What It Really Means When You Dream About A Family Member

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You can pick your friends, as the expression goes, but you can't pick your family members. You might love 'em all to death, but your parents, siblings, kids, and grandparents can wear on your last nerve after a particularly dysfunctional holiday dinner, or a family vacation that's gone a few days too long. And that's just when we're awake! To make matters worse, family members are often frequent guests in our dreams; according to certified dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life, mothers appear in dreams, on average, about once a week. Hasn't Mom haunted us enough in our waking life?

In fact, though, your dream about your mother might not actually have to do with the woman who wants to know why you insisted on paying full-price for your new purse. "Basically, Mom in a dream is the manifestation of all that you would typically associate with the word mother: comfort, nurturing know-how, [maternal] discipline, even fertility," Lowenberg explained. Fathers, too, play a symbolic role. Your dad in your dream reflects "your inner knower, decider, disciplinarian, and financier," she noted.

Your dreams may reveal how you really feel about your family

Sometimes your family members may be merely symbolic of other things going on in your life — but other times, your dream about a family member may actually be about your relationship with that person. So how can you tell why you dreamed that your sister was your new boss last night? "[T]o understand the meaning of any dream, you have to take into account who is in the dream, what happens, where it happens, the symbols (that which stands out as odd/out of place) [and] how the dreamer feels IN the dream," George Oliva, publisher of DreamDoctor.com, told Bustle.

So focus on how you felt in your dream when that big executive chair whirled around and you were staring into the eyes of the sibling who never shared her dolls with you. By dreaming that she's your boss, maybe you're signaling to yourself that it's time to stop letting her boss you around! On the other hand, if it's a positive dream — you're thrilled and relieved that your new leader is Sis, and not that awful micromanager you used to report to — the dream might mean you're experiencing emotional stability in your life (via SleepCulture).