While most nightmares seem to be a way that our unconscious works out feelings that aren’t easily comfortable in waking life, such as harm coming to our children, or even our own feelings of anger or aggression (which can lead to dreams of “bad guys,” etc.) sometimes dreams seem a little extra vivid when it comes to themes of abuse.
And while it would be irresponsible to conclude anything about a person or their life based on a dream, the dreams in this particular category invite a compassionate question: could the dreamer have been abused in actuality in the past?
While such a question is delicate, the point of asking it has to do with shame, healing and the well-being of children. Often people who have been abused carry shame: they believe that the harm was their own fault. In order to heal shame one has to come to a different understanding: children are innocent, adults are responsible for what happens to them.
Research shows that parents who have “unresolved trauma” tend to end up with children who have trouble with attaching, feeling secure, dealing with strong emotions, etc. On the other hand, terrible things can have happened to a parent, but if he or she had worked it out (i.e. “resolved” it by seeking appropriate help) then the child is often just fine about trusting, dealing with others, etc.
If a reader of the dreams below finds themselves relating to these themes, particularly if they do recall being abused but have never gotten any help in healing it, they are encouraged to do the reach-out to counselors in their area and get some help. Sometimes healing for the sake of our children (and it does help them for us to heal, to be happy and not ashamed or subjugated to victimization) becomes a way in which loving our children leads to our own growth and empowerment.
Of course a dream of abuse could just as well have been triggered by a movie, or be a way of representing how a dreamer might feel “abused” by something when no abuse has occurred.
That said, it is hoped that the dreams and responses below might help readers sort out for themselves where they stand in relationship to their past, their present and their parenting:
[Please note that I cannot continue to interpret individual dreams at this time, however if you read through these dreams you will very likely find insights into your own dream—and you will discover that you are not alone in having such nightmares.]
4 YR OLD NAILS, TRAINS AND SELF-HARM
So i just dreamed the most horrible thing…. simply put my daughter looked at me while we were at a store somewhere, and i noticed she had a drop of blood on her forhead. I reached to see it and i sa the head of a nail under the skin….like a nail was in her face. i freaked out omg what happened baby when she looked at me and said its ok mommy. i continued looking at her i i keep finding nails in her, like in her face!!!!!!!! i sit in front of a store pulling nails out of her face frantically pulling. then i see her mouth had blood coming out of it…..i open her mounth to see 3 or more bent nails protruding from the roof of her mouth. i mean honestly, ive had some bad ones but this one simply wrecked me. i cant sleep for fear of reintering the dream, because now the site i just CANT get it outta my head. i got the feeling she was trying to die. i realized that she had done this to herself. she was really ready to die. she is 4 years old :( after this portion i was chasing after her tring to keep her alive.. she dove in front of a train inwhich i jumped after her to cover her up. we were stuck under the train and she was pushing me away trying to let the train get her i was struggling with her……please baby stop it let me help u!!!!! then my husband woke me up from a soaked pillow. He said i was frantically crying while sleeping PLEASE HELP
When people came to Freud with suggestions that they had been hurt as children Freud believed them and suggested this to his colleagues who couldn’t face this idea. So Freud came up with complicated theories about children wishing for hurt or sex… and no one got better (although Freud got very famous).
This dream makes me wonder if you were hurt as a child. Things that don’t belong there got put in your head (bad ideas, cruelty, fear) and in your mouth (don’t speak, or tell or you’ll be punished or abandoned).
Then the train could be a symbol of man’s industrialization (which has lead to vast discrepancies in wealth, and is part and parcel of war; over-producing things leads to surplus of things and lack of money so war has historically been the answer to economic problems).
Trains are also phallic and perhaps you are trying to protect your child-self from the harm you have already suffered. Whether physical, sexual, psychological, political… you are awake and fully committed to the safety and well-being of your child.
Look to the pain of when you were four, and trust that simply being a good mom will prove healing to yourself and of the greatest value to your child.
Even if you have had not trauma, vast numbers of your brothers and sisters have been hurt, and if you are sensitive then you care and it permeates your consciousness.
Care, love, connect. This is the way forward for all of us.
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7 & 9 YR OLD TWO GIRLS TAKEN AND ABUSED
I have 2 female children 9&7 years old. They mean everything to me. So it really upsets my whole life when I have these reoccurring dreams of them being sexually abused. I dream about them being violently taken from me or kidnapped by strange men to be sexually abused, I even have dreams of my husband sexually abusing his own children. It’s causing me to distance myself from him & not trust him.
I don’t see any signs of abuse in our household but I’m constantly looking for It. Sneeking in on them watching tv, watching how he handles them anytime he touches them. I never see anything unappropriate but these dreams have me paranoid. I wake up crying & scared all the time & I’m overly protective of my girls. I don’t know how to handle this.
They say “name is destiny,” and so we must start with Agape, which (as I’m sure you know, means Divine Love).
As is said in the New Testament:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
—John 3:16, KJV
(and “Love” is “Agapao” in the original)
The other side of Agape is Eros, which is desire. In myth this relates to the origin of humans (while Agape has to do with human transcendence, spirituality and higher Love/Consciousness).
As you might sense from reading comments and responses above, I would encourage you to think of the children in your dreams as the child part of yourself.
In this sense we see an inner split between the Shadow (the bad men with lust and poor boundaries) and the Puella (eternal child, innocent, pure, ever reborn, eternal).
In this sense we see your dreams trying to work out a relationship between the carnal/incarnate and the sacred/spirit.
To solve this dream you must commune with the inner devil, the abusers, asking them (if you can, while you are dreaming, otherwise in waking imagination), “I know you are a part of me, why are you hurting this other part of me? What is it you want me to do? Is this about me owning my power and your anger at me running away from this power? Have I tried too hard to be an angel and so I must accept my all too human sexual, dark and not-so-angelic aspect too? Have I been projecting that onto my husband and other men these days? Or is there real danger and I must do something to protect my real children?”
Make your Shadow YOUR Shadow, a baddass who works WITH you to keep you and your kids safe, but not a frightened accuser ready for a witch trial.
ON THE OTHER HAND, you must also review your life and what was happening for you when you were seven and nine. If you WERE abused, it’s time to do some more work around that with a professional to complete your healing, and to divide the past from the present so you can live and love happily now and trust your kids are safe.
Hope this helps & All Best Wishes
^ * * * ^
8 YR OLD TOILET AND PANTIES
I had a disturbing dream about my daughter who is 8. The setting was my grandparents street, she was in our house (except it wasn’t our house), my husband, except it kinda wasn’t him, had her under the toilet somehow, the toilet was on top of her and she was trapped under it, she had on only her panties, she was completely calm as though it was a regular occurrence. I asked him what was going on and he told me he did it so he could pee on her and that he liked it. This is so messed up! I really have no idea how my brain could come up with something like this. I felt completely powerless in the dream, I wanted to get he out right away but felt that he was unstable and didn’t want to be in a situation we couldn’t escape. I was trying to plan how we could all leave him (her and my other two children) without arousing his suspicion. I felt very helpless in the dream, as my husband deals with all our finances and gets e-mails and checks bank statements. I felt like if I took the kids away I wouldn’t be able to get any money to keep us or get us a house. The image of daughter lying there so calm really upsets me, it actually makes me cry thinking about it, I am having a real hard time trying to let go of this dream and the emotions it has evoked.
