My psychological issue presented to me in a dream.
Fear of Anger
I had a lucid dream today. It was pretty straightforward in terms of interpretation, almost like my subconscious was making it easy for me, “Is this simple enough for you?”
I was sitting in my home office doing some work on the computer when the door started to open. Startled, I turned toward it to see my father’s forearm opening it. It was his forearm from when he was a young father and I was five years old. It was strong and hairy with a silver bracelet attached to it that he used to wear frequently.
Immediately I seized up and was gripped by fear like I was five again. He continued to come in to my office without saying a word. He was silent without trying to be silent. He was imposing and came in like a predator, just moving toward me.
As he walked toward me I looked up at him. He still looked like he did when he was young father. I was scared.
But because this is a lucid dream (a dream where you know you’re dreaming), and I’ve been working on my psychology, on confronting my anxieties and trying to be more assertive, I decided to accept the challenge and tolerate the tension by looking him in the eye and holding his gaze.
I instantly began to shake and breathe quickly as the tension started to become overwhelming; but I held firm, holding my ground, holding his gaze.
He kept coming toward me and I was challenging him, but was losing. The tension was too much. So I did my best to dig deep and bring forth my own anger to counter his. But it wouldn’t come.
I pulled and I pulled at my psyche to bring it forth, but my anxiety was flooding my body and I felt like a child trying to fight a giant with a toothpick.
I was unable to beat him. I woke up at that point feeling FRUSTRATED.
Frustrated that I was still pinned under the weight of authority‘s anger, still feeling oppressed by it.
I felt like Harry Potter in the third movie being taught (or trained) by Prof. Lupin to fight off the Dementors, wicked beings who suck the life out of the people they come across. Harry would try and try to conjure up some powerful emotion inside him to counter the effect of the Dementors, but kept on failing and passing out.
The professor explained that Harry needed to get in touch with a strong, positive memory to counter the Dementors, which he finally does at the end of the lesson. But if you look closely at the scene, you can see that he has conjured up a positive memory with anger. Not the hostile kind of anger we usually associate with that emotion but the assertive kind. It’s as if Harry is saying, “No way am I gonna let you guys touch me.”
He had to tap into his anger to overcome despair and strong anxiety. I wish I was able to do the same.
My father is not the problem. My boss is not the problem. The government or the people, “out there” that are angry toward me are not the problem (although they usually are wrong to some degree). The problem is the issue inside me which is my fear of anger. That means that in the face of anger, anxiety takes over my body and makes it difficult for me to assert myself when the world comes knocking, and tries to violate my boundary.
It is frustrating.
Oddly enough my first remembered dream as a child was me being pinned under a police car ( again representing my father or authority), feeling stifled and oppressed.
I remember saying to a therapist a long time ago, that I didn’t want to die “a nothing.” What I meant was that I didn’t want to die without resolving the issue. I wanted to feel like I was in control of myself and that I could handle any threats out there in the world, the same way heroes do in old stories.
That other people, especially those that represent my father (men and women in authority positions, or even just anyone who is angry really) don’t affect me in the same way they used to. I usually tell myself a story, that they oppress me. It’s true that they push, and much of the time they likely shouldn’t, but the problem lies in my inability to push back.
I’m responsible for this now. Responsible for cultivating and growing my own sense of power inside me, which is my anger. The firm but gentle anger, the calm and assertive anger, not the yelling and screaming anger.
I have been resentful for so long because I have this issue. Resentful toward my father for giving it to me and resentful toward people like him, or anyone who is angry, for taking advantage of me. And although my father did do this to me, what I was really resentful about was just having the issue itself. I was resentful toward myself, for being weak and (what I thought was) ugly.
I won’t feel free until I resolve it and the way I plan to do it is to recognize when I’m anxious, when I’m shutting down, and not saying what I would like to say in every situation that I encounter out there in the world. And then say it (Feel the fear and do it anyway).
I’ll likely shake just like I did in the dream and I’ll likely try to feel tough and bring out my firm and calm assertiveness, and probably fail a bunch of times and look stupid. But that’s what I have to do. It’s either that, or me being resentful for the rest of my life.
Thank you lucid dream, thank you unconscious for giving me more in depth awareness around my issue and for giving me more resolve to do what I need to do. Even if the message was uncomfortable and the actions I need to take even more so.
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