There are many different types of dreams. However, most dream experts concur that there are three main categories: physical dreams, review dreams, and symbolic dreams. Physical dreams are just that: we have an immediate physical need, hunger, thirst, discomfort and etc., and our brain is sending us messages, by way of our dreaming mind, in order to fix the immediate physical problem. The next type, review dreams, are believed to function as a type of sorting and selecting process, where the brain reviews the events and experiences of the day and decides how to process and store this information for possible future use, or for possible elimination. The third category, symbolic dreams, the dreams that psychologists and psychotherapists utilize and study for their therapeutic potential, are strongly believed to be encoded messages sent from the subconscious mind in order to alert/remind the dreamer of problems needing to be solved or issues needing to be addressed. The following would be an example of this type of dream (and I have received multiple versions of the following “Vampire Theme,” all in recurring dreams):
I have been having this terrifying dream where my husband is a vampire. I have been having this dream for more than a few years, now. It is always the same, but, sometimes, the place changes. In my dream, my husband has grown fangs and turns to me and starts biting my neck. I try to run away, but I can’t move. I am paralyzed. Then, as he is sucking the blood out of me, and I am dying, I wake up. I just don’t understand why I keep dreaming this. He has never done anything to hurt me. He is very loving and gentle, and I love him very much. I feel like there is something wrong with me for dreaming this. I just want to know why I keep having this dream, and if there are any ways to stop it.”
After communicating with the dreamer, it was determined that she seldom, if ever, watched vampire movies/television programs. She described her husband as working tirelessly to ensure a certain quality of life for them, and always sacrificing himself in order to provide material items that might ensure her happiness (clothing, automobiles, and etc.). Her husband had no friendships outside of work and no separate, personal interests outside of their home; he had made her his entire world. As a result, she felt obligated, and was often pressured, to stay home and spend her leisure time exclusively with him, instead of going out and spending time with friends and family, or pursuing personal interests of her own. For these reasons, the most likely explanation for her “Husband as Vampire” dream is as follows:
Suppressed emotions and issues will seep through to our dreams, and, unlike our conscious/waking mind, our dreams will not lie to us. Our dreaming mind will force us to examine situations and facts which our conscious mind may not be willing to face, and may refuse to accept due to the resulting, negative feelings (such as guilt) which could arise. Our dreams will tell us the “hard truth” and will often continue to repeat this truth until our waking mind will finally accept it and act upon it.
Due to her love for her husband and her guilt over his sacrifice, this dreamer’s conscious mind did not want to acknowledge the fact that he was, metaphorically, “sucking the life out of her,” and leaving her feeling powerless by not allowing her to have a life of her own, separate from him. However, her dreaming mind, wanting her to be as emotionally healthy and happy as possible, refused to allow her to live in denial and discontent and kept sending her this dream message in order to force her to confront the issue, talk to him about it, and try to find resolution (because that is the brain’s job: our physical AND mental-emotional well-being). If the dreamer deals with this situation and, subsequently, is allowed the personal freedom and expression needed to feel less constricted and “drained of life ”and power by her husband, this dream should/could retire itself. However, merely acknowledging the
Issue, and talking openly and honestly about it, can often be cathartic enough to halt the recurring “bad” dreams.