Family and family relationships

Family represent values, attitudes and emotional or social responses we have absorbed from our family; the acceptance or tensions we feel in relationship with family contact; the support or pain we feel from parents and siblings.

When you think about your family or any member of it,  you are only taking in your thoughts, impressions and feelings about them. So many people do not realise that they have an inner family equally as powerful as the external person you know. You have taken in millions of bits of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by meeting or living with them, and they change you and make you the person you are. The memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or family. Such an inner family or member can appear in dreams because you still carry the memories or impressions of them, and so they influenced what you hold within you.

Even if that family is damaged and hurt we are still a part of it. It still satisfies us and our need for connection. As blasted and tormented as our family life may be, that is a whole family. Our attempts to make that good are our spiritual life. Our attempts to make that good or to contribute towards it in some way, also are our spiritual life. It is an initiation as an individual person into the fact that ones life is a part of a larger life and a larger community.

From our family we learn most of the positive and negative patterns of relationship and attitudes towards living, which we carry into daily events. Father’s uncertainty in dealing with people, or his anxiety in meeting change, may be the roots of our own difficulties in those areas. If our mother is unable to develop a feeling contact with us, we will lack the experience of being able to love unless we learn it in other relationships.

Example: They curse and cry until all their disillusionment and rage and heartbreak is dispelled. But then finally they see their parents as they really were.  One patient looked back at her domineering neurotic mother and for an instant she saw her surrounded by all her flaws and all her virtues. And for the first time she found forgiveness and understanding for the flaws, and gratitude for the virtues. Her mother was not a goddess, not even a very good mother, but she was the woman who had borne and nourished her. Without denying the pain she had suffered at her mother’s hands, the patient could now say, “Yes, that woman is really my mother, and I am really her daughter.” And in accepting this reality which neither she nor anyone else could change, she discovered an almost mystical joy. Then she looked at her incompetent, rather befuddled father and thought, “This is my father; I shall never have another,” and again the radiant warmth and gratitude surrounded her. For the first time, her psyche, done with its wandering to the far lands of illusion and denial, had come home to accept the real terms of its existence, and had found peace in them. Quoted from LSD Psychotherapy by Caldwell.

Our maturing process calls us to in some way meet and integrate our childhood desire, which includes sexual desire, for our parent of the opposite sex, and rivalry mingled with dependence, with parent of the same sex. Even a missing parent, the mother or father who died or left, is a potent figure internally. An absence of a father or mother’s love or presence can be as traumatic as any powerfully injuring event. Our parents in our dreams are an image, full of power and feeling, of the formative forces and experiences that created our identity. They are the ground, the soil, the bloody carnage, out of which our sense of self emerged. But our identity cannot gain any real independence while still dominated by these internal forces of our creation. Heraclitus said we cannot swim in the same river twice. Attempting to repeat or compete with the virtues of a parent is a misapprehension of the true nature of our own personality. See: individuation.

family group: This indicates the whole background of experience which makes up our values and views. This background is made of thousands of different obvious and subtle things such as social status; amount of books in the home; how parents feel about themselves; how they relate to life outside the family; whether dominant roles are encouraged; what nationality parents are; what unconscious social attitudes surround the family i.e. the master and servant, or dominating employer and subservient employee roles which typified England at the turn of the century. All these things still colour many attitudes we carry in us perhaps unconsciously.

Simply put: Our internal ‘family’ of urges and values; the overall feeling tone of our family life – security, domination, whatever it was; the unconscious coping patterns of the family.

Parents together in dream: Our general wisdom; background of information and experience from which we make important decisions or gain intuitive insights – negative or positive. Parents also depict the rules and often irrational disciplinary codes we learned as a child which still speak to us from within, and perhaps pass on to our own children without reassessment. These include everything from DON’T SPEAK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL to MASTURBATION WILL KILL YOU.

Hurting, burying or killing parent: In the example below Audrey’s height shows her as a child. She is releasing anger about the attitudes and situations her father forced ‘down her throat’. To be free of the introverted restraints and ready made values gathered from our parents, at some time in our growth we may kill or bury them in our dreams. Although some people are shocked by such dreams, they are healthy signs of emerging independence. Old myths of killing the chief so the tribe can have a new leader, depict this process. When father or mother is ‘dead’ in our dream, we can inherit all the power gained from whatever was positive in the relationship.

