When we have Bad Dreams about our Children

May 28, 2009

The aquariumA reader writes:  I once had a dream that I was running after my boy – he was about two at the time – and he was running away from me down the path of the childhood place I grew up in on summer vacations in the country (not always happy times).

I saw my boy jump into the water, and – horrified – I jumped after him swimming to catch up to him – in deepening horror, I swam deeper and deeper, my eyes open against the darkness of the deep – unable to see him – I desperately felt for him all around – and woke up frightened and relieved to find my boy sleeping in my arms.

Some of the most disturbing (and not uncommon) nightmares that we can have involve our children being hurt or even dying.  Given that our deep Selves are the architects of our dreams, such horrible scenarios might be understood as symbolic representations of our relationship to our own inner child.  Sometimes a death, horrifying as it is in a dream, is a symbol of a part of us that must die so that a new incarnation of the Self can be born.

While dream interpretation is more an art than a science, a good way to start with our own dreams is to ask ourselves what we associate with the various elements of a given dream.  We do this by focusing on each element, and then noting the first thing that comes into our minds.  For example with the above dream the dreamer would associate to:  her child, to being two years old herself, a path, the summer home, etc.  Out of these associations may come clues to hidden meanings, and forgotten paths in our minds and memories.

Dreams can have many, or multiple meanings, but one way to think of the above dream might be:  the dreamer is chasing after a vestige of her own two-year-old self, (innocent, but old enough to walk, to run… and thus to run away or reject).  At two and three, children are working on separation and initial strivings for autonomy, and parents must let them come and go and not take it personally or retaliate; if this did not go well for the dreamer, her child may trip bad feelings by simply passing through an age where she herself got hurt.  The boy in the dream could be running away, but he could also be seen as leading the dreamer, either back into her own childhood with its unresolved hurts, or down the path toward the water—a symbol of both the mother and the unconscious.  The dreamer “jumps” into the psychological situation, motivated by love for a child (our most powerful motivation to find courage, heal, and grow).  She is led deeper and deeper into the unconscious by the boy, and into her own dark places—perhaps into a representation (unable to understand, or get ahold of her self) of what it felt like to be her when she was two.  In a sense the dreams says that it is time to explore the dark past, and perhaps to heal, motivated by the transcendent love that all mothers (and fathers) have for their children, somewhere in their souls.  The unconscious might also be saying, that the dreamer needs to be more consciously aware of her pain.  Consciousness, even if it hurts, is an excellent way that we parents can avoid unconsciously spilling our unresolved wounds and anxieties onto our children.

Ship and LighthouseIf others care to share any dreams about their children, perhaps we will discover common themes.  Maybe our mutual quest for greater consciousness will benefit our kids and free them from any lingering pain of our own pasts.  If we pay attention to them, even our nightmares can guide us toward our collective “dream” of providing our children with a more compassionate world.

Namaste, Bruce

Please Note that I will no longer be able to personally interpret dreams as they arrive, however I have organized the many dreams below into a more searchable structure.  Please click over to this Guide to Bad Dreams About Our Children:  http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/a-guide-to-bad-dreams-about-our-children/

from there you can search by category, and that will lead you to threads of dreams organized by age of children and hopefully you will find some similar dreams and some ways of thinking about your own dream that will be helpful to you.

All Best Wishes & Sweet Dreams

{ 514 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie May 28, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Thanks for this post Bruce. It said a lot to me. ; – )



privilegeofparenting May 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I’m glad it did, thanks for letting me know.


John stewart October 6, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Thank you for your advice Bruce. You have put my mind at ease. I had an Awful dream about my 5yr old son falling from a high frame. It was horrible. But after reading your advice I feel a lot better know. Thank you so much. I felt so bad. Now I can go back to sleep. Sweet dreams and god bless.


Bruce October 9, 2016 at 12:02 am

Hi John,

Thanks for reading—glad it was of some help.

All Best Wishes, Bruce


Vimi November 17, 2009 at 7:49 am

Hi Bruce,

I just had a strange dream and I was looking for an interpretation and I stumbled upon this post. It’s a very similar dream but different at the same time.

It started with me and my friends in a water park. We are having fun and all of a sudden we decide to leave ’cause of cold weather warnings. My dreams just shifted to a different place. Somehow I was at a rocky formation with a lake in the middle. The lake didn’t seem too large, but it was crystal clear, nice blue. My entire family was there. But the people I most vividly remember are my mom, older sis and grandma with my 2 yr old nephew. In that lake we saw giant dolphins, belugas and black whales swimming, or rather having fun. There was a huge crwd to see them . In my dream it seemed like a miracle that so many of these huge bodies would appear in this lake out of nowhere and they are swimming in the direction of the water flow. Surprisingly to me, nobody was trying to hurt them or hunt/fish them either. Everyone was just peacefully watching them swim.

Then all of a sudden my nephew asked if he could get something for my sis. It seemed very cute. It’s almost as if he said, “mamma, can I get (happiness) for you?” I don’t really remember if he said happiness…this is the only word I don’t quite rememeber. But I do rememeber that we thought that it was cute that a 2 yr old would ask to get this for his mom. my sis just smiled and said yes. Then he started running. To everyone it seemed he’s just running around like small kids do, but I got an intuition that he’s gonna jump from that rocky cliff and I ran after him and he jumped.

I don’t know what happened after that but the next scene immediately was a huge group of penguins walking in front of me. And then I woke up.

I don’t know what this means, but I was left quite disturbed because this was the first time I had a dream about my nephew and he jumped off a cliff :(

P.S: Last night I had a dream that a tiny black fish dived inside my stomach and is swimming in my blood in my body. Somehow I got it out but it dived in again. I seemed to be very scared in my dream about this.

It’s been two nights in a row I have been having fish dreams. What do you think it might symbolize?

Thanks for your help.


privilegeofparenting November 17, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for sharing this dream. A couple of ideas to consider might be that “cold weather warnings” suggest the psyche is about to deal with the issue of isolation or lack of comfort. Next the body of water is a collective image of the unconscious with these evolved aspects safe and in harmony with the environment. I might think of your sister as your “sad self” and your nephew as your “child self” who seeks to bring happiness to your sad self. The child is natural and without falseness, and thus relates thematically to the natural creatures in the water; water can also represent the feeling aspect of the psyche. The child leads you “off the cliff” of the rational thinking self and toward the water (i.e. into feelings and exploration of the unconscious).

Next appear penguins in a big group. Penguins are both black and white, so they might represent the melding of your thinking and feeling selves; they are also comfortable on land and in the water, representing your versatile aspect; they are also good parents who work together to keep their babies warm.

As for the black fish, this dream could be saying that the dark aspect of the self is not a fish out of water, but is at home in your gut (or intuition) and in your blood. They say we once lived in the ocean, and our blood is like sea water. These dreams seem to be inviting you to confront your fears, perhaps feelings of abandonment, coldness, hurt in the past and to trust that there may be forces in the psyche ready to help you.

In some fairy tales a magic fish is released and grants wishes. Fish also live in schools, a possible hint that it is time for some new learning. A nice thing to do might be engaging the fish, and the dolphins, whales, penguins, etc. in a fantasied conversation where perhaps they have lessons to teach.

You might like to look at a former post about whales: http://tiny.cc/utImh

And also note that a more recent post ( http://tiny.cc/wh6qc ) was inviting dreams to be shared, so perhaps it is synchronicity that you came across this older post when you did.

Finally, please do not take anything I venture as definitive. My main encouragement is to assist you, and other readers, in engaging our inner worlds in a creative manner—toward the greater penguin and whale and fish wisdom that sees us humans as part of, and not observers of, nature.

Namaste, Bruce


alicia January 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Last night I dreamed my 7 year old daughter and my 7 year old sister got me up for school at four in the morning. I hadn’t slept good that night my chest had been hurtin and there were men working on the water because some pipes have busted. One of the men wanted to know if a worker had step on a fitting of the pipe so I asked my step mom who was also in the house. So the day past quicker and we were all at once on a deck but the deck was on the ground. Most of my family was there 3 of my children were my dad step mom grandma pawpaw husband and few people I haven’t a clue who they were. I’m guessing my 7 year old and sister were still at school and at the time I’m holdin my two youngest daughters. Some boy runs and jumps on this deck and it dents it and after he sees it he does it again and again leaving a hole the boy falls in the hole my 3 year old runs to the hole I yell at him tellin him he better not if the fall don’t kill him I will just jokin of course. But he don’t listen and my son jumps in and the hole grew bigger and water appeared I yell at my husband to get him John get him. My husband jumps in the water but it’s got no bottom to it and they both keep goin under. I than try to hand my child that I’m holding which now I’m only holding one and it’s a boy?? To every body around but they won’t take they baby they tell me it’s too late nothing can be done. So I go to the next perso than the next nobody will take the baby I’m holding I can’t save my 3 year old nor my husband. Than the whole deck starts to fall apart I try to get to the ground to save my baby and my self but there’s no longer a ground I look around and I see every one has made it every one is ok but my 3 year old and my husband and all at once my two baby girls are in my arms again. Than I wake up. My sons in his bed sleepin away all my babies are fine I wake my husband up. This is the very first time I’ve ever dreamed bout my 3 year old before. I use to have bad dreams bout my 7 year old when she was a baby but I figured it was because she was my first child and I worried so much about her. Never my son and husband which is arranged because he is daddy’s boy they are so close. Please help me tell me what my dreams mean or if there is a book or something real cheap I can buy that will help me figure it out thanks worrying momma n wife


Bruce January 9, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi Alicia,

While dreams can have many meanings, and I would not want to suggest that I would “know” the meaning of this dream, I could offer some ideas.

Firstly, at the level of the personal/individual I would think about your own life when you were three, four and seven. Particularly 7, because both your child and your sister are seven and the might represent aspects of the seven-year-old you.

You “wake up” at four in the morning, suggesting that something important might relate to being four, and that you are awakened “for school” perhaps cluing you that some sort of new learning is in order. Your chest had been “hurtin” and this could mean “heart-ache” (i.e. emotional pain) and the “pipes” for the “water” are “busted” could mean the heart feels broken, and the water is like feelings and emotions. A worker “step” on a fitting and the “step-mom” could mean some hurt connected with step-mother.

The “deck” might relate to a ship (ships have decks) and the fact that water turns out to be below the deck might confirm this. Boys and men jumping into holes of water could be about how your boy is becoming three, an age when he bonds with dad, and you may be feeling a little left out or abandoned. The water and the hole could be like the earth mother who is is like an angry mother earth swallowing up her boys because she feels rejected (heart-ache, stepped on, sad, overwhelmed with responsibility).

Then there is the part where “no one will take your baby.” This could be both a feeling of being rejected (the baby would be your baby self, and perhaps feelings that you’re not wanted, loved, or good enough; if that’s true you must know we all feel that way sometimes, so you’re not alone; in fact the dream is trying to help you be conscious and aware “to wake up” so that you don’t have to feel sad, alone or heart broken—especially if YOU understand your baby-self’s feelings).

Finally, at a collective level, perhaps this dream is about how the feminine aspects of the world have been stepped on, and how the “girls” have to wake up and take care of the babies, not alone, not in shame and hurt, but together. This is not just about women, it’s about men learning to fix the watery (feelings) ways of the world and for the group (you have people you don’t know in the dream) come together. All hands on deck… just in time for the deck itself (the ships men build, like the Titanic) to fall apart in favor of the earth. Perhaps the earth is the ship and we’re all on it together. Perhaps we humans are ready to “wake up” and take better care of our kids, our earth and each other?

Sometimes a lot of people start dreaming the same dream, and that’s when big change happens. The good news is that everyone makes it in your dream, and all is okay. This is about transition or change, about seeing, and feeling and connecting in new ways.

The very fact that you found this blog and shared your dream and connected with me in this way would not have been possible in the past. Sometimes it’s not so much what we do as the way we do it. Let’s pay attention to our dreams, our children and our natural world with sensitivity, compassion and loving kindness and see, if like a rising tide, we may collectively arrive at a better world that we don’t just wait around for, but wake up to and make happen.

All Good Wishes, Alicia


Deborah March 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Personally I think the only meanings of these dreams reflect the love you have for your children and the extent you will go to to protect them. I’m forever having these dreams and now I realise why. I love my son unconditionally and my worst fear would be (as all parents) to lose him. I’m forever being told by my brothers I’m over protective, my lad is 3 and I won’t allow him to walk by rivers in aided or climb climbing frames unless I’m beneath to catch him if he falls, surly it would be neglect if I didn’t and he fell from such a height etc etc. So last night I dreamt my brother was out walking with my son and the approached a stream with boulders on the side, he allowed my son to climb over these boulders unaided and I could see this at a distance then I seen my son trip and fall from a height into the river below. I remember my brother jumping in but I also remember myself jumping too and breaking both legs in the fall. This happened at a place I grew up also where I used to play with my friends. Next thing I remember is seeing my brother holding up my son who was opened eyes and ridged but breathing (paralysed). This was 5.30am I awoke in a sweat and crying and seeing my baby laying peacefully besides me I was relieved. However, I could go back to sleep as I was so disturbed by what potentially could have been real life. I think my dreams just tell me I’m doing a good job looking out for my sons safety always as neglect is where accidents can’t be prevented. So if you have nightmares about your children having accidents or dying, it just shows how much you love them as many dreams are about your worst fears. Well done for loving your children unconditionally as they’re life’s little gifts and treasures. A pity not all parents have this bond xxx


Bruce March 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm

HI Deborah,

I certainly agree that these nightmares are related to the fact that we love our children so much that losing them or seeing them seriously hurt is truly the worst thing we can imagine as parents.

While it is essential to keep our children safe, it is also interesting to consider multiple possibilities in interpreting dreams, including that dreams about our children may be symbolic dreams about the children we once were ourselves, and how safe that “inner child” does or doesn’t feel right now.

In your dream it could be that you feel criticized by your brother saying you are over-protective, and so in your dream you prove that you are not (only the “brother” who jumps in could be symbolically be that part of yourself that is bold enough to give space for your kid to explore, but which is reckless and unable to protect the child.

Just as Hamlet struggles with opposing feelings and thoughts, perhaps this dream show the mother with broken legs, the child paralyzed and the brother unable to protect.

If there happened to be trauma, losses or injuries within your family when you were a child, or even in your own parents’ childhoods, then this dream might also make sense as we try and deal with the river of ongoing life across generations and different points of view.

Ultimately I agree that you treasure your child and the main point of the dream is that love. Still, as I get ready to launch my oldest child off to college, I can still remember that vulnerable little three-year-old and how scary it can be just trying to keep them safe. As parents we have to continually sort out our own fears, anxieties and past wounds (and be consciously aware of them) SO that we can keep our kids safe and do what’s best for them.

Somehow we want to keep our kids safe while at the same time teaching them to have confidence in themselves and also confidence that they can make good decisions and stay safe in the world. There will be plenty of time for this as children develop, and you have to trust your instincts above all else, adjusting as your child grows.

Thanks so much for stopping by Privilege of Parenting. All Good Wishes and, hopefully, Sweet Dreams (and waking life too)


Yogesh Pugaonkar November 14, 2017 at 2:43 am

Hello Deborah, thanks a lot for the above words as they are very true. I love my 5 year old son very much and i also get such nightmares. every parent should protect there children as they are little gifts and treasures.


Stephanie April 20, 2012 at 2:47 am

Very quickly, because it is late and being very tired…I’m going try to fall back to sleep….
My dream is, my mother, myself, and my 5 year old son are frantically walking in and out of mall stores trying to find clothing for my mother. I am very protective of my children physically, emotionally, and spiritually…anyhow, after the last store, we are walking out by the railing (we are on the second floor)…I look around by my sides and notice my son is not there! Only to look up and see him playing on the opposite side of the railing, he then jumps off and I am watching him fall while inside freaking out trying to register if this is real or not. He hits the floor feet first but screams out from pain. I run toward the closest escalator but my legs are so heavy and I’m moving so slow. He’s crying out for me holding his leg and I can see him but I cannot move fast and Im panicked. I woke up as I was making my way down the escalator to him. What do you think this could possibly mean? Thank you.


Bruce April 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Hi Stephanie,

One way to think about dreams is to interpret all the characters and places as symbols of our own deeper Selves. From this perspective you are trying to “clothe” (i.e. protect but also to find an identity for) your “mother self” while also trying to protect your child self. Your child self falls to a lower level (i.e. a lower or earlier level of consciousness, perhaps your own past or your own childhood) and hits the ground (i.e. reality) and experiences terrible pain.

You try to make your way safely down to this earlier consciousness and to the child you once were, and the dream shows how hard and painful it is do fully deal with your own past and with the frustration you feel at not being adequately protected by your own mother, and your unconscious resentment toward her for needing you to take emotional care of her.

You say that you are very protective of you children, which is natural, but perhaps you are also re-experiencing the pain of your past related to life when you were five.

While nothing is worse than bad things happening to our children, when we dream about this it often has more to do with ourselves than with our kids. If you were failing to protect your child in waking life the dream could be a warning, but if you already are very protective perhaps the dream is about how you felt out of control as a kid and now as a parent still feel out of control to fully protect your child. In this way the dream also just reminds you just how precious and how much you love your child. Sometimes we have a dream like this when our child hurts our feelings or irritates us; in such cases a dream may be a way that our unconscious negative feelings come into consciousness.

Another version of this is when a child is mad at his or her parent and then has a nightmare that something bad happens to that parent (these dreams worry us that we might cause harm with our bad thoughts, but they also challenge us to face that we’re not that powerful, and especially as kids we were very vulnerable and had no power over our parents or our situations—that is probably the core pain and the core emotion of the nightmare).

Of course dreams have many many possible meanings and these thoughts are mostly meant as encouragement for you to think creatively and open-heartedly about what the dream might ultimately be saying to you.

Certainly my wish is for the safety and well-being of you, your child and your mother. All Good Wishes


Tina May 6, 2012 at 10:20 am

I had a disturbing dream about my daughter who is 8. The setting was my grandparents street, she was in our house (except it wasn’t our house), my husband, except it kinda wasn’t him, had her under the toilet somehow, the toilet was on top of her and she was trapped under it, she had on only her panties, she was completely calm as though it was a regular occurrence. I asked him what was going on and he told me he did it so he could pee on her and that he liked it. This is so messed up! I really have no idea how my brain could come up with something like this. I felt completely powerless in the dream, I wanted to get he out right away but felt that he was unstable and didn’t want to be in a situation we couldn’t escape. I was trying to plan how we could all leave him (her and my other two children) without arousing his suspicion. I felt very helpless in the dream, as my husband deals with all our finances and gets e-mails and checks bank statements. I felt like if I took the kids away I wouldn’t be able to get any money to keep us or get us a house. The image of daughter lying there so calm really upsets me, it actually makes me cry thinking about it, I am having a real hard time trying to let go of this dream and the emotions it has evoked.


Bruce May 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Hi Tina,

This does sound disturbing, and of course raises the obvious question about if your child is safe in waking life. If you have doubts in that area, the dream would be prompting you to confront reality.

Hopefully, your kids are safe and this dream is about your inner world, not your children’s outer world. In this case the dream could be interpreted along the lines of “your grandparents’ street” being the place of your higher consciousness as a parent. In this realm of inner consciousness your inner child is being suppressed by your inner Shadow Animus (your own male aspect). Thus your child is calmly under a toilet, suggesting that you have yourself felt passive, disempowered and devalued (i.e. a receptacle for what others don’t want, particularly crappy and angry feelings). In this sense the dream represents an inner situation, where your angry male self is both “pissed” but also yearning to more fully express itself; meanwhile the “calm” child in just panties is both sexualized, devalued and also perversely powerful (the crappy power around which the low-self-esteem person’s world circles). This set-up begs the question about “passive-aggressive” dynamics (see http://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/11/04/what-does-it-really-mean-to-be-passive-aggressive/).

The fact that you reference money, in connection with power and subjugation is also consistent with the notion of the gold being in the poop (see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/06/11/the-gold-is-in-the-poop/).

Of course dreams have so many potential meanings that my suggestions may be all wrong for you and your current situation. What makes good sense is to think about the different symbols (grandparents, toilet, child, etc.) and see what your mind offers up. Perhaps some journal writing, asking for another dream to help clarify, drawing, etc. might open some inner doors for you.

If there is trauma in your past, it wold be lovely for your children if you were to heal. If it is more purely symbolic, it would be good for you to be able to express what you truly feel. Generally speaking, as we embark upon the journey of individuation (i.e. becoming our true Selves), we typically meet the Shadow. If your real man is decent, and your real parents and grandparents, then the Shadow tends to bring a woman her power. Imagine if you could be lucid in this dream and say to your inner not-quite-really-your-husband: “I know you are the inner part of me who would put the little girl part of me under a toilet and pee on her, but why? What is it you need me to realize and recognize so that we can be on the same team and not hurt anyone, not inside me or outside of me, but not be hurt by anyone either?”

Finally, Tina, we all need to feel safe, loved and empowered. As do our kids. My wish for you is that you not take any of my suggestions as possibly knowing more about your life, your psyche and your family than you know—merely the wish that everyone feel respected, safe and loved (i.e. less blame, more compassion, inner and outer; but always with kids kept safe in real life as our first priority).

All Good Wishes


Joanne May 29, 2012 at 4:29 am

I stumbled upon your article as I was looking for some answers as to my night mares (and day mares) that I am having. The main night time one is where my two and a half year old daughter is standing on the window sill of the bay window in her bedroom. She then turns and falls out, the dream then flips to picking out a small coffin and watching her funeral procession. I wake up in tears, usual in the small hours of the morning. The main day a mare (if there is such a thing) is where my daughter is running towards me, this may actually be happening at the time, in real life. Then I see in my mind that she trips, falls and hits her head and then she dies. There have been some life changing events in our family over the past 2 years, the death of my grandma (who I was very close too), being diagnosed with cancer (although now in remission) and my husband refusing to have a second child. Are these related to these awful and very vivid nightmares? I am having a hard time dealing with the dream that I will lose my daughter.


Bruce May 29, 2012 at 10:19 am

Hi Joanne,

Firstly, let me say that I am so sorry for what you have actually faced in recent times—the loss of your grandmother and facing cancer (I’m pleased to hear your prognosis is good).

Taken together with your dreams, perhaps your psyche (deeper truest Self) is working to help you be more fully conscious about life? Images of your child falling and then selecting a small casket could be seen as symbolic of how, in the journey of individuation (becoming our true Self) the little girl aspect (Puer/Puella in Latin, Peter Pan in pop culture) must die in order for the woman to be born.

While none of us know what the future will bring, this dream may be more about trying to integrate the painful past into awakened, compassionate, courageous, loving consciousness than it is any sort of premonition. Given that Jung suggests that it is precisely that which we cannot be conscious of which materializes and meets us as our fate, if we can be conscious of our losses, and perhaps even the productive aspects of pain (tends to awaken deeper parts of us) then we can become free and more truly alive.

I would not rule out the possibility that you experienced some sort of trauma or loss when you were around two (perhaps something as subtle as reminding your mother or father of something that they themselves had lost or been hurt by when they were two). The cycle of trauma often repeats across generations until we become conscious and release it.

As for having another child, perhaps if your partner sees that you have crossed to safety yourself, they will be more open to the idea of welcoming new life, rather than an unconscious insurance policy meant to hedge against losing what we already have. If we treasure what we have, and perhaps recognize that your husband may be carrying the part of you that does not want to risk again, and your grandmother carrying the wise and strong part of you that your conscious self feels to be gone, all your spirit might return to you and help you across this developmental threshold.

While easier said than done, if you find yourself confronting a nightmare, ask yourself if you might be dreaming. If so (i.e. you find you can fly) then try to commune with the dream by asking whoever you meet (i.e. the funeral home director), “Okay, you’re the part of me who is involved with this sad business. What is it you are trying to have me understand or learn?” Perhaps your grandmother will show up in your dream and give you her full blessing to carry on loving those in your world and trusting that your dream world is real in its own way, and important, and there all sorts of things can happen and reverse themselves and your grandmother can become your fairy godmother and you can be freed from the deep dark sleepy castle of your own life until this point.

Finally, if you don’t know the work of Miyazaki, the Japanese animator/filmmaker, I would highly recommend any or all of them as enchanting and transformative for the eternal kid in all of us.

Hope these ideas help and wishing you positive dreams and waking life as well.

Warmest Regards


Monique June 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I have three boys. I kept having nightmares of my oldest boy being violated by a man unknown. In every dream he’s a kid and his surroundings he’s always screaming out for help. The last setting was a train station set up like penn station in manhattan. The location was in unknown room as he kept screaming police officers n myself was able to hear his cries. I always wake up before knowing the outcome. I wake up always with a migraine headache, heart pounding and scared. My son is always safe sound asleep in the next room. Please tell me what these dreams mean and how do I stop them.


Bruce June 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi Monique,

Firstly, let me say how sorry I am to hear about these terrible nightmares—whether awake or asleep, bad things happening to our kids is just about the worst feeling imaginable.

As to what these dreams could mean, I can only offer some ideas to consider while you’re heart and your own instincts must guide you from there.

One possibility is that your son in your dream symbolizes the child part of yourself (think about your life when you were your oldest son’s age for clues about how or why you might have felt like you were trapped or being hurt, perhaps emotionally, perhaps actually in some physical or sexual way).

Even if there is no trauma in your past, your unconscious is trying to make you consciously aware of some sort of pain and need for liberation and protection, perhaps even some sort of new inner adventure (suggested by train station and travel to other places, or perhaps other thoughts and feelings).

You wake with migraine, suggesting just how painful it is to think about, or be aware of, the pain of our children, inner or real.

While I would not assert, based on a dream, that you in the past, or your children are in any danger from strangers, the symbolism of the dream does point to the possibility of being hurt by sexuality. “Penn” station has the root of (penis), and trains can be classically phallic symbols (but, of course, not only that).

In this context it would be important, if you had suffered abuse in the past, to be aware of it and seek help to talk about it and heal it.

Protecting our kids from abuse is part of our job as parents, and one resource in this regard is a book by a colleague of mine meant to teach kids about what is appropriate and what is not regarding their bodies, boundaries and privacy.

For more on that see the book at Amazon: http://amzn.to/JBzHWc

As to how to stop the dreams, my hope is that by thinking deeply about it you may become conscious of whatever message of healing, protection or transformation is arising in your own psyche, which then makes the dream no longer necessary.

Wishing you safety, peace and pleasant dreams :)


rich June 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I had this dream and i don’t know what it means. I dreamt that my son had told me that his mom (my wife) had given him a purple pill so that he would calm down. But then he said that he didn’t remember anything after that. then i confronted my wife about it and started hitting her becasue of what she had done. When i woke up i was shakeing perfusely and had to go see if my son was alright. After that i could not get back to sleep. since then i have not slept very well and it’s been a few days.


Bruce June 2, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Hi Rich,

To think about what this dream might mean for you it would help to think about whatever comes to mind when you think about the different elements: pills, the color purple, loss of memory, your wife, hitting/aggression.

A couple of ideas to get you thinking might include your son symbolizing your own child self and your wife symbolizing your feminine or mothering aspect. From this perspective we could notice that your inner mother attempts to have your child forget things. This could be a window into your own childhood where your mother might have challenged the way you saw the world, your family, her behavior—you might have felt a little manipulated or “brain-washed” by your mom.

Think about how things were for you when you were your son’s age. Were drugs a problem in the family? Could you have anger at your mom for the way she treated you, and in your dream you are taking it out on your wife, the mother of your child self?

I’m sorry you’re having trouble sleeping these last few days, but maybe your unconscious is trying to wake you up and have you remember your past, your hurts, SO that you can let it go and be the dad you want to be, and be the husband you want to be.

Anger is usually all about hurt underneath. Trust that you didn’t hit your wife in real life just because you did in your dream; trust that she didn’t actually give your son purple pills. In waking life give your wife and son lots of love and tenderness, tell them you have hurt feelings from the past, let them understand and love you and accept their support and compassion and see if you don’t sleep like a happy baby :)

Warmest Regards


Momma June 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

Hi I koiw thatmny reply is later than most others, but I am glad I found the forum in hopes of a reply. Last night I had a dream that I was talking with my sister on a street corner with town houses lining the streets and a lampost nest to us. I knew my 5 yr old son was close by and thought he was safe. All of a sudden I see him in the drivers seat of a close by childcare van that we see alot around our neighborhood, he was driving the van past where we were talking and he was headed downhill toward a busy intersection…and a few blocks further down hill was a large deep stream of water where I was afraid he would end up crashing! My sister and i started running after him until the intersection…i saw him make it through it but could not run throught it myself…I called on my cell phone 911 to try and phone for help while my sister made it past the intersecttion…I felt helpless, confused, and like time was against me, finally when I made it past the intersection I ran toward the water at the bottom of the hill (which were now lined with businesses) I knew he probably went to the water…looking side to side for him while I mad my way to the water, my sister turned right looking for him elswhere. When I got to the railing that lined the water I started crying with great anxiety and a sense of loss…Where is he I cried…I noticed the current of the water was strong so followed it downstream and saw a tire sticking up ..I jumped in the water and swam to it…It was the van. I swam under a it a bit and rolled it up so I could see the drivers seat where my son was at. He was not submerged in water as I thought he would be, but only up to his waist, and he was turned around in the seat and sleeping, his peaceful face against the back of the seat. I pulled him out, and started swimming to safety with him….then the scene changed to me dripping wet sitting on a closed lid bathroom toilet( a personal bathroom not a public one) holding my wet son who seemed to be sleeping…I knew in my heart he was o.k.and felt grateful that he was o.k…… but disturbed that he wasnt waking up. I kissed his face and tried to dry his hair…then woke up. I am still disturbed…why didnt he wake up? was he dead and o.k. cause he was in heaven…or was he really o.k but just sleeping? All is well now…but I am debating weather to keep my plans to go to the pool today with him.


Bruce June 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hello Momma,

Firstly, I am sorry for such a scary dream, but besides keeping a close eye on your child as any parent would, and not letting him drive until he has a license :), we can turn to exploring the possible meaning for yourself.

One possibility is seeing the dream as a reflection of different parts of your own self, perhaps even offering wisdom to the rest of us too. In this context your “sister” is your similar, but different, self who watches helpless as this all unfolds (i.e. the passive part of you who must become integrated into your full self via increased consciousness). You are both near a lamppost (a small bit of light, or consciousness, but not enough for the whole picture). You are “near a corner” (about to turn to a new way of seeing things) and there are townhouses, which are separate, but share walls (together AND apart).

A Van is a collective vehicle, not as big as a train or big truck, but bigger than a car, thus suggesting a need to get somewhere with more of yourself. The problem is that your child-self is driving. This could mean that you are not taking good, firm and loving care of your own self, not your kid necessarily. Perhaps in some way your less mature, or conscious, or responsible self feels like it is at the wheel of your life, but not able to control or guide where it is going.

It all goes to the water, which is perhaps a symbol of emotions, tears, the river of life, the great place of crossings (including growing all the way up). Of course rivers can mean renewal and also death, but symbolically as well as literally.

Thus your child self draws you, in your love as a mom, into the water to powerfully set things right (turn over a van, at first all you can see is the tire, perhaps you’re “tired,” as parenting and life can be exhausting).

The sleeping child is the part of you who needs to be loved and allowed to awaken gently… by the loving, brave, protective and increasingly conscious mother aspect of yourself.

Trust your dreams, nature, love and family. We all need to wake up, but in our own good time, and gently, and maybe in the arms of the great Mother that is Divine, or Nature, or God depending on your lexicon. And when we are awake and grown up, then we work together to keep our kids safe, and take good care of whatever portion we are blessed/tasked to look after.

Hope this gives you some ideas to work with. All Good Wishes


Chris June 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Hi Bruce,
I had a dream my family (my wife and our 8 month old baby and I) were like visiting a resort by the water (more like a sea or an ocean) and they had like children’s ride and there was this ride specifically for babies. Our son was crawling around and he crawled into a pod. Once he got it, it activated and moved along the outside of the room and made sounds and then disappeared behind the wall with like a smoke effect and came out on the other side of the room. baby really liked it. my wife went away, maybe 100 yards only. but baby was crawling around again and ended up getting back on a ride. so again he went along the room in that pod and when he went behind the wall …and I was wondering what the ride looks like behind the wall. when he came out from behind the wall on the other side of the room…but he no longer was in a pod and had a very concerned look on his face. and just as he started crying I realized what was wrong…his left arm was cut off. I started screaming and ran and picked up the baby and the arm and was ready to run…but then I woke up.
this freaked me out so much I didn’t even tell my wife about this dream. Please help me understand ….thank you!


Bruce June 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Hi Chris,

Of course this does sound upsetting, but perhaps if you think about it as a window into your own unconscious, pre-verbal (i.e. around when you were 8 months old) experience it will prove illuminating and healing.

You are near the water, which is a symbol of emotions (tears, the feminine principle and the Great Mother, particularly the sea). In other words you and your family situation are, in the dream, in psychological relationship to your own time of being the baby.

The “pod” could be a symbol of the womb, or of a cocoon-like place where one retreats in order to transform into the next stage of ourselves. At first it is fun, but when the mother goes away (and even a hundred yards is miles to a baby) things get difficult. The “wall” could symbolize conscious and unconscious, thus the baby goes into the out of sight/out of mind place where perhaps you felt that you were as a little baby.

The “left” side could be a sort of pun, that you felt “left” by your mom, or other caregivers, and this injured you terribly, the cut-off arm symbolizes just how bad the injury might have felt (sort of a dazed, “Saving Private Ryan” D-Day/B-Day horror at landing in this life?).

You pick up the baby (your symbolic self) and you pick up the severed left arm (the part of you that was “left” behind) and you hold both parts, in horror, but also in consciousness.

Perhaps you could use your imagination to picture, cartoon-like, re-attaching the baby’s arm, and magically healing and protecting the baby, and promising it that whether or not you felt safe as a child, you are going to take good care of both your real child, but also your imagined child. Too complicated to explain here, but doing this sort of imagination can prove very healing, literally, to the brain, giving you a new sense of safety, playfulness, empowerment and enhancing your ability to trust and connect with others.

Hope this helps. All Good Wishes


Kieri June 22, 2012 at 9:40 am

I had a nightmare that my two year old daughter was leaving with some one and wouldn’t give me a kiss good bye, she went up the stairs to our front door with my friends kids and a neighbor of mine opened the door for them I was yelling up the stairs for her to not open it because my daughter can not go down the outside steps by her self yet, so I run to the door and push past my neighbor who has now turned into a red haired woman Ive never met and swing the door open only to find that our 3 front steps are 10 feet high and there are more then 20 steps with no backs to them, my daughter is hanging between steps and crying for me when I try to get her she falls and lands on the cement landing and her head explodes… I turn back to this lady and look at her like did that really just happen and she is staring in shock at my daughters lifeless body. I race down the stairs screaming for help and telly the lady to get my friends kids out of there because they were all just staring and crying, Im trying so hard to grab my daughter but some one is holding me back Im clawing at the cement so hard my fingers are bare to the bone, I know she is dead her skull and blood blonde hair chunks and brains are splattered everywhere but I just want to hold her, just as I reach for her leg Im woke up by my husband who is freaking out because Im screaming so loud and hard Im barely breathing. i could stop crying I almost passed out the dream was so vivid that i could smell her smell and the blood grass and dirt. It took 3 hours for me to calm down enough so that I could tell my husband the dream. im still messed up every time I look at my daughter I start sobbing. Any one have any ideas one what this could mean?


Bruce July 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hi Keiri,

Firstly, I’m so sorry that you had this terrifying dream—I can feel the sheer terror and anguish in it (and I’m sorry I did not respond sooner, as I was traveling).

My first thought is to look at this dream in terms of your daughter, and the red-haired woman as symbolically representing parts of your own self.

The steps might represent developmental steps (i.e birth, crawling, walking, separating, etc.). When your little girl won’t give you a good-bye kiss it could represent your unconscious wish to NOT have to separate from her, as as two she’s starting to have a stronger will of her own and to experiment with not needing you quite as much as when she was a newborn.

I wonder if you had some painful separation or loss when you were two (particularly something traumatic?). Your daughter hanging between steps could represent your own feeling of hurt in the past when you had to move, or start preschool, or have a new or different caregiver. Perhaps something that was so upsetting made you feel like you couldn’t understand it and this felt like your head exploding (or maybe a relative was violently hurt, i.e. shot or hurt in the head and your infant self picked up on the images but were never told what really happened?).

The red haired woman might represent your own angry or passionate self (it depends on your own personal associations with red hair), but the main point is that your daughter, we hope, is fine and it is your unconscious that is trying to be aware of your own pain about loss, hurt and the difficulties of transitioning to this recent step of being the mom of a two-year-old.

Hopefully, thinking and talking about this dream will mean that it does not repeat, but if it does you might want to explore your own hurts with a therapist. The reason would be that UNRESOLVED (i.e. not talked through) traumas tend to have a negative impact on our kids (causing anxious attachment. see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2010/12/15/attachment-in-the-lab-implications-on-the-couch-and-in-the-brain/)

In any event, I’m sorry for this scary dream and hope it prompts any healing that needs to happen for you, rather than fear for your child.

Warmest Regards


Natasha July 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Hi Bruce,

I literally just dreamt this horrorifying and confusing dream. Firstly I was going to almost a compound-type thing where all my family were, this part is fine as there is an approaching large family get together in a few days, but it felt like I had dreamt this before especially after the next bits.

After arriving I went almost ‘exploring’ I think to find a shop outlet only to find myself in what was like an underground car park/warehouse. There were pillars like in a car park, it was dark and there were industrial size pipes running across the floors and walls. It gave a very eerie vibe. In this place I noticed something white and cartoony on the floor like 3 bubbles looking like a germ/virus up close. Then out of nowhere a cloud of smoke covered it, there was screaming from it and it disappeared. This happened a few times to different blob things.

The next thing I hear are footsteps coming down the stairs, I recognised these as my four year old son’s. I hurried to meet him on the stairs as this place was frightening when out of the corner of my eye I seen an identical copy of my 4 year old son coming from the opposite side of the car park. It looked like my son but I sort of knew it wasn’t as his demeanor was too adult.

Someone screamed RUN IT’LL CONTAMINATE US ALL. So I grabbed my real son and ran for our lives away from my false son. Soon there were doctors, scientists and family members surrounding us and they grabbed my false son and took him to a chamber similar to a see through CAT scanner. My child’s doppelgänger was placed inside and a middle aged woman scientist was going to “vanish” him.

I didn’t know what was going to happen next but when my fake son began crying for me to save him I was so torn, it was his voice his face but not him at the same time and everyone was saying he will kill us if loose.

The scientist/doctor woman released gas into the machine and I watched and heard with closed eyes and my fingers in my ears screaming with him, my son being gassed to death. I didn’t try to save him and afterwards I went to my dorm and felt so conflicted. It was a traumatic ordeal, I basically allowed my child to be murdered publicly and painfully, but it was like a virus version of him.

I am more than freaked out and searching for a rational even semi logical theory to explain the reason for this awful nightmare.

Thanks, Natasha


Bruce July 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hi Natasha,

I see this dream as very positive and promising, even though it seems painful at first glance.

The “compouns-like” situation about family implies that you may have some trouble feeling like you can be your authentic self when with your family. Going into the underground parking may symbolize an unconscious terrain of pipes and pillars, an industrial and sort of toxic zone where you encounter the primitive version of your own false self (the bubbles) that then transform into the false child (which is a symbol of the false self or your own that was born when you were around four, owing to whatever was happening in your family back then).

Our kids take us back through our own development, so look to life for yourself at four for clues about the trauma that caused the spilt in your own self and the birth of your Shadow aspect.

While gassing evokes genocide, it is your own scientist self (i.e. rational self) who kills the fake child self. Sometimes the child must die, symbolically, for the grown-up to be fully born; yet in this case the dream is about keeping things real—thus the false self must die so that the authentic self can live and love.

This is about you, more than about your child. Although you may feel occasional anger/frustration with your four-year-old when he manipulates to get his way, and you may think of that as the false child that evokes aggressive feelings in you (and then guilt when you have a bad dream).

Still, the main point, I would intuit, is about healing and integrating the “false” (i.e. hurt and thus imagined to be toxic) self into the compassionate total, or higher soul-Self. Thus any lingering feelings of shame that you may carry (particularly related to events when you were four) are a target for compassionate contemplation until you are clear that you are not/were not a toxic or bad child, nor are you a toxic or bad parent.

Practice loving kindness toward your own self and see if you don’t have more pleasant dreams.

All Good Wishes


Natasha July 7, 2012 at 2:40 am

Thank you for the prompt reply Bruce.

I can understand how my dream can be interpreted in this way as I usually feel the need to “try” and get on with people. I am a very social person and can spark up conversations and friendship with almost anyone but it is something that does not come intuitively. Unbeknownst to most, I have a sharp tongue and can unintentionally cause hurt even though it wouldn’t be considered by myself as hurtful.

My four year old begins primary school this year and it was in all probability around the same age where I myself felt the need to utilise a ‘masked’ or fake version of myself when around people I can learn and benefit from. Only a few close family members actually “get” me when I say something I find normal although others would be shocked at.

I adore my son, as the youngest of my two boys, he is my baby still! He is very popular in his nursery but I can see the same aspects of myself that I try to contain, in his stubbornness, fiery tempered and intelligently offensive ature that is almost certainly my genetic transfer. I practice samatha meditation and find it allows me to free myself from the slight persona of day to day life.

Again thank you for the speedy response, I no longer am feeling subconsciously guilty for my dream.



Bruce July 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Thanks for your feedback, Natasha—here’s to mindfulness, keeping it real and compassion for our own self, each other and all our collective children.
Namaste :)


samuel July 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Hi i had a dream about someone from my high school. We never talked or anything but i know who he is and his name. Anyways in the dream, we just got done playing basketball( since hes a basketball player) and we went to his house and then we started to play fight like if we were good friends for a long time. After that we kept hanging out at his house watching tv in his room then i woke up. Whats does this mean?


Bruce July 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi Samuel,

Perhaps this dream is about becoming friends with a part of yourself that you didn’t know so well before now—the part of you who is a basketball player (i.e. was “cool” in high school). The fact that you “play” fight means that you are no longer in real conflict with your “cool” self, but rather able to joke around and hang with that aspect.

I think this is a very nice dream and it suggests that you are more ready than you were in the past to chill and hang out with other people, enjoying friendship and friendly bonding—no longer feeling like there’s any reason that you aren’t a great friend, fun and should be included.

Isn’t that the feeling we would wish for all our collective children, real and inner?

All Best Wishes, BD


Marinliza July 10, 2012 at 7:10 am

Hi Bruce. Thank you for your interesting insights on one’s dreams. I had a very disturbing dream last night (I hope its because I’m coming down with flu and that the dream was due to fever….. :-()

I was told by dr’s that I would never be able to have kids. So in my middle 30’s I fell pregnant and it was twins,however,we lost the one at 16 weeks. So yes, I am very protected over my 3 year old.

I dreamt me and him was at a very popular swimming resort. I was having coffee with the manager in his office when I “remembered” about my kid (something that is defnitely not likely to happen). I ran to the swimming pool that was full of swimmers and I asked them if they saw him. All said no,as I was about to turn arround to look for him I saw his lifeless body (he had a red t-shirt and a red short on) on the bottom of the pool.

I jumped in to get him out but woke up before I knew what happened.

This is really a disturbing dream for me……


Bruce July 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hi Marinliza,

I know these dreams can be so haunting and horrifying, yet we might think about it in terms of your own thoughts and feelings and not about danger for your child.

Given that you lost one of the twins in your pregnancy, perhaps you are still trying to come to terms with that loss, which metaphorically becomes expressed as a drowning (i.e. to die in the womb is to die in water).

Swimming and water can be symbolic of the unconscious, thus a “popular swimming resort,” might be a symbol for a collective “pool” of our unconscious—just as talking together here on this blog is a collective pool of thinking, and your dream joins several other dreams as we all try and understand our fears, accept life and loss and strive to love and be kind to each other—perhaps even to the spirits of those who have died.

The “manager” of the swimming resort might symbolize the part of yourself who is in charge, who “manages” the feelings and thoughts of ALL the swimmers. You were having coffee with your manager self, and coffee might symbolize waking up, or becoming more conscious or aware (of feelings, losses, of the different parts of your self).

Seemingly as an effect of coffee with the manager you “remember” or come back into consciousness of your child (this might be the child you lost, but also the child that you once were when you were three—perhaps a time of pain of “drowning” in difficult feelings?).

