The Denial of Abuse

Dream: 28/2/2017

I have a sister, who I’m visiting. My sister is the perfect housewife. She’s wearing a cute dress, with done up hair and make-up. Her house is immaculate. In my mind, I keep thinking that she’s super conformist. We get to talking about shoes. I want to borrow some of hers. As I’m putting them on, I’m talking about mom. All of sudden, my sister starts snarling at me and tries to grab my throat, “That never happened! I fixed it! Don’t you say that! I fixed it!” That’s when I realize, my sister spends her whole life pretending that we had a perfect childhood because she can’t deal with it. I wake up, hitting at her to get off of me. In my mind, I’m yelling, “You can’t fix it! It happened!”

Thoughts/Meaning

I had this dream immediately after agreeing to help a friend of mine, who was in the middle of an emotionally intense lawsuit at that time. It felt like this dream was about experiencing things from her point of view (i.e. putting on the shoes in the dream = walking in her shoes). She feels stuck because of old childhood trauma, which she feels unable to move through because her family is in denial. That’s not an uncommon pattern. Abusive families often sweep things under the rug and deny the abuse ever happened. Their denial then forces the victim to question their own memories/experience, which degrades their confidence in themselves and ensures that they’ll stay quiet. This suites the family fine because it means nothing has to change. The abuser can keep on abusing and everyone else can maintain the status quo.  A lot of people end up cutting all ties with their family because this dynamic can literally be crazy making. Sometimes, enough memories and evidence surface that it becomes impossible for the family to remain in denial. At that stage, major changes can begin to take place. I think this dream was showing me that the best thing I can do for my friend is to support her in remaining true to herself and her feelings. In the end, no matter what happened in the past, the best thing she can do in the present is to love and believe in herself.

 

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The Old is Falling Away

Dream: 11/2/2017

My fingernail is split into ribbons. I pull them back. Underneath is a new, perfectly healthy nail. I wonder how I’m going to get rid of the old one which is still attached. Should I bite it off? Clip it? Or just wait for it to fall off.

Thoughts/Meaning

I think this is a positive sign about my healing process. The old masks and layers that I used to protect myself with have been shredded and are on the brink of falling away entirely. Underneath I find I’m strong and healthy. Now I’m learning to let go and not fall back into old pattern just because they’re easy!

Food is My Coping Mechanism

Dream: 8/2/2017

I’m at some kind of camp. Only everyone here is really sad/angry/negative. I pick a sleeping bench and try to talk to some people. They all seem exactly the same. One of them says, “You’re going to suffer, you better get used to it.” I’m a little affronted. I ask several of them how they cope in this place. A girl points to one of the boys and says, “Sex.”. Another hands me a bottle of alcoholic cider and says, “Alcohol.” I wonder how I ended up in this place. One of the girls sees my face and laughs. “You’ll get used to it,” she says. Suddenly, the head of the camp comes into our room without knocking. He is giving around 50 people a tour. He doesn’t engage with us, but his helpers do. They’re really funny. One of them helps me fix a nearby fan and we laugh when it sprays me with water. After the tour is over and the visitors are gone, people start throwing all their stuff into bags. I don’t know what’s happening. Eventually, someone says, “grab your shit we’re going!” Going where? Why? No one answers me. We leave the bunk room and enter an amazing library. I enjoy looking at all the books, but then I start freaking out. I don’t know where we’re going. I don’t know what I might need. I run around looking for things. I’m starting to feel kind of crazy, when someone grabs me and shoves me into an RV. Inside there is a random girl I don’t know and the guy who’s mother runs the camp. The guy says that we had better eat. He shoves a massive plate of fruit in front of us. It has 5 bananas, plus multiple peaches and plums. I look at the guy confused. He tells me to eat because at camp food is not guaranteed. Sometimes they just won’t feed us. Other times the food might be incredible. The guy opened up a cooler filled with half rotten pasta as an example. I look at the fruit, which isn’t enough to keep me going by itself. The guy sees my face and takes pity. He pulls out a microwavable lasagna. “Alright,” he says pulling up at a beach. “You can have this but only because I know where you’re going.” I wonder what that means right before I wake up.

Thoughts/Meaning

So this dream is clearly about my childhood and the coping mechanisms I developed. In the earlier part of the dream, I get shown how some people cope [suffer through it, have sex, use alcohol, etc…], but later in the dream I get shown how I cope [food]. I have such a weird relationship to food. When I was a kid we either starved (if mom was drunk and couldn’t be bothered to cook) or we ate really well. The bunk room in the camp represents my life as a kid. I wanted out [to pack up my shit and leave], but there was no where to go. My only escape was found in books [the library]. In them, I found evidence that life could be different and that my situation wasn’t normal. Eventually I escaped by growing up [got pulled onto the RV and driven away from camp]. But even as an adult, I’m still using old coping mechanisms. I still look at what’s healthy and think it’s not enough. I still eat breakfast sometimes and then think I should eat a second breakfast because there might not be any dinner later. I think the dream is trying to show me that my issues with losing weight go way deeper than just counting calories and eating healthy. There’s some childhood traumas that need to be unwound. Once that happens my relationship to food will change naturally.