Seeing parent drunk, incapable or foolish: Another means of gaining independence from internalised values, or stultifying drives to ‘honour’ or admire father or mother.

Dead parent in dream: Either the beginning of independence from parent; repression of the emotions they engendered in us. It can be our emotions regarding our parent’s death. To see them dead faces you with being without them, something you need to do at some time in your growth toward independence. Facing feelings about death. See: dead people.

Example: ‘My father was giving me and another woman some medicine. Something was being forced on us. I started to hit and punch him in the genitals and when he was facing the other way, in the backside. I seemed to be just the right height to do this and I had a very angry feeling that I wanted to hurt him as he had hurt me.’ Audrey V.

Sometimes a dream about our family is a literal statement in symbols, of what we sense is happening in the family.

Example: I was on a train with my family – wife, and two daughters. The train was derailed but nobody was hurt and we got off the train. I was walking in a field near the train. I thought my wife and daughters had got back on the train. Then suddenly another train smashed into the rear of the derailed train making it concertina into a heap. I wasn’t sure if my family were still on the train.’

Roger associated the theme of derailing with a change in direction – the change that was coming about through his children becoming independent. Some months later his wife and daughters left him. Divorce followed.

Father dad daddy General positive: Your father is often the authority in your early life, and may represent this influence or power in you as an adult. He also depicts the ability to be productive in the external workaday world. Depending upon what level of relationship you have developed with him, your dream father is the power of creative life in you, the power to do, to create, to transform; the power in you to grow and unfold your potential. It has to be remembered that the dream father is not an image of your external father, but of what you carry of him inside you; what you have managed to develop of a working relationship with the power he represents. So you may, because of difficulties with your external father, be in conflict with your internal father, and so be lacking your full power to transform and create.

The dream father may depict family or social conventions along with physical strength and protectiveness; the will to be and to do, and so your outgoing energies. As such he represent your confidence as you go out the door of your home into the arena of public life. A poor relationship with your external or internal father leaves you somewhat crippled in that area. But by working with your dreams on your relationship with your internal father this can be changed. See: using symbols to change habitual life problems; working with dreams.

Father General negative: Introverted aggression; dominance by fear of other people’s authority; uncaring sexual drive; feelings of not being loved, inability to be creative in the world, in your outer activity. See: archetype of father; man.

Dad’s Curse and Mum’s Curse:

mother She depicts all that you have grown from and inherit in the way of what you express or deny in yourself. She is the problems and strength you have or face in life, so, your fate or karma.

General positive: Feelings; being given to, looked after, and fed; protection; feelings of dependence; ability in relationships; uniting spirit of family; how we relate to feelings in a relationship; strength to give of self and nurture; intuition.

General negative: Will based on irrational likes and dislikes; opinion generated by anxiety or jealousy; domination by emotions; lack of bonding; misery and pain resulting from the bad relationship with mother or the psychological injuries she promoted.

Each of us have a fundamental, perhaps instinctive, drive to bond with a woman at birth. This has generated from millions of years of survival strategy. If that bonding does not take place, much of what would have been natural unfoldment and growth, cannot, or does not, take place. So mother sometimes represents this whole difficult issue of survival and what happened in those early years of trying to become independent of such extraordinary needs.

Explaining something to mother: In our relationship with our parents we unconsciously absorb an enormous amount of ethical and social ways of responding to life and people. So the dream explanation might be a way of trying to move beyond one of the conditioned influences. This is shown in the example.

Example: I dreamt I was in the house in London talking with my mother. At first there was an overall feeling of not being good enough. I think this surrounded the fact that I had been sitting around reading, and not apparently working. This is in fact what I have been doing the last few days, and in my waking life it has been very refreshing. But in the dream I was trying to explain to my mother that this was not being lazy or good for nothing. That day, Friday, I had done fairly well on the stock market. On one of the sales, with a small investment, I had earned £80/ $160. In the dream I told this to my mother, and began to feel more positive.  Des.

Des has obviously been raised in a family environment in which hard work in a physically active way is seen to be a mark of character, and being unproductive a mark of laziness. In his dream he is dealing with the inner impulse to judge himself as lazy that arises from his upbringing. See: archetype of the great mother; woman.

