(Disclaimer: this is purely my theory and experience and is not based on anything I recall learning around dream work. Take it all with a grain of salt. Unless I cite it, it’s purely my opinion)
What is it about dreams and nightmares that can con us into believing that they are fact?
Several weeks ago, a man killed his girlfriend because he dreamt she was cheating on him. He had no other evidence, but he believed his dream and killed her later that day.
Recently, I’ve spoken to two people who expressed deep disappointments with relationships based on dream content. Some were ready to alter the relationship solely based on the dream (which happened to be contradicted by real events, but for some reason the dream held more weight).
While I agree dreams can be very powerful (and nightmares more so), I believe they are just am alternate way to process thoughts, emotions,  and events. They are purely a construct of our brains. When we dream of a person we experience as caring and loving in life doing uncaring things in the dream, it’s often a manifestation of our fears around that person becoming uncaring. It does not mean they actually did or would do those uncaring things.  Yes, there are times we are not consciously able to put together cues around a situation and we may dream of a scenario that allows things to finally fall into understanding, but that again is simply something our brain came up with to help get to a point of conscious understanding…
I wish I could remember any of my own dreams at the moment. I know I’ve had many that took me a hot second to realize were simply dreams, but then I was able to get something out of them. I know there are many recurring nightmares… Oh, ok.  Take the Jurassic Park nightmare I had often as a kid. T-rex would be loose in our area, and I would try to hide. No matter where I went, he always found me. He would pass by others, break buildings, get under or around things, and intimately find me. It didn’t matter that I stayed really still and quiet, that I hid deep in a basement or under piles of rubble that I could just barely squeeze under, he always found me and would go to eat me (I always woke up just before he bit down). Any family or friends that were with me at the beginning of the dream would scatter and I would always end up alone…
As a kid, this nightmare terrified me (ok, let me be honest, it still does on the rare occasions I have it as an adult). The people I cared about and the people who supposedly cared about me always left me behind to fend for myself and ultimately be eaten. If I were to take this dream as a real abandonment and act on it accordingly, I would be totally alone in life. A more accurate interpretation of the dream would be that it depicts a fearful situation in which I felt alone. My kid brain couldn’t really make sense of the fear i felt at the times my parents would fight and my dad would lash out at everyone and everything, then come find me in his fury either for his own comfort (he was still angry and needed to continue venting that anger and try to find an ally, though I was terrified of him and did not want that role), or to be able to continue his rage on someone (had I dared try to defend whomever he was raging at, or to beg him to stop, he would then need to put me in my place). It came up with a way to express that fear in the form of something easier to talk about:a huge, scary dinosaur. I wouldn’t get in trouble for talking to “outsiders” about how scary it was when T-Rex came to eat me, but I would get in lots of trouble for mentioning that anything at home was less-than-prefect.
The dreams of Skeletor threatening to kill me if I cried when I was hurt or if I tools anyone of being hurt was my kid brain’s way of expressing the fear around the abusive situations and the mandate that they remain secret…

Or brains are really good at both hiding things from us, and at telling us things in ways we will understand. They’re effective at communicating in alternate ways. They come up with elaborate analogies and stories to either get us to realize something, or to give us a safe way to express things we cannot otherwise communicate… but what allows some of us to blur the understanding that a dream is just our construct, and turn it into reality?


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