“Two women. One dream. Gum Stuck in My Throat.” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Dreamer #1:
Q: I have a recurring dream that I have gum wrapped around my back teeth and am trying to get it out. It feels like a lot of gum, and sometimes it will start to go down my throat, which really freaks me out. I feel anxious that it’s there. Sometimes, I am trying to get the gum out of my mouth because I’m doing something in which I need to speak.

Dreamer #2:
Q: I have a recurring dream that there is gum in my throat, a thick wad of it, and I’m desperate to get it out of my mouth. The more I pull, the more gum keeps coming. It never ends and I’m totally freaked out.

A: Whew! Here we have two different women, living in different states, who reported to me their primary recurring dream. Forgive me for being a bit of a nerd here, but is this not just the most fascinating thing? Many people have heard of the common back-in-school and teeth-falling-out dreams and might be de-sensitized to how very strange it is that we can dream very similar dreams at night. But it really is pretty amazing. How does that happen?? What is the unconscious (collective or personal) representing here? What human experience is being captured by these images?

Let’s explore this dream viscerally. To start unlocking this dream, imagine yourself in this situation. Imagine you’re in public and you have a huge wad of gum in your throat and in the back of your mouth that (of course) you really want to get out. You try to remove it… you begin to get anxious… the gum’s not easily coming out… there’s a lot of it… it keeps coming… What do you do? How do you protect yourself? What are the types of fear that arise?

In this dream, the ability to speak has been thwarted. One’s mouth and throat are all gummed-up. The capacity for self-expression has been prevented and shoved aside by more complicated feelings of fear, shame, and insecurity. As one is privately managing a fear that she is in a strange, maybe dangerous situation, out of control of what’s happening, she is simultaneously trying not to let others know of her predicament out of shame. She is in a “sticky situation,” managing her own fear while trying not to let others catch-on.

The images in this dream are representing certain inner experiences; as it’s a recurring dream, those inner experiences are likely rather persistent and common to the individual: a difficulty with authentic self-expression, with finding one’s true voice, and therefore feelings of insecurity, of being alone with one’s own emotions despite being among people, and feeling that things are not easily within one’s own control.

To you two beautiful ladies who dreamt this dream (should my analysis of it prove at all true), you might consider playing with this dream a little to alter it and take care of yourself in the process. Dream it forward. You’ve got gum stuck in your throat, you’re anxious and panicked, but you don’t have to deal with this very strange crisis by yourself. Imagine the dream and add someone in who you trust completely and who you can look to for help. How do they react? What do they do? What do you need? What help can they offer? See what arises and explore what comes next…

Have you had a dream like this? Leave a comment and share!

Satya is a Jungian psychotherapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and work with individuals in their late teens, 20s, and 30s. www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com

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15 comments

  1. Elisabeth

    This is fascinating. I too have had this dream, and it is reoccuring. I’ve had it randomly for years. When I was very young it was a gummy like candy that was stuck in my mouth, a big wad of if stuck all in my mouth and around my teeth. As I got older it turned into a wad of gum that was stuck throughout my mouth. I always try to pull it out, but more is stuck and ot’s never ending. It’s wild to see others having the same dream!

    • satyabyock

      Thank you, Elisabeth, for this comment. While you’re the first to share your own dream with others in response to this interpretation, several others have emailed me directly. This dream interpretation seems to be the largest source of traffic to my blog as well, with people searching regularly for “dream of gum stuck in my throat” and variations of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on why this dream is occurring for you, and what you learned from the post itself. I continue to learn more as people share their variations of this dream! It’s a fascinating one for sure.

      • Stephanie

        I had this reoccurring dream while married for 18 years and then it subsided. It returned coincidently when I had a financial scare with my ex husband about a year ago and then last night for no apparent reason. The only thing that was unusual was that my car battery died yesterday and my refrigerator went on the fritz. There were no costs associated with either incident but I wonder if it is tied to that? The dream is so vivid and seems like it lasts forever. A nightmare, really. Your advice seems reasonable, but I guess I don’t know how to tell myself I am dreaming while I am dreaming. IF I figure that out, would I tell my friend to tell me that I am dreaming and that it is not real?