Whether brother, sister, daughter or son, the most general use in our dreams is to depict an aspect of ourselves! It is almost universal to believe with great conviction that our dream is about the person in our dream. A mother seeing a son die in her dream often goes through great anxiety because there lurks in her a sense of it being a precognitive dream. Virtually everyone at some time dreams about members of close family dying or being killed. Lots of mother’s dream this and their children live till eighty. But occasionally children do die. Is the dream then precognitive, or is it coincidental? See Characters and People in Dreams

Example: ‘I was walking along a rather dusty track carrying my younger son who would be around 10 months old and I was feeling rather tired. Suddenly I met a man who stopped to talk to me and commented I looked rather weary carrying the baby. He said, come with me and look over this wall and you will see such a sight that will gladden your heart. By standing on tiptoe I could just see over the wall and the sight I beheld took my breath away, it was so beautiful.’ E.

Here J son depicts the weight of responsibility she feels. The beauty is her own resources of strength in motherhood.

Example: ‘I have just given birth to twins and they lay on the floor. We started to care for them. My mother took them to the Doctor for his advice while I went to see my married sister who has two children. I met them there with the twins so that my sister could give her opinion on the babies. She had recent experience of childbirth and could tell us if the babies were good specimens.’ Miss E.

Miss E. has no children of her own, so she is uncertain of her own capacity to have and raise them. The mother depicts her own mothering abilities, which seek confidence from an authority figure. Her sister is her own nearest experience of childbirth. So out of what she has learned from observing her sister, she is assessing her own qualities.

Most often the family member depicts the qualities in ourselves which we feel are part of the character of the person dreamt of. So the passionate one in the family would depict our passions; the intellectual one our own mind; the anxious one our hesitations. Having done this, can you observe what the dream depicts? For Miss E. it would be questions regarding motherhood.

Example: ‘My daughter told me the only positive part of my work in a helping profession was with a woman who had turned from it to religion. There followed a long and powerful interchange in which I said she had as yet no mind of her own. She was dominated by her mother’s anxiety, and the medical rationalism of her training. When she had dared to step beyond her own anxieties to integrate the lessons of her own life, then I would listen again.’ Desmond S.

Desmond was divorced and struggling with his own pain and guilt about leaving his daughter while still a teenager. His daughter depicts this conflict between his feelings and his rational self.

ancestors The intricate web of cultural and family influences, physically and psychologically, that your body and personality arose from. If it is a particular ancestor, then the personal associations with that person need to be explored. For instance an uncle may have been renowned for womanising, so would represent that tendency.

Ancestors can also link with deeply buried tendencies we have unconsciously inherited from the long past. Sometimes they point to the karma we are dealing with – the difficulties or traits that arise in our life, that we cannot honestly see have been developed or collected in this lifetime.

Example: While on a post-doctoral fellowship, I had the opportunity to study the dreams of families in therapy. To my surprise, we discovered that recurrent patterns of interaction and behavior are reflected in the dreams of each family member. This was especially true when the family was going through a crisis or some intense situation.

We noted the simple fact that families are often living in the same place, including the same house and rooms for decades and sometimes for generations. They are often in similar sleep and dream cycles at the same time of the night. Certain coordinating tendencies could be seen. It became very clear to us that the major emotional issues in the family were each reflected in slightly different ways in each family member’s inner landscape. In a certain sense, each family member’s dream life reflected the dream life of each other family member. Edward Bruce Taub-Bynum, Ph.D

Any seed we plant doesn’t grow completely new, it doesn’t start from the beginning again but from the millions of years of the plants existence. So the seed is a sort of summary of the plants whole history. And the tree or plant that grows from a seed is a summary of the whole history of it, but it would feel unique and new if it were conscious. In fact it is new, but it carries within it the whole experience of its past, and will pass this on to seeds it produces. Obviously if you were a seed and planted you would feel you are completely new and unique; so it is with us humans, we carry our whole past within us unconsciously. And we touch that unconscious history if we are open to it. See: dweller on the threshold.

aunt To some extent an aunt is a role model. We gather from their success or failure strategies for our own life. Whatever feelings we have about them, whatever we think of them, the dream will use this to illustrate something for you. So consider how you would describe your aunt, what sort of person she is, and how you feel about her. The dream will be using her image to illustrate the role you see her in. If she is a success, ask yourself what in yourself you are facing regarding success. If you feel she is a failure, ask yourself what of your own feelings about failure you are facing.

boy See boy

brother Oneself, or the denied part of self, meeting whatever is met in the dream. These may include rivalry, anger, feelings of persecution, love and admiration, authority, or an outgoing ability to deal with the world.