You ask the other swimmers if they saw your child, and they had not—symbolizing how your child self, and your pain (and particularly the pain of losing a child before term, which is generally not truly recognized in our culture as the tragedy that it is) has not been seen by the group.

You have to think about what red might symbolize, but certainly anger, passion and love are possibilities as for the meaning of the red t-shirt and short.

You jump into the water (i.e. you accept the unconscious and the need to go there into your deep and sad feelings… which allows you to “wake up” and realize that your actual child that did survive is okay, but that you need to fully grieve the loss of your child who died at 16 weeks.

Thus I wish you condolences and compassion, and invite other readers who come across these words to join me in sending love to you for your loss, and to the spirit of the child you did lose.

While the past contains terrible sadness, this dream is not a harbinger of the future so much as an opportunity to come to terms with the past and into greater life and joy in the present moment.

Warmest Regards


Kortnie July 16, 2012 at 5:26 am

Hi I was just ready a bunch of stuff on dreams to find out what mine might mean instead of thinking about how terrifying they are and how sick they make me when I get up. I’d love to hear what you think! I have two sons, one is two and one is eight months old. These dreams don’t happen all the time but they happen enough. They are always about my two year old, never my youngest. They also never have a significant place they take place in and IRS always different. Something terrible always happens to him and it’s very vivid! I can see everything even the exact facial expression he would give. I’m always in a huge panic trying to save him. I never see him actually die but I never see him recover. I always start not being about to breath right in my dream and wake up in a panic and have to do find him. He’s drowned, he’s fell from cliffs, even somehow kept having hot coals on him and they just kept coming. These dreams make me so freaked out all day. I would love some insite


Bruce July 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

Hi Kortnie,

Firstly, I’m so sorry you’ve been suffering in your sleep. One way to think about this is that your older child, in being someone you would die for, is symbolically the part of you that is having to die so that your next, more free and safe and empowered and empowering to others (particularly your children) part of you can be born into lived experience.

It is not your child who faces death (thus they do not actually die in the dreams, but rather they face mortal threats and they suffer; drowning is like the unconscious/watery part of the self, falling from cliffs might mean dropping to lower, rather than higher, consciousness, fire might be the too hot, ego-fire part as coals evoke the sort of old-school hell imagery of brimstone), it is the IDENTIFICATION with the suffering child that must “die” gently and in loving consciousness.

In an ideal situation you might train your brain to think that if your child appears to be tortured, perhaps you are dreaming. If you can become conscious in your dream you can think: there is the part of me who suffers, the part of all of us who is innocent and doesn’t understand and who needs love and safety and connection. In the dream, if you can become aware you are dreaming but not yet wake up, you can say to that child: I know you are the part of me who suffers, please let me love you so well that you no longer suffer, as I am your mom and I am here with you even in our dream; and if you are a wise teacher disguised as a dying child, please teach me whatever it is I’m supposed to learn… but I intuit that we have both arisen from a single consciousness by which this dream comes into being. Let’s both love the mystery that thinks this up and become free and safe by realizing our love for that which dreams in the first place.

Now becoming conscious in our dreams is hard. Another, easier idea, is to be awake now and love your babies and trust that life is its own strange dream and that we want to honor the mystery that makes us alive, and love our kids, each other, and each other’s kids and see how that works for us.

I’m happy to admit that I’m not really sure about any of this, but I can still wish that you feel safe and good and free and trust that you would wish no less for me or my kids. Maybe it’s simpler than we “think,” just to connect and love and see where that takes us—grieving together when tragedy happens, but celebrating together when kids exist and are safe in our arms and in our hearts and minds.

Jung said, “That which we cannot be conscious of materializes and meets us as our fate.” I find those words resonant and full of hope: if we are conscious that harm to our children is the worst thing imaginable, and dare to imagine that this means we love so much and transcend our lonely selves when we love so much, then perhaps we become safe in our love and compassion for what need would there then be for such tragedy to materialize, yet again, as our “fate.”

Humans have already hurt each other in so many terrible ways. Maybe if we “wake up” in this living dream and see that it is always our own Self we hurt when we hurt anyone at all, we might love each other to a place of safety and consciousness? Or maybe that’s all just a silly wish :)

Here’s to sweet dreams AND sweet lives


Tasha July 23, 2012 at 5:26 am

Okay, so, this might be long, but here it goes. I’ve been having nightmares since I was a little girl for as long as I can remember. I have been through a lot in my life & had great times & bad just like everyone else. Well I will soon be 23 years old & these nightmares have never left. I have 2 children. Ones 3 & the other is almost 1. I have been having horrible dreams about my 3 year old boy. It aches my heart to have these dreams & I can no longer fathom this pain. I’m seeking for help & I don’t want medicine or have someone just be like “your just depressed” or “you need to just get out & do something with your friends” & sort of things like that. I just want these dreams to go away & I never want to think if them again. I’ve had so many I don’t even know how that would be possible. However I will share a dream or 2 with you & am praying & hoping that you could be my help I’ve just stumbled up on. Okay, one of the many horrible dreams I’ve had is, while I was sleeping in my own bed my lil boy was sleeping in his crib in the same room, then my dreamed just turned into me turning over to find that my lil boy was turned backwards (like doing a back flip kind of backwards) just tossing & turning with his head backwards too & just looking at me like the “exorcist”!!! & I just remember staring at him like I was so helpless to help him. This was my dream. It aches so much in my heart & body that I just cry & have trouble breathing. Now for a second dream I’m going to share is one I just had last night, me & my husband & some more people were there that were all family & friends where at a hotel/castle looking place. All of a sudden this guy (which turned out to be a girl) was running dressed in a scary mask of some sort & all black. That person would come & get someone then run back to hurt/kill them. That person would then come back for the next person that failed & the one that he chosen was a lil boy thus next time. I was shocked & horrified to see this such scary person coming for my child. In this dream I even glanced to see this scary person in a room hurting people. It was like keepers creepers/Blair which project. I want to let you know I have not watched a scary movie in a very long long time. & I LOVE my children with all my heart. I just need help & I can’t handle having these dreams of my son & me getting hurt or even dying. I even had a dream my son stabbed someone. This pain is unbearable now. I can’t talk to anyone but I was able to type this.


Bruce July 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hi Tasha,

Firstly, I am very sorry you have been bothered by nightmares—and for such a long time. It’s true that telling you to “take medicine” or that you are depressed or need to go out and have fun don’t much help, mostly because we need to be truly understood in order to feel better.

In that spirit, I would invite you to trust your own wisdom, and particularly the power and importance of these dreams. While we live in a shared “reality,” the emotional and psychological power of dreams hints at another reality, our inner psyche (or soul).

Dreams can be seen in a number of ways, but they speak of an emotional/psychological “situation” that is trying to make its way into consciousness. When we are conscious of our fears and wounds, of our desires and our impulses, we tend to be freed of our nightmares (sometimes even freed in “real” life of our painful pasts or painful current situations). It is essential that we take our dreams, just like our lives, seriously; and that we try to understand these realities, even if painful, rather than trying to deny them or chase them away.

Our children take us back through the feelings of our own early lives—through feelings that we may store in our bodies but not in conscious memory. In this way, the image of your 3 year-old in a “back flip” suggests a child whose heart is completely exposed, and against that child’s will. The crib is a protection but also a sort of prison. Being “possessed” as in the exorcist is, strangely enough, the opposite of being “dispossessed” (i.e. being persecuted by bad energy is, in the child’s mind, preferable to complete abandonment, which means death to a small child).

I would think your 3-year-old would find both “Hansel & Gretel” and “Where the Wild Things Are” very interesting; I think you too would find them mysteriously soothing (for helping put forbidden fears into a collective imaginal space—that of the classic children’s story).

While we have all experienced good and bad things, we have not all necessarily come to terms with those bad things. Perhaps you were hurt, neglected or intruded upon (either physically, but also psychologically) when you were a little baby?

It would be amazing and transformative to remember that if something outlandish is happening to your child (back-flips, knives, etc.) you are very likely dreaming. If you tell yourself this before sleep, you just might realize you’re dreaming next time the bad thing happens (hopefully the nightmare will never return, now that you’re thinking more consciously about it, but just in case, it’s good to have a plan).

If you do find yourself aware in the middle of a nightmare, you can say to the baby: “I realize that you are the part of me who seems possessed and scared and hurt. I love you so much I am willing to feel what you are feelings right now, and you can be safe and calm. Once upon a time I too was a terrified baby, but now is not that time, and you have me, your mom, to understand, love and protect you.”

Sometimes the tormented child will then transform into a magical, wise or compassionate figure that turns out to be your inner strength, purity, eternal power of love. If you are fortunate you realize that you are a container of hurt and lostness, but also of Love and foundness. Then you can dedicate your own tranquility and safety to helping others feel safe and good—which is all you really want right now for your children (and it is your profound love for your children that offer you this golden opportunity for healing and for making the meaning of your own past pain be all about helping others who suffer… not telling them they need medicine or to go and have fun, but hugging them in your mind and intuiting that pain can be a teacher of compassion and a love that forms us into true families).

Now for the second dream: this is a classic Shadow dream. Thus the “bad guy” in the “mask” (the hidden self, the destructive self—that which is NOT understood and turns to hate because they were wounded in love) could be understood as that very part of your own self. When a woman has this dream, this is her own power coming to meet her. If a woman has been hurt, or has been taught not to be powerful, then she rejects her own power; upon being rejected, the hurt bringer of power has no choice but to become the intruder, the haunter of dreams.

Again, if you meet a guy in a mask (or a girl acting as a guy wearing a mask) then you are very likely in a dream. If you say to that Shadow: “I recognize that you are my power, and you are frustrated that I have run away and rejected your gift. I am ready to understand what you are all about, but I am a little afraid that if I accept my power I, because I am so hurt and angry, might become scary and destructive like you. I’m particularly afraid about what that would mean for my children.”

The Shadow is very likely to look less scary when respected and understood (you see, running away and hating on the Shadow is like telling her to take medicine or to go have some fun and lighten up). I know you think you’re fairly old now at 23, but we don’t really begin to grow up until 26 or 27. Your brain isn’t even finished developing (even though, like your kids, you have a wise old loving spirit).

Perhaps, as long as we’re playing around with imagination, you might discover a Wise Old Woman in your imagination, as sort of “good witch” who can do a little magic and help you keep yourself and your kids safe, loved, happy and trusting. She is the you that, over years, you will surely grow up and into. For now I think you need to be safe, protected and understood so you CAN become free of your fears and so you will indeed end up having fun, but also meaning and purpose.

Finally, the setting of the second dream, a hotel or castle, hints that this is not just about you and your pain, but about the collective situation for humans. Whether or not you were hurt when you were a child, humans have done many terrible things to each other. It is precisely the “waking up” out of ignorance (ignorance that we are, ultimately, each other—and to hurt anyone, even by way of unconscious hurt, is to hurt one’s own Self) that we may find a way to truly heal our children, love them and protect them and thus transform our Selves and learn to treasure life and its mysteries (those of shared reality and those of our inner mysterious journeys that still somehow might connect with the private journeys of others).

Even if these ideas prove less than helpful, my wish is that you will feel better and be able to sleep safe and sound (and to awaken feeling just as good).

Warmest Regards


Melissa July 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

This is the first time I have replied to one of these; I apologize if I am only commenting on the previous entry instead of the thread. Like others, I have had some disturbing dreams about my son; in fact 2 tonight, which is what brings me here at 5am. This seems to be a current and active thread with timely responses, so here it goes….
Months ago I had a dream that I was going to a coworkers house to babysit her new born baby. At the beginning of the dream my son was not even there, I was just talking to my coworker and her husband. They had left and when I sat on the couch my son was next to me in a plastic bag. (I hate these dreams, I feel evil for dreaming such horrid things about the most important person in my life) he was not alive. But the bag had gooey stuff in it also, looking like an alien or resembling a child in a womb or something. That dream was months ago though.
Tonight, I can’t recall the events that happen in the dream prior but once again my son was dead. This time though, I was in denial. I still played with him and he was next to me very much alive but only to me. In the dream my father called me and asked if I was going to go buy the casket because the funeral was to be that Sunday. Only after that did I realize he was dead. I woke up, startled. After managing to fall back asleep I had another bad dream…
We (my son and I) were at a family gathering. Everyone was leaving, and I stayed behind to thank my aunt and uncle who hosted the event. My aunt was in the shower so I was waiting for her to finish to say thank you. My cousin, who is 28 in waking life, was about 7 in this dream and having a sleep over with another girl of about 7. I don’t know if this is pertinent information but my son is 9 and was his same age in my dream. Anyway, it was dark and the girls were playing with a kitten and somehow I had my kitten with me also. My aunt was done so I thanked her and told her I had a nice time. I went to leave but my car was no longer in front of the house. I was confused, like how the hell did I loose my car? Some how I figured out the car was stolen. Next I was with a group of teenagers or ppl in their early 20’s. We were in a gym locker room but it was below a night club. I had a bad vibe about the people there, they had know it all, nasty ready to fight attitudes (as teenagers often do) the girl I was with seemed tough and she advised me not to call the police that we would call and meet up with the guy to get my car back. The locker room screen changed and I was with the two young adults, a boy and a girl, back in front of my aunts house. My cell phone rang, it was the guy who stole my car. I was yelling at him for taking the car and he said he was just using it, he knew it was Sunday and that I had to work Monday and he would bring it back by morning. The fact that he knew my schedule and what I was doing caused me to think of the things I had in my car. Now I’m still on the phone with him but running through my mind was “oh no! I have a ton of paperwork in my car, he will know my address and personal information.” thoughts of stalking and identity theft were interrupted by him telling me he also had my son. He said he was going to return my son when he brought back the car but if I made too much of a stink about it my son was going to starve. Still on the phone my mind wanders again, “how did I forget about my son being in the car this whole time, instead of listening to the girl And going to the locker room I should have realized my son was missing and called the police!” Now I yell at the man that I want to speak to my son and to bring him back. He puts my son on the phone and I could not make out the words but he sounded scared and tired. The phone is disconnected and as soon as it hung up I had 9 missed called (I have other dreams with the # 9 in it also, if that’s any significance) I said to the people that were there that I was on the phone long enough for the police to trace the call. I began running around frantic telling them we have to go to the police station to make a report.
I woke up, went to my sons room to check on him, he is sleeping peacefully but I have not been able to fall back asleep.
I’ve read that death in dreams is not always bad and I know everything is broken down by symbols. I don’t understand why I have such bad dreams involving my son though. He does not seem to appear in any of my other dreams, or very few of my other dreams. I wake up feeling horrible that such thoughts even exsist in my mind.


Melissa July 26, 2012 at 3:14 am

To add a little info to my post, in waking life I am actually a little over protective of my son. I try to have my eyes on him at all times and both of my parents say I need to calm down a bit. So for me to forget my son being in the car is a disturbing weird concept. Also I am 31, my son is 9. I am a single parent and my sons father does not play an active role in his life. I work full time and go to school full time as well in addition to maintaing my role as a mother.


Bruce July 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi Melissa,

Yes this is quite a lot of fear and pain you are struggling with, and so my hope is that by sharing these dreams and striving for greater understanding you may grow into your best, happiest, calmest and most loving Self.

These dreams offer many clues, even though they are very scary and painful, and for that I am sorry (but encourage you to trust that when you “wake up” your child is safe, lovely and peaceful).

The overall imagery of these dreams relates to the archetype of the child and the Shadow. These might be understood as the child aspect of your own self and the villian/misunderstood Shadow.

The number nine repeats so many times that it begs the question about whether you experienced some sort of loss or trauma when you were nine, perhaps something that made you feel dead, suffocated, abducted, threatened etc. Nine is also the number of months for pregnancy, and the image of the child in the bag, who appears “alien” or like an “other” might symbolize a death of either a child aspect of your self, or even a fetal aspect of self. Not likely, but if your mom carried a second baby who she lost late in pregnancy when she had you, that sort of story would make strange sense. More likely, you have felt that you can’t quite fully grow up (i.e. the child must symbolically die for the woman to come into full being; or more accurately your “identification” with being an overwhelmed, suffocated (you say you’re a bit “over-protective” which is something you may have felt, if not neglected, as a kid; the balance has to be right for us to feel safe and secure).

You keep confronting this death, including when your inner father calls to make you confront the death of this child self, the dad prompting the girl to become a woman by dying as a kid. Then the Shadow comes into the picture, taking your car (a symbol of your ego-self, holding your identity, ways by which you could be “found”). Like Gretel in the forest, you unconsciously leave a trail by which you might be “found” (i.e. loved, protected, wanted) but with the breakdown in trust it becomes the “bad guy” who might find you.

The Shadow is a symbol of your power—the dark aspect you deny (and which you may have projected onto your son’s father, who then abandoned you both). You might unconsciously experience aspects of the father of your boy in your boy, which creates unconscious aggression toward the abandoning/demanding male (normal feelings, but forbidden, thus the “bad guy” self “wants”/kidnaps the child; meaning your misunderstood but powerful side is aligned with your splendid male/child side… and when they are recognized and integrated into consciousness you are positioned to complete school (i.e. grow up that next step) and live happily ever after so to speak—secure in the love that transcends even death when it comes to our children (and the symbolic children inside our minds).

Thus the child self dies, or is kidnapped and returned, but tends to come back to life again, like in a cartoon or a myth, helping us overcome our base fears (of being alone, “bad,” unloved) so that we can become our true Selves, and then be of loving service to the “children” (i.e. the parts of ourselves and others who still suffer in the nightmare of unconscious terror).

Playing with the cats might suggest you as a seven-year-old, the shower and your aunt might related to feelings of being dirty and trying to wash away something (“wash that man right out of my hair” as is sung in “South Pacific”) and also could relate to sexual wounds, betrayals or violations.

In any event, trust your love, your intelligence and your courage and see if just sharing and thinking more consciously about these dreams might not cause them to shift or evaporate. Maybe you’ll get another dream to guide the way forward.

Meanwhile, wishing you all the best in waking as well as sleeping experience.


Annemaree August 2, 2012 at 3:43 am

I had a dream of children last night and was searching for meanings when i stumbled on this forum.
Mine involved 3 children of different ages>
I know they were all girls. The oldest around 10, next middle and insignifant child around 7, she did not figure much in the dream but was there >

The youngest little 3 year old kept running off on her mother (me).
The oldest girl ran after her time and time again and the little 3 year old just kept doing it >
I wondered why the mother left it all to the oldest child>
Finally the mother stepped in and took the youngest child to the psycologist to get help in knowing how to handle her >
The pyscologist had to show the mum (me how to handle the little girl that she needed love and that is what she was doing to get the attention>
Once the mum (me understood this she could handle the little girl.
Who then became the sweetest little girl you have ever seen :)

What do you think


Bruce August 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

HI Annemaree,

I love this dream and think is is very positive for you: you meet your “inner psychologist” who empowers you to understand you own three-year-old self and she is transformed into sweet and happy once she is understood and given the love and proper attention she needs.

The next step is to give love to the inner ten-year-old who has carried too much of the burden (see my post on ten=year-olds and their developing brains).

Finally, the seven-year-old is NOT insignificant. She represents the part of you who is left out, unseen and too quiet and lovely to act-up to get what she needs.

Maybe you’ll have another dream about her—if you do be sure to spend some alone time with her and give her extra love.

You’re deepest Self is guiding you and so I thank you for sharing this in that it might inspire others who happen across your words and may discover that their best psychologist turns out to be within, and the best therapy turns out to be Love.

Namaste :)


Stephanie March 7, 2017 at 1:36 am

I had an awful dream that I was so tired I forgot about my 2 year old son somewhere in the mall. When I finally realized he wasn’t with me I panicked. I found him in a bookstore laying dead in a huge fish tank. People were staring. I fished him out and was about to give CPR but inside I felt it was too late. Then I woke up. What does all this mean?? Who dreams dreams like this??


Bruce March 7, 2017 at 10:11 pm
Kristi March 24, 2017 at 9:09 am

I had this terrible dream last night and it was so real that I woke up and hours later I have not been able to shake the feeling it has given me. I had a dream that my daughter and I were kidnapped along with several others. I remember sitting at this round table while one man cooked. Three other men were sitting at the table laughing when a person calls one of them (a girlfriend) complaining that he hasn’t contacted her or spent time with her. So he invites her over. she is now sitting at this round table (one man is still cooking) She is complaining to all of us about how the other man is a terrible boyfriend. I try to signal to her that we are in trouble. At this she still has a cell phone. The other men at the table are joking around about how they want to kill her. She doesn’t notice. All of a sudden they tell all the children to go downstairs and play. My daughter being one of them gets up from the table and goes down stairs. I didn’t move or say a word. Along with the men at the table and the Girlfriend. The Man cooking comes and sits down next to me looks at me. I get up I walk over to the staircase look down and see sidewalk chalk drawings on every brick on the floor of the basement and tell my daughter to come upstairs she asks why. I say because honey she says ok. Which is followed by an evil laugh and the next thing I see is my daughter being drug up the stairs face down by her harms dead. At this point I wake up.

I have never had such a vivid dream or felt so off. Please help me understand.
Best Regards,


Bruce March 25, 2017 at 7:32 am

Hi Kristi,


just a couple of hints to get you started: round table could symbolize parts of yourself that must be integrated; cooking could symbolize transformation—applying heat to make something edible that’s too disturbing to ingest into our minds in a raw or unconscious state; sidewalk chalk could be the self-expression of your innocent or child-mind self; basement could be the unconscious and thus some dark emotions, which are natural and universal in humans, are coming up into consciousness as you are challenged and supported by your deeper Self to own your power (bad guys) and redeem or heal your past pain (you accidentally wrote that your girl was “drug up the stairs face down by her harms dead”)

Maybe your past harms are coming up into the light so you can cook your love and your bitter experience into something that brings love and transformation to yourself and others?


Jennifer August 2, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hello Bruce.

About three weeks ago, I had a dream in which in that dream I had just finished arguing with my boyfriend. I don’t recall if I was inside the car when that happened or by then I went towards the car. As I approached the carseat there laid my 5week old baby, dead. A blanket was on top of his face not allowing him to breath. As I got him out of the carseat he for some reason shrinked into a tiny little thing. He was close to being as big as my whole hand. I went out and walked around te streets asking people to help me. I would open my mouth but nothing came out. People would just stare at me as I extended my hands out with my baby stiff and dead. Some people tried holding him and tried doing somewhat of CPR techniques but nothing helped. I continued to walk around and just continued seeking for help. The dream was terrible and I woke up out of breath and ran towards my baby to make sure he was okay. I walked around to make sure his father was okay as well and everyone else in the household.

Now, three weeks later. My son is about 10weeks old. He is handsome and healthy and everyone just absolutely adores my son.
Once again, I had a terrible nightmare last night and once again, it included my son. My son laid in his bassinet and I don’t recall if it was a Dr/nurse next to the bassinet. My son laid in there opening his eyes and mouth. As I stared in closer his eyes were no longer green, but white/gray. His pupils were black… And as he open his mouth, you could see something white/gray.. It seemed like saliva or something stuck in his mouth. As I stared longer the more he would open his eyes and mouth as if some type of exorcism was being done to him. (according to the films, that’s what it seemed like) I told the Dr./nurse to look and do something, but she was
scared to look. She got closer to the bassinet, yet hesitated to look in. I tried yelling my boyfriend’s name out, but once again not a word came out so he couldn’t come to us.
I finally woke up from the dream, and my boyfriend said he had no idea how to wake me up from the nightmare I was having. He said I was making terrible noises. As if I was out of breath. I then began to cry and held
my son to calm myself down. It took a while for myself to calm down, and I felt out of breath and my heart was beating extremely fast. For about 10minutes.
I don’t know what this dream means, but it scares me. after my 1st dream something did happen that I was able to connect to my dream, but I don’t know if that could have been it. What do you think?


Bruce August 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Hi Jenn,

Yes this is very scary and disturbing, but likely has more to do with your own psychology than it does with any danger to your baby.

One way to think about the first dream is that you are, unconsciously, re-experiencing what it might have felt like to be you when you were just born—perhaps there was trauma or stress affecting your own parents, perhaps you felt abandoned a little bit or neglected. If that happens babies may “fail to thrive” and become emotionally shut down (i.e. “feel” a bit dead).

A blanket is something to comfort us and keep us warm, but in your dream is it covering the baby’s face, implying that the comfort you were offered might have felt suffocating or constricting. Maybe you felt like a yo-yo as a baby, alternating from alone to over-protective closeness. Fear can cause us to project our own inner or psychological past selves into our children and then attempt to over-protect or over-comfort our own wounded selves. This can lead to children feeling confused and anxious (i.e. to your own current anxiety that has been triggered by becoming a parent).

The baby grows smaller and smaller, implying a sort of regression to an even younger state, raising the question about stress that your mother might have experienced when you were still in her womb.

You are “asking for help” in the dream, which is something you can effectively do now as a grown-up and a mother (as in writing to this blog) but as a baby you could not effectively ask for help and get the response you needed. Becoming conscious of this and imagining how much love you needed as a baby yourself may help you heal the areas of fear that have been set up in your brain.

Your brain is flexible and can grow safe by imagining love for the baby in your mind, dreams, inner psyche. It may take about four months, but if you picture holding yourself as a baby every time you are scared by a thought or a nightmare you will likely experience some healing changes. At the very least, learning how to soothe yourself will make you a calming mom as your baby grows up.

Dealing with any traumas from your own past will also be important for developing a sense of calm and safety.

In the second dream we see another version of your baby self, in this case imagined as possessed by evil. This may represent the way you came to understand your own self as you developed and need to either recognize your parents as limited, or else imagine that they were great and that they were right to treat you in a less than ideal way because you were “bad.” This is the fantasy of being powerful but bad as a defense against facing that you were sweet, innocent and helpless (powerless and not bad).

A baby is powerless and vulnerable, and if a baby is not made safe and secure this is terribly sad. If a baby think’s it’s her own fault, this is a catastrophe that can lead to many years of pain and feeling undeserving of love and/or respect.

The second dream, echoing the first with the blanket over the face, shows a baby and a mom unable to speak, communicate or ask for help.

Please be aware that your pain is real enough, but is is more like a memory of the past than a predictor of the future. If it takes a village to raise a child, perhaps we need a little bit of village to hold your pain and your fear so that you come to know that you are not alone and that we are all connected in our true and deep wish to protect and love everyone’s babies and children.

While I know it is scary to talk about bad dreams, by making them more conscious we hope they will heal and you will be freed to love and trust through loving your own child so deeply. In this way parenting itself, even though it is very difficult, is also a way that we might heal ourselves by getting past our own past and pain in the service of loving someone else even more than we love ourselves.

Hope these ideas are helpful—and either way wishing you Good Dreams


Rebecca August 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Hi, trying to work out my dream I found this page. My dreams don’t normally affect me but this dream disturbed me and woke me feeling deeply upset.
From the bits I can remember I am in the car with my parents. They are using my car for some reason and not my own. They do not like my radio Chanel and change it for their own choice. The next thing were all out of the car and walking and come to a very steep king of bridge. Too steep to climb so I see a way round the side is a path. As we walk round we come to like a little bridge that I walk across but it only has a wall on one side the other I can see miles down below me. It startles me and I tell my mother to keep to the right so she doesn’t fall. Once we’re all across safely I remember my 8year old daughter is behind us. As I look back to find and warn her she is on the bringe and my calling distracts her and I watch and scream as I watch her fall and fall to the ground below. I begin to race down a stairway to get to her but woke up before I reached her. I feel very sad wondering what this could mean.
In my real life I am 5 days away from moving myself and children away from our friends and family to go and live closer to my partner that lives 90 miles away where we will start a fresh knowing no one. Please help me understand my dream. I know nothing will happen to my daughter but the thought of the dream makes me cry!


Bruce August 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi Rebecca,

While this is clearly a disturbing dream, my first instinct is to encourage you to notice the guiding wisdom of your own deep Self (which created the dream and brought it into your conscious awareness).

This dream shows a map of where you are in your life right now, and it offers understanding and a way forward. Let’s take the tack of seeing all the parts in this dream a symbols of parts of yourself (this helps you realize your actual child is safe and your actual parents are no longer running your life).

Your symbolic parents are “using” your car (a symbol of your conscious self or sense of identity). This suggests that you may have felt like your parents, unwittingly, used you to contain their feelings and needs rather than the other way around. Failing to get accurate understanding as a child (i.e. parents listening to their music and not yours, their own thoughts and feelings and not your thoughts and feelings) left you feeling intruded upon, confused and unsafe emotionally.

The bridge is a symbol of a high path linking two separate bodies of land, or of a way to link and traverse two different states of consciousness (dependent/independent; safe/unsafe; connected/lonely) or two stages of development (i.e. child/grown-up; one living with parents/one being a parent). Just as we have unconscious slips of the tongue when we talk, we have them when we type. Interestingly you write of a high “King” of bridge, when you meant to say “Kind” of bridge.

Not to make too much of it (sometimes a bridge is just a bridge), you are trying to be kind to your child, and also to yourself (i.e to be with your partner) and thus you are seeking a “King” bridge that can govern and unite all your different needs, feelings and thoughts.

Jung said that God is like an island with all religions being different religions leading to that same island. For those of us who find religion to be a problematic bridge, we have to swim for it, or build a boat and sail it alone… but maybe your unconscious reveals yet another path: the king bridge—the path above all the lesser ones, something precarious but possible.

On this bridge of yours we have a wall to the left (the left typically suggests the intuitive, but has often in history been associated with both the feminine and the sinister, which literally means “left leaning.”). The “right” could mean the very idea that there is a “right” way that is right for everyone—this side of things has no wall and can lead to falling to a lower level of consciousness and thus not making it to the yearned-for destination of compassion, understanding, individuality at the same time as community—to a place of good feelings that might truly last and not simply slip away and leave us feeling empty and lonely.

The scary part comes when your child falls. This is interesting in that the unconscious sends the child part of you back down to earth (a symbol of mother… so it’s a good time to give your mom a hug, if she’s still alive, and forgive her for whatever limitations caused you to feel like you fell off a bridge in your childhood, most likely when you were around 8 years old).

On the other hand, kids often dream of falling when they are having growth spurts (perhaps wanting to “fly” but also wanting to stay safe in baby-like dependency). Maybe the inner child can be resurrected in your imagination (a bit like Wile E. Coyote with endless disasters that never kill that wise-fool Trickster, although he never quite gets that Roadrunning bird either… for She is to be found on the other side of the king bridge in the realization that she is also our own Self, just as our inner Mother, Father, Lover, Child, Villain and Car might be).

Jung also said that the things that we cannot be conscious of are those which materialize and meet us as our fate. Thus being conscious of your fear of your child getting hurt allows you to be sure to protect her, hold her hand across this bridge, play her music on the radio when you drive those 90 miles, read her stories and tuck her in when she is safely on the other side of this transition and know that you are holding her hurt, and your own, and your parents all in the lovely vessel of your own mind, or psyche, or soul.

Now that you have a “stairway” to race down to your child you have a path to go to child-consciousness and up which you can return. Think of Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” only in reverse… but if you can go down, you can go back up and take your child self with you. That’s akin to crossing the bridge to higher consciousness and the place of good feelings that truly last.

Don’t look to my words, however, look to your own dream symbols. As Rumi says, “out beyond right and wrong there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Perhaps that “field” is right here and now and all bridges lead to it, if only we open our eyes softly enough to see it. I’m still working on it myself.

Meanwhile, wishing you sweet dreams and sweet waking life too.


Rebecca August 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Thank you so much that has Really helped. My mother is in hospital right now and I’ll miss her lots and her finally ” letting me go” is very true.
I’m very glad I found your site!
Thank you!!!


Bruce August 6, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Hi Rebecca,

I’m so very sorry about your mother, but at least your dream offers hope for true love across the awesome bridge between this life (and state of consciousness) and whatever may be on the other side of it—and the importance of loving of our children (and each other) in the here and now. Thanks for taking the time to let me know what you are facing. Wishing you, your mom, your girl and all those you love compassion and understanding during all dark and difficult crossings, and the sharing of that compassion and understanding with others whenever you are able.


Rick August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

Hi. I am a father of five. four girls and one boy. I have never had any nightmares about my three oldest girls that I can remember. there is quite a bit of age differance between the two youngest and the three oldest. I had a nightmare last night about my two youngest children that is so disturbing, I woke up angry, more angry than I can remember being in a long time. I am kind of uneasy about sharing it, but I hope that you can give me some kind of advise so maybe I will not have another dream like this again.
I want to give you as many details as possible. It was so vivid.

In my dream I am cutting the grass. My 4 yr old daughter and 3 yr old son are playing in the yard where I can see them. I turn the mower to head in the opposite direction. As I turn around again to head in there direction where they are playing, they are both gone. I am looking for them in the yard and do not see them. I can feel the panic start to set in. Then I see 3 men standing on the other side of the road in a straight line. Like the are waiting in line at the bank or something. I do not know who the men are. All I know is that they are mexican migrant workers. I want to be as detailed as possible. I hope this don’t make me look bad. I can see the head of another man just over the hill. I run over the the 3 men thinking that my kids have been hit by a car. I get to the men and my kids are no where to be found. I ask the men if they have seen my kids. They do not answer me. They just look straight ahead as if I was not even there. No expressions on their faces,nothing. Then I hear crying and I run down the small hill where I see the 4th mans head. I get to him and my little son is sitting behind the man. He is sitting on the ground with his arms around his knees. I pick my son up and lay his head on my shoulder. He is still crying but not as heavy. I ask the man what happend to my boy. Once again looking straight ahead. No words, no expression. Now this is the part that is hard to talk about. I can see around some bushes another man. As I walk around the bush. My little angel is laying on the ground limp. Not moving at all, and this man is zipping up his pants. I remember yelling NO what have you done. I ran after this man with all my force,all my rage, but this man knew I was there. He grabbed a large stone and threw it and hit me in the head. Evetything when black. I could no longer see anything. I remember thinking if I am dead God please help my children. Let no more harm come to my children. Then I came to. I could no longer see, but I was kicking, punching, biting, clawing, yelling. Doing anything possible without my site to harm, kill, and hurt these men. Then I woke up. This dream angered, disgusted, and scared me. I mean I was angry. I was angry at the people in the dream though I have know idea who they were. I was angry at myself for something like this coming into my head. I was even angry at God because I pretty much pray the same prayer every night and it always starts with lord please protect my children and let no harm come to them. I was pissed. I went to my litte girls room scooped her up and put her right in between me and my wife. Just knowing she was there calmed me down. I could smell her, hear her breathing, touch her hair.
Is there something I can do to ease my mind. some sort of interpretation will be great if you could do so.



Bruce August 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Hi Rick,

Firstly, thank you for your courage in sharing this disturbing dream. It’s good to take a moment to realize that it was a nightmare and did not “actually” happen to your sacred children. Perhaps that is our first, and ultimate prayer: Thank You.

Turning then to your inner world, we can consider this dream as a depiction of events within your unconscious. From this perspective you are cutting the grass—this is possibly a symbol of man vs. nature (cave man vs. civilized man; terrorist and predator vs. God-fearing and law-abiding man). Your children represent your own self in both feminine and masculine representation; they are “playing” (i.e. innocent) and all is good.

And then they are “gone” (i.e. your innocence, that which you love beyond measure) snatched away by something you did not see (i.e. of which you were unconscious).

There are five men (a quintessential number). The first three are standing in line, as if at the bank. This could imply that they are the conformist part of the psyche, but you don’t recognize it as a part of own darker aspect, that which doesn’t seem to see or care (this is what “unconsciousness” is all about, individually and at the social or collective level). Standing in line at the bank, although I realize this is not “actually” what they were doing, evokes taking something out, withdrawing funds, energy, attention. The fourth man is barely seen at first, only his head… he is in physical proximity to your boy, who is crying.

It does not seem as if the fourth man hurt your inner boy, but rather is one more figure who does nothing and says nothing (symbols of powerlessness and indifference, and indifference could be closer to evil even than anger which, like hate, probably lives right next door to love, for at least it cares).

The crying boy is the part of you who is filled with emotion, but is powerless to stop “evil” or violent oppression. I would encourage you to consider what life was like for you when you were three years old. I imagine you remember very little, but perhaps you witnessed, and could not stop, some sort of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional even) maybe of a sister, your mother, or even yourself. It might not be as gigantic of an attack as in your dream upon your little girl aspect, but it might have FELT that big when you were so small.

Then again, nothing might have hurt you when you were little, but you might unconsciously carry some trauma of your parents from when they were three, or your grandparents when they were little. I’ve worked on many cases involving actual abuse, but also on others where “family secrets” involve protecting kids from trauma that happened to relatives in the past. Oddly enough, children come to somehow psychically know about the pain in the family.

Then again, maybe nothing happened in your family, but you are a highly sensitive and caring man and you are picking up the collective trauma and sorrow of the parents who in reality have had harm come to their children (perhaps in a movie theater, perhaps serving our country, perhaps just walking home from school, maybe while being babysat by a disturbed uncle or step-father or mother).

Anyway, you come to the horror of all horrors in your dream, but it is really the confrontation of the 5th man and what he has done to your own innocent, feminine aspect. You see this man around some bushes. Symbolically the evokes “the Thicket” which snags the sacrificial ram when Abraham is spared the sacrifice of his own child; this foreshadows the Christ story where the child is literally sacrificed (which, as you pray, is to protect others from this very worst of situations).

Whatever God has in mind for humanity, we find ourselves living in a situation that could be hell, when we hurt each other and our children, or it could be a sort of heaven, where we care deeply about ALL our children.

To crack the code of this dream, imagine that your daughter is miraculously resurrected and her violent assault “undone” (for isn’t this the “real” Truth when you “wake up”)? Then imagine these “immigrants” as parts of yourself that have “crossed a border” in your consciousness. Imagine turning back the clock upon these men, until they are boys, perhaps abandoned, abused, unwanted, shaped into indifference and hatred. Imagine they are the part of your psyche that needs compassion and understanding, because they are the most primitive.

Think about how Luke Skywalker confronts Darth Vader to discover it is his own dad turned dark; or Harry Potter and Voldemort; even imagine Job and Satan whispering into God’s ear that he can turn any man against God, who for reasons quite beyond human understanding destroys and restores Job.

When human beings are able to look into the darkness of their dreams and instead of seeing terrorists and devils, criminals and nuts, see the hurt and twisted remains of their own wounded love and innocence, human beings may then come to true compassion and stop the cycle of abuse and hurt that may not threaten your children, but threatens SOMEBODY’s children right now. Perhaps your dream is a way to heal whatever pain has haunted you, your family and our family of man.

Perhaps you, in your love and compassion, have grown mature enough (this didn’t happen with your first three, but the son, being an echo of the self, maybe tripped the wire on your own unconscious pain) to recognize that while you are no monster, we all have a bit of a monster within us. It’s the projecting it onto others that perpetuates the cycle of pain and turns real life into a sort of hell.

Men, and I am a man, have a habit of trying to “save the world” while women, historically, tend to the children and are much less likely to be abusers or behave violently compared to men. It seems no accident that the girl child is the victim and the “bad man” the perpetrator.

Dreams like this bring us to our knees. You come up swinging and enraged. Rage is a defense against sadness. When we are in our rage we are like dinosaurs, unconnected from each other, purely about survival and fighting and running away.

It is in our tears that we are connected to each other, and in our tears that we come closer to our hope for a better way: for our tears and our happiness (in our brains) operate in the same area. From rage we cannot get to the higher mind of compassion, love and understanding, but from sorrow and rising consciousness we can.

I strongly suspect that you will not have a dream like this one again any time soon. I would encourage you to treasure your children, as you already do, and then deepen that compassion, as you are able, to people who might seem “other” or strange or different than you. We all need to do this, for then we will do right by many more children, and those children will grow up to be loving and not indifferent, they will be tender and caring (just as they are also strong and brave) and not unconscious, violent or abusive.

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors, and we must put ALL our kids up above us (providing protection, education, nutrition, medicine) or we cannot be truly free or happy. The consequences are not economic or political, but rather all about what we feel when we wake up from our worst nightmare—perhaps when we wake up to the realization that we can heal and do better.

Oddly enough, this sort of strange thinking may heal your own inner child at the same time that it strengthens the very best man within you: the simple and humble man who loves and looks out for his fellows.

Wishing you really fantastic dreams as salve to your psychic wounds, and really great waking life too.


christina August 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

hello my name is christina and for the past week Ive been having the same nightmare every night. my 3 year old son, husband and father are standing around a deep well they just dug. as i walk up to them i can hear my son ask to play in the water and my husband states “sure go ahead” as my son jumps into the well and i see him sink deeper and deeper out of sight, im the only one frantic trying to get him back everyone else is just standing there watching him sink further and further like nothing is happening. i fall to my knees and try to grab him then suddenly he begins to float slowly to the top so i grab him out of the water and hold him tightly to my chest all i can feel the ice cold water dripping off his red pajamas i cant tell weather or not he is ok. i wake up heart pounding and have to go check on him or i cant fall back to sleep. i am very nervous about this my father has a summer home and just had a well dug yesterday i want to keep him away from the summer home but i know that its being overly protective


Bruce August 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Hi Christina,

Yes this is very scary, but I think the meaning is not as dire as you might think. Obviously you would want to supervise any 3 year-old closely around pools, wells, lakes, roads and other sorts of potential danger. That said, the psychological meaning of this dream could be something about the “male” aspect of your own self.

We have son, husband and father represented—the male part of yourself that you love, but do not recognize as also a symbolic aspect of your own self, in this case across three generations, but also across the life-cycle from baby to man to grandfather (wisdom figure).

Your dad has a summer house in real life—and the house is also a symbol of a larger sort of self, that which holds all the parts of our psychological self (dreams of hotels, apartment buildings, etc. can have similar symbolic potential).

The summer house (a place for fun) has a deep well—a symbol of the unconscious and also of the Mother/feminine principle. The well (or also the well-spring) are symbols of birth and this could be the birth of a new you, or a new level of consciousness.

Just as your child emerged from your own body, as a symbol of the child who must die in order for the grown-up to be born your child goes into the well, but floats back up (i.e. comes back up into consciousness from the depths of the unconscoius).

On the sad side, you may have felt suffocated, controlled or frustrated when you were 3; certainly three-year-olds can be very challenging, running away to explore and possibly scaring us parents, but also they are growing new powers and thus symbolize the first stages of becoming one’s own little self as a little bit independent person.

On the plus side, you are confronting that something in you can go deep and come back from this. The dream doesn’t mention your mother, but perhaps the well is a symbol of how the mother sits in your own psychology (perhaps a missing of the mother, or a wish that she were able to help contain, renew or transform your own child self).

Now that you ARE a mother, you may be ready to realize that you are a child, but also the parent; that you can contain and renew your most sacred, happy, free and authentic self through going deep within your own true heart and mind.

I’m sure you love your men, but often women struggle to come into full possession of their full grace and power, perhaps preferring a bit to stay as girls (especially if the men want innocence more that wisdom, sweetness more than power in their women).

Finally, the ice cold water might be a symbol of coldness, for example if you felt your mom wasn’t a big hugger or touchy-feely sort. Then the need to hug the cold and scared kid comes up in the dream—but if you imagine holding, warming and protecting your own little kid self you may find that the bad dreams go away and in fact you might feel a greater feeling of joy, play and security and you learn once again to see the world with the wonder of a child tempered by the maturity and wisdom of a parent.

All best wishes and sweet dreams :)


Rachel August 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm


I have a 7 year old son and had a very disturbing dream about him last night. In my dream he had done something wrong-I don’t recall what it was, but I do remember knowing it wasn’t a great offense (possibly something along the lines of sneaking cookies before dinner or something silly). However in the dream, whatever the minor offense was my dream-self was enraged and kept trying to slap my son in the mouth. Over and over again I would attempt to pop him across the mouth but the slap landed softly and would not hurt him. In my attempt to punish him I was unsatisfied with the strength and force of my slap-as there was none- and kept hitting him. All the while he is smiling and clearly wanting my love while tears rolled down his cheeks. My dreamself continued to try and hit him harder and felt helpless that I was powerless to do so. I am so completely upset by this dream. What could it mean for my relationship with my son, or his view of me, etc. ?

Thank you for listening.


Bruce August 19, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hi Rachel,

While I realize this was disturbing, my instinct was very positive and suggests you’re in a very good place now, in contrast to how you likely felt when you were 7 years old.

