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Sarka

Physically harming someone in my dreams

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Sarka

I really didn't think I would ever start a topic on the UM forums, but I actually have a question that has been bothering me for a while that involves my dreams.

Generally my dreams are random and uneventful. I tend to dream of doing everyday things such as going to class or going for a walk with a friend/family member. Occasionally I'll have a nightmare, just as everyone does, but I rarely have one that effects the rest of my day.

What truly bothers me is that if I dream of myself in any need of self defence or to express physical anger at another individual, I am incapable of doing so.

I can't give any specific dreams where this has happened, since I find it difficult to remember a dream I've had unless I've thoroughly discussed it with someone, but I can remember the exact feeling of the pitiful "punching" action that my dream self always attempts. I'll thrust my fist out towards the target and it almost noodles out and weakens, not allowing me to strike with any force.

Now, I find myself to be a generally friendly and nice person who would never actually want to physically hurt anyone in real life. It kind of sounds bizarre, but it really does bother me once I wake up. The lack of being able to physically protect myself in my dreams brings along an uneasy feeling.

Any input on why this seems to happen would be fantastic :) and if any clarification is needed, feel free to ask!

Edited by Sarka

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eight bits
I can remember the exact feeling of the pitiful "punching" action that my dream self always attempts. I'll thrust my fist out towards the target and it almost noodles out and weakens, not allowing me to strike with any force.

That, and similar voluntary muscle anomalies (e.g. being unable to run properly), are commonly reported "plot elements" in dreams.

In normal rapid eye movement ("REM") sleep, you really are mildly paralyzed. This prevents you from "acting out your dreams," which would wake you up.

There is a known dream mechanism called dream incorporation (searchable), in which the real situation of the dreamer appears as a "plot element" in the dream. That sounds like what's going on here. You become aware that you cannot move your arm freely, which in fact you really can't do, and your dream follows suit.

Now, I find myself to be a generally friendly and nice person who would never actually want to physically hurt anyone in real life.

Dreams often seem to have a "compensatory" character. Some things in the dreamscape are contrary to the corresponding feature of the waking world. Mild mannered people become tigers, for instance.

It's a little hard to be dogmatic about that, though, because of the selection bias in dream recall. As you say about yourself, and as is typical of most people, you don't remember all of your dreams. In your case, the ones you remember are those you talk to somebody about... which, in order to do, you had to remember the dream in the first place, long enough to tell somebody about it.

So, it is not difficult to imagine that "memorable" dreams are more likely to survive the recovery of consciousness than dishwater-dull dreams. "Wrong continuity," personality mismatches, nightmare moments, etc. are all "memory pegs" that may help you remember the dream in which the peg occurs, at the expense of other dreams the same night which lacked any startling features.

Hope that helps.

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Sarka

eight bits,

Thank you kindly for your reply :) that was all very fascinating and makes perfect sense! I'll be sure to remind myself that this is all that is happening after I wake up from one of these dreams. Hopefully this will dispel the helpless feeling :P

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Mr Walker

I really didn't think I would ever start a topic on the UM forums, but I actually have a question that has been bothering me for a while that involves my dreams.

Generally my dreams are random and uneventful. I tend to dream of doing everyday things such as going to class or going for a walk with a friend/family member. Occasionally I'll have a nightmare, just as everyone does, but I rarely have one that effects the rest of my day.

What truly bothers me is that if I dream of myself in any need of self defence or to express physical anger at another individual, I am incapable of doing so.

I can't give any specific dreams where this has happened, since I find it difficult to remember a dream I've had unless I've thoroughly discussed it with someone, but I can remember the exact feeling of the pitiful "punching" action that my dream self always attempts. I'll thrust my fist out towards the target and it almost noodles out and weakens, not allowing me to strike with any force.

Now, I find myself to be a generally friendly and nice person who would never actually want to physically hurt anyone in real life. It kind of sounds bizarre, but it really does bother me once I wake up. The lack of being able to physically protect myself in my dreams brings along an uneasy feeling.

Any input on why this seems to happen would be fantastic :) and if any clarification is needed, feel free to ask!

Our dreams reflect, in part, our subconscious; desires, rationalisations, etc. If you cant hit anyone in a dream then it is a part of your self(subconscious) which is making this so. Something within you is reluctant to hit or harm another, even in a "dream scenario"

You can change this but it requires influencing your subconscious. You might even find that, because you are aware of it in your conscious mind, that you will overcome it. Other strategies include; visualisation in conscious thought; "acting" out " behaviour in real life to reinforce subconscious responses; convincing your subconscious that violence in dreams is acceptable and wont harm you or another.

Talk to your subconsious. Vocalise, and or, write down why you neeed/want to be able to defend yourself in dreams. When you go to sleep be planning strategies and scenarios. Do physical exercises in the real world which create programmed muscle responses, so that your conscious and subconscious minds know what it feels like to hit out hard and fast, and with force. If your mind has no referent points to know how such forceful strikes feel, it has trouble recreating them in dreams.

( I had a lot of trouble with guns in dreams. They never worked, or i could never find the ammo. After using guns and practising with them a lot (including safety principles and practices with hand guns) this improved, but i still had to visualise, clearly, a loaded gun to ensure my dream guns worked. The mind is capable of creating an effective weapon to destroy any dream nightmare. On the other hand, it is also capable of creating a shield to protect against any dream attack. A paradox? Certainly, but then we're talking dreams, here.

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nognome

i think this has been answered

eight bits explained it perfectly

Edited by nognome

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Sarka

Our dreams reflect, in part, our subconscious; desires, rationalisations, etc. If you cant hit anyone in a dream then it is a part of your self(subconscious) which is making this so. Something within you is reluctant to hit or harm another, even in a "dream scenario"

You can change this but it requires influencing your subconscious. You might even find that, because you are aware of it in your conscious mind, that you will overcome it. Other strategies include; visualisation in conscious thought; "acting" out " behaviour in real life to reinforce subconscious responses; convincing your subconscious that violence in dreams is acceptable and wont harm you or another.

Talk to your subconsious. Vocalise, and or, write down why you neeed/want to be able to defend yourself in dreams. When you go to sleep be planning strategies and scenarios. Do physical exercises in the real world which create programmed muscle responses, so that your conscious and subconscious minds know what it feels like to hit out hard and fast, and with force. If your mind has no referent points to know how such forceful strikes feel, it has trouble recreating them in dreams.

( I had a lot of trouble with guns in dreams. They never worked, or i could never find the ammo. After using guns and practising with them a lot (including safety principles and practices with hand guns) this improved, but i still had to visualise, clearly, a loaded gun to ensure my dream guns worked. The mind is capable of creating an effective weapon to destroy any dream nightmare. On the other hand, it is also capable of creating a shield to protect against any dream attack. A paradox? Certainly, but then we're talking dreams, here.

Very interesting. I will definitely keep this in mind :)

Thank you very much for your response. :tu:

i think this has been answered

eight bits explained it perfectly

Multiple responses do no harm :) Both of their posts were quite interesting.

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Mr Walker

I dont disagree with 8 bits but, while external physical sensations often translate into dream symbology, (and an arm trapped in bed clothes could also feel trapped in a dream,) a dream arm can be trapped or weakened with no physical restraint, through subconscious self restraint. The sensation and imagery of flight in a dream is just as likely under heavy bedclothes, for example, as light ones, or none at all.

There is not, necessarily, any correlation between physical stimuli and dream responses. I'd agree with you that there are many useful possible responses to your experiences.

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