Freud's dream analysis focused on manifest content versus latent content, manifest content being how the dream happens and latent content being the underlying reason for the occurrences in the dream. It is often said that most people forget their dreams shortly after waking up but for those who remember or write it down can discover information about themselves. Identifying the actions, feelings, and characters that find their way into your dreams can help provide insight on how we absorb and interpret our waking life situations. This piece is an example of how our unspoken desires and innermost thoughts can make themselves aware in our unconscious state.
The Inner Battle
This is a dream analysis inspired by the format for Irma's Injection from Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, it explores waking experiences in relation to dreams.
My Interpretation of Dreams
It could have been a normal day like any other, but it was finals week, the most stressful week known to college students since the inception of mankind. The pressure of managing work, school, and a fairly active social life was beginning to eat away at me. It had been like this for weeks now, no I’m lying, it has been a year. Now, the majority of my stressing was upon the minute details of the day or fantasies of the future and nothing seemed to be falling into place as I would have liked. I felt sad and lonely and tired. It was not just this semester, it was the year that was taking me for a ride. It began shaky and seemed to be ending no differently. The year began with rocky relationships, breaking up with once significant others, betrayal, heartbreak, and so much more other stressors that a young woman can hardly avoid when growing up in life. It was the most turbulent year of my young life and I had just began to cope with it all, smoking to avoid my sour emotions had become so routine that I forgot I had the ability to feel so much. However, group counseling brings me closer to the realization every other day. Not to mention poetry and the performance of it for that matter has helped me to lift the weight of my emotional agony of my shoulders all the while invoking my creative senses and reviving a sense of confidence in myself and my abilities. Yet, this particular day in question, I was not doing well as far as health. I had the chills, heat flashes, headaches, back pain, a sore throat, a runny nose, you name it, it was happening to me. I couldn’t go to work and with a quickly approaching trip to Puerto Rico in which I was pressed for cash, it did not give me anymore solace. Needless to say I was even further in my discontent of life and I just wished I could sleep it all away. There was one thought that kept creeping into my mind about a particular person and a relationship with this person, sometimes conscious, many times subconscious and trapped into my unconscious, being in denial as I usually was, I refused to admit to myself the importance of this person in my life so they showed up in my dreams.
Dream of December 13th-14th, 2015
I was at home when I realized he was there in my living room, on the chair, my dad’s chair and my father is in the kitchen, possibly cooking up a meal as he is moving around the stove. I sat between them so to speak, I was at the dining room table which spatially fell in between the two, my father and him, kitchen and the living room. I was confused in the midst of the dream wondering what he could be doing in my house in the presence of my father holding a conversation. How did he get in? What does my father know about him? What was going on? I can tell my father has said something sarcastic to him although I could not recall the conversation, but he remained calm and respectful as usual. My father goes to his room and we are left alone. I can feel the sexual tension, the desire, the wanting, and the missing of each other’s presence. He pulls me into his space and I attempt to pull back not really wanting to, but doing it as if I should, as if I had to, he pulls me back into his arms and kisses me with a passion that I thought I had forgot what it felt like, he had me at that moment, he knew what I needed, what I wanted. We somehow escaped to my basement in order to fulfill our carnal desires but in my desire to be comfortable or almost make things perfect I begin to make the bed for us. Strangely though, the backdoor of my basement is open and I see a “neighbor” that I’m not quite familiar with, yet he recognizes this person and greets him. Next I realize that my mother is at the backdoor too, speaking with this stranger to me and although I know my father has just spoken to my love interest, I freak out and tell him he has to leave because my mom is home, he looks confused and surprised.
Subsequently, another dream followed broken from this one in which I was in some sort of battle.
