Have you ever dreamed that you slept with your father? Or rode a mechanical bull while a coworker watched? We have and were disturbed for months. Fortunately, dreams don’t always mean what you think they do, and having sex with your father is nothing to worry about, so long as it only happens in your subconscious. Here, we ask psychologist Veronica Tonay, Ph.D. to decode your crazy dreams each and every week, so that you can sleep at night, and dream some more.
THE DREAM IN QUESTION: My dad had just left my mom for Margaret Cho. He was staying in a bachelor pad, and my mom wasn’t bummed about it at all. In fact, she seemed happy. (In real life they are still together after 38 years.) I was staying at my dad’s place and had to sleep in his bed since it was a studio. He had a hot body and accidentally spooned me, thinking I was Margaret Cho. While I was disgusted, I was also slightly turned on. WTF is wrong with me? — Cuddling Daddy
ANSWER: In dreams, people don’t represent who they really are in the outside world but instead reflect our feelings and thoughts about those people. Most people have had dreams in which they’ve been sexual with a parent, so although it can be shocking to have the dream, it’s really common. This dream is unusual because your father mistakes you for someone else: Margaret Cho, the comedienne. Consider: who is Margaret Cho to you? Your father believes you are her, so it may be you feel your father values your lighter, humorous side more than your other aspects.
The main theme of the dream is that you’re not being seen as who you are in a relationship. Do you display your Cho side more than the rest of you? Or, do your partners leave you feeling unseen and misunderstood, as if they think you’re somebody else? Think about the roles you play with your family and friends, and whether or not you might want to show just a little more of your true self out there.
Veronica Tonay earned her doctoral degree in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley and has conducted and supervised research on the meaning of dreams for 25 years. She is the author of The Creative Dreamer: Using Your Dreams to Unlock Your Creativity and Every Dream Interpreted.