      • Anonymous

        It seems that the discomfort and almost gagging sensation is the physical feeling that takes over. Psychologically I am frustrated because I can’t talk. I don’t think it’s focused so much on choking as it is the inability to communicate and feeling terribly uncomfortable. I used to also have reoccurring dreams that I had a newborn baby that talked a lot and it bothered me that it was too advanced. All reoccurring dreams involving language. I later became a Speech Pathologist. Coincidence?

    • LD

      I have also has this as a recurring dream….absolutley amazed to hear that others have had the exact same dream. I actually get a pair of scissors and cut the stuff but no matter what I do it just keeps coming! It’s usually a greyish gum like colour but sometimes it turns purple! Think this has to be one of the most bizzare dreams I have had yet.

  2. J

    I have been having similar dreams. Sometimes it isn’t gum, last night it was fat from a steak. I couldn’t get it out but at the same time I knew I was dreaming. I heard it may have to do with air blockage while you’re sleeping. It could even be related to sleep apnea. Who knows?

  3. Casey

    I have had this dream 3 nights in a row except when I’m pulling the gum out of my mouth people start gathering around me and telling me “shouldn’t you tell your husband whats wrong” but I dont understand what’s wrong and its particularly scary because I have a problem with faces in my dreams, I never am able to fully make out faces and when I dream I am mostly looking from the neck down but in the gum dream I’m looking up at all the distorted faces while I’m pulling out a never ending wad of gum out of my mouth. I’m 5 months pregnant and my doctor says its normal but it definitely doesn’t seem normal to me.

    • satyabyock

      Hi Casey, thanks for sharing your dream. There is a lot to say about dreaming during pregnancy. Not enough is written about it, nor known about it, but it appears to be a major threshold period for psyche and a time when women’s dreams become abundant and often strange. That doesn’t mean the goal is “normalcy” however, but what your dream is expressing. Did you read the interpretation above? Does it speak to you? How are you feeling in terms of your voice and self-esteem? How do you feel in relation to our husband and how you two are communicating? Can he host your vulnerabilities and fears? Spend some time with your journal and diving into your inner landscape to see what you discover. Recurring dreams demand attention, but they don’t do so without deep purpose.

  4. ThisGuy

    Mine is not reoccurring, but it is very prominent. I don’t recall most of my dreams and when I do there is usually an antagonist. This morning in my dream I was hosting a vocal competition with several people I know. I had to get the next competitor, a young girl who was staying off location, and I needed to lead her back. After returning to the hall where everyone had been waiting, it had gotten too late while I was gone and everyone had left. A couple times in the dream I was eating gummy worms, and now they weren’t chewing so I tried to put them out of my mouth. They had become one long gummy worm and I was pulling endless meters of gummy worm from my throat. A guy had strolled by looking at me weirdly and I responded with an indifferent shrug, seemingly saying “meh, you win some, you lose some”.

  5. Rachel

    I have had this dream several times over the past months during my pregnancy. Very interesting to see that others have had the same one! In my dream I keep trying to pull it out but it never seems to end and my mouth feels glued together. My interpretation was that I’m really thirsty which is giving me a gummy feeling in my mouth but your interpretation speaks to me as well.

  6. Missy Marks

    I have had this dream many many times throughout my life. I had it again last night hence why I searched the post this morning and am amazed and comforted to see so many other have had the same dream. It can be scary and uncomfortable. Last night the dream entailed me being on a date with a guy and having to leave the table half way through to rush to the toilet to begin pulling out this never ending amount of chewing gum from my throat and teeth. It was preventing me from talking properly. Your analysis of the dream is very interesting, as this happens to co-incide with a time in my life where I’ve just had my second child and am trying to figure out where to go with my life and what to do in terms of a career. I’ve just recently been offered a part time job which I didn’t know whether to accept or not and am now negotiating terms with the employer. I always struggle to make choices within my own life so maybe the dream symbolises this in some way. Very interesting indeed! Thank you for sharing

  7. sugarmagnoliawilson

    This is fascinating. This is my most common reoccurring dream. I wondered if it was simply related to something like sleep apnea? That the throat is genuinely constricted and that in the dream this is interpreted as something filling the throat up. I definitely panic in these dreams. I grab the gum and begin pulling to clear my throat but it just keeps coming and coming! So awful.

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