Decode My Dream: Secret, Tacky Rooms

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: I have a reoccurring dream that I discover a wing of a mansion hidden in my apartment. For example, one day I open the closet and find a door that leads to a series of overly decorated rooms that are HUGE. Often in my dreams I discover these rooms are haunted or someone died there. The rooms have really dated furniture, and it’s apparent these rooms have not been lived in for ages. I grew up in a tastefully decorated home — what’s with the tacky furniture? — Living Amidst Shag Carpet, New York, NYANSWER: We often have dreams like these when we are undergoing self-exploration. Houses often represent the psyche — the conscious and unconscious self, parts you are aware of, and parts you are not. So when you discover a new “wing,” you are exploring a new part of yourself you didn’t know about before. These parts in your dream are “dated” — have been around a long time, perhaps too long, possibly reflecting outdated attitudes or values you’d like to “update.”

Veronica Tonay, Ph.D., 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.