Meaning of As A Nightmare Dreams | Dream Interpretation
Dream interpretations were found from 1 different sources.
Feeling overburdened, fear of the difficulties ahead. Descending into an abyss means paying attention to the unconscious, because that is where the reason for the present difficulties resides. Falling into an abyss is usually accompanied by feelings of depression, similar to those connected to Ashes, Murder, and Trap. Turning away from an abyss is often a sign of having turned a blind eye to the facts; it points to emotional grief.
24 dream symbols found for this dream.
For a young woman, this is a dream prophetic of disappointment and unmerited slights. It may also warn the dreamer to be careful of her health, and food. ... Ten Thousand Dream Interpretation
2. Possible health issue.
3. Out-of-control anxieties, fears. ... New American Dream Dictionary
If nightmares continue for an extended period of time, the individual should consider obtaining professional counseling services. Nightmares are a direct result of overwhelming feelings of fear and helplessness, or a result of an unprocessed traumatic experience.
A nightmare is any dream that wakes you up because of its frightening and overwhelming images.... The Bedside Dream Dictionary
If you dreamed that you were having a nightmare - a very rare dream - suggests that you are probably repressing a rather intense and deep-seated emotional problem.
If you know what it is, talk it over with someone you trust, or seek therapy. You must allow your mind to relax and heal.... My Dream Interpretation
If the emotions felt are frightening or disgusting we call the dream a nightmare. One of the common features of a nightmare is that we are desperately trying to get away from the situation; feel stuck in a terrible condition; or on waking feel enormous relief that it was just a dream. Because of the intensity of a nightmare we remember it long after other dreams; even if we seldom ever recall other dreams, even worry about what it means.
As so many dreams have been investigated in depth, using such varied approaches as hypnosis, exploration of associations and emotional content, and LSD psychotherapy, in which the person can explore usually unconscious memories, imagery and feelings, we can be certain we know what nightmares are. They arise from six main causes.
Unconscious memories of intense emotions, such as those arising in a child being left in a hospital without its mother. Example: see second example in dark.
Intense anxiety produced—but not fully released at the time—by external situations such as involvement in war scenes, sexual assault (this applies to males as well as females, as they are frequently assaulted). Example: ‘A THING is marauding around the rather bleak, dark house I am in with a small boy.
To avoid it I lock myself in a room with the boy.
The THING finds the room and tries to break the door down. I frantically try to hold it closed with my hands and one foot pressed against it, my back against a wall for leverage. It was a terrible struggle and I woke myself by screaming’ (Terry F). When Terry allowed the sense of fear to arise in him while awake, he felt as he did when a child—the boy in the dream—during the bombing of the Second World War. His sense of insecurity dating from that time had emerged when he left a secure job, and had arisen in the images of the nightmare. Understanding his fears, he was able to avoid their usual paralysing influence.
Childhood fears, such as loss of parent, being lost or abandoned, fear of attack by stranger or parent, anxiety about own internal drives.
Many nightmares in adults have a similar source, namely fear connected with internal drives such as aggression, sexuality and the process of growth and change, such as encounter with adolescence, loss of sexual characteristics, old age and death. Example: see third example in doors under house, buildings.
Serious illness. Example: ‘I dream night after night that a cat is gnawing at my throat’ (male from Landscapes of the Night).
The dreamer had developing cancer of the throat. These physical illness dreams are not as common as the other classes of nightmare.
Precognition of fateful events. Example: My husband, a pilot in the RAF, had recently lost a friend in an air crash. He woke one morning very troubled—he is usually a very positive person. He told me he had dreamt his friend was flying a black jet, and wanted my husband to fly with him.
Although a simple dream, my husband could not shake off the dark feelings. Shortly afterwards his own jet went down and he was killed in the crash’ (Anon.).
Understanding the causes of nightmares enables us to deal with them.
The things we run from in the nightmare need to be met while we are awake. We can do this by sitting and imagining ourselves back in the dream and facing or meeting what we were frightened of. Terry imagined himself opening the door he was fighting to keep closed. In doing this and remaining quiet he could feel the childhood feelings arising. Once he recognised them for what they were, the terror went out of them.
