Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
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Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Hello. Thank you for offering free interpretations. I hoped you could analyse this dream for me. I tried to interpret it myself but it's kind of puzzly due to all the involving emotions. It would mean a great deal for me I you would try. The dream went something like this:

I was being forced to play in an opera together with other kids/adolescents. My part in this production was that I had to sing a song about pain and sorrow. I tried my best, but constantly I was aware of my performance, wich was very exagerated and highly dramatical. I could feel the presence of the also kind of posh audience that knew that my performance was kind of bad, but they still seemed to enjoy it in a sadistic. As part of this audience I felt the presence the most of an aristocratic girl, a princess. It was like we were all playing for her. My role was very exhausting and I remember feeling very stressed. I had several moments in the play where I had to come back and do the same thing again. The theater would change when I was on stage in a European medieval castle courtyard and chgange back into a theater when I went off. Backstage everyone was sort of in survival mode because there was a sense that if you would not perform well, you would have to pay for it with your life. I remember two blond girls that kind of were watching over me but also would mock me with my unsophisticated performance. This dream ended with that I was in a small wooden sailing boat together with a guy that I knew. I was sailing the boat and my friend was wearing these sunglasses and he had a great, big smile on his face. The weather was beautiful. The sun was shining right into our faces. The water was extremely blue. I remember feeling content with the fact that my friend whom I kind of fancy was smiling so much. Around us there were a lot of ships, but I still felt calm and secure about the sailing.

That was my dream. I hope you can tell me more about it. Additional information about me is that I have been in therapy for posttraumatic stress/attachment problems for a couple of months now. I have a very bad relationship with my parents (they are the reason for my post traumatic stress problems/disorder).

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Re: Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Anonymous,
With the added info about your life the dream images/actions do look to have associations that point to the early life relationship with your parents for which you are now in therapy. Here is how it plays out in that 'production'.

The dream opens with a scene in an opera {drama in your life} with children/adolescents {your actual childhood/adolescence}. I have found that such opening 'scenes' with children associations inevitably point to childhood/early life experiences. The song is the song of your life at that age {which continues to have influence in your adult life}. It is a childhood of sorrow and pain {emotional if not physical}. This fits with your additional info about your parents/childhood which would be typical since our dreams communicate nothing but the truth {where as the ego is dedicated to the ego and whatever the motivators are from early life}.

The exaggeration and 'highly dramatic' scene has two possibilities. They may point to personality traits you possessed as a child which could extend to adult life {you would know this if it fits}. Being constantly "aware of the performance" would be a comment on having to perform to expectations of your parents and would point to knowing those expectations. But it could also point to current knowledge of the issues for which you are receiving therapy. Applying both would fit Jung's concept that {and in my experience in working with dreams} all dreams if not dream images having at least two meanings/applications. The childhood traits {if applicable} could fit with personality traits as a child and possible extend to adulthood {two possibilities/applications}. If this does not fit then it would merely be a statement about your life as a child/adolescent, your exaggerated performance to meet the expectations of your parents.

The princess image could point to a desire/need in recognizing/achieving your full potential. It could also point to the imaginary mind of a child, compensating for what was lacking in your life. As a child you either 'performed' to your parents expectations or payed dearly for it {psychologically if not physically}. When you did not live up to expectations there was punishment, sadistic {perhaps real} in it was given by parents who were cold hearted.

The aristocratic girl is you, and could have two applications as well. One would be your wish fulfillment, a princess life instead of the one you actually experienced as a child. The other would be what was expected of you as a child. An act/performance as princess when in front of others. You would be playing for the first {wish fulfillment} as well as playing that role. Both would be exhausting/stressful in their own right. The role playing for others was something you did more than once.

The possibility of the wish fulfillment aspects of the princess image may be supported by the medieval castle image. You would be replacing the expected attitudes by your parents {medieval} with praise and rewards instead {castle}. Dreams offer compensation to what was so to reveal what is lacking. When on stage you had desires for the medieval castle image. When in the theatre that was your life you to live up to your parents expectations. You had to 'perform' to survive or pay for it with your life {one lacking wholeness, harmony because of a deficient childhood}.

The two blond girls are, in one aspect, you. But there could be two applications to this as well. Blonds are thought of as not being very smart and because of your childhood you may have self esteem issues. But there could also be two people in your childhood that fit as well. When a dream states 'two' then it either/and points to emotional conflict but could also be a true statement in the context it is used. These two aspects are 'watching' over you, both applications being a part of your psyche. The unsophisticated performance could be about not meeting expectations as well as never being the princess your soul desired as a child {and adult}.

