How Physical Pain Affects Our Dreams
The more facts you read about dreams, the more you realize just how fascinating they are. This week’s “Fascinating Fact” is one you may have experienced yourself. Have you ever dreamed that you were in pain of some sort, only to wake up and find that the pain was REAL?
Some people believe they hurt themselves in their dream, but that’s not the case. What happens is this: When we experience pain with any type of intensity, we often “work” this pain into our dream. If our spouse inadvertently kicks us in the middle of the night, for example, we may dream that something has hit us in the leg.
Lab studies have actually been performed that prove a couple of ways dreamers respond to pain during sleep:
- If it’s a mild, annoying type of pain (for example, they’re foot has fallen asleep and they’re experiencing the pins and needles business), they may dream that their shoe is on too tight or that their foot is stuck in something.
- If they are suffering from something more intense (such as a broken bone or pulled muscle), the pain may manifest itself in the dream as something the dreamer is trying to “escape” from. Physical suffering often shows up in dreams as something that the dreamer is trying to out-run, hide from, or even destroy.
I once got an e-mail from a woman who was CONVINCED she’d cut herself in her dream. She said that, in the dream, she cut herself on the leg with a piece of paper. When she woke up the next morning, she noticed a scratch exactly where she’d dreamed of being cut. I told her that – although this certainly would make for the coolest of stories – it was physically impossible for a dream symbol to leave a mark.
I asked her if she had pets that regularly slept with her or if she slept with someone who might just need to clip their toenails! She said that she had two cats that slept with her and her husband.
When I told her that it was pretty obvious that one of the cats accidentally scratched her leg – she agreed that it was “possible,” but that she planned on sticking with the paper cut explanation.
I guess a “good” story appeals to some people more than the plain old truth!
The Dream Analysis Can Help Healing Begin
If you dream of being injured, or dream that you are in some type of pain from an injury or wound, the dream analysis (interpretation) could go one of several ways. As with all dreams, the dreamer is the only one who can say for certain which dream analysis is “on the money” for them, so read through each dream interpretation below and see which one seems to apply to you, personally.
An injury dream can be a dream in which the dreamer is injured or in pain or it can be a dream in which the dreamer sees or even inflicts pain in another person. The most important thing about the dream is the fact that an injury or wound has taken place.
The first (and most frequent) analysis for an injury dream has to do with injury or pain that has been done to the dreamer. Because we think of pain in many types of context (physical, mental, emotional..), this injury, harm, or pain can be physical or emotional. The dreamer could have been physically or emotionally injured many years ago or as recent as the day of the dream. The most important symbolism is the fact that the dreamer is attempting to heal, deep inside, from this injury.
If injury dreams that fall under this interpretation continue for any period of time, it’s probably best for the dreamer to find someone to talk to about, because recurring dreams of this nature indicate that, although healing is trying to take place, it isn’t entirely doing so.
This type of injury dream is our brain’s way of trying to figure out questions such as:
- Why did that happen to me?
- Why did this person do this to me?
- How do I know this will never happen again?
Sometimes an individual who has been physically or emotionally injured simply needs a sympathetic shoulder to lean on and an understanding person to confide in.
Another analysis for injury dreams is at the other end of the spectrum. Sometimes people who have inflicted pain on others are haunted by guilt in their dreams. Now, this doesn’t ALWAYS mean they deserve the guilt. For example, if someone accidentally and unwittingly causes pain to another person (or even animal) – they may have injury dreams as a result of the guilt they feel. Sometimes they’ll be the one who is injured in the dream, which is their brain’s way of saying, “I wish it had been me instead” or “I deserve to feel this pain.”
Needless to say, the best remedy for this dream interpretation is to simply apologize from the heart. Don’t make excuses and don’t put if off another minute. Say you’re sorry and even buy something for the individual, if you can. You’ll both feel better and your dreams will be sweeter.