Last night I had a dream of a cliff that was different than all of the other dreams I’ve had. Usually when I dream of a cliff I am perilously close to falling off. Sometimes I do. I don’t see myself fall but I feel the terror. But last night I went off the cliff over and over again with a parachute each time. In my dream I even challenged the security of the parachute by thinking about it not working, but my dream self wouldn’t let it not work. It always worked. Over and over again the parachute made jumping or falling of the cliff fun.
I believe dreams and representative of things going on in our lives. Whether you follow Freud or Jung, both schools of thought agree dreams are based in our reality one way or another. Falling dreams are said to occur when a person feels they have lost control over some aspect of their lives.
Well I have frequently dreamt of falling off a cliff in my life so I must have felt a loss of control for years. I would say that could be true. What has changed? Well, I can think of two things only.
One, I’m pregnant. I’ve had dreams of falling since I was a little girl–long before ever wanting to become pregnant. So, while the second change may be motivated by my being pregnant, I do not think I feel more control in my life because I’m pregnant. It is more like a stepping stone. However, there are lots of changes going on in my body and mind that promote thinking about my life. I’ve had clear and distinct memories of my past almost like my life flashing before my eyes. The interesting thing about these memories is that they are not always my favorite memories, shall I say, they are the ones I either thought I’d forgotten or wished I could forget. When they made themselves known to me though, I welcomed them. I also realized that this was a way of introducing myself to my babies and a way of me further becoming acquainted with who I am.
Who am I? Well I a lot of things but one thing that has marked me deeply is my role in my family. I am the oldest daughter to two people who were each the youngest in their families. I was not lucky in my position in my family because neither of my parents were very self actualized or evolved when they had kids, namely me. I wasn’t the best older sister because I was needing so much myself I couldn’t give my younger sister what we both lacked. However, she managed to give the youngest sister more. Being younger and not older gave her an advantage I did not have. I was so wrapped up in my parents’ sqabling and destruction that I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. It took me a long time to recover from my childhood as it also did my sisters. My hole was just a bit deeper.
Recently I’ve been arguing with my mom. It has been interesting. First it started with me trying to address her when she was at my house. It is over how she behaves toward me now in adulthood. My approach has been to bring her back to where she started to treat me badly, which was in childhood. My justification is that I’m pregnant and want to be able to not have issues with my mother. She completely shut down and started throwing daggers at me. She said mean things about my childhood when I asked her questions about her memories. She went as far as to tell me that all of my memories are wrong, which is just bazaar for someone to say to another. Anyway, the argument did not end well at my house. She left.
We didn’t talk for a couple of weeks during which I blogged a response to her dagger throwing: On Drugs. She responded to my blog in a comment. I responded to her comment. Then we took the conversation to text. It has been ugly and yet it has been good for me to see her thoughts in writing.
It has clarified to me who she is. What she is. And what she is bothered by. While I have overcome my childhood, it has become clear that she is still plagued by her bad decisions. She won’t admit it outright but it is obvious in her writing. I see that she wants to blame me entirely for my childhood issues, which is a strange thing to do to a child or even another person. She won’t budge. She is desperate to keep blaming which is completely in line with her other issues about perfection.
My mother is so worried about perfection it is just boring. She is obsessed with her weight even now in old age. She is obsessed with what she calls “good relationships” which are shallow representations of interactions between people who always smile and skip from happy topic to happy topic without connecting the subjects with anything of substance. So, realizing with such clarity how this limitation is so her that I can reconcile what I can never get from her has been helpful.
I realize more and more how to look at my family through this argument we have been having. So, while I don’t know if our relationship will ever recover. I am in a better place with my family because of it. I finally have a solid box to put her in. I feel completely fair and open minded and secure in my judgement of who she is. I am thirty-nine and I have just come to terms with my family for myself. I see my sisters more clearly now as well. But more importantly my mother can no longer hurt me.
I expect this is not our last argument. I also expect her to say all sorts of bossy or mean things about my pregnancy and child rearing over years, but right now, I am quite certain that her words will always bounce off of me. I’ve never felt this much in control or power over my family as I do now. I can thank the little babies inside of me for giving me just enough crazy grouchiness to pursue these conversations/arguments with my mom.
I believe this is why I now am dreaming of a parachute opening for me when I fall of a cliff in my dreams at night.