Now the dream changes. The sailboat would be symbolic of success {in many areas of your life}. One may be getting away from the childhood you experienced where life then and now would be 'sunny'. Shining into 'our' {two applications} could be a statement about your conscious persona {whole and harmonious}, overcoming unconscious energies that come from your bad childhood {water is extremely blue}. The actual friend as a person would possess aspects you identify with, fulfilling masculine aspects within you {the male friend would represent an aspect of yourself, possessing positive aspects that negate the negatives}.

The last statement in the dream points to positive results. The many ships could point to exploring the many aspects of emotions which is what you are doing in your therapy. Despite and because of what you are learning from that exploration you are achieving positive results which brings about security within.

Look at the overall analysis and see what fits. It is no doubt a general statement of your true self {as all dreams are} but may help in understanding some of the unconscious energies that have become motivators in your adult life. The personality issues would be a part of that of they apply. Whereas the hours it usually takes fora therapists to get to the unconscious contents that show these unconscious energies/motivators, our dreams are direct link to the unconscious. Properly analyzing/interpreting dreams can result in a more rapid diagnosis of the unconscious contents. Thus the power of dreams.

Jerry

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Re: Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Dear Jerry,
Thank you a lot for your analysis. I think you were right about a lot of things. The underlying concepts and dreams are now much more clear to me. Before, it was all very unclear to me. For example, I thought the aristocratic girl/princess was my mother having-indeed-very high expectations of family life and the family (which included me ofcourse). Your suggestion fit much better in the whole picture for me. Before I will explain what exactly fitted and how, I will reply on certain parts of your text that were not completely clear to me. First I have a question about the meaning of the two blond girls. They are certainly not real contextual figures. I never knew blond girls that were watching over me. My two nieces were blond, but I hardly ever saw them. Also you state something about blonds stereotypically being regarded as not so smart. Than you state something about having low self-esteem issues, because these girls might be a representation of myself. Although this is true (the low self-esteem), I don’t completely understand how this would relate to the statements before about the girls. You also suggest that these girls could be a symbol for emotional conflict. At this moment it is not clear to me what this conflict could be. Because of this, it is also not clear to me what these applications that are residing in my psyche could be. Maybe that more therapy, or a another dream will tell me more about this. It could be that these aspects are still in the unconscious part of the mind. There is certainly nothing at this moment in time known to me that is “resonating” with your suggestions. The only thing that really comes up in my mind is that my mother was a blond. For me the girls have a weird, ambivalent role in my dream. As I stated they are supportive as well as critical (in a mean way). I guess this is kind of how I can see women and how my experiences have been lately with them. But there is also a strong feeling they are enjoying the pain and hard work I am experiencing. At the same time they are part of the same situation as I am. They just seem to have the time and energy to satirically “follow” my doings and comment on them satirically while not becoming completely evil. This commenting is by the way completely non-verbal, or by means of laughter.

The second element that I don’t completely understand are your suggestions about the princess/aristocratic girl. I get the feeling you do understand this, but just to be sure I want to state that in my dream they are the same figure. You say that I am playing for her as well being her. To me it’s not clear how this than would relate to all the different elements you are attributing to her (being the perfect life I wish I had, being the desire to reach/to know my potential, the imaginary mind of a child, and/or the princess “mask” I had to put on to meet my parents expectations). To me, this sentence is a key sentence in understanding how you combine these elements : “You would be playing for the first {wish fulfillment} as well as playing that role.” Sadly, I don’t understand this. What I am reading and understanding is that I am performing the princess mask for the actual princess: the perfect life I wanted to have. But how can you play for something that is as abstract as a life’s wish? And what does this symbolically mean? Maybe I’m overthinking/looking in the wrong direction? All your real life statements are very spot on. Yes I felt the urge to be “the perfect child” because my mother always told my brother and me (who are adopted) that we “were not the children/family she envisioned/hoped for”. Obviously, this is a cold hearted thing to say to already adopted children, who have been through a mother separation process and much more. In this sense (and many more) my mother indeed stood in front of me becoming a whole person: she didn’t want me to be me. As a result I indeed acted out. I used to overact and exaggerate when I was in pain, just to get the attention and nourishment that I was missing. I also think that this dynamic found his way to my adulthood (since I never had any therapy before and never got rid of it). The real funny thing that strikes me is that the way that I performed in this opera, exactly the way is how I would perform in real life. I have been in professional dance training and my teachers always told me (and I was aware of it myself) that I was overacting/simulating. This was frustrating because I just didn’t know any other “mode” to perform in. Sadly in the end I had to quit and get therapy. The way I was performing in that dream is EXACTLY the way how I would perform in real life.