If the dream has a bit of a wish buried within it, then your wish is to be powerless to hurt your child, powerless to slap or pop the mouth (i.e. to stop your child, or your child-self, from being able to speak or express himself or herself).

While you hold the powerless position, your child-self now holds the tears (the emotion of sadness, which is evolutionarily higher than anger, which is all about fight-flight, disconnection, alienation, loneliness and using others as objects). Perhaps you yourself were used as an object to hold powerlessness, or sorrow, when you were a little girl.

This happens a lot, and it’s little use hating on our parents; it is useful to recognize the limitations of our caregivers and then band together with our inner selves, and with real other humans in the world, particularly other caring parents, to hold our fears with compassion, to hold our sorrow with understanding, and to heal ourselves and our children through community, consciousness and actions consistent with our more secure and sophisticated understanding.

Your psychological work here is to recognize the Shadow (that which wants you to be powerful, but only powerful to love, help, prosper, play, contribute, learn, connect, etc NOT powerful to hurt yourself or others, which is not real power after all).

Your psychological work is also to gaze, in your mind’s eye, into the tear-filled eyes of your child-self and tell him/her that you are a mom now and that you will cry his/her tears for him/her if tears are on the plate, and that your child is not, and never will be, alone. They are a part of you, they live with you and they die, if ever, only when you die. Perhaps even in spirit, in dream-time, all of it is true at once—the pain of the past that makes possible the compassion and joy of the present.

It takes a lot of consciousness to hold opposite feelings at the same time. I like to think of the self as a bowl, and I have much to say about how to help that grow strong in ourselves and in our children in other posts at this blog, and in my book.

Your child is smiling and crying at the same time in the dream: this is the eternal child archetype, and it ALREADY holds the opposites of life being fully lived in compassionate understanding. Meditate on that face and see your own glory reflected in the mirror of your deeper Soul-Self.

All Best Wishes :)


Lee McLin August 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Hi, my name is Lee and I am a single mother of 3 (ages 12, 6 & 4). I happened to come across your forum while trying to find some understanding of a recurring dream I have been having involving my kids for almost a year now. After reading a number of dreams others have posted and your responses I was curiouse what you would think of mine.

I have had the dream numerous times and the specifics of it change but everytime there is a catastrophy, usually something apocolyptic going on in the world around me. I am always trying to get my children to safety, as any parent would, but somehow every single time I loose ONE of my children. The child I loose always changes, sometimes it’s my oldest, then it may be my youngest or my middle child. I always wake up anxious, physcially shaking and feeling horrible for loosing one of my children. This occurs a few times a month and I have to go into their rooms just to see them, then I spend at least an hour trying to go back to sleep. Just like many of your other readers who have written about dreams involving their children I love mine and do all I can for them. So what do you think?


Bruce August 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hi Lee,

Firstly I’m sorry you’ve been plagued by this very disturbing dream, in its various configurations—let’s see if some new ideas can help stop this particular dream cycle (for if we get it right, the dreams will end or change, and that’s how we know we’re on the right track; and if an idea doesn’t change the dreams, then we go back to the drawing board and try a new idea).

I think the key clue to understanding this dream comes in your slip of the keys in typing your question. While your spelling and grammar are otherwise excellent, you mistakenly use the word “loose” when you consciously mean to suggest the word “lose.”

To lose something, your dream terror, is to no longer have it, often in the context of something terrible (like a bad dream, or an apocalyptic disaster); to loose something is to no longer hold a tight attachment, but by one’s own conscious choice (like letting go of a leash, a balloon, setting free an animal, letting go of control, etc.).

In your dream you are struggling with conflicted and mixed feelings: kids are our treasures and to lose them is our worst nightmare indeed; yet to help them grow up and become able to live, love and contribute, eventually to survive without us, is to loose them, I suppose. Launching kids (I’m soon to launch one to college) is extremely mixed as we’re happy they’re growing and devestated to let them go because we’re so attached to them and will miss them terribly, even as they run off to meet their joyous destiny we hope.

Your kids likely symbolize yourself at different stages of development. Thus the 12 year-old is about to enter teen-age years and this means they will be trying for more independence, and they will be facing new risks (emotional, sexual, intellectual, etc.). This child-self is the one that wants freedom and adventure, and that’s hard on any parent, particularly a single parent, particularly a single parent of three kids.

Your six-year-old self is the part that is also developing new abilities, but it is your middle child and that part of yourself might be prone to feeling lost rather than loosed, as the 12 year-old demands attention and the 4-year-old gets to be in the baby role.

Yet your 4-year-old is no longer a true baby, and thus you’re losing your precious time as a mother of babies (we grieve each transition because they are so cute and wonderful at every stage; but we don’t yet trust that they will keep being amazingly adorable and precious all through their lives… and so we hesitate to loose for our fear of loss).

If you realize that your dream tells you that you’re trying to love your baby-self, your lost middle self and your emerging adventurer self… and take good and loving care of your mother self (not to mention your poet, gardener, lover, animal-lover, reader, cook, athlete, spiritual, weary, transforming selves, etc. etc.) you might imagine a sort of psychological boat or hotel or garden… someplace that can hold all of your inner aspects, and all of your distinct and ever changing children in waking life, in some sort of safe and respectful “place” in your mind and heart—a “place” where everyone is free to explore within the bounds of what they are ready to handle, but protected from danger to the degree necessary. Maybe a magical park where there is something for everyone at every age, including friendship, love and community for all the single parents.

While it may be awhile before waking life looks like this, perhaps we can start in dream-life, and then see if it ripples out into your lived and renewed experience, trusting that you are not alone in your deep wish to truly loose all your parts of yourself and never lose any of them.

Feel free to let me know if the dreams get better. Meanwhile, wishing you great dreams and great days treasuring your self, your life and your children as they all grow and change, maybe toward a better and better sense of security and understanding, of fun and freedom safely held.


Maggie August 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hi my name is Maggie and I had a very disturbng dream of my 3 year old son had died and I was cradling him in my arms sobbing. He looked perfect and I couldn’t believe he was dead. I was fluffying his hair to allow the curls to spring up. Crying and saying ‘oh my beautiful little boy,’ My Mum was sitting in a chair behind me but not reacting. I was thinking how I couldn’t grieve like this infront of anyone but her. The pain was unbearable. In my waking life I am stressed and worriied and my older daughter(21yrs) is having jaw surgery within 2 days and so this dream hasn’t helped and I hope it doesn’t mean anything will happen to either of my children. Thanks Maggie


Bruce August 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hi Maggie,

While of course this dream touches on our most deeply-held dread (and in fact I write about the death of a child as the most profound tragedy that can befall a parent, but also about how this is because our children teach us to love truly beyond our own selves, in the last chapter of my book, “Privilege of Parenting”) and of course I wish health and safety for all our children (and stand terrified and humbled before that which is beyond us), I think this dream offers insights into your own psyche more than any warning about outer danger.

You can think about this dream as representing you in relationship to your inner child and also your inner mother. In symbolic terms we often see the death of a child as signifying the birth of the grown-up. With one child being 21, which is the official age of being a grown-up in some sense, and another being only three, you are parenting across the developmental life-cycle.

Not only are you able to grieve in front of your mom (or your inner mother self) in this dream, but you are seeing how your mother self “has your back” (in being behind you) and she holds the faith that she can bear witness to agony (i.e. not be ruled by emotions, particularly fear). Your inner mother lets you fully express your feelings, and thus you are safe as you transition from any over-identification with the child toward an identification with yourself as you are, in reality—in between children and grandparents.

Given that there is a strong wish to be witnessed in your secret fear (and reluctance to talk about your fear, perhaps based on superstitious ideas that your fears can make bad things come true, when our truth is that our thoughts are not quite so powerful, and our real fear is our feeling of helplessness if our kids are hurt or sick) I might wonder if when you were three years old if your mom was not so steady and mature as she is now.

In this way you might be unconsciously trying to work out how your mom couldn’t witness and contain your sorrow and your fear when you were little, and so now you are being witnessed and thus healing.

Imagine the dead child as the part of you that felt like she died when you were little; the part of you who might not have gotten to go off and explore the world when you first became a mom (perhaps when you were 21 or even younger) and so you might have felt like a part of you died when you became a mom. Also, you are much more mature now, and perhaps your 21 year-old feels you were not as containing and patient when they were three, and so you might now be old enough to related to your own mom’s struggles when she parented you, and to your older girl’s frustration in being parented by you.

The bottom line is that you love your kids and your mom; but also that you are not dead and instead being newly psychologically born as a true grown-up—one who can hold the fear and sorrow for both your children because she is the mom who has their back no matter what.

While the dream is not about the jaw surgery, this does have to do with the mouth and with the ability to digest things (ideas and feelings as well as food) and to express ourselves (talking and saying how we really feel). Perhaps you didn’t always get to fully express how you felt and that was a kind of symbolic death of your creative, outspoken, empowered self who is yearning to be “born” into lived existence through your words, actions and relationships in your life now.

Finally, hair as a symbol has to do with thoughts (things that grow spontaneously out of our heads) and so working to fluff the hair and allow the curls to spring up might symbolize how you are freeing your mind to let all the thoughts and feelings out (including anger, sorrow, fear, etc.).

As you cultivate the thoughts of the dead part of yourself, and your mom is not emotional in this dream, it is possible that you experienced your mom as not caring, when you were little and she was more limited, and so the dream could show the old situation of a baby who felt dead and uncared about and a mom who was unemotional… only now you’re in the middle, crying and feeling seen by your inner mom, so things are truly different now.

Time to own the power of your new maturity and ability to accept the past, grieve and heal the wounds of the past, and forgive yourself and your mom for whatever you might have wished to be different in the past.

Time to work together with your self, your mom, your friends and community to treasure your children and truly witness their pain, anger, complaints, etc (without being defensive) so that they can feel safe and loved, each at their proper age and stage, and so you can experience the symbolic death of your relationship with your older kid as she has been (your baby) and move into the sort of relationship you’ve now built with your mom (more mature, more sophisticated).

Your babies will always be your babies, just as you will always be to your mom, but as we grow we expand and can be so much more to each other.

Wishing health and safety to you and your kids… and sweet dreams too :)


Maggie August 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Hi Bruce
Thank-you so much for taking the time to reply to my dream query. And thank-you for your insightful interptretation of my horrid dream. You have put my mind at rest and have given me plenty to think about!
Kindest Regards Maggie.


Cheryl August 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

Hi Bruce,

I had an awful nightmare which I made myself wake from at 5:30 AM. I was at my sisters farm, she and her husband have a sustainable hog farm, chickens, etc… I was walking around, talking with her and my oldest son (who has high-functioning autism) was running around feeding the pigs, etc… What he usually does when we go out there. Suddenly he starts being atacked by one of the pigs, it has him in its mouth, swallowing him whole, spitting him out, picking him up again and shaking him around with its mouth. I am trying to get to him but I can’t, there is a fence in the way, a familiar fence I have seen before as I was raised on a farm, but I could not get to him. I would yell for him, “Jacob get away, Jacob get up!” He wasn’t moving, then as the pig was about to grab him again my son’s leg moved and I forced myself to wake. I am trying to figure this out because I know it has to do with my son, the struggle of making the right choices for his schooling as school is about to begin. The struggle I have with my and his relationship with his father. His father was abusive to me, verbally, mentally, physically, he is still verbally abusive and we are no longer together as a couple. My son’s father is very inactive in all three of our children’s life and I feel sometimes he’s like having a teenager when he’s around. He’s always crabby, and mad at me. Although he behaves this way he thinks he has a say in these important choices in life but I don’t trust him, nor his input. I have been struggling with whether I involve him in a coming up school meeting, or do I go on my own because I know he’s against my decision with this place which I think could help our son a ton? Am I right on, thinking that my ex is the pig and does the pig attack represent all the struggles I worry about for my son? Me not being able to get to him is me worrying whether or not I am doing enough or my fear of not making the right decisions for him?

Thank you.


Bruce August 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Hi Cheryl,

I like that you are trying to interpret your own dream, and you’ve made a good start.

Now comes the hard part: the pig is how you SEE Jacob’s father, and his behavior may well be less than optimal (I’ll pass no judgment on this), but the pig in the dream is also the “pig” part of your own self—devouring, destructive, dangerous—in short your Shadow.

Thus the pig holds your power as well as your terror. The son that is being hurt is not only Jacob, but your own child-self, the part of you who struggles with “differences” and who suffers from being in a triangle between his mom and dad.

The fence is a boundary, thus is could symbolize the demarcation between your conscious and your unconscious, between your nurturing and your destructive selves.

Given that you were attracted to a man you saw as “crabby” etc, perhaps you were attracted to something familiar, similar to your own family in some way?

And perhaps Jacob’s dad has a “ghosting” of Jacob’s own neurological make-up, and this might account for his lack of social grace: lack of mirror neurons.

Please see my other posts on Aspergers and Autism for some different perspectives on spectrum disorders.

I think perhaps you too are “on the fence” about the best school for Jacob, and you have divided the Hamlet like inner turmoil into a farmyard psychodrama (not in any way to minimize that you may have truly been hurt by Jacob’s dad’s behaviors).

And now the deep part. The pig is also a symbol of the Mother Goddess, and it is this wild boar who wounds the young male hero in the groin, a pre-figuring of the Fisher King story in the Grail Legends.

While I have no idea your religious background, Jacob is a name from the Old Testament, and he was a Jew… thus there is some irony in “Jacob” being attacked by a pig (which is not kosher, according to Jewish tradition).

While your family has a sustainable farm, the pig in relationship to Jacob is not a sustainable relationship. While you are hurt and angry, this dream gives you a chance to meditate on the dark power that you do have, for this pig is like the monsters in “Where the Wild Things Are” (“I’ll eat you up I love you so”).

If you can have a conversation, in imagination, with the pig, perhaps you will learn that it too loves Jacob in its own strange way, and if you can integrate this dark power into higher consciousness (pigs are actually rather intelligent) then perhaps you’ll have the higher wisdom it takes to support Jacob in the right school while no longer vilifying his father who might benefit from deeper understanding and compassion.

After all, when Jesus’ followers are shocked about him eating non-kosher food Jesus clarifies that it’s more important to be loving than to follow mere rules of conduct.

Warmest Regards


Corri August 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hello! Ok so when I was younger I would always have a dream that my grandfather was cutting off my grandmothers face with a big pair of scissors :/ my grandma and i were like mother and daughter pretty much…i just wonder what that meant and why was it always reaccuring?


Bruce August 29, 2012 at 8:34 am

Hi Corri,

This strikes me as both personal and universal.

At the personal level, I wonder if your mom was not as present in your life or childhood as you might wish, and thus your grandmother became the key caregiving figure in your child’s world? If so, perhaps you felt that your grandfather resented the love and attention your grandma paid to you, and thus it might have seemed to you the grandfather wanted to “cut off that face” (the kind face).

On the other hand, you may have felt that your grandmother presented a false face of some sort (denial of problems, denial of trouble between her and your own mom, or perhaps these are paternal grandparents?). In such a situation the dream could represent an unconscious wish to cut that mask away and your need to see the real grandmother (so that you could learn to see the real you in the mirror and bring that real you to the world).

Now turning to the deeper or archetypal level we have a relationship between a Great Mother (perhaps the feminine principle, intuition and mystery, often symbolized by the moon) and the Great Father (the masculine principle, reason, rationality and intellect, often symbolized by the sun).

The scissors are implements which cut (the feminine connects, the masculine discerns or divides to make concrete “reality,” language, culture, architecture, etc. possible). The scissors can be seen as castrating to the male, or wounding, but also as phallic and penetrating. Thus your grandfather, or better understood, your own inner archetypal bossy-pants, cuts the face (the feminine, principle of compassion and family and community and understanding).

Sort of like the uptight banker who is preoccupied with time and precision in “Mary Poppins,” we have to see the Divine Mother principle enter (Mary Poppins herself) to rescue the children from bad manners and lack of life spirit and fun.

Thus scissors are a bit like hands of a clock. Time makes life as we live it possible, and yet also makes us sad for it passes. In our vast human history the sun and moon have eclipsed (or “cut”) each other many times, just as masculine and feminine eras have risen and fallen.

When childhood is sad, time hangs heavy. When we have kids of our own days take forever and years fly by quickly.

Thus at the personal and the collective levels it just might be time that we stopped blaming either men or women, stopped being slaves to time nor denying that it is precious, stopped trying to be right or “good” and instead learn how we are all woven together into some fabulously mysterious story.

In an Indian (Hindu) legend, the weaver of the universe is a spider. In a Greek myth the fates share one eyeball and use a scissors to “cut” threads of human lives… your dream taps into very old stories indeed.

In your psyche you meet all of us, and thus I am sorry if your childhood was sad or scary, lonely or painful, in any way. Now you are grown, so in simple terms, if you need love imagine your grandparents treating each other with love and respect and holding you safely between them. If you manage to feel safe, offer such integrated (scissors/knife/intellect & lap/hug/love/garden) compassion to anyone who seems to be scared or suffering.

That’s my two cents on your powerful and terrible and wonderful dream.


Denise September 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

I had a dream my son who is 44 was inside what looked like a volcano but the inside top part there was snow all around the inside and he fell I screamed but he had stopped falling.He was crying out to me to save him and the ground underneath me was fragile kept breaking off.He suddenly was in front of me and i reached down and pulled him to safety we fell back hugging each other ,crying and saying I love you to each other while tears streamed down our faces.When woke up my heart was racing and I was crying.He recently moved to a big city that has a lot of shootings and he goes to work at night and I had been thinking and worrying about him and my grandaughter living there.


Bruce September 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

Hi Denise,

Firstly, I must say that your dream moved me to feel tears as I read it—and while it inspires me to know how we never stop loving our children, it also moves me to suggest that perhaps somehow our own parents, ancestors or other spirits may still and eternally be loving us and catching us as we fall too.

As for interpreting this dream (and I think it is a big dream, meaning it has both personal and collective implications) let’s start with your own personal psyche.

From this perspective your son would symbolize your inner child, even if he is now 44 he’ll always be your “baby.” Thus your baby is in a precarious place: a volcano is hot (i.e. a place of new emerging earth or consciousness, but also a classically hellish symbol of torment) and could symbolize your own inner passionate emotions. AND the inside of this volcano has snow, which might symbolize coldness (the part of you that might be frozen with fear, the part of you that might feel left out in the cold as your baby moves away, but also the part of you that can be cool-headed and rational). Also, as with real volcanoes such as Mt. Shasta (which I recently drove by) snow does gather on the top and thus the mountain as symbol of higher consciousness, the cooling down of our initial explosions into being, might be a symbol of your baby rising to a place of higher spirituality.

Very importantly you find yourself hugging your boy and being together in loving emotions. The dream may symbolize your wish for this, the wish to hold him safe and to know that you’re always connected and you can always protect him from danger.

Know that as your inner child becomes safe in your mature consciousness you have achieved a lot, and that you can share that strong love with the children, and grandchildren, as this is what time it is.

And that brings us to the bigger resonance of the dream. Our children represent all of us, and our fears and our cities with crime and poverty is the part of us that needs compassion and hugs and healing and understanding—the transcending of shame and isolation and the coming together of community, family, country and world.

The politicians are not going to do this, the parents and grandparents are already doing this. You are doing this. We have fear and we have hurt and we have loneliness, but we also have courage, and healing and love.

Here’s to the very best for your son, your granddaughter and all our collective children (while being held lovingly in the arms of our spirit ancestors).

Warmest Regards


Erin September 11, 2012 at 6:24 am

Last night I had a dream that my daughter was gone. I do not know if she died or was kidnapped or what. However, it was several years later. And I had a new lil girl about two or three. I was laying in a beautiful field with the sun on us and i was looking down at the new daughter and she was just smiling and laughing with the sun on her face. I remember all I could think about was my real daughter and how I would never love this new child. I do not know if she was mine or how I became with her. All I can remember is how I felt in this dream and I can not shake it! My daughter is five…


Bruce September 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Hi Erin,

I would view this dream as being about you in relationship to your child self. Perhaps when you were around five something difficult happened in your own life (loss, separation, a move, etc.) and the might have felt like your childhood innocence or some sort of feeling you had when you were three was “stolen” from you.

Thus your unconscious shows you what it wants and needs: for you to be conscious (“in the sun”) in a field (in the reality of life on earth) lying down (close to nature) and with your smiling, laughing happy child self.

This is a good dream. In waking life you have a five-year-old who you adore, but in your dream world you also meet a new child who doesn’t need the sort of roll-up-your-sleeves work as your “real” daughter, but who needs you to relax and enjoy and allow the magical epiphany of this dream to restore some sense of wonder, play, hope and joy.

You’re real daughter was not kidnapped, just removed from the center of your consciousness for a few brief, and potentially lovely, moments in your dream. Just as going out with your girlfriends is not the same as abandoning your child, dreaming of your secretly forgotten child self is not about losing your real little girl.

Love is abundant, shower it on your daughter and on your inner child too.

All Best Wishes


Claudia September 12, 2012 at 1:24 am

I don’t remember most of my dreams, but when I do, all senses are involved and I wake up fully engaged in the dream. I have premonitory dreams before which lends more power to my nightmares and gives me quite a bit of anxiety. I usually try to analyze them myself but this one had so many off-the-wall elements, I could not make heads or tails of it, and I would love to know what you think about it. In my dream, I work for the First Lady and the First Lady is Anne Rice (the author, my favorite author). We are taking walks around an empoverished area somewhere and suddenly small tremors begin. These tremors begin building up to the point where people are beginning to panic; we head to the school where her daughter and mine attend school and a few people are keeping us from reaching our girls ( I don’t know why they won’t let us near them, though I believe it’s political, one of the people is my sister in law although there is no acknowledgement of that relationship in the dream). As the earthquakes strengthen, I can see my daughter through a glass and I notice (in detail) her reaction: her fear, her anxiety and I beg the people to let me in! I explain that she has a very anxious personality and that she needs me and they laugh, they begin mocking my feelings and her distress. Finally the earthquakes begin turning destructive (in my dream someone screams that was at least a 6!) and the masonry begins to crumble and the glass shatters and I reach in for her and I woke up, as if thrown out of the dream; sweating, my heart rate elevated and after checking on my daughter at least three times in the last 20 minutes. I will be grateful to any insights I may gain from your interpretation. Thank you!! Claudia


Bruce September 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hi Claudia,

While you may have premonitory experiences, at least Jung suggests that by becoming conscious of things they may be somewhat less likely to materialize as our fate. And while the unconscious is powerful, our thoughts and dreams are not the same as our shared social reality, and thus I think you’re on firmer ground to interpret this dream as being about your own psyche than about your daughter’s danger.

In the dream you “work for” the “first lady,” which symbolically could suggest you in relationship to your own higher Self. Ann Rice writes about vampires, so the part of you who is associated with the undead, or immortal (both tortured and super-human) finds herself in the same predicament as you. Thus your “favorite author” (i.e. your “creative” and “famous” unconscious aspect) has to come down from the wealth and fame and remoteness to get in the trenches of being scared, and of caring deeply, right alongside you. (this is why she walks with you through impoverished areas, coming down to reality on the ground, but also visiting the areas within your psyche that feel neglected and abandoned… think of all the children left behind by our culture… and the anger in your deepest unconscious that starts to shake the world up).

Earthquakes are forces of nature much bigger than human ego and architecture. You see your daughter through the glass (at first we see through a glass darkly, then face to face). This represents the unseen barrier (i.e. level of consciousness) between your ego-self and your child-self (which is that part that was left behind, or not fully reached, by your mother aspect, perhaps that narcissistic aspect we all carry who would rather star in the play than sit in the audience and clap)

One of the forces that stop you from getting to your child is your sister IN LAW, in other words your brothers and sisters who make laws (congress, legislators) are not letting us get to our children, not allowing us to do what we know is needed (fairness, compassion, community). Thus the dream is personal AND it is collective: it is where we are at, and we need to wake up and do better for all our collective children.

Our child self has an anxious personality, this is a lack of basic trust, this is an artifact of our own childhoods, personal, collective, political, economic. We are in the process of becoming more conscious, and we are well-served to learn how to help children become secure and safe (this will set the foundation for a better world).

Perhaps you dream is more than just a nightmare, but a call to action—a million moms all fed up with the BS of competitive, cruel and duplicitous times and thus tearing it all down as Mother Nature says “enough already?”

In waking life we need no such big or biblical drama. We don’t have to redeem ourselves and our children with jazz hands or with Charlton Heston parting the seas… it shall probably suffice to simply realize that we are a community of caring, that we have been anxious and scared and that has made us vulnerable to exploitation and to being “trapped” in a sort of school of life where we’re not learning the real lessons that are not new but eternal: give love when you can, reach out for love and understanding and compassion when you are scared. Through this we discover that we are the people, we have the power, and that power is the power to love and to care.

This is the unstoppable end to the personal nightmare and the beginning of a much, much better waking life. Who doesn’t want this to be true?

All Best Wishes


Justine S. November 25, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I couldn’t find answer to a possible interpretation of my nightmare. I am 19, have an older sister and a younger one (11). My mother works a lot and I’m the one taking care of my young sister.

In my nightmare, there was a boy, 6 or 7. And three men. While the two other were watching, one of them was “raping” the boy. (The boy wasn’t reacting a lot. But still, he asked to stop once because it hurts.) When that was over, the same man make him take his penis in the boy’s mouth and the boy said “I don’t like that game.” Did a fuck sign with his right hand and left.
The men were laughing. I felt like I was there, next to one of them, watching the scene.

Then, the little boy was walking in the streets, which was my grandparents’ street, and he came to say hi to me, but I was something like 4 or 5 years old.

Can you help me ? I never saw that boy before, same for the men. I looked at my friend’s younger faces, but nothing similar.
I couldn’t find anything about being a witness to a raping. I’d highly appreciate an answer.

Have a nice day!


Bruce November 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Hi Justine,

Perhaps reading the thread about children being abused would give some possible ideas about your own dream:


It’s not possible to be definitive on dream interpretation, as it’s always possible that it doesn’t really “mean” anything at all. Certainly our minds create images and stories out of what seems to be a combination of experiences, memories, sensations and emotions.

It is for you to explore if “abuse” is something that has affected you. This you would typically know if it was your own trauma. The fact that your grandparents’ street comes up could always raise the question of abuse in the family’s past, but grandparents might or might not tell the bad stuff even if they know it.

On safer ground might be the metaphoric rather than literal, in which case everyone in the dream might be parts of your own psyche. In this sense the “bad” guy would be your negative feelings (maybe unconscious resentment for having to be a parent to your younger sibling) and the child would be the part of you who feels “fucked” by your circumstances.

Obviously in “real” or waking life children need to be protected from harm, but in a dream sense it might be interesting to note that while your child self is pained by, but willing to accept, a “pain in the ass,” the oral assault is where the line is drawn.

Maybe like Ariel in “Little Mermaid,” you are struggling to find your legs (ability to walk away, grow up, become your own person) and your voice (ability to express yourself and what you feel).

My hope is that if for some reason your life feels painful, that you will find courage and power to protect yourself, express yourself and flourish. From there you can be a source of courage and self-expression for others, forming healthy and loving relationships (in counterpoint to the abusive relationships seen in the dream).

Certainly wishing you Sweet Dreams and a great waking life too


Carolyn witmer April 10, 2017 at 10:52 am

I’ve had this very disturbing dream that is reoccuring. The scenario and situation are different but is about me hitting one of my children over and over, like hitting them in the face over and over and trying to hurt them when I hit them. I have 6 children total but when this dream happens, it usually happens with the two middle boys. Not in the same dream but always one of them. I feel the aggression and anger while I’m hitting them in the dream. I don’t understand because there is usually nothing going on in reality that I’m upset about with them. When I wake up, I feel so sad that I even had a dream like that cause I can remember how they looked in the dream and how their facial expressions were. They would be crying or scared. But it’s like I kept going and going. I just don’t understand why I keep dreaming about that.


Bruce April 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm
nikki September 12, 2012 at 2:25 am

So i just dreamed the most horrible thing…. simply put my daughter looked at me while we were at a store somewhere, and i noticed she had a drop of blood on her forhead. I reached to see it and i sa the head of a nail under the skin….like a nail was in her face. i freaked out omg what happened baby when she looked at me and said its ok mommy. i continued looking at her i i keep finding nails in her, like in her face!!!!!!!! i sit in front of a store pulling nails out of her face frantically pulling. then i see her mouth had blood coming out of it…..i open her mounth to see 3 or more bent nails protruding from the roof of her mouth. i mean honestly, ive had some bad ones but this one simply wrecked me. i cant sleep for fear of reintering the dream, because now the site i just CANT get it outta my head. i got the feeling she was trying to die. i realized that she had done this to herself. she was really ready to die. she is 4 years old :( after this portion i was chasing after her tring to keep her alive.. she dove in front of a train inwhich i jumped after her to cover her up. we were stuck under the train and she was pushing me away trying to let the train get her i was struggling with her……please baby stop it let me help u!!!!! then my husband woke me up from a soaked pillow. He said i was frantically crying while sleeping PLEASE HELP


Bruce September 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hi Nikki,

When people came to Freud with suggestions that they had been hurt as children Freud believed them and suggested this to his colleagues who couldn’t face this idea. So Freud came up with complicated theories about children wishing for hurt or sex… and no one got better (although Freud got very famous).

This dream makes me wonder if you were hurt as a child. Things that don’t belong there got put in your head (bad ideas, cruelty, fear) and in your mouth (don’t speak, or tell or you’ll be punished or abandoned).

Then the train could be a symbol of man’s industrialization (which has lead to vast discrepancies in wealth, and is part and parcel of war; over-producing things leads to surplus of things and lack of money so war has historically been the answer to economic problems).

Trains are also phallic and perhaps you are trying to protect your child-self from the harm you have already suffered. Whether physical, sexual, psychological, political… you are awake and fully committed to the safety and well-being of your child.

Look to the pain of when you were four, and trust that simply being a good mom will prove healing to yourself and of the greatest value to your child.

Even if you have had not trauma, vast numbers of your brothers and sisters have been hurt, and if you are sensitive then you care and it permeates your consciousness.

Care, love, connect. This is the way forward for all of us.


Jessica September 12, 2012 at 4:37 am

I dreamed my infant son – almost 7 months on the 14th this month died by someone putting him in a suitcase at the movies. And it took me forever to finally get to the movies My husband was with him at the movies I wasnt I felt like I was trapped in a place stuck and couldn’t go find him before he died. In mydreamed we buried him in the river where cows, and pigs sit by it and protected it..
Any meaning?


Bruce September 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hi Jessica,

Movies are collective dreams, thus your psychological baby (that has been re-born into fuller consciousness by becoming a parent) is trapped by the “baggage” of our collective past.

Do not despair. This is all symbolic. The baby must die for the grown-up to be born. Your actual baby is fine, but you are coming into reality, not movies and fantasy.

You bury the baby in the river (symbol of great crossings to underworld and promised land alike; to heaven and hell and all that is beyond human understanding as well as the best of truly being alive and not just eating and breathing). Thus you release the past to the great river of time and cows (symbols of food, both milk/mother and meat/father) and pigs (symbols of greed? but also the Great Mother in preChristian tales) protect the baby.

Who is symbolically reborn (Moses drawn from the waters) as a higher consciousness of Love, compassion and deeper understanding.

All Best Wishes


Nicole September 14, 2012 at 7:18 am

I had a dream last night that my 14 months old daughter was running away from me through a city i used to live in and my ex husband currently still does live in. I was running in what seemed like slow motion and she was running faster than she normally can. She kept getting further and further away from me and i was screaming out to her and telling her to stop. People were just watching her run by and not even attempting to stop her or grab her. We were coming up on a c-train station and i was still stuck in this slow motion running as she is running around on the tracks. the c-train was coming and the driver wasnt stopping, still nobody was grabbing her no matter what i was yelling. then everything went dark and i felt a wooosh like you would if you were standing next to the train but in my dream before the darkness i was still far away. i woke up screaming my daughters name and my heart was pounding for about an hour after, i was shakey and crying but she was sleeping next to me. What could all this mean? Someone had told me it may mean that something could happen to my daughter in the near future and its a warning and then i also had another person tell me its saying that im afraid my ex is going to take her away from me and ill never see her again(i dont trust him at all and wouldnt be surprised if he took off with her or did something stupid because hes bipolar)…. I just need another opinion please


Bruce September 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Hi Nicole,

While we parents always have to keep our kids safe, this dream is not necessarily a warning about your daughter being in danger.

Another way of looking at this dream is that all the parts might symbolize your different feelings and then the dream would represent your inner situation emotionally.

In this way of thinking your baby is symbolic of the child part of yourself. This vulnerable and innocent part of you is trapped in the city where your bi-polar ex lives. This might be symbolic that your inner baby does not feel safe, or that your inner feeling is one of anxiety and fear.

The baby is running, as if she is afraid and trying to get safe (but she could be just exploring and expressing her newly found ability to run—to go where she wants).

When our baby gets old enough to walk or run, she gets old enough to run away from us. This creates the possible danger in the big bad world, but it also creates the feeling that our beloved baby could run away from us.

I wonder how your life was when you were fourteen months old? Maybe you felt unsafe then, or there was danger in your household. If so, you are reliving the nightmare of the past, not having a premonition of the future.

You might take note of Nikki’s dream (posted a couple of comments before yours), the theme of a train shows up there as well, and we might wonder what a train could symbolize? Trains are powerful and they don’t steer left or right, only running on pre-set tracks. Perhaps the train is the part of you that fears she’ll be railroaded into the pain of the past, unable to protect her baby self, as the world stands by doing nothing and the darkness of unconsciousness swallows you up.

By having this dream your fears become conscious; by writing about it and asking for opinions you become less alone (even if all our opinions are wrong, in some way we all actually care that you and your baby should be safe).

More important that what the dream might mean is the need we all have to not be alone, to be free, to care about each other and each other’s children. When we are scared or hurt we need community, and we need love and compassion and understanding. And when we feel strong we can give protection , compassion and understanding to others.

I’m sorry you have been scared and hurt, probably not only in your mind but in real life; and it’s clear you desperately want to keep your baby safe. Yet sometimes a dream has a little bit of secret or forbidden wish inside it; and the truth is that as much as we adore our children they can be exhausting and parenting can be very very hard sometimes. When the child runs away in a dream we might be facing the forbidden feeling that we need a little break sometimes.

Maybe your friends can help you get a little “me” time (if there is someone you can trust to watch your girl). We always say “it takes a village,” but we don’t quite yet form that village or feel like there is a net to catch us if we stumble or struggle.

When we allow ourselves to be aware and honest about our fears and our frustrations we come together and are less lonely.

Maybe you can think about these ideas and then see if you get some new dreams, maybe dreams that guide you or give you comfort (such dreams are like signs from within that you are on the right track).

And if you have had hurt or trauma in your life (i.e. some real reasons that might lead to bad dreams), seek a qualified professional to talk this through—you will become less scared and your happiness and sense of security will help your baby grow more confident and secure as she develops.

All Best Wishes


amanda September 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

I hav some horrifying and extremely haunting disturbing dreams and i really need to kno wut they mean. I hav a lil girl (she’ll be two november), she is my life, my world, i love her a gazillion times more than i hav ever loved n e one or n e thing, she is my mirracle child because they told me i had one in a million chances to conceive.

My dreams get worse and wosre evry time and they wake me up in tears and im shakin from head to toe with the sweats and nausea.

This is one of my dreams:
My family and i ari playing it the woods with a little push bike thingie for my lil gurl then it switches to another seen i couldnt quite make out but my husband was gone and it was jus me and my lil gurl then sum guys pull up and ask for directions but wer also being vulgar with me and my lil gurlthen agian it switches and im waking up. In a lockd room with my lil gurl so i try to find a way out and i do thru this littl vent i grab my lil gurl (who was wrapd in blankets and run, i get to a bus stop, get on the bus and realize my lil girl is a doll literally so i run bask as fast as i can, i dart back thru the vent of the place but by the time i got back they had my lil girl sawd in half and she was hangin up on an intertainment stand, im screaming aand crying and run to her, try to put her back together and as i do she looks at me (dieing) and say with her last crying breath mama, so i hold her tight and say i love u then i wake up.

That dream had me awake for three days straight, terrified. I would see that immage evry time i would look at my lil girl then i would jus hold her and cry.

I also hav dreams about her getting shot in the head whild im being sexually tortured, and also hav extreemly detailed dreams about other babies getting sexually abused very brutally while im holding my lil gurl running but im going no where and the people will jus laugh and laugh at me.

Can u tell me wut these dreams mean??? :'(


amanda September 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

Please help me understand!!!


amanda September 21, 2012 at 8:59 am

Oh and another thing thes dreams r very detailed i can feel, smell, hear, taste… and wen i wake up its still all there fresh on my finger tips, in my nose, i can hear thing over and over, and hav the tast in my mouth.


Bruce September 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hi Amanda,

i am very sorry that you are having such terrible dreams. But please know that by becoming conscious and aware of your fears, and even of your own past hurts, your baby will be safe from harm (both physical and psychological).

Your deep self is bringing traumatic images up into your mind, but your unconscious knows what it is doing in forcing you to face these images. My suspicion is that you were very severely hurt as a child.

But even if you were not overtly abused, it seems as if being a mom and seeing how tender and beautiful and innocent a child is you are completely horrified about how anyone could hurt a child. The answer may often be that people have been hurt and if they can’t heal from the past they recreate that pain in the next generation of kids.

The way we stop this is to be aware of our own hurts and stop the cycle through community, honesty, compassion and awareness of abuse and trauma.

Even if you were not hurt, so very many children are hurt that we could all stand to be horrified about that.

From a symbolic standpoint, in one dream your girl (who might symbolize your own child-self) is sawed in half. This is a crude way of separating her sexual parts from the rest of her. When kids are abused they often feel like they are being sawed in half, and they also sometimes experience floating out of their body, as if the hurt is happening to someone they are just watching (hence the “entertainment center”).

Being shot in the head may also be a symbol of putting an end to thinking, particularly to “bad” or painful thoughts and memories. We try to block out the horror, but actually we need to talk it through with someone who understands trauma, abuse and healing.

The intense realness of these dreams, the details and sensory memories also cause me to worry if you really were hurt when you were little. Of course it’s possible that you were emotionally hurt as a child and the intensity of that pain FELT like being abused.

Either way, if we can deal with the facts of our past hurts we do not scare our own babies. You are having bad dreams, but you wake up to find your baby safe and sound. Thank goodness for that.

I very much wish you safe days ahead, both in sleep and in being awake.


amanda September 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I appreciate u taking the time to talk to me, u hav no idea how much it means.
when i try to talk to people they tell me im crazy or i need help or even worse they think im not safe to be around. I am a great person, very loving and carring and im now emotional as well. U r ryt i hav had a horrible past life but i thot i had put all that behind me, i moved on got married and had a beautiful and wonderful lil girl whom i love dearly.
All this is making me feel like i AM going crazy, they just wont stop no matter wut i do. She’ll be two november and iv been having them since she was born.

Not only hav i had a pretty rough past life but my husbansd family has also put me thru a tremendous amount of stress, hurt, and bad problems; so i hav one more question for u…
And the question is: “do i need professional help and will these dreams ever EVER go away???


Bruce September 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Hi Amanda,

Although I suspected that you had been badly hurt, I’m very sorry to hear that this is the case.

As for your question, I do believe that these dreams will go away, but that talking them through and the abuse that has been re-triggered by having a child will free you of the bad dreams.

As for “needing” professional help, I would urge you not to think about it as a mark of being “crazy” or “wrong,” but instead frame it like this: you have been hurt as a child and you DESERVE compassion, understanding, healing and support from caring and competent humans who understand how to help people who have been mistreated.

If you can find someone who is a competent professional I would by all means speak with them as an act of love for your little girl. A healthy happy mom is a gift to any kids.

In addition to this I would encourage yoga or other Zen sorts of things as they can really help calm and quiet the mind. Read things by Thich Nhat Hahn for starters.

Finally, my own book “Privilege of Parenting” is not just a collection of blog posts, it is a separate work meant to help parents better understand themselves and their children no matter what the struggles may be, including the sort you have been through.

Trust that the spirit of others who have survived and healed from what you’ve been through will help you through, and then one day you’ll be helping those who must also make the hard journey into healing through these dark nights of the soul.

All Best Wishes


Jodie September 22, 2012 at 1:12 am

My 23 year old daughter just moved to London. I am having a recurring dream that keeps getting more horrifying every time I have it. At first I just was dreaming that she was missing, but every night the dream would get worse, I awaken with increasing feelings of horror and urgency, in the dream I suspect something terrible had happened. Now tonight I have awoken after a horrific nightmare that my daughter was in Chicago missing for a long time and I never did anything about it, now I find out that a serial killer is on the loose and they are finding young girls bodies, I see a map and I am struggling to see if I know the area. I am certain she is gone forever and everybody around me agrees-I feel destroyed


Bruce September 22, 2012 at 7:11 am

Hi Jodie,

I’m sorry you are being rattled by your unconscious, but perhaps better insight into this dream will end the nightmare.

The first way I would view this dream is as a tableau reflecting your fuller Self back to you. In this perspective you are your ego-self (a mother who cannot find her daughter) but you are also the daughter (the girl who has gone missing, which could symbolize that now, with a 23 year old daughter, you are no longer in the phase of the girl, solidly in middle age; I am too, so I get to say this without being rude :)

You would also be the “serial killer” in the dream, the unseen Shadow who carries dark power. In mythical terms this is the devilish fiend and in “real life” it might be the deeply disturbed criminal, but in psychological terms it is our unconscious, hurt and destructive Power.

In this perspective we might understand that the little girl must die so that the full and empowered woman can be born. This takes as long as it takes, but we do have a culture where growing up is much longer journey than in the old days.

I know you feel “destroyed,” but perhaps you are also being re-birthed in a new chapter?

To better understand this dream you must also contemplate London and Chicago more deeply for what they mean to you personally, and perhaps also what they signify for the collective.

Being Chicago born and bred myself, I find the city of big shoulders evocative of gangsters, prohibition, spirits and ghosts of Native Americans…

London, being a great world city spanning Druids, Roman conquest, Shakespeare, Dickens, Empire, War, Banking, Art and philosophy, is also where Sherlock Holmes plied his fictional sleuthing. In an intriguing fiction it has been suggested that Jack the Ripper stopped killing when Holmes appeared in the collective imagination, perhaps because Holmes (or his author) was the killer.

Facts in this sense are beyond my ken, but psychologically speaking this tracks nicely. It takes a thief to catch a thief; it takes a killer to catch a killer.

Rage is love made hungry. Perhaps deep down you, like almost all of us humans who want nothing more than to have love, family, community and safety, are nothing less than hurt that your little girl has grown up and moved away.

It is unacceptable sometimes to allow us to acknowledge that our hurt makes us angry. Thus your secret self becomes exaggerated into a full blown serial killer in your dream all because you can’t say to your daughter, “I love you so much it makes me sad and even angry when I have to miss you and worry about you.”

You are “struggling to see if you know the area” of your true Self. And you are in a profound transition. My vote is that after we build nests and they turn out empty, we might realize that we’ve built the ability to care and to love; even if your daughter doesn’t need the nest right now, your inner, lost, forgotten girl can benefit by being held lovingly in the space of your rising consciousness.

This might not be pleasant to think about, but as you do you will likely find the dreams evaporate… and before you know it you’re walking through the Tate Modern with your daughter and having lunch in London and the nightmare is transformed into waking, perhaps eternal, love.


Jodie September 26, 2012 at 4:21 am

Thank you Bruce, I believe you are correct. After reading and reflecting on your lovely response the nightmares have ceased. I had not thought of myself as the serial killer and I think your interpretation is correct. My (smothering)maternal instinct is screaming to keep her locked in the house where she can be safe:). My logical mind tells me that is wrong and I need for her to leave the nest and soar. What a conflict! Thanks again for giving me back a good night’s sleep.


Bruce September 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Jodie,

I am very happy to hear you have found relief from the nightmares. Perhaps this supports the importance of us parents connecting, and supporting each other through difficult transitions as a way of furthering our growth and coming together, by way of consciousness and compassion, to forge a gentler and safer world for us and all our collective children.

