In the mysterious and fascinating world of our dreams, a pen is never just a pen, just like in surrealist paintings. Symbolic and metaphoric codes are being used to analyze our subconscious world. Deciphering dreams is not an easy task, even for the most skilled psychologists. And for those terrible and horrifying nightmares, people tend to have bad feelings about them, which make them more eager to know the nightmare meanings. While common dreams usually represent our most intimate desires and wishes, our nightmares represent our inner fears and anxieties. Through them, we can achieve a greater degree of introspection, which helps to understand and accept ourselves better.

10 Common Nightmare Meanings

Not many psychologists believe nightmares always have a deep meaning. Most believe that sometimes they are rather random constructs. However, some may be interesting to consider.

Falling from Great Heights

This kind of nightmare has happened to people whose anxiety is linked (or believed to be) to the feeling that they are not in command of their own life or even themselves. This can be caused by the person’s work, intimate relationships, money, etc. After all, the feeling of rapidly falling from height towards a certain death clearly represents the lack of freedom and/or power.


Injuries or Malformation

Anyone seen Vanilla Sky? Dreams that you have an accident or you simply wake up with a horrible scar or deformities are quite common in patients. This case tends to represent the feeling of weakness or powerlessness in a person’s life. The dream is urging them to build on self-esteem and trust themselves in a way.


Natural Catastrophes

People usually find themselves trying to run away from a sudden tsunami, an enormous tornado or a volcano that has just erupted. These, again, are generally understood in the scientific community as revealing a feeling of anxiety and fear. Meteorological events are highly unpredictable and we find ourselves impotent and insignificant in front of the enormous powers of nature.


Being Trapped

These nightmares are particularly common in people suffering from claustrophobia—the fear (sometimes extreme) of being locked up in a small area without the possibility of escaping. However, they can also be experienced by people, fearing their inability to break away from their current bad situations like annoying relationship or dead end job. People that are going through a difficult financial situation are also prone to have these nightmares.


Teeth Dropping

This might not be so frequent, yet some people describe it as a profoundly anxious experience filled with a tremendous anguish. In the dream, the person starts feeling their teeth dropping suddenly from their mouth or generally surrounded by other people. This nightmare has been linked to profoundly personal worries about other people’s judgments on his physical appearance.


Being Naked

This is a common childhood dream we may have experienced. We may also remember how deeply stressful the experience was. You may dream about trying to hide without the possibility and other people laughing at you. Psychologists argue these dreams are a symptom of an inner fear of what other people might believe or say about us, particularly about our physical appearance, although the fact of being naked can also be perfectly seen as an allegory.


Seeing the Dead People

Many people have dreamt about seeing dead people. Most of the times patients dream they see people who they are familiar with and are now dead rather than the dead people they have never met. This can be seen as a representation of our fear of the unknown. If you see close people you have lost, like your grandmother, the nightmare is probably a projection of your inability to let that person go.


Missing Important Events

Ever dreamt about waking up (what an irony, isn’t it?) and realizing you have missed a very important date? It’s quite a common dream, too. Some people even dream they have missed their own wedding. These dreams represent the fears and anxieties that arise due to outside pressure and expectation on us. We may be excellent and perform great always, but these dreams often warn us that maybe we are anxious and negative inside.


Partner Leaving

These might be one of the worst nightmares we can experience, and also work as an alarm mechanism, keeping us attentive and precautious. These dreams represent one of the deeper human fears: the feeling of abandonment. After all, isn’t it the worst thing that could happen to a person? That fear remains in a person since childhood, latent yet very powerful. They can also arise because of insecurities, the feeling we are not good enough for our partner.


Being Attacked

This is the most common nightmare of all. Many of us find ourselves being chased off by people with guns or knives, dangerous animals, etc. This kind of dreams generally indicates that you have a difficulty in confronting something in your daily lives, or you may even want to run away from it. The strategy you choose to escape can also be significant, this is, whether you are running away or rather decide to hide in fear.