This does sound disturbing, and of course raises the obvious question about if your child is safe in waking life. If you have doubts in that area, the dream would be prompting you to confront reality.
Hopefully, your kids are safe and this dream is about your inner world, not your children’s outer world. In this case the dream could be interpreted along the lines of “your grandparents’ street” being the place of your higher consciousness as a parent. In this realm of inner consciousness your inner child is being suppressed by your inner Shadow Animus (your own male aspect). Thus your child is calmly under a toilet, suggesting that you have yourself felt passive, disempowered and devalued (i.e. a receptacle for what others don’t want, particularly crappy and angry feelings). In this sense the dream represents an inner situation, where your angry male self is both “pissed” but also yearning to more fully express itself; meanwhile the “calm” child in just panties is both sexualized, devalued and also perversely powerful (the crappy power around which the low-self-esteem person’s world circles). This set-up begs the question about “passive-aggressive” dynamics (seehttp://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/11/04/what-does-it-really-mean-to-be-passive-aggressive/).
The fact that you reference money, in connection with power and subjugation is also consistent with the notion of the gold being in the poop (see:http://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/06/11/the-gold-is-in-the-poop/).
Of course dreams have so many potential meanings that my suggestions may be all wrong for you and your current situation. What makes good sense is to think about the different symbols (grandparents, toilet, child, etc.) and see what your mind offers up. Perhaps some journal writing, asking for another dream to help clarify, drawing, etc. might open some inner doors for you.
If there is trauma in your past, it wold be lovely for your children if you were to heal. If it is more purely symbolic, it would be good for you to be able to express what you truly feel. Generally speaking, as we embark upon the journey of individuation (i.e. becoming our true Selves), we typically meet the Shadow. If your real man is decent, and your real parents and grandparents, then the Shadow tends to bring a woman her power. Imagine if you could be lucid in this dream and say to your inner not-quite-really-your-husband: “I know you are the inner part of me who would put the little girl part of me under a toilet and pee on her, but why? What is it you need me to realize and recognize so that we can be on the same team and not hurt anyone, not inside me or outside of me, but not be hurt by anyone either?”
Finally, Tina, we all need to feel safe, loved and empowered. As do our kids. My wish for you is that you not take any of my suggestions as possibly knowing more about your life, your psyche and your family than you know—merely the wish that everyone feel respected, safe and loved (i.e. less blame, more compassion, inner and outer; but always with kids kept safe in real life as our first priority).
All Good Wishes
^ * * * ^
8, 15, BABY… KIDS UNDER BLANKET; GRANDMA ABUSING BABY
I have had two very disturbing dreams related to my children. The first is that I am having a get together at my house in a home I don’t recognize at all. I am very stressed and looking for something so I rush around looking from room to room. I walk in one room to find my oldest son 15 and youngest son 8 under the blankets naked and it appears my oldest is abusing my son. I can’t see them naked in my dream nor any act just the idea I charge in and attempt to hurt my oldest son with all my might. I immediately wake myself from this dream as it has me nervous.
My second dream is I am away working and I come home unexpectedly and my mother is watching the kids. I walk in and the older ones say nana is in your room taking a nap with the baby. ( I don’t have any kids that are babies anymore my youngest is 4 ). I walk in and I find my mother naked and she is abusing my baby. I again can not see any of her body like breast or anything just it’s the idea she is not clothed. I could not see the babies face to see which of my kids it was. I just run towards my mother and try to kill her and take my baby away. She is fighting me trying to kill the baby. I awake very upset. This has me very worried I am very protective of my children so it makes me anxious is my dream telling me someone is harming them. Please any thoughts. One note my kids are very happy and so well taken care of I think it might have more meaning about me.
These dreams do sound very disturbing, and of course we have to protect our children in waking life from any sort of harm, but it sounds like that is not your primary concern here.
Perhaps you yourself experienced abuse or trauma as a child, for if you did, and did not feel protected or validated by your mother, that would be a fairly clear explanation of the dream. If that were true then the dream would be telling you that you have a lot of unresolved anger toward your mother, and still carry wounds in your self, symbolically in your child self.
Of course your childhood may have been free of abuse and trauma, in which case the feelings of fear and dread summoned by this dream may point to the way your own brain has attempted to make sense of some unspeakable feelings of danger that, in order to be understood, get depicted as this worst sort of nightmare.
Turning to possibly interpretations of the symbols, and from here taking all the contents of the dream as aspect of your own psyche, we start with the “get together” which suggests you are trying to get the disparate parts of your own psychological self “together.” When we are young, or hurt, the parts of our selves (i.e. good and bad, brave and scared, etc.) get “split” and do not easily re-integrate.
The house can be a symbol of the total Self, the structure that contains all the rooms, people and situations that get split into parts. This house you do not recognize; this could mean that the unconscious is telling you that you do not know your whole self.
A blanket is a symbol of comfort (i.e. warmth, a security blanket), but can also be a symbol of denial (hiding things under a blanket is like sweeping them under a rug). Your unconscious has you witness the older child abusing the younger. Maybe this symbolizes how the grown-up you is hurting the child you by keeping it out of sight and out of mind. This would support the idea that whatever has hurt or scared you in the past (and it might not be abuse, but it could be) needs to be seen by the mom you have become and the child aspect needs to be protected by the mom you have become.
Give some thought to life when you were fifteen (perhaps becoming sexual in some way that didn’t feel right, perhaps with someone older than you?) and consider where you were at when you were 8. Were you hurt in some way at that time that was not validated or taken seriously? It could be something like parents splitting up and not realizing the impact on you, etc.
The second dream amplifies the first, and here we have a symbolic Great Mother in her negative aspect (a bit like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” who wants to abuse the baby). Sometimes dreams of persecution can actually relate to some underlying feeling of neglect (not being seen, creating a wish to be seen, but feeling unworthy of being seen one is only “seen” or paid attention to as an object of abuse or gratification).
If we take these aspects as part of yourself, you would have an inner grandmother trying to kill an inner baby as you get cast as the hero who might kill the bad mother and save the good baby.
If you have suffered trauma, then the instinct in the dream to kill is a survival response, and perhaps a window into how you might have felt as a child, as many kids feel like they might be killed by abusive grown-ups when they are being hurt.
In waking life it is probably more important to stop any cycles of hurt, be it abuse or untreated anxiety, in the family. In this regard you probably want to work to forgive (but not excuse or deny) any bad behavior in the past while being sure your own kids are safe. At the inner psychological level, if you do suffer from wounds of the past you might like to address this (i.e. check out Peter Levine’s work on trauma such as:http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/waking-tiger.html)
Whatever this dream is bringing into your consciousness, it seems that you yourself feeling safe and happy will only further enhance your children’s prospects to live happy, loving and productive lives as all our families strive to heal over the course of generations.
