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Nagging and Criticism

Dreams of nagging, guilt tripping, manipulative criticism, and the delightful people (and sides of ourselves) who indulge in these recreational pastimes.

Fritz Perls wrote a lot about this game between the nag, or topdog, and the nagged, or underdog. It's a game you can play for your whole life... if you like having your blood sucked. His prescription was simple, one-sided, drastic, but effective: underdogs must defy the naggers. Even if the nagging's truly meant to improve you, it just creates resistance. It never, ever, ever works, so just ignore the nagging and do what you want, openly, instead of hiding it or being ashamed that you're such a low, stupid, wicked, tacky person. Since you'll do it anyway, why not save time and trouble for everyone? And underdogs who go for what they always wanted, rarely go wild--they're often happy with quite a modest taste.

I concur. In my dreams, underdogs indulged will often grow into subtler, stronger characters who do finally attain much of what their topdogs hoped they'd achieve; but tossing a bone to a topdog usually just encourages them to find more to nag about.

RELATED TOPICS: embarrassment and shaming - guilt - pessimism, skepticism, scoffing - shadow figures - dream-guides - teachers and mentors - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

What this site is - Add your dreams! - How to read blurbs - Ratings - Copyright - Downloading - The World Dream Bank has 3300+ dreams plus 1000 more pages on dreamwork, shamanism, surrealism, fantasy, worldbuilding, creativity and genius. Site © Chris Wayan 2001-2013.