If you don’t have a brother, it most likely depicts an aspect of your personality illustrated by the dream character, or your male characteristics.

In woman’s dream – younger brother: Outgoing but vulnerable self; rivalry.

Older brother: Authority; one’s capable outgoing self; or feelings of persecution.

In man’s dream – if younger brother: Vulnerable feelings; oneself at that age. See: boy; man.

Idioms: Big brother; brothers in arms; blood brother.

cousin Probably represents your opinions or feelings about that person. See Characters and People in Dreams

Cousins are often an easy way to try out sex or love with, as in the examples. This is because we have often shared a lot of time with them, they are family and we feel easy with them.

Example: It came to me how badly I had wanted my cousin Sylvia sexually when I was a teenager. Yet I could not but feel guilty about my desire, for being a cousin. But the guilt was easily relinquished, and I saw myself as I had so badly wanted, going in that little patch of hair. I got a lot of sexual pleasure out of the experience, and it passed. Something interesting I learned from it was that the taboos in regard to the family are built into us, even to the point of me not even allowing a fantasy for all those years.

Example: Down a steep hill. In a house. I had to give a man (cousin Abner or Nate) a shot. A two-pronged needle with red liquid. I know it will hurt him. I didn’t want to but I had to. He yelled in pain. He turned on the bed, writhed around, and threw himself around. I snuck up and finished the dosage. He yelled in mock anger. He grabbed me. We tumbled to the floor. He started to make love, wildly, lovingly. Later at the table, an ugly woman with horrible eyes, glazed, hazy, and blue, came in. Said to him, “So there’s the louse.” I gave her a straight look. I said, “Just leave him alone!” Anger. She steadily looked at me. Another woman, possibly my mother watched the tense scene.

Of course it could go the other way of feeling hatred, not love.

Example: I was a soft crab, under a stone on the sea-shore. With infinite starvation, and struggling, and kicking, I had got rid of my armour, shield by shield, and joint by joint, and cowered naked and pitiable, in the dark, among dead shells and ooze. Suddenly the stone was turned up; and there was my cousin’s hated face laughing at me, and pointing me out to Lillian. She laughed too, as I looked up, sneaking, ashamed, and defenceless, and squared up at him with my soft useless claws. Charles Kingsley – from Alton Locke, 1850.

Being with or following a cousin can mean you identify with the way they are and are copying or learning their style. We all are actually all the time learning from or absorbing things form other people or even animals – that is how we learn and grow.

Dreaming of a dead cousin can be an actual communication with them. In which case see Dreaming of Death. But it can be a way of showing an aspect of you, symbolised by your cousin. As already mentioned see Characters and People in Dreams.

Useful Questions and Hints:

What was my last interaction with my cousin, and what feelings or attitudes do I have about that?

Do I have sexual feelings about this cousin, and if so how do I handle them?

What is the character, strengths and weaknesses of this cousin, and how do they apply to me?

See The Dream as a CodeEmotions and Mood in DreamsTechniques for Exploring your Dreams

daughter One’s relationship with the daughter. The daughter, or son, can represent what happens in a marriage between husband and wife. The child is what has arisen from the bonding, however momentary, of two people. In dreams the child therefore is sometimes used to depict how the relationship is faring. So a sick daughter might show the feelings in the relationship being ‘ill’.

In a mother’s dream: Often feelings of support or companionship; feelings of not being alone in the area of emotional bonds; or one’s feeling area. Responsibility; the ties of parenthood or oneself at that age. Your own youthful urges, difficulties, hurts, which may still be operative.

A comparison. The mother might see the daughter’s youth, opportunity, and have feelings about that. So the daughter may represent her sense of lost opportunity and youth – even envy; competition in getting the desire of a man.

In a father’s dream: The state of the marriage. One’s feeling self; the feelings or difficulties about the relationship with daughter; the struggles one’s own feeling self goes through to mature. How the sexual feelings are dealt with in a family situation – occurs especially when she starts courting. Can represent ones sister; parental responsibility; one’s wife when younger.