All Best Wishes
^ * * * ^
13 AND 15 NAILED TO A TREE
I just had a dream about my children 13 & 15 the other night that scared the living daylight out of me.
I got a call from my older daughter, the line was staticy and she was very quiet and scared. The only part of the conversation I heard was “he nailed her to a tree and said I’m next”. Then the line went dead. I tried to call 911 on 3 different phones but I couldn’t get the phones to work.
I never remember my dreams, but I will never forget this one.
As I read more and more of these nightmares I am humbled to ever more deeply realize that I do not “know” what they mean. Yet I have a human heart with which I can imagine the terror when the mind makes it seem as if our very worst living nightmare—harm or death to our children—is actually happening.
Thank goodness for waking up and realizing it is not so. Perhaps there is something about our fears that actually bonds and binds humans together, offering the possibility of love and peace in awakened reality? For this we could only do our individual best and hope the aggregate effect adds up.
Turning specifically to your dream, one way to interpret would be that the 13 and 15 year old parts of you are calling out for help, offering forceful “encouragement” to think compassionately about them. Where you hurt in some dramatic way when you were a young teen? Did something make you feel “crucified” (i.e. caught in the middle of parent’s divorce, or betrayed by friends or a boyfriend, or worse yet hurt physically or otherwise)?
In this perspective the “he” who nails to a tree would be the Shadow or aggressive, destructive powerful part of yourself—placing you in helpless relationship to both the girl you were unable to protect (because you were her) and the “bad guy” who is gone in reality but living in your unconscious.
So often women pay a price for their past subjugation by ending up in passive situations (i.e. the helplessness we see in the dream), and perhaps whatever has hurt you in the past left you quiet and passive, but very hurt and scared inside?
A tree itself is a potential symbol of life or soul and thus girls nailed to a tree could on the one hand suggest torture, but on the other hand suggest a return of soul and life spirit to the girl you once were, tumbling you out into the present time as a fully spiritual, strong, loving and grown-up woman.
Not being able to get any of three phones to work in you attempt to ask for help, might suggest three people in the past who did not help when you needed it (i.e. mother, grandmother, older siblings or currently the father of the girls, etc.).
On a mundane note, parenting teens can be rather vexing, and one interpretation of such a dream could be unconscious anger… when we feel like crucifying our kids for scaring us with their limit-testing and disrespect and the like in our more bleak parenting moments.
On the sacred side, crucifixion obviously brings to mind Christ and with a name like Christy you could unconsciously feel like you are the mother God being asked to sacrifice your own girls for some inexplicable reason. If that is resonant, than perhaps some epiphany of psychological resurrection can follow on the heels of this nightmare, one in which you realize that your love for you girls is so deep and potentially self-sacrificing that you actually participate in the divine mystery and are not just praying to some dusty patriarchal idea that no longer feels alive for you.
Remember, our deep dread of loss and separation from our children allows for our deep attachment and love. Perhaps it’s time to think about loving the teen you once were as deeply as you love your girls now?
At the very least I hope these ideas, and your conscious contemplation of this dream, will allow you to have safe and healing dreams ahead.
All Best Wishes
^ * * * ^
FATHER SMASHES THE TRUCK
I woke up scared to death this morning. This dream was so vivid I am afraid to go to sleep. This a little similar to yours. At a summer house the house is white from when I was a kid. In the grassy wheel driveways that are close together. My husband fighting with me. Got in his truck to leave. I thought he was getting in the truck with himself his uncle and his brother and that’s it. Somehow my kids ended up in the truck with him. Mad at me speeding backing out of the driveway (I was walking up stairs on the outside of the house but had a roof and wall all around it completely covered so you cant see outside.) He was backing out of the driveway somehow steered of the driveway. Flipped the truck over a white parked car in the next driveway. All of my children were in his truck laying on the grass with their heads smashed together screaming help. I was so afraid to go out there to see what I would find. I continued up the stairs and called 911. Come to find out there was a kid on a bicycle right behind him and that’s why he went off the driveway to miss the kid. I then had two versions of the dream here one it was my son but he was fine and the other it was a kid I did not know. Also after calling 911 I have two versions to one me going outside and holding my children crying not knowing what to do waiting for help and the other me not being able to go outside to see how bad the kids were. I just can’t stop thinking about this dream and at the time it was so real. I know there is a hidden message but I don’t know what it is. Can you help me put the pieces together.
I can lend some ideas but you will have to continue with the creative work of contemplating whatever meaning ends up most resonant for you.
The house might be s symbol of self, and the “wheel” driveway implies the circle of life in which you re-visit feelings of the past but from the perpective of a parent.
My suspicion is pain unresolved from your own childhood, perhaps a time you felt hurt by male insensitivity (father, uncle, brother?) and were not protected by mother.
Now you are the mother and you experience the emotional scene not from the kid hurt by the male authority figures, but from the perspective of helpless mother (perhaps the way you saw your own mother?).
You are “going upstairs” which could symbolize moving to higher consciousness, maturity or perspective, yet you are inside, “blocked” by “walls” (symbol of denial, or inhibition from your own true feelings such as anger or aggression) and by “roof” the current upper limit on your consciousness, what separates your mother level from some even higher, Great Mother or grandmother/ancestor wisdom?
The various versions might echo the way so-called “memory” works; in other words we do not actually record events in our brains, and what we think of as memory is actually a reconstruction of images and sensations, an attempt to make a story that holds together. Vivid as things may seem, we are notoriously unreliable in matching memory to so-called “fact.”
That said, emotional reality certainly shows that your dream scared you terribly and connects to the general feeling of terror, loss, helplessness and overwhelm in the face of trauma.
Did you suffer losses in the past? Was there a car accident? Or a bike accident?
Let your associations flow, looking not for facts but for feelings and your need to heal whatever haunts you in the past (or perhaps nothing does). On the other hand there may be tension in your marriage and the unconscious feeling of rage and your inhibition from knowing your rage.
Then you may cast your rage as the insensitive husband, who is prevented from breaking up the family through the tragedy of destroying the family.
Keep in mind that your husband didn’t “do this,” rather your unconscious blames him for the mayhem and you are scared because it becomes unclear if your terrible dream might create some terrible outcome. We are not so powerful, and our deep fears about it drive our anxiety.
Better to realize you feel angry, hurt, abandoned, whatever and then talk it through. If you are having conflicts in your family it would be best to talk those through, without blame, as so often people soften when they feel understood (i.e. you as well as your husband).
If you are not in an outer conflict with husband, perhaps you need to realize the husband within who abandons is the hurt and angry part of you, the part that causes the inner children within you to be smashed in the head (i.e. rendered unable to think, crying out for help).