Thank you for your additional information about how dreams work and their very useful applications. I was very much interested about the compensation dynamic you pointed to and I think it could be very much true. I also think I really have to agree with you on your statement about the power of dreams, especially after this. Thank you so much for your work!


P.s. My name is Fabian by the way

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Re: Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Anonymous,
To address your questions. The two blond girls would be mostly symbolic, they are metaphorical of energies within your psyche {this would be clear if indeed there are not any blond girls that figure extensively/emotionally in your life}. The 'two' would likely be symbolic also {they are aspects of yourself}, one application indicating a conflict {2 equals opposites} in your emotional life. On one hand this is a positive aspect {watching over you} and the other a negative {mocking you}. These would point to specific qualities or energies within you. This may point to someone who fits both roles {parents perhaps in one aspect}. The key to understanding the precise meaning{s} would be the definition/application of the word blond as well as the context it is used in the dream {unsophisticated performance}. I sensed one possible application having to do with self esteem {which would be plausible where there are serious parental issues}. The self esteem issues would inhibit your 'performance' in life?

As for the other possibility about real persons being blond, one would be your mother. A simple deduction. The other could be a real person {what color is your hair?} or it could be symbolic.

The emotional conflicts would have to do with childhood issues and your parents {the specifics only you know of}. These are the issues you are trying to work through and the dream is merely restating what you and your therapist have discovered through therapy. As for residing in the psyche that goes to understanding how dreams function and knowledge/experience in using Jungian concepts in analyzing dreams. Dreams are about our emotions, specifically emotional conflicts. The intent of dreams is to communicate what is not known, understood, repressed within the unconscious that needs to be known so the conflicts can be resolved. The issues from childhood and parental issues undoubtedly are the conflicts in your life. The dream is merely trying to communicate this {albeit in a symbolic/metaphorical language}. Wheres as your therapist may take hours upon hours in getting you to access any unconscious information, the dream is a direct link to the unconscious. When Jung {Carl Jung analyzed a patient he used dreams to get to the source of the emotional conflicts. So do I. As for resonating there may be a lack of understanding on your part of what dreams are and do. Hopefully the above narrative will provide insights to this.

The issues with women in your adult life. That would likely stem from emotional harm from childhood, the culprit being related to your mother if there were issues related to her as you have stated. There is a natural expectation from a child of the mother to be supportive. But in your experience it was critical. These are opposites in what was expected and what was given. That alone could be a meaning of the number two. The blonds could point to your mother as a literal application and something symbolic in another. But the intent is clear. You were affected emotionally, so much so it left a mark on your psyche {a very large and important one}, damaged what should have been whole and became unconscious motivators for your personality and conscious actions as an adult. Thus the reason for the need for your therapy.

As for your questions about the princess/aristocratic girl and how the 'abstract' translate in to reality. Dreams are a product of nature {just as the immune system is to the body, so is the dream to the psyche[ology]}. Nature's intention for the human psyche was for it to become psychologically whole. But because we are emotional animals in an imperfect environment we never reach that wholeness. We are born with a set of instructions {Jung's Archetypes}, the expectation of nourishment and security from our parents being a part of those instructions {just like the turtle knows to go to the ocean upon hatching}, we unconsciously know and expect this upon birth. The image of the princess/aristocratic girl is a depiction of this wholeness, they are you. Where as you were expected to be the perfect princess you were never treated as one. This is counter not only what was expected and provided, but also what was naturally expected in our 'natural' psyche. Thus an internal conflict develops that is so strong it leaves a mark, an imprinting on the psyche that is never erased, can only be reconciled and put in a place where it no longer controls/motivates our conscious life {this is what you are attempting to do in therapy}. There are many facets to the dream it is impossible to explain everyone without an extensive education in Jungian psyche {I have been working with dreams for 23 years}. The wish fulfillment is a natural childhood desire {fairy tales and mythology are the universal stories of these natural aspects}. When not fulfilled then the dream will provide a story in symbolic form of what is causing this not be fulfilled. How can a child be a princess, fulfill a natural 'desire', when the mother treats the child as something not wanted? From what little I know about you personally {and know as much if not more from your dream} this goes to the central reason for your need for therapy. My analysis doesn't need to be exact, it can't be because I do know so little about you and your life. What I attempt to do is to get the dreamer to realize/acknowledge what the issues are. Then and only then can the healing begin, it is left to the dreamer to follow up and do what is needed to resolve the issues {emotional}. Working on the specifics takes time, effort and most important discipline {the issues are often very painful and it is easy just to ignore/repress the issues}. You are consciously aware of many of the issues and it may be you are trying too hard to make sense of my analysis to the extent that is pushed aside in trying to understand the details of a dream images when you should take it as a part of your overall psyche imbalance.

