Scary Dream

I was woken last night by a scary dream. I know that nightmares and PTSD go hand in hand, but this wasn’t the usual triggery flashbacky hell. It scared me, though, and I can’t make sense of it, so I thought I’d post it here and see if any of you can make any sense of it.

In the dream, I was up in the hills with my mother. We were on trains and out in the bush and making tea and listening to news about some gangsters on the run. There were cats there, too – specifically a little ginger cat. It’s the third time this week I’ve dreamed about animals (once about elephants and twice now about cats).

Then my father appeared, out of nowhere, as often happens in dreams. He was upset because these mafia-type guys were coming to get him (not the ones we’d heard about on the news). They were big guys, taking him away somewhere, and he didn’t want to go. And I was fiddling with a little plastic something (not sure what it was, just remember the feel of the plastic).

What freaked me is that I was also a bit upset because my father was upset. Not so much in the dream where I was just telling him it would be ok, but when I woke up. The only thing I can possibly relate it to in the real world is the seemingly endless conversation I have with my mother about it being passed time Dad went into a nursing home. But I haven’t had that conversation for ages. What the…?

No one said dreams had to make any sense, but this one … weird.


13 thoughts on “Scary Dream

  1. So it sounds like the trigger is that your dad was upset. If there were consequences for you or someone you cared about when he got upset in your childhood, that would be enough reason to get those feelings triggered. Just a guess…

  2. Thanks Sword Dancer and Sanity, you could be right. There were always consequences, no matter how my father was feeling.

    As for the cats, I read somewhere that they represent our intuition, that we should be relying on our intuition. Alternatively, they represent the positive, creative and sensuous aspects of femininity. Either way, I guess some part of me is trying to tell me something because it’s my second cat dream this week!

  3. Caveat: I’m really bad at dream interpretation.

    It’s interesting that:
    a) You and your mother were fairly isolated, yet sipping tea despite there being fugitives in the area. Almost like you had no fear from the fugitives.
    b) It was a set of mafia types that were after your father, totally unrelated to the fugitives. Did you see what the mafia types were dressed like?
    c) Were you upset about your father being upset, or your reaction to him being upset?

    My immediate reaction was that it could be about the nursing home, about his passing, or him being held accountable for what he has done to you over the years. The last two, sort of being connected.

    I don’t know, I’m with sworddancewarrier on the consequences thing.

    See what feels right for you… but I like that a cute ginger kitty was there to keep you company. I also think of cats as being protective – don’t spit your coffee out when you read that, screen are difficult to clean. Besides, W & M would protect, as long as it didn’t interrupt their sleep, or their need for food…

    Take care,

  4. Hi Castor

    You’re not bad at interpreting. I remember my mother and I being annoyed about the endless news announcements about the fugitives, but I don’t remember being worried about them. I remember looking into my cup of tea, and the bag swirling around.

    But I’m still not sure whether I was upset because my father was upset or because I was upset. Weird.

    I like the kitty cats appearing too. W might protect, but M would is off under the doona at the mere sniff of the ironing board or a stranger, so there’s no hope there. LOL


  5. Maybe the animals are there because of your trip with your mother this summer. Dreams are weird – the subconscious is bizarre. I’ve had some weird dreams the last few weeks – spent half of therapy talking about them this week. It’s obvious to me that the “little girl” is emerging somewhat from her shell. Scary stuff.

    Did you talk about your dream in session? You don’t need to share it – just curious.

  6. I’m really bad at dream interpreting too. But I like OLJ’s idea. Often I will not have any clue what a dream is about, especially if it’s not a long one or not very clear. When I talk in therapy, sometimes it will just come right out.

  7. Hi OLJ and Paul – the dreams have continued, and included more cats (which I discover could be an omen of bad times coming, but I’m trying not to put too much faith in that). I haven’t discussed the dreams with my therapist – she doesn’t do dream interpretation, and takes a sometimes overly rational view of dreams as representative of something you did that day, and only remembered because of where you were in the sleep cycle when you woke.

  8. So Kerro – perhaps in this case the overly rational interpretation is better than the alternative (i.e. omen of bad times coming). Just saying……..

