that luckily enough it did not flood the other floors of the house too. All that is connected to a "washing" operation can be related to a psychotherapy because this is experienced as getting rid of the "dirt" we feel we have inside.
Once we decide to make this operation, a fear of possible unpleasant consequences arises, that is a fear that the fixed boundaries wherein we wish it to keep (washing machine, discharge pipe, etc.) may be trespassed.
In this case, this fear can still be handled because the unpleasant consequence, I would say "dirtying" consequence, is confined to the kitchen only. The rest of the house (personality) is safe.
The dirtying element is water, i.e. the emotions coming up during the therapy-washing machine.
It could be added that the scene develops in the KITCHEN that is the room of the house that was the kingdom of her MOTHER (the dreamer is not in the late-generation band) so we can assume that this DIRT can be somehow related to the emotions she felt with regard to her mother.
As analysis went on, in fact, she remembered that a thought crossed her mind the day when her mothers funeral took place: "At last I am the chief character!". It is easy to imagine which senses of guilt (the "dirt") this thought may have primed.
Dream No.84 I am sailing on a rubber dinghy along the way leading to the office of my former husband. I am alone and am afraid not to be able to control the rubber dinghy as I never did it before, anyway I keep going on. This is not the first time we meet a fear of being unable to CONTROL emotions, but I am reporting also this dream as an example of the unexhausted fantasy of our inconscious. Later on other dreams will be reported as well, always with the same scope.
In this case, fears are raised by emotions (water) but the dreamers situation is not really dramatic as she manages to keep afloat. Her relationship with her former husband, which is being reviewd only now, is involved. The positive side is that she does not run away, on the contrary she keeps going on.
Dream No.85 I wanted to change the lens of my eye glasses but afterwards I noticed that this was not enough because the frame needed be replaced too. In fact it was rusted, heavy, in a word unserviceable. The person that had this dream understands that her way of looking at the world, things and men needs to be modified. At the beginning she thinks that a partial overhaul is sufficient. Afterwards, she understands that this is not enough, it is necessary to replace everything, starting from the carrying structure (frame) of her philosophy of life. The three adjectives she used to describe the frame perfectly illustrate the idea: rusted, heavy, unserviceable. Another consideration should be made: when they say that the unconscious has its own intelligence often surpassing the intelligence we use at consciousness level, they refer to its capacity for seeing some aspects of our personality that thoroughly escape our second intelligence. This dream is a clear proof hereof: the concerned person would have resolutely refused any attempt I could make to show her that something in her way of looking at things needed to be changed. She would have refused it because at consciousness level she was persuaded that she had RIGHT ideas about everything. On the contrary, at unconscious level she understood that this was not true and that almost every aspect of her philosophy of life needed to be reviewed.
When this kind of messages is conveyed by the unconscious it is hard to go on objecting for a long time, it is hard saying: "It is not true, I am not that way!".
It is easy to refuse an assessment of our behaviour made by a third party. Not so easy is to refuse an assessment coming from the inside part of ourselves. This is one of the advantages of working through dreams.
Dream No.86 I am driving my car and I realize that on the right-hand seat there is a water-closet filled with excrements and its lid is pulled up. I think they might cause trouble to the others, so I lower the lid but I cannot cover everything, something is left out. They are bones. This person is going round the world feeling that she is carrying very dirty things with herself, even some bones that is elements that can be related to aggressive, death drives.
She does not worry to conceal them as she has no problems with them. Anyway, she experiences them as excrements not as . a scent violet. The maximum effort she makes is to try and hide them from the sight of the others. Analysis is not going to be an easy job . !
Dream No.87The windows of my house are closed by grates however a dog manages to come in and frightens me. I send it away but other, several dogs come in and I do not know on which front to fight. Afterwards other animals of different kind come in, all of them covered with their most beautiful harness, and now I start to understand that they are not hostile. Also a fully white-covered camel comes in and as a sign of peace it offers me its leg that I take. The initial fear of emotions, with consequent barricading for self-defence, is followed by the discovery that there is no reason of being afraid, on the contrary it is a feast!
