Am I Dreaming About Past Sexual Abuse?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Thank you in advance for your assistance. I have a very detailed long-term memory that stretches back to my first year of infancy. I can recall exact details from conversions, of my surroundings (from scents to background sounds). I can remember most of the very vivid dreams I had in my childhood, most being nightmares. Most of the dreams were recurring. One in particular strikes me as having deep meaning. In these dreams, I used to call them “the big bad wolf” dreams (as this was all a child could relate it to) – this large black humanoid wolf would always be trying to take me from my parents/other family. He would be nice around them (they seemed to know him = indicative of maybe a close friend or family member perhaps?) and they let him take me away. Normally to the basement of my house/my bedroom closet/or my grandma’s basement. Once alone with him, he’d try to attack me or keep me hostage. I was terrified of him. He wore clothing too, like a person. I just wonder if this sounds like I have repressed memories of sexual abuse or something of the like?

A. It is difficult to interpret dreams without having many details about the individual dreamer. There are very few generalized statements that can be made about dreams, which is why dream books are unreliable. One universal symbol in dreams is water. Water refers to the unconscious mind but that universal symbol may be overridden by a personal symbol. That is why one cannot interpret a dream without knowing the details of the dreamer’s life. Water may mean peace and security and not be a symbol of the unconscious mind. It depends on the individual.

You asked about whether this dream could indicate sexual abuse. That is a difficult question to answer. The fact that these dreams are vivid, memorable, emotional and reoccurring is significant and notable. Reoccurring dreams are essentially attempting to send us a message that we have yet to grasp. Dreaming of the basement and a humanoid wolf may signify sexual abuse but not necessarily.

The fact is that without a professional, skilled in dream interpretation, you may never know what the dream means. What can be said with certainty is that the dream is significant because of its vividness, repetitiveness and its emotionality. I would recommend that you keep track of this type of dream, being certain to record each detail, especially the way you feel during the dream. More details may be revealed in future dreams. It’s best to record the details of dreams as soon as you awake. You may also want to consider consulting a therapist who specializes in dream interpretation for further assistance. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Feb 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Am I Dreaming About Past Sexual Abuse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/02/02/am-i-dreaming-about-past-sexual-abuse/