The family is the first basic security image that we have. Often, through circumstances not within our control, that image becomes distorted, and dreams will either attempt to put this image right or will confirm the distortion.

Thus we may dream of an argument with a family member, but the interpretation will depend on both the circumstances of the dream and our everyday relationship with that person.

All future relationships are influenced by the ones we first develop within the family.

Since relationships in the family are so important, dreams containing family members can have extra significance.

Some typical dreams are: a man’s mother being transformed into another woman a man’s first close relationship with a woman is with his mother or mother figure.

This transformation indicates some change in his perception of women. Depending on the circumstances of the dream, such a transformation can be either positive or negative.

For instance he may dream of his mother turning into his boss.

This suggests he may have certain expectations as to how he should be treated.

It can be a sign of growth for him to realize, through dreams, that he can let mother go.

A woman’s father, brother or lover turning into someone else similarly, a woman’s first relationship with the male is usually with her father or father figure.

She must learn to walk away from that relationship in order to progress onto fuller relationships. When she can handle her animus she is ready for that transformation.

A man’s brother or a woman’s sister appearing in a dream this often represents the shadow. Often it is easier to project the negative side of our personalities onto members of the family.

If this projection is allowed to continue, and not understood, it can cause difficulty with family relationships. Often the solution will present itself in dreams to enable us to come to terms with our own projections.

The pattern of aggressions between family members is fairly typical, but oddly is often easier to work through in dreams than in everyday life. Confusion of family members (e.G. Mother’s face on father’s body) this suggests that we may be having problems in deciding which parent or person is most important to us. Family members suffering from injury or trauma or appearing to be distorted in some way may reflect our fear for, or about, that person.

A family member continually appearing in dreams or, conversely, not appearing when expected shows that the relationship with that person (or our concept of them) needs to be better understood. Dreaming of an incestuous relationship may indicate that we have become obsessed in some way with the other person. We are searching for integration of their qualities within ourselves. Parents crushing us and thus forcing rebellion this suggests that we need to break away from learnt childhood behaviour and develop as an individual. Dreaming of a parent’s death can also have the same significance. When a parent appears in our own environment, we will have learnt to change roles within the parent / child relationship and perhaps will accept our parents as friends. Parents behaving inappropriately in dreams can indicate our need to recognize that they are only human, and not as perfect as we had first perceived.

In tribal societies the rite of passage between childhood and adulthood is clearly marked, by initiation. Rivalry with one or both parents is highlighted in dreams when such a transformation is not properly handled and our feelings and emotions have not been given due validity. Dreaming of conflict between a loved one and a member of our family this shows we have not fully differentiated between our needs and desire for each person. Learning how to love outside the family is a sign of maturity.

The figure of a family member intruding in dreams suggests that family loyalties can get in the way within our everyday life. Rivalry between siblings in dreams usually harks back to a feeling of insecurity and doubt, possibly as to whether we are loved enough within the family framework. Dreaming of being adopted suggests that we feel out of place and in some way different to other members of the family.

This dream often occurs as teenagers are growing towards maturity. Dreaming of having any family member e.G.

A brother – when we do not have one in waking life denotes our search for completion and ‘missing’ parts of our personality.