A young woman told me she had experienced a recurring nightmare of a piece of cloth touching her face. She would scream and scream and wake her family. One night her brother sat with her and made her meet those feelings depicted by the cloth. When she did so she realised it was her grandmother’s funeral shroud. She cried about the loss of her grandmother, felt her feelings about death, and was never troubled again by the nightmare.
The techniques given in dream processing will help in meeting such feelings. Even the simple act of imagining ourselves back in the nightmare and facing the frightening thing will begin the process of changing our relationship with our internal fears. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences
If dreams are indeed messages from the unconscious, a nightmare is one way it has of telling us to pay attention, as there may be shadow material coming up. This always means there is something important to learn.... Complete Dictionary of Dreams
In general, nightmares are those dreams that are painful, unpleasant and frightening. Dream analysts have reported two kinds of nightmares: those in which you wake up with a general sense of fear but you can’t recall what it was that scared you—this is often called a night terror—and those which involve you waking up from a vivid dream at its most frightening or threatening part.
Technically, the former is not a nightmare, whilst the latter is.
Many people in the nineteenth century still blamed nightmares on indigestion and it was only with the publication of Freud’s ideas that they became seen as the expression of unfulfilled wishes and sexual anxiety. Jung described them as part of humankind’s ‘collective unconscious’ and said the helplessness we feel in nightmares is a memory of the fears experienced by primitive peoples. Today, most dream interpreters believe these disturbing dreams are sent to warn the conscious mind that something is being blocked or ignored. Rather than putting the nightmare out of your mind because it was such an unpleasant experience, it is important to make efforts to interpret and confront the nightmare imagery in order to identify the waking cause.
The hallmark of a nightmare is that it is frightening. It is often long, detailed and amongst the easiest of dreams to remember. Nightmares often occur when hidden feelings of guilt, self-doubt, anxiety, anger, worry and insecurity are pushed out of your waking thoughts and repressed. In typical nightmares, you may feel as if you are being buried alive, suffocated, drowned or chased by a murderer. Dreams from which you awake with feelings of intense distress or anxiety usually occur towards the end of a night’s sleep. There is no common element and everyone has their own type of nightmare, probably produced by our own hidden fears. Many psychologists—some of them trained in the Freudian and Jungian traditions—believe that nightmares, like all dreams, carry a host of coded meaning within them, and that they are the psyche’s way of alerting us that something is wrong or unresolved in our waking lives.
From this perspective, nightmares are seen as arising from our deepest fears, frustrations and repressions. They are, however, an opportunity for you to discover which part of yourself is threatening to destroy your own happiness.
If you do have a nightmare, try to find out what exactly it is that you fear so much that you have tried to push it away into your unconscious. The stage of your dreaming mind offers you a safe place to enact and work through challenging or scary ideas or situations. When you have a nightmare, your unconscious world is sending you a loud message that you have no choice but to wake up. Examining the content of your nightmares will usually give you clues to the troubling issues or events that you are not ready to face consciously.
When you wake up from a nightmare, take a few moments to orient yourself to the reality that, no matter how frightening the events of the dream, they are not real and cannot harm you. Try to remember as many details as you can, because nightmares are windows into the worries and fears that plague your mind; as a consequence, you don’t want to dismiss them out of hand. One way to help you figure out what your nightmare means is to try and continue the story when you are awake. This gives you a chance to rewrite the dream plot from the point of view of the menacing character or object in your dream. According to ancient dream-lore, if you can overcome what is frightening you in your dream, you can overcome the things that frighten you in waking life. See also DISASTERS; NEGATIVE EMOTIONS; SPIRITS AND GHOSTS; STAGES OF LIFE; SURREALISM AND FANTASY.... The Element Encyclopedia
People with anxiety disorder might also experience what experts term “night terrors”. These are actually panic attacks that occur in sleep.
It is especially difficult to remember these types of dreams since they conjure up terrifying images that we would just as soon forget.
