You ask and I answer! In the Ask Me Anything series, I answer your questions about my own healing journey or anything trauma related, as best I can. Today’s question is:
Do I have any recurring themes in my dreams?
I am fascinated by this question and actually excited to answer because I do have a recurring theme in my dreams and I have talked this out in therapy a lot. This theme in my dreams continues to this day and it is why I am so interested in dream interpretation; in fact, I own a couple books for reference.
It’s Always Houses
The recurring theme in my dreams since as young as I can remember has been houses.
In every dream, I am moving into, have just moved into, or am simply looking through a home. I can vividly remember at least seven different homes, apartments, and mobile homes that I have wandered through in my dreams but I know there are many more.
In all the houses it is always dark and curtains are drawn. Each home is always so much larger than it seems, every door leading to a room that is surprisingly huge – and always full of furniture. Living rooms full of couches, tables, statues, TVs, and boxes. Closets and cabinets that spill out of contents that never come in clear enough for me to see, and bedrooms with dozens of beds, some made, some not, and others stacked on top of each other.
Even bathrooms that are dark and full of disarray, and there are always stairways, doors, and hallways that lead to more.
I dream these dreams a lot.
As I have gotten older, especially in the last few years – I have found myself wandering old office buildings and hotels – all with the same emotional residue and feeling that the house dreams have.
There Were Other Dreams as a Child
As a child, I assume during the years when my abuse was amping up and I was coming to understand there was no one to protect me, I began to have frightening dreams about death, being captured, and of animals that became deadly and dangerous as well. I remember a dream about cats that kidnapped me, of bears that were in the basement, and of an alligator. The dream I remember most vivid from childhood was the dead girl on the playground with eyes wide open. I can still see that dream clearly in my mind to this day.
Not once during any of those nightmares as a child did I ever get up to go for support from my father, or did I call out for help. I just wrapped my blankets around myself tightly and tried to go back to sleep.
Carl Jung’s House Dream Interpretation
Jung believes that house dreams are an exploration of one’s own psyche as a question or path is explored and processed. He says that if a person is moving through something in life that has tasked them with a decision, a dream of exploring a home that is not recognized but is known to the dreamer, is this person’s own exploration of the decision at hand and of not knowing the answer. He also says it could indicate a need for compartmentalization in certain areas of their life.
Sigmund Freud’s House Dream Interpretation
Freud on the other hand believes that house dreams represent a lack of confidence depending on the state of the house in one’s dream and that house dreams reflect one’s fear of facing the world full frontal.
For me, it could be a little bit of both; I also think my dreams are as literal as they can be.
My recurring dream has really amped up in the past few years as I have begun my healing journey. I believe my constant moving through a house that is, was, or will be mine, full of things I don’t recognize, is me moving through my psyche taking stock of the mess I need to untangle and organize as I heal.
Every object that I dream about in each room has its own symbolism as it pertains to my life, but exploring something as personal as my “home”, with curtains drawn and lights off, while trying to make sense of the mess and moving through objects I don’t recognize is so indicative of my life growing up.
No connection to myself, my things, or others, due to dissociation. Realizing now as I heal that my world never had much light or color in it as a child. Nothing that felt real or sustaining anyways; and the disconnect and unfamiliarity from feeling safe in my “home” due to my unstable childhood full of moving and guardianship changes.
And now, as I unpack everything while simultaneously moving through the ebbs and flows of life in general with an awareness that is new – it’s no wonder my house dreams have returned and adjusted to fit into my adult brain as I continue to process and heal.
On goes the journey
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