ACORN AND PELT: by Wayan; 1983/7/19, a simple sex dream growing to a mystical extravaganza
I fall in love, defying dwarf-tossers and Toulouse-Lautrec, till I become a time-traveling bunny...
CAUTION: SEX, SIZE DISCRIMINATION AND SLANDER
AICORN'S BANANA: by Wayan; 2016/6/13, a dream-parable on owning your tastes
An artificial intelligence acquires fans and has orgies with her groupies. Her creators
don't care as long as the advertisers get product placement. But she has this size fetish...
CAUTION: VIBRATORS
ARIANE'S HONEYMOON: by Wayan; 1986/4/11, a dreamlet meant to shock;
ch.2 of UNICORN TAG, a set of nine linked dreamtales.
I married my childhood crush. Happy, till I overhear her tell my sister what she really thinks of...
CAUTION: SEX TALK
ARTICHOKE PLATE: by Katherine Metcalf Nelson; 1982 (March?); a punning dream
I realize the artichoke plate in my lap is a pun: ART! I CHOKE! I need to peel
off my thorny outer leaves of professionalism to find the heart inside...
THE ASHE SISTERS: by Wayan; 2010/1/26, a dream portrait.
My two moms sell art fabrics made by grayish batwinged sisters whose newest ad is risqué...
CAUTION: ADS WITH NUDE BATS
AT LEAST HE'S A DOCTOR: by Wayan; 1982/4/7, a sharp warning dream.
I'm a Puertorriqueña who falls for an Anglo doctor, but he's not what he seems...
CAUTION: UNDERAGE SEX, CREEPY GUY, VICIOUS FIGHT
BABY'S COMING: by Bruno Oliveira; late summer 2011, a genderbent dream
I'm very pregnant and feel bloated. My mom says "That's what you get for not using a condom"...
BAD NANCY!: by "Nancy"; March 1985, a prodromal/diagnostic dream
A second me punches me in the breast. I fight back, yelling
"Bad Nancy! Bad Nancy!" Five months later I find a malignancy...
BLIND ANCESTORS: by Wayan; 2007/8/6, a nightmare poem about all of us
As we’re working, blind Ancestors come smash our homes--& we all see zombie vandal relatives as normal...
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (BUT, MOM!): by Anna Kingsford; 1879/10/17, a doctrinal dream gets personal
I say Christ’s “blood” is a metaphor for “spiritual perfection.” My mom says "You're killing me; please repent"...
BOB THE TREE: by Catshall; c. 2013/6/21, a dream-haiku on our marriage
I dreamt Bob was a tree-god enthroned in ivy. I said...
BONE CARVINGS: by Larry Vigon; c.1999; a numinous dream with silly illustrations
At the beach, a deaf boy with a strong aura asks "Are you here for the coin?"
He buries horse skeletons in the sand; the bones are carved with symbols...
DAD FALLS ASLEEP AT THE PODIUM: by Jenny Badger Sultan; 2008/3/8; painting in the Box of Dreams
My father is supposed to speak, but he falls asleep onstage. I rush up to try and rouse him, but...
A DAUGHTER TO DOTE ON: by Thomas Madden; 2017/9/17, a dream on gender? Family pressure? Both?
My dad saw a mob killing; our family enters witness protection. But why's my new role female? Well, my parents...
CAUTION: WILLING OR UNWILLING DRAG?
DRAMA IS HELL!: by Thomas Hood; 1824?; a comic nightmare
When my first play failed, I tried to console myself by reading Paradise Lost.
But drama and devils don't mix...
FISHERGIRLS: by Wayan; 2.6M, 42 illus.; 1996/7/15; a sexy dream epic.
I had an epic dream lasting subjective weeks--a true other life. It wasn't Earth and we weren't human.
I was a teenage lemur, sailing with two friends into unknown waters--a rite of passage. One night,
my friends curled round me, I saw I didn't WANT to pass the test, be declared a woman, marry, and have pups.
I loved my girl friends. In a world lacking the very word, I was groping toward queerdom.
Sailing into unknown waters! "Here be dragons," the old maps say. And they were right...
2600K loads slowly? Try it in parts: 1: HOME, 650K, 2: VOYAGE, 1200K, 3: BACK 750K.
CAUTION: NUDITY, SEX, QUEER TEEN ANGST, ANTI-FUNDAMENTALISM
FRACTURE SPEEDS MARRIAGE: by Wayan; 2001/1/1, a dream of advice on health and romance.
A baseball star got her leg broken. It stalls her career but helps her marriage. Did she need a "break"?
FREEZE!: by Wayan; 1984/5/29, an asymptotic dream.
Demons of fire invade the house, and the Voice of Truth says they can't be killed. What would you do?
GIRL IN THE WATER: by Wayan, 2000/10/7, twin dreams on... dreamwork?
In a California with no Gold Rush, wild deer carry a girl over the San Fernando hills to a secret dream-pool...
Then in a Japantown hotel lobby, that girl floats meditating in a huge aquarium, as local gossips lie about her...
GISLI THE OUTLAW: by Gisli the Outlaw of Iceland; 966-973, a series of at least ten life-saving dreams.
Gisli had two spirit-wives who told him in dreams how to evade the bounty-hunters after him... for 13 years!
THE GOLDEN JOCKSTRAP: by Wayan, 2017/3/8, a dream on meeting your own needs
I walk into a Castro fashion shop with Dalí décor--golden underwear draped on branches. And my friends all buy it...
CAUTION: UNDERWEAR JOKES