Drowning in Toxic Memories

Dream Series: 6/1/2017

Dream 1:

A man takes me to the site of what appears to be some kind of chemical spill. There’s two lakes right next to each other and they’re covered in a weird white foam. The air is filled with dandelion fluff and a strange milky white substance that sticks to my hands and face like spiderwebs. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I know it’s toxic to stay there.

Dream 2:

I’m in the ocean. I live there. I really want to see Hawaii. I hitch a ride with a bunch of whales, careful that they don’t notice me. I’m on the run. When we get to Hawaii, I make a dash for the shore. The whales come after me. They’re vicious. I barely make it to the shore. I start to run up a some steps into the jungle. As I do, I notice I’m breathing. I’m breathing AIR! It feels so different but really good. I feel liberated. At the top of the stairs, I see a baby tiger. He’s playing. Then he sees me and scrambles to get away. I try to tell him I’m not dangerous, but he won’t listen. He runs to the end of the cliff and jumps off with a little growl. I run up the cliff, afraid to find out what happened to him. Turns out there is an amazing waterfall slide right there. The cub is playing at the bottom in the sand. His dad comes up behind me. He’s a tiger, but he’s also human. He claps me on the shoulder. His son is jumping up and down, “Did you see it, dad? Did you see it?” The tiger man laughs. “It’s just like camp dad,” the cub says. “Only better!” The cub wants his dad to try the waterslide. Hid dad jumps down and I can see his leg is bigger than the slide tuber. There is no way he can use it. I get a strange sense of foreboding and hear the words, “Later I would learn a local tip about putting apple cider vinegar in the water and to notify the local police about any intended water use from the imprisonment.” Then I wake up.

Thoughts/Meaning

I read somewhere that dandelion fluff represents childhood. To me, these dreams are about being overwhelmed by my memories of childhood trauma. In the first one, I’m caught in a web and the air is so thick with dandelion fluff that I can barely breathe. I know that being immersed in old childhood pain is toxic, but I don’t know how to get out. In the second one, I’m literally immersed in my emotions [I live in the ocean], but I don’t notice how heavy they are until something changes [I get out of the water and breathe air]. Then it’s obvious that I’m not meant to be living in old wounds. It’s time to let go. To turn to the strong, happy child [the tiger cub] instead of the wounded one. It’s time to remember that sometimes my family was supportive and kind, that even the darkness there were moments of joy. It wasn’t all bad. But adult me has trouble with this [the tiger dad gets stuck in the waterslide] and resists opening up to new ways of seeing things. I’m keeping myself in prison, which is the final message.

 

 

Family Secrets

Dream 3/7/2016

I’m standing with mom on the grass outside of an airport. We’re waiting for someone. My grandfather, my aunt, and one of my cousins [mom’s family] walks past. Mom says, “There goes the principal.” I go grab them. We’ve brought a van,  but there’s not that much room. The van is full of pillows, some with blood on them. We stuff the pillows up against the windows in order to fit all the people in. Mom’s entire family (except for my uncle) is there. The passengers can’t see anything. We drive.

Thoughts/Meaning

Written at the time of the dream — My glasses broke the day I had this dream. I think it’s about a pattern no one is willing to see. I’ve thought a lot recently about why I attract emotionally unavailable men. Why I fear a deep, loving relationship. Yesterday, when I was sitting in a cafe, I kept thinking about my ancestors and how I’m cut off from them. I sometimes feel like my family has their hands around my throat. Don’t speak. Don’t tell. I wonder if grandpa sexually abused my mother or my uncle or both. He was always handsy with us when we would visit. It matches a dream I had 2 years ago, where I was asking my angel what my issue with my mother and authority was. He said “Do you really want to know?” I said, “Yes.” We were standing over the ocean. He took my hand and pulled me down, down, down, until he lit something so the water was illuminated. In the light, I could see a child being abused. I couldn’t look. I woke up. Later, I did a family constellation around this dream (which I had 2-3 time). The constellation dealt with boundaries with my mother. Well actually, with her lack of them. I wonder now if that was only one layer of the story. A week ago, I looked at my heart chakra and it was covered in black tar. My inner child was swimming in it, getting covered in tar. She was terrified. I cleared it out. Yesterday I was self-conscious, worse than I’ve ever been. I wasn’t able to enjoy anything. I kept worrying about what people thought.

