Dr Schwartz, my husband, aged 32, has recently revealed to me that, for the past 10 years, he has been having violent dreams in which he tortures or kills people. These are everyday people who he has never met. What disturbs him is the fact that, in his dream, he takes great pleasure in what he does and he finds it completely normal. He is a most caring person in life, always there to help other people. Should we worry?
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Thank you for your very interesting question.
It seems to me that if you are both concerned about these dreams it means that you are already worried. On that basis, I would suggest that your husband get a consultation with either a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. Here are some reasons why I have this opinion:
First, the fact that this has been happening to your husband for 10 years and nothing bad has happened is a good sign. However, it is concerning that he is now telling you about these dreams. Of course, there is a huge difference between dreaming and the real world. Yet, on the basis that dreams borrow from day time issues, these violent and repetitive dreams mean that there is something that is bothering your husband. Of course, I have no way of knowing what might be on his mind and for that he really does need a consultation.
In addition, the fact that he has now revealed this to you might indicate that there is some anger that is bubbling up in his mind or that is now getting worse. This possibility, no matter how small, means that he should talk to a professional.
Your husband sounds like a nice man, from what you say. However, we are all subject to the stresses and frustrations of daily life in the 21st century. The dreams hint at frustrations but the specifics are unknown.
I want to encourage him to seek a consultation so that it can be determined whether or not there is a problem.
If you use the metaphor of the sore throat, it might not hurt much but, if you do not go to the doctor you will not know if you could be nursing a strep infection. Better safe than sorry. By the way, in this case, it does not mean that your husband will torture someone. In fact, the dreams could mean that he is upset with himself and wanting to do himself harm. On the other hand, this all could be nothing.
Tell him to get a consult.
Best of Luck