This chapter draws from over ninety two dreams that either depict women’s dreams, or dreams of women’s concerns including: dreams of misogyny, dreams of sexual abuse, dreams of seduction and attraction, and dreams of motherhood.
Sexual Abuse and Harassment:
Forty three of those dreams were dreams of sexual abuse and harassment –an obvious response considering the Access Hollywood tape in which the not-yet president described grabbing, molesting, and kissing women and co-workers against their will. Post-traumatic dreams involving Trump, in which women who had experienced sexual harassment and abuse in their past were triggered by Trump recounting acts of sexual assault were among the first Trump dreams to catch my attention. I suspect mine was not the only psychotherapy office contending with reactivated symptoms at the time of his election. As Dr. Judith Herman write in her seminal book, Trauma and Recovery:
Reliving a traumatic experience, whether in the form of intrusive memories, dreams, or actions carries with it the emotional intensity of the original event. The survivor is continually buffeted by terror and rage. ~ Judith Herman, M.D., Trauma and Recovery, p. 42
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM V, details two important criteria related to Trump-triggered abuse dreams: One of the primary symptoms of post-traumatic response is repeated upsetting dreams and nightmares related to a traumatic event. Traumatic responses may occur after experiencing, witnessing, or repeated exposure to distressing details of an actual or threatened sexual violation. Dr. Herman elaborates:
Just as traumatic memories are unlike ordinary memories, traumatic dreams are unlike ordinary dreams. In form, these dreams share many of the unusual features of the traumatic memories that occur in waking states. They often include fragments of the traumatic event in exact form, with little or no imaginative elaboration. Identical dreams often occur repeatedly. They are often experienced with terrifying immediacy, as if occurring in the present… And traumatic nightmares can occur in stages of sleep in which people do not ordinarily dream. ~ Judith Herman, M.D., Trauma and Recovery, p. 39
Many dreamers describe their Trump dream as having a unique sense of “reality” or particular emotional intensity:
Oh man. I just realized I had a dream that Trump was about to give a speech and his microphone was on as he talked on the phone about sexually assaulting a woman. It was so real I didn’t know it was a dream at first.[i]
Uch. I had a vivid dream last night that a shirtless Donald Trump was chasing me around a house. I only escaped by slamming a door into him, and I remember the doorknob made a dent in his belly. I can’t shake the feeling of being utterly skeeved out. [ii]
Had a dream I worked at the white house and they set me up to be cornered in a limo with Donald Trump trying to “kiss” me. I don’t know if I’ve ever awaken from a dream so panicked and feral acting. I felt like one of those wild cats when it gets caught in a trap[iii]
I had a dream that Donald Trump was in my apartment talking to me, talking shit, he touched me at one point, the whole dream made me want to throw up.[iv]
I’ve had several Trump dreams that range from punching him in the face to getting sexually accosted. ~ Anonymous
I had a dream that I was quitting Spectrum (again) and Trump was there handing out pretzels. I tried to take one and he showed me his underwear. Then, I went to the opposite side of the room to get another pretzel and he followed me, pushed me into a corner … and then took his pants off. I started sobbing in the dream and everyone just looked at me. No one did anything. So that was the most horrific dream I’ve had in a very long time.[v]
In a nation where one in six adult women report having survived rape or a rape attempt[vi] –we can estimate that approximately seven of the dreams in this collection are dreams of rape survivors. There is no way for me to say if these dreams are summoning Donald Trump as a symbolic stand-in for another abusive authority figure, activating and complicating previous trauma, or if these dreams are referring to the vicarious traumatization that many women experienced from repeated exposure to Trump’s own detailed recounting of his violating behavior: “I did try and fuck her. She was married… I moved on her like a bitch…. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”[vii]
The following dreamer seems to consider that she has symbolically associated Trump with an unsettling encounter with a “weird” older man at work:
the worst was when I dreamed about being raped by a guy that looks like Donald Trump and damn, I really cried cuz it felt like real. that old guy at work was pushy and weird[viii]
And this dreamer points to his comportment in the presidential debates as the triggering event for her distressing dream:
