too big for the door

Hi Emily—

It appears those extra pounds really are starting to “weigh” on your mind! Your dream represents your frustration with having gained extra weight in several ways!

Houses in dreams are consistent symbols for the self. Accordingly, the oversized houses on the street where you used to live reflect your feelings that you are “growing bigger.” (As big as a house?) The dream’s location of yourself back in your old neighborhood reflects feelings of frustration that began long ago. There is a goal that you wish you could achieve (keep the weight off) but it seems like you are “climbing uphill” and are “just not getting anywhere.”

The dream switches to you being on vacation by yourself, in a hotel by the water. Hotels in dreams are associated with transitions in our lives, and curiously, with transient sexual relationships between partners. The reasons why are because no one stays in a hotel very long (it is temporary location) and because many sexual liaisons are consummated within their confines. Water in dreams always symbolizes emotions.

Deer in dreams frequently are a play on words. In the dream you wish you could find someone “dear,” but the animal runs off before you get a good look at it. (Did someone you were hopeful about recently “run off”?) Soon you are confronted by a hippo—which is a reflection of your own thoughts that you are gaining weight and becoming “like a hippo.” As the hippo watches, you struggle to enter your hotel room, a representation of your thoughts that if you keep gaining weight, you are never going to be able to “get yourself into” a romantic relationship with someone else. The sudden realization of nakedness reflects feelings of social embarrassment as you work to control your size. Are people “seeing through you,” and can they see the extra weight you have gained?

The final scene of your dream, where you watch the fish in the water eating each other, most likely holds reference to thoughts about fertility and childbearing. Fish in dreams are associated with conception and pregnancy, because they are small, primitive creatures that remind us of the early stages of the embryo in the womb. The image is disturbing, however, because you see the fish fighting and eating one another. This scene of attack and consumption suggests disturbed emotions about pregnancy. Is it frustrating that your goal of a committed relationship, and motherhood, appears to be slipping away?

It’s a strong dream with a valuable message included, Emily. Your desire for a romantic relationship that holds potential for growth in the future wants to be realized.

Dear Dream Doctor—

Yes, I have had many disappointing experiences with men. In my waking life (with my weight being up), I feel that nobody is noticing me at all. I feel invisible and this puts my self-confidence at a low ebb. I have lost many that I would have liked to have a long-term relationship with. I gave up for a long, long time.

Now, though, I have been having thoughts about trying again, but feel something is holding me back. The dream reveals that my weight is one possible factor. And, yes, I do feel concerns about being older. It feels like I would be starting a relationship with a man at the end of my life instead of at the beginning—as in younger years (like one’s 20’s).

A few years ago when my mother was sick, I “swallowed” all of my needs and desires down into myself so I would be there for her. Since her death I have felt unable to reach all of them again and wonder if they are buried too deeply or have died. I have a hard time feeling my emotions now, but I can see them appearing in my dreams.

Hi Emily—

Because food is sensual and nourishing, it can become a substitute for feelings emotional nourishment that we are not receiving from other areas of our waking life—for example, from a healthy romantic relationship, or from being a mother and having a family. If you are eating in response to emotional stressors—feelings that are painful that you want to avoid facing—it is time to take a good look at this avoided material.

Because the dream makes reference to your childhood neighborhood, and because you recently experienced a traumatic passing of your mother, your dream also is encouraging you to look at behaviors that were learned when you were young (in your relationship with your mother) that may be holding you back today. You may be trying to soothe the memory of a difficult relationship with your mother with the momentary comfort of food.

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