Tagged: animus

“How do I have a child with a man I just met??” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Q: I’m chasing my two young daughters through an outdoor restaurant. My toddler is jumping on picnic tables and nearly steps on a plate of food in front of a handsome, tattooed man. I apologize profusely, but he doesn’t seem bothered. He plays sweetly with my toddler, then notices my other daughter in the background. He comments on how funny it is that she’s there as she is his daughter. I’m confused. I tell him that she’s my daughter. He becomes confused. I touch his arms and then hold his hands. I’m trying to remember how it’s possible that I don’t remember conceiving a child with him. We feel a connection like we could make this work. How have we forgotten each other?

A: What a very, very lovely dream. I am moved by the emotional, fated encounter that this dream illustrates, and also by the inner awakening that I think it’s reflecting. You’ve re-encountered an aspect of yourself that it seems you lost touch with long ago. “How could we have forgotten each other?”

This dream is a lovely reflection of what Jung called “the reality of the psyche.” This may feel like the biggest leap I’ve ever asked you to take with me, readers, but I want to suggest that the characters in our dreams may not just be aspects of ourselves and our emotional lives, but also real unto themselves. Just as when we create something a piece of art, for instance, a painting or a piece of music, it reflects who we are on the inside and how we’re feeling, but once it is created, it is separate from us and exists on its own. We create something and make it autonomous. If animated, it would no longer feel itself to simply be a part of us, we would be its place of origin, but not its totality.

How does this relate to the world of dreams? In dream interpretation, we do a lot of exploration into the meaning of certain images and characters, seeking insight into our lives. While this can be very illuminating, it is also always a bit reductive. What your dream so beautifully illustrates is a sense of the autonomous interactions between characters in your psyche. All dreams can be seen this way, but it is the mutual sense of confusion and surprise that you and this man experience that I find particularly compelling. One might imagine a movie made from this scene: you step into another world, another realm, and there you encounter a man who truly, with all his being, believes himself to be the father of your child and yet not know you at all. This man whom you encounter exists, he has come into existence through you, and he is perplexed, just as you are, by the confounding situation. I just love that!

Now, to ground this back into the exploration of the dream’s meaning for you, this very handsome man to whom you are so drawn represents a part of your animus, your inner masculine, with which you seem to be getting re-acquainted. My guess is that his essence is familiar, if you were to explore it further, to your sense of who were in earlier days. Make a list of the qualities you see in him. Write every trait down that you can associate with him. Really, do it! Now once you’ve written down all those traits, come back…

All of those traits are parts of you. They are qualities in you that you’re projecting into him. Own them. Does he represents qualities of yourself that you had to let go of when you became pregnant with your first child? Does he feel like a part of yourself that you lost touch with back then?

Your description of this handsome man gives me the sense that he is a confident, integrated person, and that your connection to him in your dream provides you with a sense of calm and confidence too. Just like a wonderful friend in the waking world, or a beautiful painting you created, this inner figure can now look back at you and show you your strengths and beauty.

I’ll share with our readers what you shared with me, that you are a recently divorced woman, single for the last year or so. You also reported a long-standing fear that you will not find love or partnership again as you feel that no man will want to be with a woman with two children. Oh dear. I hope (pray) that this dream has provided you with a visceral sense of calm around that fear. If you take nothing from this exploration, I ask you simply, in times of distress, to sink back into that feeling you had when you woke-up: a man, to whom you are very attracted, is drawn to you, and not in-spite of your children but in large part because of them! He is gentle with your toddler and loving towards you. Remember the feeling of this and create your own reality around it. In times of insecurity and doubt, you can draw-on this inner figure to give you a sense of confidence. Use that feeling of connection for strength in the outer world and hang your head high. This handsome, kind, confident man is you, and he is yours as well.

Do you have a question about your dreams? Send me an email! satya@quarterlifecounselor.com

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Satya is a 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. For more information about therapy services in Portland, visit: www.QuarterLifeCounselor.com

“So, This Japanese Guy Asks me for Directions…” A Dream Interpretation.

Dear Satya:

Q: I’m driving in a car and a Mercedes SUV pulls up next to me at a stop light. The driver, a Japanese man, asks me for directions.  In the next scene, we are out of the cars and I am trying to show him how to get somewhere.  I am very aware that he is Japanese, and I am not sure what language we are speaking, it doesn’t seem like English, but we are able to understand each other. As I’m trying to show him how to get where he wants to go, he receives a phone call, and takes the call and tells me to wait while he is talking. I am a little perturbed that he is making me wait while I’m doing him a favor.

A: Interesting. In this very simple dream, there’s a great deal of important information, and a surprising twist. From our short dialogue about this dream, I know that the figure of a Japanese man does not hold strong personal associations for you (a white, American woman), so the central image is rather a mystery. You also mentioned that the image of being asked for directions in a dream seemed particularly interesting to you. I thought so too…

Let’s start our exploration with the image of Japan, this man’s country of origin. The particularity of the country is important. Japan, a country that is a significant distance from the US, is still part of the industrialized First World. It’s similar to our culture in many ways, yet in the East, opposite us. (In contrast, if this were a dream about a man from Cuba or from Myanmar, near by or in the East but quite poor, the way we would understand this character would be quite a bit different.) This man is also clearly well-to-do (a judgement I’ll have to make about the Mercedes SUV without your own associations), but he’s not in his own land and he’s lost. His character is therefore one that is in many respects familiar, “civilized,” related to you culturally, yet foreign. And he’s in your territory and he’s lost. He pulls up next to you and asks you for directions. Fascinating! Why? Because, in the realm of psyche, where every dream character is a part of you, it is typically the “I” character, the conscious ego self, that is in some way lost and disoriented. Here, it is in the position of strength and orientation and something else is in need of support.

The elements of this dream suggest two primary things: one, that you have a strong and dependable, integrated ego that has the capacity to lead even in the the unconscious dreamworld, where it is more commonly not too comfortable (other aspects of your psyche are seeking orientation from “you” your conscious ego-self); and two, that your Animus, your inner masculine, the part of you that provides much of your strength and creativity, is disoriented at the moment. He’s in unfamiliar territory and is looking to you for guidance. (There’s not enough space here to explore the important figure of the Animus in a woman’s psyche, but we’ll keep digging in the future!). The fact that this part of you is disoriented in your dream probably means that you, in your waking state, are feeling a bit disoriented too. You’re having to take a lead in life, but much of the energy and resources you once relied on are a bit out of sorts at the moment.

In the dream, you have stepped outside of your cars in order to meet; figuratively speaking, you’ve disrobed, put down your masks and your armor. And as neither one of you are speaking your native language, it seems you’ve found a third language with which to communicate. Fine work! Unfamiliar elements of your psyche are finding ways to dialogue, a sign of self-development. You’re on the right track to getting yourself fully oriented again. Now, a word of warning: make sure to watch your temper and stay rested. The disorientation (and disractibility) of this Animus figure is clearly testing your patience. Give him the benefit of the doubt, or explain to him calmly why you need his full attention. It’s to both of your benefit that you stay present with him until he finds his way.

Do you have a question about your dreams? Send me an email! satya@quarterlifecounselor.com

Easy sign-up to receive my weekly newsletter with the dream of a reader explored (that’s you!).

Satya is a 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