Just woke up from a nightmare
I was having a nice normal dinner with my family, when the conversation turned to why I haven't been to any meetings in a really long time (the rest of my family isn't very regular though.) Everyone was turned to me, accusingly, and my father got all fire and brimstone, very vengeful-Jehovah- like. Suddenly the dinner was over and it was just him and me, and he kept accusing me of things that I didn't understand because of a language barrier between us, and I kept using my non-comprehension as a defense. So he gave up with the religious arguments, and started saying something about sexuality which didn't make sense and I didn't understand that either. He then gave up on that and said "You're fat" and I started crying.
I jumped up when my alarm rang, feeling like my heart was pounding in my neck, and all tense. I'm still shaking.
(btw, my father is very mild mannered now, though when I was younger you did NOT want to make him mad.)
This would be so funny had it not actually been a real nighmare that you had. Sounds horrific. Maybe it's time to examine your relationship with this man, and your relationship with yourself. Could be some issues that haven't seen the light of day.
I hate nightmares, they can really shake you up. But they also can give you an idea of what anxieties you might have. If I may be so bold, what I take away from yours are several issues that are sort of mixed together in an accordian-like fashion but surrounding them is one overall.
First is the religion, and although they don't attend regularly, I'm guessing they basically adhere to the philosphy and lifestyle of Jehovah's Witnesses. But you don't understand that, or at least understand why they believe in that sect, and so there was a language barrier in the nightmare.
Next is sexuality, and I'm sorry but I don't know if you are gay or straight or in a relationship or not, but I'm guessing that there is disapproval from your father and family about where you're at right now with sexuality.
Lastly is self-image. The fact your father cannot "change" you or convince you to go to his side and way of doing things is frustrating to him. But in the dream you take your own fear of his disapproval and put it on you in a shaming way.
See the nightmare is not about Jehovah's Witnesses, sexuality or being overweight, it's about a basic fear of his disapproval of you. I'm guessing a part of you is afraid that the disapproval would be so strong they would cut you off. Whether that fear is a real possibility or not, I don't know but I do think it's a natural anxiety children (even adult children) have about their parents. I hope I haven't stuck my nose in where it doesn't belong, I just wanted to tell you what I took out of your nightmare.
Big Tex, thank you for your astute analysis. You?re right, there are several issues that surfaced in my nightmare. I was working all last night so I had plenty of time to think, and this is what I came up with (sorry it?s so long, people):
There is actually a literal language barrier between my father and I. English is a second language to me, but the one I?m most fluent in. My father never picked it up, and we often have trouble communicating. Strangely, it is rarely my father who pressures me about not going to meetings, it is more often my mom. However, I sense she is more likely to be swayed away from it than my father. For example, she?s interested in yoga as an exercise and acupuncture as an alternative medicine, while my dad thinks they are demonic and evil. I understand the hold that the JW religion has on them, I?ve been working on healing myself from it for a couple years now. I want to help my family break away, but just don?t know how, especially when we can?t communicate clearly, and although I don?t think they would shun me if they knew how I felt, I want to spare them the stress and pain I know they would feel at the thought of me being destroyed in Armageddon.
Now, my sexuality. I am without a doubt very sexually frustrated. A combination of factors has made it difficult for me to be comfortable with men I don?t know. (Though I'm comfortable with women, I'm not physically attracted to them.) I experienced a lot of sexual harassment in middle school, and it trained me to give off a very cold vibe in self-defense. Also, I wasn?t allowed to date when I lived at home (even brothers, who my parents didn?t trust to be faithful and who I wasn?t interested in anyway), and I feared what my parents would do if I disobeyed them. I then went to a women?s college to appease my mother. Right now, I am so occupied with work and school that even if I did know how to ?date,? I don?t have the time. As a result, I am 23 years old, yet I?ve never been past a third date, and I?m still a virgin. In this age of hyper sexuality, this is at times a downward tug on my self-esteem. I?m not afraid of sex itself, and do really want to experience it, I just can?t get any. And masturbation is a poor substitute. In my dream, I got the sense that the father figure just assumed that I was sexually active, and was using that to condemn me. I?ve often been made to feel guilty for things I didn?t have anything to do with.
As for my body image, it is actually something I am coming to terms with. I?m not significantly overweight, and have actually lost 25 pounds in the last year and a half. However, my father has in the past made teasing comments about my weight, which did hurt. It seemed to me, in the dream, that it was my his last resort as a way to hurt me. I?m really not sure why I dreamed that he wanted to hurt me, as we get along fairly well now, maybe cause we don?t see as much of each other.
I think I have a good sense of what my issues are, I just don?t know how to resolve them. Again, sorry for the length of this, but it helps me to articulate it in this way, and maybe others here can understand what I?m going through better than my friends can. I don?t get much good advice from them as I don?t think they really understand where I?m coming from.