Warmest Regards


Agape September 24, 2012 at 1:17 am

I have 2 female children 9&7 years old. They mean everything to me. So it really upsets my whole life when I have these reoccurring dreams of them being sexually abused. I dream about them being violently taken from me or kidnapped by strange men to be sexually abused, I even have dreams of my husband sexually abusing his own children. It’s causing me to distance myself from him & not trust him.
I don’t see any signs of abuse in our household but I’m constantly looking for It. Sneeking in on them watching tv, watching how he handles them anytime he touches them. I never see anything unappropriate but these dreams have me paranoid. I wake up crying & scared all the time & I’m overly protective of my girls. I don’t know how to handle this.


Bruce September 24, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hi Agape,

They say “name is destiny,” and so we must start with Agape, which (as I’m sure you know, means Divine Love).

As is said in the New Testament:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
—John 3:16, KJV

(and “Love” is “Agapao” in the original)

The other side of Agape is Eros, which is desire. In myth this relates to the origin of humans (while Agape has to do with human transcendence, spirituality and higher Love/Consciousness).

As you might sense from reading comments and responses above, I would encourage you to think of the children in your dreams as the child part of yourself.

In this sense we see an inner split between the Shadow (the bad men with lust and poor boundaries) and the Puella (eternal child, innocent, pure, ever reborn, eternal).

In this sense we see your dreams trying to work out a relationship between the carnal/incarnate and the sacred/spirit.

To solve this dream you must commune with the inner devil, the abusers, asking them (if you can, while you are dreaming, otherwise in waking imagination), “I know you are a part of me, why are you hurting this other part of me? What is it you want me to do? Is this about me owning my power and your anger at me running away from this power? Have I tried too hard to be an angel and so I must accept my all too human sexual, dark and not-so-angelic aspect too? Have I been projecting that onto my husband and other men these days? Or is there real danger and I must do something to protect my real children?”

Make your Shadow YOUR Shadow, a baddass who works WITH you to keep you and your kids safe, but not a frightened accuser ready for a witch trial.

ON THE OTHER HAND, you must also review your life and what was happening for you when you were seven and nine. If you WERE abused, it’s time to do some more work around that with a professional to complete your healing, and to divide the past from the present so you can live and love happily now and trust your kids are safe.

Hope this helps & All Best Wishes


amanda September 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

thank u very much for listening and helping me understand u hav no idea how much i appreciate this and i jus want to say to evryone out ther that has these insanly horrifying night terrors and i dont kno y our brains let us see these horrible immages but jus remember they r not real and dont let them scare u. love your children and family as much as u can each day and let them kno evry single day just how much they mean to u necause wev all seen first hand jus how bad and scary thing can be and how fast it could be to loose sumone close to u. we all need to use this as a tool for our evry day life. these dreams SUCK royally but no mattr wut we are always gonna be stronger than sum crazy dream…

May there be peace to evryone out there and and may god please watch over our dearly loved ones!!!


Bruce September 26, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for your kind words, especially in the spirit of supporting other parents in the service of all our collective children.

All Best Wishes


E.E. September 28, 2012 at 7:10 am

I’m 7 months pregnant and I have a 10 month old baby girl. I’ve had lots of nightmares but last night’s was the worst. I dreamed we (my husband and I and the baby) had moved near the beach (we already live in Los Angeles) in a crowded neighborhood and early in the morning I’m walking outside on the patio awake because some loud neighbors are still up and partying. Suddenly a huge earthquake hits and as soon as it ends I see my brother (we were close when we were little but drifted because of an extremely abusive household- he became an alcoholic and I live across the country, so we don’t see each other now.) he walks up to me and I ask him if he’s been able to find or save anyone. He mentioned something about my cat and then shows me a minor cut on his hand and jokes about how he was injured. I’m terrified about my baby so I move past him and as I’m getting closer to where she is, the destruction worsens. There is debris and water blocking my way and it’s nearly impossible to climb over. I think I can hear her crying faintly as I enter my demolished home, but I can’t find her anywhere. Then the crying stops. I see a man with two young sons looking at me, they are on a roof above. They said they saw a baby being rescued by a man and that she looked happy (she always is) but I’m not sure I believe them, I think she is still there, in the debris. Then everything disappears and I’m alone, standing on a very narrow ledge over what looks like an endless well that opened during the earthquake and I wonder to myself, if any of that happened, or if it was some delusion I had because I am near death.


Bruce September 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

Hi E.E.,

I don’t know if you read through any of the other comments and responses, but if you do you will see that you are not alone in this sort of dream.

I this case I would view the situation as the unconscious conspiring to get your own self and your “brother self” back in contact (this might not need to happen in “real life” but it does need to happen in your inner psychology). You are trying to come to terms with the pain of the past, of childhood and hurt and abuse, and this felt like an earthquake and disaster when you were little. The destroyed house might symbolize the destruction of your self as a child, and the baby might symbolize your baby self who was both destroyed, but who was also rescued (by the you you have become now, the mother and the survivor and the more conscious and loving being). The endless well is a symbol of the despair of your very early childhood, the unremembered past.

The ledge is the line between being and non-being, reality and insanity (for we leave our bodies and float away, not just when we die, but when we are abused). The well is both the pit but it is also the wellspring of new birth, and alas you are pregnant, soon to birth the second child, which symbolically is also yourself in relationship to an older sibling.

You are also Mother earth, the earthquake, and you are the water, symbol of mother, feelings, tears and the unconscious. You are angry because you have been hurt, but you are also alive, safe and able to stare into the abyss and wonder what this life is all about.

None of us can say for sure, but we can give compassion to those who suffer, and accept compassion from those who love us, wherever they may be (i.e. even if they are ancestors, the spirits of those we carry in our hearts and minds, but who we team up with to love and protect not just our own children, but each others’ children too—this is the beginning of community, culture and true civilization).

In your dream you stand alone at the ledge, but when you share the dream you stand with all of us and you are not alone.

Warmest Regards


raychel trusty October 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

I had a dream last night that both my children where on a plane with a family member who I can’t remember who it was but the plane crashed but my kids survived but were trapped in some kind of big hole that was used for a underground business or something in not sure but I could see my other family member tied up but I couldn’t see my kids all I could hear is one of them crying which was my daughter she is 2 now and my son will b 4 but in my dream she was a baby n my son was two. I woke up a few times but when I went back to sleep the dream continued I just don’t know why I dreamed that it’s really not sitting well with me.


Bruce October 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Hi Raychel,

This strikes me as a dream about conflicting opposites (planes going up/crashing down and holes underground).

A “Plane” takes us to a higher level, but this could be symbolic of some depression you are struggling with; in this way your unconscious shows you what you are doing (going higher up), but it then crashes you back down.

Men who don’t want to grow up love getting away from mother earth, and so there is a bit of Peter Pan in all of us, male or female, and when we go crashing to Mother earth, and end up in a “hole” we are symbolically, possibly, talking about being back in the womb, or at least in a baby state of mind.

This is confirmed by your babies going back in time a couple of years in your dream. The children symbolize the child-self who you once were, and although you have gotten to the two and four stage, it sounds like you might have had some emotional crashes when you were a baby, up until around two.

The “family member” who gets “tied up” would be the part of you who feels trapped in the unconscious past. The past before we have memory, before we are around eighteen months old, is symbolically like a tangle of impressions and feelings.

I think these are coming into your consciousness in order to heal, and so that your past does not impact your kids (or “bring them down”).

Perhaps you can soothe your “baby self” by suggesting to her that even if childhood had some pain in it, now you are a good and capable mom and you can take loving care of this part of yourself, bringing her out of the “hole” of sorrow and loneliness and onto your loving conscious mind.

I know this is a disturbing dream, but if you meditate on it while imagining that you hold your own self as a baby on your lap or chest, perhaps the dream will evaporate and much better dreams, and happier waking life, might rise up to meet you.

All Best Wishes


Roxanne October 1, 2012 at 9:14 am


I Had an extremely disturbing dream of my son. Since I have had this dream I feel un easy and am un able to shake it.
My husband and I wre in a parking lot in broad daylight standing around , when suddenly my dream changed. It was dark and a family member came driving past in the car towing a bike with his child on the bike. He swerved and skidded and the next thing I knew the family member his son,my husband,my son and I were all hanging off the side of this cliff. My son could not hold on and suddenly let go. I heard him hit the bottom and give out a cry. I looked down and said I need to let go and see if I can make it to him as maybe he was still alive. The family member shrugged his shoulders as if to say hey I dont care. and that is when I woke up. I have been battling to get the thought of my sons cry and hitting the bottom out of my head for days now. My stomache turns each time I feel it, I feel very emotional about it as well.

Thank you.


Bruce October 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Hi Roxanne,

I notice how everything is fine, and then suddenly dark and scary. This makes me wonder about how your childhood might have felt to you. Being pulled on a bike is like a childhood out of control, and then off a cliff says a whole family in danger, but the child part of you falls, is not protected—that child part of you is crying out in your dream for you to become conscious about it, which is how you can heal the impact of the past.

Perhaps, once upon a time, it was you who couldn’t “hold on” and now you are trying to give emotional security to your own kids when you might not have benefited from as good parenting as you are now providing.

The key is to realize that your children are not in danger of falling off cliffs or being pulled around on bikes—and in fact the “bad guy” who shrugs “Hey I dont care” is also a part of our own self, in psychological terms.

Of course real hurt helps make these Shadow figures menacing, but love and the light of consciousness will tend to transform the suffering (and stop the cycle as it ripples through our families until compassion and love might bring it to a close).

Imagine talking to this Shadow figure, suggesting that you know they say they don’t care, so they must have felt like no one cared about them. Now you can do the caring, about those who have hurt you and those you want to protect.

We don’t need to be terribly powerful to do this, more like conscious and perhaps lovingly connected with community, with those who actually care (as you can’t stop people from caring about children, as it’s a private feeling).

Hope this helps


Roxanne October 1, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Hi Bruce

Thank you very much for replying.
This has helped me tremendously.
I am on a spiritual journey at the moment where I am trying to discover myself and what my purpose in life is.

The help you have given me is greatly appreciated and its great to know that there are people out there as yourself who are willing to help.

Hope you have an amazing day.



Bruce October 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm

And thanks so much for your kind words back, Roxanne—I hope your days, and your spiritual journey, will prove amazing too.

Warmest Regards, Bruce


Geetika October 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I dreamt of wild dog following my 4 year old,suddenly a miracle happens and my boy was protected by bunch of cows,all cows joined their legs and all dogs were standing aside…..I was thankful to cows in dream…..


Bruce October 4, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Hi Geetika,

Perhaps the wild dog symbolizes your “animal” aspect in terms of hunting, devouring, related to wolves (and “wolf suits” as in “Where the Wild Things Are”)—the part of you that might have unconscious aggressive feelings toward your child, but more likely toward your own child-self, the part of you who you were when you were four (maybe something “bad” happened to you at that age, a wild dog sort of person might have scared or injured you?).

The cows might represent the alliance of powerful mothers. In your dream the inner mother becomes a herd that protects the child from danger.

This is a good dream, and you might like to throw the dog a bone and tell it that it must go back to being man/boy’s best friend, because if it doesn’t it’s going to be in trouble with the mommies.

At the collective level, I love this dream as it says that the feminine principle is indeed coming together to stand strong against the lone wolf masculine principle where it’s every dog for himself. As the mothers rise (the cow jumping over the moon in “Goodnight Moon”) the children are safe and the dogs will just have to deal with it.

Best Wishes


Louisa Mart October 9, 2012 at 2:25 am

Hi Bruce,

I wondered if you could interperate 2 recurring dreams for me.

The first i go to collect my child from school the class she’s actually in now and notice the left side of her face and neck are badly bruised and she cant talk. Realising no-one has bothered to contact me i drive her to hospital where she has a broken gaw, i have the police called in along with media as no-one can offer and explanation to why my child is hurt, when it happened and why i wasn’t contacted. i then withdraw both my children from the school and wake up.

The second dream is there’s a knock at the door, i go to open it and a man forces his way in and while im screaming for help, as my girls are sleeping only yards away he plunges a screw sriver into my left side under my armpit into my ribs as he does this i wake up.

After these dreams i have an overwhelming urge to go check on the girls and see if there ok

Thank you



Bruce October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Hi Louisa,

If we consider the different people in the dream as symbolic of different parts of yourself, then you have your child self injured on her “left” side (left as in abandoned or rejected). Your parent self is able to see the injury when no one else paid attention (suggesting that in your past you might have felt both neglected and hurt, and then neglected about your hurts). You have the media and police called (the part of you that are the authorities, and the public eye) and this shows your wish to be seen and to have justice.

In the second part the bad guy (who, symbolically, was the one who hurt your kid in the first part) shows up face to face and now HE hurts your own “left” side, with a screwdriver (phallic object connected with “screw”).

Your unconscious is pushing you to be conscious about your hurts in the past and to confront the Shadow. The bad guys are now older and weaker men and you and your child are safe, in reality. Your unconscious is also having you confront your own power. This “bad guy” part of you needs a little rehabilitation, as it has power, and has “tools” but needs to use them to build and to contribute rather than to hurt or abuse.

My hope is that you will feel more empowered as you think about this dream as an inner landscape. Consider dialogue with the scary guy and see what he says he really wants (most likely he wants you to own your power and he can disappear like shadows after you turn the full lights on).

Warmest Regards


Tina October 9, 2012 at 9:40 am

HI Bruce,
I find your analysis of dreams very interesting and insightful.
I had a terrifying dream last night where I woke up sobbing. This is not usual for me. I would be very interesting to hear your interpretations.

I was driving with my daughter who is now 8 (but I think she might have been 6 in the dream) to get something to eat for dinner. I was sort of in two countries at the same time, where I live now and where I grew up. My daughter said she was not hungry but wanted a blackberry smoothie. We went to this little store owned by a husband and wife, where they make the smoothies. Suddenly, my husband was in my dream and told the man to add banana chips and something else to the smoothie. I was annoyed at him for interfering (he did not appear in my dream again). My daughter drank some of the smoothie then went outside to the garden.

I drank some of the smoothie too and then the store owner told me that since my daughter was dying of cancer, he put poison nightshade in the drink to spare her suffering. He said I would now die too since I also drank the drink.

I started to feel sleepy and went outside to find my daughter. It was a warm fall day. She said to me “Mama, I feel sleepy”. I asked her if she wanted to go to bed and cuddle up. Shes replied “yes Mama. Can you read me a book”? I told her I did not know if we would have time to read a book but that we would got to bed and cuddle up.

She then grasped my hand and we walked toward the house (The shop somehow turned into our house). Then as we walked, the saddest music started playing, like at the ending of a terribly sad movie.

The part of this dream that was so traumatic for me was walking inside to die together, my innocent little girl who did not know, her sweet little voice and the fact that I could not protect her. The reason I think she is only 6 in the dream is because now she doesn’t ask me to read books to her very often, she prefers to read them alone.

Thank you.


Bruce October 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Hi Tina,

Here you are dealing with something related to when you were 6. Obviously you love your child, but in symbolic terms you have cast mother and daughter in Romeo and Juliet—the child and the woman cannot be forever in love across the “two countries” (of childhood and adulthood). Bananas are possibly phallic symbols, thus “chips” that could be in cookies or on shoulders, get tossed into the “smooth” yet “night shaded” (i.e. still cloaked in the darkness of the unconscious). You die together, having gone into the “garden” symbol of nature, beginnings, paradise…

The “read me a book” might be related to the unconscious wish to have your child remain little (as it is sad to let them grow up, but it all works itself out over time and we fall in love anew with the child in her new capacities).

The sad music is your unconscious helping you access your tears, as it is better to cry and feel than to be “dead” to our feelings.

Having “cancer” is scary, but could also relate to cancer in the zodiac, which is symbolic of Mother and Home, thus you unconscious might be working overtime to keep you and your child self together… in a sad way, in order to illustrate, and encourage you to resolve the tears (probably some sort of loss related to age six) of the past and, like Wendy in Peter Pan, come back to reality and grow up (but in our version you take your child, Peter Pan as a girl, back with you).

Symbolically, the girl has to die so the woman can be born. Perhaps you are resisting the full growing up that your unconscious is suggesting you are ready to do.

Hope this helps


Tina October 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

HI Bruce,
What incredible insights! i will have to ponder this deeply to see if I can unearth any of the unconscious desires, thoughts and feelings that you elucidate in your analysis. Thank you, this is most interesting. Also interesting to me was that in writing down my dream here, I felt liberated from its sadness. Tina


Bruce October 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

HI Tina,

Yes, I mostly try to encourage creative and healing thinking about the imagery of our dreams, the value in taking it seriously and accepting that it can have many meanings and no “right” answer. Certainly “writing” can be healing in creating both narrative (i.e. meaning in terms of sequencing, relating elements to each other, just as we strive to relate to each other and the world) and a sense of containing or holding the contents (consciously) so they need not ramble around so hard below deck, much less sink us or spill over onto others.

Glad to hear you felt liberated from this particular sadness.


Paula October 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I keep having these awful dreams which always involve my 3 year old son dying the worst possible way. Last night’s dream was that my son and I were at a clothing store and he climbed this clothing rack that I guess was something like a ladder, so when I noticed him up there I ask him to come down carefully and as he is taking that 1st step down he misses it falling down head first; now he has busted his head open and there is just blood accumulating around him; after I see this I just know he is dead and I immediately wake up and see him sound asleep next to me. This is just one of many recurring dreams, they are all about him dying either how I described before or falling on his back and breaking his neck. why do I have these awful dreams?
Thank you


Bruce October 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Hi Paula,

View your kid in these dreams as symbolic of your own self at 3. A clothes rack is symbolic of costumes and masks, the image we put on to deal with the world (in contrast to our truest selves). The Ladder might symbolize rising, or in this case descending, consciousness.

You are being led backward down the ladder of your memories to three, when you were “hurt in your head” (i.e. either physically or with painful thoughts/emotions/experiences). In other dreams the kid’s “back” is hurt, confirming the sense that “back” is in the past. Finally, the neck is what connects, or separates, brain and heart.

You are struggling to realize how hurt you were in the past. You must both think about it (i.e. fully realize it) and you must FEEL it, which is painful, but also it is how we heal.

You need compassion, from yourself, and from others, and you will heal and grow less haunted by the pain of the past.

Or so I hope


Amy October 12, 2012 at 6:31 am

Hi, I’ve read through all the other posts and I can see how you arrive at your interpretations. I keep having the same type of night mare about son who will be 2 this December. All of them involve water, sometimes he’s running off a cliff in water, sometimes we are in car that crashes into water, sometimes the ground beneath our feet just turns into water. But it’s always water and one of us always dies, sometimes me, sometimes him, but ne’er both of us and both of us never live.

When I was kid growing I always had night terrors and they always in loved water too. My night terrors finally went away right before I left for the army and now they are back ever since I had my son. Is my subconscious reverting back to my childhood terrors because I have a child?


Bruce October 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Amy,

Perhaps we can look at the three major elements here: mother, child, water.

The child comes from the mother just as the mother came from her mother (the Ocean or Water as Great Mother) and thus we have Great Mother as super-mom or source of life.

In your dream you face a dilemma: you cannot live as both a child and a grown-woman at the same time… except IN the water (in the womb you are one with mother; in the deep unconscious we ARE the water and here we contain all life, all possibility). Men tend to be black and white thinkers (hence computers with their zero or one “thinking”); yet we are arriving at a new science where at least sub-atomic particles can be two places at once, or in two states of being at once).

This, in my view, is a “feminine” sort of consciousness. Thus it fascinates me that you are a mom who served in the army (you’re tougher than myself, i imagine—and hat’s off to you). Your nightmares subsided when you were in the army, perhaps because you were part of a big collective group and you didn’t have to deal on an individual level with decisions, trusting in the chain of command. That works for war and for competing, but it doesn’t work for love and for mothering.

You slipped in your typing and wrote “always in loved water,” perhaps revealing that you fear water and also love it. I wonder how life was for you when you were two (did dad leave mom at that time? Did Grandma pass away swamping mom with sadness? did someone in your family literally drown?) Whatever the “facts” might have been, your feeling was best symbolized by water and drowning.

You are struggling to be conscious, thus it might help to imagine yourself on a beach, staring out a the vast ocean while holding your baby-self on you lap. Pretend you can talk to the ocean, maybe saying, “I respect you in your vastness and know that you are the part of me I cannot contain, control or understand. I am thankful to exist and I am thankful to have a baby. But you have been scaring me and killing me all my life and I recognize that you are my most powerful part, something I cannot control, something that wants to share Her power and wisdom with me. I love you, but I am afraid. Can you please tell me what you want me to know that I do not yet recognize, for if you truly wanted me dead I’d already be dead and I’m open to learn and respect you.”

If the ocean will talk back, in your imagination, maybe you will learn a secret about yourself. Maybe you will grow more powerful, safe and this will be a good thing for your baby and for all of us, since we share the world, and the oceans, and we need to treat nature a little better, I suspect—the nature that is not just in the forest or at sea, but that nature you see when you gaze softly enough into the mirror.

At the very least you can honestly say, to the scared child within, that whatever childhood was about, you are tough and loving and a good protector and your inner child will live at least as long as you live—and happily too, if you have anything to say about it.

All Best Wishes


Amy October 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I do love the water and I’m terrified of it at the same time. My son also loves the water and had no fear, he just runs right in. A lot of what you said was really right on with me, I love structure and discipline and schedules, which is why I loved being in the military and I feel lost with out it. My parents divorced when I was in 6th grade but they fought a lot before the divorce. A lot of what you mentioned made me realize things that I hadn’t connected to this before but it makes sense. Thank you so much! Hopefully this will work it all out.


Bruce October 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Hi Amy,

I really hope it all does work out for you and your son—and that your dreams and waking life both become, and remain, peaceful.

Warmest Regards


Vanessa October 15, 2012 at 8:35 am

It’s seems that every time I have a nightmare I somehow end up at my first home, which happens to be my mother’s house. (This is not how my nightmare starts) I am at a place where I have come to all my life, in dreams, that is. I come here to “vacation” I know this place because if I want to get there I have to go through the Open Sea. I can only float there and when I do I am terrified because the water is one of my greatest fears. I HATE THE OCEAN. I don’t even swim in pools. Anyhow every time I have to float through the water, the waves are so ridiculously dangerous. There’s always a high tide and it make me feel like I could drown any second. I always notice that floating along with me are old pieces of furniture and things of that nature. When I finally make it to my destination it’s usually because I have drowned. I wake up in my dream from a dream only to realize I am living in my mother’s house. UH-oh. Nightmare begins. There is a small room which, when, I open it becomes the entrance to the ocean part of my dream. There it is. The Ocean that I just drowned in…a door away. After coming in and out of that door I find myself looking at the clock on the wall. I think it say’s 4:03 but when I look closer it’s actually 5:30…I run out the door because I am so late to pick up my eldest son. (I have 3 kids but they r not part of my dream) I’m already worried because I fear he might still be at the school or he might have been taken by child protective services. As I run down the stairs I notice lots of kids on the opposite side of the street. I even see my youngest child and completely disregard him because he was not a part of my dream. As I am walking toward the school (which happens to be my old Middle school) I realize I can’t call the school because I don’t know the number. Then …My son is right in front of me walking away from me very “zombie” like. I say his name and hug him. I ask him why he didn’t ring the bell and he say’s he did but I didn’t open the door. Then a little girl from his class say’s to me. He isn’t on drugs or anything. His eye’s are like that because he has been crying. I look at him and he looks just awful. She say’s he had to do something with a man. Then my dream turns into a panic attack that I couldn’t wake up from. He said “a man made me have sex with him. He touched me and violated me” I start crying and freak out. Hating myself for being so late and call the police. The police tell me there’s nothing they can do and give me an appointment for a week later to come and talk to me. I cry holding my son as I check him and just before he could show me his body I wake up in tears.

I hope that you can help me out with this horrible nightmare. As I said when I see myself in my mom’s place I know it’s gonna turn out bad. But this time I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I hate myself for having this kind of a dream.


Bruce October 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Hi Vanessa,

Your “first house” could be symbolic of your mother’s womb. My instinct here is that your mother carries (or carried) unresolved trauma, thus even being “in her house” was a difficult place to be.

While I’d not want to put too much into astrology, the “first house” in that way of thinking is the house of the self. Thus we all start out in the first house, it’s just a little different for each of us—and before we’re complete we all have to make our way around the wheel of experience.

You get to this first house through the ocean, which is the Great Mother and also symbolic of the unconscious. If you read the other comments and dreams above you will find a lot of water imagery; this might help you realize that you are not alone.

The ocean can also be the salty veil of tears. Think of Alice drowning in her own tears in “Alice in Wonderland” once she grows small (i.e. regresses to a baby state where her own feelings are too much for her). If your mom’s feelings were too much for her, then your feelings would be too much for her also, and they would remain too much for you. And then you become a parent and are desperate to grow solid enough to protect and contain and love your own kids… and hence these dreams, this seeking help, healing in the service of our children.

The bits of furniture might symbolize the brokenness that were your childhood feelings. A bit like Noah and the flood, all is wiped out by the great rising tide of Mother Ocean.

You “drown” to end up in mother’s house. Think T.S. Eliot in “Prufrock”:

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

lots to glean from such poetry…

But perhaps the beach is that place between unconscious and conscious. For you it might be a door in your mother’s house that leads to the ocean of our collective feelings, myths, memories, loves and pains…

You go in and out of that door, as if incarnating multiple times. But the clock is the signifier of the Father: Father Time.

4:03 and 5:30 seems to be dealing, possibly, with ages, in both cases dropping backward. Perhaps at four something happened to you, and then you felt like a “zero” obliterated by hurt. Perhaps you then regressed to three, or wishing you could be three again, before the bad thing happened. At five you might still be wishing to go back to three, or the wish for zero—for non-being when being hurts so badly.

But this prompts you to “wake up” to your kids, to think of them and their future instead of yourself and your past. This is the healing impulse. Your love for your children will indeed wake you up and it will heal and transform you.

You don’t need no parenting expert for this, you only need love and understanding. That is what we all need, and that is what our kids all need and that is exactly what we have in our tattered hearts and up our torn sleeves.

You run “down the stairs” meaning you go deliberately toward lower consciousness, but not off a cliff or into the sea, in a step by step manner that you can handle.

You see lots of kids across the street. This is because so many of our collective kids are in this situation of hurt, risk, vulnerability. This is why parents are coming together to help each other care about all the kids. The collective idea of caring is not political, or economic, or social… it is the realm of the Great Mother inside every parent, if only the veil of hurt can soften and drop away.

This is the call to the hero’s journey, but men tend to puff up and try to be the hero, women form a circle and get down to actual helping and protecting.

You go for the oldest but disregard the youngest (in a sense YOU are the oldest kid so you must be sure to not forget the actual kids you have when you are awake, they are the “youngest”– but you realize, unconsciously, that you can’t help the youngest if the oldest/yourself is not safe and okay.

“Middle school” might also mean that new learning is in order for you, and it is in the middle between parent and child, the ocean of hurt that you must deal with. Try not to “hate the ocean” respect her and love her and let her teach you how to become one with her, then you can never drown as the ocean does not drown.

The Zombie thing I have more to say about here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2011/09/28/zombies-on-the-couch/

“Ringing the bell” is a symbol of call to prayer, of liberty, of enlightenment… your child did ring the bell, the little Buddha, you just had not heard (for the roar of the ocean can be deafening).

You had not “opened the door” to the heart place where all healing must occur. Thus you have to let that child who is you, and who has cried a river and an ocean of tears, into your heart, the Vanessa’s Ark of your very own soul.

The child looks awful. You bear witness. This is essential, you do not turn away from witnessing the hurt.

Here we get to sexual abuse. So whether you experienced this, or your mom did and you never knew it, but somehow DID know it in your unconscious (ask her, maybe she’ll validate what you’ve always known, and suffered in secret bonded shame with your mom. If we’re right it will liberate you and heal your relationship with your mom).

If you were abused, you were also not protected and this has to be healed. I get the sense that your unconscious is ready for therapy. Thus the cop gives you an appointment to “come and talk” in a week. The cops are also you, the authority part of you who can hook you up with the part of you who needs to talk this all through as an act of love for your children.

I know this all hurts, but it is becoming conscious, which is the opposite of things having to be acted out.

I hope this helps and I send you Healing Wishes


Bruce October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Felina writes (but left at “blog roll” so I moved it here):

Hi i keep havin dreams of my 4 year old.. Ive dreamt thats he gets knocked down by a red car and last night i dreamt he fell up some stairs and when ive gone to pick him up his left side of his face is all caved in and he’s died.. Please help i dont why i keep dreamin of this of my son when ive 7 of them..Am not worried about any of them this has been happening for over a year now thankyou..xx

Hi Felina,

I would think about life when you were four. A red car might symbolize something big and perhaps angry (red) that hurt you. Falling “up” some stairs is unusual, and suggests moving to higher, or more, consciousness—in contrast to being knocked unconscious by blunt trauma or by emotional or other trauma. The “left side” of his face is injured (left as in abandoned possibly?).

Having 7 kids is a lot of work, perhaps there is something about that 4 year old that most reminds you of yourself. In any case, try to imagine the hurt child in the dream as a way that the unconscious is telling you that you have been hurt.

Work on imagining that the child did not die (for she lived to be a mom of 7), and try to picture holding that hurt kid and soothing them, protecting them and truly understanding how they feel. Do this before going to sleep (hopefully it will end the bad dreams); consider seeking some sort of help for the trauma of the past, but even if you can’t find time/money for that, perhaps when you feel sad, scared or unsupported you can picture this 8th child that you love and parent in your imagination.

Besides being a nice thing to do for yourself, if you do it consistently for a few months you may find it makes a lasting difference in how you feel

All Best Wishes, Bruce


Shawna July 30, 2014 at 6:09 am


I am writing cause I read some dreams and they don’t seem to help me figure this out and I’m starting to become very terrified by my dreams. My youngest daughter 12 years old and I have a very close bond. She is very outgoing and loves to get to know people and help them. She is just a sweetheart. Last week I had a reoccurring dream of her going to a birthday party and being kidnapped and her being hurt in ways I cannot describe on the web. It was so real and I couldn’t wake up. I finally found her in my dream but couldn’t do anything to take away her experience or save her. This went on for days and I began to let her go with me everywhere including work. Finally the dream stopped and now a new one has began. She is at a friends house with me and for no reason she ran into the street as I screamed no come back here a car hit her. She tried to get up and I tried to run to her and it just got more and more real. The blood the facial expressions and I woke up crying and not able to breathe again. I can’t find any sources to help me understand these dreams. My husband and friends think I’m crazy and reading too much into things but I’ve never had a dream like these before. Please help.


Bruce July 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Hi Shawna,

You say you read some of the dreams, but truly if you read some more, carefully:




you will certainly get some ideas about your own dream.

A couple of hints: think about life when you were 12. The child in the dream might be a symbol of yourself, and about how you feel (or have not fully come to terms with) about hurts from the past.

The people who hurt your child self, in your dreams, might symbolize your own destructive aspects. This is forbidden in conscious awareness, and so becomes a sort of monster in our sleep.

All of these horrible images are just being made up by your mind. They do not predict danger for your child (unless you neglect your kid, in which case it could be a warning to stop living in your own fear and pay attention to your actual child, who you love, but who is not yourself).

Your reaction to take her to work might give us the hint that you don’t want her to grow up and separate from you, and so you unconsciously aggress against her in your sleep, and then use this to demand she stay close with you in waking life. This could end up being more about needing your child to be your companion than it is about needing to protect her from real danger (only you can assess if she is in actual danger).

While our dreams can give us insight into what we are thinking and feeling, and even remind us to deal with our own past hurts, just because your mind imagines something terrible does not mean it is going to happen. This might be more about anxiety and your own hurts than about any future danger (hopefully, thankfully).

Maybe if you dream something bad again, trust that it is probably (hopefully) a dream and see if you can’t just tell yourself, in the dream, that it is just a dream. If you can do that you can stop the drama and change the scene to safety and a happy dream. This may seem beyond your control, but it’s really just your mind making the nightmare so your mind, if more aware of itself, can make a good dream instead. Then you can work on having a happy waking life, and dealing with the bittersweet feelings that kids growing up brings to every parent.

Good Luck and Sweet Dreams


stephy September 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Hi I was wondering why I keep having dreams about my child’s father stealing her from my house and I go to search for her and can’t find her…

I’ve also had dreams of me showing up to a school to find her and found all these babies in different rooms but not her….

I’ve had a dream about her twin. That I lost in August and my ex (their father took them)

I was abused twice with him in six months and had one miscarriage … What do these dreams mean.. .



Bruce September 23, 2014 at 10:24 pm

HI Stephy,

As noted above: Please Note that I will no longer be able to personally interpret dreams as they arrive, however I have organized the many dreams below into a more searchable structure. Please click over to this Guide to Bad Dreams About Our Children: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/a-guide-to-bad-dreams-about-our-children/

from there you can search by category, and that will lead you to threads of dreams organized by age of children and hopefully you will find some similar dreams and some ways of thinking about your own dream that will be helpful to you.

So, please read through the posts, dreams and comments, particularly on children being abused, and on children being kidnapped.

I’m sorry you have had abuse and trauma, and it might be wise to seek some help to heal that. In the meantime if you take some effort to read other dreams you will get ideas about your own, and also see that you’re not alone.

Certainly wishing you better dreams and a better waking life too


karen December 11, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I am a dream that both of my girls has been kidnap this what happen I was in the car I got out there where gone call the school there where at school them they went to after care the aan in his 50 pick them up I don’t know who the man where but I was scared and could not find them I don’t no what that mean plz


Bruce December 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm

HI Karen,

Please Note that I will no longer be able to personally interpret dreams as they arrive, however I have organized the many dreams below into a more searchable structure. Please click over to this Guide to Bad Dreams About Our Children: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/a-guide-to-bad-dreams-about-our-children/

from there you can search by category, and that will lead you to threads of dreams organized by age of children and hopefully you will find some similar dreams and some ways of thinking about your own dream that will be helpful to you.

All Best Wishes & Sweet Dreams


Elizabeth March 22, 2017 at 7:40 pm

I don’t have any children, in fact I’m pretty young and don’t really plan on having any in the future but I had this dream one night ago that has left me thinking that it might mean something important where I was in a small supermarket and I had a baby in a carriage and I would keep it close to me which leads me to think that it was probably mine and this violent man was trying to take it and was so scared and mad and he was even following me but he wouldn’t run he was just walking behind me and I would yell “leave my baby alone!” “It’s baby” “stop” and I felt anxious and scared but I was really protecting that baby. Any ideas what it might mean?


Bruce March 23, 2017 at 6:55 am

Hi Elizabeth,

Please see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2016/09/23/what-our-nightmares-about-our-children-could-mean/

you might also benefit from reading some the original post and some of the comments about nightmares where children are abused,


but the key thing to consider is whether you are working out feelings through symbolizing the mean part of yourself (we all have one) or if you are struggling with a past history of being hurt in waking life.

Perhaps the reason you don’t plan on having children is that your own experience as a child was painful? Even if you don’t have kids you may still grow up to take loving care of those who did not ask to be born and suffer in a world where we humans get freaked out by our own brains and then hurt other humans rather than waking up to something kinder

Certainly wishing you all the best asleep and awake


Magdalena October 18, 2012 at 8:22 am

I was reading about people dreams and there children. I didnt really get the answer I was hoping for. I had the worst nightmare about my 2 children. I was wanting to know if someone out there could give me an answer on the meaning of my dream.
I dreamed that I walked away from my car and my son and daughter were in the car. An officer walked up to the car and said ill move it. I felt this funny feeling in the pit of my stomach and told him the car was fine and the kids were ok. As I was walking towards my car. He got in and started to drive away with my kids. I freaked out and went after the car. Next thing I new I was talking to the police about my kids missing. I found myself at the dog track looking for them. I found a clue that they were there. The whole time I could hear my daughter calling out for me. I found myself picking up some change and I said that was my daughters money. I remember saying im getting closer to her. Then I found myself in a pool with water surrounding me and all I could say was I know im getting closer to you. mommies coming and I woke up crying and my daughter was laying next to me in my bed. I grabbed her and ran to my sons room and he was there tossing and turning in his sleep. I felt as if I failed them in my dream cause I never found them. Wehn I took them to school this morning I didnt want to let them go. I felt as if they werent going to return. Can some one help me on trying to figure out the meaning of my dream? Thank you for all your help and reading about my dream.


Bruce October 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hi Magdalena,

Perhaps the car symbolizes your own self and the walking away from it, and your kids symbolizes how you are struggling to stay with parenting sometimes, especially to set limits. I say this because the cop comes and offers to “move your car” maybe meaning that your inner authority figure shows up, but turns out to be a Shadow figure—powerful but untrustworthy regarding your inner children.

Your Shadow takes control, and that is symbolic for losing your temper possibly, but the Shadow self “wants” the children. As hard as parenting is, as soon as we are separated from our kids we desperately want to get them back and protect them.

You go searching for you inner children and it leads to the dog track. Perhaps this symbolizes the animal part of yourself (and also, dog spelled backward could hint at the spiritual aspect of your natural self).

Your inner kid is calling out to you, to be aware of her. You “pick up change” which is both money/something of value, but also to become different or change ourselves.

You “get closer to her” which is physically close, but also emotionally and psychologically closer. Then you are in water, symbol of the mother, feelings and the unconscious.

You are going into the past, the unconscious and the relationship between past hurts, natural instincts and your own power (the cop self). By realizing that you must heal the pain of the past, you may start to have a better relationship with your inner cop self, kid self, money and even animal selves to become the mom and person you would have been, perhaps, if you were parented by someone like yourself who is so committed to keeping your children safe.

All Best Wishes


Hanna October 18, 2012 at 8:26 am

Hi, everyone. I just had some awful dreams about my three week old son. In the first dream he got hurt in a mall when a man was trying to shoot people. He was breathing the whole time but he was bleeding from his diaper…I can’t explain it but I could never seem to get him help. It was the most helpless feeling I’ve ever felt. I just felt that he wouldn’t make it but thankfully I woke up. The next dream, I was at my friends house and all of a sudden he started to turn purple because he wouldn’t breathe. He did it twice while I was waiting for an ambulance. I don’t understand why I’m dreaming about him almost dying. It’s scaring me though.


Bruce October 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Hi Hanna,

It sounds like having a newborn is possibly triggering deeply held body memories about what it might have been like for you as a newborn. We see the Shadow figure here as a shooter in a mall, the collective place. Bleeding from the diaper suggests trauma in that area of the body (possibly sexual; and a man with a gun and a baby bleeding in the diaper is a very horrible thought indeed).

While I’m not suggesting that you were abused, I am suggesting that being a baby for you may have felt like being very helpless (as we are all helpless when newly born).

Another take on this is that having just given birth, you may have had some bleeding and pain in that region and you may unconsciously feel like the baby hurt you by being born. This is nature, but perhaps your birth experience had some trauma involved and you are trying to work it out in your dream life.

There are no right or definitive answers in dream interpretation, but if you think about all the aspects as aspects of yourself (including the purple faced one who is not breathing, again making me wonder if baby, or you as a baby had any cord issues or incidents of trouble breathing) you will likely have insights into what YOU are feeling and thinking, and if you get it right in your own opinion the bad dreams generally become better.

All Best Wishes


Kelly October 21, 2012 at 6:10 am

I have had 2 of these dreams within the past year. In last nights dream my 4 year old daughter was climbing on a chair in my mother’s breakfast area and I reached to grab her and to get her down. I had her ankle and she fell to the right and I could not catch her. My mother was standing there and didn’t help and my daughter hit the floor and her head exploded and her brains came out. I screamed out for my brother who died years ago and picked my daughter up and was holding her and running upstairs to the bedroom I grew up in.

I had a similar dream months before I can’t remember the location but my mothers was there and it needed same way. It is horrible to see this and feel it. I wake up and just hold my child.

Background info that maybe helpful, my brother died years ago from falling out of a truck and hitting his head on the street and same results as my dream.

Thank you for your help.


Kelly October 21, 2012 at 6:59 am

One more thing I just remembered that happens in dream. After my daughter hits her head my mom always says see there u go.


Bruce October 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Hi Kelly,

Firstly I am so terribly sorry that you lost your brother, and in such a tragic and horrible way. I am also sorry that your mother has not been comforting to you, but perhaps this dream offers a chance for profound healing for you and maybe even for you and your mom.

The meaning of this dream might be that your four-year-old symbolizes your own self as a young child. I don’t know if you were four when your brother died (I sense you were older for that tragedy), but I would imagine that some other trauma (perhaps of less obvious magnitude) did happen when you were four.

Something like parents splitting up, the death of a grandparent, a move or an injury might make sense. The key might be realizing that at four you were trying to grow up and be a bigger girl (thus the symbol of the chair) and when you did you “fell to the right” (in other words you were “right” or “correct” but mother did not cushion the blow).

Brains coming out of course relates to the trauma with your brother, but it is also symbolic for the loss of mind, for the sudden inability to think when thinking puts us face-to-face with a reality that is too much for us.

When trauma is overwhelming, we stop thinking, we stop being fully in our bodies, and we become immobilized.

Mom saying “there u go,” is also your symbolic inner mother/critic voice shaming you, telling you that if you try for anything (getting up on the chair, also symbolic of stepping up to higher consciousness, toward grown-up consciousness; perhaps also symbolic of striving to achieve something) you will lose, get hurt and mom will just be there to say “I told you so.”

The dream also now casts you as the mother of the child who is hurt, and this gives you the opportunity to realize that your mom might not be uncaring so much as she is still in shock and horror at the loss of her son. She may secretly blame herself for his death (which is not fair, but our minds can go there) and then she may feel like the best thing she can do for her beloved surviving children is to stay remote. The (however illogical) reasoning is that she thinks she causes the trouble, so “not touching” (i.e. being close, taking action) might seem like the way to protect you from her imagined bad luck or bad energy or something.

This is all so tragic. Your brother’s death cannot be undone, but your mom’s healing and self-forgiveness, and your own healing and forgiveness of your mom (and of yourself) might help the family heal.

At least it might help stop the nightmares, as your daughter is ok and our anxiety is often about imagining the past as the inevitable future. Being conscious about how you have been traumatized (maybe a little therapy focused on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) might really help free you up of the past and allow you to grow, love and feel safer in the reality of your current life.

Certainly Wishing You the Best


Kelly October 24, 2012 at 3:56 am

Thank you so much for your words and help. Blessings!


Diana October 22, 2012 at 3:53 am

Hi Bruce! Thank you for your help :). I just had a dream and I cant go back to sleep. I was on a very high blue bridge at least 1000 feet over water. On the bridge with me was my mom, my boyfriend and my daughter from a previous marriage. In my dream we are walking across in a straight line and my boyfriend is helping my daughter with her fear of crossing.

He leads her in front of me, lets go of her hand and as I am watching my daughter cross i see a broken piece of wood on the floor. I go to grab my daughter but its too late. I watched her fall all the way down.

Surprisingly enough, I felt like I was semi conscious in my dream because i could hear myself think and i still knew i was sleeping. So as she was falling i didnt wake u because i kept telling myself it was a dream and she.is right next to me. when my daughter hits the water, she doesnt even dunk in because her diaper is helping her float. She even said mommy arent you coming? So i jumped in and remembered being alive but when i was trying to save her and swim we both started sinking.

Before i could wake up my dream starts over from the part where she falls off the bridge. This time i jump in after right before she hits the bottom. My dream starts over again from the same point. This time I jumped in immediately after her, caught her in the air on the way down and talking to her telling her whats happening and what we are going to do. I cradled her under me in fetal position told her.i would tell her when to hold her breath and we hit the water. We dunked in and i saw us coming back up but the feeling my body had when we hit that water was so real i woke up in sweat.

My daughter will be seven next month. The first time she fell she looked about 3 in diapers but she wasnt scares when she fell. Second time she was a little older and a little more scared. The third time she was like she is now and she was terrified.

Can you please help interpret this dream? Thank you!


Bruce October 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hi Diana,

Firstly, I would encourage you to notice the brilliant and loving way in which you deal with this dream—as you are having it, and after waking. In other words you are completely devoted to your child and your love, courage and commitment bodes well for your daughter and for yourself.

To explain… (which is what men do, but keep in mind it’s not as healing as what moms do: which is jump off bridges to rescue children, even if it’s in the imagined world of dreams)

The bridge is a symbol of connecting things, perhaps two bodies of land, but perhaps two states of mind (safe and not safe) or two stages of life (childhood and adulthood).

