This dream was sent to me last week:
“I had a strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was sitting on the toilet outside my apartment, and a man walked by and started talking to me. I wanted to move the toilet inside, but couldn’t…..plus I didn’t want to get up while he was there. I’ve never had a dream where I was on the toilet before!!”
In the western world, toilet training is one of the most intense early experiences in a young person’s life. There is an enormous amount of attention paid to the process of attempting to get a toddler to make their business in the toilet. From making it fun and creative, to frustrated haranguing, the trials and tribulations of toilet training are challenging for everyone involved – especially the child. However, once we are successful at this endeavor, we get to do one very powerful thing: We get to close the door.
Thus is born our very first sense of privacy and individuation. There may be a long time span between pooping in the pot and closing the door (years in some cases), but the powerful energy around the bathroom as a symbol is unmistakable. Sitting on the toilet connects to our very private sense of self, completely separate from all other individuals and environments in our life.
This dream, therefore, connects to the dreamer’s need and desire to have a sense of privacy and individuation which is somehow being challenged in her current life. She is located directly outside of her home, which means this dream is very personal. Her apartment represents her sense of self, but being trapped outside of that space indicates a level of vulnerability connected with this moment of exposure.
The deeper shade of meaning in the interpretation of this dream connects to the identify of the man who talks to her while she is sitting on the porcelain throne. I needed more information, so I sent a note and asked what she could remember about the man. Here is her reply:
“I remember thinking that he was my neighbor’s friend, who I don’t know but had seen earlier that evening (in reality) when I went outside and he was locking up his bike…..and come to think of it, even though we said hi to each other, I was irritated because he locked his bike to the sprinklers which happen to be under my window. I didn’t say anything about it, but I didn’t like that he locked his bike there, I guess it felt a bit invasive to me. Hmmmm…….interesting.”
Interesting indeed! So, is the dream about her neighbor’s friend invading her space or some inner aspect of herself that has some trouble with boundaries? The answer is, of course, both are accurate interpretations. Perhaps the waking-life event (someone invading her space where she was unable to control the situation and set a boundary) sparked some unconscious level of resistance where an issue of setting boundaries may be leading her to feel invaded and exposed.