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  • Brian_ScofySep.30 04:33
    I've also had/have extreme sleep paralysis a lot too
  • Brian_ScofySep.30 04:32
    My dreams at first while I was still in school, were always about me drowning alot... eventually in my senior year PE swim class, I finally frickin drown. It was disturbing and weird as hell honestly, it was like final destination to me almost but dream wise, my other nightmares are of course something chasing me, something trying to kill me.. pretty much, and yeah, other wise my dreams are nightmares that don't add up.
  • sleepparalysis??Jul.28 06:43
    i think what happened to me is what they call 'sleep paralysis' i couldn't move a muscle or utter a single sound. then i was trying to get my mother's attention, i couldn't stand up, but i can move my arms a little bit, there's some stuff in the table just beside me, interestingly, i can reach them, so i throw it near my mother, who's also sleeping, but i couldn't catch her attention. i'm totally trying not to panic. then after few seconds, amazingly, i can now talk and move my entire body. i looked around but there are no stuffs that are scattered, i thought i throw them? so i'm confused, is it a nightmare which is i was paralysed? or is it sleep paralysis indeed?
  • AngelaJun.29 14:00
    Why do I always have nightmares of zombies, my dad always goes outside like nothing is happening and it freeks me out I always get scared and I always wake up and could never go back to sleep if I do I have a continuation of the dream
  • LayeredDreamsJun.6 07:32
    Just woke up in the middle of the night from a very seemingly layered dream that I do not understand- I fell asleep maybe 25 min ago and immediately fell into a terrible nightmare. In the dream- I was having a nightmare that now I cannot recall I would then "wake up" and honestly thought I was awake. I heard people talking in my room and they were my friends but I was so scared. I couldnt make words come out of my mouth. I had things to say but could not say them. Instead all I could do was breath very heavy as if I was trying to tell them how scared I was. Then a very loose acquaintance shakes me "awake" from this second layer and tells me it's 9:55 (55 min past my appointment tomorrow) and I freak out! But I don't believe her. And I pick my phone up off the bed stand to illuminate my watch (I don't own or wear a watch ever) and my phone won't work it's plugged into the charger but won't turn on to shine a light. My phone case is also a light, connected to a separate battery, and it won't turn on either. I see friends walking past into what I think is my parents room but when I watch them open the doors it looks empty. I try to call for them but still can't form any words. I look down and the light coming through my split curtains keeps flickering (from outside even though it's the middle of the night). I am so angry at myself for missing my appointment and then suddenly "wake up" again. Each time I "wake up" within the dream I feel like I am actually awake. I take my phone and run into my parents room breathing heavily because I still can't form words. I epect my mom to wake up immediately and ask what's wrong but she doesn't wake up. I finally get to her and shake her till she opens one eye. She is not alarmed that I'm standing there and says "no please don't sleep with us there's not room" and finally I can speak and I break down in tears saying "I'm scared mom I'm so scared please" and she scoots over and let's me get in bed and then finally I feel released and actually wake up. I know the content itself isn't necessarily terrifying but I can't shake the feeling now of something haunting lingering in my mind or in my room. I feel terrified.
  • Andrew May.20 05:06
    I keep having day nightmares like I'd be completely awake and just randomly girlfriend being pregnant and getting killed in a car crash...I'm not sure what this means but it scares me :/
  • bonApr.21 10:14
    I had three nightmares in just one day,, and all of them I hear voices,, and I spoke to them, and I feel like they can touch me,, this kind of dream is very common to me,, what does it mean??
  • HateNightmaresApr.3 08:14
    I've just managed to get a restraining order against my step father, so has my mum. He's been after us for years. I've had the same dream for three nights running now and last night I only got four hours of sleep or so. We were stuck in the flat we used to live in with him, I tried making my mum hurry up so we could leave before he noticed but she took too long. He said "Not again!" And then it all changed and he was in front of us, he hit her so I ran at him and shouted "no!" Then it all changed and I woke up at the bottom of the stairs and mum told me that we'd just got out of hospital, he got arrested and he'd pushed me down the stairs, then pushed her down the stairs and he engraved "GOD" on her stomach with a knife, he carried my body upstairs and tried disembowelling me and microwaving it, my body was found On the microwave and I only just survived. I said to her "I feel like he's only just pushed me down the stairs, like I just woke up, I don't remember coming back from hospital." Then it all changed again and I was talking to my husband who was holding the microwave and telling me all the gruesome details of what my step dad did to me. - I keep having this exact same dream and I feel like everywhere I turn I'm going to see him stood there, smirking at me. We have a restraining order because he used to beat my mum, when I first saw him hit here I shouted "no" and ran at him like in the dream only in the dream I'm older, I'm the age I am now. After I managed to get mum to leave (like in the dream but in life she left quick enough) I had to stay with him for my sister and he threw me out, my restraining order is for stalking and harassment, he never left me alone for years and these past three months (from January) have been the most peaceful I've ever had until these dreams started a few nights ago. What does it mean? Do I have anything to worry about? I've never been scared by a dream before.
  • Michael Smith Apr.3 04:02
    Wish I could figure out why I keep having them at night while I am sleeping
  • Michael Smith Apr.3 04:01
    For many years I have been having nightmares and night terrors about Jason vorhees killing me . Every time I have that dream it's different every time but I never know who's behind the mask . Sometimes he takes his whole face off and it's Jason vorhees . Other times it will be a real person they will take there face off and it will be scream ghost face and he kills me and stabs me those are the nightmares I have been having for many years I still have them I wish I get rid of them for good
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