I hope these ideas help you feel less anxious and confused. If you spend some time dialoguing with the parts of yourself, as found in the dream, perhaps you will get a new, less terrible dream, to guide you beyond the false split of power that hurts others or weak kindness that cannot protect self or others.
All Best Wishes
^ * * * ^
ABUSE AND TRAIN
I have three boys. I kept having nightmares of my oldest boy being violated by a man unknown. In every dream he’s a kid and his surroundings he’s always screaming out for help. The last setting was a train station set up like penn station in manhattan. The location was in unknown room as he kept screaming police officers n myself was able to hear his cries. I always wake up before knowing the outcome. I wake up always with a migraine headache, heart pounding and scared. My son is always safe sound asleep in the next room. Please tell me what these dreams mean and how do I stop them.
Firstly, let me say how sorry I am to hear about these terrible nightmares—whether awake or asleep, bad things happening to our kids is just about the worst feeling imaginable.
As to what these dreams could mean, I can only offer some ideas to consider while you’re heart and your own instincts must guide you from there.
One possibility is that your son in your dream symbolizes the child part of yourself (think about your life when you were your oldest son’s age for clues about how or why you might have felt like you were trapped or being hurt, perhaps emotionally, perhaps actually in some physical or sexual way).
Even if there is no trauma in your past, your unconscious is trying to make you consciously aware of some sort of pain and need for liberation and protection, perhaps even some sort of new inner adventure (suggested by train station and travel to other places, or perhaps other thoughts and feelings).
You wake with migraine, suggesting just how painful it is to think about, or be aware of, the pain of our children, inner or real.
While I would not assert, based on a dream, that you in the past, or your children are in any danger from strangers, the symbolism of the dream does point to the possibility of being hurt by sexuality. “Penn” station has the root of (penis), and trains can be classically phallic symbols (but, of course, not only that).
In this context it would be important, if you had suffered abuse in the past, to be aware of it and seek help to talk about it and heal it.
Protecting our kids from abuse is part of our job as parents, and one resource in this regard is a book by a colleague of mine meant to teach kids about what is appropriate and what is not regarding their bodies, boundaries and privacy.
For more on that see the book at Amazon: http://amzn.to/JBzHWc
As to how to stop the dreams, my hope is that by thinking deeply about it you may become conscious of whatever message of healing, protection or transformation is arising in your own psyche, which then makes the dream no longer necessary.
Wishing you safety, peace and pleasant dreams :)
^ * * * ^
I hav some horrifying and extremely haunting disturbing dreams and i really need to kno wut they mean. I hav a lil girl (she’ll be two november), she is my life, my world, i love her a gazillion times more than i hav ever loved n e one or n e thing, she is my mirracle child because they told me i had one in a million chances to conceive.
My dreams get worse and wosre evry time and they wake me up in tears and im shakin from head to toe with the sweats and nausea.
This is one of my dreams:
My family and i ari playing it the woods with a little push bike thingie for my lil gurl then it switches to another seen i couldnt quite make out but my husband was gone and it was jus me and my lil gurl then sum guys pull up and ask for directions but wer also being vulgar with me and my lil gurlthen agian it switches and im waking up. In a lockd room with my lil gurl so i try to find a way out and i do thru this littl vent i grab my lil gurl (who was wrapd in blankets and run, i get to a bus stop, get on the bus and realize my lil girl is a doll literally so i run bask as fast as i can, i dart back thru the vent of the place but by the time i got back they had my lil girl sawd in half and she was hangin up on an intertainment stand, im screaming aand crying and run to her, try to put her back together and as i do she looks at me (dieing) and say with her last crying breath mama, so i hold her tight and say i love u then i wake up.
That dream had me awake for three days straight, terrified. I would see that immage evry time i would look at my lil girl then i would jus hold her and cry.
I also hav dreams about her getting shot in the head whild im being sexually tortured, and also hav extreemly detailed dreams about other babies getting sexually abused very brutally while im holding my lil gurl running but im going no where and the people will jus laugh and laugh at me.
Can u tell me wut these dreams mean??? :'(
Please help me understand!!!
Oh and another thing thes dreams r very detailed i can feel, smell, hear, taste… and wen i wake up its still all there fresh on my finger tips, in my nose, i can hear thing over and over, and hav the tast in my mouth.
i am very sorry that you are having such terrible dreams. But please know that by becoming conscious and aware of your fears, and even of your own past hurts, your baby will be safe from harm (both physical and psychological).
Your deep self is bringing traumatic images up into your mind, but your unconscious knows what it is doing in forcing you to face these images. My suspicion is that you were very severely hurt as a child.
But even if you were not overtly abused, it seems as if being a mom and seeing how tender and beautiful and innocent a child is you are completely horrified about how anyone could hurt a child. The answer may often be that people have been hurt and if they can’t heal from the past they recreate that pain in the next generation of kids.
The way we stop this is to be aware of our own hurts and stop the cycle through community, honesty, compassion and awareness of abuse and trauma.
Even if you were not hurt, so very many children are hurt that we could all stand to be horrified about that.
From a symbolic standpoint, in one dream your girl (who might symbolize your own child-self) is sawed in half. This is a crude way of separating her sexual parts from the rest of her. When kids are abused they often feel like they are being sawed in half, and they also sometimes experience floating out of their body, as if the hurt is happening to someone they are just watching (hence the “entertainment center”).
Being shot in the head may also be a symbol of putting an end to thinking, particularly to “bad” or painful thoughts and memories. We try to block out the horror, but actually we need to talk it through with someone who understands trauma, abuse and healing.
The intense realness of these dreams, the details and sensory memories also cause me to worry if you really were hurt when you were little. Of course it’s possible that you were emotionally hurt as a child and the intensity of that pain FELT like being abused.
Either way, if we can deal with the facts of our past hurts we do not scare our own babies. You are having bad dreams, but you wake up to find your baby safe and sound. Thank goodness for that.
I very much wish you safe days ahead, both in sleep and in being awake.
I appreciate u taking the time to talk to me, u hav no idea how much it means.
when i try to talk to people they tell me im crazy or i need help or even worse they think im not safe to be around. I am a great person, very loving and carring and im now emotional as well. U r ryt i hav had a horrible past life but i thot i had put all that behind me, i moved on got married and had a beautiful and wonderful lil girl whom i love dearly.
All this is making me feel like i AM going crazy, they just wont stop no matter wut i do. She’ll be two november and iv been having them since she was born.
Not only hav i had a pretty rough past life but my husbansd family has also put me thru a tremendous amount of stress, hurt, and bad problems; so i hav one more question for u…
And the question is: “do i need professional help and will these dreams ever EVER go away???
Although I suspected that you had been badly hurt, I’m very sorry to hear that this is the case.
As for your question, I do believe that these dreams will go away, but that talking them through and the abuse that has been re-triggered by having a child will free you of the bad dreams.
As for “needing” professional help, I would urge you not to think about it as a mark of being “crazy” or “wrong,” but instead frame it like this: you have been hurt as a child and you DESERVE compassion, understanding, healing and support from caring and competent humans who understand how to help people who have been mistreated.
