November 8, 2019 | 3 comments
Image Credit: sxc.hu
Being chased, falling into an abyss, looking into a mirror and seeing that our appearance has been altered; balancing on a high wire with no safety net, unable to get out of a building or sinking into quicksand are classic nightmare story lines. We may awaken shouting, our heart beating fast and sobbing with terror shortly relieved to discover it was only a nightmare.
Nightmares mean that our deeper levels of being, psychologically and possibly physically, are keen to be acknowledged by our conscious/ego Self. Likely, we've been gently, and incrementally nudged that something is not going well, and we've been stubbornly ignoring the signs. Our dream director has taken it upon herself to create a stark scenario replete with setting, characters and action that will jolt us into making a change. At this stage in the nudge, you cannot ignore the hail but beware, you may be tempted to discount or minimize it.
A nightmare's symbolism is as individual as we are, however, there are several common reasons for having nightmares. The most obvious one is trauma. We may not be permitting ourselves to ponder the trauma because the effects are still too raw. Our consciousness must integrate and file these experiences into our psychic makeup: Our psyche must give the trauma context and meaning. We must begin the journey of reaching a place of peace and acceptance and the nightmare may represent the first step.
Something has Breached Our Psychic Defenses
There are other common reasons for nightmares; fear of failure, a health alert, or feeling victimized. Being bullied triggers more than its share of nightmares in a victim of any age. Being faced with a difficult choice, behaving in a manner unfamiliar to our self-concept; abandonment, loneliness, lack of safety or medications can all set off a nightmare.
Military psychiatrists observed that when warriors on the front lines began dreaming of the horrors of war, they needed to be removed from the front lines. The horror witnessed had breached a psychic barrier and a mental illness was likely to ensue.
A client described a dream series of nightmares whereby she discovered many of her friends and family were vampires. In the nightmare she was terrified that they would discover she was human and would start feeding on her. She wasn't a fan of the horror genre, so she couldn't imagine why she kept having these theme-based nightmares. It wasn't until I asked, "Who in your waking life is threatening to suck the life out of you?", that she appreciated the genius of her dream director!
Nightmares May Suggest Encroaching Mental Illness
A nightmare may be highlighting a growing neurosis which means you are fearing something not founded. A phobia is an example of this. People who describe themselves as worry warts tend to be plagued more frequently with nightmares. Regardless, a nightmare in this case still demands attention. A growing phobia can be crippling. It may prevent us from living a free and healthy life. If a nightmare is alerting us to a growing neurosis, we need to have it examined and healed before it wreaks any further damage to our psyche.
Nightmares in Children
Children are plagued with nightmares more frequently than adults mostly because everything is new and potentially threatening. Everyone is bigger and stronger and things in the world make loud, unfamiliar noises. It's a scary world to a vulnerable child!
Encourage children to describe their nightmares and offer them suggestions about how to overcome the monsters. This will help the child to feel empowered and less threatened in their waking lives. Remember to empower the child to be the strong one in the nightmare rather than guiding them to see the threat as smaller. This emboldens the child to face threats with confidence rather than encourage them along a dangerous path of magical thinking whereby they might imagine they can make threats smaller. Some threats are real, and no amount of magical thinking is going to make them less than what they are, but if we believe in ourselves and face threats head-on, we'll have a better chance at dealing with the monster appropriately and safely.
Nightmares as Creative Inspiration
Ignoring or discounting nightmares as only dreams doesn't make them go away because like most forgotten or ignored dreams, they will simply recycle back. Imagine what the nightmare is asking you and be playful and imaginative. Consider a couple of different endings. Often a nightmare is interrupted by an abrupt awakening, triggered by our increased heart rate and breath; use your imagination to envision what the ending might have been that stars you as the winner. A nightmare may even be a warning of something ahead. Never discount the possibility that a nightmare is precognitive! This is a good reason to record and date it.
Use your nightmare as a creative inspiration. Draw, paint or collage the images. Title your nightmare. The stories of Jekyl and Hyde, Frankenstein, and Dracula were all inspired by nightmares. When you describe a nightmare to someone, they will likely identify and empathize with your experience. There is nothing quite like a sharing a nightmare to bring an uncommon level of intimacy into your social intercourse and intimate relationships.
Kathleen is a practicing psychic and dream interpreter in Canada. You can read more of her articles on dreams on her web sites https://www.psychicanada.com
and her video series on youtube.
If you are interested in the esoteric sciences and psychic ability development you will find the articles on my web site an interesting read. Visit my web site https://www.psychicanada.com/