In poetic myth, the Nightmare is actually a “small nettlesome mare, not more than thirteen hands high, of the breed familiar with the Elgin marbles: cream-colored, clean- limbed, with a long head, bluish eye, flowing mane and tail.” Her nests, called mares’ nests, “when one comes across them in dreams, lodged in rock-clefs or the branches of enormous hollow yews, are built of carefully chosen twigs lined with white horse-hair and the plumage of prophetic birds and littered with the jaw-bones and entrails of poets.”
Thus, in a pagan world of myth and blood sacrifice, the Nightmare was a cruel, fearful creature. Our modern word nightmare derives from the Middle English nihtmare (from niht, night, and mare, demon), an evil spirit believed to haunt and suffocate sleeping people. And so, in today’s world, when we speak of a nightmare we mean a frightening dream accompanied by a sensation of oppression and helplessness.
The blood-thirsty aspect of the mythic Nightmare, however, can give a good clue about nightmares in general, for in psychodynamic terms nightmares are graphic depictions of raw, primitive emotions such as aggression and rage that have not been incorporated into the conscious psyche. Thus we tend to encounter these “ugly” aspects of our unconscious lives as terrifying dream images in whose presence we feel completely helpless.
Nightmares are quite common in childhood because this is a time of our emotional development when we all have to come to terms with, well, raw, primitive emotions such as aggression and rage.
Traumatic nightmares can also occur as one of the many symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Repetitive, intrusive nightmares following a trauma often contain symbolic themes that mirror the original trauma and relate to threat to life, threat of abandonment or death, or loss of identity.
Therefore, traumatic nightmares need to be treated differently than other dreams. It’s not enough just to “know” intellectually the psychological reasons why you have these nightmares. An event is traumatic because it disrupts your previously secure—and illusory—sense of “self.” And so, to heal from a trauma, you must take the initiative to make conscious changes in your life to accommodate the traumatic shattering of your illusions about life and identity.
Some believe that nightmares have a physiological nature as well. Edgar Cayce believed that Nightmares, which bring with them an inability to move or cry out, usually indicate the wrong diet. To end the nightmarish dreams change your diet.
We found a technique online that can help people who suffer from recurrent nightmares. It is not meant to be a cure-all. It is just a suggested treatment to deal with frightening nightmares. The idea is to use this therapy every night until the nightmare has been resolved. It is called Imagery Rehearsal Therapy.
Here are the steps of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy:
WHY A DREAM TURNS INTO A NIGHTMARE. Most nightmares are simply mirrors of your internal fears and anxieties. Paradoxically, as the following reasons explain, it is those very fears and anxieties that “flip” a dream that is otherwise benign into a nightmare.
Think of a dream as a carriage transporting a needed insight about an important problem; the carriage is merely a vehicle for the helpful message. However, the topic of the dream terrifies you. The topic could be about a failing relationship or a career that is falling apart. Because of your terror, as you watch the carriage approach, the shadows of your fears make the carriage look scary. You do not notice the carriage is driven by your psyche, who approaches as a friend and just wants to help.
One way of coping with an anxiety or fear is to distance yourself from it—to push it away. This is a normal reaction. Yet the very act of distancing yourself from a scary topic that a dream may address is what “transforms” a normal dream image into a scary one. It is like a tasty dish that curdles, and your fear curdles the dream dish.
THERE ARE ONLY FRIGHTENED DREAMERS. Though it is natural to run from what scares you, the very act of doing so is what often creates a nightmare. That is why one way of looking at most nightmares is to say, “There are no scary dreams—only frightened dreamers.” If we could put aside all of our fears, there would be few nightmares or frightening dreams.
WHAT CAUSES NIGHTMARES. Mild to severe stress tends to be the main underlying cause of most frightening dreams.
• Daily Stress. Daily stress that ramps up your feelings is the most common reason behind a nightmare.
• Out-of-Control Fear and Anxiety. Like a wheel spinning out of control, negative emotions can unbalance your perceptions and lead to nightmares.
