All about the mind

Tell me your dreams

And I’ll tell you what they mean.

Not!

Thanks to Freud, most of us think our dreams mean something. That they reflect our deepest, most unconscious desires. Freud tended to focus on our repressed sexual urges being depicted in our dreams. For instance, I still remember this example from my introductory psych book where a woman had a dream about a train entering a tunnel (read what you want into that…interpret it on your own Freudian-style or otherwise).

I don’t get it though. There isn’t much research out there to provide evidence that this is what dreams are for everyone. Don’t we have dreams about day-to-day stuff? Or dreams about people we encountered during the day? Or even people we may think about but forget? Where is the sexual connotation for all that?

I sometimes have people asking me to interpret their dream and time and again I find myself wanting to bang my head against a wall and scream at Freud. I tell them it doesn’t mean anything in particular. When you have a dream about a train entering a tunnel it’s just that — a train entering a tunnel. On the other hand, if you have a dream you are having sex with someone — then it’s a sexual dream. (Makes you wonder why Freud never looked at things in such a simplistic way!)

But do these people believe me? I think not.

I think the lure or the fantasy that a dream may reflect something or have some hidden meaning is much better than the harsh truth that for a majority of us, it’s nothing.

I remember looking at a book on interpreting dreams due to this recurring dream of mine (for fun, I swear!!! It’s like how I look at my horoscope). Anyway, I tend to have this dream quite often and since I was a teenager or even younger:

In my dream, my teeth fall out. And not just all popping out but they crack and crumble and they break and they have chips and then they start falling out one by one. I can feel the saliva, the blood and the gums. And I wake up to find that all my teeth are intact. I’m not doing anything as such in the dream — not that I can recollect anyway. Most importantly, the whole thing always feels real and I wake up checking whether they are okay.

The book that I looked at to ‘interpret my dream’ had a couple of things to say: I fear getting older apparently, I fear the death of a loved one, and of course, there was some sexual connotation which I cannot remember right now (fear or sex or something…).

Would someone please explain why a 12 year old would fear getting older?

Re fearing the death of a loved one — it’s a fear I’ve had all my life, but, I do have nightmares of loved ones actually dying — wouldn’t that be a better representation compared to teeth falling out?

Fear of sex — I doubt it. Not a prude so don’t think I actually fear it.

Couldn’t it just be that I probably like my teeth and having them fall out is not good? Or that I’m stressed?

Who knows?

I do wonder what Freud would have said, especially given that he assumed all women were neurotic and everything was related to sex or aggression.

It may just have been interesting!

Until next time,

Cheers!

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  • Reply
    Reema
    March 31, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    love the new theme. I never liked the black background.

  • Reply
    Kartikey
    March 31, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Freud said that all women were neurotic… it’s how they had been defined by the society.

    As a twelve year old, you may have come to know about death and its significance. Or you may have not understood it fully. Hence the act of the sub-conscious; an outlet of unknown knowledge.

    As for Freud, the patients he got were not the modern day progressive types. He would have inferred differently had Monica Bellucci and Salma Hayek gone to him. The women he examined–most of them–were struggling with a sense of identity.

    As for people asking you about interpretation of their dreams… do it. Have fun.

    Mother: I fear that my handsome and extremely good-looking and talented son is going to fall form a mountain.

    You: Well, that’s a very dangerous dream. Ask him to come and meet me. We need to spend some time together.

  • Reply
    Footloose
    April 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I loved this post. Well thought out and composed. I’ve heard about Freud’s dream theories but never bothered reading more because I just don’t believe that everything has a sexual connotation.
    It’s coincidental that you wrote on the topic of dreams because last week was really strange for me. I don’t usually dream much or perhaps I don’t remember them, but the whole week before I moved apartments, I had weird dreams every single night. They weren’t funny/creepy/violent/sad/nostalgic/happy – nope, none of that. Just weird. I think it was a result of stress and the fact that my apartment was an absolute mess in a semi-packed state. I even wondered if I was a wee bit scared of living alone. One thing I’m sure of, none of those could’ve had sexual meanings because sex was probably the last thing on my mind then! 😉
    Oh, and the dreams ended as soon as I moved!

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    April 4, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    @ Reema: Thanks (I think) 😛

    @ Kartikey: It’d definitely be fun to mess with people’s minds… (laughs evil laugh) 😛

    @ Footloose: Thanks! And I know what you mean…there’s times we just get weird dreams and they don’t have to mean anything!!

  • Reply
    Joel
    April 6, 2009 at 5:28 am

    hehe .. wow .. every dream is about sex .. thats new to me … 😀 . troubling coz most of the dreams i have involves people i know in places they shouldnt be with some science fiction thrown in. 😀 .. usually it takes the form of the tv series or the movie i watched before going to sleep (its become a habit with my 3 years of staying by my own .. cant cant fall asleep with out watching something ! )

    i have read a bit of the subject and i like the geeky version better .. some research suggests that dreams are a way for our brains to reorganize information that it has taken in during the day … and we do take in a lot .. sorting through out day .. and making sense of the world .. kinda makes sense when u think about it cause .. the brain shuts down all non vital functions from the neck down when ur in dream state .. one to help up not act out our dreams .. and two so that the brain can use the processing power it now has at its disposal, since it isn’t controlling trivial things , to make sense of what happened during the day. .. its pretty amazing that we can store and analyze so much of that information. they say that its form of consolidating memories and a core part of human learning .. kinda also makes sense why everyone keeps tellin me i should sleep more .. :|..plus its a known fact that almost all warm blooded animals dream .. if u don’t believe me search youtube for the sleep walking dog :d .. hehe .. surely the poor puppy aint just thinking of ahem .. finding a bitch .. !

    so in my opinion dreams are just our brains advanced defragmentaion mechanism .. just like our pcs need it from time to time .. only that ours is more fun or scary .. depending on the what dreams u have been having ..

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    April 7, 2009 at 2:08 am

    @ Joel: I’m all for the geeky version. At least it makes more sense scienfically speaking. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of psychologists out there that believe in dream interpretation…maybe not always sexual like Freud but still interpretive rather than taking it at face value.

  • Reply
    legallyalien
    June 2, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Okay! OMG OMG OMG OMG! Are you sure you’re not in my head or something????
    YOU CANNOT BE HAVING THE SAME RECURRING DREAM AS ME?!!!!!
    I have never met anyone who has this dream and people laugh at me when I tell them my recurring dream is about my teeth.
    I’m a bit agnostic when it comes to dreams so I’m not sure if they mean anything or not but I read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and I don’t believe every dream is about a repressed sexual desire. Not possible. But sometimes I still think it could mean something. I’ve been having this dream for years and I do have teeth problems and find these dreams become more regular when my teeth start giving trouble so I’ve just assumed my dreams are because of this.
    But, the fact that you have the same dreams is just amazing! I think I will obsess over this now.

  • Reply
    Psych Babbler
    June 2, 2009 at 5:52 am

    @ legallyalien: You’re kidding! I’ve never met anyone either with the same dream and have experienced the same as you when I tell others. I wouldn’t doubt that your dreams are because of your teeth giving you trouble.

  • Reply
    Catatonic Kid
    September 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Dreaming about your teeth falling out is very common in a certain segment of the population who grind their teeth and/or have considerable jaw tension (whether it be prolonged or acute from dental work).

    I’ve had the same dream — bit of both in my case.

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