The theme of the dream is siblings; more insights on the passing of my brother.

I recently posted the term “Siblings” to my blog when my brother passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago.  Obviously, I have been in deep process since then and my dreams have of course been a big part of that process.  I decided to share this dream with you because it illuminates two concepts.  One, it exemplifies how dreams are mirroring our waking-life processes and, essentially, mirroring the daytime events in a nighttime sort of way.  This is the compensatory nature of dreams; they help balance us out.

The other approach to dream work that this particular dream emphasizes is the idea that the theme of the dream is where the interpretation lays – as opposed to a symbol-by-symbol, story-about-the-story technique.

So, first some background information.  I was the one of the three of us children who got all of the positive attention.  And, I do mean all.  It has been a deep wound of mine (and an issue for both my brother and sister) that my personality and exploits set up a scenario in which the receiving of attention was ridiculously out of balance, with me receiving most of all the good stuff that was available.  I have cried many a tear of the notion that my brother might have had a better experience of his life is I had not been quite so dynamic in mine.

The other salient part of the story is that my sister is a high school art teacher.  She is ridiculously gifted at this, but has often expressed (early in her career) a sense of limitation because she is not a more talented artist; many of her colleagues were artists first, teacher’s second.  My sister is teacher first and artist second.  And I do not fall subject to hyperbole when I tell you that she is magnificent at what she does; she will live on in many a student’s psyche for decades to come.

So on to the dream.  My sister, brother and I were sitting around a table.  My sister was accusing my brother of stealing one of her paintings.  He was justifying his actions because of her lack of talent, the painting was no good anyway.  Suddenly, a woman who felt like she was my sister’s psychotherapist was present and I was trying to explain that my sister felt inadequate about her artistic talent.  Her therapist became very defensive with me, which surprised me as it was not exactly a professional reaction.

I sat with this dream for days and nothing really hit me.  Then yesterday, the whole thematic perspective dropped into my awareness in one fell swoop.  I have been working diligently at recognizing that I deserve to utilize all my gifts and that having them did not actually take away from the experience of my brother.  That I was the perfect child and he was the black sheep was actually NOT MY FAULT!!!  What a revelation, because of course in my deep unconscious I felt terrible shame and guilt that the more attention I got out in the world, the guiltier I was for the challenges my bother was facing.

What the dream showed me was that what I was feeling was universal.  ALL brothers and sister struggle with these sorts of dynamic and mine was no different than anyone else’s.  My guilt and shame is my guilt and shame to work out on my own.  My brother’s passing doesn’t mean I look at this and suddenly think, “Oh, I’m REALLY to blame here.”  It’s actually a moment to do the opposite.  To own my own life and choices, to allow my brother to do the same and to move on with grace and easy, being grateful for all the beauty of my brother and releasing and forgiving any element of our connection that was painful.

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5 Responses to The theme of the dream is siblings; more insights on the passing of my brother.

  1. scared.girl. November 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Hello, I really need your help. It seems to me that you have an amazing understanding of dreams, and there is one dream I have been having and I can’t find a website that pin points it. Last night I repeatedly dreamt that my two younger sisters (one who lives with me age 10, and the other who doesnt live with me age 7) were being molested. For some reason in the dream I was the only one who noticed. I kept yelling at my step mother (the mother of the 7 yr. old) and telling her she disgusted me, how could she let this happen. I yelled at my mother repeatedly, telling her that my sister(the 10 yr. old) had told me it was happening to her up to 15 times a day. In my dream I had called my sister (the 10 yr. old) on some random number and I could hear a man in the background, I could hear he was molesting her and I couldn’t do anything but listen through the phone. I tried to move but I was stuck. She was crying. I didn’t know what to do. The reason I know I dreamt this repeatedly was because my boyfriend who was in bed next to me says I kept waking up and saying variations of this phrase, ” oh my gosh babe, I need to tell you about my dream. Im terrified, please hold me.” And the second I closed my eyes I went right back to sleep, and into the dream again. In the dream my boyfriend and I attempted to apprehend the rapist of my sisters, but no matter how many times I fell back to sleep and continued dreaming he was never in my grasp. Please help me, tell me what this means, I feel as if its haunting me.

  2. mlennox December 2, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Thank you for reaching out with this obviously very distressing dream. First and foremost, let me make one things very clear about my approach to dreams and a belief I have about them. Dreams are stories told in symbols; they are very rarely to be taken literally. In this way, sex and molestation is not necessarily appearing in your dream because it is happening in real life. The symbolic meaning of molestation connects to the breaking of boundaries, acting in inapprorpriate ways without someone’s consent and in a way that is harmful or not in their best interests. This clearly connects to your mother and may have something to do with thoughts and opinions you have about the way your mother may be dealing with your younger sisters, as well as ways in which you didn’t feel supporte and seen by your mother when you were the age of your younger sisters.