• Emotional Dissonance. The daily push-pull between competing feelings or choices is called “emotional dissonance.” If making a choice feels so unpalatable and impossible that no choice seems right, the pressure can drive you to the edge. This form of extreme anxiety, related to difficult or impossible choices, often invites nightmares.
• Physical or Mental Imbalance. Conditions like fever or depression can produce bad dreams. When the condition passes, the nightmares may disappear.
• Traumatic Events. Repeated bad dreams can happen after a painful event that leaves you feeling vulnerable, such as losing a loved one or the loss of a home after a natural disaster. As the psyche tries to digest the pain, the mind may replay the event as a nightmare. Such dreams are the psyche’s attempt to digest the painful feelings while you sleep. As a person heals and increases their coping skills, the bad dreams lessen and eventually disappear.
• The Nightmares of Those with an Artistic or Sensitive Temperament. Highly sensitive and creative individuals tune in more deeply to the world’s pain and suffering, and as a result, they often report nightmares. A man at a seminar shared his constant nightmares about war scenes and mangled bodies, even though he lived a normal life and worked as a bus driver. Digging deeper, he began to see that he was tuning in to the daily pain that he saw on the faces of his passengers. Witnessing their distress gave his sensitive heart emotional indigestion, which he experienced as frequent nightmares.
• Traumatic Stress. Those with a medical condition called post-traumatic stress disorder, such as combat veterans or rape victims, can have nightmares that are different in content and structure to regular nightmares. Experiencing extreme forms of trauma can produce nightmares that are more severe and that disrupt sleep cycles, which regular nightmares do not. While researching the nightmares of combat veterans, I created presleep stories as a sleep aid that attempts to restore the normal sleep cycles of combat veterans; details are available at InterpretADream.com.
NIGHTMARES: THREE TYPES
Like other dreams, nightmares can be distinguished by their origin and purpose. The most common nightmares engage your struggle to grow in character and personality. A few bad dreams deal with specific life fears, and fewer still predict actual tragic events.
1: The Most Common Type of Nightmare
A NIGHTMARE THAT UNVEILS A NEGATIVE CHARACTER TRAIT. Facing an unpleasant truth about yourself is never easy. Everyone glosses over shortcomings like anger, acting stupid, or failing at something, and no one wants to face a weakness. As a result, when a dream holds up a mirror about a trait that does not jive with your “I am great” image, your normal reaction is to say, “That can’t be me.” In colloquial terms, such nightmares expose your blind spots, which is an unpleasant experience for everyone.
For example, a man had a nightmare about a raging bull charging through his grocery store and wondered if the dream was a warning that vandals would soon raid his premises. Since most dreams are about you—the dreamer, he came to see that the bull was a metaphor for his short temper when dealing with employees. Seeing himself as an out-of-control bull was not easy, but the image produced the desired effect. The man softened his attitude and as a result, the atmosphere at the grocery store became more relaxed and as a bonus, his sales improved.
When a nightmare acts as a mirror of a not-so-great trait, it invites you to grow into a better version of yourself. After an initial “ouch,” you realize that the dream is an ally, helping you correct what could cause problems down the road.
2: A Scary Dream That You Meet Less Often
FRIGHTENING DREAMS THAT PORTRAY ACTUAL, SPECIFIC FEARS. One of the functions of dreaming is to process your emotions. When a fear gets out of hand, a nightmare that relates to that fear is the equivalent of a pressure cooker’s safety valve that allows the hot steam to escape. In this case, the experience of having the nightmare, in and of itself, becomes an outlet for your exploding feelings.
Acting like an emotional digestion system, fear-processing nightmares let you experience a fear as an external picture that your mind can examine and label. A “see it, name it, and label it” nightmare helps you digest your fear, and as a result, whatever tied you up in knots begins to unravel. Such nightmares handle actual fears, one piece at a time, until they disappear. You may encounter a sequence of nightmares during a time of enormous challenge such as a divorce or the sudden loss of a loved one. Then one day, a morning arrives when you feel a sense of peace. You do not know why you feel better, but you know you have turned a corner. Your dream digestion system—that you experienced as nightmares—has done its work.