If you can find someone who is a competent professional I would by all means speak with them as an act of love for your little girl. A healthy happy mom is a gift to any kids.
In addition to this I would encourage yoga or other Zen sorts of things as they can really help calm and quiet the mind. Read things by Thich Nhat Hahn for starters.
Finally, my own book “Privilege of Parenting” is not just a collection of blog posts, it is a separate work meant to help parents better understand themselves and their children no matter what the struggles may be, including the sort you have been through.
Trust that the spirit of others who have survived and healed from what you’ve been through will help you through, and then one day you’ll be helping those who must also make the hard journey into healing through these dark nights of the soul.
All Best Wishes
thank u very much for listening and helping me understand u hav no idea how much i appreciate this and i jus want to say to evryone out ther that has these insanly horrifying night terrors and i dont kno y our brains let us see these horrible immages but jus remember they r not real and dont let them scare u. love your children and family as much as u can each day and let them kno evry single day just how much they mean to u necause wev all seen first hand jus how bad and scary thing can be and how fast it could be to loose sumone close to u. we all need to use this as a tool for our evry day life. these dreams SUCK royally but no mattr wut we are always gonna be stronger than sum crazy dream…
May there be peace to evryone out there and and may god please watch over our dearly loved ones!!!
Thanks for your kind words, especially in the spirit of supporting other parents in the service of all our collective children.
All Best Wishes
^ * * * ^
AN OCEAN OF HURT
It’s seems that every time I have a nightmare I somehow end up at my first home, which happens to be my mother’s house. (This is not how my nightmare starts) I am at a place where I have come to all my life, in dreams, that is. I come here to “vacation” I know this place because if I want to get there I have to go through the Open Sea. I can only float there and when I do I am terrified because the water is one of my greatest fears. I HATE THE OCEAN. I don’t even swim in pools. Anyhow every time I have to float through the water, the waves are so ridiculously dangerous. There’s always a high tide and it make me feel like I could drown any second. I always notice that floating along with me are old pieces of furniture and things of that nature. When I finally make it to my destination it’s usually because I have drowned. I wake up in my dream from a dream only to realize I am living in my mother’s house. UH-oh. Nightmare begins. There is a small room which, when, I open it becomes the entrance to the ocean part of my dream. There it is. The Ocean that I just drowned in…a door away. After coming in and out of that door I find myself looking at the clock on the wall. I think it say’s 4:03 but when I look closer it’s actually 5:30…I run out the door because I am so late to pick up my eldest son. (I have 3 kids but they r not part of my dream) I’m already worried because I fear he might still be at the school or he might have been taken by child protective services. As I run down the stairs I notice lots of kids on the opposite side of the street. I even see my youngest child and completely disregard him because he was not a part of my dream. As I am walking toward the school (which happens to be my old Middle school) I realize I can’t call the school because I don’t know the number. Then …My son is right in front of me walking away from me very “zombie” like. I say his name and hug him. I ask him why he didn’t ring the bell and he say’s he did but I didn’t open the door. Then a little girl from his class say’s to me. He isn’t on drugs or anything. His eye’s are like that because he has been crying. I look at him and he looks just awful. She say’s he had to do something with a man. Then my dream turns into a panic attack that I couldn’t wake up from. He said “a man made me have sex with him. He touched me and violated me” I start crying and freak out. Hating myself for being so late and call the police. The police tell me there’s nothing they can do and give me an appointment for a week later to come and talk to me. I cry holding my son as I check him and just before he could show me his body I wake up in tears.
I hope that you can help me out with this horrible nightmare. As I said when I see myself in my mom’s place I know it’s gonna turn out bad. But this time I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I hate myself for having this kind of a dream.
Your “first house” could be symbolic of your mother’s womb. My instinct here is that your mother carries (or carried) unresolved trauma, thus even being “in her house” was a difficult place to be.
While I’d not want to put too much into astrology, the “first house” in that way of thinking is the house of the self. Thus we all start out in the first house, it’s just a little different for each of us—and before we’re complete we all have to make our way around the wheel of experience.
You get to this first house through the ocean, which is the Great Mother and also symbolic of the unconscious. If you read the other comments and dreams above you will find a lot of water imagery; this might help you realize that you are not alone.
The ocean can also be the salty veil of tears. Think of Alice drowning in her own tears in “Alice in Wonderland” once she grows small (i.e. regresses to a baby state where her own feelings are too much for her). If your mom’s feelings were too much for her, then your feelings would be too much for her also, and they would remain too much for you. And then you become a parent and are desperate to grow solid enough to protect and contain and love your own kids… and hence these dreams, this seeking help, healing in the service of our children.
The bits of furniture might symbolize the brokenness that were your childhood feelings. A bit like Noah and the flood, all is wiped out by the great rising tide of Mother Ocean.
You “drown” to end up in mother’s house. Think T.S. Eliot in “Prufrock”:
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
lots to glean from such poetry…
But perhaps the beach is that place between unconscious and conscious. For you it might be a door in your mother’s house that leads to the ocean of our collective feelings, myths, memories, loves and pains…
You go in and out of that door, as if incarnating multiple times. But the clock is the signifier of the Father: Father Time.
4:03 and 5:30 seems to be dealing, possibly, with ages, in both cases dropping backward. Perhaps at four something happened to you, and then you felt like a “zero” obliterated by hurt. Perhaps you then regressed to three, or wishing you could be three again, before the bad thing happened. At five you might still be wishing to go back to three, or the wish for zero—for non-being when being hurts so badly.
But this prompts you to “wake up” to your kids, to think of them and their future instead of yourself and your past. This is the healing impulse. Your love for your children will indeed wake you up and it will heal and transform you.
You don’t need no parenting expert for this, you only need love and understanding. That is what we all need, and that is what our kids all need and that is exactly what we have in our tattered hearts and up our torn sleeves.
You run “down the stairs” meaning you go deliberately toward lower consciousness, but not off a cliff or into the sea, in a step by step manner that you can handle.
You see lots of kids across the street. This is because so many of our collective kids are in this situation of hurt, risk, vulnerability. This is why parents are coming together to help each other care about all the kids. The collective idea of caring is not political, or economic, or social… it is the realm of the Great Mother inside every parent, if only the veil of hurt can soften and drop away.
This is the call to the hero’s journey, but men tend to puff up and try to be the hero, women form a circle and get down to actual helping and protecting.
You go for the oldest but disregard the youngest (in a sense YOU are the oldest kid so you must be sure to not forget the actual kids you have when you are awake, they are the “youngest”– but you realize, unconsciously, that you can’t help the youngest if the oldest/yourself is not safe and okay.
“Middle school” might also mean that new learning is in order for you, and it is in the middle between parent and child, the ocean of hurt that you must deal with. Try not to “hate the ocean” respect her and love her and let her teach you how to become one with her, then you can never drown as the ocean does not drown.