Once again, here is a perfect synthesis of the work carried out during the course of an analysis, with the starting position and the final position once the end is reached.
Dream No.88 I was in the flat where I used to live when I was a child. I had set it free by sending somebody away. The main idea was that at last it was mine, with no influence from the outside.
A woman seemed to be with me, anyway she was not important, I was taking decisions. I was arranging her bedroom. I was thinking of how to arrange the bookcase. I would be able to set it nicely, without my bed that had been there up to that moment, only the bookcase. The whole flat being available for me, I could place it in the last room where the sitting room was. I could see the empty rooms, I could fill them as I wished. The concerned dreamer brought me this dream written on a piece of paper with the following comment, including capital letters, bold letters and underscoring:
"I LIKED IT! MY LIFE STARTS!"It is evident that he is very pleased about finally reaching his independence and the possibility of arranging his life based on his own needs-taste-preferences, without undergoing any outside conditioning. His satisfaction is so great that the dreamer never stops repeating the same idea that keeps coming to his mind, as if he was caught by an uncontainable euphoria:
In practice, the whole dream is a continuous variation on a same theme. At the most one could object that the legitime satisfaction for the newly conquered freedom trespasses on indifference for the personality of the woman that is with him, but it is necessary to put oneself in the shoes of the dreamer that throughout his life was kept under the dominant influence of his mother and other women of his family.
- I had set it free.
- At last it was mine.
- With no influence from the outside.
- I took decisions.
- The whole flat being available for me
- I could fill them as I wished.
- I LIKED IT!
- MY LIFE STARTS!
In these cases it is to be expected that during the first stage an excessive reaction going in the opposite direction may occurr: it is the effect of novelty, it is the rapture of a slave that has just conquered freedom.
Many times I was told, and you too will have heard, that: "Psychotherapy makes people to be analyst DEPENDANT". This dream answers effectively to the above very frequent objection and shows that the landing place of psychotherapy is in the opposite direction in respect of what it is imagined and feared.
Dream No.89 I was riding a horse and I did so in a most strange manner, I was sitting the other way around, turning backwards that is I was looking from the tail side!. Here is another example showing that very often the unconscious can see better, earlier and more than consciousness: when awake, this dreamer was persuaded to have the right ideas in respect of life and world. On the contrary, her unconscious sends her a message saying that this is not true, she is living keeping her eyes on the past (the tail, what is behind) that therefore is conditioning her almost completely.
One can easily imagine how much inadequate this way of living is, eyes being turned neither to the present (what is around us) nor to the future (what is in front of us). If all our energies are attracted by the past, in the end we can see neither where we are nor where we are going, with all the adverse effects that this strange behaviour entails.
Now, if it is true that the unconscious can see better, earlier and more than consciousness, why do we usually give up this precious and most valuable resource?
One of the possible answers to this question can be found in the following three dreams.
Dream No.90 I was going up with a lift. I pushed button No.4 and I found myself on the 7th floor. Then I pushed button No.9 and I found myself on the 2nd floor. This occurred many times and, in the end, I got angry. I have already had the opportunity of saying that a lift symbolizes the communication between consciousness and unconsciousness as it links what is above (consciousness) to what is below (the unconscious).
This dream indicates the second stage characterizing our relationship with our unconscious. The first stage is represented by a refusal to admit that it is there or by a refusal to get in contact with it because it frightens us or because we feel it to be dirty.
During the second stage we surrender to the evidence that it is there but almost always we adopt the same attitude as once colonialists had to colonized people, that is the attitude of those who feel to be civilized with respect to savages, with a consequent unavoidable sense of superiority. It is obvious and taken for granted that consciousness is to be the master and the unconscious has only to execute orders. This attitude is well illustrated by the dreamer that expects the lift to take her to the floors SHE has selected.
We can also put it this way: during this phase we believe we can "plan" our contact with the unconscious, that is we believe we can arrange things so that the contact occurs according to rules fixed-chosen by consciousness; we are persuaded that consciousness is to "lead the game".