After the debate where he creeped up on Hillary, I dreamed he was trying to find me to do me harm. ~ Anonymous
If one in three women have been sexually harassed in the workplace[ix] then another fourteen dreamers from this collection are likely to be processing work-based sexual harassment traumata by dreaming of Trump as a harassing employer
I don’t often record my dreams but I wrote this one down on 12/10: I was working in the White House, and DT used some excuse to reach between my legs to get a piece of paper in the shelf behind me. I glared at him and told him he could ask me to move next time. Afterwards I ran crying to HRC and she comforted me. Through tears I asked her why people didn’t know the difference between an awful person and a good one. After that we were both in a boat watching a factory-type building fall over into the river. ~ Anonymous
So.. last night I had a dream that I had to have sex with Donald Trump. I don’t know the reason, but I know I didn’t want to. I was warned by all the women working in the White House not to fight or “disappoint” him in any way, or it would end worse for me – He brought me into this private room, and I remember asking him “if I tell you I want to stop, will you stop?” And he said “no, because that’s not fair”. Later on, before it actually happened, the women in the house helped me escape[x]
I had a dream I was walking down a typical hotel hallway to my room. I walked past the conference room, glanced in because the door was open, and saw Pres. Trump chatting with a few people. I just kept walking. I soon realized he was behind me. When I got to the room, he started chatting with me, asking me if I was there alone, trying to get in to my room. I told him I was not interested, and slipped inside my room ASAP. ~ Anonymous
Several women dreamed of the president as a predatory sexual criminal, and of fighting to protect their sisters or daughters or young children:
I was at dinner with my sister at a strangely fancy and suspiciously empty house. Suddenly, I look up and Donald Trump is sitting across from me, smugly seated with my sister sitting in his lap. She looks petrified. I stand up, shouting “SHAME ON YOU,” punch the 45th President of the United States in the face, take my sister by the hand, and flee the scene. ~Anonymous
Had a dream that Trump moved into my neighbourhood and started molesting children. So now he is ruining my dreams too[xi]
Do ya’ll think dreams mean anything??? In my dream last night i was dating a secret Jenner sister named Andrea and i had to protect her from Donald Trump cause he was trying to sexually assault her. Someone explain what that means please.[xii]
I dreamed Trump was hitting on my daughter. ..NOOOOOOOO. [xiii]
I just dreamed that I was eating a mochi pastry while an anonymous journalist explained how they discovered Trump slept with a ten year old in Kazakhstan[xiv]
Others dreamed that they were his child-victim themselves:
I had a dream that i remembered trump molesting me in middle school[xv]
For the most part, I’m a Trump supporter but last night I had a dream that HE WAS A CHILD MOLESTER AND ME AND TWO OTHER GIRLS BEAT HIS ASS.[xvi]
And there were many dreams of varied sexual crimes:
i had a dream last night that trump was arrested for exposing himself indecently outside a gas station[xvii]
I had a dream that trump was wearing a clown mask and he held me down and kissed me Woke up crying[xviii]
I just woke up from a dream that Trump was holding women hostage in a huge ass mansion and the police force couldn’t do anything about it and I had to escape but almost died doing so. If that’s not an accurate representation of some women’s feelings toward Trump idk what is[xix]
Coercive sexuality, sexualized blackmail, and retribution for sexual rejection were all repetitive themes:
Had a dream last night that Trump was trying to sue me over not paying my student loans back fast enough, and then in the same dream he proceeded to molest me if anyone wondered what I subconsciously think of the president. [xx]
Had a dream last night that I was being forced to marry Donald Trump and I woke my housemate up because I was screaming I (in) my sleep[xxi]
so while napping today I dreamed that trump kidnapped me and wanted to kill me. the worst part was that while I was trying go escape, I hid in his bedroom bc it was near the exit, and I had to watch him walk around completely naked and cried & so he found me I think I need help[xxii]
Many dreamed of fighting back or successful self-defense:
I had a dream I saw a young Trump at a bowling alley? I tackled him and started calling him out publicly for sexually assaulting women and being a fraud. I woke up refreshed and content.[xxiii]
Themes of not being believed, and needing secure “proof” were also prevalent.
