DREAM STUDIES

Dream interpretation - torture as dream symbols

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.

THE DREAM I dreamt that it was the first day in the Big Brother House(I had this dream whilst a contestant in the Big Brother TV reality series. At the time of the dream I had been in the house for several days). I was meeting all the other contestants again. I was meeting them for the first time. The Big Brother people were torturing us. The competition would last for two years instead of a few weeks.

The day before this dream the dreamer had had a very tough day in the Big Brother TV reality show. She had overheard some comments made about her which upset her. Then she had a conversation with another contestant which also upset her. The dreamer was dark skinned and the comments she heard involved race. The house-mates started to split on the issue of race and the house was full of tension. Added to this the dreamer felt that the public would not vote for her to win because she was dark skinned.

Quite clearly the atmosphere was tortuous and the dreamer was left feeling alienated and deeply unhappy. The feeling of torture in real life simply mirrored her feelings about about the day before which were deeply troubled. So we can obviously see torture in a dream as a symbol for a deeply unhappy mood in real life. Indeed we can even pinpoint the dreams meaning even more by reducing it to just a few words and phrases which capture the meaning of the torture in the dream. Her feelings could be summed up as "deeply troubled". Reducing a dreams meaning to this key phrase is very useful in interpreting other "torture" dreams. You simply look for the keywords and phrases in your own real life emotions (as dreams reflect your emotions).

Try the next dream.

THE DREAM I was watching some children. They were in a primary school. They had been separated off and each suspended in a rather tortuous position. The way they were suspended reminded me of the exercises I have to take to help cope with my asthma. I saw the look on the little childrens faces and they looked tortured and scared. But I also seemed to know that they were safe.

So we will now try to interpret this by spotting the keywords and phrases which we have linked to "torture" dreams. We have previously linked "torture" dreams to feeling "deeply troubled". In this case the dreamer was feeling "deeply troubled" about the next day. He had been suffering chronic health problems. The very next day he was due to have an important meeting to discuss his health situation. He knew his new social worker was going to be asking some very difficult and invasive questions. He was "deeply troubled" about this as he was a very private person. So we can obviously guess that this "torture" dream was symbolic of his worries about the day to come. We may even suggest new words which torture dreams could link to based on our knowledge of this new dream. The dreamer felt "very uncomfortable" and was worried that the meeting would be "very invasive".

Now try this dream as it explores a different usage of "torture" in dreams.

THE DREAM The dream used to begin as a cartoon. The dream is of a factory, an evil factory where a supernatural force is plotting to kill a prisoner. The Prisoner is very scared, because he knows how he will die. It has always contained two people who are discussing his death. The prisoner tries to escape, but he is captured and tortured by either a conveyor belt crusher or a suffocation style execution.

Again we can link this dream to the dreamers feelings. But this time it links to their general view of the world and their personality. The dreamer had a very bleak view of the world. As a child he felt that the devil was hiding in him. The torture dream (which was like many other torture dreams that he had) reflected this evil perspective on the world.

So we can reduce this dreams meaning to the "dreamers bleak view of the world". So if another dreamer has a torture dream who also has a very bleak view of the world then we can suggest that the dream has a similar meaning. Try this dream.

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.

This dreamer reported the following background information - "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". Quite clearly the dreams followed a similar pattern. The dream depicted a bleak and evil world full of torture and the worst kinds of behaviour. This was merely a symbol for the dreamers evil perspective on the world. The dream merely portrayed the world as he saw it.

The following dream uses "torture" in a very different symbolic way. We must always be aware that dreams will use dream symbols in complex and varied ways.

THE DREAM - I am holding some cards(I occasionally play poker with a group of friends) and a bottle of vodka. I am a spy. I suddenly think of myself been tortured by the Germans as in World War Two.

The previous day the dreamers mother had just found out that he knew a professor who worked at the local university. She was proud of him mixing with this very intelligent and refined person. The dreamer had a problem though because he knew this professor through his poker gambling nights. His mother would not be so proud if she found out he knew him because they played poker and drank hard liquor together.

This dream does seem to have strong associations which link it to this recent issue. The dream features both poker and strong drink which were the two things that the dreamer wanted to keep from his mother. This had been worrying him the day before. The dream also features torture. We know that dreams link to recent issues and this issue was on his mind. So what symbolic meaning should we draw from the torture in the dream.

The dream clearly uses torture in the sense that the torturers want information. In a way this has relevance to the dreamer as he did not want his mother to know in any circumstances that he knew this person from their poker nights. So the dream uses torture to capture this feeling "I would never let my mother know of my poker nights. That must be kept secret even under pain of death". So torture was clearly a symbol of "his need to keep a secret".

So we need to think of the wide variety of ways in which dreams use torture. It may simply capture a bad day or very

situation on the dreamers mind. It may represent the dreamers own mind and their evil perspective and view of the world. In this last case the torture was used in a rather different way. Torture was seen as a symbol of the dreamers need to keep a secret (something so secret it should not be revealed under pain of death).

DREAM STUDIES