Dreams: Window to the Soul or Emotional Torture?

Have you ever gotten angry with someone for something they did…in your dreams? I don’t mean getting mad while still dreaming, but actually waking up and looking at that person and genuinely wanting to punch them in the face for what your subconscious imagined them doing during your brain’s nightly firing of neurons?

She may look docile, but she's dreaming about using that toy spading fork to stab her enemies in the eyes.
She may look docile, but she’s dreaming about using that toy spading fork to stab her enemies in the eyes.

Humans can be extremely unreasonable creatures in a great number of circumstances, but I think this may possibly be the most unreasonable reaction possible. And yet, if you’re one of many people who have had this kind of dream and experienced the aftereffects, you understand exactly what I’m talking about. You wake up and you know that it was a dream, you know that it was just your stupid brain making up weird stories with no basis in truth or reality…but you still look at that person and your body fills up with rage and you have to seriously restrain yourself from making an ass of yourself by calling them out.

I have these kinds of dreams constantly, and it can be very exhausting. I suspect that it’s a very normal thing to experience conflict and upsetting situations in dreams, but that most people forget those conflicts by the time they’ve woken up. As someone who has always had very vivid and intricate dreams – and almost always remembers them upon waking – I have to actually deal with those conflicts and the unreasonable emotion they awaken.

For example, one night not too long ago, I was dreaming that my sister-in-law and I were shopping with our daughter’s in a large and complicated mall. Sis-in-law suggested that we should get the girls tattoos and I laughed, thinking it was a joke because the girls are only 3 and 4. But then, when I turned around, sis-in-law had disappeared with both girls. I went on a frantic search through the ridiculously busy and difficult-to-navigate mall until I eventually spotted them at the food court. I relaxed for a half a moment until I saw that my daughter – my 3-year-old daughter – now had a tattoo on the back of her hand. I woke up absolutely livid, even though I know damn well that my sis-in-law would never do something so idiotic.

The human brain is wonderful at tricking itself into believing in nonsense, and I think that’s part of the problem with these kinds of dreams. There have been studies that show that people can be – quite easily, in fact – tricked into “remembering” events from their childhood that never really happened, so long as they are given sufficient evidence (other people’s testimonies, for example) that the event did occur. It’s not a far stretch, then, that your own brain should be able to trick you into believing that something it made up really happened, at least long enough to set off all the hormones and emotional responses that would equate with such an event. Thus, you wind up with the typical stories, like grown adults flipping out on their spouses for any number of events that were completely fabricated within their own mind.

And while I know that it’s entirely unreasonable to act on the emotion you took away with you from dreamland, I can’t really blame the people who do because, let’s face it…your sleeping brain can be a complete asshole sometimes. For example, I am in a completely happy monogamous relationship with my husband. I trust him, and he (I assume) trusts me, and we love each other very much. And yet, on a fairly regular basis, my brain will have me dreaming about him being unfaithful in some way. I have woken up from dreams feeling like my heart just got ripped out, and I have woken up from dreams certain that I was going to break his face while he was still sleeping. Luckily I’m a (moderately) reasonable person who knows the difference between dreams and reality, but that doesn’t make the emotions that follow such a dream any less real. Eventually, when the fallout wears off and I’m able to take a deep breath and think again, I blame my brain for being a total pain-in-the-ass jerk.

Dreams…the window to the soul, or an open opportunity for your subconscious to torture you and see how much of a fool it can make you act like?

I know I’m not the only one. Who else here has woken up mad as hell, or bawling your eyes out, even though you know that what you just dreamed about didn’t really happen? Have you ever accidentally acted on those feelings before you could bring yourself back to reality? Share!

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Dreams: Window to the Soul or Emotional Torture?

  1. I rarely dream about people I know…. and I don’t actually like dreaming REM, because it typically involves me running, or in some other scary situation where the only option is to accept that I’m going to die. ….analyze that, haha! 😛

    • Analysis: you are STRESSED OUT. lol

      Seriously though, I went through a phase where I was hanging out on dream forums all the time, trying to analyze my nighttime brain. It’s not an easy (or scientific) process at all. 😛

      Personally, I love dreams (even the scary ones, because I’m crazy), but I also wish I didn’t dream as much because it means that I get less deep sleep, and thus feel tired even after a good solid 8-9 hours. :\

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s