This is strange, I’m in a field, I’m high in the air and I think I’m working, I’m moving around pieces of some kind and I’m not alone, it appears someone else is near me attempting to do the same thing but they’re in my way. Somehow I can sense that I’m not here on my own merit or I feel like I’m a captive, something like that out of the Maze Runner would be a good comparison. The land is vast, grassy and sort of wild looking as if it had not been mowed in a while. I’m seeing a lot but at the same time I am seeing nothing of distinctiveness to help me determine my location, it’s like looking at an abstract painting, you never really know how much you’re seeing until the third and fourth look. There are men looking for pieces to help them complete whatever project they need to and they are aggressively mannered, I act as if I don’t know what’s going on but I can sense my own dissatisfaction with being here or doing what I was told to do. I see what could be an important part of their search fall to the ground but go unnoticed so I pretend to not see it. Something did not feel right and although there were no guns or bombs flying around, I felt as if I was at war with something or someone, unknown.
In retrospect, both dreams make clear sense to me in some way or the other. My first dream about this love interest has been a buildup in the urge to make contact with this person but also the result of me refusing to do it. The conversation between my father and him where he is sitting in my father’s chair and my dad in the kitchen denoted my desire to share intimate relationships or people I care about with an authoritative or respectable figure in my life. Sitting in between them is symbolic to how I bring them together yet also separate the two men in my life; their union or communication exists with me as the connecting channel. When we are alone, my love interest and I, it is significant to our desires to be one with each other although I push him away reluctantly, it is just my fear of intimacy. He can see through this that I just want to be wanted and needed as much as I pretend that I don’t, the longing that I feel in my thoughts has been satiated by this one moment of truth where I know my feelings have been requited. We don’t speak much because in this case actions speak louder than words and as long as we have waited to be together, we are eager to show each other how much we miss each other. The descending to the basement is representative of the deep “dark” and/or hidden desires we have for one another, my wish to hide from others and find our own solitary comfort. Ironically, where we descend for this privacy, I find that there is no secrecy. The unfamiliar face that my love interest recognized was indicative of this lack of concealment and my mother’s speaking to this unfamiliar person also confirmed my inability to hide this relationship from the world, my parents, and myself. Even in my own home, I was exposed. My mother’s presence, however invoked a fear in me of lack of acceptance or approval which caused me to chase him away, something I had done in waking reality, not in the same context but very similar. I’m unsure however, if I chased him away for shame or guilt of what I was about to do or all of the above. Even in my dreams I was rejecting him, a place where I should have control over the outcome, I was somehow a victim of the doubts that I carried in my reality.
The next dream led me on to believe that all the unresolved emotions I kept bottled up manifested into the feeling of entrapment. Because I do wonder about my place in life and where I’m going, often times feeling out of place and like I’m just a prisoner of routine, not really wanting to cooperate but not ready to stir up the pot either for fear of changes I may not be able to handle or want to deal with. I know where I want to be but am I really doing all that is necessary to get there? Am I pressing the right buttons? The land is vast, grassy and wild in my dreams because that’s how my mind operates, it has so much to choose from yet nothing is clear, there’s not a definite path that I can see and in the long run my mind does run wild with thoughts, emotions, ideas, plans, expectations and none of it is organized. It’s possible that I work against myself, knowing what I should do but not actually taking the necessary steps to move forward. I can be that aggressive voice in my head but then I can be quite passive and uncooperative with my own self. The war going on is the emotional, spiritual warfare that I face with myself every day; to do right, negate the wrong, uplift myself and be open to new possibilities yet closing myself off emotionally, I build mental and emotional barriers that follow me into my dreams.
In conclusion, I close with the ideal that my dreams are filled with latent content of the depths of my innermost desires yet obvious fears in waking life, which is to be in another failed or dissatisfying relationship, therefore running from it before I give it a chance, while also searching for approval from my parents and self. I can freely associate the significant characters in my dreams to each other in real life and each represents them in the essential way, a parent would be represented in an authoritative manner, a lover as an intimate interest, and the presence of the stranger being relevant to the inability to hide from people and my emotions.