Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Perfectionist Nightmare

All of my life I have had recurring nightmares.

Some have been with me for years. When I was a child and up into my teens, I was haunted a dark dream of a garden with a black scarecrow.

Another dream was of a bathtub full of blood. It followed me around for years.

Lately, the dream has been one of passages. Dark and narrow passages, like those in a cave, perhaps, and in order to move forward you have to push the rights or turn the right lever. A false move means certain doom.

The dream returned last night. I was in the throes of it when my husband shook me awake. "There's no button," he was saying. "There's no passageway, either."

I struggled from sleep, trying to make sense of what was happening. My body was rigid and tears dripped from my eyes. I was shaking, and I had to get up and walk around. It took me over an hour to relax enough to even think about sleep.

"You shouldn't eat those mushrooms," my husband murmured as I tossed and turned. I had put mushrooms in the meatloaf we'd had for dinner and he was blaming my dreams on them.

The dream for me, without looking up any dream interpretations, means that I am always trying so desperately hard "to get it right" that I can't find my way through. There are always buttons to push, hoops to jumps, tests to pass, before the end is in sight.

I like to do things correctly; I am a perfectionist in many ways and I battle this constantly. If I'm going to blog, dammit, then I'd better blog pretty much every day or what is the point? If I'm going to be a housewife, then by George I shall be the bestest housewife this side of the Mississippi! If I'm going to make fudge, it shall be the greatest fudge in the land! If I'm going to be a writer, then I'd better be the best ... well, we know where that is headed and astute readers will lay a finger aside their nose and go ah! This is why she struggles with that book.

Easier not to do it when one thinks anything less than the best is failure, I fear.

But back to my dreams.

One of my dream books says that dreaming of a "good path predicts success in love, trade and farming. If the path appears crooked in your dream, and filled occasionally with thorns, it shows disappointment and treacherous friends." This was a rocky and dangerous path in my dream, so I go with the latter.

Of the darkness in my dreams, this book says, "Dreaming you are lost in darkness and stumble denotes a change for the worst - by imprudence you will dreadfully commit yourself. If you emerge and see the sun, you will ultimately be happy."

I suspect my own interpretation is more apt in this case. Otherwise it looks like I am in for some really rough roads - murky and dangerous passageways - in the new year.


  1. I totally disagree with you. With your past successes, there can be no failures. Every rut in a dirt road ends when you hit the pavement. You just gotta keep walking till you get there.

  2. Oh my, I'm so sorry you're having bad dreams. Luckily, I've never had nightmares or disturbing dreams, but I can relate to being a pefectionist. I've had to work on relaxing my standards and expectations. Hope your dreams tonight will be of happy strolls through flowers and sunshine.

  3. I tend to get nightmares when I have good days. when I have horrible days, my unconscious gives me a break at night.

    I think my equivalent of your narrow passageway was some sort hamster tubing as a way to get around in a building. sense of isolation and futility.

    the mind has things it wants to get out so daily life can proceed without it. it balances sometimes rather than directs.

  4. I think we sometimes work out fears from our days at night. I have had many dreams of everything being thwarted, funny I think it often means I need some rest!


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