Ok, so we are going to take a different approach today.
You have dreams, right?
I imagine some of them are disturbing and I bet some of them are about your ex-girlfriend.
But do you ever have dreams of your ex girlfriend with the Zombie Apocalypse raging in the background?
I didn’t think so!
Well, I want you to meet a guy who is both a dreamer and a lover, but also happens to be afraid of losing his girlfriend.
He is afraid of losing her, now in the real world, because he lost her in the chaos of his dream world.
His name is Jimmy and he is about to take us on a wild and quirky tale of love, loss, survival and choices.
You see, Jimmy is one of my clients.
I have known him for a while, off and on, and I have to tell you he is a pretty cool guy.
A tad young and inexperienced in the relationship department, but simply a great guy.
He and his girlfriend, Vivian, have had an on and off again romance for the past ten months. And I have to tell ya, Jimmy has a pretty vivid dream world.
For most guys, the fear of losing our girlfriends can send us to some extremes.
We may choose to wine and dine her, take her on trips, give her presents…..all kinds of things.
I mean if you have a girl in your life that you really feel tight with, the last thing you want is for your life to be shattered by a break up.
And if that happens, then I can assure you that eventually you will be desperate to get your ex back.
Well, with Jimmy, he was still in the relationship. But he was fearful that the relationship with his girlfriend may not last much longer.
Going from having a steady girl to a place where you are wondering why she broke your heart is no picnic.
For some couples, the difference between those two extremes is a balancing act.
Such was the case for my buddy Jimmy.
He and his girlfriend had dealt with a variety of little and large dramas regarding their relationship.
Many times they had called it off and as many times they got it back together again.
So it was not a complete surprise to me when Jimmy called me one day to tell me that he thought he and Vivian were right on that edge of yet another falling out.
So I asked him, what was going on.
He had a one word answer, “Dreams”.
It turned out that Jimmy had been plagued by dreams of his girlfriend and he firmly believed that these “movies of the mind” were foreshadowing a pending breakup with his girlfriend.
The two of them had been through so much together, I was not too surprised that Jimmy was plagued with these notions.
He was convinced that something bad was about to happen.
In fact he insisted that the relationship was about to explode and not in a good way.
Why was he so adamant about this pending disaster, I inquired?
It was the “dreams” he kept insisting.
Then he told revealed to me the weirdest, most bizarre dream, involving his ex-girlfriend, that I think I have ever heard.
I guess it was the one that put him in a bit of a panic mode.
Now, let it be said that Jimmy is a huge fan of the cable show, The Walking Dead, which is about the Zombie Apocalypse.
You should also know that Jimmy is a psychology major.
So I have no doubt that these areas of interest very likely impacts the way he views the world around him.
Indeed, his girlfriend, Vivian, was also a huge fan of the show. I would say that they bordered pretty close to the edge of obsession around all things “zombie”.
They religiously watched the show and participated in “dress up” parties during mid season or end of season, finales.
Apparently, there are these places or events you can go to where you can act out on your fantasies of fighting and surviving in the zombie apocalypse.
But in the dream he would tell me about, it went a step further.
He was immersed into a strange world where he and his girlfriend experienced an awful breakup during the middle of the apocalypse, punctuated by a series of encounters where he and his girlfriend were under constant threat.
To put it mildly, this couple lived in two worlds where they were into fighting with themselves and with a host of flesh eating attackers.
Now what happened to these two lovers and how they survived as a couple running for their lives in the apocalyptic countryside is what makes this dream tale so fascinating.
I know, it sounds a little crazy.
But sometimes you just go with things and see where they lead you.
In this case, I listened and listened some more.
And while I am not sure how much I was able to help Jimmy push away the insecurities he was having about again losing his girlfriend; what I gained was one of the most interesting dream stories I think I have ever heard.
So buckle up. We are about to go for a dream ride.
Just to set this up a bit more, in the telling of his dream, Jimmy and his girlfriend experienced four harrowing situations.
As the dream unfolds, these two hot and cold lovers in real life also experienced that same problem (i.e. on again, off again situation) in the dream world.