Ah… Had a dream that Trump had ripped me off so I was in one of his mansions to try to reason with him, but instead, he tried to convince me to buy more things and tried to get me to try on lingerie in front of him. And of course, no one believed me [xxiv]
I had a dream last night that Trump came to my high school to teach a civics class and I got him on camera calling a student “sexy for 17”, telling her he was glad she was sat in the front row so he could see her legs & up her skirt. In front of Melania and Baron.[xxv]
Approximately nine of the dreams spoke of the effects of a generalized atmosphere of misogyny associated with this administration.
My six-year-old baby girl had a nightmare that @realDonaldTrump was hurting little girls by squeezing their heads into the ground. Why would a child have such a dream? Trump is affecting the American psyche in a terribly negative way. I cannot express this more forcefully.[xxvi]
Had a dream last night that Donald Trump wrote a diet book for women and every American woman was required to have a copy[xxvii]
I had a dystopian nightmare that involved women being forced to participate in beauty pageants if they wanted to survive. 45 was the judge. I can’t take enough showers after that one.[xxviii]
The following dream reaches into even deeper collective and archetypal themes – the anonymous dreamer saw this dream as an attempt to prevent the birth of a new patriarchal era, the cultural feminine operating covertly, like a captive Queen in a fairy tale,
I dreamt about Melania Trump was in the hospital–which she was–but the true reason wasn’t what was released to the public. I knew the real reason because I was her treating physician. Melania had an unexpected unplanned pregnancy and wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Her husband saw this fetus as the harbinger of good luck and his supremacy and his ability to make America great. She saw the fetus as an unwanted burden of a husband that doesn’t love her. I agreed to terminate the pregnancy for her and agreed to protect her privacy by releasing that she had undergone a routine kidney procedure. ~ Anonymous
Others also identified with the idea of loss of control over bodily autonomy and destructive intrusion into their reproductive lives.
I had a dream that, despite my infertility, I got pregnant. Then Trump came along and punched me in the stomach. I lost the baby. And people still defended him. This is the fear I live with having him as my president. Doesn’t matter what he does…people will still defend him.[xxix]
I just remembered a trump dream: I dreamed he had kept track of all his female employees’ menstrual cycles so he could predict when they would be PMSing & ya know being ‘crazy women’ & jfc I would not be surprised at all if he really did that[xxx]
The connection between power and the erotic is, of course, nothing new – power certainly does contain a strong erotic element. ~ Charlotte Beradt The Third Reich of Dreams, p. 124
An anonymous dreamer dates this dream to 10/6/2016, the day before the Access Hollywood tape release:
Donald Trump is in a seated position, but he’s rather like a wax figure or is in a trance. Rising from his crotch or set upon it is a small [stone] statue [an obelisk]. It isn’t biological. It’s a lingam. I–but a more impersonal ‘I’–am naked and must face him and take this lingam inside. It’s not sexual nor is it rape or coercion. This is what must be done, grimly. I wake up revolted–and this feeling lingered– and also embarrassed that a dream would hit me over the head with such unsubtle symbolism ~ Anonymous
Beradt found erotic and seductive themes to be prevalent, and also to take typical, even repetitive forms in her collection of German’s dreams.
What matters here is not the detail but the basic situation: The Führer as literal seducer, as an object of sexual desire. ~ Charlotte Beradt, The Third Reich of Dreams, p. 126
Out of the ninety two dreams focused on women issues, about twenty of these dreams were dreams that depict Donald Trump as an object of sexual desire.
