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| In Your Dreams

Tidal Wave Could Mean Emotional Upheaval

August 01, 2000

Dear Cynthia: I have been having a recurring dream since I was about 8 or 9. One of my sisters has been having the same dream since she was about 7 or 8! (She is one year younger than I am.)

I am walking to the beach and looking for a nice sandy place to sit. Four or five children always follow me. When we get to the perfect spot, people suddenly start running in all directions because a tidal wave is heading straight to us. There is no place or time to run, and we are suddenly hit by this tide. When the tide retreats to the ocean, I find myself floating and trying to swim to shore while I have these children hanging on to me. I never see the beach again. Instead, I see a huge wall with barbed wire to which I start pedaling (by this time I am inside a tire or some sort of floating device while trying to hang on to the kids). We usually do make it to the wall, but there is no way to get back inland, and we just drift around trying to hang on to the wall.

According to my sister, her dream is pretty much the same as mine except she does know who those kids are--our four younger brothers--and there is never a wall around.


Los Angeles

Dear Silvia: It is fascinating that you and your sister have the same dream. It would seem that your dream includes her as one of the children who accompany you.

What happened in your lives when you were 8 or 9 years old? Tidal waves typically represent a huge emotional upheaval. Whatever it was, it was unexpected and unavoidable. You felt responsible for your siblings. You float for a bit trying to survive emotionally, but there is no safe place to go. The barbed-wire wall could represent a very negative, judgmental and critical person whom you felt you were up against. If your parents had a bitter divorce at that time, your dream would make perfect sense. Somehow it seems that your sister was spared the containment of the wall--perhaps you protected her from experiencing some of the trauma? Older siblings are often as reassuring as they can be in a difficult circumstance.


Cynthia Richmond is the author of "Dream Power, How to Use Your Night Dreams to Change Your Life" (Simon & Schuster, 2000). Fax your dreams to Cynthia Richmond at (818) 783-3267 or e-mail them to Please include your hometown and a daytime phone number. "In Your Dreams" appears every Tuesday and should be read for entertainment purposes only.

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