Punishment Torture

Depicts the internal pain, or fear of retribution, that occurs inside us due to conflict between our social training and internal drives. The more rigidly moral we are, the more Hell and punishment we dream about; a means of allaying guilt out of childhood feelings of responsibility for such things as being unloved by parent (we must have done something awful or be awful), death of parent, abused by adult. See: hell.

We have to remember also that not so long ago historically torture was a common part of everyday life. It was used in all manner of ways to force people into slavery, obedience or confession. Millions died in this way, and we still carry the racial memory of it inside us – either as tortured or torturer.

Some dreams illustrate self punishment or self harm. This can arise out of guilt or holding back of your own natural feelings which then turn back on you and express in dreams as forms of torture or punishment. Sometimes we cannot recognize our own natural or instinctive urges and punish or even torture ourselves. This shown in dreams as trying to kill the animals in our dream. The urges in you that are natural but are judged to be anti social or bad, might need to be helped into modern life or transformed in some way, not killed out, maimed or tortured.

A man with problems he associates with his mother may torture or injure his woman partner because he unconsciously wants to hit back and hurt her.

Stanislav Grof, in observing the experiences of many people facing the agonies of their birth during therapy noticed the imagery that often arose was of being in hell tortured by the devil. When these same patients moved toward pleasure, the images became heavenly or cosmic.

The struggle with and fear of ones own natural drives – the resistances to change and wholeness – is often the fundamental pain of life in birth and the after effects in adult life that produce images and feelings of torture. We all have an underbelly of human life; this is often exposed by difficult circumstances of ones life and can reveal what is hurtful or torturous.

Male control over women was often done by physical punishment, and often linked with sexual pleasure, or the oppression and authority of the ruling classes or the punitive minions of the state.

Looking for evident themes of self punishment we can see such dreams as – ‘I was waiting for my friends all night but they never turned up’ – ‘My fiancé married somebody else.’ Such self punishing themes occurred with greater frequency in depressives people’s dreams. These themes can be changed by recognising that depression is partly a set of habitual responses that can be changed. Try imagining each dream reaching a more satisfying conclusion.

 Example: I kept saying, “I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t.” This was expressive of a sense that the pain inflicted to my face (nose) during the operation, must be because I had done something wrong. I could see that I associated inflicted pain with the punishment a parent gives because of some “bad” action. I could not understand why the pain had been inflicted on me. Also, I felt that religion itself was a projection out of the unconscious, from such fundamental premises. In other words, inflicted pain equals punishment. Pain equals God’s punishment.


Useful questions or hints:

Was I receiving or giving punishment?

What sort of punishment or torture was shown in the dream?

What feelings were experienced in the dream?

See KarmaMartial Art of the MindAvoid Being VictimsSecrets of Power Dreaming

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