  9. hi kerro~ thanks for your comment on my blog, as now i was drawn to come visit yours and see what you have been writing about lately. i wrote you some of what i thought about your expressive art pieces in my reply to you on my blog, but i saw this dream post too and wanted to respond to it. i love dreams and i love trying to interpret my own. i know what you mean about how some people have the perspective that dreams are just our brains processing data from the day, and don’t mean much more than random firing of neurons. i think some dreams may be that, but i think for the most part, dreams are a place where our subconscious can work out and show our conscious mind some of what we are processing.

    personally, i think the dreamer themselves has the most knowledge of what the dream symbols may mean to them. what hills, trains, cats and the mob may mean to you in your life. but from an outsider’s perspective, my first response was to notice that you and your mom are together and your father is separate from the two of you. and he is in some danger, and you are in the position of trying to console him. it seems as though you and your mother were surrounded by some danger, yet being calm enough to drink tea together. which makes me think about how often those of us in dysfunctional families get “used” to the chaos that surrounds us, how matter of fact it seems to become.

    the presence of mafia and gangsters in your dream immediately made me think of how those systems are dangerous and yet have a “family” aspect to them. loyalty is so important to them. they will protect you, but if you are disloyal at all, you could get hurt.

    i don’t know if any of my thoughts are relevant at all to your life (i’m not a professional dream interpreter, but oh how i would love to study and become one :), but i thought i’d share my thoughts with you anyway, in case they would have any meaning for you.

    wishing you well~ and sweet dreams 🙂

  10. Hi Katie, thanks for stopping by. I’m really interested in your interpretation – particularly the parts about survivors learning to live functionally in the midst of dysfunction, and the “loyalty” that bizarrely exists in dysfunctional families.

    I have also been thinking about my father a bit lately and how I rarely have contact with him these days – unless “forced” to through family events. I still feel a degree of disloyalty about all my disclosures, and a degree of guilt about the non-contact and disinterest I have, though I know I shouldn’t. Perhaps there’s a link here to the point you made about getting hurt, if you are disloyal?

    Thankfully I haven’t had any weird or scary dreams recently. I’m hoping that a bit of blogging about them helped calm things. Of course, I’m now in the midst of a period of insomnia, which is probably worse, but I’m coping ok so far.

    Thanks again for your comments – I really do appreciate them. 🙂

  11. hi kerro 🙂 i’m glad my observations about your dream were ok. and thank you for bringing up the whole “family secret” idea. i’m too familiar with the shame and guilt, not to mention fear, that can go along with the disclosing of those secrets we often do while healing. i had, and still sometimes have trouble with this issue.

    i think many family systems that are dysfunctional have that “must keep up appearances” and “keep the family secrets” pressure. so that those of us when trying to heal, have all the garbage to deal with in the first place, but on top of all that, is this confusing pressure to keep quiet and not tell others. it’s scary and makes us feel vulnerable to tell the truth, but in my opinion, we are so much healthier for being ABLE to even recognize, let alone to be empowered enough to tell others how not ok things were in our homes.

    in my opinion, shame and secrecy function to uphold the status quo of the dysfunction that exists. so when we’re feeling shame and the pressure to keep painful secrets, that just shows how much that old system still affects us. but i believe that shame and secrecy are the culprits that allows abuse to continue generation after generation. so learning to let go of the shame, for me, has been in part a process of redefining what it means to be “loyal” to my family. do i do what they “want?” what they “think” they want? or do i do what feels most healthy and best to me? whether or not they want to go along in the healing too. because even if our family gets angry with us for “telling” i think that sometimes that is just their initial response which stems from their own fear and ego defenses. they may want to punish you for not helping uphold the illusion that they “did no wrong,” especially if they are in a lot of denial. but sometimes the initial fear and resistance gives way once the healing progresses.

    i think it would be ideal though if in families, instead of getting angry at the truth-teller, the rest of the family would be more appreciative of the liberation that truth and healing offers the family. hopefully some people get to experience that.

    i think what matters most is that we do find ways, as best we can, whether our families know about it or not, to safely tell the truths we feel the need to tell. going to therapy, having a trusted friend, having a private blog, these are some ways. you are brave to tell your truths. and i believe you are not dishonoring your family. upholding a lie that everything was wonderful would not be an act of true respect. telling the truth is an act of courage that does honor to the memory of your family. and helps to ensure that you will not repeat their mistakes. that you can learn from them. and move forward with compassion and strength in your own life.

    that’s my humble opinion, at this point in my life. thank you again for bringing this up. it’s been a subject that’s been bothering me lately. wishing you well~

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