Something you stated in your response confirms what I sensed in your dream but was not sure in what manner. The dream statement was, "constantly I was aware of my performance, which was very exaggerated and highly dramatic." I saw this as a literal statement about your personality, likely as a child but what could extend into adulthood. You statement in your response was, " I used to overact and exaggerate when I was in pain, just to get the attention and nourishment that I was missing." Is that still the case? You also stated it has found its way into adulthood which makes it an issue that needs greater examination in your therapy sessions. My point, beyond that there is this issue from childhood that extends into adulthood, is how dreams use words and phrases in a context that fit the dreamer's life but may not be recognized as such if there is not the experience in working with dreams {using Jungian concepts}. Perhaps this example will help you better understand the complicated way dreams will use images and actions in attempting to communicate the emotional issues that are in conflict. Someone without the experience may look at the statement as description of the dream action without realizing it was making a statement about how it applies to the dreamer's life/personality.

Another example where a trained dream analyst {working with knowing only the age and gender of the dreamer} can only speak to a symbolic application of the images/actions and is limited in a full understanding of what the applications might be is your 'performance' as a professional dancer. As I stated previously all dreams, all dream images/actions have at least two or more meanings/applications. Because I did not know this info and the added injury from your teachers {which itself was acting out what was unconscious motivators even as a child} I could not address the full application in my analysis {not that it is that important}. Your therapist will know this and it may be useful. Just image what more he/she could know if they were trained in dream analysis. How many hours has it taken to get to the depths of your unconscious in therapy that I have provided in just one dream interpretation? As for the mold that you only know to perform in {not the literal dancing but the psychological mode}, that is what therapy should help you to change. Making whole what was broken in childhood.

Hope this helps explain my analysis to a greater extent than my original analysis. If I had more time, had more information about you, and not having to care for a terminally ill cat, I would provide more insights to how dreams function and possible more applications to what the dream images/actions might mean.

Jerry

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Re: Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Dear Jerry,

Thank you so much for your extensive reply.Yes you are right, your analysis already has made my issues much more clear than therapy has done until now but this is also because we have been focusing the therapy more to removing trauma and big stresses out of memories by using an intervention method called ‘EMDR-therapy’. It basically is an intervention for post traumatic stress disorder. It works very well but it leaves less time to really zoom in into these issues you and me have been talking about. Of course the relationship with my parents has been discussed a lot, also because the EMDR wouldn’t work if we didn’t try to specify and contextualize the abusive situations that were traumatic for me as much as we can. Also we have been talking a lot about my future and about my former drug abuse in relation to the therapy as well as the uncommom, physical manner the trauma has been imprinted in my psyche. The little time we have been focusing on the emotional damage that has been done and how it affects my actions and thoughts, we did notice the fact that I have some major tendencies/motivators that are rooted in the expectations I had as a child and how these weren’t met. Your Jungian point of view really has widened my understanding of them (like where these expectations come from), as well put emphasis on the importance of these matters to be explored and discussed much more in further therapy. I thank you for that.

I think you were right also about me putting too much attention to the exact interpretation of all of the symbols rather than seeing the dream ‘as a part of my unbalanced psyche’. Still, I am glad that you took the time to talk more about it because it did made things much more clear and made pieces fall more in place. I think a huge part of my problems (with self-esteem for example) are rooted in a dualistic dynamic of negative and positive. I am very dualistic person. I can have extreme positive and extreme negative thoughts about myself (which affect my self esteem). You asked me also if the melodrama still was a part of my conscious adult behavior. I guess it is, but in a different way. I think it now has found a way in how I look at things and how I address them in my mind. For example, my vocabulary includes a lot of superlatives and exaggerations. Things are always ‘the best’, ‘the worst’, ‘totally’, ‘completely’ and ‘everything’. The acting out really doesn’t occur anymore since I realized that I wasn’t normal behavior. But in my mind and inner dialogue it still exists.