GRAMPA HAS SPOKEN: by Wayan; 1989/11/26, an oracular dream.
In a worldwide junkyard full of warring spooks, I finally meet the one whose message I need to hear...
HARPY: by Wayan; 2000/6/2, a stylized nightmare
Day: my dad's paralyzed, and my car's stolen.
Dream: a harpy made of steel, like a living Calder statue, holds three girls hostage...
HERE COMES A CHOPPER: by Wayan; 1983/6/20, an absurd nightmare on families and denial
The helicopter over our family home dipped too low. CRASH! Burning rotors in the living room.
I call 9-1-1, but the pilot scolds me! "Calling over a little explosion like this!"...
HUBRIS EGGS: by Wayan; 1981/6/11, a short defiant psychic dream.
I'm wrapping my heavy-metal eggs too slowly, so the Judges sink my car! I set out to get revenge...
IGUANA: by Jim Shaw; between 1987 & Jan. 1995, two surreal dreamlets on water damage
In a flooded room, an indignant iguana scolds me, while
my wife Marnie checks her computer implant for water damage...
JILL THE PEST: by Wayan; 240K, 2001/2/22, a nondream visionary comic.
I had a headache and couldn't sleep. I started drawing, and asked for a cure. And a cartoon angel said...
CAUTION: TANTRUMS, MASTURBATION, JUNKFOOD, ANGELIC SCOLDING
KISS THE CATS: by Wayan; 2008/8/23, a dream poem, Dreamverse #13
I have to kiss a mess of cats. Fishy, but I'm not chicken. My real beef is with the humans watching...
LBJ'S CAGE: by Lyndon Baines Johnson; May-June 1924, recurring teenage nightmares
I found myself in a cage, with only a bench and piles of old books. A mirror showed
I was old and twisted with speckled skin. In horror I said "I must get away"...
LION NOW, EMANCIPATION LATER: by Wayan; 2000/5/5, two dreams as my dad lay dying
We must hunt a man-eating lion to protect our village--our village full of slaves. But
we can't deal with our looming social crisis now--gotta focus on the lion in front of us..
CAUTION: SLAVERY, ILLNESS, DEATH
LOSE YOUR TEMPER!: by Emily Joy; 2007/8/30, a tough-love dream.
My mom hires a therapist who really goes for my throat! Why is she so desperate to make me lose my...
CAUTION: OVER-THE-TOP CONFRONTATION
MARTIAN ROBOTS DRESS LIKE FREUD: by Wayan, 1975/8/16, an absurd dream... predicting my life-path?
Martian robots pester me. I flee through the Asteroids, leaving chaos, cratering Earth.
Years later on my farm, a bot shows up disguised as Freud. I start mudslinging...
MOM POPS: by Wayan; dreamed 1983/8/5, a dream of bursting your inner critic
The flood sickens my fuchsia bush. My mom says my fuchsia is hopeless,
but I make up a treatment. When it works, well... read the title.
CAUTION: PUNS, EXPLODING MOM
THE MOUNTAIN, THE MAGPIE AND THE ROAD: dreamed 2013/3/26 by Rustling Leaves; epic nightmare
I visit a beautiful artificial mountain with loved ones--but my demons overwhelm me one by one.
CAUTION: SUICIDAL FEELINGS, BODY HATE/FATPHOBIA, IMPLIED RAPE
OTTO SUGGESTION TO A HORSE IN DRAG: by Wayan; 1995/8/8, a dream on body image.
My uncle mocks the racehorse he rides! Smears lipstick on this stallion, calls him a wimp... Why?
CAUTION: DREAM PUN, NUDE MARES
OWL AND CHEESE: by Wayan; 1986/7/8, a dreamtale of a Shadow?
An alien woman makes a mess of our economy, ecology, world--but insists she wants to be my friend...
PIGEON WITH A HEAD LIKE QUEEN VICTORIA: by Jenny Badger Sultan, 2010/7/26, painting of a pest
A pigeon with a head like Queen Victoria's keeps fastening onto
my clothing with its beak, and this nagging feels familiar...
THE PLAY: by Georges Perec; February 1972, a dream with the attention span of a gnat. Dream #108
I'm in a play. Fear, then joyful sex, then ranching, then silly hats, as a man drones on
about class struggle. Weird chairs, pingpong, coffee, impossible double utterances.
At last I tell friends my dream--backwards. Then I write the dream down on slices of cheese...
CAUTION: SEX ONSTAGE
POIROT AND THE DICKHEADS: by Wayan; 2010/3/11, a comic antilucid dream
I'm detective Hercule Poirot, but I'm losing my case and my brain--
because my story isn't by Agatha Christie, it's a knockoff...
CAUTION: PINK DILDO HATS
PRECAMBRIAN SLEUTH, or, MURDER BY ATMOSPHERE: by Wayan; 2013/6/2, a warning dream-poem.
I'm a detective sent to a research station two billion years ago. The ancient atmosphere isn't just anoxic, but deadly...
REFLECTIONS IN THE POOL: by Wayan; 184K total, 2 panoramas; a 1994/7/2 dream.
Night. A mirror-maze of contradictory preachings. But in the secret mermaid pool, I find love.
Then... sphinx-angels war in the air! A war of riddles. Can I, a batwinged devil, make peace?
CAUTION: SEX, NUDITY, MEAN ANGELS, AND ONE HAPPY DEVIL
REJECTED! SO?: by Wayan; 2004/11/12, a dream of political AND personal advice
A middle-class girl rejects me, and a newsman declares my politics irrelevant. "Liberal media" my ass...
CAUTION: POLITICS
SHARK, SHARK, SHARK!: by Thomas Madden; 2017/12/3, a non-nightmare about fear
