Psychologically the struggle for individuality should take place within the safety of the family unit.
This, however, does not always happen.
In dreams we are able to ‘manipulate’ the images of our family members, so that we can work through our difficulties without harming anyone else (it is interesting to note that one person working on his own dreams can have a profound noticeable effect on the interactions and unconscious bondings between other members of his family).
Almost all of the problems we encounter in life are reflected within the family, so in times of stress we will dream of previous problems and difficulties that the family has experienced. Dreams about the family figure so prominently because most of the conflicts and problems in life are experienced first within that environment.
It is as though a pattern is laid down which, until it is broken willingly, will continue to appear.
Individual members and their position within the family can also symbolize the various archetypes – father can represent the masculine principle and authority, whereas mother represents the nurturing, protective principle.
For ease of reference the relevance of each figure in men’s and women’s dreams is included under each heading. Because we have had an intimate connection with members of the family they become easy targets for projection as dream images. We do have to decide whether they are in our dreams as themselves or whether they are there in a symbolic capacity.