Nightmares that deal with true fears come with a bonus. A bad dream that relates to a painful issue can include an insight about how to handle what frightens you. A woman kept dreaming of a terrified young girl who walks to the edge of a murky black pond in the middle of the night. As she is about to fall into the deep black water, she sees a light in the distance and becomes aware that the light can lead her to safety. Upon discussion, those images brought back memories of the dreamer’s terror of being raped as a young girl. The light in the distance made her realize that she could resolve the unexpressed pain that had been festering for years. Thanks to the dream’s metaphor of a distant light as a place of safety, the dreamer became aware that she needed a counselor who could help her confront the emotional leftovers of her childhood trauma.
3: Actual Warnings—A Rare Type of Frightening Dream
FRIGHTENING DREAMS AS TRUE WARNINGS. Most scary dreams are stress-related, a few may tussle with your actual fears, while a miniscule percent can be actual warnings about something dire. Nightmares can warn you about the possibility of a real tragedy that may involve death, serious illness, or a natural disaster—whether in your life, someone around you, or in your community. Or sometimes they are warnings about less serious matters.
LESS URGENT, YET TRUE WARNING DREAMS. Before examining frightening dreams that are dire warnings, let’s take a look at dreams that address issues which are not life threatening, yet still urgent. For example, a dream may give you a heads up about how your words hurtfully impacted another’s feelings that you missed, and as a painful issue, it becomes cloaked in scary images. Or, a dream may point out what will happen if you keep eating three desserts a day; seeing what you look like in a dream, with an extra fifty pounds on you, can be pretty scary. Or, a frightening dream may point out a topic such as an unpleasant relationship, that you have put on hold, which now needs attention. Because these less urgent issues deal with topics that make you anxious, the warning dream can still be experienced as a nightmare. Such not-so-dire warning dreams touch upon intense topics that are not life threatening, but can still intensely shake you up.
DREAM EXAMPLE: A FRIGHTENING DREAM ABOUT A NORMAL ISSUE—MY DAUGHTER IS IN A CAR CRASH. A mother dreamed that her daughter was in a car crash, and from a distance, she watched as her child was taken to the hospital. Afterward, a doctor announced that her daughter was okay. The dream felt so intense that the mother woke up terrified, fearing for her daughter’s safety. The mother brought up her dream at a conference. A conversation brought out how, at the time of the dream, her only daughter announced that she was about to relocate because her new husband had been transferred to a job a thousand miles away. Since mom and daughter had never lived more than a few streets apart, the mother experienced a nightmare that registered her shock and distress at the news. Nothing terrible had happened. The nightmare simply registered the mother’s reaction to the sudden, unexpected news of being separated from her daughter.
A TRUE WARNING NIGHTMARE ABOUT A POTENTIAL TRAGEDY. Though extremely rare, a nightmare can be a warning about an actual tragedy as a type of ESP dream, as in the following example.
DREAM EXAMPLE: A NIGHTMARE AS A TRUE WARNING—MY DAUGHTER IS IN A CAR CRASH. Another mother had several dreams that showed her only teenage daughter getting into a car with friends, then seeing the car in a deadly crash. Each time she had the dream, she debated whether to talk to her daughter about safe driving with her teenage friends but decided against it. Sadly, the repetitive dreams turned out to be an actual warning and she lost her only daughter. Meeting this woman at a seminar, I marveled at the grace with which the mother had resolved to learn about dreams, and to use future warnings for herself and loved ones. That took great courage.
Only the divine hand can know whether a tragedy foreshadowed in a dream can be averted. However, no matter how a predicted event turns out, such actual warning nightmares serve a constructive purpose. On the one hand, they give a dreamer time to build up their strength and cushion the shock of the actual event, if it comes about. On the other hand, according to stories exchanged in dream circles, such warning dreams can, at times, avert the real danger.
True dream warnings about dire events are extremely rare. They have noticeable features like repetition, intense emotions and literal details.