I'm in a crowd as a man lectures about sharks. He points at me and asks "Shall I throw him in with...?"
SHARK SENSE: by Wayan; 1988/12/9, a diagnostic dreamtale.
I'm a circus tiger, then a performing shark. One day, I block my human partner's high dive... Why?
SING TO MY ALIEN FRIEND: by Wayan; 2017/3/7, a dream-poem on... alienation?
From a crowd in a gym, I sing to my wolflike alien friend. But she can't recognize my voice--
too convincing a falsetto! I slide deeper, but she's already tuned me out as femme...
SONG FOR THE DANCE: by Roswila; 2000/11/25, a dream-poem
A joyful song about ignoring your critics. The last stanza came verbatim from the dream...
SOUL-SHARD: by Wayan; 2000/10/5, a rebellious dream
I’m a wolf in an ashram studying astral travel with my spirit-wife. Our souls blend a bit, enraging our guru, a Hindu god, who sends demons to make us stop this spiritual “contamination”...
SPIN-WITCH, or, THE MAGIC LIGHTER: by Wayan; 1985/8/10, a dream on defensiveness.
Leona's a fighter--she rejects compromisers like her husband,
her friends, that miniature catgirl she's been sitting on...
A SQUIRRELY BUSINESS PLAN: by Wayan; 2009/3/2, a Looney-Toons dream
I'm slow to catch on that this skunk's slidetalk isn't a business pitch; it's about seduction...
CAUTION: ABSURD LOVE TRIANGLE, KINKY SKUNK
STAGE FAILURE: by Dana Hughes, art by Jesse Reklaw; pre-2000; a dream of surrender
I'm on stage. I have to sing. They just stare. I try dancing. Stony silence. At last,
a second me leads me offstage, saying "You can only fail so many times"...
TAROT: GUILT TRIP: by Wayan; Tarot card, 3x5", summer 1979.
When the card CARING comes up reversed, you get this crucified guy floating over your bed...
THORHADD'S FOURTEEN DREAMS: by Thorhadd of Berufjord, c.1018; 14 warning dreams (2 predictive)
Thorhadd's been slandering his enemy Thorstein. He spars publicly with a dream expert who
interprets all his dreams as: "Your tongue just can't quit!" True. It can't...
CAUTION: VIKING EGOS (AND BODY COUNT)
THREE CATS: by Georges Perec; April 1972, a painful comic dreamlet. Excerpt from Dream #114
I go home. Our cat is there. And a small, striped new cat. Then I step on a third, much bigger cat.
This is just one cat too many! "This cat's not real!" I say...
The nonexistent cat leaps up and scratches my face.
TURTLE HARANGUE: by Wayan; 1997/1/29, a warning dream.
A man mocks a turtle he caught, calling it "inept"--he knows adept turtles, then?
I distract this fisherman-ranter while the turtle quietly tiptoes...
THE UNMAKING OF A DANCER: by Wayan; 1994/5/22, a journal extract on dance and health.
Ballerina Joan Brady quit, but ten years later, returned. Her body rejuvenated! So what can MINE do?
AN UNPRODUCTIVE SQUIRREL: by Wayan; 2013/11/27, an advisory shamanic dreamlet
I meet a giant squirrel. But a Committee condemns the squirrel for such long periods
of unproductive hibernation. The squirrel points out a teensy flaw...
THE VERA DREAMS: by Vera and Wayan; 1991/7/25, a pair of shared/psychic dreams.
I dream my friend Vera's ordered to just study & sleep--no play, no dates. Then I dream
Vera works with gangs as an armed peacekeeper. I tell her; Vera's shocked, since...
VERITY, TOO?: by Wayan; 2000/11/5, a comic nightmare with good advice--if I avoid Freud!
My painting mentors turn on me! My mom accuses me of hereditary inferiority,
and then my art teacher Verity sits on my head and intones...
THE VERIZON EXPERIMENT: by Wayan; 2014/3/31, three linked dreamlets, the last self-flagging as predictive
1: A nature spirit's physics experiment proves that time forks. But how much? How dense is the multiverse?
2: I sculpt a model of this multiverse. A physicist likes it; the nature spirit likes it more. So she swipes it...
3: A 'friend' offers refugees my bedroom, crowding me and my work into a corner. I wake. The phone rings...
VICARIOUS ATONEMENT: by Anna Kingsford; 1880/1/31, an anti-shamanic dream
Kingsford meets a girl who burns herself as a protest. K flips out! Rants instead of helps...
CAUTION: RANT MIDWAY YOU'RE BETTER OFF SKIPPING
VRILLASSA’S ONLY PRIEST: by Jo; 2007/2/10, a dream of meeting God
A job as the only priest on an island colony sounded perfect, only I’m the wrong religion...
CAUTION: DOGMATISTS AND DEAD BIRDS TALKING
WIND OF SELF-HATE: by Wayan, 1976/4/4, a dream warning of family brainwashing
Biking around blindfolded and half-naked, I fight winds
of self-criticism and self-hatred that only I can feel...
"YOU'RE INSANE": by Wayan; 2000/5/26, a nightmare warning I've been misjudged
DAY: My dad's sick; my mom nags me to visit, though hospitals endanger me (weak immune system).
DREAM: My parents say "You're insane. We must take control of your life." So I divorce my family...
CAUTION: UGLY FAMILY VALUES


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