I guess, because Jimmy really takes all this stuff seriously and searches for meaning in all these dream images, he took it upon himself to provide me with his so called “expert” interpretation on what it all meant.
My client was fairly adamant about there being a lot of symbolism associated with the events that unfolded in his dream.
There seems to be four main events that happen.
He wanted me to comment on what I thought of his interpretation.
He was certain that the dream was a “key” to deciphering what he should do in real life in order to avoid another break up.
Of course, initially I tried to tell Jimmy that his dream was very likely just manifestations of his anxiety over potentially experiencing another break up.
But he would have nothing to do with that way of thinking.
He insisted that the dream had clues and he had already discussed them with his girlfriend.
They argued about what it meant and how it should be applied to the betterment of their relationship.
Finally, after one particular heated discussion, they both agreed that it would be best for Jimmy to consult with me.
So after hearing all this, I figured it would be best to try and latch onto something that could help me, help them.
So I just kept it shut, and listened.
So here is how it all rolled out and to organize these so called dream plot points, let me give you an outline of what we are about to get into!
- Opening Sequence – Awaking With His Girlfriend
- The Big Bad Breakup
- The Fire, the Gun, and Hooking Up With the Ex-Girlfriend
- Debating the Use of Knifes with the Ex-Girlfirend
- Fighting in Town With a Long Stick
Awaking With Your Girlfriend Into a Land of Apocalypse
I guess the dream started off pretty well considering the two people I was dealing with.
He had been sleeping and when he awakened, his girlfriend was in bed with him.
Normally he would be overjoyed by waking up with her in bed, but this time things were different.
For some reason, he thought they had gone through another break-up, but there they were, in bed in a strange bedroom. And it was eerily silent outside.
He could hear her breathing and nudged her and she awakened, smiled and started talking about how she was craving mustard.
I took that be a good sign. I am not exactly sure why, but it felt right.
Jimmy explained that prior to his last dream, he and his girlfriend had been talking about the course of their relationship.
There was some talk about their potential future lives. But his girlfriend had spent some time raising her concerns about whether their roller coaster romance would come back to haunt them.
I was starting to see how and why this dream got kicked off.
When we think too much about negativity, we have a subconscious way of trying to make them come true by way of a dream world.
It is weird, I know, but it is something you want to avoid.
Of course, I interrupted Jimmy’s telling of his story to drop this little “pearl of wisdom” on him, but he did not seem so convinced.
In his sense of reality, the dream world is less influenced by subconscious thoughts.
He seems to place a premium on what the dream is presumably “telling him” about he and his girlfriend’s future with each other.
I respectfully disagreed with this line of thinking, because quite frankly, I believed if Jimmy and Vivian were going to be a successful couple, they needed to launch themselves out of all of this dream world symbolism and focus on their “behaviors” in the real world.
But I digress. Let’s get back to this tale of love and survival.
The dream starts with the two of them in bed, together.
They were talking about why his girlfriend likes mustard (“go figure!”), when they heard a banging on the window.
When they both peered out, nothing was there. About that time, his girlfriend got out of bed, put on some clothes, and went into the kitchen to get some breakfast.
Shortly after that, he heard a noisy clatter, like dishes had suddenly been dropped in the sink, and a faint siren far in the background.
When he later followed her path to the kitchen, she was not there. She was “gone”. There was no sign of struggle or note, except a glass was laying on the floor.
Just like the movie, “Gone Girl”. She was completely missing, with no sign of where she went or why.
And strangely, Jimmy described that he did not feel sadness or alarm about his girlfriend being gone. He figured she had left him, again.
This is a good place to pause just to tell you the readers that Jimmy and Vivian are big movie buffs.
And guess what..right, you got it…. they also both watched the movie “Gone Girl”.
So I am thinking, Jimmy’s dream is pulling in from a lot of sources.
The Big Bad Breakup
Well, anyway, what happened next is sort of what happens in a lot of dreams. I think of it as “weird relationship dream logic”.
Jimmy is standing there in the kitchen wondering why she “broke-up” with him again.
Yes, that is right. He was sure that is what it all meant. At least his dream self was thinking that.
