Home Personal Psychology Sleeping/Dreaming Dreamer Beware: The Insightful Dreams of Sarah, Dan and Katherine

Dreamer Beware: The Insightful Dreams of Sarah, Dan and Katherine

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Sarah began reflecting in her darkened bedroom about her relationship with this co-worker. She realized that he was subtly “cutting her” with words that diminished the value of her work and pointed out her flaws. Sarah noted that she often left her meetings with him feeling very bad about herself. She had assumed that this was just her own vulnerable self-image.

After this dream, Sarah wondered if it was his subtle “cutting” that was creating these feelings of diminished self-worth. Perhaps this is why she doesn’t look forward to going to work. In reporting this dream to me, Sarah indicates that she is now considering ways in which she can provide her colleague with feedback about his “wounding” behavior. Sarah wonders if he is even aware of what he is doing—and does he have a similar impact on other people at work (particularly women). Is this a case of what some psychologists are called “micro-aggression.”


Dan is a 55 year old owner of a book store. He wakes up early in his sleep cycle having had a very disturbing dream:

“I was transported somehow by my wife, Betty, to a location that was very different from where I now live. I was surrounded by men who were ridiculing me and forcing me to do hard labor for which I was not prepared. I spent time gathering up scrap metal and throwing it into a very old truck. My hands were getting cut on the metal. I asked several of the men for some gloves so that my hands would be protected. They laughed at me and told me to toughen up my hands and continue working. I was soon driving the old truck. It barely ran and I asked someone about getting it repaired. They said I should do the repair and I said I didn’t know how. All of the men laughed at me, and I was pushed to the ground.

I soon became quite tired and tried to get some sleep by lying on the ground. Several men started kicking me. My wife, Betty, showed up and she began flirting with several of the men. I heard the men say that Betty was looking for a new man in her life and was going to “try out” several of those who were kicking me. I began to cry–then they all started laughing at me and kicking me again. My wife gathered up the car keys to our car and told me she was going to drive back to our home. I asked her if I could go with her. Betty looked at me with distain and told me that I would have to get one of the men to drive me home. I woke up.”

Dan suddenly was quite frightened of his wife. He recalled that Betty’s mother (Gertrude) had sent her husband (Ben) (who was mildly impaired cognitively) to live with one of their children. Ben was shuttled around the children for about six months and then sent to a facility where he lived for another ten years. Ben never returned to his home.

Dan also reflected back on an interaction he had with Betty before going to bed. He had expressed some concern about a physical problem he was experiencing—yet Betty seemed indifferent to his concern. She was focusing on her demanding schedule for the upcoming day. Dan felt hurt by her seeming indifference and went to sleep with a nagging feeling about his relationships with Betty.

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