For more examples of nightmares and frightening dreams of every kind, have a look at the e-library of dreams at InterpretADream.com which is searchable by keyword.... A Little Bit Of Dreams
POWs from World War II and concentration camp survivors have been known to suffer post-traumatic stress nightmares for up to fifty years after the event. Unlike ‘normal’ nightmares, these dreamers can experience significant physical symptoms during REM sleep and non-REM sleep, such as an increase in respiration and heart rate, muscle twitches and more than one arousal. Adults might experience other traumatic events in their lives, such as the loss of a loved one or bankruptcy, and these events can also continue to play out in dreams over the years in the form of nightmares. The more standard anxiety nightmare dreamers, however, have nightmares that relate to work, school or relationship stresses. The threat here isn’t to your life but to your self-confidence and sense of self.... The Element Encyclopedia
Women tend to report recurring dreams more than men. For example, the thing young children fear the most is abandonment, as without the love and protection of their parents or carers they would die. Later, as they begin to crawl, then walk, then run, they fear bodily harm. Some dream analysts believe that these two issues—fear of bodily harm and abandonment—recur again and again in a person’s life. A forty-year-old woman who discovers her husband has had an affair may, for example, dream of an earthquake and her inability to find a place of safety. This relates to fears of being abandoned.
Recurring nightmare dreams may be an indication that the dreaming mind is trying to present troublesome emotions or situations to a conscious mind that is somehow stuck in a habitual feeling state or response. The dream is encouraging the dreamer to find ways of resolving the trauma or difficulty underlying the dream.... The Element Encyclopedia
As we have seen, both Freud and Jung had theories regarding nightmares: Freud tried to explain them as the expression of unfulfilled wishes, whilst Jung described them as part of humankind’s ‘collective unconscious’ and argued that the helplessness we feel in nightmares is a memory of the fears experienced by primitive peoples. Today, in medical textbooks, nightmares are most commonly defined as a disturbing dream that results in at least a partial awakening.
Nightmares, in common with most dreams, occur during REM stages of sleep and they generally cause the dreamer to wake up.
If you don’t wake up, the dream is not technically a nightmare and could be described as a bad dream. Nightmares are often characterized by the following symptoms: a sense of fear and dread that lingers for hours or days after the dream upon awakening; the ability to recall all or part of a dream scene; in most cases the dreamer is threatened or actually harmed in some way; a recognition of powerful images in the dream or the repetition of the dream itself for months or even years after; and a physical paralysis or lack of muscle tone called atonia which signifies REM sleep.
Drugs, alcohol, lack of sleep and spicy food can alter the quality and quantity of REM sleep and perhaps trigger nightmares but there is no hard evidence to support this. Whilst these things can increase the risk of nightmares, the mundane struggles in daily life are generally thought to be the cause of most nightmares. Sleep researchers have discovered that long-standing nightmare sufferers tend to be emotional, creative, sensitive but prone to depression.
Modern sleep researchers have identified the following causes for nightmares:
• Unconscious memory of intense emotions such as that of a child being abandoned by its mother. Many people have had the experience of feeling trapped in a difficult situation—a terrible marriage or another situation they want to get out of—and nightmares can hark back to that situation, mirroring the intense feelings of being trapped associated with it.
• Intense experiences produced by external situations, such as involvement in war or being a victim of assault. Trauma, surgery, a death in the family, crime and accidents can also cause them to proliferate.
• Many nightmares in adults arise from fears connected with repressed internal drives or from fears concerning the process of growth and change.
• Threats to self-esteem. People may be faced by or fear the loss of something important to them, such as the failure of a relationship or the loss of a child, being seen to fail at work or not being able to cope with life in other ways. Nightmares may arise out of feelings of inferiority or loss of self-confidence.
Some sleep researchers consider the occasional nightmare to be a natural response to stress; the dream is seen to be the body’s way of practicing its ‘fight or flee’ response, providing us with a way to work through aggressive feelings in a safe way, given that the body’s muscles are essentially paralyzed during REM sleep.... The Element Encyclopedia