The real Jimmy was not quite sure what happened, though he suspected his “dreamworld” was telling him that his girlfriend had decided to “call it off”.
His reasoning was that his girlfriend is a passive aggressive kind of person. He thought this kind of behavior would not be unlike something she would do. He said that in the past, when she instigated the break up, she would always try to let him down easy.
Ok, I know what you are thinking!
I thought the same thing.
Here you are in your dream, waking with your girlfriend in your arms. She walks to the kitchen, then poof, she is gone.
That should rattle anyone, right?
Just lay that kind of logic aside!
Remember, Jimmy and Vivian are sort of a “unique” couple. I think they thrive on drama and I also think denial fits in there as well.
So what did Jimmy do (in his dream) when he realized that his girlfriend had gone missing?
Well, he didn’t have to do anything.
The dream did it for him. Suddenly he was thrusted into a different scene in the mind’s movie.
That is probably the best way I can describe it… “the mind’s movie“.
Dreams are like movies of the mind.
But unlike most movies, where edits are done smoothly, with transition. A dream can abruptly shift and suddenly you find yourself in a different place and circumstance.
The Fire, The Gun, and Hooking Up With The Ex Girlfriend
Jimmy now finds himself in the woods.
He remember “breaking up” with his ex-girlfriend though I am still troubled by that interpretation of his dream story.
For me, his girlfriend just disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
But I guess Jimmy was so use to the hot and cold type of the relationship he “enjoyed” with his girlfriend, that when she is nowhere to be found, it had to mean she was breaking up.
Notice, I use the word “enjoy” when describing how Jimmy seemingly has gotten accustomed to the frequency of spats and breakups.
I think some couples or more precisely, certain individuals within a relationship, enjoy the drama that comes out of breaking up or threatening to break up.
Some people seem to gain a little perverse joy in the process of letting everything unwind and come apart, so they can later surrender to this drama and unhappiness, then lift off again in seeking to reunite.
I am not sure if that is what is happening with Jimmy and Vivian, but they seemed oddly accustomed to their constant little battles and debates.
So Jimmy is in the woods and it is getting cold.
So he makes a fire to get warm.
But he has another reason for making the fire, so he says.
Around him are zombies, but he figures if he keeps the fire burning and stay really quiet, the zombies won’t find him.
Now, if you ask me, I would think the Zombies would be attracted to the fire.
But Jimmy insisted that the fire represented a beacon of hope.
A beacon of hope?
Ok, so I asked him what he meant by that.
He explained the fire represented a way of attracting his ex-girlfriend.
He figured that since the dream had shifted to a zombie apocalypse, it meant that his girlfriend must have left him to save him from the pain of watching her die.
Hence, he made a fire to bring her to him (so he says).
I guess Vivian was not a very good fighter in the apocalypse. He attributed her departure to what he believed to be a gesture of love and consideration.
So he starts a fire and from the woods he hears a rustling of sticks and branches. And lo and behold, out comes his long lost love.
His ex-girlfriend had returned. She was frightened and was so glad to see him that she threw herself on him and they “got it on”.
It is not unusual for us guys to experience sex dreams with our ex girlfriend or be thrusted into a difficult situation where intimacy takes center stage.
Ok, so far we have had discussion of mustard, a disappearance, woods, fire, zombies, and sex.
With Jimmy, there is always more to the story.
So as he continued his tale, he told me that after they made love, she kept insisting that they should not get back together again.
She argued that neither of them had much of a chance with all of the zombies walking around and that it would be best to just go their separate ways.
Her dream logic (I guess that is what we will call it) according to Jimmy (he understood these things!) was that if they parted, they would never suffer the pain of seeing the other one die.
But then Jimmy steered their discussion to a debate of how their relationship could survive if they could find the right weapons.
Jimmy wanted them to search for a gun.
He figured a gun would be easier to carry than a long rifle and if they found enough bullets, they could shoot and move and carve out a living, scavenging for resources.
His ex-girlfriend…. remember she did not consider them an “active” couple anymore because it would screw up their survival chances…..did not like the idea of using a gun.
She thought they were messy, loud, and it would be easy to miss.
