Sleep – Dangers of

When Dreams Don’t Work the Way They Should. Well it happened that way for Kenneth James Park.

“Oh my God. I think I just killed two people,” Kenneth James Parks told  Toronto police officers. He had stumbled into their station, with blood  dripping from multiple deep wounds in his hands, just before 5 a.m. on May 24,  Police found his mother-in-law stabbed to death, and his father-in-law  bleeding profusely, alive but unconscious, in their home a block away.

Parks’ hands were so severely cut that police had to stop taking his statement  and drive him to a hospital when his confused state cleared enough for him to  begin to feel the pain. The surgeon who repaired the wounds called them  “defensive.” Police deduced that Parks had grappled with his mother-in-law for  control of the kitchen knife he had used to kill her.

At his trial, Parks claimed that he had gone to sleep in his own home, 14  miles away and awakened only after the murder. He had no memory of driving to  his in-laws home or of the event itself. One of two sleep specialists who interviewed Parks and helped prepare his defence concluded that he had been sleepwalking and in a confused state at the time. They thought it was the  only reasonable diagnosis. There was no explanation. The jury judged him not guilty by reason of sleepwalking and acquitted him.

Parks’ case is an extreme example of what happens when the dream system fails.

The line between sleeping and waking blurs. The sleeper is propelled from bed  – pulled, it seems, by some strong sense of being threatened. He is partly  awake, partly asleep. He often acts violently and without conscious thought.

Our appreciation for how dreams serves to maintain emotional equilibrium in our  lives come in part from seeing what happens when dreams don’t work the way  they should.  See Reptilian Brain

Dreams are very literal. They portray in a seemingly real life event what we may be doing in a mental or emotional way. If someone is tortured by having their body injured we can all see it and respond. But if someone is tortured emotionally or mentally the wounds might not show. In our dreams however the abstract is made real. When we are wounded we dream of having a knife thrust in us. When we are sickened by what someone said or did to us we dream of vomiting. When we kill our love or creativity we dream of murder. The following dream is typical:

I dreamt my wife – a dream wife – had left me. In the middle of the night she came back to the house. I was so angry I murdered her. Because the children were with her and witnessed the murder I killed them also and buried them under the floor of the house – Ben.

Sean had this dream – and others like it – when his wife, Jennie, began the menopause. Jennie had withdrawn from any sexual or emotional contact with Sean to such an extent he felt he was living in the house with a lodger rather than his wife. But Sean had not admitted to himself the extent of his feelings. This is why the bodies were buried – out of awareness. The children represented all the areas of growth and diversity that had been present in the relationship that Sean had killed. He had in fact decided not to reach out to his wife while she consistently remained withdrawn from him. So Sean had not killed his wife or children, but murdered his own feelings for Jennie.

The murder is not just of love and contact, it can also be the murdering of yourself that includes killing sexual feelings, killing self-respect or murdering your creativity. In many cases it may not be that you kill yourself, but that something in you is killed by your relationship with a parent or loved one.

sleep disorders See: science and sleep and dreams; : sleep; sleep apnea; sleep dangers; movements during sleep; sleep – need for; rocking during sleep.

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