You are making the crossing with those you love. Symbolically this is your Mother (inner mother aspect), your boyfriend (that “you complete me” aspect which Jung called the “Animus” and could be thought of as something like the best-friend/soul-mate or even the soul itself that makes us feel alive), the child is symbolically your own child aspect (and we all have this, and she must be treasured, but we must not try to BE the child, any more than we, in waking life should try to BE the hero or the Supermom).

The bridge is blue. Blue could signify sadness or depression, but also sky and, at a thousand feet up, higher consciousness. Maybe your imagination places the bridge so high to help us see that the down-to-earth water (the Great Mother, the Collective Unconscious, has been too much to handle—and it is too much to handle all alone. We are not meant to be alone, or think ourselves utterly separate from each other or from Mother Nature).

Blue can also be connected with finding our voice, creativity and self-expression. Your unconscious creates this lovely, albeit scary, dream as a work of imagined art—a play in which you are working out the drama of healing, loving, risking and crossing to safety.

Your boyfriend (lover-man self) “lets go” of your child-self’s hand, suggesting that he wants to hold YOUR hand in life, be a grown-up partner to a grown-up woman. Remember, it is YOUR unconscious that created the dream, so deep down, you want this too. Symbolically, we must die as children to be born as grown-ups (but when we do, we may recover our “child-mind” which is the core of our creativity and joy–and playful courage and sense of adventure).

The “broken piece of wood” symbolizes something in the soul (wood is symbolic of soul) that has been wounded. This is symbolic of trauma or loss or “falling” and the dream suggests this was a repeating pattern (in diapers at three suggesting a delay in development, in being able to deal with our own shit to put it bluntly; we all struggle with this, the key is not feeling ashamed about it).

From here you can fill in the pieces; baby asking if mommy is coming (to join her, or become re-united psychologically between hurt child and able, brave mother).

You manage to re-do several times, intervening earlier in time (i.e. your inner mother is going back in time, in imagination, and saving baby from disaster by way of consciousness). Instead of taking baby on the high bridge, you see that you must join baby in the lower water.

Tao Te Ching: Water, in preferring low places, is above all things.

Be like water and you connect with the renewing power of the Great Mother, source of things.

Water does not drown.

The chronology shows us how you got more scared as you got older, now you are going back and connecting with the earlier you, which makes you more conscious, more integrated and empowered—more able to love (your mom, your boyfriend, your child).

Good for you ;)

All Best Wishes


Rachel Rollins October 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

Good to know others are having dreams about their children. I have had two different dreams now about my 5 year old little girl. The most recent one, I had last night. I was driving down a very busy highway that did not have a median, and I had to pull over due to car problems. Soon as I pulled over, she jumped out of her car seat and ran into traffic, luckily not many cars were there at the time, and I called her back fanatically and she came back to the car. Of course I got onto her. Later in the dream, I had to pull over again because of car trouble, and again she jumped out and ran into on-coming traffic, this time cars were coming at her. I ran towards her (it felt like I was going in slow motion) and I knew I was gonna be hit by the cars myself, but thought to myself I would rather die with\for her, then watch it happen. So I grabbed her up, and somehow made it out. Barely.. We got back to the car, and the police showed up, and said it happened twice and they were going to arrest me. I was trying to explain to them that I was trying to save her. When I woke up…

The first dream I had, we were at a park that had a pond (a park I had never seen before), and she was running ahead of me, I was yelling for her to come back, but she kept running. She ran up over a hill, I could not see her, finally I came up over the hill and she was floating face down in the pond. I jumped in the pond, grabbed her and started CPR, I was screaming out. It was horrible. Then I woke up.

I took a dream class once and they professor said that dreams are always about YOU. I thought that was interesting. I dream every night, and I can recall my dreams very easily. I am fascinated by them. But this one about my little girl, is really getting to me. My husband and I have been trying for #2 for 2 years now, I wonder if its my fear of losing my only child?? Thank you in Advance for you insight, Bruce!


Bruce October 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Hi Rachel,

I would go with your professor’s idea. In this sense the “car” is your ego-self, and the “car trouble” is symbolic of you needing to pull over (i.e. slow down, be more conscious) on the road of life—your personal issues/problems.

Your child is your child self, perhaps hinting at a trauma you experienced around 5 years old? The traffic going the other way is the part of you that wants to go back, not forward… but also the collective world or outer self that can seem indifferent to the vulnerability of children.

The police are your inner critic/authority, and this shows your guilt as a mom, the feeling that you did something wrong AND the knowledge that you did not. You wake up and your actual kid is okay.

The pond is about the child self drowning in the mother self, or the tears or the unconscious. You are confronting that your past/own child must heal in order to continue on your road (were you a second child? Perhaps if so your fear is about metaphorically birthing yourself and your reluctance to revisit pain).

Even if your childhood was difficult, you have a chance to commune with it via your dreams, and your active imagination. I think just writing about it and thinking about it will bode well for your dreams.

I hope they turn sweet and peaceful soon (I would expect something hopeful, maybe an animal symbol?)

Try to be in the now. Heal the past, but also trust that now you are grown-up and you can handle keeping your inner kid safe.

All Best Wishes


Monica October 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Hi Bruce-
I attended a new hire orientation today for a job in a hospital setting. They were giving flu shots, so I got one, and it made me feel very tired. After getting home and putting my kids to bed, I laid down to rest and fell asleep. I had the most awful, horrible dream I’ve ever had! Please give me your interpretation of this unsettling dream.

I dreamed that my 8-year-old daughter died in a car accident. I found her in her baby carseat (she was younger in the dream), and she was peacefully dead. I started crying hysterically, and my husband was comforting me. Then, another mom I know from my daughter’s school was telling me all about her daughter’s progress in school, and I began to sob again. I told her maybe I could have another baby. I was thinking about my daughter during the dream, and reflecting on some of the wonderful times we’ve shared in her short life. In my dream, I felt that I somehow knew or intuited that my daughter would die as a child. I was having some kind of experience in the dream, an epiphanic moment about life, the universe, the limited time we have on this earth. Then, I went back to sobbing and feeling true sorrow in the dream.

I woke up feeling as though I might vomit. I felt physically ill and emotionally upset. I had a feeling of extreme relief that it was just a dream, and in reality my daughter was sleeping comfortably in her room.


Bruce October 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Hi Monica,

Perhaps your girl in your dream is the girl part of yourself. I would think about life for you when you were 8, but also when you were that younger age your daughter was in the dream. The other mom in the dream might be the part of you who has a daughter who is making good progress (maybe even suggesting that your inner girl is healing—and thus your wounded or killed former self must die, or better stated, your identification with some past victim self, or slow to progress self, or late blooming self, this aspect must “die” so that your grown-up, safe, good mother, good progress aspect can be born into lived reality).

While we are all vulnerable as parents, and as humans, and do what we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, your dream may be more about coming to terms with a painful past than it is about any premonition. The dream seems to be saying the eternal truth about life and love and time being precious. As we say of parenting, the days can take forever and the years fly by.

My hope is that my contemplating these themes your bad dreams will resolve and a greater feeling of joy and presence to the life and love you now treasure can be savored and fully lived.

All Best Wishes


Laila Aslami October 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

Hi Bruce,

I had the weirdest dream last night. I don’t know what it means but I have been thinking about it all night, can you maybe tell me if it means anything. I have a 5 year old daughter but in my dream she was like 15 and we were at an event with alot of females. A fight happened between some families and I saw my daughter getting pushed on the floor and I went and fought with the lady who pushed her next thing I know the familes were getting kicked out for causing the fight and my daughter was with them and I had a feeling that she was going to get hurt by those ladies. I was trying to go after her but I lost control of my body and I went into shock and next thing you know I died in my dream but the crazy thing is that in reality my left side of my body was shaking and when I woke up my left side of my body hurts. Do you think this means something?


Bruce October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Hi Laila,

For this dream I would look to your memories of life at fifteen. I’m wondering if a divorce or other conflict happened that felt like your own family fighting with itself, which is now internalized as symbol of your own inner conflict: the wish to be a good parent and the need to express the anger of your past hurts.

Perhaps a key detail is the shaking (which is part of healing trauma) which you felt on the “left side” of your body—a pun for the abandoned or rejected part of yourself?

Think about loving your inner five, fifteen and present self and bringing them together in your conscious mind, healing the family that live (and sometimes fights) inside all of us.

All best Wishes


Rajesh October 29, 2012 at 7:15 am

Hi Bruce,

Two days back, my wife had a horrible dream @ 3.15 AM, which made both of us crying for hours. Although, we know that this is just a dream but they way she picturized it to me, made me look for the meaning behind this dream. I found your article to be the one which i’m looking for and reaching out here for your help.

The dream is :

My wife saw a small snake coming out an egg. My father-in-law (he is suffering from cancer and his days are being counted now ) took the snake in his hand and started to play with it. He acted as if he is throwing the snake on my wife. She took the snake from the father-in-law and threw it out through the window. The snake again came out of the egg and this time, she killed the snake. And then the dream changed to the following one..

My wife and my daughter are returning from my daughter’s school by walk. Instead of coming in the regular route, My wife saw herself going in a road near a church (we visit this church twice in a year. My mother-in-law always says that lot of people come and pray here and going to this church often will bring you some bad new, it’s her belief ..). My Daughter stayed back and my wife kept walking for few steps. She turned around to see my daughter and found that she is playing with another kid (don’t know whether it’s a boy or a girl, hence I’m referring as ‘kid’ here) from her school and the kid’s father (we know this person and have seen him a couple of times in my daughter’s school) is also with them. My wife continued to walk for few more steps again and turned around to call my daughter. To her horror, my daughter was not to be seen there. My wife saw the kid’s father walking alone and asked him about my daughter, he said “don’t know” (not sure what exactly he replied in the dream). My wife started to run in the road and search everywhere for my daughter. All of a sudden, she saw my daughter standing in front a house (my wife says that she has never seen that street before and don’t remember the house as well) with a worried and scared face. When my wife asked her what is she doing here, she started running into the house . When my wife followed her, my daughter stopped in the garden and there my wife saw my daughter buried.

Me and my wife love our daughter a lot (like all other parent). My Daughter is 3 years old and my son is 15 months old. Could you please interpret this dream and tell us the message?

Thanks in advance, if you could relieve me and my wife from this horror.


Bruce October 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Hi Rajesh,

Firstly, I am sorry for your wife’s nightmare but also for your father-in-law’s ailing.

While dreams can have many meanings, and I would not presume to know a dreamer’s dream’s meaning, I would offer some things to consider and hope they bring insight and relief to the extent possible.

We start with the snake, and this is a very complex symbol, for in western culture it can mean the dark force that causes humans to leave paradise, in Greek myth the snake is Sophia, who brings wisdom; while eastern myths may hold the snake in more esteemed regards. Certainly the snake has a reptilian brain, and could be seen as connected with deep and ancient instincts, particularly aggression, sex and non-emotional survival (as opposed to mammal bonding, nurturing and parenting).

The egg is a symbol of the Self, the totality out of which the myriad aspects emerge. In the dream we see the father throwing the snake on the daughter, or playing as if he might. Maybe this symbolizes the father in relationship to the daughter, perhaps giving wisdom, perhaps giving trouble. Your wife throws the snake out the window, symbolizing the rejection of the darker aspect of the self, tossed out of the house, as symbol of the conscious, or civilized, or family self.

You can’t really kick the snake out, any more than you can have an evolved human brain without the reptilian brain as foundation of the house. This is clear in that the snake just comes back. So your wife attempts to kill this part of herself… and this is where the trouble starts.

Before turning to the second dream, consider your wife’s struggle to come to terms with her father’s mortality. We all have our issues with our parents, but it is hard to be angry at someone whose days are numbered. We can also be angry at someone for being sick, as that threatens to abandon us who are left behind, and it is not so easy to be conscious of our mixed feelings and so we kill the snake, maybe in the hopes of magically saving the father?

In King Arthur sorts of legends killing the snake symbolizes slaying our own primitive, Shadow aspect. However this is very dualistic while cultivating an attitude of respect and some consciousness regarding the Shadow/snake is more likely to integrate the personality, melding compassion with power and discernment.

The second dream amplifies and supports the dark poetry of the first dream: the road is a path toward consciousness, and she takes a different road, a different path than the socially sanctioned one. Leading by the church, this symbolizes for your wife the place of suffering (where people come in times of pain). She is in a time of pain, because of her dad, and so she goes to this house of sorrow, but it would seem she is not feeling good about this as a way of relating to the higher Self (or God). The church casts the snake as evil, and your daughter is feeling angry at God or cancer or the tragic and painful idea of death, loss and family being hurt.

Your daughter in this dream is a symbol of your wife as a child. The girl stands in front of a house that is unfamiliar—this might be symbolic of a different temple, a different way of approaching God, perhaps a place or consciousness that can give the dark aspect its due as part of any total concept of an all powerful aspect, not to mention a unified concept of any person’s ego-transcendent psyche.

The girl leads the mother toward this house of new, and as yet unfamiliar, self. Perhaps the house symbolizes the home you will live in in the future, or the house of the ancestors of the past—but it is a conceptualization of the full personality more than an architectural reality.

Consistent with the snake as dark animal who causes humans to be evicted from paradise, the girl leads her mother-self back into “the garden,” primordial symbol of paradise, of natural existence without “knowledge”. (remember, the snake might also be a bringer of wisdom, which is more feminine/mother, and not of knowledge, which is rational/father).

In seeing the child buried, my guess is that your wife may on the one hand wish to die as daddy’s little girl rather than face his passing, yet you parents would hate to die, but still prefer to have your children live beyond you, as losing a child is the worst tragedy while losing a parent is sad but still part of the natural order of life.

Another possibility about the girl buried could be a symbol of trauma or loss that your wife could have suffered when she was a girl. This might be in her unconscious, thus “buried” or swept under the rug of soldiering on in the face of hard things… a sort of denial that is emerging into consciousness by way of the image of a buried child.

Your wife needs you to understand how she feels (angry, scared, hurt, guilty, confused, alone, ashamed of dark thoughts/dreams, yearning for life, grateful for you and your children) more than she needs interpretation. She needs space to heal her wounds if she has them (and most of us do), and she needs space to just feel her feelings and go through her experiences in her own time.

To share in the horror of this dream, as you have, is an act of love; it helps you understand the horror and helpless confusion she feels. We all dread the mere idea of harm coming to our children, and we do what we can to keep them safe (and hold each other through the unspeakable when that tragically occurs).

Your wife is wrestling with her demons, but this does not mean anything about the future (we do not have crystal balls, we have memories that get projected into the future). Think of this anxiety nightmare as the unremembered past projected into a feared future.

I suspect my comments may seem contradictory, but this may echo what your wife feels; my hope is that she can find the help she needs to be there with her dad through this difficult time, but also find the support and compassion to discover she is not alone (certainly she has you) even in her darkest hours.

My hope is that her contemplation of different ideas about her dream, and the healing effect of being understood by you (even in her most hard-to-explain pain) might prove healing and transformative—and hark the evaporation of these fearsome nightmares.

Warmest Regards


Rajesh October 30, 2012 at 7:08 am


First of all thanks a lot for your post.

You are absolutely right, my wife is very sad because of her father’s health condition (as she loves him much more than her mom). As we stay away from my in-laws (15 mins by car), she is not able to meet him every day due to my daughter’s school. As per your post, I will definitely support her as much as I could. Now, I understood the real meaning of that dream.



Bruce October 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hi Rajesh,

Your comment also makes me wonder if the girl in the dream might also symbolically relate to your wife’s mother, and thus an inner Mother/Critic voice, who she might be angry at (thus burying her in her dream imagination, and then being beset by remorse and grief to realize that she loves her mom as she loves her little girl—but in the case of mom it is complicated by wounds and unresolved anger).

You sound like a loving and caring husband, and that is a blessing for your wife and your children. It will be up to your wife to one day resolve her relationship with her mom; for now it won’t hurt for you to realize that it’s a love-hate relationship, and to remember that rage could be thought of as love left hungry.

Just listening to your wife and all her emotions will help her feel understood, loved, safe and will help her heal through all sorts of difficult things. These experiences, if weathered with love, are part of what builds and strengthens a marriage to last, and to be a relationship that benefits your children.

Best of Luck


Sunny October 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Wow, was searching up on dreams about children and chanced upon this site. Would like to share my dream last night, and see if I could get any sense out of it.

In my dream, my boy is about 9 years old. My dad and I were involved with this other family. It seemed like we had a feud with this other family, and they wanted to take revenge. I had to fight with someone in that family and win, but I did not. The family could exact out their revenge in any way they want, which they eventually decided that they would take away my boy.

I could feel the pain to have to lose my son, and my dad was also very upset. We were given some time to spend our last moments with my boy before he was taken away. He seemed to be so understanding, and told us he would be all right. We were so sad. I did not realise my love for my boy was so great, and that losing him would hurt so much.

In my dream, I could somehow feel the other family subsequently relenting, and may not take my child away, but I woke up before the end.

In reality, my boy is just turning 14 months, and looks nothing like the boy in my dream. I just wonder if this is a bad omen, or if it’s trying to tell this mother something about me and my child.

Thanks in advance for your help Bruce!


Bruce October 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Hi Sunny,

This dream might be about pain you experienced when you were nine. Look to other dreams above and you will see some families in conflict with other families.

In your dream you seem to realize the depth of your love for your boy, but also the pain of giving to a child the love and understanding that I suspect you did not get when you were a boy.

Think of all the characters in the dream as part of yourself and you will see a big extended family of characters trying to sew themselves together into one compassionate totality.

It is tough (and fantastic) being a parent, and particularly in trying to break cycles of pain, conflict, loss and even shame that can haunt families for generations.

One other note is that the multiple family aspect could hint at a collective aspect in the dream, the notion that we need to begin to see others as our brothers, cousins, relatives… and that our extended family of humans needs to start to care for and better nurture each other’s children.

The way your child is in the dream, so understanding and lovely, hints that this child aspect being a part of yourself that is gentle and trusting, the part of yourself you treasure and which proves superior to the fighting and distrusting (and previously hurt) part of yourself.

Here’s to consciousness and compassion for all the parts of yourself, and for your fellow parents and kids as well


kylie November 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Lately I’ve been having really bad thoughts about my daughter who is 18months old that she was in danger in her cot and i always go and check on her. But last night I dreamt that I had left her in the car while I had lunch with my mum as she was asleep and I got distracted by a guy i liked (whom i have no idea who it actaully was in my dream) and when I returned she was out of her car seat eyes puff from crying, she looked dehydrated and laying against my front seat. When I picked her up she was ok There was a mother and her two kids playing near by who told me they had been watching her for me and made sure she was ok as I’d left the window down. I have two children and find my bond is a little closer with my daughter.


Bruce November 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm

HI Kylie,

This dream makes me wonder if as a very young child you might have felt forgotten or left alone by your mom. It makes me wonder also about if your dad was around, or if your mom might have met a new guy when you were around eighteen months?

If we think of all the characters in the dream as symbolic aspects of your own self, then your inner child is left alone in your car (maybe a symbol of the part of you that can go where she pleases). You are a mom now, so you and your inner mom go to eat, symbolically feeding the grown-up part of yourself while forgetting the child part.

This dream would suggest that the child you once were, and the child you carry inside yourself, is a sad little girl. The other mom and two kids is, symbolically, the mom who you actually are in waking life, the mom who does not forget her baby (and this mom, like you, has two children); this inner “good mom” has the ability to watch a third child (the ability to take care of your own child who was left behind and now needs love and understanding, even if just in your heart and imagination).

Maybe it would be good to imagine that you are back in the dream. Thank the other mom and imagine becoming one person with her. Imagine saying to your own mother that you forgive her for loving the grown-up part of you and not being so great at dealing with the baby part of you. Imagine speaking to the guy you liked in the dream and saying, “I know you’re the part of me who is a cute interesting man, so help me take care of my baby and make her safe and happy, and then maybe we can have some grown-up time together. Finally, go to the baby and pick her up, in your imagination, and tell her that it may be true that she felt forgotten as a baby, but that now you are grown-up and a good mom and you promise you will take good care of her and not forget that she has feelings and fears being unloved and alone.

My hope is that this sort of thinking will help you have better dreams and also realize that what you fear happening to your children might be better understood as dim memory about what actually (at least emotionally) happened to you as a kid.

All Best Wishes


kylie November 3, 2012 at 6:36 am

Thank you for your insight. Today I mentioned my dream to my aunty and how I’d read a lot that many dreams of children reflect your inner child she gave me some information that my mum left me alone in my cot when I was younger (not sure how old) and went to the shops on the corner forgetting she had me at home. My father also was not present for any of my life and still is not. With your information I hope to have better dreams tonight thank you again.


Shana November 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I keep having nightmares about my 17-month-old baby getting hurt, usually falling off of a balcony, but last night I dreamed that he was sick, he threw up, and I took him to the bathtub to clean him. I got in with him and washed him off, and all of a sudden he jumped out onto the floor and I saw that all of his toes on what foot came off in one piece. I was horrified at this and woke up feeling awful. I have two much older children, 22 and 19. I had this baby late in life, at 42. I don’t remember having dreams about my other two kids like this. These nightmares about my baby interfere with my sleep at least a couple of times a week.


Shana November 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I also want to add then when I dream of my baby falling off of a balcony, he actually jumps off, not knowing any better. It is so vivid and terrifying to me that I am afraid to have him near anything even remotely high. In the last dream, even though he was in the bathtub in my dream he jumped out. So my dreams are usually about him jumping and hurting himself or dying. In the balcony dream I usually see him afterwards on the ground barely alive but very bloody and broken and crying.


Bruce November 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi Shana,

Having this child at a mature age has given you enough sophistication to be able to finally work on coming to terms with your own early life, which might have been a bit difficult for you.

Perhaps your baby in the dream symbolizes your own baby self. That baby “throws up” suggesting trouble being able to swallow and digest something (perhaps the emotional experience of being dependent upon limited, depressed, anxious or traumatized caregivers when we were young?). You take your little baby self to the bath, symbol of the waters from which we all emerged, once upon a time—the primordial womb. You try to clean the baby, differentiating the vomit (what is not self) from the baby (what is truly self).

Once clean the baby is able to jump out of the womb/water and be born anew (we see this symbolism in many religions) but now the toes come off. This might symbolize the baby ready to start the journey of life, but impeded by an injury or loss. Toes could symbolize anything from little parts of the self to little piggies who go to market, stay home, eat roast beef or squeal in terror while running back home (in other words all the parts of a kid, from adventurer to scaredy cat).

Oedipus means “hurt foot” but Freud suggested we had wishes to hurt or be sexual with our parents; I think we also often carry actual wounds and those wounds can heal if we are validated in them being real wounds. Our parents generally do not try to hurt us, the fear they will hurt us owing to their own hurts (and this seems to have gone on an awfully long time).

The second dream about balconies and your fear of him being anywhere high could be about the opposite yearning you have to your return to the womb to get a redo—a wish to achieve higher consciousness, to metaphorically fly, like Wendy and Peter Pan. The problem there is that children who can fly cannot seem to grow up. You grew up, parented, stayed with the hard stuff. Maybe it’s your turn to fly and have joy now.

I often wonder why nice people and quiet people have not fared so well in our loud and phony world. Maybe they are just wired for success in loud and brutal times and maybe you’re a bit more sensitive and you are good to go in this time where you realize that your early life left you feeling like you were bloody and broken but that in truth you are more than barely alive.

Maybe a new paradigm of success is emerging where we neither drown by our lonely selves nor do we succeed by being above other people, but rather connect in some caring and honest ways that actually work for the vast but under-represented majority who just want to life save, loving and meaningful lives and are tired of all the fighting, and competing that is bad for babies everywhere.

Meditate on your imagery. See what it might mean for you (I only offer suggestions to get you thinking psychologically, but also compassionately so you might heal your own past).

Either way—wishing you much better dreams, and waking times too


sarah November 4, 2012 at 6:56 am

Hello, I for the first time had a bad dream about my 3 yr old son. We were at a waterpark then out of no where I fell somehow in to this rushing river taken me away from my son. But it was all going on at a water park still. My son did not go into the watter but I tried to swim against these rapids to get to the shore-like place he ewas left behind I was frantic and then found a way to get out of the river then searched for the spot were I left him and I had to continue going through obstacles and that seemes to always take me further from him before I could find him I awake and started crying.. my son is my everything. I’m a single mom and hate when he’s away for long periods like visiting his dad for weeks or months. I don’t quite get this dream. I have been searching all morning…help….


Bruce November 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Sarah,

Perhaps the water is the flow of your deeper self and the baby is the baby you once were (perhaps there was separation or loss when you were 3?).

Imagine that you are the river. You let go, you flow with it to the ocean where all the rivers meet and none are refused. You evaporate and become a cloud. You drift to the mountain, the higher part of your consciousness where all the rivers begin. You fall gently like a snow-flake and then melt into a droplet and flow calmly and then swiftly to arrive again at your baby self where you gently help him/her emerge from the unconscious and into the lovely possibility of today.

Obstacles are like rocks in the river of life. They do not stop the river, but the river takes care of them over time, the way water always prevails over rock.

The more your inner mom holds your inner-baby calmly and confidently, letting the river of tears be cried by you so your baby does not drown in his/her own tears, the more able you will be to tolerate the separation periods.

BTW you also have an inner dad figure who can hang out with you and your inner baby in the healing times when your actual baby is away. Then your baby returns to a mother who is more happy and safe (not turbulent or too watery) and benefits from your ability to be a bit of a rock yourself in the river of your child’s own journey of development.

By being a bit playful, we can inhabit all the parts (baby/mother; water/obstacles) and combine solid mature parenting with playful and liberating imagining.

All Best Wishes

p.s. see Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” for a lot of deep thoughts on the watery part of the world. He writes, “Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.”


Farha November 9, 2012 at 11:16 am


I had a dream that my husband and I and our three children ages 7, 3 and 6 months were parked on the side of the road in our big truck. My husband seemed rushed and he got out the truck with a case of tissue in one hand and a case of food in the other. He ran down the street with the items to a building a block away. I got out and ran behind him to see what he was doing. When we finally left the building to go back to the truck, our 7 year old met us half way. I asked him why he got out the truck and left the little ones and he said he was looking for us. So we went back to where the truck was parked and it was gone and so were our babies. I bawled. And we searched and searched for the truck. I could feel my heart sinking. I kept searching with my husband beside me. I could hear myself saying, ‘I can’t live without my babies’. I’ll die without them. I kept asking my 7 year old if he saw the truck but he was unsure. I ran Down the road across the bridge and back. The heartbreak in the dream was so real I felt it when I woke up. I felt hopeless.

What does that mean?


Bruce November 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hi Farha,

While I can’t really know what any dream means for certain, I can encourage you to think about the elements of your dream as if they were all symbols of parts of yourself. Maybe this will open some clues for you.

In this way of thinking your husband might be the male aspect of you, and this part carries tissues (perhaps a symbol of the ability to deal with tears or sadness) and food (symbol of the provider, the ability to nourish and help the family live and grow).

The husband part of you leaves the truck (the part that is always moving around) and goes to the building. Maybe you secretly wish your husband would get rid of the truck and buy a house instead?

In any event, when you chase after your husband to “see what he is doing” (perhaps meaning you have some trouble trusting) the seven year old part of you gets worried about abandonment and runs after you guys.

This makes me wonder if anything like loss or parental split-up happened when you were seven—maybe having to choose between two things, maybe feeling like you had to grow up fast and take care of younger siblings (the sudden loss of innocence and the childhood you might have wished for?).

Then the truck and the babies are gone. This could be symbolic of how you felt taken away from mother or father when you were three or perhaps six-months old. Dreams sometimes reveal our anger and our overwhelm; in this sense we might wonder if you yourself feel alone in your parenting and overwhelmed by having three children. The kids disappearing could hint at how you need extra help in dealing with it all, and also a lot of tissues to help dry your eyes from sadness past and present.

The good thing is that your unconscious is giving you clues about how you really feel, and this can help you know to ask for help (as you did in writing to this blog) and also in talking to your husband about how you feel.

Men often need to be taught to just listen and give hugs and tissues rather than offer suggestions about what others should do differently. Feeling truly understood is a big part of feeling loved, and this helps us find the energy to parent well and trust that even if we have had loss and hurt we can rise above it to keep our kids safe, soothed, fed and compassionately understood.

Hope this helps. Certainly wishing you better dreams ahead.


Heidi November 11, 2012 at 2:26 am

Today my mom came by and picked up my kids to go and visit my grandfather. After they left I fell asleep watching tv. I had a really bad dream and now I’m scared that if I fall asleep I will dream it again. I have also been feeling guilty about having this dream and i have just not been able to stop thinking about my nightmare In my dream it was a sunny summer day and my daughter who was about 3(she is 2 and a half right now) was upstairs playing while I was down stairs watching tv. All of a sudden I see some kids outside pointing and looking up towards my kids bedrooms. I get up and go outside to see what they are pointing and talking about. When I go outside and look up I see my daughter standing on the window sil ready to jump. I panic and quickly move around with my arms out to try and catch her. She jumps and I miss and don’t catch her and she falls head first. I run to her and she is not crying or making any noise. I run inside and I don’t know what to do instead of calling the ambulance I call my husband and I am crying hysterically. He is creaming at me to call the ambulance but for some reason I don’t. Its like I’m scared worried because I was not watching her. I’m holding her and she starts making these little lifeless sounds, like she is taking her last breaths and I’m watching her slowly die. Suddenly the ambulance comes and rushes her without me. The next thing I know I’m sitting in my living room with my grandfathere thinking of what is going to happen to my baby and feeling like a commited a crime. I feel so horrible and evil for having this dream and it really makes me sad at the fact that I was too scared to call for help and that i waited so long and my baby was hurt. Why wouldn’t I call for help. when I woke up I started to cry I ran upstairs since my daughter went out for the day she was not there to hold. So I started double checking for anything that she might use to stand up on to look outside. I took her laundry basket out worried that she might flip it over and stand up on it. Although I was cautious about that from the day we moved in especially because we live in a three storey townhouse. Please help me, I am really disturbed about this dream and I’m sad that the events happened like that. I love my children so much and I would be devastated if anything ever happened to them. To make matters worse the other day I noticed the lock on her window was broken and I meant to tell the landlord but I completely forgot. Since its freezing cold outside I haven’t opened the window to let air in I know it sounds terrible and its the safety of my child and it completely slipped my mind until today when I had this dream. Is my a warning? I feel so horrible I can’t believe I forgot to get it fixed.


Bruce November 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

Hi Heidi,

While I am very sorry that you had this terrible dream and that it caused you so much distress; the good news is that your child is safe and that you woke up to a reality not nearly as bad as the dream; the bad news is that it sounds like you have some traumatic anxiety to heal.

Dreams can have many meanings and my aim here is to inspire your own creative thinking and your own natural awakening to better times ahead no matter what the past may hold.

If we consider all the elements of the dream to be symbols of your own self (just one way of thinking, mind you) then the “three story house” implies more than one story or narrative. In fact, your dream speaks of four narratives: self, child, mother and grandfather. This is richly symbolic of the baby or original self—the one who needs protection, but also the one who holds our deepest hopes for the future for it is she who may grow into a wise old woman one day, a narrative in which you grow from depressed baby to superlative ancestor for your own future grand and great grand sons and daughters.

In the dream the baby is “upstairs,” suggesting it is at a level of consciousness higher than your own conscious self. You have a three story town-house and the baby in the dream is three. This makes me guess that something painful happened when you were three. Imagining something bad coming for your baby is a classic anxiety defense—taking the unremembered past and projecting it into the future (in the hopes that the past could be averted).

In simple words, when you were three it FELT like you fell out of the window, or jumped out in despair, then “hit your head” (which is like smashing away memory and thinking). It’s as if you tried to escape something and your soul floated away while your body crashed to the ground.

You never had so much motivation to heal as you do as a mother—and in this way parenting itself is a sort of soul retrieval. I’m not saying anything huge happened to you, but I’m also not saying it didn’t. Either way, you can heal by accepting that you are not dead and you are not a terrible mother, but also in accepting that your baby is not you and that comforting her, or protecting her, from what actually happened to you is not good for her.

By not having your baby to comfort your self, you had a nightmare. This shows you that you most deeply wish to work your pain out and not hurt your baby, and it also shows that the unconscious has a dark aspect (we feel angry at separation, and then dream up a violent attack on who feels like they left us, and then we feel guilty and responsible for these dark thoughts—this is extremely common and human and some of the cure is in realizing we are not alone, and in realizing that our dark thoughts do not make us killers nor do they actually have so much power as we both wished and feared as children).

The window too is a symbol of ability to see outside your hurt and lonely self, and also a symbol about something that has felt broken inside you. Maybe you wish to escape the lonely tower of childhood, but need to crawl down the rope of your own hair, like Rapunzel (with hair being a symbol of our thoughts, as they grow out of our heads). Instead of Peter Pan flight, the dream suggests you must come down to earth (symbol of Great Mother) but you must take the stairs, step by logical and realistic step.

This is what parenting is all about—day by day, separation and reunion repeated over and over until our children grow and are ready to become parents. We grown-ups must support each other to heal, to know we are not so terrible, nor so powerful, but that we actually just want to feel safe, free, loved and connected.

Sometimes when we speak (or type) we make a slip of the tongue or the fingers. It is interesting that in your description of the dream your husband does not “scream” at you, rather he “creams” at you. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but this slip might evoke two secret meanings: in “creaming” at you your husband co-created your little girl (crude symbolism, I know, but the unconscious is not afraid to deal with sex and death); and in creaming at you your husband comes to symbolize the good mother, giving you the very best of love’s milk when you are scared and regressed to the feelings of your own infancy.

Here is a silver lining—you feel blessed to have husband, child, home and love… but you fear that it will all be taken from you because you are bad; and yet this is just a screen, you must face that you are not bad but you were once innocent and defenseless; you must face that you are loved and you are lovable. This is so devastating that it makes us feel like all will be destroyed. We must see that the baby in us simply needs to be held and understood, nursed and soothed.

So… when you feel distressed, picture yourself as a little baby and hold her on your chest and soothe her. Forget everything else and all fancy analysis and just comfort the baby in your imagination.

Do this for a few months and send a follow-up comment on how you are doing. If it helps you, maybe other parents who come across these words will find power in YOUR words and your journey of loving your child and healing yourself will ripple out to encourage other moms.

All Best Wishes

In real life the baby has left with mother (the mother part of you) to visit the grandfather, symbolic of the “wise old man” (who sometimes can be scary, the Trickster, Shadow, Monster that grown-ups can be toward innocent children).

In the dream, you and the baby are home alone so to speak. This is a wish that your baby not be taken away by mother to the realm of grandfather. But the nightmare begins when it seems like you cannot protect the baby from it’s own depression and inclination toward self harm


Robyn November 11, 2012 at 6:07 am

Hi Bruce,

After I had two disturbing dreams, I found your website. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to each of the posts.

First, I’m 47 mother of one son, married 26 years.
My first nightmare was two nights ago. All I recall was that there was a duck that was in a lake, my son at current age 20, was in trouble but wanted to help the duck. Someone was after him and I told him to run, it was dusk. He got caught in these plants on the edge of the water and they would twist around his legs.. Entangling him. He disappeared from my sight and I knew something was wrong. The others that came to look for him said he was ok because he was not a kid and they left. I kept looking for him. I found him half submerged in the waters edge. Some time must had passes because when I pulled him out of the water he was stiff and he had a look of pain on his face. I felt within the dream that unbelievable emotion of facing your child’s death. It was intense and very physically real. When I woke I knew I had dreamed. But I still felt the physical and emotional effects.

2nd dream the next night. I dreamed that my father was coming into my bed and caressing me. I knew I was disgusted. But I didn’t stop it because it began to turn me on. I felt ashamed for feeling that was and the next day volunteered as a midwife and would make milk come in to nurse others babies. Except one breast began to make blood. The other wouldn’t make anything.
I woke up.
Strange dreams. I hope you can give me some insight.


Bruce November 12, 2012 at 9:01 am

HI Robyn,

I am increasingly humbled by these dreams, increasingly wanting to be of service and admitting that I really am not sure.

I can share some associations and see if it helps. The duck could be a symbol of the ugly duckling, thus a symbol of transformation (Duck Lake wanting to become Swan Lake?). The lake might be the great mother (perhaps the one who birthed you, but brought pain and blood as well as milk and honey?).

I would view your son in the dream as the part of yourself you love the most, but still the part that must die as a boy to be born as a full grown-up. He gets caught up in the weeds at the water’s edge. For this I would review the story of Narcissus, but in short the clueless human does not fall in love with herself but with an imagined stranger—as if the so-called “ugly” duckling doesn’t realize that she is a swan… and then grows into a plant, transfixed at the water’s edge.

This takes us to the second dream, raising the horrid question about sexual trauma (or emotional). Sometimes children actually are abused, but sometimes incest imagery becomes a way of imagining the way something felt.

You describe a sort of overwhelming experience where the sexual pleasure and the overwhelming power of the father conspire to steal the soul of the child. You could think of your dream as an invitation to call the soul back to your own body, taking the victim projection back from the son, and the victimizer projection back from the father, and striving to integrate these two opposites within your own psyche.

These are big tasks and it can be helpful to know that we all struggle with them. If there is actual trauma in your past you would be well-served to address it, perhaps with a therapist or other helper. But we don’t want to go on witch hunts either and confuse the dream world with the waking world.

If you can, maybe you will be able to use your imagination to talk to these figures—the duck, the weeds, the son in your own mind and the father too, asking what each wants, needs and feels (as they are parts of you).

You become a midwife (a helper in birthing new consciousness?). You attend to the many babies, perhaps the purpose of how you have learned to love, to soothe to give pounds of flesh and your own symbolic blood for the love of your child. You have given blood to make your child, that’s the breast that gives life beyond nursing. The other breast gives nothing… maybe it’s the one that’s just for you now?

Certainly wishing you better dreams


Robyn November 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Well, I was abused sexually by my grandfather at a very young age. I have been in therapy not only for that but for my husbands betrayal of our marriage. I have not been able to forgive my grandfather and perhaps I know I should. But I made very bad life choices because I felt dirty unworthy and unloved. At the same time I never told my parents until two years ago as part of my healing. They were supportive. My grandfather has been dead years. Cone to find out he also tried to molest my brother. And neither one of us told. I feel angry and betrayed by men. Lately my son and I have fought constantly every time he comes home from college. To the point I don’t like being around him. Brings back the memories of the hateful man my husband was to me. We worked through it. At least I guess I’m trying to work through it. I felt I had to protect my mom and grandmother from my monster grandfather and my son who was a teenager from his hateful father. He went to therapy for sexual addiction and we are very happy. Or am I. Does this give any insight to my dreams.


Bruce November 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hi Robyn,

Firstly, I am very sorry to hear that there was abuse and then shame and then subsequent pain, but you sound like you have found courage to heal and you have given your son so much better than you got.

The painful facts seem to reaffirm the importance of integrating the parts of you that may have been sealed off or prevented from growing or being expressed in the past. It’s good to work on these things with your therapist, perhaps bringing the dream (and new dreams that you might get along the way) as evidence about what your unconscious might still be experiencing.

The “unbelievable emotion of facing your child’s death” is a very good way of expressing the way the abuse was like a death, as often we leave our body and float above such overwhelming horror.

Our brains can heal, our hearts can heal, and you seem brave and loving to do the very hard work of breaking the cycle of abuse. It sounds like you are doing things right, after terribly wrong things happened to you—my hope is that time and self-expression and eventual forgiveness (which does not in any way excuse the abuse) may conspire to help you become increasingly safe and free within your own Self.

Maybe your words, and your experiences, may inspire others to also heal. With greater consciousness, and compassion at the level of all parents toward each other and all kids, the multigenerational cycles of abuse may be broken and better days unfold for our children and our grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Healing Wishes for you


Juanita Sanchez November 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

I woke up morning seriously disturbed from my dream. I dream a lot! Sometimes i wonder if i get real sleep. Sometimes I’ll have things in my dreams that i think i have in real life and until i remember that i only had them in the dream, I’ll even look for things. It’s quite weird.

I’ve never written to anyone about a dream, so maybe you can help me. In my dream, i stated out as a student in my 5th graders class. Doing work, etc. i remember the teacher falling down- she slipped on some papers, complained about people picking up after themselves (i often complain about the same to my 3 kids), but she was fine. In another part of my same dream, i from a distance, a pretty big distance- saw all 3 of my little kids (all under 11) and one of their friends, playing in a apartment or hotel balcony. Climbing it, practicing hand-stands on the railing. I was screaming to stop, not to climb, to get back but they wouldn’t listen! I watched as one by one they jumped off. I was feeling scared and panicky. I saw them all hit the ground and liquid shatter. I was soooo scared!! I ran over and saw my 4 year old Son, dead. His eyes were open. I found my 10 year old, she stood up and seemed okay. I then saw my 8 year old and she was on a bench, kinda convulsing. I heard a sound in real life that woke me up. I woke up disturbed, with headache and unable to fall back asleep. The friend that was with them and also jumped, i didn’t see her at the bottom..

I’d also love if you could shed some light on a recurrent dream i have. I’ve had the similar dream for years!! I’m at my old home. I lived there when i was about 12 until i was about 17. I always see through my own eyes and i can see my arms and hands but nothing else on my body. I think i can only see straight ahead- not to the sides. I’m always trying to get our tricky mailbox open just like i used to have to because we didn’t have the key. I’m always pulling mail after mail pieces out. Envelope after envelope and it feels good. I never see who the pieces are for but it feels good. I always see the front door when I’m getting ready to go back in, and i step onto the brown carpet and see the inside staircase, but that’s really it. I don’t think i even get to open the mail that I’m holding and so excited about! I have this dream at least two to three times year and it’s mostly always the same. The vivid front door, mailbox and mail- buti do think the mail pieces itself do change from dream to dream.

Thank you so much for your help!!


Bruce November 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Juanita,

If you read through some of the other comments above you will find many dreams in which children fall to various stages of death or injury.

Perhaps your dream suggests that new learning is in order, that is often the case when we find ourselves back in school in a dream. The “teacher” (the know-it-all part of our selves) slips, but is okay; this is the inner smart one falling down to the level of the kids, for whom papers are not so easy, especially at ten when their brains are changing (see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/07/31/ten-year-olds-and-their-changing-brains/)

Then you see your kids “from a distance” which is like getting perspective on them, and on parenting them, but also in relating to the kid parts of yourself.

The balcony could represent higher consciousness, where your kid aspect can balance and do cool things, but the parent self panics and then the magic breaks and they fall, like Humpty Dumpty, back to sad grown-up reality.

Here we have disaster for your four-year-old self, suggesting some sort of trauma or loss when you were four, but maybe hinting at how parenting a boy is challenging and makes you so mad your unconscious does him some harm… but it’s cartoon harm and he’s fine when you wake up. You just need deeper understanding and perspective, love and compassion, patience and support (that’s easy, right? Our society is so filled with this for moms… well, we can all dream of that together…)

The boys dies, but his “eyes are open” this could mean that really seeing what has hurt you is very shocking and difficult. The ten year old is okay, and that is the part of you who began to think about things and be able to have a little mastery and control (but the younger kid was left behind in your psyche and must be rescued into eyes-wide loving consciousness now).

The 8 year old is key: this is in between the wound at 4 and the sealing of it away at 10. To convulse is to naturally heal from great trauma and shock (see the work of Peter Levine for help with this: http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/peter-levine.html).

Perhaps you are on the cusp of organically arising healing? Perhaps it would be safe to attend to these wounded kids within you, using imagination and the natural feelings and sensations of your body to simply not block the healing from arising. If there is trauma in your past, it might be good to talk with a professional about it, but also to shake it out, dance it out, yoga it out… whatever works for you.

The recurring dream there is the suggestion of being frozen in time. Symbolically it suggests a trauma related to receiving some sort of shocking news, and the wish to get some sort of good news (i.e. that it was all a dream?).

When you go back inside you see the staircase, which might be a symbol of how you can get to a higher consciousness without flying off balconies, step by step as we do in parenting.

The recurring dream also suggests a wish to receive letters, to be written to, cared about, connected with, rescued, loved, understood… all the things that all of us want and need if we’ve been hurt and have not yet managed to re-integrate body, mind and spirit.

Hope these ideas spark your own creativity, imagination and joy in healing and loving your kids and your life


Juanita Sanchez November 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Thank you SOOoooo soooo so much Bruce!! I will read this and re read this a million times until I get it. I thought this was a nightmare but it’s so much more. I had a horrendous childhood (at least it felt that way to me). I’m dealing with a lot now as a young adult. I’m actually seeing someone about it finally, and I really appreciate the insight. Brought tears to my eyes!! :)



BrittanyE November 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I am currently pregnant with my first child, and am still troubled by a nightmare I had about a month ago.

