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What Triggers Dreams About Being Attacked?

By: Libby Pelham BA - Updated: 7 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
What Triggers Dreams About Being Attacked?


Can you explain what triggers dreams/nightmares about being attacked (and also mess and clutter)?

I am 78 yrs old and have had recurring dreams such as these for over 20 years and am now seeking some clarification.

(IW, 13 February 2009)


Dreaming of being attacked is actually quite common. In some cases, people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or some other type of anxiety ailment due to an actual physical attack may dream of being attacked as their psyche still tries to deal with the incident.

More than likely though, a dream of being attacked is generally triggered by the suppression or fear of something going on in your life. While in your dream, you may be attacked by any number of things – a man, a monster, or a wild animal – but, what is actually attacking you is some disturbing area in your life that you may not notice or may think you have under control during waking hours. When we don’t openly acknowledge our fears, they show up in our dreams, where our minds are much freer and open to feelings.

Look at all aspects of your life and try to pinpoint the area of stress. You say you have had this dream off and on for 20 years. Go back 20 years and see what was going on in your life. Did you retire when you were 58? If you did, was it of your own free will or were you forced to due to an illness? Or, had you ever worked outside the home? Maybe you felt guilty and less than useful being a homemaker. It may be that at 58, you were re-examining your youth and realized you missed out on something – getting married, having children, having a career.

And, it may be that at 58, you began to realize that your body was getting older and time was no longer on your side. Many of us think when we are young that we will never get old, but in your forties and fifties, you really begin to notice physical and mental changes and realize that age is creeping up on you.

If the anxiety that goes with aging is not dealt with, but only suppressed, what is “attacking” you in your dreams is the fear of getting older and eventually death. The dreams of clutter and mess could be that you feel if you died today, there would be areas that would be left in chaos, where it is something physical like the clutter in your home or mental like having a will or telling people you love them.

If that is the case, you may want to seek counseling. Twenty years is a long time to have reoccurring dreams and it may take a professional to help you deal with the issues. If you cannot afford counseling, talk to family and friends about this anxiety and try to come to terms with it. Meditate on seeking peace with this problem each night before you go to sleep. Recognize the anxiety, but concentrate on not allowing it to creep into your dreams anymore.

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@Mia - wow this does sound like a crazy dream indeed, usually we wake up after being injured straight away. Even though the boyfriend is not your boyfriend, he nevertheless represents him symbolically by wearing the same clothes. It seems that you either feel everyone is out to get you, except your b/f, or you would rather just you and your b/f be left alone to get on with your lives together and not have anyone else involved.
AngieG - 8-Jan-18 @ 11:23 AM
I just had a dream that I was in a grocery store trying to find a journal and pen set and a man comes up to me. He looks and is dressed exactly like my boyfriend but I know it is not. We talk for a bit about what I’m trying to find but after a while he leaves to go to another part of the store. I go back to trying to look for this journal and pen and then another man walks up to me. Before he even reaches me I know he has ill intent. I stand up and go to reach for my phone in my bag but he grabs me and shoved me against the cart. I yell ‘Siri call police’ but my phone won’t work. I get up and run from this man and run to the front of the store. I yell at the cashiers to call the police but they won’t. Instead they lock the door and don’t say a word. Just stare at me with hatred. So I run to the fresh produce isle and crouch down next to that man who looks like my boyfriend but isn’t. I notice that not everyone is trying aiding this psychotic guy and some are crouching down. Just after I notice this, an older man comes at me with a knife and I try to fight him off but he still manages to cut me from elbow, down my armpit, to the bottom of my ribs. The guy who looks like my boyfriend shoved him away and helps me run and hide in the middle of this grocery store. We sit down, I’m grabbing this huge gaping cut I have, and we talk to keep me from not passing out. I’m crying, yelling ‘why is everyone trying to kill me’ and he tells me I need to be quiet. I talk about how I really wish my boyfriend was here, and that if he was he would kill every last one of them ( he is very protective of his family ). Which is really odd because I’m telling this to someone who looks exactly like him. I remember very distinctly him asking ‘you guys are never slow, are you?’ But it was sweet. Right after that, this older woman stabs me in the back and we run, but now they are catching up quicker. Eventually we are in the back, next to the loading dock and we see the cops pull in but just as they do, the original guy comes up and knocks the guy that looks like my boyfriend out and tackles me to the ground, trying to point a gun at my head. I fight him off and it goes black, but I hear a gunshot and feel a pain on the side of my neck. I wake up in the hospital and that’s when I wake up in real life. Crazy dream...
Mia - 7-Jan-18 @ 8:24 PM
I dreamt that my ex partner broke into my house and sexually mutilated me with a knife. At which point i woke up quite breathless and could not get back to sleep with my heart pounding.what does this mean?
kutiemel - 21-Aug-14 @ 10:49 AM
i had a dream that i was in a ballpit hiding from a deformed monster that could track you by your pulse or heart rate. it started to creep up my legs my heart rate went really quick it dragged me through the ballpit and started to rip me apart. at this i awoke abruptly shaking unable to breath properly. and can not find anything to interperet this dream and has left me shaken. if someone could get back to me id be gratefull.
boo - 9-Apr-13 @ 5:00 PM
Scince the 18th January I keep having a repeated dream of being grabbed by the throat and then being raped the man in my dreams I have seen around my local area and he always has a dog with him. In my dream the dog is there but stays on the path way and when people walk past he warns them off so no one has noticed Iv been raped. It's so terrifying I wake up crying shacking and even sore down below. When I see this man I get so scared I start to shake and worry!! He's never spoken to me or gave me any interest. I just want to know what the dream means and am I in the near future going to get hurt??
Jodie - 30-Mar-13 @ 12:06 PM
I need help on interpreting a dream I have almost every night, and sometimes more the once a night. I'm having trouble trying to figure out what it means. I'm in an abandoned building with two other people and we find ourselves in a basement full of sand, patches of grass, and the sun barely shining in the corner of the room. A mans head is out of the sand, I go to touch him and he yells run away, get out before he gets you. One of the people that came with me is gone, and a tall figure appears and lookes at me. He wears a long black old jacket, long black hair, pale, and deep black eyes. he throws the head at the head that was in the ground and knocks out the the other man that was with me. I start to run down some stairs, and the figure is chasing after me. He keeps getting closer, and I start to throw up blood. I try to stop to rest, but I keep running. blooed still dripping from my mouth. I find a window and jump into a room in a different building. A small boy stands there. he doesnt talk. He melts into blood and the black figure come up behind me and wraps his arms around me. Thats when I wake up... What does this mean?
Phantom - 22-Mar-13 @ 5:12 PM
I frequently dream about my friends raping me or hugging me and refusing to let go and suffocating me. The hug is not friendly, it's more just grabbing on to me. The dreams are quite realistic - I can feel the assault as though it's real.
Queenie - 8-Jan-13 @ 6:49 AM
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