parents die

Hi Jane—

I understand that your dreams are disturbing. At a time when you need to receive reassurance that your parents are OK in the afterworld, your dreams instead are confusing and antagonistic.

Your first dream shows that you still are wrestling with some of the negative aspects of your relationship with your parents—the fact that they often were controlling, and judgmental, about your behavior. The second dream, where you wonder whether your parents really are dead or not, shows that you are working to emotionally acknowledge their passing.

Most of us experience a common progression in our dreams of the newly deceased. First our dreams show shock (are they really dead, or was it just a misunderstanding?), then our dreams reflect feelings of separation (inability to speak or make contact), and finally our dreams show peace and resolution (we recognize their death, and are able to gain a sense of closure).

Your dreams reflect the normal shock and pain of the grieving process, but they also show that you continue to have mixed emotions about your parents controlling and judgmental behavior—that obviously was hurtful at times in your relationship.

Have you allowed yourself to feel these difficult emotions, even as you cope with the grieving process? Your dreams show that these emotions need to be identified, accepted, and resolved in your waking life, so that you may understand your relationship with your parents honestly, and allow closure to occur.

Dear Dream Doctor—

You are right that these dreams are cathartic. I realize there were unresolved issues with the controlling and judgmental attitudes. It is painful, but through a lot of therapy and a master’s degree in psychology, I have started to understand the dysfunction in my family.

I know my parents loved me and they definitely provided well for us. But at some point you just want them to say, “I love you, and you are a pretty cool kid.” Is that strange language for a 53-year-old?

Hi Jane—

It’s not strange language. It’s straight from the heart.

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