What I think now — The dream clearly references a family pattern from my mother’s side [one member of each generation is present]. I know there was physical abuse in her childhood [represented by the blood] and I know that the family kept it a secret [placing the pillows so that no one can see into the van]. I think the dream was trying to show me that I’m affected by the pattern too [I’m in the van and I can’t see out]. All I can say is, it stops with me. I won’t pass this pattern on to my children.

A Tapeworm, A Boat Ride, and A Carnival

Dream Series: Undated, sometime in mid-2014

Dream 1

I’m in a medical exam room. There’s a guy on the table but they don’t know what’s wrong with him. The doctor tells him to throw up. He ends up pulling a giant tapeworm out of the guy’s mouth. There’s a little girl in the room who’s curious. She asks her mom something and the mom completely over-reacts. The mom grabs a piece of the tapeworm and rubs it all over the girl’s face. The girl starts to cry and the mom looks pleased. I’m standing there wondering what’s wrong with her.

Dream 2

Malcolm, Lana and I are going jet boating, but we’re running late. Everyone is on the boat and it leaves without us. A lady on the boat gets it to stop, and I manage to swing myself from the dock into the back of the boat. Malcolm can’t make it though. He’s too big. The boat ride is super jerky, and I don’t particularly enjoy it. 

Dream 3

A group of us get dropped off on an island that used to be a theme park. It clearly hasn’t operated in years. A guide emerges and says to break up in groups and enter through the stalls. He goes in one and it falls apart. It’s empty. The others begin sinking into the ground. My team gets in one and it lets us out in front of an old decrepit house. We find a card that say “find where they heal people”. We begin searching. I find myself paralyzed in the foyer. To the left, I can see a dinghy corridor which is blocked off by hundreds of gravestones in the form of crosses. Then I notice a staircase. I go up the stairs, but first I have to climb through a window shaped like a vagina. Upstairs is a liquor store. I think they probably used the room as a healing space before it was covered in booze. 

Thoughts/Meaning 

The first dream is definitely about power/control and feeling contaminated [the tapeworm] by family patterns. The second one is about trying really hard to fit in [getting on the jetboat] but realizing it’s not worth it because I’m just along for the ride and I’m not really living. The third one is more complicated. I think it represents all the things that stand in the way of me becoming myself. The theme park represents social conditioning. The crosses represent religious conditioning. The vagina shaped window represents issues with sex and sexuality. And behind all of that, at the very center, is addiction [the liquor store]. My family line is riddled with it, particularly alcoholism and gambling. But even in the dream, it’s clear that underneath all of those beliefs and issues, the potential for healing exists. 

Scouting the Way

Dream: Undated, sometime in 2014

I’m on a river, scouting the way for a series of boats. I jump from one deep patch to the next, trying to make sure there’s no major obstacles. But I forget that way back there was a major waterfall. There’s nothing I can do about it though, so I just hope the people survive and forge ahead.

Thoughts/Meaning 

Sometimes with my personal work I feel like I’m forging the way, helping to show my family that healing is possible [scouting the route]. But I sometimes forget that opening up is hard in the beginning and can be scary [the waterfall]. I know it’s worth it, but everyone has to decide to make the journey for themselves. All I can do is continue living my own life.

Hiding from Godzilla

Dream: Undated, sometime in mid-2014

I’m in a big city with a few friends. It’s me, a guy and 2 kids. We’re having a good time when suddenly I realize that the city is under attack by Godzilla. It’s not safe. We’re near a bank. I get us inside. It’s rainy and really windy. It’s a close call that Godzilla doesn’t see us. One of the kids wanders outside and the guy has to go and get her. When they come back inside, we notice that there is now a big locked/unlocked sign on the door. Suddenly, people can tell it’s a safe place and they want to come in. I let them in until it’s full. A man whose kids are inside is stuck outside. I let him in. I tell everybody to move over, make space. Then, we hear someone coming and we get really quiet. A cop comes into the building. I realize we never locked the door. I quietly get up and lock it, hoping not to be seen. I’m not. The cop goes up the stairs. Everyone stays quiet. Suddenly, a blonde girl yells, “we’re safe!” We tell her to shut up, but she doesn’t understand. She keeps talking way too loudly. The third time she says it, the cop hears her. I’m terrified we’ll be found. The guy I was with in the beginning looks at me. He grabs the talking girl and runs through the door. The cop has his pants around his ankles. He runs down the stairs and outside, ass hanging out. He’s looking for the culprit, but they’ve gone down a nearby drain. I wait for them to come back, but they’re enjoying their freedom. They’re dancing underwater and singing funny songs. The guy says he’ll bring the girl back at 1 am, which is curfew time. It will be the last chance for them to reach us before the building shuts down completely. I wonder if they’ll come back. They seem happy out there, almost like there’s no danger at all.