When we find out that this communication accepts no planning made by consciousness, we get angry so we run the risk of losing interest for this lift that refuses to execute the orders given through push-buttons.
Dream No.91I take the lift but I notice that the push-button panel is unserviceable because it is half eradicated and its entangled or detached wires are sparking. See previous dream for interpretation. In respect of the other dream, there is an additional element here, namely the feeling of a potential risk (sparks) that was missing before.
Dream No.92 On a lift and I have pushed button No. 3 but, once it reaches that floor, the lift does not stop and keeps going up gradually increasing its speed until it gets to the roof and breaks it down like a bullet. The three previous dreams are by three different persons and are to be regarded as a crescendo of fear-closing-refusal with regard to the unconscious: in dream No. 90 there are only disappointment and rage; in dream No. 91 a feeling of danger appears but it is only potential, it is sufficient to refrain from pushing buttons not to be damaged ; in dream No. 92, instead, the danger is already in action and, moreover, it is a much more serious danger than just an electric shock.
In the last case there is also a fear that the upcoming unconscious elements might drive mad (break down the roof-consciousness).
For the analyst this is a clear indication: caution, caution, caution; adequate strengthening of the elements of consciousness and Ego before starting to handle any unconscious content.
I tell somebody that dream interpretation is very important and I try to strengthen the convincing power of my statement bringing the example of a picture where a psychologist saves a person from a charge of murder by interpreting one of his dreams.
Before having the following dream I had seen a picture on TV whose main character, when he was a child, had an aggressive behaviour to his brother. Here is the dream.
The picture she saw when she was awake was about the aggressiveness of a child to his brother.
In the picture mentioned in the dream a person is charged with murder.
It is sufficient to put the content of the two dreams together to draw a picture of this type: when she was a child, the dreamer was very jealous of her brother because of the solicitude and care her mother gave him and that in her opinion were taken away from her. This jealousy caused aggressive drives to grow inside her with regard to her brother, up to the border line of wishing to kill him. This aggressiveness, in turn, primed strong senses of guilt.
Now, during the analysis, the dreamer expects the analyst to get her free from her senses of guilt by interpreting her dreams. This interpretation may seem to go too far, to be unlikely, but only in the eyes of those who dont know or remember the emotion storms shaking childrens hearts violently and conditioning their adult life unless they are properly metabolized.
In the following dream we can see another example of these storms.
I have dreamed that my sister caught one of those skin diseases on her face displaying a disgusting rash and scales.
Here is what my patient, little by little, told me about her sister: "She was always very good at school, on the contrary I was a disaster and my parents were always casting it in my teeth. When our relatives paid a visit to us, all their compliments were addressed only to her. Whenever I played a trick they would always throw my sisters example in my face as she always behaved in an irreproachable manner. On top of all this, she was (and is) good looking too".
In such a situation, no wonder if in her dream the dreamer had given vent to her jealousy avenging herself on her sister in a way that may even seem cruel, that is making her repugnant just on her face, the part of the body that best contributes to make a person beautiful.
It is to be noticed that every statement showing some sort of envy and jealousy was always preceeded and followed by a lot of loving statements for her sister: "I would give my right arm for her. I would do everything to avoid seeing her suffering. We are very much united one to another", and so on.
This might even be true but usually in these cases a compensation device comes in operation acting on the love-hate pair of feelings, hypertrophyzing the "love" polarity.
In the following dream I am offering another example of this device as well.
Dream No.95 I have dreamed that a criminal armed with a knife was coming out of the building where I live. He was going to kill my father. The boy that had this dream lived in a continuous fear that his father (to whom he was closely tied) could die, so that sometimes he woke up in the dead of night with beads of sweet upon his forehead, his heart wildly beating and an apparently irrational fear that his father had died. In dreams, the building where we live represents our personality, as I have already said. Therefore the criminal armed with a knife was nothing else than a totally aggressive drive addressed to his father, due to reasons that do not need to be clarified here as I mean to talk of something else. I should clarify at this point that during an analysis dream interpretation is not offered in as a sharp and concise way as it is presented to you here. It is necessary to be able to dilute it without altering it , that is without taking its effectiveness off.
