I rarely remember dreams but this morning I woke myself up at 5:30 in the middle of a vivid dream fragment. In the dream I am exploring a new city with a group of people that includes a couple about my age. I think they are Spanish or maybe French. In any case they speak a European language, although they are quite fluent in English. Over the course of the afternoon visiting parks and little stores, this couple keeps coming up to me and asking me questions to settle silly arguments they’re having. The next thing I know I am analyzing why they are always arguing, observing their interactions and writing lengthy notes.
Then we are in a shoe store and I am explaining to them how everything they encounter turns into an argument. One of them makes a comment about something, then the other contradicts an aspect of it. He says: That woman’s pretty agile for a seventy year old. And she says: She’s not 70; she can’t be more than 62. And the argument is on. One partner always negating the other’s observations.
As I am explaining this, he interrupts to tell me about a time when he came home from work to tell her about a serious mistake he’d made. Her reaction was to say, “bullshit.”
In the dream I say: OK, that’s a different type of argument. And then I realize that it’s actually the same pattern--she ‘s negating what he told her. For some reason this revelation becomes very important to me and I get really excited trying to demonstrate the pattern.
I say to the woman: You say “Look at that cute little blue car.”
I turn to the man: And you say: “That’s not blue, that’s green.” Instead of responding to her comment, you negate an aspect of what she says. Maybe the car’s blue, maybe it’s green, maybe it’s aqua. What does it matter what the color is called? Rather than argue about the color, you could just respond to her comment in a pleasant way.
Now I’m really rolling in the dream. I’m talking fast. I say: We can look later at why you both always have to be right. But right now, just observe your interactions. See if there is a pattern here where each of you feels compelled to negate what the other is saying.
At this point I’m feeling like an amazingly astute and skilled therapist (I am not a therapist or counselor of any kind in reality) but at the same time I realize that I have stepped in a pile of dog poop. Still I keep taking and explaining but as I do so I realize that I’m no longer asleep. I’m lying in my bed talking about this couple’s argument patterns.
When I woke up I felt this dream was important so I got up and wrote it down. I’m going to observe my interactions with H. today to see if this is a pattern in our relationship. I have a feeling there may be something more to this.