Typical nightmare images are attacking snakes or spiders, or some kind of monster chasing you. They can also be about riding in a runaway vehicle, getting lost, finding yourself in a dark and scary place, or any situation that you find terrifying in real life. This type of dream feels so real that the dreamer may lie in bed for several minutes after waking up, body trembling, heart pounding, breathless. Some nightmares are so terrifying that they are remembered for days, weeks, months, or even years. Some dreams turn into recurring nightmares and occur over and over again.
Why do people have nightmares?
Would it surprise you if I told you that these worst kinds of dreams are of great value? Would you believe me if I told you that there are positive reasons for them? Despite its strange and terrifying images, despite shattering your nightly sleep and waking you up in a panic, the nightmare offers a gift.
If you’ve been prone to nightmares, you’re probably shaking your head right now and thinking, “How could such a terrifying dream be a gift?”
A nightmare is the messenger
A nightmare is perhaps the most misunderstood type of dream. It is often a deep cry from the subconscious to get your attention. The positive intention of a nightmare is to bring you an important message for your benefit and it insists on being felt, heard and seen!
The main reasons for nightmares are fears about something that has happened or is happening in waking life. Because most people don’t know how to release stress, they internalize it.
Some people tend to be stoic and repress or deny their fears. These fearful emotions get buried (suppressed/repressed) within the subconscious, where they can fester and get much worse.
You could be in a current situation that you think you are handling well enough and not realize that you are subconsciously scared about it. When fears, anxieties and worries get stuck, a scary dream actually shows how intense your fears are.
Children do not usually talk about what scares them. They tend to keep their fears inside. Children’s nightmares can be caused by fighting parents, a bad teacher, school bullies, horror movies, etc. A sensitive child may become fearful of something that would never occur to an adult. For example, some children may feel left out and fear not being loved because of all the attention the new baby receives.
The recurring nightmare usually begins in childhood. To end a recurring dream, the parent needs to discover what intense fear or trauma the child has experienced.
In adults, nightmares can be caused by fears about stressful situations in one’s life. Worries about work or money, a serious illness, deep insecurity, the possible loss of the house – any of these factors can trigger nightmares or nightmares. The problem with understanding that your dream is addressing a fear of the day, is that the nightly version of ‘review’ is loaded with scary ‘substitution’ symbolism. If you are afraid of snakes and you dream that a snake bites you, the dream does NOT warn you that a snake may attack you in your real life. The phenomenon of ‘dream substitution’ has come into play. most of you not Make the connection between the terrifying snake that attacks you at night and the troubling physical illness that you suffer from during the day. You may not realize that the dream monster that haunts you actually represents your fears of losing your job and not having enough money to pay your bills.
Other reasons for nightmares
A nightmare can bring up buried fears about a distressing or traumatic situation that happened a long time ago. People with PTSD may have terrifying nightmares in which they relive the traumatic event. Fears trapped in the psyche that surface in a dream are a plea from the subconscious to resolve and leave the past behind.
There is an interesting reason for some nightmares. For those who enjoy terrifying rides or horror movies, your nightmares can serve the dual purpose of making you feel your inner fears and also help release them.
Questions one can intuitively ask after waking up from a nightmare are:
What inner feelings, stress, worries or fears should I pay attention to?
What situation in my waking life feels as scary as this dream made me feel?
If there is no answer to these questions, try this one: What event from my past might still be haunting me?
Reflect on each of the questions, pause, and wait for an answer that intuitively “pops” into your mind.
A true gift from the monster of dreams.
Anger, resentment, stress, or fearful emotions that are buried deep within oneself can have a tendency to cause damage or disease in the body. Another very positive reason for nightmares is to show you what your emotions look and feel like. In your scary dreams, you can actually see your fears. They adopt symbolic images proportionate to the intensity of the emotion. In other words, your fears become the monsters of your dreams.
A terrifying dream monster is called a “thought form”, that is, a symbolic mirror image of the fear within you. If you had the presence of mind to confront the fear monster within the dream and ask what it wants to tell you, it might say something like this: “I am your fear. I am buried inside you. I can’t get out, so I live in your body. I can make your body break. You could get sick. Or, this is why you are sick. You need to see and feel how intense I am, recognize me as your fear and find a way to release it.”
Using EFT to tap and release fear shown in a dream
EFT or Meridian Tapping is a wonderful tool to release stress, worries and fears. You can tap and remove the ‘hangover’ fear you feel when you first wake up from sleep. You can then tap on the fears you feel within the dream.
Even if you don’t understand the meaning of your nightmare, you can still tap using the phrases, “Although I don’t know what specific fear this dream is about, I am open to receiving the message in other ways and choose to safely release this fear.”
Use Dream Decipher to interpret your dreams
Most people do not understand the meaning of their dreams because they are symbolic, and many times they substitute one fear for another. You don’t need to pay someone to interpret your dreams for you. You can learn to do it yourself. The Dream Decipher process, an intuition-based dream interpretation tool, works quickly to help you get the real message out of any dream.