Also in this field, any excess leads to failure: if one waits for the patient to be able to thoroughly self-interpret his dreams, analysis never ends; on the contrary, if one forces time too much giving the patient an interpretation in advance, that is before the time he is ready to accept it, he will interrupt his analysis and run away.
Dream No.96 I was a member of a very odd football team. We were having a match but everyone of us wore a T-shirt of different color and, above all, instead of playing all united against the other team we tried to steal the ball one another. It would be hard to find a more meaningful image to illustrate the inside condition of the man who had this dream: his energies, rather than being united, in agreement, cooperative and aiming at an affirmation with regard to the outside world, get exhausted and lost in an inside conflict amongst the various parts that were fighting one against the other.
It might be of interest to add that towards the end of his analysis the same person dreamt of being a member of a platoon of soldiers, all wearing the same uniform and united by a strong team spirit.
In other words, shifting from an inside conflict burning out resources and weakening to "unity is strength".
Dream No.97 I was with somebody, perhaps some women, and I was glad as I had taken care of a new-born baby. I showed him. For a second I feared I had neglected him too much but, actually, pushing apart the blankets covering his face I saw that he was well. I realized that he smelled of faeces, in fact I had not cleaned him for a while. Now I was thinking of washing him. This dream is by a man so it can be interpreted either as a desire of satisfying his "motherly" drives and as a self-satisfaction of his new-born part that, therefore, requires a special and continuous attention.
This part was neglected for a while ("I had not cleaned him") bud now the concerned person decides to change his attitude.
I often dream of rivers in flood or giant sea waves. Every time I am pushed or dragged into the water but somehow I manage to come out safely, almost by the skin of my teeth.Emotions pushing to get within the consciousness area are very strong and consciousness itself perceives them as a danger, a danger of being crushed and overwhelmed. The situation, however, is not the worst one because at last the dreamer manages to come out safely, even if by the skin of his teeth.
Dream No.99Together with my son I had decided to go and shoot a few gun shots. I wanted to show him how to do it. I did not want to cause any alarm so I thought of shooting just a couple of gun shots. We went to a hidden wooded gully. In spite of all cautions taken, I was puzzled because the Municipality owned all the land around us. I cant recall exactly but I think we did not shoot actually. A fathers desire of trasmitting the "plucky-aggressive" component of virility to his son. His desire is however braked-locked by the fear of possible negative effects produced by aggressiveness. Pluck and aggressiveness represent the two ends of a same "continuum". Very often the fear of ones own aggressiveness ends by inhibiting also the other end, pluck, and the person having this problem becomes unable to face life resolutely.
Dream No.100 I am with my weight-lifting trainer. He is a too dictatorial fellow, he admits no objections to his orders. In the last days he has given me some very hard exercises to make and I am afraid I wont succeed. I have tried to explain it to him but he wouldnt even listen to me.
Later I am in his house and am being nice to him, I am preparing a beautiful dinner. I can see that he does not dislike my advances and he has put his dictatorial air aside. Perhaps I will succeed in having him give in. The dreamer admitted herself that the trainers personality is equal to her fathers. To conquest his love, she has always adopted typically male behaviours (weight-lifting) as he holds female behaviours in despise. For example, he considers whores all women going to the hairdressers or wearing a too shining color lipstick.
Besides this, he expects too much of his daughter, and commands her to produce performances of a male nature requiring a strength she does not own. She tries to explain it to him but he admits no reason. In the second part of the dream she changes her tactics and this way she succeeds where she formerly failed, that is she manages to soften him, even to seduce him.
The weapons that in her opinion will lead her to success are the same as women have always been using to conquest men: gluttony and seduction.
Feminists will surely complain but there is nothing I can do about it, this is the dream.