Three strikes… I was at my father-in-law’s house. I went to use the bathroom and realized I had split my pants, so I leave and the house is full of people that I recognize – my ex’s mother, grandmother, and others. I walk over to say hello to his mother and grandmother. I lean over to give his grandmother a hug and kiss on the cheek and when I attempt to release she says to me “no give me more” but I push away and go to lean down and acknowledge his mother and in the process accidentally punch his grandmother in the mouth. Automatically I start apologizing but she gets up and runs out of the house. I look at his mother and tell her how sorry I am and that I will make it right and I run out after his grandmother. As I come out the front door his grandmother is running towards a park across the street surrounded by fence and she runs directly into the fence with her face. Out of nowhere the police show up and she starts fighting them and then they shoot her and a battered cop looks up at me and says, “Three strikes – she hit me 3 times – I shoot on the 3rd strike.” And that’s when I woke up.

DreamsMaster:  I get the sense from this dream that you struggle to assert yourself when it comes to setting boundaries and standing up for yourself. If this rings true, it’s likely this personal challenge was particularly keen in regards to your prior relationship with your ex and in-laws. However, unless they were on your mind the night of the dream, there’s something else in your current life that has triggered this same response, and the dream may be sending a message that it’s time to address it. Here are the specific themes in the dream that point me to this interpretation…

– The setting of the dream is your father-in-law’s house: This could represent your sense of self in regards to that period of time in your life, which appears to have been rather oppressive (based on additional personal information shared).

– You went inside to use the bathroom and realized you split your pants: Needing to go to the bathroom in a dream often represents a need to release unpleasant or pressing feelings. Splitting your pants is similar to dreams about being naked, representing a sense of feeling exposed or vulnerable. The way you describe this scene, it appears the split pants inhibited you from actually relieving yourself. Put it all together, this dream scene could represent an inability to fully express yourself for fear of being exposed and vulnerable.

– The drama with the grandmother essentially unfolds when you try to assert yourself and set a boundary with her. Your polite overture of an obligatory hug and kiss was met with her demanding more from you: you tried to pull away and she insisted on pulling you back. You resisted but then paid the penalty with a negative consequence of your actions. At that point you immediately flipped into an apologetic mode needing to “make it right”. Does this describe a pattern in your waking world, where you negotiate away your own needs in an effort to please or meet the needs of others?

– The police could represent your own inner sense of justice. The battered cop explained a “three strikes you’re out” strategy. Perhaps this is the core message of the dream: establish your personal boundaries and honor them by having the courage to stand up for yourself. Remember, you can’t expect others to respect you if you don’t demonstrate respect for yourself.