Breaking your cell phone in a dream: what is the meaning?

Even at night, the dreamer continues to be attached to his phone. Until the device breaks into a thousand pieces. Getty Images

Even at night, the dreamer continues to be attached to his phone. Until the device breaks into a thousand pieces. How to interpret it? Explanations with a dream specialist and a psychoanalyst, expert in disconnection.

221: this is the average number of times an adult consults their smartphone each day, according to a study by Axa Prévention on thehyperconnection, published in October 2019. In bed, on the train, at the beach and even where you least expect it: in the arms of Morpheus. Unfortunately for the phone, its chances of survival are sometimes slim in a dream. Assailed by notifications, manhandled by a sudden gesture or a bad fall, he succumbs to the hands of the dreamer, without the latter waking up understanding why. Christiane Riedel, therapist and author of Those dreams that protect and heal you (1), and Michael Stora, psychologist, psychoanalyst and author of the book Hyperconnection (2), attempt to lift the veil on this 2.0 dream.

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It vibrates and we reapply instantly. If we ever lose it, a feeling of panic invades us. According to psychoanalyst Michael Stora, the smartphone is like a real “wireless comforter”. “In the same way that the stuffed animal is destined to make up for maternal absence, the cell phone basically represents the link to the other”, specifies the digital behavior specialist. This would partly explain our emotional overinvestment in the small electronic device.

The smartphone is a wireless comforter

michael stora, psychologist and psychoanalyst

All day, the latter is witness to the slightest of our communications with ordinary mortals via calls, SMS, emails and social networks. And the unconscious does not lose a beat and reminds us of it at night. “If we had a complicated exchange, an argument, serious news or a breakup, the phone can break in a dream to show us the ambivalence of the emotional relationship that unites us to the interlocutor”, advances the psychologist and psychoanalyst.

In case this conversation and the feelings towards the interlocutor touch and hurt you, the dream would even act as a warning. “The broken device symbolizes in some cases the consequences of a toxic relationship, which does not satisfy us”, analyzes therapist Christiane Riedel. And this scenario does not only occur with a loved one. A complete stranger, met on a dating application is able to torment us with a photo sent. “See a dick pick (photo of the genitals, editor’s note) unsolicited and without consent can be experienced as something humiliating, even rape for the victims, indicates Michael Stora. The person will associate this trauma with the cell phone and may thus in a dream throw it to the ground in rage or drop it in disgust.

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An extension of self

The other function of the smartphone lies in its ability to store all our personal data: photos, messages, emails, numbers, notes… “In the United States, we talk about self objectin other words an object that represents an extension of oneself”, reports the psychologist and psychoanalyst. According to him, in a certain way, the telephone is “grafted on our psyche”, testifying to our history, our joys, our sorrows , our desires and our frustrations.” If we felt a desire during the day – to organize a party or even a chocolate craving – which we then repressed, the broken telephone signals to us that we are not listening enough to our intuition, our inner movements”, assures Christiane Riedel.

We don’t listen enough to our intuition

Christiane riedel, therapist and dream specialist

A loss of control

With its design, its large screen, its photo quality, and its multiple options, you may have already felt a certain pride in your smartphone. “By dint of talking about the power of the processor and the size of their screen, some people – including women – talk about their phone as if they were referring to their “phallus”, notes the psychoanalyst. The device embodies an object of power, over oneself and over others. We take pleasure in controlling it, it literally obeys our finger and eye.” And when the latter falls from our hands in a dream, this power weakens. “A situation escapes us and that makes us unhappy”, concludes Michael Stora.

For people plagued by “digital burn-out”, it’s quite the opposite. “The link to others via interposed screens plunges them into such tension and stress that they almost want the phone to fall from their hands”, observes Michael Stora. “Making it a dream ends up freeing them,” adds Christiane Riedel. And to direct them, we hope, towards a digital diet.

(1) Those Dreams That Protect and Heal You: Natural Body and Soul Therapyby Christiane Riedel, Trajectory Editions, 304 pages, €24.99.
(2) Hyperconnectionby Michael Stora and Anne Ulpat, Éditions Larousse, 288 pages, €14.95.

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Breaking your cell phone in a dream: what is the meaning?

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