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Dream 01_199708

Dream of the Month (August 1997)
  1. Title: Disturbing

  2. Date of the Dream: 7/19/1997 (mailed Saturday, 19 July 1997)

  3. Dream: I dreamt that I was cutting off my fingers below the second knuckle. After I had cut them off I put them in a paper towel which I then held in the palm of my hand. I felt that I had to get rid of the fingers, so I began to eat them raw. I was chewing them as quickly as I could so I wouldn't find them disgusting. I was only able to chew and eat a few of them. Then I put a finger in my mouth and became very disgusted that I was eating raw human flesh. I spit out what was left in my mouth into the paper towel in my hand.

    Then I tried to re-attach my fingers to my hand. It was awful. Somehow I managed to re-attach most of my fingers. I was continuously feeling that I shouldn't get caught doing this. One of my fingers was very stubborn and wouldn't re-attach so I got out some cotton coats sewing thread and began sewing my baby finger back on. It didn't hurt until after I had finished sewing and my finger began to swell up, as though it was bloating dead flesh. I touched the end of the finger and it was tender, so I guessed that I had succeeded in re-attaching the finger because it hurt and I had minimal movement in it.

    I was left with all of my fingers except for my baby finger on my right hand. Then I decided to go to the doctor to see if I had re-attached the baby finger on my left hand correctly. He confirmed that the finger was correctly re-attached. He was surprised that I was able to perform the surgery because I was not a doctor and warned me not to try surgery again, but to let a qualified professional do it. I was just relieved that my fingers would have movement again. I felt bad and very upset by the whole thing, especially after I woke up.

  4. Significant life event: I ate a poutin. I'm Preparing for and writing exams. I'm worried about money.

  5. Personal concerns/issues: Why am I dreaming about canabalizing my own body?

  6. Associations: Maybe it was something I ate. It may have some meaning that I do not understand. The reason I'm writing is because I don't have a clue what to make of this dream.

  7. Categories: anomalous and nightmare

  8. Pen Name: Anonymous

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

This type of dream is not common, but those who have it often seek help with it, because it is so startling and difficult to interpret. Essentially this dream occurs to the person who is boxed into a situation from which they cannot comfortably extricate themselves for some time. Yet their frustration, anxiety and sense of entrapment create an inner crisis. The action of cutting off the fingers, (or in many dreams chewing them off), is very akin to the wolf who is caught in a trap chewing off it's paw to gain freedom.

The mixture of feelings and impulses in this scene reflect the dilemma of the dreamer. There is a desire to separate from something (amputation almost always symbolizes separation), followed by the fear of getting caught during the escape. This fear provokes the attempt to destroy signs of the "escape" by eating the evidence, and there follows a growing disgust at the actions she's been forced to take. Typical of this dream is the sudden reversal of position, she decides not to escape right now, and hastily tries to "re-attach" to the situation. Since the dream ends with the consultation with the authority figure (the doctor), it is likely that the conflict lies between her personal feelings and what is expected of her by others. Possibly she has beliefs that make it virtually impossible for her to see a way of the situation, or to recognize viable compromises that could alleviate her distress. A wise response to this dream is to engage in long-range planning to move gradually toward her desired change without making dramatic changes too soon.

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