Thoughts/Meaning

This is a dream about how I felt as a child. Godzilla represents my mother. I’m terrified of her. She’s an all powerful destroyer. To be safe, I lock parts of myself away, especially parts she doesn’t  like. I hide in a place where I control who comes in and who goes out. The cop represents my eldest sister, Jaime. She was older and meant to protect me, but in reality she saw me as someone to prey upon and hurt. As a kid, I tried not to be noticed, to be quiet and stay safe, but parts of me are loud [the yelling girl] and it doesn’t always work. The masculine part of me [the guy] protects me by taking the loud part outside. I become tough and that strong part of me feels alive [dancing and singing outside]. But I keep the other parts of me locked up. It’s still not safe for them. When will it be safe to come out? It’s time to let all the parts of me come out of hiding. Note: I woke up from this dream at 1am, curfew time…

Killing Zombies

Dream: Undated sometime in mid-2014

I’m waiting in a room with a bunch of people. We’re waiting our turn to take a test where we kill zombies. Everyone is talking about how they want to kill hundreds of them and they’re keeping their guns. They talk about feeling vs mentality. Several people go before me. When it’s my turn, I’m not nervous. I’m eating a blueberry muffin on a plate. I decide to take it with me. The others think I’m crazy. How will I hold my gun if I’ve got a muffin in my hand? When I get into the house, there are zombies everywhere covered in blood and spazzing out. I worry that the other people were right. I can’t really access my guns. But then it finally comes to me, the zombies aren’t paying me any attention. I climb up the stairs in the house and finally one comes after me. I shoot at it and somehow get it to follow me outside. I shoot at it again and it falls down. I know I have to crush its head, but I keep smashing at its ribs with the heel of my boot until the lungs/ribs crack. Then I wake up.

Thoughts/Meaning

The zombies represent my own inner demons. They’re in my head (i.e. inside a house in the dream). The dream is a metaphor for how I felt about the group therapy work I was involved in at the time. I felt like everyone in the group was afraid of dealing with their own trauma. So in the dream, the people I’m with run through the house (which represents their own way of seeing the world), shooting at random. Sometimes they nail a zombie (work something out), sometimes they don’t. It’s different for me. I intentionally go in looking for one that’s ready, and the other zombies don’t bother me. Maybe I already know that I’m infected (i.e. I recognize the zombies as just unhealed parts of me), while the others don’t. In the dream, I bring the issue [the zombie] out into the light [outside] and kill it [deal with it]. Only I have to deal with it emotionally, so I end up smashing the heart area not the head. I’m carrying a blueberry muffin because that was my favorite food as a child. Holding it represents that I was ready to deal with my childhood trauma. The childhood issue that was ready to be healed [i.e. the zombie that followed me] recognized this and came into the light for healing.

All Hallows

Dream: Undated sometime in mid-2014

I am back at All Hallows, the Catholic K-8 school that I attended for 9 years of my life. This time, however, I’m a substitute teacher. Everything is covered in snow and once you leave the edge of the school grounds you walk directly into whiteout and have to turn back. One side of the building looks like a prison tower. I don’t like the way teach here, erasing things to “make them better”. There is a painting where the artists has put red on the person’s forehead. It looks like blood, so during a meeting the teachers decide to quickly paint over it. There’s a classroom of 1-3 year olds present and they look okay. It’s being run by a young woman and the kids were filled joy because she was reading Cat in the Hat. But all the other classrooms felt menacing. I found a way to get to the back of the school and it was full of fairground food stalls covered in advertising. It was almost like the school was a machine meant to make you believe certain things and to make you afraid of thinking differently. I keep looking for a way out of the school, but all routes lead back to it or into the whiteout. Everything is really dangerous and slippery as though you’re meant to hurt yourself.

Thoughts/Meaning

This dream disturbed me so much at the time that I immediately scheduled a healing session. It’s obvious that a part of me [child self] was stuck, frozen in that period of my life [the snow] and unable to find a way out [the white out]. The school was strict Catholic, taught by nuns and heavily invested in indoctrinating the students with religious conditioning [advertising behind the school]. It literally felt like a prison camp. The painting is interesting. The healer I went to see pointed out that blood represents life-force, so in a way the teachers were  trying to dampen down the life-force of their charges. In the healing, we did some inner child work where we went back into those memories and found the various pieces of me that were stuck in each classroom. Each classroom represented a grade. I think we did about 5 of them before the whole scene shifted and filled with light. In the beginning, the healer said she could see the shadows of the horrible nuns standing over me, tormenting me. By the end, she said they were gone and I felt a tremendous sense of lightness afterwards.

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