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Dream 01_200208

Dream of the Month (August 2002)
  1. Title: Man Appears On The Stairs

  2. Date of the Dream: 7/1/2002 (mailed Monday, 01 July 2002)

  3. Dream: I dreamed that I was vacuuming in the upstairs hallway, and I felt a presence behind me. I turned to see that a man had appeared standing at the top of the stairs. The man was young (early 30's), bald, very pale, and looked like he was of Scottish descent.

    I believed that he was a ghost or an apparition. I screamed and pointed at him. He copied my movements, opening his eyes wide and pointing at me. I was terrified. At this point in my dream I paused, realizing that although this seemed incredibly real, this must be a dream. He then smiled a big, warm smile at me, as if he knew me and was amused. I was still breathing heavily and my heavy breathing woke me up at this point.

  4. Significant life event: Two friends died on 9/11-- in the first plane to hit the WTC. I worked and travelled with them both frequently prior to 9/11.

  5. Personal concerns/issues: I became unemployed in March and I am at a crossroads in my career and personal life. I have considerable anxiety about my future.

  6. Associations: I have some unresolved issues with some male friends who have recently died. I suppose that this dream may have something to do with this. I am especially curious about the meaning of this ghost/man mimicking my movements. I have dreams frequently, but I have not had a dream this vivid in a very long time. I have never dreamed of anyone copying my movements, and I would like to know what this means.

  7. Pen Name: Emily

Dr. Holloway's Comments:

Identifying Characteristics: Ghosts in dreams may represent concerns from the past haunting us once more.

Essentially this is a dream about a close encounter with something fearful. While attempting to clarify your own thinking (vacuuming upstairs), you run across a source of anxiety that is shocking in its intensity. A young version of a ghost implies that you may be grappling with the effects of an old issue that has recently appeared in a new guise. Fears powerful enough to create discomfort often arise for what we consider good reason. Yet understanding our responses to fear may be one of the best and most viable avenues through which to stabilize a transition or support our healing. Your recognition that this must be a dream bodes well for your ability to see through illusions and transcend circumstances that might seem impossible at first glance.

When dreams seem to mock us, either by exaggerating conditions or making fun of our behaviors, there may be a kernel of wisdom imbedded in the uncomfortable presentation. The ghost who mimics your shock and fear is possibly a clue that it’s time to take what psychologists would call “counter-phobic” measures. That is, either seek objective support regarding your concerns, or move slowly but surely in the direction that you would choose to if it weren’t for the anxieties that hold you back. While this is hard and admittedly irritating advice, the dream doesn’t show you grappling with insurmountable odds; it shows your process interrupted by a short dance with a phantom.


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