Phony Confidence and Nightmares

Confronting antagonists in dreams can be an example of phony, superficial, and counterproductive confidence. A mother reported,

My 11-year-old daughter has had a recurring nightmare that’s terrifying her and affecting her. She dreams that she is awakened from sleep in her brother’s room. She then walks down the hall into the bathroom and vomits in the tub. She turns to find a tall dark figure standing next to her with one hand on her shoulder.

I had recommended she do an interview with the antagonist in the dream, which she didn’t do. Instead she wrote,

I told her she had the power to.control her dreams. First, we eliminated the possibility that something was bothering her. I can assure you it’s not sexual abuse. My children are well guarded and I do not allow strangers or family friends around them. I’m a victim and know what to do.

The approach I took was to tell her she can control her dreams and change them. I told her to stand up to the entity in her nightmare and let it know that she is a child of God and cannot be harmed. She is witness to Christ’s testimony. So she went to bed that night and I stood up all night in case she woke up and needed me. Well, she had the nightmare. She said in her dream as she was being led that she stood her ground and that at first the entity said no in a scary voice. Then she repeated her love for her Lord and Savior. The thing went away and she heard a voice that said, “well done.” She has not had the nightmare since and is sleeping peacefully. She also says her prayers every night.

It’s hard to argue with success, much less a voice, presumably God’s or Jesus’ saying, “Well done,” so why even try? Here is an analogy. The fear aroused by a villain, monster or threat in a dream is considered by IDL to be best viewed as a wake-up call or an alerting event. In that regard, it is similar to the experience of having a warning light going on in your car. You take it in to the shop to see what the problem is. The mechanic lifts the hood, takes out a pair of pliers, and cuts the wires to the red light. He slams the hood, smiles, and says, “Fixed!” If that occurred, what would you think? The problem is that the red warning light won’t go on any more. You will no longer be scared or alarmed, but then you may no longer have a car when the engine is destroyed.This concerned mother made no effort to listen to the villain, the “warning light,” in her daughter’s dream. Instead she taught her daughter to just stand up to warning lights. Standing up to warning lights may make them go away, but is that smart? That’s like turning them off or cutting them off. Is doing so an expression of genuine confidence? The most likely source of such a nightmare is sexual abuse. This mother was confident that was not the issue, but she took no steps to find out. Was she afraid of what she might learn?

This is an example of why interviewing antagonists and nightmarish threats makes much more sense. By doing so you incorporate their perspective into your own instead of maintaining in opposition to a part of yourself, personified as an unknown, misunderstood fear.

To interview a dream character you can become it an answer the questions in the IDL dream interview protocol found here.

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