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Dream Symbolist
Dream Symbolist, Dream Expert
Category: Dream Interpretation
Satisfied Customers: 658
Experience:  14 yrs. exp. Spiritual Consult. Jr Midwife. Dream Expert
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I had a repeated dream as a child of a black dog with reds

Customer Question

I had a repeated dream as a child of a black dog with reds eyes that was in my closet. the dream would start with the closet door opening by itself, and there stood the black dog staring at me. It would be growling and looking like it would jump at me, but it never did.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dream Interpretation
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

It's normal for a sensitive child to be unconsciusly aware of tensions in her or his family; and these could appear as an instinctual anger or aggressiveness that is lurking but remaining restrained--so perhaps you didn't know who it was coming from, but you could feel it. Are you aware of any one in the house when you were growing up who might have carried anger often but not acted on it? That could even be yourself.

What were the sources of ongoing tensions during the years when you began to have these dreams? Were there any specially elaborate, lengthy or unusual dreams with that dog as one or more scenes?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
During that time my father had divorced my mom. I believe the anger was coming from my mother towards my father. My father got custody of my brother and I. My mother also tried repeatedly to pit my brother and I against our father. My mother had a drinking problem and was often very volitale.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Well, as dream characters, dogs typically represent an instinctual/animal aspect of ourselves that is normally loyal and protective. But if the black dog in the dark closet represents your mother's runaway anger, she was swallowed up by unconscious motivations instead of being your loyal protector--an unconscious force that ran amuck. I'm not fully satisfied with this as interpretation, because I usually want to find out what the dream is pointing out that the dreamer wouldn't understand without the dream's primitive wisdom. But when it's a repetitive dream from childhood, you're long past the time when the dream could have been helping you understand an aspect of your family life that wasn't clear then. For you've understood it because it was many years ago. (Did it seem like the dog was a vicious breed, and a female?

Then again, there's a significant disadvantage to being raised in a male family in which the only female was dramatically unhinged: 1. your own internalized model of what loving/relating with a woman must be could be way cockeyed, making romantic relating pretty hard to learn, and 2. you might have major gaps in your own repertoire of emotions--though you might have an intuitive guidance to help you find safe & valuable mother, sister and girlfriend figures to help you make up for these deficits.

It is significant that the apparently angry dog NEVER jumped at you. Because that suggests that she actually never meant to harm you, only your father. So she may have had a grudge left over from her own (alcoholic?) father-complex, but you don't have to be terrified of female anger, and don't have to shackle and stunt your own emotions because they might seem to be too unreliable and volatile.