Someone else’s daughter: Feelings about one’s own daughter or feelings about younger women.

Death of daughter: This can sometimes suggest you are losing your daughter because she is becoming independent. But it can signify feelings of great loss, or the end of something such as a relationship.

Example: ‘I am standing outside a supermarket with heavy bags wearing my Mac, though the sun is warm. My daughter and two friends are playing music and everyone stops to listen. I start to write a song for them, but they pack up and go on a bus whilst I am still writing. I am left alone at the bus stop with my heavy burden of shopping, feeling incredibly unwanted.’ Mrs F.

Such dreams of the daughter becoming independent can occur as soon as the child starts school, persisting until the mother finds a new attitude. See: child; woman.

girl See girl


grandparents Personal feelings connected with the grandparent; family traditions, such as established values or unconscious attitudes; spiritual values; old age; death.

The grandparent can also represent what you have come to know, what you have built into you of the divine spark of life, the radiant potential that is at your core. So you might say that the grandparent is the divine or infinite you know because of what you have drawn out of the infinite possibilities of everyday life.

husband Depicts how you see the relationship with your husband; your relationship with your sexuality; sexual and emotional desire and pleasure; how you relate to intimacy in body, mind and spirit or habits of relationship developed with one’s father.

Example: ‘My recurring dream – some disaster is happening. I try to contact the police or my husband. Can never contact either. I try ringing 999 again and again and can feel terror, and sometimes dreadful anger or complete panic. I cry, I scream and shout and never get through! Recently I have stopped trying to contact my husband. I managed once to reach him but he said he was too busy and I would have to deal with it myself. I woke in a furious temper with him and kicked him while he was still asleep.’ Mrs G. S.

The husband here depicts Mrs S’s feelings of not being able to ‘get through’ to her man. This is a common female dream theme, possibly arising from the husband not daring to express emotion or meet his partner with his own feelings. For Mrs S. this is an emergency. Although the dream dramatises it, there is still real frustration, anger, and a break in marital communications.

Cannot find husband or husband dying: Many middle aged women dream of ‘losing’ their husband while out with him, perhaps shopping, or walking in a town somewhere. Sometimes the dream portrays him actually killed. Mrs A. D. wonders if her dream was a premonition. It is more likely a form of practising the loss, so it does not come as such a shock. The greatest shocks occur when we have never even considered the event – such as a young child losing it’s mother – an event it has never practised, not even in fantasy, so has no inbuilt shock absorbers. As most of us know, men tend to die before women, and this information is in the mind of middle aged married women. Mrs A. D. may have unconsciously observed slight changes in her husband’s body and behaviour, and therefore readied herself.

Example: ‘I dreamt many times I lost my husband, such as not being able to find the car park where he was waiting, and seeing him go off in the distance. I wake in a panic to find him next to me in bed. These dreams persisted, and then he died quite suddenly. He was perfectly healthy at the time of the dreams and I wonder if it was a premonition of me REALLY losing him.’ Mrs A. D.

Dead husband: Your memories and remaining emotions about your husband. Most people are often totally unaware of the experience they take in and how it interacts with them when we love someone. In other words the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with someone and they are what makes you the person you are. Your dreams tend to put all that in the image of the person when you are dealing with the influences left in you from the relationship.

The example below illustrates the ‘psychic’ meeting some women experience. In anything of an apparently psychic nature, we must ALWAYS remember the unconscious is the great dramatist. It can create the drama of a dream in moments. In doing so it makes our inner feelings into apparently real people and objects OUTSIDE OF US. While asleep we lightly dismiss this amazing process as ‘a dream’. When it happens while our eyes are open or we are near waking, for some reason we call it a ghost or psychic event. Yet the dream process is obviously capable of creating total body sensations, emotions, full visual impressions, vocalisation – what else is a dream? On the other hand, the dream process is not dealing in pointless imaginations. Many women tend to believe they have little sexual drive, so it is easier for G. L. to see her drive in the form of her husband. But of course, her husband may also depict how she felt about sex in connection with his ‘sexual appetites’. It is a general rule however, that our dream process will dramatise into a past life, or a ‘psychic’ experience, emotions linked with trauma, or sexual drive, which we find difficult to meet in the present.

