DREAM STUDIES

Dream interpretation - pain as a dream symbol

Most dreams represent recent thoughts especially from the day before as we think over feelings and events which have just occurred. Your dreams that night will represent how our minds have made sense of what has just happened. So your dreams represent your thoughts. Nowadays it is widely accepted that dreams link to conscious feelings rather than unconscious feelings. So we will be much more aware of what our dreams mean. They will represent the conclusions that are forming in our minds. They will be written in the language of dream symbolism. Take for instance the following dream.

Most dreams will translate into real feelings - the type of things that you would write down in a diary or the things that you would tell a friend. These feelings will pinpoint your feelings and say exactly why it is that you feel such a way. How does the process work? Well its made easier in the case of pain dreams because these are often a purely emotional symbol. Pain translates into emotional pain. So try to locate the source of any emotional pain. In the following case it was easy to spot the trigger in the "pain" dream as the dreamer was on the point of breaking up with her boyfriend. The dream is very involved and just mirrors reality as the dreamer was going through difficult emotions. Its obvious that pain in the dream refers to. The child's painful experiences are just an obvious metaphor for the dreamers emotional pain caused by her relationship.

THE DREAM My boyfriend - Jez - and I are in the dream, talking about eating something and standing next to a fridge. Jez reaches into the fridge saying he wants some quiche [I had just bought a vegetable quiche the day before the dream] and opens the packet, but then I see that he has been storing a big piece of pork pie in the same box as my vegetarian quiche! I go absolutely ballistic, grab and quiche and throw it at him and storm off. The next thing I know we are at a school, and I am running away from Jez, very angry, screaming that I don't want to be with him any more and we are finished. I run faster and faster, across a school yard and down a steep concrete ramp, then realise Jez is catching me up. I keep yelling "SHITHEAD!" at him. Then he's grabbing my arm, and we bump into Jessica and Tara [two girls I know from last year at university] and they keep asking me in their Irish voices, "Are you and Jez going to be living in the same flat again next year?" and Jez keeps saying, "Yes, yes we are" and I keep screaming, "No! We've broken up! You shithead!" at him. I escape Jez and step into a classroom where I know I have an English lesson. I sit down in my seat, still fuming, and then proceed to wet myself, slowly but surely, all over the chair. Then I realise I’m too angry to concentrate in the lesson so I get up and carefully put on my coat so no one can tell I’ve wet myself, although there is a big puddle of urine on my chair. I storm out, bumping into the teacher [who happens to be Miss Hodgson from my secondary school] and she asks me what I'm doing. By now I'm crying and I push her out the way saying I have to go. I head to a toilet and go straight into a cubicle and shut the door. Then I sit on the loo and take a shit. In the toilet also, as it’s a public one in the school, is another girl in the cubicle next to me. She is crying and standing outside her cubicle is a woman I recognise as a teacher [possibly from my secondary school also but I can’t remember her name in real life]. The woman seems to be comforting the girl. The girl is upset for some reason to do with her parents, not because they have split up but because of some other reason which I can’t remember. The teacher is telling the girl that she went through the same thing when she was her age, telling her a long story about the pain she too went through, and is trying to coax her out and calm her down. The girl keeps crying and crying, sobbing and yelping. I finish my business and come out of the cubicle to wash my hands (I distinctly remember without flushing!). As I am washing them, the girl goes quiet. The woman starts to get agitated and worried, calling the girl’s name and asking is she all right.

Sometimes with dreams you can see how exact thought processes are portrayed in sophisticated metaphors. Take the following dream.

THE DREAM - I was in some type of hospital. At one point I had to pass this woman. I had to squeeze past her and in doing so this caused huge pain. I found out that she was suffering huge pain from cancer. I felt that I should be sympathetic towards her despite or differences. I 'knew' in the dream that she was my ex wife or girlfriend. When I squeezed past her I would be touching her.

If something difficult happens the day before then look for ways in which that problem could be portrayed. The day before this dream the dreamer had had just had a real problem with a friend who had stormed off for virtually no reason. The dreamer was particularly worrying about the next time they would meet and how awkward this would now be. The dream was a metaphor for this exact feeling. The pain which the cancer sufferer feels represented his friends emotional pain the next time they would meet. In saying "I had to squeeze past her and in doing so this caused huge pain" the dream captures this exact feeling - "My friend is very sensitive about this and when I next walk past him it will be very difficult". So real pain in the dream translates into emotional pain and sensitivity.

Sometimes we can get into a mood in which we feel pain. We may start to worry that a relationship will soon end. Such is the case with the next dream.

DREAM - My boyfriend is cheating on me I found out he was chatting on skype with somebody , I found out that he was keeping a secret ,and I left feeling so much pain of being cheated, and I'm pregnant, and he doesn't care if I leave his best friend humiliated me too, but the rest of them feel pity on me and didn't do anything, I found myself with my old friends and they stand next to me ,and we went for a ride in a bus to go away ,but at the last moment I remember my ex and I thought of talking to him cos in my dreams he was mad at me in the past

The night before the dreamer had a conversation with her boyfriend about another girl. His answers did not make sense and she became suspicious. So the dream captures the reality of the dreamers emotions. The dreamer feels that she is being cheated on.

The next dream is also typical of "pain" dreams. These dreams simply depict hurt feelings. However, in this case the pain goes wider. The dreamer described the following emotions at the time - "I feel I want to die and all around the world there is only pain and everybody wants to hurt me and I will never be loved, I will never be a mother, nor a soul mate. I am so alone and I feel everything all around me... all the time. I am tired and I wish I didn't feel that if I die, it would be another failure to my existence no matter where that is".

THE DREAM I had a dream were I was the observer and also every character that was being hurt, meaning the children. I was changing from child to child, mostly girls and I felt when the gang of boys teenagers were having "fun" torturing and burning and raping all of us. I felt the blade of the knife when they were experimenting in taking the uterus out and just laughing because without anaesthesia the pain was so horrible you died, and they were laughing, all of us were in pain, it was 1935; and even teenage girls were on the gang, they took the smallest and pretty girls and were crushing their faces with rocks and their fists till they crushed the bones and some were still alive and then they burned them, they were angry and envious of them from being innocent, pretty and sweet, they wanted to kill it and they were having fun in hurting us, I hated it, I wanted to go and I couldn't I was trapped I was alive I was still alive, I was seeing this, I was feeling it, I was hearing it, and they were so many of them - trapped and in pain, never stopping just being laugh at. Over and over.

The following dream also continues on in the same way. On this occasion the dreamer had broken up with her boyfriend the day before. They had some issues that could have been resolved differently. She was "super upset about it".

DREAM - Spiders and open wounds. I was in this dark public shower thing. There was men and women, and the place was covered in spiders and spider webs. While I was showering, I found dead spiders on my shoulders and arms and such. I even felt one crawl across my arm. When I was done in that shower thing, I felt a pain in my hand, it was a spider biting into me. Of course, my first reaction was to kill it, and I did. Then I noticed on my other arm, that there was bite marks, but it wasn't a ordinary spider bite mark. It was open flesh, and small parts of my skin have been ripped off.

Always remember to try to think of the here and now. Many dreams will depict your feelings right now and especially the day before. This next dream had a surprising meaning.

THE DREAM I was watching a girl get raped and the guy that was raping her just kept picking and hurting her. He had raped her so bad and beat her so much that you really couldn't even see her face and her body was all covered in marks and bruises. She was crying and kept screaming at him and hitting him and telling him to stop, but he just kept hurting her. I remember seeing him biting her and waiting for a reaction from her and then would just get this satisfying look and bite her again. You could tell just by looking at her that she was in so much pain. I remember saying at one point why doesn't she get up and run away? There was a voice that said back to me in response because she is in to much pain to move. I felt very sad for her but at the same time felt like she should have done more to get away from him. One other thing that I remember is that it was kinda dark and they were in very shallow water it looked like in some kind of pipe kinda in a wooded area. I remember seeing a moon. I remember it being dirty (there was mud and stuff).

The previous day the dreamer had been visiting her in-laws family. The dreamer felt quite annoyed at the behaviour of her sister in law. The dreamer has two beautiful little girls and is extremely proud of them. Her sister in law has two little twin boys. But the dreamer felt continually annoyed at the behaviour of her sister in law. She seemed to constantly take attention away from her beautiful daughters and instead spotlight her twins. It was just little things that kept annoying the dreamer. She noticed that whenever her children are playing with some toys then the twin boys are always wanting to take over and have that toy instead. Yet when its the other way round her children are told to let the twins have the toys. So really they were being treated differently.

The dream compares a rapist to the dreamers hurtful comments. That may seem extreme but often dreams use big metaphors. The main point about the rape was the satisfying look on the rapist face as he kept hurting her. That captures the essence of the situation as the dreamer was angry at her sister in law for making subtle comments. She felt that her sister in law was enjoying it and even had a satisfying look.

One final point about pain dreams is to always consider the possibility that pain simply represents pain or some real illness. In such a case its a literal metaphor. One dreamer had a dream about pain and woke up with pain in the same place.

But always try to spot obvious pain as a metaphor for emotional pain. Dreams may often link to relationships which are breaking up or to girlfriends/boyfriends who have been treating the dreamer badly. You maybe continually arguing so its not difficult to spot such dreams. These dreams just take you to the types of feelings that you associate with break ups – they are full of chaos and bad feelings of all description. Think also of other things that cause upsets such as failures, hard times, and loss of any description. Pain can even be a symbol for depression. But just try to meditate on the phrase "emotional pain" and think what comes to mind. Your dream will probably link to that issue.

DREAM STUDIES