So they debated back and forth on what might be the best weapons they could make use of in this zombie world.
JImmy explained that while they were discussing the merits of using a gun, three zombies staggered toward them.
Since they were so deep into discussion, they had forgotten to keep an eye out. Now the creatures were upon them.
He said Vivian shrieked with horror and ran off into the woods while he picked up a fire scorched log and smashed it into the head of one of the zombies.
Suddenly, he says, he finds himself running through the woods, chasing after his ex-girlfriend, trying to catch up, but never quite getting there.
It was then that Jimmy asked me what I thought it all meant.
I told him that I thought he simply had a dream that was inspired by his love of zombie shows and his anxiety over their dysfunctional relationship.
Well, I was pretty proud of myself as I thought I had hit the nail right on the head and summed it up quite well.
Of course, Jimmy had a different take on what had happened with his ex-girlfriend and why she bolted into the woods.
He told me that he thought the zombies frightened her, but he believed the underlying message was that their discussion, about the use of a gun as the primary weapon of choice to fight the zombies, revealed something meaningful about their relationship.
Ok….so at this stage of his story I was all ears. I figured, I would just keep my mouth shut and seek to understand.
Jimmy told me that the gun represented a sudden end to things. And that was what his ex-girlfriend (Vivian) was trying to convey to him in the dream world.
He explained that his ex girlfriend feared that their relationship would continued to be troubled by sudden break-ups and that the “fear” itself was driving a self fulfilling prophecy in real life.
Presumably, the gun was a metaphor for her “fear”.
Ok, I thought to myself, that is a bit confusing.
I was still not sold.
Frankly, I really could not make that same leap that a dream holds some special wisdom about his relationship challenges with his on again and off again ex-girlfriend.
Furthermore, I think he was seeking to explain why in real life, his girlfriend was prone to calling it quits and breaking off their relationship.
Supposedly, her inability to channel her fears was causing her to act irresponsibly and end her love affair prematurely, over and over again.
Now, I don’t have anything against psychology majors. I find them to be more often than not, fascinating people to talk to.
But at this stage of this dream interpretation, I was pretty sure that I was dealing with a questionable interpretation of how the dream was revealing a greater truth in real life.
So let’s finish the story, but I warn you, it gets stranger still.
Debating the Use of Knifes With His Ex-Girlfriend
As we last heard, Vivian is running away in the woods, with Jimmy in hot pursuit.
At that moment, the dream shifts to another scene where he is reunited with his ex-girlfriend, but they are now holed up in a secluded cabin in the wood, next to a lake.
Zombies are everywhere and bumping up against the wood siding of the cabin and peering at them in the windows.
One window is busted up.
Jimmy explains that he is covered with blood from bashing the zombie with the fire log and his ex-girlfriend is nearly hysterical.
After a few minutes, he is able to calm her down, assuring her that they are safe and at sunrise, the zombies will be gone.
At that stage, the couple resumes their discussion of what weapon they should make use of in this new world they find themselves in.
Since he knew that his ex girlfriend was upset about any discussion of using a gun, he turned his attention to convincing her that they needed to use knives or long blades of some type to protect themselves.
In the dream, he explained that Vivian was edgy about using knives or sharp blades.
She feared that she could cut herself.
But her worse fear revolved around the need to have to get close for the kill. That idea of approaching one of those hideous creatures frightened her.
Once again, Jimmy asked me why I thought his dream girlfriend was against the idea of using a sharp knife.
Now I am thinking the real Jimmy and Vivian probably had a lot of discussions in the past about what they might do in a zombie apocalypse in order to survive since they were such fans of the show.
Naturally, I reasoned that these discussion would have included matters of survival such as food, weapons, and shelter. And I bet they mixed in a little romance.
Therefore, I figured that is where all this was coming from.
So that is what I told him.
Predictably, Jimmy had other ideas.
He said that the reason why his lover was an ex-girlfriend in his dream world was that she was secretly afraid to draw close to him in the real world.
That is why, he argued, that she hedged on wanting to use a knife to kill the zombies.