In my dream, I was back in my old childhood bedroom. This was not an unpleasant place for me; it was a small master bedroom (my parents let me have it because their stuff wouldn’t fit in it), and it had everything I needed: space, windows/light, comfy bed, desk, closet, bookshelf, vanity with mirror and sink, and its own toilet, tub, and shower. At the time, it was decorated from top to bottom with horses, because I loved them.
Well, as I was there, a giant cockroach crawled into the room; it startled me, because it was easily the size of a small cat. Well, the first thing I did was grab a bottle of nearby insecticide and begin to spray the sucker down; that thing was big and ugly, and I wouldn’t have it in my room.
Quickly, the roach began to die and flipped onto its back, flailing its legs.
Then, suddenly, it turned into a baby.
This surprised me, but I kept spraying the poison; I thought it was some kind of trick from the roach to keep me from killing it. Even when the baby opened his mouth–for I saw it was a boy–I kept spraying the poison into it. I was determined not to be tricked by this dangerous insect.
But then the baby started to cry (the heartbreaking “I’m hurt” wail), and I couldn’t do it anymore. I threw the can away and ran to the baby, and brought him back to the vanity sink to wash away the poison. Then I wrapped him up in a towel, and he opened his eyes and looked at me, and they were eyes just like my husband’s and I knew he was MY baby.
So I took him over to my bed and laid down with him, and then I woke up.
The ending wasn’t so terrible, but I was dismayed by the fact that I kept trying to kill the baby instead of immediately stopping when I saw that it WAS a baby. :(


Bruce November 13, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hi Brittany,

Perhaps this dream is about you coming to terms with being pregnant, including the Shadow dimension or forbidden aspects.

You are in your old room, comfy and cozy, which might symbolize your small but private “master” self. The cockroach enters and this might symbolize the way some part of you feels as another being grows inside you—a stranger that is alien and weird until you come to recognize it and accept it as your own baby.

Still, I would think about the baby as a symbol of the baby part of yourself—in this case a secret part of you that you feel ashamed of or negatively toward. Perhaps you felt safe in your childhood room, but a little lonely? Perhaps you were taught to be independent and not too needy?

The insect then intrudes and you attack it with poison—like your own hateful feelings toward that which is base or low in yourself. However, I have seen insect dreams harken new birth and growth, not just in the form of actual babies, but also in the dreamer’s own maturing self.

Symbolically, the child must die for the grown-up to be born (or at least our identification with the child), thus the insect might symbolize the transformation, in your own consciousness, of the alien other toward the beloved and accepted baby.

Being pregnant can bring discomfort, morning sickness, etc. and this could make the baby feel to the mother as if it is a toxic intruder.

You wash away the poison at the “vanity” sink, both symbol of womb but also of vanity (pregnancy can make mothers feel less than beautiful, and you need to know that you are beautiful. See: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2009/07/23/pregnant-women-need-to-know-that-they-are-beautiful/).

By the end you accept the baby into your heart, bed and consciousness. This dream, as you say, wasn’t so terrible in the end. It shows how the unconscious helps us work things out.

Finally, if you don’t know Kafka’s story, “The Metamorphosis,” you might find it relates darkly and surreal-comically to your dream (helping us understand that even in our most bizarre fears we are not so alone as we fear).

Best of luck with your pregnancy and sweet dreams.


Tracey November 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hi Bruce,
I had a dream last night that is really disturbing me, it was one of those dreams you can’t get out of your head.
I dreamt that I was yelling at my 7 yr old son, he was supposed to do “something” and he wasn’t listening. I have two boys, 7 and 17 but only the 7yr old was in the dream. So, I yell at my son and hit him, not HIT but spanked his arm and grabbed him and told him to get upstairs now and was yelling at him. My mother was with us walking up the stairs, they were metal stairs which the steps became more narrow as we walked up. I yelled at my son to hurry up or else, when all of the sudden he tripped. We were really high up and he fell thru the side of the banister, flipped and was hanging on by one arm, My mother and I screamed and as I went to grab his arm he lost his grip and plunged to the ground, we were like 30 stories up and my mother and I screamed NO and I woke up screaming.. It disturbs me even to write out the dream. What could it possibly mean? Its a horrible image in my mind.


Bruce November 17, 2012 at 7:41 am

Hi Tracey,

Perhaps we can think about this dream at both personal and collective levels. At the personal level it might be about how you are trying to integrate your child/male aspect that resists “growing up” (i.e. going up to a higher level of consciousness). Your own yelling and spanking behavior raises questions about the way you were parented, as it shows you feeling helpless to discipline your inner child aspect. Up the stair you go, along with your own inner mother. This could be a symbol of a step-by-step way to go up to higher consciousness and integrate the inner child and the inner mother.

The stairs get narrow, implying that we have to go single file on the journey, mother first, then you as your conscious self, then your child (lead by example, not coercion). Dreams are architected by the deep unconscious, and thus there tends to be a bit of a wish hidden in what happens. Not a wish for harm to our children, although that can be a part of our understanding—a safe way to express aggression and frustration (i.e. the hitting that didn’t actually happen because in a dream no one is physically hurt and it’s our own self we’re mostly dealing with).

The wish, however, might be that the women (mom and grandmother) are pushing the child higher (30 stories… are you nearing 30?) and the child doesn’t yearn to grow up, climb towers (often a male symbol of power, tower building and climbing) but rather we see a violent and scary movement back to earth—the Great Mother.

Perhaps if you meditate on compassion and hugs for your own inner kid, whoever you were at 7, and let her be in touch with nature at the earthy level, it will give you better dreams.

At the collective level, all these dreams of children being hurt makes me wonder if we might heed the warnings of our own parent souls—too much climbing and controlling and striving and we miss the eternal wisdom of children and child-mind.

As parents we must socialize our children, but we have been too much about climbing and competing, not enough about community and connecting. As our world possibly trends toward more connection (evidenced by your ability to connect with me around this dream for example) we have a chance for a re-think on what we value. If we all come a bit more down to earth we might learn that our children lead us in a good direction if we allow them—the importance of play, of fairness, of tenderness, of compassion and trust.

Maybe all us grown-ups have been hurt, and if we realize we are not so alone, or inadequate (i.e. “bad parents”) as we fear, we might be able to support each other to hang out, enjoy, learn something new.

I am increasingly humbled by confusion and by the sadness and fear that comes from loving and deeply attaching. The fact that we dread losing our children also speaks to how they are our greatest treasure, how they teach us to love beyond ourselves and become aware that there is nothing to get that we don’t already have.

Then the challenge is how to tolerate the march of time and loss, how to find something eternal and soothing in the face of eventual death in even the best-case scenario. Maybe our deep wish is to know we are safe and loved, and to be taught by our ancestors how to make our way slowly and safely up the stairs when it is time.

Or maybe the child in us wishes there will be a new way, something we do not yet grasp, in which neither children, parents nor grandparents will have to suffer so much in this world.

I have no clue, but maybe the kids, if we treat them well enough, will come up with a better way to understand life as we think we have understood it.


Isa November 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

I have been plagued by dreams of my babies dying since my now 5 year old was 2. My “daymares” happen at least once a month. Only now the dreams are of my youngest son dying. They are all very detailed and I ALWAYS wake up sobbing. One dream I had was of my older son who was 2 in my dream and at that time when I was pregnant with my youngest son. In my dream I was stabbing him over and over although he would cry mommy but didnt die. I woke my husband up around 4am hysteriically sobbing and I couldnt go back to sleep for hours!!! This next dream hapened about a month ago and my youngest son who is now 2 fell out of our window of our 2nd floor apt. He landed face up and was still calling out “mooooommy mooommy mooooommmy” and so I ran downstairs conscious enough to tell myself It was only a dream and he would not b there when i got downstairs and he was just fine when i would wake up. Sure enough I got downstairs and he was not there. This last dream I had this afternoon but here I am in a place where I need to be free of these dreams because it just sheer torture. My husband and i were in our car driving over a bridge when a car cuts in front of us missing us but crashing right into the car driving along side of us forming a T shape. My husband and I get out to check on the car to see both our boys were in thatcar crash. My oldet son who turned 5 this past monday came out with only a scratch on his head but i knew my baby was “dead”. I say “dead” because I still heard him talking to me. My husband wanted to go open the door of the car crash but I advised him not to as he wiuld not look as we knew him to look like and that he would be badly disfigured but my husband opened the door and I turned my face so I couldnt see n heard my husband crying n said ..oh my God… n i asked like looking for confirmation… hes dead … right???. But woke up before I could get an answer. As I write to u the tears flow from my eyes… please help me… Thank you so much. PS… i have a 16 year old and this never happened with her.


Bruce November 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi Isa,

I’m sorry for this continued stress about your babies, but perhaps some ideas will help break the cycle of nightmares.

You mention you have a 16 year old, I wonder if this is a daughter? I ask because it would make sense that your male children each have triggered something different in you, and each when they were 2 years old.

Either way, something about yourself at 2 years old seems to be surfacing now—perhaps because you are in a safe and loving relationship now and the little girl you once were is begging to be seen and truly understood so she can heal.

The stabbing imagery suggests to me that you yourself felt stabbed, or assaulted when you were two. This could be a metaphoric way of turning emotions into vivid pictures, but it could also be a way of experiencing actual trauma.

Were you hurt, abandoned, or abused as a child? Did someone important in the family die or move away when you were 2? Did you have a medical procedure when you were 2?

Falling out the window is another way of picturing a feeling of losing control and being hurt. When we are traumatized we tend to float out of our bodies, and there is both the wish to stay floating and the wish to be back in our bodies and back in life. Maybe life has become pretty good for you now and it is safe enough for your baby self, your spirit, to return and fully live life

Another idea is about truly growing up. In this way the baby has to die (or rather our own identification with the baby, hurt or otherwise) for the true grown-up to be born.

You were a much younger mom first time around, a kid raising a kid. Now you are a more mature mom and you are rising to the occasion through ritual death and re-forming, safer and more aware.

Finally, the car accident raises the question about whether you were ever in an accident (more trauma) or had someone you loved hurt in this way. In any event, symbolically it is your husband self (all parts of the dream can be viewed as parts of your self) who bears witness to the tragedy of your hurt baby-self.

Let yourself cry, this is where you attach and love. Before I sense you were terrified and not crying, scared out of your body. These dreams are your own inner psychologist helping you heal by exposing you to the truths (at least emotional truths) of past pain so that you can have present joy.

Happy and Healing Thanksgiving—I hope it brings you better dreams


Taishe November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

My son has been gone for about a week now to spend time with his father he is 4 im not use to being away from him I keep having dreams that he is hurt,sad,and crying what does this mean?i know for a fact his father wouldnt hurt him please help me before I lose my mind.


Bruce November 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

Hi Taishe,

You just miss your boy. Your dream is also about the child part of you who misses her own mom or feeling of being safe and loved. Pretend you are in the dream and comfort your child as if it were your own 4 year old self; have a group hug as if the father of your child is also your own “father self.”

Unify these parts, with love, in your imagination and see if your dreams don’t turn lovely.

I hope they do :)


aishling November 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

I had a dream last night, it was about my 4 year old daughter she was standing in the middle of the road laughing, cars were passing and i was trying to get her off the road but she wouldnt move. i then gave up and stood there with her in the middle of the road i was extrealy worried and she was laughing thinking what she was doing was fun then i woke up. what could this mean?


Bruce December 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

HI Aishling,

I love this dream—it is a very good omen, or so I would like to believe. After the many conventionally upsetting dreams in the stream of comments, this one shows a mother who is being taught by her own Eternal Child Self to laugh, to relinquish fear and trust that the “middle of the road” (which is neither too far to the left nor to the right, and also the very center of the river of life) is a safe and fun place to be.

The middle between fear and desire, the place of play and gratitude, the place of love but for all of our children, our elders, our ancestors, our animal friends, our earth and our air, our ideas in all their diversity, our technology and our old-school artisinal ways.. this is where we meet, this is where we heal, this is where we LAUGH, and few things are more transformative, liberating and healing.

This also shows that you are a terrific mother—for you are carrying the worry and your child is safe and confident and playful.

Of course in real life you must protect her from the street until she learns how to stay safe without your grasping hand, but when the parents are worried the kids can feel free; it’s the oblivious parent that leaves her child at risk.

Thus here we are, two strangers, meeting in virtual space, connected by a shared concern for children.

Be happy, don’t worry any more than is necessary to keep your child safe (well maybe worry enough to care about other people’s kids too—since if we all cared a little more, we’d all know to drive carefully when children were playing).

Trust your love, trust that your inner child is very happy and confident. This world is looking safe for you to heal and love, or so might at least be my wish for you and for all of us.

We use roads to get places, to chase goals. But your child, and your child-self, may know better. The laughing child could have just as easily written these words as Herman Hesse in “Siddhartha”:

“When someone is searching,” said Siddhartha, “then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of your eyes.”


A December 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm

my older sister had a dream that her,myself,and our middle sister was on a air mattress in the middle of a dark lake or creek water type. when my middle sister fell into the water drowning and then she said that i fell also and was drowning. my older sister was in the middle of the air mattress still just watching us drown panicking trying to save the both of us but couldn’t. when she finally saw/pulled us up ,myself and my middle sister had a bullet hole in our head. so not only did myself and my middle sister drown but we were also shot in the head.so what could my sister dream mean.


Bruce December 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Hi A,

This dream is probably mostly about your older sister’s psychology, suggesting that she has some unresolved resentment toward you and your middle sister.

No worries, I trust that your older sister loves you very much and your middle sister.

However, the dream suggests that your childhood was not perfect (but then who has had a perfect childhood? Or what would that actually be?)

An air mattress suggests a psychological state as if on a cloud, away from the earth element. The water element connects with the mother and the unconscious, thus it sounds like at least your older sister might have experienced mother as difficult, perhaps she felt like she had to be a mother to her younger sisters.

To be loved is to be deeply known, thus the sisters in the dream would be the younger aspects of your older sister’s own self that feel like they are both drowned (i.e. subsumed in the needs of mother) and their thinking function is impaired (i.e. shot in the head).

The dream is about a feeling of helplessness, but also about protecting herself (in an air mattress is like being in a bubble—unable to save her younger self, but perhaps also protected from further harm).

Being in an air mattress, away from the drowning could be a way that your sister’s psyche represents some sort of trauma, as we sort of leave our bodies when fear or pain are overwhelming.

Sometimes a part of us has to die in order for a new part of us to be born, or more precisely (in psychological terms) our identification with some victimized or immature part of our self must become recognized and integrated into our full personality so we can move forward.

Perhaps your sister was so disturbed about having unconscious aggression toward you and your sister that she felt guilty and worried and thus told you her dream and then you are seeking solutions to your sister’s pain.

It would probably be quite healing, if it were true, for you to tell you sister that you recognize that she has had pain and anger and you are sorry if you have contributed to that in any way, and that you also have had pain and anger and forgive your sister(s). Then if the three of you can come to both recognize your mother and father’s limitations, accept that there has been pain there too (there always is some, so it seems) and forgive them for whatever it was you become freer and more alive.

If you manage to do this then get ready for soon your children will tell you how you have hurt them. If instead of denial you acknowledge, apologize (without undue guilt) we move into more real, less perfectionistic relating.

Finally, it strikes me (without any particular basis to suppor it) that we could think about this dream as having collective resonance in which the “older sister” could represent our parents (no matter how old we are) generation, the middle could be our own generation (whatever era in which we live, boom, x, y, etc) and the younger could represent our children’s generation (i.e. whatever we both leave behind, but also in some sense become… eventually).

If the Older (i.e. wisdom, maturity) is helpless to protect the present and the future, perhaps such consciousness itself might end the tragic cycle of violence, alienation and general douche-baggery that has so seemed to typify life on planet earth in terms of war, pollution, greed, lying and fame-for-fame’s sake—the lurid narcissism that would seem to elevate the self-important and leave the great vast sea of the kind and the quiet scratching their heads as to why this is so.

My fantasy is that more of us might realize that we are quiet, nice and actually do want the best for everyone; but also that very many more of us than we might imagine see things roughly the same way. If someone truly wants the best for others and wants to live a good life and is willing to say we are sorry when we accidentally hurt others because of our own hurt, shame, unconsciousness, etc. perhaps some odd tide of consciousness, which I have thought of as a feminine principle (inspired by Jung’s thinking, and having little to do with gender and much more to do with compassion and empathy and a vision for a world that is more fun and less tacky) might rise organically.

Who can say for sure. It doesn’t hurt to dream, especially if we pay attention to those dreams and meet in the space of thinking, sharing, feeling and connecting in the service of whatever dream weaves us together.

Sweet Dreams


Worried mommy December 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Hi Bruce ! I had almost the same dream with the very first dream you posted here.
We went to a mall and my husband parked outdoors, my husband was left at the parking lot he was fixing our things. But the 2 maids with us, a yaya and my niece and daughter got off the car with me. it was already dark at that time, my daughter who is 2yrs old seem excited to go inside the mall. She ran away and I ran after her. Chasing her and afraid that she might get caught with other running cars. To my surprise I can’t keep my pace with her, I am running very slow but at my best but really cant keep track with her which is very impossible to happen and I don’t know why. I keep on chasing her telling her to stop but she wouldn’t stop. til the yaya joined me to chase her, the yaya ran passed me but still can’t keep pace with my daughter. When the 3of us were already near the entrance of the mall, (driveway of the entrance) there is an approaching car and I shouted there is a car! then to my surprise my 2 yr old daughter climbed up the railing and jumped and I heard 2 splashes. 2 splashes Because the yaya also jumped. we didn’t know it was a river. Then I woke up, it was 8am this morning and relieved my daughter is safely sleeping but I am really horrified about the dream. What does this mean?


Bruce December 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Hi WM,

Perhaps your inner child is growing fast within you and your conscious or ego-self is realizing that she cannot keep up (i.e. develop the brilliant child-mind that is one with nature and being) with the natural brilliance of a child not yet taught all the wrong lessons of our current culture (fear, greed, violence, shame).

The two maids would be the attending parts of your own psyche, of lower social status but higher spiritual status. “Yaya” derives from the Yoruba name for great grandmother and divine spirit. Your niece is the part of you that is your sibling’s child, thus also closer to your own child aspect.

Your husband self represents the male aspect, the part in our culture that “fixes” things, a perspective that frames everything as rational, as puzzles to solve and this aspect tries to dominate and subjugate nature and, at worst, other humans.

This is not about your actual husband, the masculine principle is an aspect in women and men alike, but when thinking and fixing gets separated from feeling and connecting we have… the mall. The collective place where the zombie parts of ourselves gather to buy stuff we mostly don’t need and just as often can’t afford.

Thus the child appears to run toward the collective, in danger of being destroyed by the car (symbol of the ego-self and the polluting destructive machine age). The child reaches the barrier and leaps… into the river (river of life, feminine aspect, the place where the yaya and the child, the mother and the child, your own conscious ego-self and your deeper and more authentic Soul Self, all meet in the symbolic source and destiny of us all.

This is a good dream. Trust that your child soul knows exactly what she is doing.

You are being transformed by your dream life just as you are being transformed by parenting, by loving someone more than you love yourself.

Trust this process, have a soft and loving heart toward that person you may glimpse in the mirror when you look compassionately enough. Then take that gaze to the world and the zombies may appear merely hurt children.

Here’s to better dreams through understanding the disturbing ones. Hope it helps.


Shannon December 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hi, I had a dream last night about my husband, my 7 year old soon, my 5 year old soon, and myself being on a huge boat just looking around and all the sudden there was a huge drop and we were going really fast down it and I was screaming to my husband to grab my 5 year old but its like we were all stuck and couldn’t move and the 5 year old flew out of the side of the boat and I keep thinking I need to go get him but I couldn’t then we got of the boat and it seemed no one was worried but me I then woke up and ran in his room and he was sleeping like a baby. I was scared to go back to sleep because I didn’t want to return to that dream.. What do you think it means?


Bruce December 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Hi Shannon,

I wonder if you find your 5 year-old a little more challenging than the older son? Perhaps he reminds you of someone you have had conflicts with—mother or father or sibling?

I ask because sometimes when we have some unconscious anger (normal and natural as it might be) it can find expression in a dream where something “bad” happens to the person who has hurt or frustrated us.

Another thing to consider is what your own life was like when you were five; particularly if you felt somehow left out of the family, or if there were separations or losses in the family when you were that age. This would make particular sense if you happen to be a younger sibling.

Yet another possibility is that the boat is a symbol of either/both your full Self or the family as a whole. “Going down fast” would make sense if there has been recent trouble for the family (i.e. economic difficulties).

The water itself, the ocean, could symbolize the mother or perhaps the collective unconscious. The sense that you are moving deeper into the unconscious would fit with the notion that you are trying to work out some sort of pain from the past, uncertainties or feelings of loneliness or being left out or left behind when you were little—perhaps a time when you felt like “no one was worried but me.”

Maybe you can “return to the dream” in your active imagination, striving to dialogue with everyone and everything in your dream as aspects of yourself, searching for your “lost self” in the ocean of your Great Mother Self.

Symbolically, sometimes the child self (or our identification with the child self) has to perish and disappear in order for us to become fully grown-up.

Obviously you adore your children and your family. Now that you are in a safe and loving family you are safe enough to heal whatever pain harks back to early childhood or other losses along the way. By contemplating many possibilities (and I hope my ideas spark ideas of your own that I might not be able to come up with) you become more conscious, and being more aware and compassionate about your own self and feelings can help free you of bad dreams and melancholy too.

Hope you have better dreams ahead.


francis December 10, 2012 at 6:10 am

just have dreams that my 2 year old son is dead. There is no leading up to or even a how…. He is just all of a sudden dead :(


Bruce December 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hi Francis,

Simple and yet horrible… it makes me wonder if something in your own past, particularly around age 2, made you feel heartbroken? A loss, a move, perhaps something that you don’t officially know that you know, or realize as significant?

An example of this might be your mother having a miscarriage when you were two, and a feeling of sadness and loss around you that you would not understand in a mature sense.

The suddenness also seems to be a key feeling of the dream. In this sense perhaps a car accident or other very sudden event may haunt you. Sometimes when we have been hurt, but not conscious about it, our bodies feel scared and then our minds create scenarios that could explain the feeling.

Your dream suggests a feeling that is very terrible, but it does not reflect your reality when you wake up. Thus the point is to more fully wake up to the love and safety that is your life right now THROUGH giving validation to the pain your body carries, but now must let go.

Thus your connection to a dead child self must itself die in order for a living connection with your living child, your self and the eternal child also within, and between, us all (or something like this, we must move to dreams, poems and metaphors to even try and capture the ineffable feeling of life, love and loss that unite and yet mystifies us all).

Certainly wishing you gentle healing instead of sudden painful surprises.

Sweet Dreams and Sweet Life too


Wendy December 11, 2012 at 2:28 am

Hello Bruce,
I have just read all these postings and your replies. I found this site 2 hours ago after waking up from a nightmare. I am hoping that you can provide insight for me as you have so kindly done for others experiencing these nightmares.
I have had the most stressful year of my life thus far, so I am sure it contributes. I have my own company that I have just sold- days ago. This business has been great for us financially but deprived me of being with my boys,I worked 16 hour days 6-7 days a week and has taken its toll over the past 5 years. So I know that I am experiencing “mothers guilt”… Of not being there, missing so much and forcing them to grow up quickly. I have always had nightmares as I was sexually assaulted at age 17, so I do have OCD about safety things. I am paranoid about safety precautions, preparing for every situation that I possibly can. I am almost 40 now, so I have handled nightmares for some time. I also had a traumatic event with my youngest son, he fell into my moms pond, almost drowned….my step dad heard him splash and ran out and pulled up up by his foot. He is still scared of water.( he was almost 4 when this occurred)
I had an extremely disturbing bad dream about my boys ( ages 13,14) we were on a cruise ship, and something happened and we ended up in the water. I am trying to hold onto both boys but we are all sinking, I lose grip of my youngest son and watch him fall faster to the dark depths. I have both hands now on my oldest son we are holding our breath and we are staring into each others eyes. The water moving our hair into our faces, I can see the panic in his face, and there is absolutely nothing i can do, totally powerless and I know we are going to die, then woke up, crying and didn’t sleep for days. I was afraid to see the ending of that bad dream. It was traumatic for me. I had a hard time of thinking of anything else for a week. I just wanted to hold them and not let go….
However tonight, I was only asleep for an hour… And in my dream I hear a slight noise in the house and wake up in the dream and am looking at my son from above, like the google satellite images. I see a guy come into his room and start stabbing him 6-7 times in the torso. His eyes are open, and the sheer look of fear on his face , and i couldnt help him, this is tearing me apart as I type this….. I can’t stop crying. Once I awoke thinking immediately that this just occurred I jumped out of my bed and headed for his room. It turned out our dog was scratching at the back door, which is probably what really woke me, or even caused sounds that in my dream sent my mind on an excursion. I am still distraught regardless. My boys are the most important thing in my life, and having these bad dreams of something bad happening is taking its toll on me.
As these aren’t the only bad dreams. Just the most recent. I apologize for the long story and background, but thought it would help with possible insight to the interpretation. I appreciate any feedback!


Bruce December 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Hi Wendy,

The timing of these dreams seems significant. You have just sold your company (congrats on that), but it was in some sense also “your baby.”

While parenting is a privilege and a blessing, it is also exhausting and sometimes very disturbingly provocative, especially when we carry unresolved trauma (as you likely do from being sexually assaulted).

Perhaps one way to look at the dream is that now that you have cashed out on your hard work you are expected to go on a cruise (symbolic for kicking back and celebrating, but also a journey to the watery part of the world—to feelings and the unconscious, to our own relationship with the Great Mother, the ocean itself within us).

The ship is sinking, symbolic of the bigger self that looks like it is grand and strong, but has been torn below the surface (the assault, the stabbing in the second dream). The Titanic of ego is sinking into the truth of Self.

You have trouble “getting a grip” on your child (on getting a grip on your child self and her wounds); under the water (in the unconscious of Truth, of Love, of what really matters) you see hair (symbol of feelings, textural, animal, sensual, but also symbol of thoughts, which grow out of our heads). The kid hair and the mom hair are a tangle of undulating obfuscation of faces, of facing the dire situation of your child self (i.e. your assault, and other things in your childhood likely felt like you were dying).

As you strive to heal, you must come back into your body, into the terror that sent you out of your body… and make your way safely through that (here a trained mental health professional in a private consultation might be in order; as well for your child to process the trauma of nearly drowning if and when they might care to discuss that with someone).

You are awakening to the beauty of your life, thus you must find a way to understand and relinquish the shipwreck that was the past. Trauma’s repeat sometimes in families. Perhaps you too had a trauma around age 4?

In any event, your tears are probably good, as you are feeling your feelings and this is part of healing, so long as you stay with your body and not so much with your racing mind. In fact, the dream could be seen as a way to make pictorial sense of the way your body already feels when frightened, but of exactly what it is not sure.

I hope this helps and certainly wish you and your family well in resolving traumas of the past and relishing the life that you currently live.


Wendy December 12, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Bruce, thank you so much for your insight. It feels better coming from someone on the outside observing. I really do appreciate the time you took to help me understand what I am possibly experiencing subconsciously. As you detailed the events of my visions in my nightmares and the images I found emotionally disturbing really is enlightening, and I can understand your explanation clearly, through the emotions I am having, there is a reason I am creating these images. I don’t know of any trauma of when I was 4 except that’s when my parents divorced, however I have no memories or recall that event. I have to tell you that I feel you are gifted in this arena, and it has to be your calling. I have never posted on any forum or venue such as this in my life, I was in a dark place and really needed help understanding. So I am very grateful that I found your site, and you are so kind to share your talents to help so many people. Again, I thank you!


Heather December 11, 2012 at 4:28 am

I’ve been awake for a while from a bad dream. I just found your website, and im a very private person but because these dreams have been so disturbing, i thought id give this a try. The problem is that I’ve been having bad dreams (sometimes multiple times per night) about my oldest child for about two weeks strant ight. Every night. The dreams are about a wide range of situations, but each deals with me trying to save or protect my child. I should also mention I am pregnant with my third and I know dreams become more vivid with pregnancy. My oldest is only 3.5 yrs. old.
The dream that I just had disturbed me quite a bit. I live in a cold climate, and its snowy a lot. So, my child wanted to play with a back neighbor. I bundled my child up and sent them to the friends. In reality, I know the child is 3 and i would never send them alone even to a few houses away. A little later in the dream my husband and I are looking in the backyard (we don’t have a fence at our house) and we see someone hunting something. The hunter is a teenage girl riding a horse, trying to catch a mouse. The older girl whips at the mouse as it runs around. We watch as the chase gets closer and the mouse turns into my 3 year old. But my child is without snow gear, shivering, crying, helpless. The child is right at our back door and the hunter is about to take a fatal whip when I yell to my husband to save our child. He does. My child runs in the back door, into my arms crying. I hold then briefly while I cry as well. I then go and get the hunter (probably
17) and take her home, finding out who she is, trying to ask why, promising to call the police. I get to her house and talk to her father. He is diss appointed and agrees I should seek justice. I don’t know if this part of the dream was significant as it felt more of an attempt for my brain to make the dream end well, me being able to carry out a mother’s justice. I woke up upset. This dream wasn’t great, but its also the fact that I have dreamt things like this for weeks, every night. I am starting to think it must have to do with insecurity about my relationship with this child, whom I love beyond description. Maybe the pregnancy is doing weird things. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Bruce December 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Hi Heather,

Perhaps the mouse is a symbol of your developing baby inside you, or perhaps of your younger child? Perhaps the mouse is a symbol of the timid you, or you when you were a frightened child?

Perhaps the teen on the horse is a symbol of you as a sexual and powerful being astride your animal self, powerful and natural.

If any of this could ring true to you, then you see your adolescent self tormenting your infant self. Perhaps you feel unconscious aggression at the children you have to care for, and maybe anger and contempt for the part of yourself that carries fear.

The whipping motif seems both suggestive of punishment, but also of sexual dominance (I skipped “Fifty Shades of Gray”, perhaps you did not?).

Your ego self bears witness to the conflict between sexual and mousy selves, and then seeks justice from the “gir’s father” which is symbol of your own inner father or masculine aspect.

Maybe this dream is like a window into different parts of yourself and offers opportunity to integrate them. Maybe you could imagine yourself in the middle of a circle of horse, mouse, teen girl, father figure and honor each for their perspective and right to exist so long as they don’t hurt the others. As Queen of this dominion you can encourage your loyal subjects to each play their role in your kingdom with grace and honesty—the mouse free to nest and be safe and cozy, the horse respected for her power, the teen for her passion and yet understood in her spite and rage, the father in his need for guidance so his girl won’t go unprotected or unsupervised.

I suspect you are a good mom and it is the childhood you have left behind that holds mice and wild teens; gather these parts with love and you will continue to grow solid and, I hope, your dreams will turn more tranquil.


Vivi December 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Hi i just stumble upon your great sites after i had bad dream with same theme two nights in a row.

In my dream there is an intruder come and try to kidnap my 2 yo daughter. It never finish since i always wake up shivering and found her sleeping with her dad. I have 6yo old son and 4 of us sleep together every night since the day they were born.

I don’t recall to have bad experience nor overprotective towards my children. But i do carefully teach them to pick and use words when they talking to the adults and friends. I’m living in Japan so i kinda have some sort of invisible pressure to raise my children.

Can you please help me. Thank you in advance.


Bruce December 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Hi Vivi,

I’m pleased to hear from you and thank you for sharing your dream. Maybe the two-year-old in your dream is a symbol of your own two-year-old self. If we think about it this way, then the intruder is your Power but also your Shadow.

For many women it can be a struggle to differentiate the darker aspects of our power from the positive aspects. Since your intruder self may have become frustrated in his/her struggles to bring you your power, perhaps this Shadow is claiming your child for instruction in empowerment?

I might invite you to imagine talking to the intruder, saying something like: “I know you are my power and we both love the child me very much. Now that you have my full attention, please instruct me on how I might be a great and powerful mom in the service of my children, and also in the service of all our children, especially those children inside us grown-ups who have felt unseen or disempowered… Help me to use my power wisely and for love.”

Since you are writing from Japan, it makes me think of some great images of power used wisely by the feminine aspect in the films of Miyazaki, particularly “Princess Mononoke” and “Nausicaa.” Your children are young so start with “Totoro,” but you yourself might watch the others for guidance and inspiration.

Finally, you may be very sensitive and although you recall nothing particularly “bad” from childhood, sensitive children can be overwhelmed by things less sensitive people might find to be no big deal. It’s not important to figure out in anything scared you, but it is useful to trust the animal that is your body. If you wake trembling, allow the trembling and trust that it is natural. The gentle trembling, or perhaps tears, or whatever emotions you feel from your body may be ways that the unconscious is teaching you to get back to the soft safe freedom of child-mind.

Finally, sometimes parenting is very frustrating, and thus another way to think about dreams (as Freud was keen on doing) was to see the unconscious wish in the dream. When we have bad dreams about our kids (or others) we are well-served to consider our frustration with those people, however small and lovely they may be. To the extent this is true (and it is very natural) when we are conscious about it the dreams have no need to bring that into consciousness and they evaporate with our rising consciousness.

All Best Wishes & Pleasant Dreams


jessica December 20, 2012 at 1:54 am

I had a horriable dream it was really strange first me and my fiancee of 7yrs my childrens father had sperated and i went to see him at his new place i guess it had been a while since we seen each other and that was a very odd metting but then our children just appeared back into the picture and bad things kept happening when my fieance was suposed to be keeping an eye on one or both of them. well bad things almost happened i was always there right before they could end badley. But it ended with me running back to the new place because i had asked for the uptenth time where are the kids he says their fine so i go back can’t find them anywhere i end up running up like a man made hill with a iron structure and landing/ railing and i see his room mate so i call down to him to call steve i cant find the kids i had lost my phone somewhere along the way. the roommate is kinda freaking out i guess they were supposed to be watching the kids so i run around back again and see signs like toys and i think my sons shirt that s when i i looked over my shoulder to my left and seen a little cliff like a 3 to 4 ft drop but there was water i just keep saying no no no and look into the water it was clear and was daytime out though it had been going on dark when i was first looking for them then it seems like im really sluggish i cant move fast and i see my son lying on his left side in the water with out a shirt or shoes he looks like hes sleeping but i know thats not the case i start to run to him and when i jump in the water i see my daughter out of the coner of my eye close to her brother and im just overwhelmed with grife and dread i knew my babes where gone then i wake up i had fallen asleep with my daughter in my arms and my son at my feet on the sofa any ideas it was 3 in the morning the usual time i wake up from wierd dreams but this one was to much no going back to sleep im still shaken up from it 2 hours later


Bruce December 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hi Jessica,

A few thoughts on this dream might begin with wondering how you feel about having a fiance for seven years? Perhaps you do not feel secure in this relationship and the way the children are treated is a symbolic way to understand how you feel. From this angle you confront a “man made hill” (which could symbolize the “obstacle” your fiance has made, at least in your unconscious mind, to you all being safe and together. Then you see your child “lying” (maybe you feel lied to?) on his “left side” (the “side of you” that feels “left” or abandoned).

Although all too common in our current culture, perhaps you feel like a single mom and you are overwhelmed by the responsibility without feeling of support? The water could symbolize feelings, tears, the Mother and/or the unconscious.

Another way to wonder about this dream is in relationship to your past. The cliff is “3 to 4 ft drop” and this could possibly mean that you felt “dropped” when you were 3 or 4. Maybe your dad left your mom around then? Maybe something made you feel like you emotionally died or felt traumatized as a child; perhaps this dream shows how you felt not safe and not supervised as a kid.

Maybe the pain of your past threatens to become the pain of your children’s future. One way to engage this dream is to commit to being there for your own self SO that you can be there for your kids. If your fiance is not there as much as you like, see who can be there (friends, family, community) and maybe imagine your dream and pulling your kids out of the water and imagining them coming back to life and you telling them: I know you are the child parts of me, and I see your pain and I am here for you and we are actually alive right now and even if you weren’t safe as a kid, I can, and will, do everything possible to keep myself and my actual children safe.

Maybe this is our collective prayer, that all our babies can be safe and protected, even if we were not. When kids are hurt it is always unfair. If we show up for all our kids we break the cycle of abandonment and hurt.

Here’s hoping for better dreams and waking life


Ana December 20, 2012 at 2:26 am

So Last night I had the scariest Dream Ever! I was at my current home and I had to leave to the Walmart to buy something. I’m still not sure what I left to buy. I Left my 18 month old with my Older Sister and older Brother to watch over her. As soon as I got to the store I called my sister to ask how my Daughter was doing, she assured me she was running around happy. While I worked my way to the end of an isle, I felt something had been torn away from me. I reached for my phone and dialed to my sister and she wouldn’t answer. I got home as fast as I could. One weird thing is that my house was exactly the same but the Back door was the front door. Like the house was backwards. So I entered through the laundry room yelling for my daughters name. I asked my sister where is DEBBIE where is she!? She looked very nervous and said that she didn’t know. I had never felt this kind of pain in my heart before.. I went looking for her all over the house. I then asked her where is our Brother and she started to cry. I went to the Laundry room and I found my daughters tiny hand cut on top of the washer. Blood was on the floor. My heart broke into a million pieces! I was in denial! Nooo..Nooo.. I screamed.. WHERE IS SHE!? Next thing I knew the cops were putting the tiny hand in a plastic bag.. they were going to determine whether it was my daughters hand or not. As I sat in the couch next to my sister.. I asked her.. Please. Tell me what happened. I need to know. Please. She then told me that my brother had poisoned my daughter and that she didn’t know what to do. “WHY DIDN’T you call Poison control? An ambulance?! You just let her die! You could have saved her.. Why.. why..” tears came down my eyes. I didn’t want to live anymore. My world and reason for leaving was over. Then I wake up. I THANK GOD and am relieved it was only a NIGHTMARE! I ran to my daughter and hugged her.. Kissed her.. She is my world. And if anything ever happened to her I would die. What does my dream mean? I have never will I ever hurt my child. She is my WORLD.


Bruce December 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Hi Ana,

My first thought on this dream is that your unconscious doesn’t think you should shop at Walmart :)

On a more serious note, this dream does make me wonder if you experienced any sort of sudden loss around 18 months of age back when you were very little—the feeling of something being “torn away” could symbolize this, not necessarily the loss of your child now, but of your innocence or trust when you were little..

The Walmart might symbolize the collective place where we “forget our children” in the midst of buying things we don’t really need. This might symbolize the conflict between materialism and spirit that is both personal and societal.

As for the way your brother and sister are portrayed by your unconscious, perhaps you have resentments toward your siblings, as they don’t seem to be safe caregivers to your child self, at least in your own unconscious mind. Yet these figures are better understood as your inner big brother and big sister, and in this sense they represent the Shadow, that which does not help you. However, the Shadow is often trying to connect you to your power, showing you the peril of consumerism over family, or maybe the dangers of “big brother” as symbol of power that doesn’t really care about people, not even children.

Your brother proves “toxic” to your kids self and your sister complicit. Older sibs are like partial parents to us when we are little and you may have transfered your hurt/anger regarding parents onto the parent figures of your sibs.

Entering the house from behind could be symbolic of entering from the past, again supporting the idea that this dream is about your own past and the unresolved pain that may be stuck there.

The severed hand could have multiple potential meanings. One is the dark pun: you ask your sibs to lend a hand and they take it from your child. A severed hand is also symbolic of barbaric punishment for stealing, thus your Shadow aspect punishes the child, but for what? Perhaps for wanting and needing love and protection.

Aggression is usually born of injustice, and I wonder if your older sibs felt that you were the baby and got more love, and in return they resented you for that and punish you when you ask for help?

Another idea on a severed hand is that the child self is prevented from grasping, touching, doing—all symbolic of being overwhelmed and emotionally killed from harm and neglect. In some sense it makes me think you have to commune with the dead child in the dream, realizing she is a symbolic self and not your treasured actual daughter.

Dreams are like cartoons, and can reverse and morph, even by way of your own imagination. Perhaps you can talk to your siblings in your mind (not your actual sibs who most certainly have not hurt your daughter in this way, hopefully in no way at all) and tell them, in your imagination, that you recognize they must be the hurt part of you and you are sorry so much of you hurts (child, brother, sister) and you hope to come together as a family, first inside yourself, later perhaps as an actual family this Holiday Season… and ultimately as a growing sense of compassion and community amongst us all.

Enlightenment, Jung would have us understand, is not about picturing images of peace and light, but about bringing the light of consciousness to the dark depths of our Shadow realm and unconscious dark places.

See this dream as a teacher, let the wisdom that emerges out of your own creative process (merely encouraged by my suggestions) guide you toward loving at the highest (i.e. most conscious, most accepting of your own dark aspects, as we all have them) level.

I imagine that your dreams will get much better, and any healing you need to do will find support as you seek to do it in the service of your child.

Sweet Dreams


gina layne December 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm

i keep having this continuous dream of me driving through a town and going over the tracks and getting stuck and the train starts coming towards me so i get out and not able to get my one year old sons carseat undone and get him out befor the train hits my truck and it takes off with it with my baby still in there. i never know if he dies cause i always wake up cryin and jus grap him and hold him as tight as i can. i wish i knew what it ment! i havent been around train tracks since i started having this dream. Help!!


Bruce December 21, 2012 at 12:08 am

Hi Gina Layne,

The “tracks” are a classic symbol of the divide in a town (“wrong side of the tracks”). In the psyche you are trying to cross the tracks, which could mean cross over from the past toward the future, but you get stuck. This might symbolize that having a child has triggered feelings about the past, about feeling emotionally insecure and on the wrong side of the tracks of power, love and self-esteem.

The train might symbolize forces bigger than yourself, that huge thundering mover of people and freight that passes through the town and just keeps going, mothers and babies be damned. The train may symbolize power, but power lacking in compassion.

A train is also rather phallic, so it could symbolize men or maleness that has hurt you, even though you have your truck (a somewhat macho vehicle) it is no match for a train.

If the bad news is that the baby is a symbol of your own self, as it may have felt hurt and carried away, the good news is the train symbolizes your own awesome power (it just needs to be harnessed toward compassion and understood so that it no longer terrifies and hurts).

Whether husband or your father, the train may also represent a wish to be carried away by father. This, for example, would make good sense if you were raised by a single mom in a town with tracks and father left you behind with mom… the wish for father would then be stirred up by having a baby.

I can only make some guesses to get you thinking, it’s for you to meditate on the meaning of this dream.

Finally, trains are powerful, but they have no free will to turn, thus they are limited (i.e. the “one track mind”).

What we fear is often a reflection of what has already happened and hurt us and made us stuck in that fear and overwhelm. Whatever has scared you probably made you feel like the helpless mother and the helpless child.

My hope is that if you can understand this fear, you will realize that you, and your baby, are safe. Then the dreams can shift into guidance on where to go, rather than helping you understand that you are stuck.

Hope your dreams turn sweet and safe very soon


Kayla December 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

I could really use some help determining why I have been having these terrible dreams. I literally can’t remember the last good, positive dream I had…. I’ve been having these terrible dreams for the past 6 months or so. A lot of times I have nightmares that someone is trying to kill me. I’m being chased, completely terrified in my dreams. Something I have noticed in a lot of those dreams is a door. Not the same door but often it involves me trying to secure a door so that they can’t get in and every time there is something wrong with the door. Either it is very flemsy and they could just push in a part of it and climb in, or I cant get it to shut all the way or the locks are messed up and wont lock, and im always panicking b/c if they get in they will kill me.
The other even more terrifying dreams I have are about my children. I have a 5 month old and an almost 16 month old. Most of them have been about my older child. In a recent dream, He was staying with his Grandmother. I wasn’t sure what had happened to him, but he was rushed to the hospital and when I got there I found out he had died. Of course I broke down and was freaking out. My dream went on to days following his death and I was greiving and just could not accept what had happened and was crying to my family. Everyone was acting like I shouldnt be upset. Like it wasnt a big deal….and I would try to tell them how sad and completely devistated I was…?
Last Night I dreamed that both of my boys were staying at there Grandmothers house (same Grandmother as the one I just told you about) and I went over to her house to pick them up and no one was there…..I was walking through the house looking for them and came to this room with a hot tub in it and my babies were in there drowning. I jumped in and got them both out but my 5 month old kept falling back in. From what I remember they did not die. When she came home I was furious and freaking out…..and thats everything I can remember of that dream.
This is just a couple of the dreams ive had. Like I said before, I have them very frequently. If you could please try to help me understand why I have these nightmares. I hate it, it stresses me out so bad and I wake up exhausted because I feel like ive been through a real tragedy. Please help. Thank you so much!


