Chapter 11: Dreams of Undoing & Reversal

Themes that I have classified as undoing and reversal are prominent in approximately sixty-eight dreams in this collection. “Undoing” is a psychological defense closely related to denial – an attempt to negate a disapproved action by asserting the opposite, annulling one impulse with another. We encounter defensive gestures of undoing in adults when we hear someone make a cutting joke at our expense and then immediately assert: “Just kidding! You know I love you!” In young children we might see a child hit and then kiss a new sibling, or hit a classmate that they might wish to kiss. Gestures driven by defensive undoing simultaneously attempt to erase a disturbing action from external reality, and to ease our internal disruption after encountering the breakthrough into consciousness of a disruptive impulse.

Many instances of ritualistic behavior both in children and in adults contain elements which are explainable on this basis, that is they are consciously or unconsciously intended to undo the effect of some id impulse which the ego considers to be dangerous… One thing we can say is that the whole idea of undoing is a magical one and presumably has its origin in those early years of childhood when magical ideas predominate so much of mental life. ~ Charles Brenner, M.D., An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis, p. 90 

I’d suggest that a collective national aggressive impulse was expressed by the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, which then activates dreams of impeachment, resignation, or an “act of God” as a kind of undoing, or magical reversal:

Dreamed a new law was put into effect immediately that enabled the GOP to rescind Trump’s nomination if he broke with agreements to the party or to his own staff.  Since this was already true, he was already not a candidate.  Scenes of staff rooms, newsrooms, campaign headquarters with everyone cheering, as after a successful NASA launch or as in the scene in “Ender’s Game” where Ender, thinking he’s been fighting a simulated battle, has actually saved the world. ~ Anonymous

Last night, I dreamed that Donald Trump had lost a snap Presidential Election to Al Gore, and that the papers were full of op-eds about the return to old-school, boring politics. It was sad to wake up and be back in the Apocalypse.[i]

But as the following dream suggests, magical undoing can’t fully eradicate the problem, entrenched aspects remain and destructive energies re-emerge:

I dream we have a wood burner and everyone is getting something for the fire in a kind of ritualistic way – my son (15) hands me a effigy of Trump that he made for the fire – stuffed with something, a cloth head added with orange felt tip hair, and a chrome bar as a post to give it a backbone. I am ambivalent about burning it, its a well made model, and the chrome won’t burn and the materials its made with might be toxic. However using it as an effigy to stick pins in will probably bring bad karma. ~Anonymous

Many dreamers imagine the undoing of this presidency in simple, clear terms:

I had a dream Trump got impeached.[ii]

Had a dream last night, walked downstairs and a family member said, “Here son, drink ye a beer. It’s official, today is a good day for America.” I ask why, and he says “Trump has been impeached!”[iii]

I had a dream during my 16 hour nap that Donald Trump got impeached and it was confusing to wake up and realize it never really happened[iv]

I literally had a dream last night that I was hosting a party and one of the guests came in and was like “everyone everyone, Donald Trump was fired” and it was the best dream I’ve ever had.[v]

just had a VERY nice dream that Trump was impeached and relentlessly shamed in headlines for being a failure[vi]

A reversal of events may restore a way life before the election, or substitute a preferred timeline for the future:

tell me why i had a dream that trump got impeached & obama came back[vii]

I had a dream this afternoon Dems took Congress in 2018 impeached Trump & Pence, Nancy assumed the Presidency appointed Hillary VP immediately resigned and HRC became President.[viii]

I had a dream that we kicked trump out of office and elected Michelle Obama and now I’m really sad that we still have to deal with this stupid moldy tangerine until 2020[ix] 

Some dream of our 45th president being ousted by military force:

I took a nap and dreamt that I was writing a parody “All I Want for Christmas is a Coup” where the only thing the singer wanted was the end of the Trump presidency.[x]

No joke: last night I dreamt there was a coup by members of Congress and trump was overthrown. I remember the last part where he was surrounded in the Oval Office, pacing & muttering “He’s a good man, he’s a good man…”[xi]

 Another twenty or so dream of Trump himself reversing the course of history, via voluntary resignation.

i had a dream donald trump just got tired and resigned[xii]

I had a strange dream last night that Donald Trump willingly stood down as President and gave it to Hilary Clinton instead, then they shook hands and for some reason, Barack Obama was there also celebrating. Not quite sure what my mind was thinking when this happened.[xiii]

Had a dream Donald Trump resign for health issues. The “stress” of his presidency was detrimental to his health. Woke up to see him tweeting more foolishness[xiv]

Had a dream last night that Trump resigned from the Presidency to “pursue other interests” and I’m wondering how to put that on my vision board.[xv]