Example: ‘My dead husband came into my bedroom and got into bed with me to make love to me. I was not afraid. But owing to his sexual appetites during my married life with him I was horrified, and resisted him with all my might. On waking I felt weak and exhausted. The last time he came to me I responded to him and he never came back again. This happened three times. The last time I don’t think it was a dream. I was not asleep. I think it was his ghost.’ G. L.

Other woman’s husband: One’s own husband; feelings about that man or desire for a non committed relationship with less responsibility.

Sex with husband: One can fairly safely say that our dreams are not so much about how the world and other people actually ARE, but rather how we see or passionately FEEL people or the world are. Of course our feelings and views may be very accurate, but one must always be aware of the variance between what one has created out of ones own inner life and vision, and how others people see themselves or events actually are.

Therefore the sexual dream at best is a wonderful indicator of how you, the dreamer, are feeling about your sexual and emotional relationship, or what one longs for, at the time of the dream. At worst it depicts all one fears might happen or be happening.

Example: I dreamt I was laying in bed with my husband. I felt a sexual attraction and flow, something I hadn’t felt for a while in our relationship. I reached out to him expressing this but there wasn’t any response from him. So I talked to him saying that I had reached out to him sexually and in his body response I had felt there was no attempt to meet me. He replied that in fact that was the situation as far as he was concerned – that he was indeed saying no. Jo K.


Jo and her husband had lived for a year without any sex at all prior to the time of this dream. This had not been an unhappy time. Far from it, they had achieved a lot of peace and warmth without tension. On talking about her dream with her husband, he felt that he wasn’t saying no to her sexually. Indeed, his stated reason for not reaching out to her was that for years it had always been him making the approach to her. This had led to his feeling he was imposing something on her and as this was unpleasant he had stopped any attempt at sexual relationship. So Jo’s dream was really about how she saw her husband rather than what was actually happening.

relatives Including uncle, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece etc. Usually an aspect of oneself relevant to the character of the person dreamt about. Sometimes represents one’s family traditions – unconscious attitudes, conventions, or even talents, which are part of the unique psychological and social environment a family provides. See Characters and People in Dreams

sister Feeling self, or the lesser expressed part of self; rival or feelings of kinship.

In man’s dream – younger sister: Vulnerable emotions; rival for love of parents.

Older sister: Capable feeling self.

In woman’s dream – younger sister: One’s experiences at that age; vulnerable feelings; rival for parents love.

Older sister: Capable feeling self; feelings of persecution.

See: girl; woman.

Idioms: Sisters under the skin.

son The condition of the marriage. Extroverted self; desires connected with self expression; feelings connected with son; parental responsibility.

Mothers dream: One’s ambitions or hopes for his potential. Hopes. State of your marriage – see first example below.

Father’s dream: Yourself at that age; what qualities you see in your son; your own possibilities; envy of youth and opportunities; rivalry.

Someone else’s son: Feelings about one’s own son; feelings about younger men.

If dreaming of dead son: see dead people.

Death of son: A mother often kills off her son in her dreams as she sees him make moves toward independence. This can happen from first day of school on. But the death of a son also signifies feelings of great loss, or the end of something, perhaps a relationship, or something that meant a great deal to you. See second example below. See: boy; man; first example in falling.

Example: ‘My wife and I were walking out in the countryside. I looked around suddenly and saw my four year old son near a hole. He fell in and I raced back. The hole was narrow but very deep. I could see water at the bottom but no sign of my son. I didn’t know whether I could leap down and save him or whether it was too narrow. Then somehow he was out. His heart was just beating.’ Richard H.

Richard had argued with his wife in such a way he feared the stability of their marriage. The son represents what they had created together – a child – a marriage. The marriage survived, as his dream self assessed it would.

Example: ‘I am on a very high bridge over an extremely wide and deep river with steep banks. My son does a double somersault over the railing and falls into the water. I think he is showing off. I am unable to save him. My son is eighteen and has started a Structural Engineering Course at University.’ Joyce H.

The showing-off suggests Joyce feels her son is doing daring things with his life, and the relationship in its old form is dying. It is about being able to let go of her son as he becomes independent – which she may face as early as play school. A daughter may not pose this problem as women often feel a daughter will remain a friend, whereas their son may find someone else to love. The dream is therefore a way of either feeling the shock or learning to make the break emotionally.

the triangle The example shows typical flow of feeling toward another male. The other male here depicts Joan’s desire to be attractive to other men. This is a danger signal unless one fully acknowledges the impulse.