The Zombie thing I have more to say about here:http://privilegeofparenting.com/2011/09/28/zombies-on-the-couch/
“Ringing the bell” is a symbol of call to prayer, of liberty, of enlightenment… your child did ring the bell, the little Buddha, you just had not heard (for the roar of the ocean can be deafening).
You had not “opened the door” to the heart place where all healing must occur. Thus you have to let that child who is you, and who has cried a river and an ocean of tears, into your heart, the Vanessa’s Ark of your very own soul.
The child looks awful. You bear witness. This is essential, you do not turn away from witnessing the hurt.
Here we get to sexual abuse. So whether you experienced this, or your mom did and you never knew it, but somehow DID know it in your unconscious (ask her, maybe she’ll validate what you’ve always known, and suffered in secret bonded shame with your mom. If we’re right it will liberate you and heal your relationship with your mom).
If you were abused, you were also not protected and this has to be healed. I get the sense that your unconscious is ready for therapy. Thus the cop gives you an appointment to “come and talk” in a week. The cops are also you, the authority part of you who can hook you up with the part of you who needs to talk this all through as an act of love for your children.
I know this all hurts, but it is becoming conscious, which is the opposite of things having to be acted out.
I hope this helps and I send you Healing Wishes
^ * * * ^
FATHER INCEST BREAST MILK & BLOOD
I dreamed that my father was coming into my bed and caressing me. I knew I was disgusted. But I didn’t stop it because it began to turn me on. I felt ashamed for feeling that was and the next day volunteered as a midwife and would make milk come in to nurse others babies. Except one breast began to make blood. The other wouldn’t make anything.
I woke up.
Strange dreams. I hope you can give me some insight.
^ * * * ^
FATHER BEATS GIRL IN TUB
Hi. I was searching about my nightmares i keep having and i found this site. My dreams have always been about my dad.. and I didn’t start having them untill i became a mother. In my dream i am holding my youngest child putting him to sleep my daughter is 5 and in the bathtub at my dad’s house .. I hear my daughter laughing and my dad talking to her.. then all of a sudden i get a horrid feeling i put my son down and head down the hall way when i get to the hallway the bathroom is at the other end. my father is hitting my daughter over and over and over and im screaming at him to stop and i am trying to run to the bathroom and i keep falling down all the while screaming at him, when i finally get to the bathroom i am trying with all my might to get my dad away from my daughter.. then i see her in the tub.. she is badly hurt and hes laughing saying thats what she gets for laughing at me… i wake up screaming every time. this has happened at least 6 times in the last 3 weeks. my husband is horrified when i wake him up screaming and kicking. What do you think this means? I would love to know. (p.s I live 1800 miles from my father, also do not have much of a relationship with him because of how mean he was to me as a child.)
I’m afraid this dream is all too easy to interpret: your father was abusive and now that you have a little girl it has triggered the experience of terror, helplessness and pain that you thought growing up, moving away, finding love and having a family of your own would put behind you.
Firstly I am so sorry that you were hurt as a child. While you are probably not keen to consider this, your father too probably had a lot of pain in his childhood (and no way to resolve and heal it).
Your dream shows us how we “internalize” our parents and they live inside us like ghosts of the psyche. The trick here is to grow a bigger and kinder parent to dwarf the hurt-mean one who now hurts the child in your nightmare.
The father in the dream is your own Shadow, it holds your power, but that power is still woven together with aggression (and thus you are inhibited from owning your healthy power, unconsciously, out of fear that you will be a monster if you dare to flex a muscle). This becomes a parenting problem as your child develops, because you have to be firm and hold limits sometimes in the face of your child’s frustration; if you think being firm makes you an abusing monster, next thing you know you have a spoiled brat on your hands because you can’t say, “No.” (not to mention a husband who tells you you need to be more firm, and who then feels suddenly like an abuser, and the conflicts become marital and you get more frightened and lonely).
The tub could be a symbol of the unconscious (water, womb, container) and the dream shows the relationship in your psyche between the inner father and the inner child; you are the conscious being who could not stop the father nor protect the child, so it symbolizes your helplessness and your feeling ineffective. You want and need to be able to become tough and protective, and my vote is YES!
Your unconscious is showing you this, I would guess, because your deepest Self wants you to heal and part of this is becoming conscious about what needs to heal.
Next is HOW to heal. Therapy can be an option, if you find someone who is skilled at trauma work. This can be tricky because just telling the story repeatedly is not necessarily therapeutic—it can dredge up old pain and just bring it all back without making it better.
A skilled therapist can help see if other issues (anxiety, depression, etc. are interacting with previous trauma).
Other options include some sort of mindfulness practice, like yoga or meditation which has proven helpful, and lastingly so, for depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, etc.
If your own well-being is not enough to motivate action, research shows that unresolved trauma in parents negatively effects kids, while resolved trauma does not.
I would recommend a couple of books to consider:
“Waking The Tiger” by Peter Levine
and my own book
“Privilege of Parenting”
I hope these suggestions help and I wish you and your family all the best
Thank you very much! I appreciate you giving me your opinion and it makes total sense to me now thank you!
Hello Dr. Dolin,
I am Kellie’s husband. After reading what you wrote, and I do appreciate the response, I began to read some of your other responses. I see a strong Jungian theme in your messages. I wonder what your thoughts on Carl Jung’s work are? I am almost done with my Bachelors degree in Business, but I began my academic journey as a psychology major. I had an intense, almost infatuation with Dr. Jung and some of his written works. Man and His Symbols and his explainations of the unconcious, his typology, and his theory of the collective unconconseous made so much sense to me that I began to take his truths to heart. Although I switched my focus to business, I still use Dr. Jung’s philosophies in my daily life. Whether intentional or not, I really appreciate your response to my wife as it is an affirmation to my suspicions of her need to overcome the internal struggle she deals with, on her path to becoming one with her Self through individuation. Thanks!
Indeed I am much indebted to C.G. Jung whom I like to think of as a kindred spirit in our collective situation. My old therapist trained in Zurich was fortunate to have actually met with Jung and thus his ideas have permeated my path.
And yet I would not say I am a “Jungian” as even Jung joked that he would not want to be such a thing!
If you want to explore how Jung’s ideas cross with your own by way of my strings of words you might search for “Jung” at the home page of my blog. Perhaps synchronicity strikes in the confluence of our virtual meeting :)
In any event, wishing you, Kellie and your family all the best on roads individual and collective.
^ * * * ^
AUTISTIC BOY RAPED IN MOM’S DREAM
My Mother had a rather horrible dream last night about my younger Brother. She said that the dream was filled with people being hurt and killed and that other people were trying to get her to look at the bodies etc. She refused and said she was struggling when she witnessed my brother being raped. He was alive and she saw him afterwards as well. I have also (a while ago) had a dream were he was sexually assaulted. We are very protective over him and worry about him a lot as he is autistic. He has been spending the holidays with his father and my mother has been missing him quite a bit when she had this dream. We tend to be a little overbearing in terms of him and are overly protective at times. Can you help interpret this dream please?