Bruce December 21, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Hi Kayla,

Given that these nightmares are recurring and that they onset around when you were nine months pregnant with your second child, it raises the question about how your life was when you were just born and in the first year or so.

Perhaps your mom had a difficult pregnancy, or maybe there were stresses or losses in the family coinciding with your birth? This would make sense given the symbols in the dream, and it would make sense that it would all be terribly confusing for you if the trauma your body carries, which was triggered into consciousness by having your own babies, originally occurred at a time before we even have memories in the way we think of memory as grown-ups (around 18 months and older).

The door might symbolize how you felt unable to have a safe boundary when you were little. The door is flimsy and you are not protected. This could mean psychological intrusion not necessarily physical.

The fact that grandmother neglects the children suggests deeply held feelings of abandonment.

The hot tub could be a symbol of the womb, and your wish to rescue yourself from feelings of unwantedness stemming that far back. It would be hard for your mom to acknowledge if you were a wanted pregnancy, but it seems like you might at least feel neglected and unwanted—and to a child that feels like dying.

If you can realize that this is no longer about your mom or grandparents or dad or even about your babies, it is more about how the inner parent or great parent figures are in no real relationship with the inner child. You, and your conscious psyche, fishing the children out of the unconscious waters, is the mom bringing all the parts, dark and light, together into consciousness.

In the first dream your feelings of loss and grief are minimized and denied. It would make sense that your unconscious wants to be understood in your feelings of loss and grief SO that you can heal and move on.

Perhaps deeper insight into your pain, anger, loss and sorry will help transform the dreams, which are like a teacher (when the lesson is grasped, the dreams move on to the next lesson).

If the bad feelings or dreams continue, you might like to look at a book on healing trauma by Peter Levine: http://bit.ly/VhabtM

Meanwhile, All Best Wishes


Crystal December 23, 2012 at 5:44 am

Hi there,
Shortly after 5 am I awoke in a panicked state, feeling very anxious and disturbed about a dream I have just had. In the dream I have accompanies by husband to a function for his work. He is in conferences and meetings and seminars and our children ( 4 and a half and nearly 3) are with us. The local surrounds are nfamiliar and the environment is busy with various people rushing past us in a blur. Next thing I remember is that w all end up separated. my four year old daughter is with my husband and my son and I are together. When I finally randomly meet up with my husband he is alone (without my daughter) and he is angry. He tells me that he is late for a meeting he had to attend and that I apparently forgot about. He is rushed and tries to move past me. I ask him where our daughter is and he tell me that she was misbehaving and he put her on the bus (as in the public transportation bus) I panick and proceed to the nearest bus stop to try to find her. I rode from bus to bus andrn from bus stop to bus stop but couldn’t find her….until I woke up anxious and tearful.

I am very protective and passionate about my children so the thought of my husband disregarding my daughter is devistating. I have been struggling with my roles lately as I have been back to work full time for a year now. This is a bit of a challenge for me as i feel that i should be at home raising my children but i am also a professional who is in high demand and earn a very comfortable income which we rely on in conjunction with my hsbands income. My daughter can be difficult at times because she has a personality that does not always mesh with with the rest of us. My children are also very bonded together and have adjusted well to child care. I have to admit that my husband and I’s relationship has suffered a bit over the past year, likely because I feel unable to juggle my role as a mother, full time professional, and wife.


Bruce December 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

Hi Crystal,

Given that you are aware of the surface meaning of this dream—that you feel anger toward your husband, frustration with your daughter’s personality and a special bond with your son—I would encourage you to turn to this dream in terms of what it might be telling you about your own Self and your inner struggles to individuate (fancy word for moving toward your fuller and more grown-up Self).

In this perspective the dream is like a mirror of the different parts of your own psyche. Thus your husband in the dream would be your masculine aspect, and at the moment that achieving part of you (the provider, the one who deals with the “conventional” world at conventions, has the hunter-gatherer agenda going and doesn’t relate very harmoniously with your conscious ego-self, the one who is left thanklessly tagging along on the business trip.

You are consciously identified, in the unconscious of the dream, with the wife-mother who is not appreciated. Your anger creates the seeming fear, but also angry wish, to “all end up separated. In marriage separation is a step toward divorce, but the hope of the unconscious is to make things more conscious so you might not have to do that all-too common solution to frustration in relationship.

In the psyche, its all YOU, so there’s no getting separated from yourself, there’s only better and less integrated relating of the parts. Women often deny their Shadow, thus they do not like to think of themselves as “bad” or abandoning, or aggressive… and so end up projecting that onto men who seem to do their dirty work for them. Poor men who have enough troubles of their own in their own psyches (as they tend to project the loving and nurturing onto women and then resent women for things those women never actually did to those men, such as abandonment, betrayal, etc. in the pain of not being understood, we start to act out the projections we’ve been told we do, be it too unreliable, too remote, too needy and relationships break down and everyone ends up losing and feeling lonely. so sad).

Ok, you relate to your son, and he symbolizes the hope of a re-do. He is your “little man” and your unconscious feels the sort of bond with him, intimacy, closeness, easy connection, that reflects your child-Self. To see with child-eyes again, while retaining the maturity of being a mother and wife, is to move toward individuation, where masculine and feminine, young and wise, dark and light, must become harmonized SO that you can better relate to the group (the collective conscious and unconscious… the world that we might make better, might make worse, or might conclude is to be lived in more than changed).

Your daughter is the brilliant and misunderstood part of you. In real life she stands in danger of becoming the black sheep of your family (the one most likely to end up on the therapist’s couch because she carries the higher consciousness of the family—she’s not the worst of you, in some ways she is the best of you).

Thus she ends up on the bus, a symbol of collective travel, a girl of the people, of fairness, of exploring and wandering and keeping it real, rather than the conventional aspects of working the room, making the connections, advancing and excelling in the more elite realms of business.

Your daughter is like a symbolic Rosa Parks of the family… she’s on the bus and you want to get her off the bus. You go looking for her, realizing that she is your treasure and you would rather be with her on the bus than without her at the convention.

It would be wrong to imagine that your husband wants to ditch your daughter; your unconscious masculine aspect is trying to make things better for the family, but he feels misunderstood. If you tell him you appreciate how hard he is working (at least in your psyche, it might not hurt to say it to the real man in your bedroom and your kitchen), and you understand that he does truly care about the good of the group, he will soften and you will be closer.

Once he’s done feeling unloved and misunderstood, he will understand that you too want to play with the big boys and have a part in the group, that you too care about all the kids (son, daughter, but also the kids you guys used to be, and all the kids left out of the business culture and left off the bus).

Maybe your “role” is neither mother nor professional, these are just aspects of life lived; maybe all of us would be better understood, at least by our own selves, if we thought of our “role” as that of soul—as that which is honest and caring and wants to contribute and bond, work and play, be treated fairly and wanting to treat others fairly—at least we will feel calmer and less left behind… and maybe that will bring out the best in us.

Best of luck in waking and sleeping life


Crystal December 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thank you for the unconscious, psyche perspective. There are definitely some harsh truths to acknowlage and address. I certainly have some work to do.


Bruce December 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hi Crystal,

I know these may seem “harsh” at first glance, but it’s terribly important to apply consistent compassion, curiosity and non-judgment to your inner explorations; place your own growth and rising happiness in the service of your children, your family and all our collective children and perhaps this will invite the wind of spirit to fill your sails and smile on your journey.

Warm Regards


sara December 28, 2012 at 4:20 am

I keep having dreams different dreams about my two year old buy being kiddnapped, beaten, running away and other people killing him these dreams are so vivid and scary that I cant go back to sleep. I tell myself over and over its only a dream but that doesn’t seem to work.

Last night I had a dream that , people were taking my son like a day care / hospitial/swimming pool ( confusing I know) and little did I know they were taking him to the back and taking out his blood with an iv . I heard him screaming I was powerless to stop it.

How do you make these dreams end?


Bruce December 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

Hi Sara,

My first instinct is that you simply need love and compassion born of deeper understanding. Your two year old is likely triggering the feelings and forgotten memories of your own experiences around that time of life where you are first separating and individuating, hence the “child part” of you feels like she/he is being taken from you (kidnapping as unconscious defense against feelings of abandonment, and perhaps your fear your baby is growing up and the strivings for autonomy feel like leaving you and this triggers unconscious anger, and hence the “beaten up” as abandonment feels like being beaten and killed because our souls can’t truly live without love, and that means security and safety that we can venture forth and be received with open and loving arms whenever we come back, be it from the world or from the sandbox when that is our world).

The confusion between swimming pool (womb/waters of Great Mother) and hospital (place most moms give birth these days, but also a place of healing) suggests your own wishes to go back in time and also your need for healing—not with medicine and procedures but with accurate understanding, patiences and compassion (for your own self and your experiences).

parenting will teach you again and again that it’s all about transition, and that transition is hard. You are in transition and when you make it through your dreams will be fine again… until the next transition.

Hoping the transition to 2013 brings better dreams and a much needed transfusion of abiding spirit


Sharise December 29, 2012 at 6:33 am

I dreamt that someone unknown was blackmailing me to do a job for him. An “enforcer” was sent to my house during a get together and my 8 year old was in her room upstairs. I heard her scream and my husband and I ran to her only to find her curled up in her bed and that the “enforcer” had cut the tip of her tongue off to force me to do the job. I attempted to fight him and sent my husband to get our 2yr old. Obviously this was a devastating scenario and I couldn’t return to sleep…. even got both my girls and slept with them


Bruce December 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hi Sharise,

We could think of the enforcer as a Shadow figure, meaning it represents the part of you that you would consciously not think of as any part of you at all (the Shadow is what stands behind us when we face the sun).

Your children would be the child parts of you, and the 8 year old is “upstairs” possibly symbolizing that she resides at a higher level of consciousness than you, at least in the symbolism of your inner psyche.

If the Shadow cuts off the tip of the child self’s tongue, it suggests that your Shadow is “forcing” you to find your voice and speak up. But speak out about what…?

this takes us to your second dream


Sharise December 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

Another dream I had a few weeks ago was that I was with my girls in the car and it broke down. Samuel Jackson (crazy I know) offered his help. We followed him inside of his house to call my husband for help and after I got off the phone he locked us in. He then revealed to me that we would never leave. He tied me up and made me watch him take my 8yr old’s panties and he smelled the crotch (graphic I know) and I begged him to leave my girls alone. He had the most eerie smile. I charged him but had no strength and woke up. Now I can’t see him on TV or even heat his voice without having a panic attack. My girls are the most cherished thing and I dont like having these disgustingly, horror dreams. I would also like to know why the “bad stuff” only happens to my 8 yr old. Please help


Bruce December 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Here we have amplification about what the Shadow/enforcer wants you to speak up about: abuse of a child.

Now it may be a way that your unconscious shows how terrible you can sometimes feel, and it may not be abou litteral abuse, however, if you have been hurt as a child it would make sense that you would be triggered by your child turning 8, particularly if something bad happened to you when you were 8. And particularly if someone threatened you if you would “tell.”

The car might be a symbol of the self, the self that contains your conscious ego identity (Sharise) and also your child self at 2 and at 8.

You might want to think about which Sam Jackson movies come to mind to gain more illumination on why him; but your inner Sam Jackson might be thought of as the movie star part of yourself. Certainly Jackson is very talented and smart, but whether it’s “Shaft” Sam or “Snakes on a Plane” Sam or whatnot may give you clues about his significance for you.

The unconscious is often funny, truth-telling and wickedly wise. Maybe you think Sam Jackson is great and a part of you would like to be locked in a house with him?

But when he turns Shadow, and sexualizes your 8 year old self, it begs the question about someone in your past charming and tricking you into some sort of sexual situation.

One way to work with this dream material would be to find a quiet place and use your imagination to go back into the dream. Confront Samuel Jackson and say something like, “I know you are my Shadow and you’re trying to get me to own my power and understand how to grow and heal. What is it that you want me to do? I might not do it, but I am interested to hear what you say. Why would you hurt a child? Are you the part of me that wants me to understand how helpless my mother was to protect me, even though she was horrified? Or are you just a metaphor for the way I feel when I’m triggered to feelings of helplessness or loss?”

If you can get a dialogue going with your Shadow, you will come into more of your personal power and your Shadow will turn into more of a help than the hindrance it seems like now.

For more information on how trauma in our own past can affect our children’s feelings of security (and how your parent’s past trauma might have influenced your sense of safety) see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2010/12/15/attachment-in-the-lab-implications-on-the-couch-and-in-the-brain/

Sometimes just thinking a lot about your dreams can help them resolve and the nightmares stop.

Certainly wishing you better dreams ahead and good waking time too


Quinton January 1, 2013 at 7:32 am

I just wanted to find out some information for my fiance’s dream. She keeps having dreams where she has to save 3 to 5 children but they are her own kids. We just found out she was recently pregnant in November. The past couple of days she has been having nightmares that are different situations but she still has to save the kids. the most recent nightmare is where she is in a warehouse of some sort and there is water that has flooded the building almost all the way to the ceiling. There are wires that are hanging from the ceiling that the kids are hanging onto and she has to find a way to save them. She never has finished the dream because she wakes up in a panic. I’m really concerned about what might be going on and what it symbolizes.


Bruce January 1, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hi Quinton,

Although the best way to explore dreams is through a sort of creative process, I can offer some ideas and you can share them with your fiance.

Symbolic death is also connected to symbolic birth or renewal. Thus your fiance, in getting ready for motherhood, faces the death of her “inner child” or more accurately, the death of her identification with the child so a new identity as wife and mother can be born.

I would ask her to think about what the numbers 3 and 5 mean to her, but possibly they are hints about things she felt or experienced at those ages; possibly they can be symbols of how you will go from a couple (2) to a family (3) and perhaps the other two symbolize your pets, her parents, the three children total she hope, or intuits, might arrive in the future?

A warehouse could be a symbol for a collective Self, a larger psychology than the individual. In expanding her body to house a growing baby, she may feel like a warehouse filled with water (the water could be the womb fluids, but it could also symbolize the Great Mother Herself, the ocean from which we all emerge and to which we all return, symbolically speaking).

The wires could symbolize the umbilical cord and how the children connect to the warehouse of the uterus.

The fact that it is a nightmare may be about how your fiance is struggling to integrate her conscious feeling (joy at love, marriage and motherhood) and her unconscious feeling (of loss, fear, drowning).

This is a good time for you and your fiance to think about your past, about the family history, about where we all are as humans regarding parenting and community. I think babies are meant to be brought into this world in a context of family and safety, yet many women (and some men) feel like they are in this alone, and this makes babies and responsibility overwhelming and makes us feel like we must save others while the Titanic of our culture feels like its sinking.

Perhaps there is a better way? Perhaps it begins with compassion (i.e. my thoughts on interpreting the dream could translate to you putting your arms around your fiance and letting her know that you are in this with her, she is not alone, and if either of you had pain and suffering in your own childhoods you band together in love and consciousness to give a better experience to your child or children).

Trust that tears can be a good thing, they are often about loneliness and overwhelm; if we can use our tears to create bonds of compassion and trust and honesty, perhaps our kids will benefit and we too will live better lives than the anxious, competitive, all too often hollow and lonely lives too many of us have been floundering in.

Hope this helps a little


Pia January 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi Bruce. I’ve been researching all morning for dream interpretations after having such a vivid dream/nightmare which had me wake balling my eyeballs out. I dreamt that I left my 3 children in a moving car on the highway. I didn’t have the intent to hurt them, I just got out and left. Realizing I did that I frantically went up to a police officer and told him that the vehicle was still in motion with my children inside. He radioed in to locate the vehicle and I was told that they were ok. In the next scene, I was in the back of a police van and I borrowed an officers cell phone to contact my dad to pick up the kids. I had the hardest time remembering his phone number but I could see myself dialing and as soon as he picked up I told him what had happened and he said he had my son but not the my 2 girls. I told him that I didn’t know why I did what I did and I don’t know what was wrong with me. I needed help. My dad tried to reassure me that I was fine and nothing was wrong. While on the phone with my dad, the officer next to me pulled out a report stating that I attempted to harm my children just 1 week before by injection. So I was never going to see them again. If I went home they couldn’t be there they would go to foster care. I couldn’t take it so I tried to kill myself with a pair of scissors but was too scared to go through with it. From there, I woke up almost hyperventilating with tears flowing and I couldn’t stop. It felt so real. And just the night before I dreamt of my deceased grandpa giving me money. Any relation? Will my children be ok? Will I be all right? Two vivid dreams as soon as the new year arrived.


Bruce January 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Hi Pia,

One way to think of this dream is that you have a deep wish for your father’s love, and that you do not feel fully understood by your dad. From this perspective you “abandon” your kids SO that your dad will have to step up and parent them (as compensation for not feeling fully parented by your dad when you were a girl? Perhaps dad left mom, or went away for awhile when you were the age of one of your children now?)

But even so, your dad takes the boy (perhaps he wanted a boy, perhaps you have a brother you think dad favored?) but not the girls, echoing your own feeling of not being wanted.

The police are your inner critical voice, so while dad says you are fine and you don’t feel truly understood, the cop says you’re a bad mother and you do feel ashamed but seen. The idea of injection might be a symbol of how bad feelings get transmitted from parents to kids, as if in secret. Maybe you carry the secret knowledge of your dad’s feelings of shame and inadequacy?

You then take to scissors, which are used to cut things, like ties, connections, umbilical cords, and you turn them on yourself. But you don’t really want to die, you want to stop feeling abandoned, overwhelmed, ashamed and lonely.

You can also think of all the parts in the dream as inner aspects of your own self, and thus your car is like your ego, but you feel false and empty, like you’re not really yourself lately (this could be a sign of old wounds from childhood being triggered as your older girl hits the tripwire of what life was like when you were her age… perhaps a time you felt abandoned in some way?).

The children are your own child selves, the part that gets abandoned, etc with the injection being the toxic part of you and the cops the authority part of you.

We need rehabilitation of the psyche here, not punishment for crimes you do not commit in waking life; you need compassion and understanding, for out of that you will heal and your hurt and your destructive impulses toward yourself will transform to more loving impulses. Your kids are your motivation to do this as they benefit from a happy mother who feels good about herself. Parenting is not something we can do alone, and so we need community and a sense that we all might care about each other’s kids in order to break the cycle of kids feeling unimportant and parents feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Finally, your grandfather is a symbol of your Great Father. The fact he gives you money could be symbolic for giving you the resources you need to be able to parent and provide and feel less alone in your caregiving.

My hope is that understanding of this dream will help it not need to repeat, and also guide you to continue, as you have done with this email to me, to reach out and let others help you. Even if your dad was less than ideal when you were a kid, perhaps he can redeem this by actually helping with your girls, even if you did not benefit from it when you were little. If you can forgive your own parents you will more easily be forgiving and compassionate toward yourself, and then you at least won’t feel so alone, even if things are truly difficult sometimes.

Wishing you better dreams and happy times awake too


Worried mom January 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

Hi yesterday I had a bad bad dream, I can’t really recall the beginning but it involved my husband and 11 year old son.in my dream for some reason my son had to die I don’t know why but my son understood the reason and was ok with it, they are in the bathroom talking about it and I’m in the kitchen I can’t hear what they are saying but at this point my husband stabs him in the back twice, I’m in the kitchen pacing and can hear my husband softly talking to him, I finally go into the bathroom to see my son and he’s a very pale white pink and I see his eyes close I drop down to him and start screaming and crying my baby….and this is where the dream gets worse…..he start not being able to breath and his face starts swelling up and turning purple then his eyeballs sink deep in his head , I’m crying and look up at my husband and ask what are we gonna do now, and I’m thinking how are we going to hide this from the cops…then I wake up…this was a horrible I think it might of had something to do with him wanting to walk to his friends house, which is close but he has to cross a busy street


Bruce January 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

Hi Worried Mom,

One take on this might be that your husband/father self has to sacrifice your child self for some psychological reason. Perhaps symbolically this is about your own identification with your child aspect having to die so that your fuller self as a woman/mother/human being can be born into consciousness.

The dream may also be about your unconscious feelings about separation, the fear that in crossing the busy street your child could get hurt or killed causes you to have your inner father (power) aspect kill him and get it over with—coping with loss of control by taking control, even in a dark and terrible way.

Another thing to consider is life for yourself when you were eleven; were there betrayals (stabbed in the back) or losses, deaths or things that felt like death to you?

The fact that your child is okay with dying could suggest the pathos of innocence, as the archetypal situation of father killing child could evoke the Abraham and Isaac situation, only in your dream no angel stays father’s hand.

This takes us to the collective level, wherein we live in a society where children do die and are often not protected. If any angel is to show up it might have to be in the form of our sane and connected consciousness as parents. In this way perhaps our nightmares bring us together and to a place of compassion and softness born of horror that we do not want to see come to pass for any of our children.

Maybe rising compassion and consciousness will help us all sleep better at night and enjoy our waking time more fully as well.

We can hide crimes from cops, but we can’t hide our pain from our selves without paying a high price. I hope these thoughts are helpful.

Sweeter dreams ahead


Irazu January 5, 2013 at 4:04 am

Hello Bruce, I really want to understand this dream I had. I dreamt that I was living in a two flat next to the ocean and we were on the second floor
. My husband and I were hosting a small gathering of people from both our families. All of a sudden a huge wave starting coming thru the windows and everyone jumps up in disbelief.
Everyone is ok and after the waves die down I exit my apartment thru the back to check on the first floor. I see a few people cleaning up and although I have never met these people I know that they are the owners of this building.they are also ok.
The screen changes immediately to everyone and i at my event are sitting on a wooden deck over the water laughing in disbelief of what just happened when another wave comes crashing into us and the deck breaks apart. We all start floating with the wave and it is the first time in my dream I think about my daughter who is almost 2 years old. Then one of my relatives floating near me shout ” the baby, get the baby”. I look where she is pointing and I see my child floating face down. The wave brings her closer and my relative and I could not reach her. I woke up in panic just to find her sleeping next to me and ok. Please let me know what it’s means thank you!!!!


Bruce January 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

Hi Irazu,

We could look at this dream at both personal and possibly collective levels.

At the personal level the “two flat” itself might be a symbol of your ego-self with all its varied contents while the ocean might symbolize the larger soul Self out of which the individual self emerges and stands in relationship to it.

Dreams have some element of wish in them, and the gathering of people from both your own and your husband’s families suggests your wish to blend the part of yourself, perhaps parts that do not yet fully get along or function as one unified family (symbol of one unified self as a human being, which in turn can then better relate to the group and to the world, but we all seem to work on this all our lives).

You inhabit the second floor, suggesting you place yourself in higher consciousness, but this might also hint that you are not as down to earth as some in your family, or inner self, think you should be? In any event, the wave comes in the window, and this could be symbolic of the unconscious coming into your own consciousness. But the unconscious is too big for the conscious to contain. “Everyone jumps up in disbelief” could symbolize how parts of you, or your family in waking life, appear not to believe in anything they cannot see or touch (i.e. lack of spirit, or soul, or faith, etc.).

When the wave literally comes in the window, it’s hard to maintain denial that the wave is “real.” Of course it is only “real” in your dream, which hints at the dilemma of taking the inner world seriously without asserting that it is real in the same way as the the waking world. However, if we do ignore the inner world, that of spirit and soul, it does tend to get louder and “wake us up” with its messages.

You go downstairs and see people “you do not know” cleaning up. They “own the building” thus they symbolize the earthier “land lords” who possess the ego but not the soul or ocean. Still, they do the hard work, the stuff connected to earth and foundation and they are the hard-working but unappreciated part of you—again we all can related to working hard while feeling unseen, misunderstood or unappreciated (where the ocean unites us, but threatens to harm us in our individuality we are not alone, but we are a bit at sea).

In order to check on the first floor you go through the “back door” perhaps suggesting you are traveling into the realm of the past to understand better the situation of the present.

You are on a wooden deck over the water, which is like a ship in some sense, a way to navigate the water, but this deck is still attached to land, and thus cannot be on the sea without being ripped apart. Perhaps this symbolizes the pull between earth and water, between mother and father. This makes me wonder if you feel tension with your husband, or felt tension between your mom and dad when you were little, especially when you were nearly two years old yourself?

The wave is like a force that is too big to stop, and this could symbolize your emotions when you were little, and how you somehow felt like you were unseen and emotionally drowned in the context of your childhood situation. Perhaps there was even some literally brush with danger at the sea or in the bath?

The unconscious may be saying that you must notice your own inner child who may appear drowned, but in dream logic she can be revived and your panic and sorrow (your own ocean of tears) can serve to rescue her and discover that the child is a symbol of the eternal child, which never dies but which brings us to our more soulful and more alive Selves.

Finally, at the collective level, perhaps we parents are all feeling a bit overwhelmed by the various oceans (information, debt, violence, fear, loneliness) that we feel like we face alone and ill-equipped, and our collective children drown in the reflecting waters of our own massive narcissism (i.e. our not knowing who we actually are, not individually nor collectively).

Perhaps if we make use of our dreams, and our technology, much as your dream and our shared technology has lead to this little interaction in this little box on a blog in the vast ocean of seemingly random information, we might all slowly find ourselves guided by our fears (harm to our children) and our desires (community, family, harmony, safety, playfulness, freedom without isolation) toward new ways of relating and parenting and even partying.

In closing, I note that your name, Irazu, might be associated with the volcano in Costa Rica. In this sense your mother and father, and the fate they represent, name you and you yourself might be associated, in your own unconscious, with something potentially destructive that sits high up between two oceans. Not to make too much of this, but a volcano can be a way in which land itself emerges out of ocean, offering verdant dwelling and yet potentially threatening those who live near it… echoing the way humans emerge from the ocean, and now threaten to poison the very ocean who is our Mother (with sea water in our very veins).

As we evolve, the poetic and mystical meet and merge with the rational and scientific. Perhaps when this melding gains adequate maturity we will use our rational AND loving potential to take better care of our parents (land and water) and our children (actual kids as well as the spirit, akin to light, that they carry, illuminating our lives and our consciousness with what actually “matters”).

All Best Wishes


Nicole January 8, 2013 at 11:45 am

I have had two very disturbing dreams related to my children. The first is that I am having a get together at my house in a home I don’t recognize at all. I am very stressed and looking for something so I rush around looking from room to room. I walk in one room to find my oldest son 15 and youngest son 8 under the blankets naked and it appears my oldest is abusing my son. I can’t see them naked in my dream nor any act just the idea I charge in and attempt to hurt my oldest son with all my might. I immediately wake myself from this dream as it has me nervous.

My second dream is I am away working and I come home unexpectedly and my mother is watching the kids. I walk in and the older ones say nana is in your room taking a nap with the baby. ( I don’t have any kids that are babies anymore my youngest is 4 ). I walk in and I find my mother naked and she is abusing my baby. I again can not see any of her body like breast or anything just it’s the idea she is not clothed. I could not see the babies face to see which of my kids it was. I just run towards my mother and try to kill her and take my baby away. She is fighting me trying to kill the baby. I awake very upset. This has me very worried I am very protective of my children so it makes me anxious is my dream telling me someone is harming them. Please any thoughts. One note my kids are very happy and so well taken care of I think it might have more meaning about me.


Bruce January 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Hi Nicole,

These dreams do sound very disturbing, and of course we have to protect our children in waking life from any sort of harm, but it sounds like that is not your primary concern here.

Perhaps you yourself experienced abuse or trauma as a child, for if you did, and did not feel protected or validated by your mother, that would be a fairly clear explanation of the dream. If that were true then the dream would be telling you that you have a lot of unresolved anger toward your mother, and still carry wounds in your self, symbolically in your child self.

Of course your childhood may have been free of abuse and trauma, in which case the feelings of fear and dread summoned by this dream may point to the way your own brain has attempted to make sense of some unspeakable feelings of danger that, in order to be understood, get depicted as this worst sort of nightmare.

Turning to possibly interpretations of the symbols, and from here taking all the contents of the dream as aspect of your own psyche, we start with the “get together” which suggests you are trying to get the disparate parts of your own psychological self “together.” When we are young, or hurt, the parts of our selves (i.e. good and bad, brave and scared, etc.) get “split” and do not easily re-integrate.

The house can be a symbol of the total Self, the structure that contains all the rooms, people and situations that get split into parts. This house you do not recognize; this could mean that the unconscious is telling you that you do not know your whole self.

A blanket is a symbol of comfort (i.e. warmth, a security blanket), but can also be a symbol of denial (hiding things under a blanket is like sweeping them under a rug). Your unconscious has you witness the older child abusing the younger. Maybe this symbolizes how the grown-up you is hurting the child you by keeping it out of sight and out of mind. This would support the idea that whatever has hurt or scared you in the past (and it might not be abuse, but it could be) needs to be seen by the mom you have become and the child aspect needs to be protected by the mom you have become.

Give some thought to life when you were fifteen (perhaps becoming sexual in some way that didn’t feel right, perhaps with someone older than you?) and consider where you were at when you were 8. Were you hurt in some way at that time that was not validated or taken seriously? It could be something like parents splitting up and not realizing the impact on you, etc.

The second dream amplifies the first, and here we have a symbolic Great Mother in her negative aspect (a bit like the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” who wants to abuse the baby). Sometimes dreams of persecution can actually relate to some underlying feeling of neglect (not being seen, creating a wish to be seen, but feeling unworthy of being seen one is only “seen” or paid attention to as an object of abuse or gratification).

If we take these aspects as part of yourself, you would have an inner grandmother trying to kill an inner baby as you get cast as the hero who might kill the bad mother and save the good baby.

If you have suffered trauma, then the instinct in the dream to kill is a survival response, and perhaps a window into how you might have felt as a child, as many kids feel like they might be killed by abusive grown-ups when they are being hurt.

In waking life it is probably more important to stop any cycles of hurt, be it abuse or untreated anxiety, in the family. In this regard you probably want to work to forgive (but not excuse or deny) any bad behavior in the past while being sure your own kids are safe. At the inner psychological level, if you do suffer from wounds of the past you might like to address this (i.e. check out Peter Levine’s work on trauma such as: http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/waking-tiger.html)

Whatever this dream is bringing into your consciousness, it seems that you yourself feeling safe and happy will only further enhance your children’s prospects to live happy, loving and productive lives as all our families strive to heal over the course of generations.

All Best Wishes


yareli January 9, 2013 at 4:16 am

I hope you can help me out on this one, just like you have helped others. I just woke up from a very disturbing dream :'( I have a 2 year old, very mischievous son. In my dream, I’m trying to walk some not very high stairs, but since I got something stuck through my foot, its painful for me to walk by myself,so the owner of my previous job,who recently just fired me from my job, is helping me walk up the stairs, and my 4 year old daughter and my son are walking behind me. Once i reach the top of the stairs, I look down the stairs and they are some very long stairs now.My son its running around and I told him to stop, but he trips and falls down all those stairs, and I just stand there watching how he falls down tose stairs screaming, and I start screaming at my ex-boss to call 911 . It was horrible. Thankfully it was only a dream, but it was veeery disturbing W.ha


Bruce January 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

Hi Yareli,

Of course getting fired from a job could make us feel hurt and angry, and perhaps you have not been able to allow yourself to feel all the feelings you have about this recent set-back?

Maybe the dream offers some guidance on how going backward can help us truly go forward.

From the perspective of the dream being about your own inner self and feelings, your ego-self, the part with which you most clearly identify, is trying to make it up tall stairs, but you are going it alone and it is very difficult and then something pierces your foot. This might symbolize how other people might not understand how hard things can be for you when you are injured and therefore it’s harder to keep going/climbing than for some other people. Our feet can symbolize where/and how we are going, and so it seems you need to heal before you can climb.

Stairs could symbolize consciousness and your wish to arrive at higher consciousness, or at a more adult level of functioning.

In several classic old stories a child is hurt in the foot and left to die in the forest, and whatever we think of Freud and his Oedipus Complex, Oedipus was written long before Freud by Sophocles and it literally means “hurt foot.”

The “owner” of your previous job is an interesting way to say it, suggesting you felt owned or controlled and not just employed; it this is the symbolic “boss of you,” it might show us that you have harsh and rejecting inner parent/boss figure.

The children would be the two and four year old parts of you, and I would encourage you to think about how life was for you at 2 and 4, as our kids trigger our old experiences to be felt once again.

You call your boy “mischievous” but perhaps we could see this as the part of yourself that wants to learn and is curious and is brave—the part of you perhaps who was not protected at that age and who got hurt (in the foot, in the beginning?).

Your children are your treasure, and when they fall down the stairs you are brought back to that past, that painful place and time when you were little and down and maybe felt criticized or hurt by bossy grown-ups?

You get your chance to scream at your boss, and that connects you to how you really feel about it, but since it is your inner boss, it might be even better to realize that you could say to this figure (after 911 has helped your child be safe) that you know they are your inner boss, and they must not feel very good or they would be nicer, and they don’t seem to understand you do do your best but you have been hurt… And since they have power in your inner world, perhaps they would be willing to teach you better how to grow, learn, love and prosper?

OR… maybe you will have a new dream where the boss of your inner boss, or a “good authority” (fairy godmother sort, or wise Mother) appears and gives you help and support so that you can feel better and fullfil your true potential. This, I would hope for all of us, might mean working together and caring more, rather than bossing each other around and causing kids to get hurt.

All Best Wishes


carol January 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Hi Bruce,
I had a dream last night and it really bothers me. It was started like there’s an ongoing party from our office. i was with my husband and 2 sons. my husband and i are outside. my kids is playing in upper floor (im not sure if its 2nd floor or 4th floor). then suddenly i saw there’s a group of people looking for something..i saw a boy in lying position with the stomach under..i knew it was my 5 yo son because i recognized his polo..one of my office mate carry him and i saw that his left hand fells down..i asked my office mate if he’s still alive and my office mate said no. i cried and i woke up already with my heart beating faster. i came to my son to hug and kiss him that night. i was so worried. i want to know the meaning of that dream. i hope you could help me. thanks in advance..


Bruce January 9, 2013 at 8:52 pm

HI Carol,

As you can see from the thread of comments, many people have dreams like this and I am beginning to notice some trends.

While this could be a dream suggesting that you need to understand that your kids are in danger of feeling neglected (it’s in the middle of a party that your boy dies), I might be inclined to also look at how this dream reflects your own inner situation and feelings.

In this perspective the office would possibly represent the business part of you, the part concerned with making money and having grown-up fun. The children are either on the 2nd or 4th floor, but either way they represent the child part of you that is “above you.” This could be a way of saying your child has higher consciousness than the materialistic partying ground floor basic part of you.

A group of people could symbolize… the group; community, the collective, the crowd that notices what your ego-individual aspect does not.

The fact the you notice his “left hand” could symbolize the part of you that feels “left” as in neglected or abandoned.

The death of a child in a dream can symbolize your recognition that the child part of yourself must die, this typically is so that the true grown-up part of you can be born. This is symbolic and your actual child does not die, but your identification with childish thinking (i.e. partying while a child is neglected) might be a way of processing how you yourself felt when you were five. Maybe you felt like the grown-ups wanted to chase their money and have their fun and you felt left and hurt and psychologically like you died, or died to them if they didn’t seem to pay attention.

Parenting is hard. Growing up is hard. Maybe the group that is all of us parents who do love our kids, and care about each other’s children too, might turn our living and loving into a better sort of party where no one is left out much less has to die.

Here’s to better dreams, and waking life as well, ahead


carol January 9, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for this. My mom told me that she also dream about snake.

She told me that, we have a snake pet (thin but long) in our house. The snake open its mouth if hungry and close if not. One time, my mom is in our house and will help my son take a bath. When they open the bathroom, they saw the snake with the mouth open and being afraid she’s shouting and telling “kill that snake. you should not making a snake pet in this house.”

What’s the meaning of this? Thank you again in advance.


Bruce January 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Hi Carol,

Snakes could mean a lot of things but they are classic symbols in dreams and in myths.

On the one hand you have the snake as tempter that tricks Eve and Adam out of paradise; on the other hand the snake is a very ancient symbol of wisdom, and of the feminine aspect of the Divine.

The bath could represent the womb, or the unconscious.

Snakes can also be phallic symbols, and the idea of a snake in a bath with a child threatening that child could symbolize a situation of sexual danger or threat. If there is any history of abuse in your mom’s past it could be coming up into consciousness by way of her dream; on the other hand it might have nothing to do with that.

The snake’s mouth open or closed seems to be a symbol of hunger, of the devouring dark power of the primitive animal part of ourselves, of our psyche. The snake in a tub threatening to eat a child could be symbolic of your mom’s own hunger, her love for you and her grandchild at the conscious level, and perhaps her unconscious envy and wish to get the sort of love when she was a kid that your child is getting now?

Perhaps your mom is ready to heal from her past? Perhaps she gave you a better childhood than she herself had? Maybe you are breaking old patterns across the cycle of generations and this gives you a chance to be close with your mom as two grown women working together for the well-being of your child (even if that child gets a better experience, ultimately, than either of you?).

All Best Wishes


Bonnie January 14, 2013 at 5:18 am

I had a dream my daughter was free-falling to the ground from some cliff & there was nothing I can do about it. She’s 5. I yelled out her name & reached my hand out to her but I knew she was gonna die-she was so far down & she was screaming & crying & looking up at me in terror. I couldn’t help her & I was right there & so I had to watch in complete agony. It was horror.


Bruce January 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Hi Bonnie,

If you read through the dreams left by other dreamers you will see that you are not alone in this apparently classic, albeit horrifying, dream.

A few ideas to contemplate here might include thinking of your child in your dream as a symbol of your own self as a child. Did you experience some sort of loss or change around age 5 that might have made you feel out of control?

Symbolically we might say that our identification with the child-self must die so our identity as full grown-ups can emerge. Five is a time of new autonomy and separation (i.e. kindergarten) and this could leave a mom feeling unconsciously abandoned, as if she were losing her baby to the march of time and development.

We experience such pains at every stage of growth, and it can be quite painful all along the way (not to mention launching them and moving ever forward into middle age and beyond).

A cliff is a sort of do or die symbol, the end of the road, of land, of a viable path. Falling could signify moving into a lower state of consciousness (i.e. facing what has hurt us in the past that we have not truly accepted or healed) and falling could signify coming down to earth, a popping of dreams of flight and fairytale lives in the face of parenting’s day-to-day blessings but also burdens.

As you might see from some other falling dreams, perhaps you might dream this again (or just use your imagination to picture it) and then somehow manage to catch your child, or fly and catch her. If you can pretend this, you can imagine this is your own child Self as much as your child now. You can tell her that you are sorry no one was able to catch her back when she was little, but now you are a mom yourself and you can catch her in your heart and mind and protect her and she can trust that no matter the past you are here with her, and for her, in the present.

I’m hoping this helps and that you have better dreams ahead.


Mae January 15, 2013 at 2:40 am

My Mother had a rather horrible dream last night about my younger Brother. She said that the dream was filled with people being hurt and killed and that other people were trying to get her to look at the bodies etc. She refused and said she was struggling when she witnessed my brother being raped. He was alive and she saw him afterwards as well. I have also (a while ago) had a dream were he was sexually assaulted. We are very protective over him and worry about him a lot as he is autistic. He has been spending the holidays with his father and my mother has been missing him quite a bit when she had this dream. We tend to be a little overbearing in terms of him and are overly protective at times. Can you help interpret this dream please?


Bruce January 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

Hi Mae,

The very fact that you, as your mom’s daughter, are searching for help may give our first clue about this dream (and your family’s situation).

Your mom dreams she refuses to “look at” the pain, destruction, bodies, etc. That might be a way that your mom’s unconscious is forcing her to “see something.”

Obviously if there has been actual abuse your mom, and/or you, would have to “look at that” and take action to protect your brother. Given that you tend to the “overprotective,” I will assume that if there were real danger and real evidence of harm you would not allow unsupervised time with anyone who you guys considered dangerous.

More likely is that the dream depicts your mom’s PAST feelings of helplessness about some sort of time when she was not safe. This could be actual harm (if so, she would be well served to seek help to heal her trauma) or it could be more a feeling of not being safe as a kid.

If your brother is autistic it might be possible that his father has some autistic traits although more mild, what is sometimes called a “ghosting” of the disorder. Given that your mom was attracted to the man, and then it didn’t work out, it makes me wonder if she herself had a dad, uncle, step-dad or other person in her life who was a little socially cut-off who caused a sense of harm.

Sometimes with themes of persecution we find and underlying feeling of neglect and abandonment (with persecution as a defense, as oddly enough we prefer to be chased by bad guys than abandoned and forgotten; of course we prefere to be loved safely and understood if we can manage to get that, or at least provide that to our children and those we love).

Given that you too have had dreams of your brother sexually assaulted, and I am imagining you have no real evidence to support that he was, I wonder if you are somehow carrying the dream of abuse that belongs to your mom, or perhaps even your grandmother… or maybe even the father?

Many people truly are abused, and perhaps our dreams, and our reach-outs for help, and our discussions can help us understand why, and when, abuse happens so that we might break the cycle of abuse in families and this can only benefit the group to become more compassionate and conscious.

The abusers and rapists in the the dreams could be understood in terms of Shadow, or the dark destructive non-conscious aspect of our own selves we cannot bear to acknowledge. We then project them onto others, often onto others who have differences (i.e. wounds of their own, autism, etc.) and this can perpetuate the cycle in waking life.

If we must be good and innocent, the Shadow, some Shadow, tends to materialize and victimize us. It can all be confusing, especially when the pain rests in childhood experiences we may have had before we even have memory.

Finally, if you or mom miss someone terribly, the unconscious can feel like that person abandoned us. In our fear and feelings of loss we might become angry and in our dreams destruction happens. It’s as if we dream of killing our parents and awaken terrified to find we are orphaned.

While these notes, I hope, might bring a better feeling of safety and a chance to explore the full range of your own and your mom’s feelings, we cannot deny that in real life there are far too many children abused, neglected, etc.

Maybe there is some collective message in the dreams of many mothers (and some fathers) that the horror of any children being hurt is actually unacceptable. If we can calm down and be conscious, perhaps we will be organically guided by common sense and compassion to realize whatever it is we can actually do to help lessen an avoidable suffering and hurt that might occur out of too much fear, denial, accusation and hostility toward others that might better be understood as a problem belonging to all of us, a situation solved through shifting our own consciousness about who we are, who are children are and who the “bad guys” actually are and what they are about/what they want?

Our own Shadow tends to want respect and recognition, it tends to want to bring us our ultimate power (which might be the power to Love). Perhaps it turns dark when all its attempts to bring the consciousness of our true dark and light nature that leaves it no other choice than dream mayhem to break through the denial?

Better dreams ahead (and waking life too) I hope


Bonnie January 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

Wow, I cannot believe you took the time. Thank you. Truly. Truly. You’re one of those people….thank you


lalah warren January 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm


I dreamt I was in an old mansion with my cousin and her baby and my 3 yr old son. then just as we were all supposed to be sleeping I found myself running down the stairs after my son and he was going out the front door and it was dark out. when I finally got out there I looked to my right and my cousin’s baby was folded in half dead on the pavement then I heard a loud noise and looked to my left and saw a crowd of little boys scrambling and yelling and when I ran over to them one of the little boys had hit my son in the head with an aluminum baseball bat and shattered his skull and as I cried and held him the group of boys beat and killed the boy that killed my son… it was very disturbing and I just need closure on what this may mean…. please help!


Bruce January 28, 2013 at 8:25 am

Hi Lalah,

Thank you for sharing this, although I’m sorry the nightmare has such horrible imagery. And please keep in mind that I am chiefly interested in helping mothers and fathers feel calm and safe so that they can be their best Selves as parents, and not in being any sort of master interpreter of dreams.

That said, let’s look from a rational standpoint at a nightmare like this. Some sort of imagery from your day, from movies or TV or books or your own memory may have been sorting themselves out during your sleep when something disturbed you. Once upsetting imagery occurred, your body responded by feeling it was in danger—feeling in danger, your mind came up with something to “explain” the feeling (I can’t find my son) and then the dream of not finding your child felt bad and made the body feel even more scared, that then had to come up with an even worse explanation for why if felt so terrified until we arrive at our worst nightmare in our imagination, which could be seen as a way of understanding anxiety: when we fear something is happening, or is about to happen, when in fact we just imagine it.