Example: ‘ There were three of us. My husband, a male friend and I, all riding small white enamel bikes. My husband proceeded slowly, first, with his back to us. Then my friend followed. Suddenly my friend ahead of me turned and gazed fully at me. He gave a glorious smile which lit up the whole of his face. I felt a great sense of well being surge through me.’ Joan B.

uncle To some extent an uncle is a role model. From their success or failure you gather strategies for your own life. Whatever feelings you have about him, whatever you think of him, the dream will use this to illustrate something for you. So consider how you would describe your uncle, what sort of person he is, and how you feel about him. The dream will be using his image to illustrate the role you see him in. If he is a success, ask yourself what in yourself you are facing regarding success. If you feel he is a failure, ask yourself what of your own feelings about failure you are facing. See Characters and People in Dreams


widow See: widow.

wife Depicts how you see the relationship with your wife; your relationship with your sexuality; sexual and emotional desire and pleasure or how you relate to intimacy in body, mind and spirit. I could also indicate your feeling, intuitive nature or habits of relationship developed with one’s mother.

Example: ‘My wife was trying to get me out of her life, and out of the house. It was as if she were attempting to push me into a feeling of tension and rejection which would make me leave.’ David P.

Out of childhood experiences in which his mother repeatedly threatened to give him away, David was finding it difficult to emotionally commit himself to his wife. In the dream his wife represents these feelings, so he sees her – his anxiety and pain – pushing him to break up the marriage. David ‘broke up’ the relationship with his mother by breaking his emotional bond with her.

Example: ‘I was standing with my wife at the end of the garden of the house I lived in as a child. We were looking over the fence to the rising meadow beyond. She said, ‘Look at that bird in the tree there.’ On our right, in a small ash tree, an enormous owl perched. It was at least four feet high, the biggest bird I have ever seen. I recognised it in the dream as a greater hooded owl, which was not native to our country. I was so excited I ran into the house to telephone someone – zoo, police, newspapers? – to tell them about the bird. I cannot remember contacting anyone, but felt the bird was there in some way to meet me. Also it was hungry and looking at next door’s bantams. So I wondered what I could give it to eat.’ David P.

This shows the positive side of David’s relationship with his wife. The garden represents the behaviour boundaries which arose from his childhood. But he is growing – the garden – and looking beyond them through his marriage. The amazing bird is the deep feelings he touches because he has a mate like any other natural creature. Out of his mating he becomes aware of drives to build a home – nest – and give himself to his mate. These are natural and are a part of his unconscious or spiritual nature. The bird is a hooded owl which can see in the dark – the unconscious – meaning David is realising things he had never ‘seen’ before. The bird is masked, because David through loving is learning to put his ego aside, which is a necessity for touching the wider dimension of life or the unconscious. The hunger of the bird shows an intimate detail of what David has learned from his wife. She had been working as a waitress and bringing home pieces of chicken for him, saved from her own meal. The spiritual side of David wants to develop this quality of self-giving, which his wife’s love had helped him see.

Example: ‘I have been a widower since Jan. 1979, having married in Oct. 1941. I continually dream I am in London where my business was. I am walking the streets with my wife and suddenly I see her ahead of me in a yellow rain coat and hat. I call her and try to catch up, but suddenly she vanishes. In spite of calling and searching I cannot find her.’ Douglas G.

This is a common theme dreamt by widowers or widows – disappearance of spouse. Douglas has ‘lost’ his wife. His dream shows the paradox of love after death of partner. His love is still there years after her death. He is possibly still trying to love his wife as an externally real person, so his feelings can make no connection. To meet what actually remains of his wife, within himself, he would need to face his own internal grieving, emotions, and ALL THE FEELINGS, MEMORIES, ANGERS AND BEAUTY, which make up the living remains of his wife within him.

the first wife or ex wife This may be dealing with the things you met or learned in that relationship, but it can also represent a past way of life, something you have left behind or are leaving behind. The dreamer in the example below is now feeling easier about her husband’s first relationship. The first wife represents her sense of competing for her husband’s affections, even though his ‘first woman’ was dead.

