Steetproofing -or- Diffusion of Responsibilty

Ami, American female 35

My name is Ami and I am the mother of three wonderful and beautiful  children. I have had a very disturbing dream for two nights now and want to know if there is some reason for it. My children are ages 8 and 6. They are boys. My girl is 4. The dream is still quite vivid and was so real I had a hard time realizing it was a dream.

Well here goes. My 6 year old son was visiting friends in another state. I was gone somewhere. The phone rings and my mom says that one of my kids is dead. I think that she is just pulling my leg or something and kind of blow it off. I go to where he is supposed to be and find that she wasn't. I can't accept what I've heard and rush to the hospital thinking there must be some sort of mistake. He can't be gone. He's my baby my love. I get there and the truth stares me in the face. I ask how did this happen and they say that she was walking down the sidewalk when he missed the breaks in the cement where it had risen and fell, cracking his face.

I still had to see him. All this time I was bawling and making a strange sound from within myself. I go in and there lay my little angel looking so peaceful as always. I couldn't believe he wasn't going to wake up. I held him so tight thinking and saying: why he was always so kind and gave no one any trouble; he was a beautiful child; why he's mine. This is where I heard myself crying out loud and woke up to find myself full of tears. It was 6 a.m. and I checked on him to make sure it was a dream. I couldn't go back to sleep as this was all I could think of. Last night was the same only it was as if I began where I had left off. I was at home  trying to figure out how to tell my family, my husband. He begins screaming saying it was my fault because I let him go and my 4 year old daughter begins screaming that she wants her Tony. I then am at the funeral and look down at him and again woke crying. Please I need to know why I would be having such a nightmare. He is my darling son and is a perfect child. He is like an angel sent to us and wise beyond his years. I could never bear to lose him and this is just like it night after night. I don't want to go to sleep and my husband does not want to hear about the whole thing after I mentioned what it was about. Why am I dreaming such a horrific event? 

Mr Hagen's Reply; Nightmares and the Horrors of Crack

Are you in the United States? 

I wonder if your dream has anything to do with drugs and a desire to 
street-proof your children. Nightmares are anxiety dreams. You state that 
"he missed the breaks in the cement" and "cracked his face". Your selection 
of words (turn of phrase) to describe the key event in your nightmare could be significant. 
Among other things, I deliver drug and alcohol awareness programs. Recently 
I was showing a video on crack-cocaine and its effects, which causes altered 
states of consciousness and reality. Could drugs have anything to do with your nightmare?


Abigail's Reply;

Thanks for answering and yes I am in the United States but as for the question on the drugs I do not do any and my son is too young for me even to have warned him. I seem to be having follow up nightmares on this same thing every night and it is getting very upsetting. Last night we were trying to get into some building, a hospital, and something went nuts and my mother and I were trying to get a door opened and then when we did my son was stabbed by a lunatic and no-one would help. We went in and they all looked and did nothing until one said that he would try. That's where it ended. If you have any ideas why it is that I would be dreaming this I would like your opinions Thanks. Abigail.

Mr Hagen's Reply; Diffusion of Responsibility

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child.

You do also have older children, which I assume are starting to go to school. It's incredible what's going on "out there" these days. We probably need to street-proof children at ever-younger ages. The stabbing of your son in your dream seems to go in the same direction of interpretation as I previously mentioned. It may just be your paranoia as a mother (or your mother's), an over-protectiveness under the motto "trust no one." However, I think that these fears are real and not just imagined or symbolic. Violence, drugs, crime are pervasive "street" problems. Other dreams such as Requiem for a Dream and Victim of Violent Crime, received by the IIDR reinforce these ideas.

The hospital can be viewed as a community symbol of health, both physical as well as psychological. A communities mental health is very dependant on its' ability to effectively deal with anxiety, physical and psychological dangers and threats to its' citizens. If not effectively dealt with pathological symptoms such as social panic are the logical outcome. Seen in this light your dream represents feelings of personal insecurity in protecting your children. As well, a sense of demoralization as a consequence of social mental health authorities (including myself) who are seen as being helpless inadequately dealing with the communal problems you are faced with. In your dream, you are assigned the blame for your child's death. Someone has to be responsible, someone must be at fault? Right? What we then experience is a diffusion of responsibility. Whose problem is it anyways?

Opening the doors of perception to the public, thereby allowing the unconscious dynamics (dreams) of everyday life and its problems to become visible, is a goal of the International Institute for Dream Research. With this link to this website you can read about Streetproofing Your Child.

Hope that provides some insight,

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.