If you are a young person dreaming of an adult it may be indicating your potential, what you can become if you continue your present direction in life. But most frequently it is about the influence of an adult or adults.

See: Man or Woman.

To be an adult is not an easy task or achievement. There are two very different sides to it. Most of us achieve an adult body, but very few of us achieve emotional, sexual or spiritual adulthood. The story of this is told in all the old myths and legends – after all the greatest meaning is life and what we can achieve in it. So in becoming an adult we brave great dangers, face monsters, pass through difficult initiations. Fundamental to the whole drama of our life is the evolution of our own identity from the depths of unconsciousness in the physical process of conception, through to developing self awareness as an adult – from the great ocean of collective culture, language and society, to the emergence of ourselves as a mature individual. To do this we face death and rebirth several times when we metamorphose from baby to child; from child to adolescent; from adolescent to adult; from adult with youthful body to ageing body. It is such an incredible journey, so heroic, so impossible of achievement, so fraught with dangers and triumphs. It is the greatest story in the world.

The modern western adult is often very much out of touch with the life giving processes within them and feel isolated and often ill at ease in the world. The black figure in dreams, or the native can give us a much needed connection and balance.

Even if we feel we are an adult, there are usually still enormous potential remaining unexpressed, stil a great deal of unmet childhood or baby needs. See Beware of Love

Example: I was in a very loving relationship in which I had developed powerful emotional links with D. We communicated many times each day while apart at work, etc. But one day there was no communication. I felt tremendous anxiety and emotional pain and shock, really frightened that she had dropped me. In fact she hadn’t, but my fears were very real and difficult to deal with. A real shock.

If you are an adult facing feelings of abandonment, it may be helpful to recognise that such feelings usually connect with the realisation in childhood that if your parents died, abandoned you, or you were left and felt abandoned you would not have the skills or maturity to obtain your own needs. Although, as an adult, you might now be capable of gaining your needs, such powerful feelings of helplessness, anxiety or sense of abandonment, can be stimulated by any situation reminiscent of the childhood situation that first called them into play. Therefore, it can help to carefully look at your life situation to see what changes are producing these feelings. You also need to decide whether there is real cause for fear, or whether you are suffering anxiety due to past experience.

During adolescence we move from youth to becoming a mature adult. This means learning in some measure to be independent of the work energy, the money and time given by parents. It means making your own decisions, earning your own keep and establishing yourself in the community and world in some way. Sometimes the break from parents is made by establishing a relationship. However it is achieved the change needs a level of heroism in many ways, and if you succeed the difficulties change and deepen you.

Adult love:

This means a growing sense of recognising the needs of your partner yet not denying your own.  It means the ability to be something for the partner’s sake without losing your own independence or will. It means becoming aware of the issues that colour or influence relationship, and meeting them as partners. Independence and closeness together. You become caring sexual partners through discovering each others needs and vulnerability. It is emerging from the dependence of parents and what they provided or failed to provide. That it is difficult is shown by the number or people who never manage it – never move from wanting to be handed food and money as a child does – never moves beyond being angry with others for not supplying their needs – never manage a love relationship with the opposite sex – or a love relator’s with anybody.

When we move beyond the processes of growth faced in adolescence we journey into adulthood, during which we face relationships, work, parenthood or creativity, with more independence. However, there is no age at which we can say we have arrived at adulthood. Sometimes elements of babyhood, childhood or adolescence have not been outgrown even in old age. Dreams sometimes illustrate this when we see ourselves in the dream with an adult head on a baby body. Or we have an adult body but the genitals of a child, and so on. But in general, in this period of our life we dream about the issues of relationship, of finding our own strength to deal with life creatively and satisfyingly. There is an attempt on the part of our dream process to release and deal with early traumas or situations that occurred and led to blocking or trapping our potential energy and creativity. Without this clearance much of our energy to express and achieve is tied up in the past, or in non productive habits. At this time too our dreams explore the challenges and difficulties we face in outer life.

Unfortunately meeting challenges with a reasonable amount of our potential means a real and honest self-assessment and meeting with areas of feeling that have not been healed in the past. As Freud so clearly pointed out, there is enormous resistance to this. It is much easier to explore the controlled world of lucid dreams, or see ones dreams in the light of inspiration rather than confrontation. Of course, dreams are all these things.

Useful questions:

What is the character, the strengths or weaknesses of this person and what part do they play in my life?

What is happening between this person and me, and how do I connect with that?

If I imagine myself as this person what do I feel or realise? (See Dream Visualisation for help with this.)

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved