Dreams are not visions of the future. They are simply the result of what you see in your mind when asleep. It portrays what you want, either factually or symbolically. If you dream of winning a Lamborghini from a draw, it’s because it’s subconsciously on your mind. Dreams can affect our daily lives because they can motivate us to make our dreams come a reality. However, because you dream something, doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. One of the main types of dreams I’d like to focus on, is dreams and aggression. To dream that you are holding or expressing anger represents frustrations and dissatisfactions towards yourself. You maybe consuming your negative emotions or scheme your anger onto others. It might even be carried over from your waking life, when being angry in your dreams. When you are dreaming, subconsciously it is a time where you can express all your negative and strong emotions, almost like a safe outlet. You may also have some hidden rage and aggression that you have not deliberately recognized. I will discuss why we have aggression as dreams in both males and females. Secondly, I will explain how important it is to be aware about aggression of dreams and how it affects our daily life. Thirdly, I will clarify two experiment methods used for aggression on dreams and their treatments.
Having aggression as dreams
To begin, it is an issue everyone would like to gain knowledge on why we have aggressive dreams. It is stated that “dream aggression refers to aggressive content example. Dreaming of hitting someone (being the aggressor, physical aggression, getting
Dreams and Aggression 3
yelled at is also known for verbal aggression); these are all examples of dream aggression. Studies show that significantly more dreams of aggression are prevalent in males than with females. The difference is between the amount of aggressive dream content in men and women is pronounced at a very young age, and decreases over time” (Marcovici, 2010, p.206). I feel that men do possibly have more anger in themselves which is bottled up inside, and when they are dreaming that is the only opportunity they feel that they have to let it out. Where as women, are able to respond to aggression by feeling nervous on any given day or night, contrasting boys, they are encouraged to get revenge. However, both sexes do get angry as often. Females are more likely to handle aggression without using rage and anger; but by feeling shame, depressed and anxious. Marcovici stated that “When looking at physical aggression in comparison to all dream aggression, half of men’s aggressive dreams involve physical aggression. When comparing men and women, men dream more of aggressively, and physically. This is due to the fact that men are naturally more aggressive specie in their waking lives” (p.206). I have to agree with this statement, as men go through aggression in their daily lives, therefore their brain and body has become immune. For example, men that work in the construction field have the stress of physical labour and lifting over hundreds of pounds of concrete or lifting up heavy products, which becomes stressful, aggressive, and adrenaline rush causing anger and frustration to complete their job daily. This aggression is not acceptable and is no way an excuse to express their feelings. In males, it builds up and just erupts.
Dream and Aggression 4
It was stated that “men dreamt more about sexual experience, killing someone, and money. Whereas women dreamt of, studying, school, a loved person being dead, or being inappropriately dressed” (Schredl, Ciric, Gotz, & Wittman, 2009, p.487). I noticed that having an aggressive emotion can lead to many things, especially in men as they use aggression because they want to be the best at everything and want to accomplish more which can sometimes lead to violence. However, women can be aggressive too, though they lack the physical strength. Furthermore, aggressive dreams that are based on your life in reality and your past experiences can be damaging, due to flash backs and belligerent dreams hence restoring bad memories. If the dreams are negative, your brain is restoring parts that have been hurt and reflecting them back to your self, causing anger. Anger in dreams can represent aggravation and crying on the inside. It can even imply depression.
Being aware about aggression of dreams and how it affects our daily lives.
Secondly, it is important to know about aggression of dreams and how it affects our daily lives. Aggression symbolizes the stress in ones life. Some people deal with daily life stress using anger or hiding their anger and therefore it may come out in their dreams. The ideas may be broad, such as; self-image, insecurities, secure ideas, sexual orientation, desires, jealously, rage and love. It is stated that “when we sleep, there are no perception to decode or actions to control or plan” (Montangero, 2009, p.242). I believe that, since we can not control what we dream, the emotion that you feel within the dream portrays what you feel emotionally in reality, which may affect your daily living.
Dreams and Aggression 5
Eventually, anger will start to build up and rage will come out in their everyday life. When you sleep and dream, you will bring in those “bad angry” emotions with you. Researchers have stated that “from adolescence through adulthood, girls and women dream more than boys and men. Girls and women describe their dream in greater detail, able to express more interest in dreams than male counterparts. Altogether, women are more aware when they are dreaming and interested in what takes place in their dreams, and have the tendency to describe dreams in detail” (Boerger, 2009,p.174). Technically, everybody dreams when they enter REM sleep. There are people who never remember their dreams, but regardless they do still dream. It is has been indicated that education levels affect aggressive content. It was stated that “those with less education have increased aggressive content. However, it is not correlated with levels of education in male and female dreamers. Others have found that gender itself does not predict aggressive content but gender role identity does. Additionally, identification with tradition masculine qualities, regardless of sex, was correlated with increased aggressive, especially physical, highlighting it is affected by socialization” (Marcovici, 2010, p.206). I agree with this statement because, if one comes from an upbringing of zero education they are more likely to handle situations and conflicts using physical aggression as oppose to communicating verbally efficiently. For Example, a 15 year old male comes from a low poverty family; a lot of verbal abuse used in the home, that student becomes immune to the behaviour and brings it with him everywhere. at the moment, a 15 year old male from a family that does not use verbal abuse or any sort of physical aggression, may
Dreams and Aggression 6
have a better tendency to communicate well with others and able to handle tough conflicts.
Men have greater processing capability, women have greater ability at connecting and relating ideas based on the way our brains are built. I consider when a women wakes up from her dream, they take it with them in their daily lives and actually accept it as the truth and that something may happen to them, since they experience a dream, it may symbolize a sign for them in life. Some may feel that dreaming may be an escape from reality, such as going though rough situations with work stress, family problems, or relationship problems, since some people are incapable of dealing with them, this is where they may want to seek a psychotherapist. They can learn how to rely less on the dreams and to deal with life accordingly. Dreams can be of assistance to answer your own life struggles, dreams are not to hurt you, and they are to help you find yourself. Dreams give you ‘messages’ and it may signify that person may have a lot of inner conflict, perhaps even a great deal of issues from their past or current life. This may indicate that dreams are telling you something, its how one perceives the dream to be in reality. When a person describes the dream, it may show that they have some sort of struggle going on in their life. It is stated that “the childhood belief that many dreams and any aspect of the dream can be controlled is replaced by adult belief that few dreams are controllable and that positive control is more to be achieved than negative control” (Boerger, 2009, p.182). This shows that women are more hopeful about the chance for success when attempting positive dreams, while men limit their opportunity about the likelihood of successful control to dreams with positive emotions.
Dreams and Aggression 7
Experimental Methods used and Freud’s theory
I will clarify two experimental methods used for aggression on dreams and Freud’s theory. First study examined sleep habits and mental symptoms, “there is a relationship of dream frequency and dream contents during night sleep and dream memory was studied in Japanese students aged 18-25” (Harada, Tanoue, & Takeuchi,
2006, p.274). The method was used as a “morningness-eveningness (ME) questionnaire, with the questions on sleep habits, frequency, contents of dreams, duration, remembering dreams. The questions were on frequency of mental symptoms (depression, irritation, anger, and out-of control-anger). Participants were to answer them anonymously, on the chronic state of their life in the last month” (Harada et al., 2006, p.275). Also, a “24 hour a day commercialization of using convenience stores open 24 hrs a day and mobile phones, and watching midnight TV were admitted to 461 students attending university or medical training school” (Harada et al.,2006, p.276). As for results, “women were more of a morning people than men. Students who dreamt frequently felt more anger, irritation and depression after a day time nap, than students who dreamed less frequently” (Harada et al., 2006, p.276-277). Harada stated that “students who had negative dreams felt more anger, frightened, and lonely than those who had frequent positive, happy dreams. Students who went to the convenience store late at night or watched TV at midnight had more dreams than those who did not. The night usage of late night TV, mobiles phones and going to convenience stores makes students shifts to be evening types” (Harada et al.,
2006, p.277). In this study, I believe when you have negative dreams, it may be an indication of your true inner feelings, than a symbol of something. Feelings may have
Dreams and Aggression 8
been hidden during the day, and now they are being expressed in your dreams where you no longer need to have a guard up. Negative dreams may help the students deal with
their anger, depression and irritation. If one does not notice they are angry, your subliminal picks up on obvious cues that may point out to rage, and rings you a bell of it afterwards.
In a second method I seek to demonstrate is a research by Canadian male university students and female students from Trent University. Research have provided “The Storytelling Method worksheet (TSM) was tested in the study to help the dreamer gain discovery; that is what dreams reveal to people about waking life. This method was on worksheets that dreamers complete. Researchers looked intensively into gender difference found in content of dreams where male differ in dream content from females. For example, dream setting for male tends to take place in outdoor scenes. Male’s dreams often involved elements of threat; nightmares suffer from trauma and or have stress occupations. There was also a significant gender difference in the percentage of all aggressions that are physical in males” (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.258). They were findings on aggression on males; tend to spend more time in unfriendly situations in dream settings. Men report more aggression with other males than with females. Females had more interest in their attitude toward dreams compared to male. Dream recall frequency is lower for male university students (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.259). As for the method, participants were asked to write down a current dream and to fill out the (TSM) worksheet. All subcategories of emotions were spread including happiness, sadness, fear, confusion, and anger (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.261). As for results, there
Dreams and Aggression 9
were many significant relationships between dream content and male characters appearing in the dreams of males. There was a correlation between the emotions of confusion and anger (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.262). Fear was correlated with Threat and moderately correlated with Aggression in male dreams. As expected, Aggression was correlated with Threat in male dreams (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.264). Looking into female students, positive factors such as happiness was not correlated with other content categories. Male dreams contained negative factors like Sadness, Anger, Fear, Aggression and Threat. It is expected and represented of the waking life of males having a great tendency towards more aggressive activities (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.269). Learning something about anger, was associated with learning something about inner conflict. An example of intrapersonal conflict was “Been feeling very busy between, work, school, and personal life, feel like I’m being pulled in multiple directions at the same time (Participant 7). These are discoveries representative of the sample by one of the young male students. As a whole, this study provided a deeper understanding into the ability of dreams to reveal information about waking day for males and has laid a ground work for examining their dreams of males in different occupations and circumstances and comparing them to the dreams of students in content, discovery and predictive (Dale & DeCicco, 2011, p.274).
A theory that was used by Sigmund Freud, stated that “throughout the interpretation of dreams”, that dreams are fulfillment of a wish and it is a form of expression of impulses which are under the pressure of resistance during the day, but able to find reinforcement
Dreams and Aggression 10
during the night” (D’Amato, 2010, p.184). Aggression is most commonly used in our dreams and most frequently negative. Pleasant emotions such as happiness are reported infrequently. Aggression used in our dreams is more scandalous than sex (D’Amato, 2010, p.184-185). Freud’s concept of dreaming many times is through “The Interpretations of Dreams”. Dreams are aspects of our psychic lives that may or not be known to us. He also believed it was the unconscious that motivates dreaming” (D’Amato, 2010, p.186). He also believes that “dreaming permits us to indirectly experience a multitude of unacceptable impulses which is relevant to threat simulation theory, which measures aggressive threats (D’Amato, 2010, p.198). He demonstrates a number of dreams that illustrate his theory. The following example may demonstrate how patients dream associations lead the analyst away from the unconscious conflict. “Example of a dream and clinical vignette: A middle-aged male dreamed. My brothers were supposed to meet me after I left school. When, I got outside, no one was there. They left, and I did not have the keys to go home. It was the same old thing. It was OK they had gone. The fact that they had my keys was not supposed to be a problem either” (D’Amato, 2010, p. 189). After analyzing, according to Freud “the patient’s associating to the dream was related to anger. It was same old feelings: Rage. The dream offered no insight and demonstrated anger within people, and his sense was abandonment. In transference, patient has been talking about his fear of being left out in the cold. Freud’s interpretation of his dream was that he expects to be abandoned and his interpretation of more hatred operated against the fear of being annihilated. The “keys” to his conflict seemed to concern his unconscious (lost) fear rather than conscious hatred. He would
Dreams and Aggression 11
rather feel angry than loss. This interpretation contradicts with Freud’s assertion that his technique of free association leads to the dream unconscious meaning. As whole, aggression needs to be discharged if we are to remain healthy. Going back to anthropological roots, tells us that aggression and threatening events in the lives of our ancestors had the potential to balance between survival of the species and extinction” (D’Amato, 2010, p.189).
In conclusion, it is a natural instinct for every human to have aggression in our dreams in both males and females. I believe regardless of gender, we all see, hear, taste, and feel are all built-in inside and produce a mental activity of nature; therefore, dreams do not necessarily always have a meaning; however it may be a sign of our insight, liking, desires, and fears. And, egotism may be a symptom of depression. Dreaming is a natural impulse mentally and even if we do not do it and want to do it. That is called nature. We are acting in our dreams by using our sub-conscious by being angry. It will take a different whole attitude if you received good approaches in your dreams weather male or female. On the other hand, when dreaming with anger, it may also symbolize displeasure and aggravation in one’s self. This is where one may tend to express negative emotions or venture out their anger to anyone when they wake up into their daily life. I consider that men have more power with anger and are able to use physical aggression, additionally women also have aggression though in more of a passive way comparing to
Dreams and Aggression 12
men and are more likely to hold it in than men. Both men and women entail anger in their dreams, it may signify to help solve their problems, to cope with any sort of trauma they
may be going through or had in the past, or to help organize their brain with everyday life and it may be random impulses. Secondly, it is important to be aware about aggression of dreams and how it affects our daily lives in this generation social interaction is an interest in most people, for that reason it is not shocking that dreams are also about social interactions. When themes are aroused from REM, they may inform a story involving the dreamer along with dramatic visual details, nasty details, aggressive social interaction, strange and questionable events. Dreams may also impersonate what is going on in our daily lives and also damage it. If you feel, fed up, overly exhausted, and back fired by any situation you are then left to feel angry. I think that anger is caused by feeling sad. If you look back to a past situation that made you feel angry, and analyse that situation you will then realize that the reason behind feeling anger and rage was because of feeling sad. For example, you break up with your boyfriend and you feel angry and hurt because all that history of love you shared with him is seems to be a waste of time. Aggression is a normal emotion used in both male and female, it prepares you to either fight or dash, and sometimes according to men fighting physically is the best response. Thirdly, the two experiment methods used for aggression on dreams and Freud theory were very significant in dreams. As we look into (Harada, 2006) experimental method, shows that students who dreamt frequently had more anger, irritation, and depression. Also, students who had more negative dreams felt more anger, frightened, and lonely. And students that were up late at past midnight, i.e.: going to convenience stores late at night, watching TV
Dreams and Aggression 13
had more dreams since they were nocturnal. Next, we look into (Dale & DeCicco, 2011) experimental method, showed a relationship between dream content and male characters in dreams of males. There was a correlation between confusion and anger, where as fear correlated with threat and moderately with aggression. As for females, there was only happiness and was not correlated with any emotions. It appears that male dreams had more sadness, anger, fear, aggression, and threat. Males have a greater tendency of aggressive activities. By analyzing both methods, it shows a correlation that the males tend to experience difficulty with the related emotions of anger, where as women were more capable to handle them. Anger is commonly used in dreams to both genders, however it has been proven that men tend to have a greater tendency dreams and aggression where as women may have aggression and dreams but are capable of handling and controlling it.
Dreams and aggression 14