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Dream 01_200005

Dream of the Month (May 2000)
  1. Title: Have I Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew?

  2. Date of the Dream: 2/20/1999 (mailed Sunday, 09 April 2000)

  3. Dream: This is a recurring dream that began less than one year ago. In it, I am chewing bubble gum. As I chew, the gum grows larger and larger so that it fills my mouth. It also becomes soft, and fills in the areas between my teeth. I do not panic or choke, but as I try to take the gum out of my mouth, it just continues to grow. As I pull, I become more agitated because my teeth are starting to get pulled out with the gum! In some versions of the dream I have even pulled out the roof of my mouth (like one would a retainer). The dream returns so often that now I realize while sleeping that I am having it. I have even asked people (while dreaming) to help me interpret it!

  4. Significant life event: I am currently a Pediatric resident. I complete my training this June. I have been interviewing for positions, and have recently accepted a job in a nearby city. This involves relocation for myself and my husband.

  5. Personal concerns/issues: Stress of my job and my future? The rest of my personal life is not stressful. I am very happily married (2 years). We have no children and are currently not trying to start a family.

  6. Associations: I know that dreams involving loss of teeth are common and can symbolize anxiety. This certainly can apply. However, I am more intrigued about the significance of the growing gum inside my mouth and the need to get it out. All I can surmise is that this is portraying a feeling of overwhelming anxiety about the future. Is there anything else that the dream can mean?

  7. Pen Name: Mary

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

Recurring dreams with increased lucid recognition often indicate central coping strategies that are counter-productive to an enduring issue.

As quirky as it sounds, this dream is becoming a modern classic among busy women in North America. Gum tends to represent experiences we try to solve by thinking and talking about them constantly. We may apply rules of logic, hard work, charm or verbal dexterity that have been strong medicine for other problems in the past. But like gum, these current experiences have no nutritional value for us; no amount of rationalizing or working harder is going to transform them into something we can swallow. This does not mean that you should chuck out large portions of your life, but it does mean that you should put your flag-waving “I'll just try harder” banner in the closet. Some adjustment has to be made both in attitude and in demands in order to get things back in balance.

(In every recurring dream, there is a picture of the issue, and a picture of the way the dreamer's personality is misunderstanding the issue.) The folks who have this dream are usually turned on by challenges, so they can have a blind spot about problems that require brakes instead of the accelerator. There may be a reflex to think and talk faster which tends to backfire in situations that are sticky and self-multiplying. The more you do your heroic thing, the more things get “gummed up.” When the dream progresses to loss of teeth it is a signal that the dreamer is really fighting for something precious not to be lost by the consuming situation she's already wishing she could spit out. The way out of this situation is to make a move that is counter-intuitive. Stop over-planning, talking about it and ruminating about why you can not do what you would prefer to do. Back off, draw lines, and do not throw yourself into the breach so often. Every solution should not come out of your hide, your time and your sense of self. Take a step back and you may see both temporary and long term solutions that won not “cost” what you think.

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