Most people are often totally unaware of the experience they take in and how it interacts with them when we love someone. In other words the memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with someone and they are what makes you the person you are. Your dreams tend to put all that in the image of the past person when you are dealing with the influences left in you from the relationship.

Example: ‘I was with my husband and our three children. About two or three yards to our right stood my husbands first wife – she died about a year before I first met him. I remember feeling she no longer minded me being with him, so I put my arms around him from the back, and felt more secure and comfortable with him.’ Mrs N. S.

See: Brother; Father; Mother; Sister.


-Tijani 2017-07-11 4:21:21

I have a dream that my uncle was getting married to his niece who is my cousin. I tried to discourage them but he refused and I was crying. I woke up and met pool of tears. It happened today Tuesday between 3-4am pls help me

-Jamie Hess 2015-07-10 7:41:55

I had a dream I was taken away from my family… Please can someone explain!

-jennifer 2015-03-31 17:50:46

When I dream about being out of town with all my family and we go to a jail and my cousin says if i wanna see another cousin that has passed but we never got to see him I keep dreamin bout my cousin that has passed i wanna know what is hebtryin to tell me please reply back ASAP please its not the first time I dream bout him some what pls pls reply back

-Eigan 2015-02-27 2:48:06

I’m the eldest daughter in my family. I have one younger brother, but my dream was centered around someone who resembled a famous singer (in my parents’ home country) but called himself my older brother. It begins with my dad being hired as an MC for an outdoor concert of some sort and me tagging along. When I arrive, I am walking towards the stage outside and its rehearsal time for the singer on stage. Before I know it, i’m on the stage and clapping like crazy and the singer approaches me, calling out in familiarity. I’m confused at first but then it seems completely natural. The singer claims to be my oolder brother who is approximately 4 years older than me and even provides a short introduction of himself! He tells me he is in his third year of his Master’s degree in university and is pretty famous back home. For some reason I tell him that some of my friends are fans of his, and he is willing to meet and greet with them once the concert is over. We never get to see my friends since after the concert we go home to an old house I used to live in- but it’s much bigger than it actually is in my dream. My non-existent older brother is wearing similar pajamas to mine- handmade dresses from my grandmother, and we talk about how comfortable they are. When I ask him about why I’ve never met him before, I wake up. Not once in my dream did I remember my younger (real) brother showing up… I just really wanted to share this dream of mine… Of course, some feedback on what it could have possibly meant would also be greatly appreciated! ^-^

-Raju, India 2012-12-11 10:25:51

I had a dream around 2.40am that my 5yrs old son simply jumped from top floor (may be 3rd floor) to get a toy which has fallen. My sister and mother were also there. I have gone down with shouting and crying and woke up.

-betty anne 2011-06-11 0:35:56

This dream was very vivid that my brother was very concerned in my dream over my dad and that he wasn;t getting better
he had taken him to see a dr but he was not happy with the drs recommendations . So he asked me to talk to dad and I did exactly as I had always done through the process of his diagonosis i always talked to my father staright to his heart and always knelt by his side . MY brothers concern was that dad was swelling in the face and he was seeing him deteriorate this was so strange because my family were in denial until the night my dad passed away. I talked to my dad and he was insisting that he was fine but i told him Dad your not fine jim and i are concerned and we are very worried jim agrees that he wants me to take you to see the dr and that you need not be feeling youare alone . My dads been dead eight yrs and I had therapy to get over this two yr battle originaly with my dad he was supposed to live 3 to 6 months but it was two yrs
I had got dad in the dream to agree to go and I was carrying him when I woke up from the dream. This dream left me very confused as to why after 8 yrs this all had come back to me . Hope you can assit with this.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-06-16 13:10:50

    Betty-Anne – I wonder whether just prior to this dream you had been thinking or talking about your father. Something triggered the thoughts behind the dream. And it seems to me that it left you, the events with your father before his death and afterwards with a lot of difficult feelings that were unanswered – even after the therapy. Because the dream is an attempt to do what you wanted to do, get your father to the doctor. Therefore it seems the dream is a way of healing the feelings left in you from the past. That is why it is happening so late. Sometimes it takes years before we can meet such things.

    So it might help if you imagined the dream forward and got your father to where you were carrying him. See


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