    You feel stuck in the dream and unable to move, yet you can hear that something bad is happening. This is very much like things that can happen in life where we have no control over things that we wish we could do something about (such as another person’s behavior or choices, or circumstances beyond our control). And while the imagery in the dream is very disturbing, it does not automatically mean that something terrible is actually occuring in waking life.

    It is possible that qualities of your mother and how she may be parenting your younger sisters are at the heart of what is triggering this dreams, since you are older and have already been through what they are going through now. I am certainly not in a position to say whether there is anything harmful going on in your sister’s household and this response in no way should be considered thereapeutic advice. Such a nightmare could connect to something as simple as needing and wanting emotional support from your boyfriend at times when you feel a little out of control in your life (as we all do from time to time). If, however, you feel there is some real danger in your sister’s home, you may have some responsibility to confront the situation. But remember, dreams are symbolic in nature and even the most terrifying images are rarely what they seem to be on the surface.

  3. Blaire January 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm #


    Blaire here. Hi! Love your blog and am sharing it with friends. However, you may want to edit the first sentence of your Nov. 26th post. Instead of brother or mother (I couldn’t tell which) you actually wrote “bother”.

    Much love,


  4. innocent bystander February 21, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    I had a similar dream. Actually two. I was hoping you could desypher them for me.
    Dream 1 of 2: (3 days ago)
    I dreamed of coming home and my 11 year old sister was with my dad. I thought they were coloring, then as I walked by I realized it was notes being passed back and forth. I tried to read them, and my dad scribbled them out, but before he could I saw something very disturbing. He was telling her that he would have sexual interactions with her. I pulled him aside and he confessed to be a pedophile, and that he did it with many girls. My dream ended. I thought it was nothing until the next dream.
    Dream 2 of 2: (last night)
    The dream started as me walking into my fathers room, and he was molesting my sister, then it went to an outer body experience as I see myself trying to pull my dad away, and he slaps me to the ground. I lay there and cant do anything but cry. Dream end.
    A little background about me: I’m 18, about to graduate. I was raped in middle school (Not by my father). I also have little to no relationship with my father. My sister is starting to grow up, wearing makeup, talking to boys and in my opinin, dressing a little provocative. (She’s in fifth grade wearing mini skirts, high heals, revealing shirts and push up bras). I am concerned something like this will happen, and no matter how hard I try to get her to wear things age appropriate, its like she just shrugs it off. Am I thinking too much into it, or should I confront my father?

  5. mlennox February 24, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    First and foremost, if you have reason to believe that your father is capable of molesting your sister, there is only one thing to do and that is to contact the police. I do not have enough information in this format to effectively advise you, but child molestation is a very serious occurrence and should be treated as such.

    However, the dream imagery that you describe seem very much to be expressing feelings you may be having about your own sexuality and the innocence lost when you experienced being raped.

    In one form of dream work, which is the way that I approach dreams, everyone in the dream is part of you. So your sister in your dream is not your sister, but the innocent, younger version of you – who you were in relationship to your father before puberty, before sexuality and before the experience of being raped. The innocent passing of notes and the idyllic image of coloring, when examined further, reveals the undercurrent of danger that can lurk around the corner in life. This is not unlike being a young girl, joyfully exploring her sexuality only to find that there are predators out there that will take advantage of that innocence and force sex in such a way that violates and changes a person forever.

    Your father in both dreams may not be your literal father, but the sense of a strong protector. Who was there to protect you when you were being raped? And isn’t it natural that you would feel strongly about protecting your younger sister? Especially if you yourself had an experience where you didn’t feel safe.

    Her provocative dress and cavalier attitude in life may look dangerous to you because of your own challenges with how you were introduced to sexuality in a way that was harmful, violent and insidious. While I’m sure you are concerned for your sister and what her journey might be, I think your dreams are much more about you and your desire to find a relationship to your own sexuality that is healthy, loving and beautiful.

    I STRONGLY recommend that you find some guidance through this process. There must be some places available to you where you live or where you go to school that are confidential and offer services to young woman who are in your situation. There is a 24-hour rape hotline that you can contact that may be able to be of service to you at this number: (210)521-7273.

    I ask you to consider the possibility that you may not be able to have much impact on what your sister’s journey is. We are often powerless over other people; what they do and how they live their lives. We do, however, have a great deal of power over our own lives and I strongly recommend that you take some steps towards healing your own wounds around what happened to you in middle school and allow yourself the dignity of having a life where you love and appreciate your sexuality as a god-given gift and that if someone came along and did something to rob you of that blessing, you have the abilitiy to take it back and heal completely.

    My heart is with you on your journey.