I dreamed I was DTs secretary in the oval office. He had sex with me and I actually enjoyed it but was conflicted thinking that this was insane. I’m 76. weird, eh? ~Anonymous
I had a mildly sexy dream last night. IT INVOLVED DONALD TRUMP. I’m furious at my own sleep-mind.[xxxi]
I had a dream that donald trump sexually spanked me.[xxxii]
had a dream i gave Trump a lap dance and now i want to set myself on fire[xxxiii]
I had a dream Donald trump and I went to prom. He bought me everything I wanted. It still wasn’t a good dream.[xxxiv]
i had a wierd [sic] dream i was telling someone about my top men list and Trump was first in there good morning[xxxv]
The majority of the reported dreams revealed a conflict between conscious and unconscious content, the dreamers disturbed upon waking at the desires that had emerged unconsciously, similarly to the cognitive dissonance that I and other experienced in dreams of unwittingly becoming Trump’s caretakers or enablers:
I had a dream i found Donald trump attractive I’m sad now[xxxvi]
god i dreamt i was having sex with donald trump kill me now pls[xxxvii]
dreamed i was secretly married to donald trump and now i’m afraid to close my eyes[xxxviii]
I definitely had a nightmare. I had a dream where I was getting married.. to.. TRUMP!! I feel so dirty and gross[xxxix]
I had a dream that I seduced & made out with Trump to get information out of him. Nope nope nope. Nope. I don’t love my country enough to do that. Sorry. Nope. I need to go rinse my mouth with bleach now[xl]
Some dreamers appear to feel pulled in and confused, “spun” by the administrations messaging, or take note of his ability to lure others into his way of thinking:
A friend had a dream a few months ago. In the dream, Trump was leading Congress around like the pied piper.[xli]
I dreamed that Trump took me on his arms and then started to spin me around.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, how cute. *dead[xlii]
Some unconsciously embrace the message, feel “carried away” and come to see him as saintly, even as their conscious stance finds this laughable.
“I hugged him and he carried me around as if he was Santa.” PPPFFFTTTTHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!![xliii]
Erotic seeming dreams in this context, may – just as Beradt described and detailed in the dream of the lingam – be more about power than about any form of seduction or sexuality: Dreams of a nation of women who must face and then “take in” and internalize a sense of power and authority that has only been passed on to men by men – patriarchy enthroned.
My mom just told me she had a dream that her and Donald Trump hooked up, and that it was the best experience she had ever had…. she can’t be my mom anymore.[xliv]
About a quarter of the dreams of and about women – were focused on the dreamers’ mothers. The Mother archetype is obviously a rich and primal one – present in every world religion and mythology in some form, represented by thousands of goddesses, in their creative, compassionate and destructive aspects around the world.
Here, mothers seem to primarily serve as consort, enabler, or victim of the president and his supporters. Some feel elevated by the wished for proximity to the president:
Had a dream last night my mom was married to Trump. It was nice to be a son of royalty[xlv]
For those opposed to Trumpian policies the dreamed sense that their mothers could ally with these cultural/political forces is often expressed as a painful loss or betrayal.
I dreamed my mother was getting married to him. And he came on to me prior to the wedding. It was a very ‘real” dream. Took me a full two days to pull myself out of the funk it put me in. ~ Anonymous
Had a dream Trump was single & so to help his approval ratings my MOTHER MARRIED HIM. He was stingy and Ivanka was not friendly!!! Sad[xlvi]
I just remembered in my dream when my mom came home she had a mask on of another persons face I really think it was trump[xlvii]
I had a dream last night that my mom and dad split up and my mom married Donald trump and then he tried to kill us and I’m literally never sleeping again as long as I live[xlviii]
I had a variety of INSANE dreams last night—a Scientologist stole my Paxil, my mother was going on Fox News to admit she had an affair with Donald Trump is the 70s. [xlix]
Many express fears that their mother’s could be harmed or exploited by the forces that Trump represents, some feel an obligation to attempt to heal or protect their mothers.
Last night I dreamed I interrupted my (fictional) wedding reception to FIRST stop Trump from coming on to my mom and THEN help two kids with their 4-H public presentations. [l]
My mom said “I had a dream Donald trump was out to get me[li]
I dreamt last nite that my mom and trump were standing on her dining table arguing, he said there will be no more Migos songs for the remainder of his term; she tried to fight him, but he pushed her off the table. My mom’s eye popped out and I had to pop it back in…[lii]
Still others see in their mothers, an inspiration to stand – either actively or passively – against the cultural energies symbolized by Trump.
My Mexican mom just said she had a dream that she was Donald Trumps secretary and she was messing up his paperwork[liii]
Had a weird dream that Trump was presenting an award to my mom for something and literally my mom picked it up and left lol[liv]
Me, to The Mother: Hey, guess what? I had a dream last night that you punched Donald Trump in the face. The Mother: That’s a very good dream to have. She’s always so supportive.[lv]