I am also glad that you were able to explain more on the emotional conflictual state my mind is in and how the dream relates to that. As I said I have been struggling with dualism a lot. I am a kind of guy that always wants to be the best, probably because I wasn’t wanted as a child. But this also means that I have a hard time dealing with what Jung called ‘the shadow’ (haha I also picked up a thing or two). I find it very hard to deal with the bad, ugly and even evil parts in me. Obviously I too posses them, maybe even more than others because of the damage that has been done, but I still don’t really know how to deal with them or how to healthy cultivate them without me feeling like ‘I’m not doing/being the best good person I can be’. It’s all pretty entangled. You really don’t have to try to help me with this, since I think it’s not wise to be involved in two concurrent therapies (my doctor and therapist really emphasized on this, especially because I’m a kind of guy that would try to be in three therapies at the same time just to make sure he was trying the hardest). I am telling you this though for the sake of the knowledge and for your further work. Of course, I am very impressed about that and want to help you become even better in it!

What I take with me from this contact is a very valuable revaluation of the things that are important for me to address in therapy. The mother/child expectations dynamic, the melodramatic tendencies and the way this inhibits my performance in life and in dancing. There probably is much more. I can now write many more tendencies I have that I find “weird”. Now I know even more that I have to deal with all of them in therapy. Obviously, I also learned a lot about dreams and their power. I will definitely call on their power again and let you analyze my dreams again whenever I have a dream I think is important to share. I might even consider letting this be the next therapy I want to have. In addition, this contact has made much clearer the inter-connectness of all the different “scars” in me and how these might stem all from this one specific dynamic/trauma/experience. I am really grateful for this. For now, good luck with your cat. I wish you strength.

Greetings,

Fabian

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Re: Dream about slavery, opera and sailing

Fabian,
Thank you for the response and willingness to open up about your life. I am delighted to know I was able to clarify those aspects of my analysis/interpretation you had questions of since one goal in my interpretations is to be as clear and simple in my wording as possible. Your understanding of my analysis is as important as the analysis.

Being clear and simple is important. Just as Joseph Campbell articulated in simpler terms the often very difficult language of Carl Jung, my intent is to make even more clear/understandable Jungian concepts in my analysis of dreams. Although I have no formal education in psychology, let alone Jungian psyche, I do possess an 'intuitive' understanding of his rational. Through many years of working with dreams {my Dream Forum is a catalog of my dream work} I have learned to 'read' dreams to the extent most all my interpretations have great merit/are correct. I know this because of responses like yours confirm my analysis/interpretations. Although I do not know who reads the posted dreams, interpretations, responses and follow up posts I do know there are those who do and learn a lot from them {as I have done, all the posts providing insights to how dreams function}. I have often stated the Dream Forum is a learning place for understanding dreams.

Perhaps even more important than the success I have with working with dreams is I have discovered {at least in my mind} aspects about dreams where I have yet to see anyone else state as being usual or fixed. For example, when a dream opens with a statement about a child of a certain age, a time frame that involves childhood years, or similar references to childhood or childhood environment, the focus of those dreams are 'universally' about or related to the dreamer's childhood. In the past year or so I have made it a point to state this in my analysis of these type dreams and in each case the analysis has been correct {in every one}. This was true with your dream, the opening sentence using the words "I was being forced to play in an opera together with other kids/adolescents". I know most Jungian dream analysts would confirm such dream statements would often allude to childhood emotions but being universally true is not something any would confirm. It seems that dreams not only have archetypal associations but the structure of dream is more fixed than ever thought.

I see many other 'universal' themes {not to be confused with archetypal themes which are prescribed mapping of the psyche by nature} in other aspects of dreams as well. Your dream post and our conversations about it and my analysis has provided many insights to several of these themes. Besides the childhood reference/application the specific use of words that on the surface are not recognized as relevant to any person turns out to be applicable in important ways {the blond girls, you mother being blond}. Every word in a dream is important and knowing how to arrange the terminology in a context that accurately describes the dreamer's emotional condition is the task in analysis. This is where I seem to have very good skills in doing. But again it is responses like the ones you provided that have helped my understand how dreams and dream images function. I would have never seen these things if not for the responses from the dreamers.

I do hope you are able to find closure to the conflicts in your life. I think it important that you have taken the time so early on in life to work these things through instead of letting them incubate to the point more destructive harm comes from theme. Let me convey an interesting fact about many of Jung's patients that may be relevant to you and your therapy. A great many became Jungian analysts or related fields. From their own therapy they realized not only there is hope for a resolution to the emotional conflicts, but also saw how interesting and intriguing dreams are. It is like a giant puzzle fe are able to put together, being able to put all the pieces together is rewarding. But I see such endeavors as part of the creative spirit and when one discovers their creative self they have discovered their true self and the soul has a path to contentment. No wonder mythology {the universal dream} resonates with so many.

Jerry

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