The very fact that you, as your mom’s daughter, are searching for help may give our first clue about this dream (and your family’s situation).
Your mom dreams she refuses to “look at” the pain, destruction, bodies, etc. That might be a way that your mom’s unconscious is forcing her to “see something.”
Obviously if there has been actual abuse your mom, and/or you, would have to “look at that” and take action to protect your brother. Given that you tend to the “overprotective,” I will assume that if there were real danger and real evidence of harm you would not allow unsupervised time with anyone who you guys considered dangerous.
More likely is that the dream depicts your mom’s PAST feelings of helplessness about some sort of time when she was not safe. This could be actual harm (if so, she would be well served to seek help to heal her trauma) or it could be more a feeling of not being safe as a kid.
If your brother is autistic it might be possible that his father has some autistic traits although more mild, what is sometimes called a “ghosting” of the disorder. Given that your mom was attracted to the man, and then it didn’t work out, it makes me wonder if she herself had a dad, uncle, step-dad or other person in her life who was a little socially cut-off who caused a sense of harm.
Sometimes with themes of persecution we find and underlying feeling of neglect and abandonment (with persecution as a defense, as oddly enough we prefer to be chased by bad guys than abandoned and forgotten; of course we prefere to be loved safely and understood if we can manage to get that, or at least provide that to our children and those we love).
Given that you too have had dreams of your brother sexually assaulted, and I am imagining you have no real evidence to support that he was, I wonder if you are somehow carrying the dream of abuse that belongs to your mom, or perhaps even your grandmother… or maybe even the father?
Many people truly are abused, and perhaps our dreams, and our reach-outs for help, and our discussions can help us understand why, and when, abuse happens so that we might break the cycle of abuse in families and this can only benefit the group to become more compassionate and conscious.
The abusers and rapists in the the dreams could be understood in terms of Shadow, or the dark destructive non-conscious aspect of our own selves we cannot bear to acknowledge. We then project them onto others, often onto others who have differences (i.e. wounds of their own, autism, etc.) and this can perpetuate the cycle in waking life.
If we must be good and innocent, the Shadow, some Shadow, tends to materialize and victimize us. It can all be confusing, especially when the pain rests in childhood experiences we may have had before we even have memory.
Finally, if you or mom miss someone terribly, the unconscious can feel like that person abandoned us. In our fear and feelings of loss we might become angry and in our dreams destruction happens. It’s as if we dream of killing our parents and awaken terrified to find we are orphaned.
While these notes, I hope, might bring a better feeling of safety and a chance to explore the full range of your own and your mom’s feelings, we cannot deny that in real life there are far too many children abused, neglected, etc.
Maybe there is some collective message in the dreams of many mothers (and some fathers) that the horror of any children being hurt is actually unacceptable. If we can calm down and be conscious, perhaps we will be organically guided by common sense and compassion to realize whatever it is we can actually do to help lessen an avoidable suffering and hurt that might occur out of too much fear, denial, accusation and hostility toward others that might better be understood as a problem belonging to all of us, a situation solved through shifting our own consciousness about who we are, who are children are and who the “bad guys” actually are and what they are about/what they want?
Our own Shadow tends to want respect and recognition, it tends to want to bring us our ultimate power (which might be the power to Love). Perhaps it turns dark when all its attempts to bring the consciousness of our true dark and light nature that leaves it no other choice than dream mayhem to break through the denial?
Better dreams ahead (and waking life too) I hope
^ * * * ^
HITTING KID WITH A BAT (WHEN LITTLE ONE HAS BEEN VERY SICK)
I came upon your website while I was doing a search on the Internet. I wondered if you could offer me some insight on a nightmare I had last night. I cannot remember much of it unfortunately. The only thing I remember is hitting my 2 year old on the head with a bottle or bat or something. I hit her a few times I think. She didn’t die in the dream, but I remember panicking after the act and looking at her face. Her one eye was abnormal looking and I was so worried because she wasn’t acting normal (obviously- if I had just bet her on the head)…. Very disturbing to me:( I’ve had a lot going on recently and wonder if it is related to my dream or if I should worry that something is wrong with me for dreaming something so horrid. I have a 4 month old that has been in the hospital 3-4 times for kidney infection, then again for drug overdose (pharmacy gave her the wrong antibiotics). Anyways, a ton of stress with the baby. I was up a lot last night and didn’t sleep much at all (baby had shots weds and was very restless all night). Yet, somehow in the few interrupted hours of sleep I dreamt this about my 2 year old. I have felt guilt about not giving her attention lately and since the new baby she wants my husband all the time and not me (big change as she always wanted me)…. Anyways just wanted to see what your thoughts were. I feel guilt for dreaming this and feel like something must be wrong with me for dreaming about hurting my baby girl.
Thanks in advance,
I am so sorry for what you have been going through with your baby, and I can assure you that your dreams are normal—and that you are not a bad parent for dreaming this.
Having your little one be so ill is very scary, and when we are scared badly enough we drop into the fight/flight part of our brains. This part is a bit brutal because it is 300 million years old and pretty much the same brain a dinosaur had. Dinosaurs laid eggs and walked away, they didn’t attach to babies or worry about them.
The mammal brain is only 60 million years old. It attaches and worries about babies.
When we are scared enough it’s a battle between the lizard brain (Tony Soprano) and the mammal brain (Mother Theresa).
When we love the sick little baby so much and are scared and just need to focus on her, and then the older one who is thriving and fine but demands attention because she is not old enough to understand how much you love her if you’re not giving her total attention, the unconscious mind ends up feeling very angry at the older one (both for “making” us feel guilty for not giving more attention, and for distracting us from full attention to the little one without guilt; AND for hurting our feelings in gravitating to the other parent).
All at once we are threatened with the potential loss of connection with all those we love, this terrifies us to the point of rage, and our unconscious gets violent and aggressive.
Let’s turn for a moment to interpreting the dream in terms of your own psyche, not the actual family members. In this view the baby is the most young part of you, and the older child the “needy” part of you, and you end up trying to protect the newly birthing self from the needy demanding self.
Then you come out of the lizard rage state and are horrified at what you did. This could reflect the need for even more consciousness and compassion… for YOURSELF.
Perhaps this is the point of finding my blog and getting some encouraging words from me, for in my words you integrate an older parent (i.e. a shrink, a person with a kid in college and another in high school who can still remember the dread of medical situations with babies, etc.)
Think of the dream as major passion: you love and you love hard and when you’re loving the most vulnerable part of you you become a mother bear who needs to be extremely powerful, even brutal, in assuring the survival of the most vulnerable part of the family (in yourself, and in waking life).
Finally, if there has been violence upon you in the past, that is something to become aware of and work through, and if this is the case then your dream is also a way that the violent Shadow aspect within you may become more consciously integrated into your full personality.
Keep in mind that you were violent in your dream, not in waking life. You must be beside yourself with the hospitalizations of your little one and the strain of trying to help the older one know how much you treasure her as well.
