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The Unconscious World of Dream


Expressions of guilt are common in dreams. The cause of the guilt-feelings may be indicated in the dream or a later one.

(1) Normal guilt-feelings are the psyche's way of telling us we are not on the right road to personal happiness.

(2) Neurotic guilt-feelings are irrational. For instance, if the father of a five-year-old boy dies, the boy may feel responsible for his death; and the feelings of guilt and a desire to punish himself may linger on into adulthood, not at the conscious level but in the unconscious.

(3) Guilt-feelings may arise out of conflict between inner impulses and conventional - social or religious - morality. Here we have two kinds of duty: duty to society and duty to ourselves, which is a duty to fulfill our 'destiny' - that is, the potential that is contained in the basic structure of our individual psyche.

Reference: Eric Ackroyd

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