Here, Trump’s resignation aligns with the cultivation of a more authentic self-image:

I dreamed Trump stepped down…and his hair was cut shorter and platinum grey.[xvi]

Others imagine that only greed or corruption could encourage him to resign.

i had a dream last night that liberals started a gofundme to pay trump a billion dollars to resign and it worked.[xvii]

I’ve just realised that I dreamt last night that I woke up to the news that Trump had resigned due to public exposure of a massive new side-scandal[xviii]

In some dreams he simply disappears as if by magic or the fulfillment of fairytale:

Aww last night I had a dream Trump went missing and now I’m kinda sad I’m awake[xix]

I had a dream that President Trump resigned. It was very vivid but even in my sleep, I didn’t believe it. I woke up and switched on the TV News and there it was – confirmed. wall to wall coverage. That was a dream, as well. A dream within a dream[xx]

I had a dream that Trump just woke up and decided to end his presidency, and then the whole world was happy and cheered. [xxi]

Many dream of dancing like joyful Munchkins after the destruction of the Wicked Witch.

I dreamed last night that I woke up & the news was reporting Trump was dead… people were dancing in the streets, it was like a huge spontaneous parade…. best dream ever…. [xxii]

I had a dream that Trump died and everyone came out of their houses with joyful tears in their eyes and strangers hugged each other and the literal sky played a Journey song.[xxiii]

Dreams of the president’s removal from office by death count for approximately thirty dreams in the collection. Many dream of death by natural causes and common medical conditions.

i had a dream trump had a heart attack and died[xxiv]

Last night I dreamt that Donald Trump had died in his sleep.[xxv]

 I had a dream that Trump had an aneurism during a congressional meeting and nobody ran over to help him[xxvi]

Shoot, I had a dream that trump died of old age and now I’m awake[xxvii]


Others envision his ultimate undoing by acts of God, or Mother Nature:

I had a dream that the White House was buried in pounds of snow n that was the cause of death of trump[xxviii]

Had a dream last night. While L’orange Trump was in Cali a tiny Earthquake happened under his feet only and Mother Earth swallowed him up[xxix]

i had a dream that trump got bit by a funnel web spider and died[xxx]

The funnel web spider, by the way, is among the most deadly spiders, and spins extraordinarily complex webs – perhaps this dream suggest that the president is “undone” and poisoned in a web of lies. Several other dreams also evoke a sense of “karmic” comeuppance or death by deadly sin:

Oh I had a dream that Donald Trump died choking on a piece of burnt steak[xxxi]

Had a dream that all the Trump “children” were strangled an eaten by angry elephants.[xxxii]

 I had a dream that Donald trump died from heart failure due to his physical health and that he died in a charter bus with a basket of nachos fries in his hand[xxxiii]

I had a dream that Trump died bc he drank some bad wine & went swimming & no one really cared tbh.[xxxiv]


And as psychoanalysts know, to be caught in the obsessive chain of undoing can entrap us in a continuous cycle, an ever widening circle,  of feeling that we have done something wrong while “always trying to put something right.” As psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott describes: “The patient absurdly claims responsibility for the entire general disaster but in doing so avoids their personal destructiveness”( ~ D. W. Winnicott, The Sense of Guilt)

I dreamed that a drunk driver killed Trump by ramming him with his car and knocking him off a kind of parapet. I was a bartender in the dream, and had kicked the drunk driver out of my bar because he was behaving belligerently toward the other customers. This made me feel responsible for Trump’s death, and the dream ended with me leaving town in an attempt to evade the FBI, who I assumed were coming for me. ~ Anonymous



[i] @stuartgarlick

[ii] @JayyBabyMinaj

[iii] @maggardo

[iv] @ballin4stalin

[v] @acciofireball

[vi] @eksyneet

[vii] @cierradenee

[viii] @dachguy2

[ix] @HannahMcCombs

[x] @involuntaryorng

[xi] @CarrieG65

[xii] @madamebruja

[xiii] @ShakeyJake25

[xiv] @FindinDoriee

[xv] @kfleminem

[xvi] @FLWhitehorn

[xvii] @historyinflicks

[xviii] @Sallyapiacere

[xix] @samanthadorla

[xx] @RuariJM

[xxi] @funmango8589

[xxii] @ProfessorTori1

[xxiii] @emilyrschmidt

[xxiv] @ribaribe

[xxv] @ThatsJustBogus

[xxvi] @kcarmichael27

[xxvii] @JsonUlrich

[xxviii] @eillebb

[xxix] @LJMISSMJ

[xxx] @watery_day

[xxxi] @CPowell8528

[xxxii] @Davthecreativ

[xxxiii] @SydneyRaye497

[xxxiv] @basically_anika