I hope everyone in your family gets through this difficult time well and that it makes you all more bonded and strong as a family in the long run. One day you may be helping some new parent with the hard-won wisdom you gathered along the way.
Warmest Regards, Bruce
Thank you so very very much for the reply. It really helped ease my mind for sure. It says a lot about a person who takes the time to respond, but speaks volumes that you took extra time to explain or interpret everything in detail.
Really, thank YOU!
My Pleasure, Jessica—I’m so glad it helped ease your mind.
Warmest Regards, Bruce
^ * * * ^
9 YR OLD BECOMES 4… ABUSED IN PRSION-LIKE HELL
I just awoke from a horrifying dream. A little background first. I caught my nine yr old daughter viewing porn on the Internet and feel it is my fault for not protecting her. Some guys at work have referred to the site before, and my curiosity got the better of me. Pretty explicit stuff, and apparently your web history conveys to all kindles on the account. I forgot to put hers back in child mode when allowing my son to play a game. She found the website as it popped up in the history. I caught her looking at this site and she tried to hide it from me. I sat down with her and explained it was not her fault, and told her that it was not a site for kids and was not even a site for most adults. I told her that it was not love, and was how some people choose to behave or express themselves. This was awkward, but I tried to stay calm about it for her sake. She has a history of problems that I’m trying to get diagnosed. Possibly ADHD or even bi-polar disorder. She parallels my experience as a child educationally and emotionally. I have a family history of mental illness and sexual abuse. Segue to last night, I also have been watching the Oklahoma Tornado aftermath and am horrified so many children are dead and feel terrible for the parent and workers who have the task of recovering bodies of children, AND as if that isn’t enough ammunition for a nightmare, I have had a recurring dream about prisoners in some prison who have all become animals and have no humanity left. They live in some sort of run-down facility, sometimes this is underground, others it is above. Always with several floors, and there is no protection from guards whilst traversing them. Men are lining the corridors and stairwells like the homeless, blood, urine, and feces are everywhere. It’s very dirty and probably smelly, but in my dream I don’t smell anything. For some reason my family, mother, husband, three kids, had to go up a stairwell, and there was some sort of side stairwell that intersected the main one and led to a set of corridors, along the halls which had large metal doors that had a strange locking mechanism. Kind of like a metal flattened oval piece that when spun around it would lock from the outside. The corridor and doors were all an institutional grey paint. It was known that these “janitor’s closets” were often used by prisoners for sexual acts. I am therefore extremely concerned when my family takes the stairwell to reach another floor, and I have my children with me and am horrified at what they are seeing. I am in the middle of the train headed up the stairwell as my mother is telling the kids to stay in the chain, and at some point it seemed chaotic, and I had a glimpse of my daughter heading down the side stairwell to the grey corridors. I wasn’t sure and yelled her name, no site of her, then up to my mom and husband if she was with them. In a split second, I ran back and down the side stairs. I ran through the corridor searching and it was like a maze with so many doors. I began screaming out her name and trying to kick in the doors, but they were steel. I saw that many were locked from the outside, so I felt maybe she hadn’t come down this way, so I ran back up and no, she was not there. We all then went back down to find her, and after having someone help open the doors, we found her and a younger little boy laying unconscious. They both were dirty and covered in a dirty white-ish blanket. I pulled the blanket away to get her, and at this point her age dropped to about four. I lifted her body and I think my mother was saying, thank god they are okay. I then pulled her pants down and saw some sort of baby wipe lodged between her buttocks cheeks and her feces everywhere. She had been raped. I frantically carried her upstairs and when we entered the top room, I woke up.
So….history of sexual abuse, daughter is accidentally exposed to really raunchy porn, tornado in OK, and to top it all off, I just saw the movie “Descent”.
I think I’m very impressionable, feel great compassion for others, feel guilty about my own sexual abuse as a child, feel guilty I didn’t protect her in real life or the dream, and need to stop watching CNN and horror flicks before bed.
Any other insights are greatly appreciated.
I am struck by how clear you really are about the cycle and pattern of abuse, about how you still carry shame and trauma, and about how much you love your child and seek help in the service of her.
The dream does not need fancy interpreting: it looks like an emotional map of your history; about how the beast within all of us, which can be loved into something higher, or hurt into something lower, continually effects our children.
You are trying to break a cycle. What needs to be done is ultimately societal, but my hope is that it is poised to transform organically when enough people are ready to give a little to get a better world—in other words when consciousness reaches a collective level where it becomes obvious that we’re all in it together—and it’s hell if we are terrified and alienated, maybe it could be a little more heavenly if it became societally “cool” to actually care (like you do).
In brief, you are still having to process and heal your trauma. Your trauma sounds like it is particular to 4 years old; it likely felt like a tornado (overwhelming); this caused you to have to “leave your body” and then your body becomes a prison rather than a blessing. In poetic terms, you must retrieve your soul, or call back the part that has ended up locked behind doors (code for denial).
Your child unwittingly got exposed to porn; this echoes your own mistaken belief that the abuse you experienced was “your fault.” Of course it is not your fault, but to face that is to face the horror of an innocent who is hurt; particularly the notion that the child develops not that they poop, but that they ARE poop—thus the feeling that they deserve to be locked away in squalid conditions fitting their perceived lack of value as human beings. So tragic. And our prisons are filled with such once-innocent children; and other literally profit from this. To point fingers does not heal; to stop the cycle and bring love does, in the longrun, make real difference.
I guess my message to you is to trust that you are not alone; many care and are just waiting for a safer time. Tornadoes come and that cannot be stopped (although climate change may increase the frequency) but humans will not hurt other humans as often if they are secure and safe; and that is a long cycle.
As for movies, watch “Shawshank Redemption” if you haven’t, that is a deep film about our human condition, and about how it’s tunneling through shit to get free.
As for your girl, check out this guy’s TED talks: http://sirkenrobinson.com/
he’s a voice for effective change; your girl may seek stimulation, but perhaps she’s a perfectly wonderful child struggling to cope with a world that needs more love, limits and insights into its own nature.
As for you, take a look at the work of Peter Levine, particularly “Waking the Tiger” for another insight into how to heal your own trauma: http://amzn.to/17YwH6z
You can always read my book for parenting guidance set into the social context, I think you yourself might find it healing: http://amzn.to/w76zcY
(that might be something for your kindle)
My hope is that if we come to understand the nightmare of waking life, we can work to transform it the way a mother would, with love and limits, but mostly love, compassion and kindness; rather than the way a hurt father (so many generations of those) would—with more rules and not enough love and insight.
Lao Tze, a great Chinese spirit said something like: When love leaves, rules come in.
Porn, greed, violence, war… these are clearly within our nature, but so is love, community and compassion.
Finally, your own unresolved trauma of the past may be a component in your daughter’s struggles. Better understood, we might have more success helping both of you live more safely, joyously and with greater sense of power and meaning as we strive to be good ancestors to those who will follow.
Let me know how it goes
All Best Wishes & Sweet Dreams Ahead (fingers crossed)