To use that weapon, you must draw close to your prey to execute the final blow. He extrapolated that meant Vivian was subconsciously afraid to be close and open herself up in her relationship with him.
At that stage of his ruminations, I could barely stand it!
The things that he was saying made some sense, but I was just not buying all of this dream symbolism.
I was just about to throw in the towel when Jimmy insisted that the best part and last part of his adventures were coming up.
He said Vivian kept insisting they had to get out of the cabin and for once they finally agreed on something.
So he told her to pound on the door to draw the zombies to the noise and while she was doing that he would wedge open the window in the back of the cabin.
Once the outside area near the window was clear, they opened the door to allow the flesh eating zombies to pour in and slipped out the window.
Fighting in Town With a Long Stick
Once again, they are on the run and soon they find themselves in the streets of an abandoned small town.
Up to this point, Jimmy and his ex-girlfriend have had to resort to a crude game of hide and seek as they make their way through their survival obstacle course.
He explains that after reaching the town, he and Vivian resumed their argument about why they can’t remain together as boyfriend and girlfriend.
He was upset she kept running away and feared that eventually harm would come to her.
Vivian continued to insist that she would retain her ex-girlfriend status and insisted that when they came upon a group of people, they should split up and go separate ways.
None of this made any sense to Jimmy and was becoming very frustrated with her.
So they argued and argued until they realized the town they were in was not deserted.
They could see more zombies far down the street. They appeared to be huddled or gathered around something in the middle of the town square.
At this point, Jimmy explained that his dream self started searching for some kind of weapon in case there was a confrontation with these “things”, even though they seemed preoccupied far up the road.
Laying on the ground, near a feed store, he found a long pole.
His girlfriend told him to get it, fast, because she was afraid the zombies would eventually come their way.
It was a bit too long to wield comfortably, so Jimmy looked for something to cut it with. Vivian suggested they go look in the feed store for some tool that could cut the pole.
As they entered the store everything seemed quiet. But he thought he had seen movement out of the corner of his eye.
So he turned to speak to his ex-girlfriend. He noticed she had moved several feet away and was picking through a shelf of items. Just as he was about to ask her what she was doing, she screamed as a hideous looking zombie creature was clutching at her.
Jimmy explained he tried to wield the long pole to strike at the “thing”, but the pole kept bumping into things as he pressed forward to strike.
And that is how the dream ended.
He was trying to fight off a zombie with a pole that was far too long and his ex girlfriend (i.e. she was his Ex in the dream, but still his girlfriend in real life) was screaming trying to squirm away.
I was afraid that Jimmy would ask me what I thought about the ending.
I would have to tell him that it meant nothing except his imagination and anxiety were simply producing a fictional story to ease his burden about any forthcoming break ups.
Thank goodness, he didn’t ask me. I think he knew what I would say.
Nevertheless, good ole Jimmy pretty much thought he had it all figured out.
So I am thinking to myself, “why on earth did you call me if you have all the answers!”
I guess he was just excited about it all.
Anyway, he told me that the ending of the dream represented that they were “poles” apart on how they viewed their long term relationship.
And because of that, they were struggling with what to do about their feelings for each other.
Aha! After hearing this, I am thinking, finally, Jimmy may be starting to connect with why he and Vivian are frequently breaking up.
I had previously coached Jimmy on the need for the two of them to be honest with each other about their feelings and insecurities.
So I told Jimmy that it is very possible, that at a subconscious level, one of them was afraid of commitment to a long term relationship.
I told him that I had no problem with listening to his dream interpretations, but he and his girlfriend needed to focus their time on exploring why they have had a bumpy ride….and he should quit playing psychologist.
I emphasized that once a couple develops a routine of acting out little dramas which ultimately ends in a breakup, that such a trend is damaging to the relationship in the long run.
I told him it was important that he and his girlfriend have a real heart to heart about the topic of “commitment”, otherwise they will find themselves trapped in kind of a “Groundhog Day” revolving door.
I walked him through an action plan to help accomplish what I thought he needed to do.
Thankfully he agreed.
Perhaps some day, this quirky couple will be able to look back at these days and laugh.
And who knows…. maybe this dream of apocalypse represented the turning point!