I recently had a dream which was a small part of a bigger series of unrelated dreams, in which I was at the home of my grandmother and I saw a picture of me as a child (I remember thinking I was 2 years old or something) and my (currently deceased, but he would’ve been alive then) grandfather. In the picture, I think it was a moving picture, he put his tongue in my mouth and was tongue kissing me. I didn”t notice this at first and once I did I was alarmed and confused but I didn”t say anything outright, I just kept trying to figure out what year that photo was taken because I was sure I was two in the picture. My grandmother and my father looked at the back of the photo and tried to find what date it was taken. Neither seemed to see or acknowledge what I was seeing and were even trying to somewhat distract me with trivial things, though I don”t know if that was intentional or not. We couldn”t find the date and they were unconcerned. I remember immediately thinking when I saw my grandfather kiss me that it was molestation, that I was witnessing myself being molested as a child and that it was wrong ; but I didn”t really make a big deal out of it. Even though I was alarmed to see it because it was both so out of character for my grandfather and so wrong/disgusting beyond that I didn”t really feel anything. A little disbelief maybe. After not being able to find the date I allowed the rest of my paternal family to distract me and didn”t bring it up again or care. In fact I went on to have a completely unrelated dream and when I woke up I remembered thinking every dream except that one was significant only to realize later on that I had seen something incredibly disturbing but again with no big reaction. Not my sister nor my mom nor any maternal family members were in the dream. It was only one dream and I just had it, but I was wondering if this is an indication that I was actually molested as a child? (From the USA)
I can appreciate the discomfort you had while having this dream and the upset following it. I imagine the vivid nature of the dream — with the details — makes it particularly uncomfortable.
There are a few elements about the dream that I think are important. First is the way the information comes to you. You are witnessing a moving picture in the dream of you and your grandfather, and that your grandmother and her son (your father) are trying to distract you, which may or may not have been intentional. You then have other seemingly unrelated dreams realizing afterward you “…had seen something incredibly disturbing but again with no big reaction.”
Dreams often come in clusters trying to help us by giving us the message in different forms. The central element in your dream is that you and your grandmother and your father have “seen something incredibly disturbing.” What’s more the dream specifically leaves out your sister, mom or any maternal family members. This leaves you with three important themes coming from the dream: 1. Seeing something disturbing; 2. Others close to you seeing it too; 3. Still other close to you not seeing it and not being aware of it.
Dreams can use many ways to get your attention. Was it using your grandfather’s inappropriate behavior in the dream as a way to symbolize a disturbing experience? Or was it revealing a more specific issue of molestation?
I’d recommend keeping a dream journal and finding a therapist with both dream interpretation skills and issues involving incest. (The find help tab at the top of the page can help you find someone in your area.) This way you can have a professional guide you as you uncover the dream’s meaning. Doing so can keep you from jumping to conclusions on the one hand, and overlooking something that needs to be dealt with.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2019). Sexual Assault Dream. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/07/19/sexual-assault-dream/
Last updated: 17 Jul 2019 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 Jul 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.