The merit of this explanation is the fact that we wake up from a nightmare and our child is, thankfully, okay.

Of course if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, etc. or if you have frequent of recurring nightmares it could be a signal to seek help with that, or with any sorts of unresolved trauma (i.e. if you actually saw a kid hurt with a bat when you were little).

Nevertheless, I think we all find dreams mysterious and fascinating and so moving into the realm of art more than science I would offer some possible interpretations on the meaning of the dream.

You are in an “old mansion” which might symbolize the collective Self and all its rooms of memory, feelings, fears and desires. You are trying to “go to sleep” which could symbolize NOT wanting to be awake/aware about something (more likely your own agression, anger or hurt feelings, quite possibly about your child; as parents, and humans in general, we are sometimes uncomfortable feeling anger toward our kids, parents, bosses, spouses, etc. and this forbidden emotion has a way of turning into anxiety). Maybe your kid mouthed off that day, or was mean to a sibling? Maybe you are unconsciously feeling like your kid and ganged up on in the family?

You head “downstairs” looking for the kid, and this could symbolize a trip into the dark realm of the unconscious, which is the realm of whatever we are not aware of (i.e. our fear, our rage, our secret desire).

The cousin is “folded in half” which is an image more like a closed book than a human body; perhaps it symbolizes the part of you that feels dead and closed down, hidden away with hurt.

The crowd of boys is like the crowd in Lord of the Flies perhaps symbolic of the madness and violence of the group. In these days of Sandy Hook we are all probably wondering about how to deal with the threat to our children from the unpredictable rage that erupts from the most troubled amongst us and then kills the innocents.

Beyond the personal, perhaps it doesn’t take arcane dream interpretation for the mothers to wake up from the “old mansion” run by “old masters” who simply must have their guns. Taking the guns, as your dream shows, does not end the rage and the violence, for bats, sticks, stones and bare hands have sufficed throughout human history and myth since Cain couldn’t handle his feelings of rejection and frustration and took it out on Abel.

The shattered skull could be seen, symbolically, as an attack on thinking. For it is when we lose our reason that we project our fears and then need weapons and fences to protect us from, ironically, our own selves.

For this reason I would argue that consciousness, awareness of our own dark places, would likely breed increased calm, reason and social good.

I hope you have better dreams and that we might all wake up together and ask ourselves why anyone needs an old mansion in the first place (a symbol of someone with all the money which is only a mansion in comparison to the have nots lacking in a mansion).

Maybe the moms can guide us to a new idea about what a good life looks like? Where bats are for baseballs, guns are for hunting or for nothing at all, and mansions are multi-family mixed-use spaces with plenty of light.


mommy January 28, 2013 at 4:45 am

Hi, last night I had a dream me and my 2yr old son were walking in the park and he began running toward a small lake I yelled to him no, stop!!!!! He then fell in but never went under water he ended up in the other side and say in a stair, I told him wait for mommy then a women yelled no there are crocodiles in the lake. As I waited for her to grab him I saw a crocodile swim towards him he jumps back to into the lake the women then jumps in after him and swims fasterthen I have ver seen anyone swim she returns him to me unharmed. I then thank and praise her.the night before I dreamt that two detectives tried taking him from me while he was outside waiting for as I ram inside the house to grab something.I don’t understand why I am having these dreams.
waiting in the car while I grabbed something from inside the house it was very cold outside


Bruce January 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

Hello “mommy”,

If you read through the other dreams above you will find many with water imagery. Perhaps this symbolizes the unconscious itself, but also you and the idea of being one with your baby (like back in the womb).

At 2 years old kids are showing more autonomy. This scares us because they can run into danger, and it also can hurt our feelings because they are beginning to run away from us, toward that future time when they leave us and live on their own. Ouch.

The boy is also possibly a symbol of you when you are little, and in this case your inner kid can cross to safety and even make it to a stair, a symbol of climbing to higher consciousness than that of the water.

But along comes the two halves of your unconscious psyche: super mom who can rescue the baby from the monster, and the crocodile who will eat the boy up for she loves him so (rather like the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are.

As for the detective dreams, perhaps you secretly find parenting exhausting (and so the unconscious wishes to be relieved of the responsibility) but of course the detectives are also then part of yourself, the part that knows all about your “badness”. The kid would symbolize the part of you that was left out in the cold, perhaps a way of picturing your own childhood that could have been less safe or happy than the one you provide to your own child?

It is normal to love our children but also feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I suspect that if you realize these feelings are not bad but natural, and that you trust that writing to me is a way of bonding and communing because our very best parenting is probably done when we feel supported by other parents, the family, the community, a shared world, etc. maybe your nightmare is a signal to join the group and heal the mistaken idea that any of us should be super-parents, rather that none of us, much less our children, should feel alone or out in the cold.

Sweet dreams


Shamika January 28, 2013 at 8:16 am

I had a dream last night about my 6 year old son that really bothered me. I dreamt he was hollering in pain saying “Ouuuuuuuuch”, and hovering over. We appeared to be in my living room. He was holding his 3DS video game in his hand which he loves to play a lot, a bit too much, and in between his hollering he’s saying “I can’t play my game, I can’t play my game” In the dream I ask him to show me where it hurts and he points to his chest. I took it that he was in so much pain he couldn’t play. Terrified I jumped up out of my sleep. I must add that I am 6 months pregnant and my dreams have been on the intense side lately but I’m still worried. His birthday is coming up as well.


Bruce January 29, 2013 at 8:06 am

Hi Shamika,

I’m wondering if this dream is about your anxiety around having the next baby? We could imagine that you had some sensations in your sleep, such as the baby kicking, and this triggered you to try and explain this “hovering” feeling by dreaming as you did.

Symbolically, your 6 year old might symbolize your child self, one who
“loves his baby” which is, symbolically, his 3DS. He can hold his baby but not play with it. Could this represent how you, at 6 months pregnant, and anticipating the demands of a 6 year old when you have newborn, are trying to deal with your fear that your 6 year old might feel pained by the new baby’s arrival on the scene, and you too are torn since you will love the new baby just as much as the first one.

Love is abundant, but kids have not yet learned to trust this, not to mention us parents who can’t imagine loving anyone as much as we love our first baby… until another comes along and love expands.

It is good you wrote, for if we talk about our feelings we can at least not be so alone in them. We can also come to trust that our fears, exhaustion, guilt (i.e. you don’t want him to play too much DS but it also gives you a break when he is quiet and focused).

Childbirth is a big event, and perhaps the “Ouuuuuuuuuch” is also about remembering the first one (a birthday coming up is also a memory of giving birth, and an anticipation of another giving-birth day in 3 months or so).

Perhaps you can dialogue with your child self in your imagination and assure him/her that you are there with them, will keep them safe and will get through life’s natural pain together and share in life’s joys together as well.

All Best Wishes


Melissa February 4, 2013 at 5:50 am

I had a dream last night that my daughter (4) was riding a rollercoaster and I was below watching her. She someone got out of the car and was walking around on the tracks. I kept yelling at her to sit down and wait for someone..to stop…sit down but she wasn’t listening. She then stepped off the track and fell from the top of the rollercoaster to the ground below. It was like slow motion in my dream and I started running to her but woke up. I could never really get back to sleep and it is still bothering me today. In my dream she wasn’t listening to me at all and sometimes we have that problem in real life…me telling her over and over to pick her toys up and such. It really bothered me…any ideas on what this could mean??


Bruce February 5, 2013 at 8:10 am

Hi Melissa,

As you may see through reading about the other dreams, one way to consider this dream would be as a reflection of different parts (i.e. images and feelings) of yourself. The rollercoaster could be a symbol of life with it’s ups and downs and scary turns that are supposed to be fun but can also scare us. When your child self is out of the car (the safe zone) and in danger of falling off the tracks (i.e. losing safe protection offered by the “rules,” which are like tracks, and they sometimes feel like they confine us, and sometimes in life the rules are not fair and kids know that and rebel against them; AND they want their way, like cookies and not broccoli, and then we have to be the “bad guy” and “keep them on track” and that is not too fun sometimes).

Falling from a great height is a common dream occurrence which has roots in neurology (the sensation of flying and falling is generated by the brain, somewhat randomly in sleep), but our narrative minds make our own dream-logic sense of the sensation. Thus a part of you feels like she is falling, but you are actually dreaming; to make sense of feeling like a part of you is falling when you are safe in bed, the dream-brain imagines you are watching a beloved part of you fall and you can’t stop it… because it is not actually happening.

Yet, you awaken to realize that you do struggle to set limits and sometimes feel angry and out of control, so the dream makes sense at that level too: and might help you bond with other parents, like myself, to feel less alone, less “bad” or out of control, and return to our gratitude that your treasured children are, thankfully in this instance, fine when we wake up.

The next step is somehow coming to trust that we parents are okay as well. For that I’m banking on E.M. Forester’s wisdom: only connect.

All Best Wishes


mr February 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I have had 2 disturbing dreams about my 4 year old possibly getting shot. Several months ago, my brother’s friends would stop by and ask for him. One night i had a dream that it was late and someone came knocking at our door looking for him, my 4 year old was out in the living room watching tv and i was in my room, when i heard the knock i looked out my bedroom window to see who it was and saw that one guy was standing out by his car with a gun aiming towards our front door (as though he was just going to shoot as soon as the door was answered)..when i seen the gun, i painiced thinking my son was about to be a victim of a shooting so i quickly ran out to the living room to get my son. As i ran into the living room, my son was barely opening the door! then i woke up. I right away felt for my son who was lying next to me and double checked that he was breathing which thank god he was. But i was just so distrubed by this dream for a few days.

I live in a different state from the shooting that took place last summer at the movie theater nor do i know any of the victims or suspect involved. Well last night, i had a dream which was similar to that specific shooting. I was dreaming that i was at a theatre with some freinds to watch a batman movie when all of a sudden we heard a loud shotting sound….we didn’t know if it was from the movie or if someone had really fired a shot…Some people laughed others got up and left and i sat there with my friends not knowing if what we heard was real….Within a few minutes a worker came in and began to ask us to evacuate the building…she started escorting the entire crowd out at the same time but by the time we got outside, it was just the worker, myself and my 3 kids…i dont know how my kids even came into the dream or what had happened to my friends and the rest of the crowd. The worker was guiding us where we needed to go. We kept walking and walking, then we got to the corner of a fence facing a street but managed to be hundres of feet away from the cinema…just when we thought we had reached a safe place, a man pulls up on the side of the street and comes out with a gun and camcorder, as he’s recording, he starts firing several rounds and as i quickly try to run for my kids, my 4 yearold starts to grab his stomache and begins crying hysterically. I then wake up before I have a chance to get to my son. I don’t know if he was crying from being shot or was crying because he was scared. Once again i wake up and immeditley feel for my son who is sound asleep next to me and thankfully still breathing.

My kids are my everything, I treat and love them all equally and would give my life for them. I can’t even imagine my life with out my kids and get so distrubed by this dreams.


Bruce February 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Hi mr,

One way to think about this first dream is as a Shadow (or dangerous figure who is both potentially destructive, but also who holds your power) in relationship to your symbolic child-self. The curious and fearless part of you is ready to head out the door into the world, but the darkly disturbe aspect waits with a gun.

In some sense it could symbolize how you disavow your power, and in rejecting it that power aspect turns destructive, angry BECAUSE it is out in the cold.

On the other hand the dream, and the second one as well, speak to our collective fears about shooters and public places. While it may point to the real societal issue, the dream is also possibly symbolic of how you relate to these themes.

In the first dream it is a personal house, more in line with a personal self (even with the characters of child and Shadow) while the movie theater could symbolize the collective psychology, as cinema itself is a bit like a realm of collective dreams.

Here you struggle with themes of reality and imagination. Batman himself is a character who saw his parents killed, and this is at the root of his psychology. Perhaps we all struggle with the important issue of feeling safe, and in your dream you are trying to get to a safe place when even far from the theater a man who is both cameraman (one who sees) and shooter (one who hurts) attack.

This makes me wonder about whether you felt like you got the wrong sort of attention as a child, or if you witnessed things that have disturbed you (and which sometimes feel unreal, or like movies or nightmares)?

While I cannot presume to know what your dreams mean, I encourage you to think about what the various elements might personally mean to you (Batman, gunmen, camcorders, etc.) to see what your awake creative mind might make of it if you trust your own instincts.

Certainly the dreams made you feel unsafe and scared, yet your child is fine when you wake up. It is possible that although you obviously love your children, there may be no room in your mind for anger and negative emotions. This could cause them to go underground and surface as bad guys in your dreams.

Finally, camcorders and our current culture of everyone being preoccupied with being seen and looked at (i.e. Facebook, youtube, etc.) could make you feel attacked by your children’s needs for lots of attention while you are left feeling scared, alone and in the dark. Thus being in a horrible shooting scene might be a way of dramatically depicting how you feel when you are overwhelmed by negative feelings as a parent.

The idea here is to be more conscious about all our feelings and hope that this decreases the bad dreams and also helps us be at our best as waking parents to our children.

All Best


Wanda February 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Hi my name it’s Wanda and I’ve been having alot of strange dreams lately but i can’t remember most of them i just know i feel horrible when i wake up. But i do somewhat remembe one egger me and my daughter were out walking and she fell through a cattle guard and was drowning and no matter how hard i tried i just couldn’t reach her and she was drowning in the water inside ofit and i woke up scared and crying what does it mean?? Thank you


Bruce February 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Hi Wanda,

You might read through some of the other dreams in which I discuss possible meanings of water and drowning dreams, but this seems pretty common. The idea of a cattle guard is interesting, as cattle could represent meat or dairy—that which dies and is eaten or that which gives milk (a mother figure possibly).

One way of looking at it is that a cattle guard would be the symbolic line between the human part of us and the animal aspect. The child falls through, maybe symbolizing a poor boundary or psychological line between you and your child, or between the animal and the human part of self.

Drowning and water could symbolize a sort of return to the womb, to an unconscious state of being. Maybe you feel like you were unprotected as a child and fell through the cracks of your caregiver’s neglect? Maybe you feel like parenting is hard and you struggle to protect your child and keep her safe?

It might not hurt to imagine the dream and being able to successfully get the baby out of the water, safe from the cattle and then imagine asking the child (who is a symbol of your self) what she wants or needs you to understand about her. Depending on your sense of play and imagination you could ask the cattle as well, the strong animal natural aspect if they have some sort of animal wisdom for you.

As I see in so many of these dreams, the symbolic death of children is not the same as actually losing them, but more a way of understanding that some old way of being or of thinking has to die for a new way to come into being. That could be a fancy way of saying that your child aspect needs to come up out of the mud and the water and the animal place and grow up into her best self as a woman and a mother.

Keep in mind the dreamer himself or herself is the best interpreter of the dream, but I’m glad you shared here and hope my ideas spark some new one of your own.

All Best


RiverLee February 5, 2013 at 4:18 am

Your article came very timely although today is Feb. 5, 2013. I woke disturbed by a long, invoked dream of searching at length for my son, now eight months old, but much younger when I finally found him in the dream. He was probably two months old or less when I heard his cries and finally found him in a toy chest in an open plastic bag with ice (some melted to water) and fire starter fluid. I screamed at the top of my lungs, ‘Who did this? !!!” Over and over again while running frantically back up stairs and through rooms with people from my past just staring back at me shaking their heads. I ended the dream by sitting down in bed to breastfeed and nurture his icy cold fingers and toes… then woke up with him sleeping quite peacefully in my arms. I was terrified, but after reading your words, I realized a part of me was probably very hurt before I could remember when my mom went back to work after six months maternity leave and left me under the care of grandparents. I think the dream led me through an entire gamut of unconscious hurt and pqin layers throughout my life starting with my present fear of feeling vulnerable to being attacked at night and isolated from loved ones through the levels of the house and different people/scenarios associated with my mom and our broken bond all the way back to younger than two months old. I cries after reading your post to relieve old pain and for happy relief my own baby is a miracle who keeps teaching me more about commission every day… and night!


Bruce February 5, 2013 at 6:54 am

Hi RiverLee,

I am so pleased to read your words, to see how you were able to work with the imagery of your dream to better understand your fear and past hurts. By sharing your words you connect with me and with other readers who can relate all to well to these themes, perhaps more able to treasure the blessings of those we love, and of love itself. Maybe we can even think about our fears in some new way: as impetus to awaken to love and to our shared condition in which we all truly want the best for our children (which is also, symbolically, the eternally emerging aspect of our selves, individual and collective).

All Best Wishes


RiverLee February 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thanks, Bruce! I meant compassion not commission. See how Smartphones need more dreamwork?? I should’ve proofread in my grogginess. Ha!


Jessica s. February 5, 2013 at 8:22 am

I had a very disturbing dream, i dreamt that my son, who in real life is 2 1/2, was about 7 yrs old and we were in a hospital room and the dr came in saying that he was at the end. Tht he was dying. Im not sure what he had. So the dr tells me that he can leave the hospital and enjoy the last few hours of life. So we leave the hospital and as we are walking we hear music coming from a buildig and see people dancing inside so my son says he wants to go in and dance so we go and inside i sat down and just watch him dance with another little boy who was dancing very well. A person that looked like they worked there came up to me and asked if i wanted to participate in a couples show (like to show how well my husband and i know each other type game) and so i signed my name and then he asked where my husband was and i looked around and he wasnt there but behind me was a guy friend of mine and he signed next to my name and after the man who signed us up left he told me that he would pretend to be my husband any day. I turn around and i see my son now dancing with many more people (adults and children) and he smiles at me and says i love you mommy forever and ever. I woke up abruptly because i felt that he was saying goodbye to me with that. I woke up with tears in my eyes, sweating and with a heavy feeling in my chest. What could this mean???


Bruce February 5, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Hi Jessica,

I might give some thought to life when you yourself were 7 years old—did you have a loss or something that made you feel like you were losing something or someone important?

This dream is very poignant, but it seems to be about the importance of living and enjoying life, of truly living the precious time that we do have. The dream also seems to be about love, perhaps about how the child part of you is very social and confident and able to love and experience joy; brave in the face of mortality, loss or endings.

I might interpret the guy who would be your husband any day as an “animus” figure, to use Jung’s term for the male aspect of a woman’s psychology. This figure, like your symbolic child figure, represent the part of you that love you and can make you feel special and connected.

Dancing is a natural and unselfconscious way of connecting and of expressing and also of feeling (music, emotions, life).

We could imagine that your identification with your child-like self has to die in order for the fully empowered and free/safe woman to emerge into both consciousness within but also fuller expression in “real” waking life.

Again, I cannot know what dreams truly mean, or even if they have any absolute meaning—we only know that dreams can be very powerful and emotional and so I appreciate your sharing it here and hope you will come to some new and creative insights… and that you will feel like life is more dancing than dying or being separated from those we love.

All Best


andi February 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Dear Bruce,

I woke up the other night from a horrific nightmare. My 9 year old son was being kidnapped. I went after the kidnappers and found my son with a plastic bag over his head. A portion of the bag was in his mouth, he was sweating, I tore open the bag and he began to breath. We got out of the truck and I attempted to hit the kidnapper in the face but it seemed to barely touch him. Now after two nights I am waking up to the vivid vision of my son being suffocated. I go and check on my son and reassure myself he is safe but the vision just is so right there. I am not sure what I need to do to rid myself of this vision as it is horrifying to me. Thank you for any solutions…interpretations.


Bruce February 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Hi Andi,

There are many different ways to think about dreams, and I invite you peruse some of the other dreams for similar themes and various ideas I have suggested. The main point, however, is that no one knows better what your dream means to you than you do.

In that spirit I would invite you to think about plastic and plastic bags, as well as the theme of suffocation. One hypothesis could be that you were having a bit of trouble breathing in your sleep and in order to make sense of that sensation your brain made up a story about your child being the one who could not breathe.

Whatever the stimulus (i.e. a choking experience in life, a past memory, a pillow over your head in your sleep) the dream could be about how the child part of your psyche is feeling neglected or unseen. I suggest this because the kidnapping theme could be understood as a defense against an even deeper dread which is of being abandoned or unwanted.

Did you, by chance, feel neglected or unloved or otherwise hurt when you were 9? Sometimes our children trigger us to re-experience our childhood as they take us back through it year by year.

The kidnapper might symbolize the part of you who has the power, dark as it may be, to truly connect to the angry kid hidden away in your unconscious. The ripping the child out of the bag could be a symbol of new birth, emerging from a toxic womb.

My hope is that by contemplating these symbols as parts of yourself you might learn why exactly the kidnapper wants the child part of you and how the child part of you feels in need of not just rescue, but compassionate consciousness—to be seen in her hurt so she can stop being hurt (in this case by the scary content of the dream).

Feel free to let me know if the bad dreams stop, change or even become empowered and good dreams.


Tori February 7, 2013 at 12:11 am

So I just woke up from a bad dream, and this is the second one this week I have woke up from. Both dreams my two young children are in harms way of sorts. In the fist dream earlier this week a bad man was trying to get into my house so I locked my children in my bedroom closet, grabbed my gun and waited for the man. I shot him and killed him when he entered my room but I woke up feeling like my children were unsafe, I had to check on them then watch cartoons to feel better. Tonight I dreamt my daughter was calling out to me and I went to get her and she said the ghost was going to get her, while I was trying to calm her I heard a noise from my sons room. I went to check on him he was on the edge of his crib and looked like he was about to jump. I woke up after I heard my daughter saying “daddy daddy” in my dream. She sounded so scared. My daughter is staying at my friends house tonight with my friends daughter, but I still got up to check on my son. The dreams are very intense I wake up heart pounding and sweating. And it takes me some time before I can go back to sleep. Help!


Bruce February 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Hi Tori,

While I am sorry you are suffering with nightmares, I think these offer great opportunity for insight and healing.

The first dream is very classic, in that the “bad guy” is coming into the house. This could symbolize your own Shadow (dark holder of power) entering the “house” as symbol of the total personal Self or psyche that contains all the parts (child, conscious self, bad guy, etc.).

Locking your child (symbol of innocence, of who you once were, and who you remain to be in the eternal archetype of renewal) in the closet is symbolic of making something secret in order to protect it. Hence skeletons in the family closet (in your case, ghosts in the next dream).

But now you bring the modern woman’s empowered twist to the classic dream. Typically the woman cannot deal with the Shadow and is helpless to defend her kids. In your case you have a gun and you are not afraid to use it (symbol perhaps of masculine power and aggression, of sexual dominance and of bully culture).

If this were real life perhaps you would have saved your kids, but they still might need a bit of therapy after mom shoots dead an intruder while they cowered in the closet.

And hence the follow-up dream; the ghost is a symbol of that which cannot die (or at least that which had died but not yet moved totally on from the realm of the living, of so-called reality).

In the second dream your daughter is threatened, but now by a ghost… by an entity that will not be stopped by something as blunt and obvious as a gun. This is where your own brain runs out of ideas as to how to cope with inner, imagined, ghostly or vaguely remembered danger and so you start surfing the web in search of other ideas. And I’m honored to meet you in such circumstances :)

And I want to offer you the respect to acknowledge that I have no definitive idea about what your dream actually means, only my own perspective that I offer in the hope that it will contribute to your own deeper insights and realization about what really scares you (is it hurt in the past? is it an anxious mind? it it the current state of fear of shooters in our midst?) and how you might come into more conscious understanding about it.

One way to re-think this dream might be to imagine you re-enter it and say to the ghost that you are sorry you shot the bad guy, you didn’t realize it was a disturbed (perhaps rejected or misunderstood) part of your own Self. Make is clear that no one under any circumstances will be allowed to hurt your children, but now that it is a not-altogether-real aspect of you, being a ghost, you are open to hearing what the ghost is trying to tell you. Often it is about healing the past and about owning your real power, which is not the power to shoot and kill, but the power to love.

All Best Wishes


Erika February 8, 2013 at 1:14 am

Dear Bruce,
I just recently had my first child four months ago an I can’t seem to stop having nightmares. It is really starting to affect me an I don’t know what to think about them. My most recent dream was last night and I was on some beach with cliffs and an a walkway. I was the guide to help people cross the part of the beach where it was dangerous. The waves would come in small but out of no where come in huge and engulf that whole section. It was like a bowl sort of. I started walking with my son in my arms an we got across an into this cave. We were safe and out of nowhere the cave entrance started to fill up with water. I looked at my son an he began crying I tried to swim up but we got surrounded with water. As the cave was filling to the top I could see my son face underwater screaming an then starting to go limp so I began to suck air into him an take the water out even though we were both submerged. The next thing I know I see my son at the top of this hill laying limp in my arms an I start screaming an suddenly my friends an family come an grab him from my arms an hes ok an I’m dead an looking down at my body. I keep having dreams were my son falls into a body of water an starts to drown an I jump to save him an I can’t he will drown or I drown. Any insight would be appreciated this is the fourth dream that has dealt with water. Thank you


Bruce February 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

Hi Erika,

I am sorry you are having these nightmares, however, I thank you for sharing them with me. After reading so many of these, combined with my years of clinical work, perhaps some patterns are emerging, at least to me.

It seems the most common dreams have water and drowning or else falling and flying. You are having both. The sensations of falling or weightlessness, as well as dropping down, going deep or drowning, seem to be naturally generated by the brain. In ancient times the visionaries, or shamans, saw the universe as having three levels: upper (the spirit world, flying); normal (waking reality); and lower (the underworld, drowning, hellish experience).

In seeking rational AND compassionate understanding, perhaps the brain generates sensations and then the mind makes up stories to make sense of the sensations. Vaguely knowing that you are not actually drowning, but feeling like you are, your mind comes up with stories to make sense of the sensations.

And while there may be no actual danger to you or your baby, the WAY the mind makes a story offers possible insights into your worries and fears.

My first question might be about what life was like when you were newly born and particularly around four months. Did your mom have an illness, a post-partum depression, did her mom get sick or die?

The imagery of you crossing a narrow cliff between water and land could symbolize that liminal space between inner and outer reality, the place where dreams as well as myth, art, religion and mysticism happen.

You cast yourself as guide and protector, but perhaps when you were a baby you needed a guide and protector. Perhaps you felt like you were drowning in infancy (did you struggle with asthma, pneumonia, a bad-bathtub experience?)

You may not have access to conscious memory about your early infancy, however you may carry the tracings of trauma. You might have some wish to return to the womb (a cave filled with water) and have life breath (spirit) breathed into you by the Mother you have now become. Maybe this dream is about healing some deep wounds of the past, about dying as the mother you once had to be born again as the child you now have, your ego-self serving as conduit between selves, states of mind, states of consciousness?

Perhaps your mom was a little narcissistic, the sort who “sucks the air out of a room,” and you are imagining a way to put the air back in the treasured baby, a symbol of your newly emerging self in a sort of archetypal baptism or rebirth not by patriarchal magic but by matriarchal compassion and sacrifice—not the son dying tragically for man, but the mom dying tragically for baby.

Know that these are symbols, not predictions of disaster. They are, if not random, more likely to be ways of remembering past trauma than crystal balls into pending doom.

I hope these ideas result in you having better dreams. Feel free to let me know how it goes.

All Best Wishes


Missy February 8, 2013 at 6:26 am

I have had the same dreams since my twin boys were born!!!! They are nine months old now, and I still suffer from them. Basically, there will some sort of scenario where I either lose them (or one) or more often, one child falls. Usually off the bed or whatever I am around in my dream, but they dramatically fall & I know something’s wrong so I jerk awake and frantically begin feeling around for them. My husband wakes up confused because the kids are asleep & I’m worried where they are & if they’re ok. Please help!!!!!!!!


Bruce February 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

Hi Missy,

If you read through other dreams above you will see a lot of falling dreams. One way to see it is that the sensation of weightlessness is generated by the brain and the story we make up tries to explain the sensation. Since you know you are not falling, you imagine that the part of you that you love so much, your baby, is falling; and since you are helpless to stop something that isn’t actually happening (because you are merely dreaming) to imagine helplessness to stop the fall.

Psychologically, twins are a lot of work and it may feel like you can’t quite handle both as they get ready to go mobile. Hence your fear that they will get into trouble by climbing.

Deeper still, might be the idea that when you have tried to do things, or take risks or be great you have been hurt (by negative critical voices, or worse yet, not being validated or acknowledged). Perhaps you need to be seen, and loved, in your overwhelm and your love and in the fact that you are doing the best you can and that’s all we can ask of anyone.

Perhaps your husband needs to play zone defense when you’re all awake and you will sleep more soundly :)

All Best Wishes


Jamie February 10, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hi Bruce,

I have just awoken in the middle of the night from having a nightmare about my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I was in what seemed to be a very old video/dvd store. There were many people there and as we are looking around, I am holding my daughter and we find a $5 note sticking out of the dvds, so I get her to grab it and was congratulating her on the find. While in the store, a middle eastern man was singing a song something about being happy. Next thing you know, my daughter is gone, she is missing, so frantically, I start to walk to try and find her, I go into a corner store where it is evident she has been there as some lollies have been chewed on. I speak to the lady behind the counter asking if she has seen her and she says she has not. While this is happening the thought is in my mind that she has this $5 and would be looking to buy lollies. So frantically I start walking again. This is all occurring in the dream within the suburb I live in yet doesn’t look anything like where I am, I then make my way to the police station, but its not in my local area but in the area I previously lived and the police station is in an old building that is now a pub in real life but used to be a post office, its a heritage building. I tell them my daughter is missing,I am desperate and crying I was suspecting the middle eastern man, but he turns up behind me in the police station singing the happy song that he was singing with his wife. It is dark outside so I am aware of the fact that she is alone somewhere out there in the dark.

There was much strange goings on in my dreams before this dream but it is extremely hard to explain I can’t seem to get it straight in my head.

I do know prior to sleeping I left my ex’s house after he basically kicked me out, where I had to endure 24 hours of him picking at every little thing I would say and he kept going on about me being a bad parent and that I always cause trouble (which is not true of course) this is the father of my child.

If you could tell me what this dream would mean, would mean a lot to me. Thank you!


Bruce February 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hi Jamie,

While I must emphasize that I’m in no position to “know” what your dream means, I am happy to offer some ideas and hope it sparks your own creative process and some sort of understanding to guide you to feel safe and well and to be your best Self as a parent.

Some thoughts might be that finding money in some old DVD could symbolize finding value in the old stories, the past, the narrative of what your marriage once promised (but sadly did not come to a fully happy ending, given the split-up and the feeling that your ex is mean to you).

Your child is the product of that old story, and your child self goes looking for lollies (symbolically the search for innocent fun and for the sweetness in life).

The “middle eastern man” could symbolize your need to re-think the “bad guy” (perhaps a symbol of your ex, and the need to better understand his pain too, for he would not be mean to you if he didn’t feel hurt and therefore angry).

The police station could symbolize how one building (symbol of self) could have multiple meanings: pub (where social gatherings occur, where lovers might meet, where people drink too much and misunderstandings occur, where defenses drop and love or sex, symbolic candy for grown-ups, might happen); post office (where communication occurs, messages sent and received); and police (authorities, justice, or the dark side of power, depending on what these symbols mean to you personally).

The middle eastern man, singing a happy song, WITH his wife, could symbolize your wish to be happy and married, perhaps suggesting that while you are angry at your ex, you might still have some unconscious wishes to reconcile?

Symbolically, if your ex truly is not very nice, the dream might be challenging you to recognize the less than nice part of your own psyche and to learn how to be in better relationship with it.

The child who disappears could symbolize your wish to be cared about and looked for, in contrast to the pain of being “kicked out” by your ex. Maybe you are looking, symbolically, for your own sweet, innocent, child self? Maybe inside your own mind there is a happy mom, dad, child (a true family) and perhaps if you discover and cultivate this inner family you will find your waking life becoming a little sweeter and happier too?

While it does not hurt to dream of a happier life, maybe our sad and disturbing dreams are trying to teach us what is missing, what is wrong and how to become more understanding so that we have less quarrels, do not “lose” the child aspect of self, and learn how to bring love (the happy song) and limits (the police) into one building (one personality), for the sake of your child and your Self.

Hope these ideas get you thinking in new and compassionate ways, and that you feel better both asleep and awake.


Jamie February 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thank you very much for responding, I think you are spot on with this….I definitely hear you on every aspect of this, you have shared with me what has been going on in my head as well as my wishes and dreams within that. I have actually been trying to understand my ex a lot more, and I think I am on the road to understanding him more and maybe being a bit more compassionate…I was focusing more on how it felt to be treated bad rather than looking at why he felt the need to do that in the first place. I could say so much more, but it would take a novel, thank you soooo much for taking the time to look at my dream and help me to look at it in a different manner…very much appreciated. x


Gemma February 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Hi, it is 3am.. I have a very bizarre nightmare to relate that I am hoping to get some logical solution to. Firstly, I have 2 daughters- 7 and nearly 5. They were both in this dream along with me, their dad, various unknown people and mythical creatures!
The details of the dream are sketchy but I was being chased by evil, unidentifiable an various people/creatures, one of whom was my youngest child. For reasons unknown, it went that if i pressed a button which played ‘whistle while you work’ these people would stop being evil and turn normal again. this did not work for my daughter who was bright red and kept trying to bite me (her teeth were sharp, though she looked upset by the ordeal and my reaction to her, which was scared shouting and trying to swipe her away from me). flick then to a scene of my elder girl in bed (not same place or type of bed that she actually has, but same room). There is a man (who weirdly looks like steven seagal!) in her bed with her, seemingly not harming her, but stopping me opening the door to go to her. I ask for the door to be opened and he says she doesn’t want me there and i have to go away. I then shove the door open and physically remove him from the bed (with standard dreamlike superhuman strength) but he grabs my daughter, meaning that i also throw her, and he lands on her. I do not see my child at all during this incident but the man repeats over and over ‘you did it to her as well [as himself]’. then i keep getting switched between the images of my youngest ‘evil’ daughter and my eldest ‘silent and still but with a scary smile’ daughter, which is when i woke up and have not been able to stop thinking about it. work that one out!! :/


Bruce February 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

HI Gemma,

As I try to emphasize in my comments here, I make not claims to “know” what dreams mean, but rather to offer ways of seeing and thinking in the hope that you may gain some new ways to consider your dream.

Feel free to read through other comments to see similar dreams and various perspectives on them.

That said, perhaps this dream represents different parts of yourself, and your different feelings… and some attempt by your deep unconscious to bring it all together into some coherent whole.

You are being chased by “evil” which, although diffuse, is a general symbol of Shadow—of your own darker aspect, that which has not been understood, that which as not felt loved, safe, free and happy. This part, out of frustration, turns destructive and is intent on getting you.

This may look like the threat of being eaten by the evil child self (which might be better understood as the very hungry and frustrated part of your total Self). Being chased could symbolically reveal the wish to be “wanted” even if as an object closer to dinner (that which we eat) than giver-mother (that which gives to us).

Think of the Maurice Sendak “Where the Wild Things Are” idea of, “I’ll eat you up I love you so.”

A button symbolizes something you can control (hinting that you actually feel like you are not in control). A button that makes you whistle while you work could be a symbol of a good attitude.

You are trying to have a good attitude, but you actually feel deprived and this makes you both angry and “hungry” for understanding, compassion, attention, love, etc.

While one child-part of you has sharp teeth (perhaps symbol of the part of you that has some aggression in her mouth—that what she might “say” could hurt others) another important (to be conscious about) part of you is silent in the face of danger. Perhaps this is a window into a past time when you felt you had no voice to speak up for what was right?

The two girls might symbolize your own dilemma between opening your mouth and risking rejection (by mother…? how might your relationship with mother make you feel angry, hungry or misunderstood?), or keeping quiet and getting hurt.

Steven Seagal might have some personal meaning for you, but your “silent” (or lacking in voice) child self is in bed with this symbol of masculine power, suggesting a need to blend the innocent and the empowered aspects of your Self.

Seagal might relate to the child with sharp teeth in being symbols of power that show aggression to your ego-self. In this part the shadow blocks the door, symbolic of how your unrecognized power causes you to be blocked from connecting in a healthy way with your child aspect.

Your innocence and your power are indeed strange bedfellows, yet they are all part of you.

The blame of “you did it to her as well” shows how you struggle with feelings of guilt and self-blame and in finger-pointing and outward blame. Blame is a problem as it blocks connection and understanding, and it fuels anxiety (which might be a source for this dream).

With your unconscious “switching” between your “evil” (i.e. hungry and desperate) and your “silent” (i.e. disempowered or blocked) Selves your unconscious might be showing you the situation (a split between parts of yourself that are powerful but bad and innocent but powerless).

The superimposition of switching could be a clue that you need to see them both as parts of a common unity of personality—the silent but scary smile (because it knows things about you), and the “evil” part of you who is starving for love born of accurate understanding (and a good night’s sleep).

Finally, you might like to think about life as it was when you were 4, turning 5, and when you were 7, in order to see if issues from the past are being re-triggered by your children’s passing through these stages.

Hope you have good dreams moving forward


Tracie February 18, 2013 at 6:32 am

I’m feeling really bad this morning and this has happened more than once. I don’t want anyone to think that I am a horrible parent by posting this because they are just dreams. I just had a dream about my youngest daughter and usually dreams like this are about her, but last nights dream consisted of me trying to spend some “quality time” with my boyfriend and she is sitting there w/ us and I get frustrated because I ask her to leave and go to her room. She doesn’t listen so I try spanking her and she still doesn’t listen. Finally I grabbed her by her ear and literally dragged her into her room all the while she is crying. I can clearly see the look on her face and I woke up almost in tears. I feel really horrible having dreams like this and don’t know how to stop them. I’ve had dreams before about the same child but sometimes a little more violent. I WOULD NEVER EVER REALLY DO THIS!!! I just want to make that clear. I don’t even spank my kids unless they are putting them selves in grave danger. I really hate these dreams and the feeling of guilt that follows when I awake. Can you help????


Bruce February 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

Hi Tracie,

Great news, your dream is completely normal and the way you write about it shows what a sweet and caring mom you are.

The “problem” is that to be a mom one has to be a little bit of a badass as well as a giver-goddess :)

But again, great news! Usually moms who are working out this issue dream about “bad guys” hurting their child (you may have had those dreams before, and only felt freaked out by this dream where you are the “bad guy/girl”).

If we look at this dream as something like a play, only your deepest psyche has cast all the different parts of you into different characters: boyfriend, daughter and self.

In this perspective your inner-boyfriend (who of course looks just like your actual boyfriend, but is better understood as an aspect of Self) represents desire, particularly sexual desire. This is the part of you who wants “quality time” (which is also a symbol for the kind of experience you wish your life to be), which means feeling pleasured, loved, wanted, protected, released, understood, bridged in loneliness and overwhelm… and after all, who doesn’t want to check into a great hotel with a trusted lover, have “quality time” and then room service and then a long nap… after which we are ready to show up for our adored child and cheerfully do the parenting.

Yet the fact that you have a “boyfriend” and a “daughter” obviously means that the girl is not the result of former “quality time” with the biological father. This missing father, in his absence from the play that is the dream, also tells us that the girl is not happy about this “quality time” as she wants mommy and daddy to be together.

Thus the girl is a symbol of the part of you who is torn between two loves: grown-up quality time and child quality time. Two rather different kinds of time.

You “ask her to leave the room” meaning you want the sad girl out of consciousness, off stage so to speak, so the grown-ups can make their own sort of time (ironically, the rhythmic sort of time upon which the rock & roll of life is built, and out of which come the little creatures we love so much and who then rise to their time as we slowly recede from the stage of existing at all).

You drag your little girl self by the ear, suggesting that you are using that instrument in the wrong way, for an ear is a receiver but not a handle. You have a grip on the wrong ear! But then you write to me and, as grown-ups, we can discuss what is really going on, and then you hear your own dilemma:

You love your actual little girl more than anything, but there is a little girl inside you who didn’t get all the love and attention and sweet words that she needed in order to grow up and trust that if we really engage the child, and take her to the park and read to her and listen to her she will get sleepy and when she falls asleep, then you have your golden opportunity for “quality time” with your lover self.

As I mentioned before, this is a good dream because you are already in touch with your power, now you must regain the compassion and gentleness that lets you use that power with true Love—not a renunciation of pleasure, but a delay of gratification until the time is right.

Sex, dream interpretation and comedy all may turn out to be about timing.

We wish our kids would give us a little time, until they launch and we wish they would return and spend a little time with us.

The magic happens in the place where the opposites meet and challenge us to reconcile them. As a mom you contain the child and the lover, and as an increasingly conscious mom you find what the Tibetans call “all accomplishing wisdom,” where you stop trying to have it all, serving what is needed in any given moment, only to discover that what you most want (to feel free AND safe; loved/protected AND self-expressed/seen) drops softly into your lap, woven naturally into the fabric of our sometimes confusing experience of being all by ourselves AND part of the everything.

Children are like ambassadors from another sort of consciousness, teaching us their ways and we feel just awful when we hurt them, for any reason.

Finally, go to the child in your dream and tell her that she is your child-self and you will never leave her and that you are sorry that she didn’t get what she needed in the past but you are mommy enough for your actual daughter AND for her. Whenever you feel distressed, guilty, anxious or angry, ask yourself if your own less trusting and less developed aspect is feeling abandoned or hurt. Give love there and it will spill over into your dreams, your life and your child in a good way, or at least this would be my hope and wish, for you and for all of us and all our kids.

Warmest Regards


Tracie February 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm


Thank you so much for your response and explanation. I feel better knowing that my dream is about me and not the fact that I might subconsciously want to hurt one of my children. I’ve been struggling with dreams like this for a while but only with the one child and not my two older ones (prob. being that they older two do not live w/ me). I really appreciate your web site here and will definantly be an avid reader now.

Thank you again!!!!


Mac February 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

Well I had a dream at first I was with my dog me and her woke up in the middle of the city by a bus stop station I remember seeing my father after that he was healthy just working forgot what he said anyway went to the pawn shop I remember taking a necklace that was easy to take and the lady screaming but me and my dog got away we was taking a look at it next thing I know we by the great falls just a couple blocks from downtown and I was with my sister and my daughter and my dog when we was about to cross the bridge we seen the water passing over the bridge but the bridge was different normally it’s straight to go across the fall not anywhere close to the rapid flowin river towards the fall but this time it was across the river it was like a half a inch over the wood planked bridge we we walk towards it and I’m like na lets go back and when we was walking back to land my daughter just let go of my hand and vanished in the water I’m like What the hell where she go is she at the bottom and instantly woke up out the dream… My thoughts after reading a couple things where karma. Could it be that if I decide to steal anything I could loose my daughter as karma? I don’t kno but I’m still kind of shook.. Not lot ago I just got a valentines day card from her thru my phone I’m currently banned out of America and stuff because of issues with my record but anyway I hardly see her but we speak a lot and video cam when we can… What could it be?????


Bruce February 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Hi Mac,

It sounds like in “real life” you have the pain of not actually getting to see your daughter and this could be the central meaning of your dream.

It starts with you and your dog, and the dog could be a symbol for the natural part of us that is loyal, but not responsible for thinking.

You are at a bus stop, which might be symbol for the place we join the group and go in the direction that we want, which is not walking or a personal car… symbolic perhaps of getting along with the group and the rules of society.

You see your dad and he is healthy, which could symbolize the parent part of you getting to see the kid, which is you compared to your dad.

The pawn shop is next, symbol of a place where people give up what they value because they are desperate, or a place people go looking for bargains (and who don’t mind the karma on the objects they buy). You steal a necklace, which might symbolize that you feel that you cannot get what you value (your daughter) by honest means and are desperate to have it. A necklace adorns the neck, the place that connects, but also divides, head and heart.

The screaming lady would by your inner shaming voice who criticizes you but does not teach you how to do better.

Now you face the bridge and the falls. This could symbolize the path you must follow to get from your current situation to the one you want: happy, with your daughter, safe and loved.

But the situation shows the inner dilemma: the water (symbol of the tears you have cried? or of the Mother, or perhaps the Unconscious which is powerful) threatens to block the crossing of the bridge. The water is too high and strong, meaning you feel overwhelmed and the bridge is not high enough (it is a level of consciousness not yet high enough to be able to safely cross the river of feelings). The bridge is like thinking and the river like feeling; your heart swamps your mind, and in this situation you lose your grip on your girl (who symbolizes the child you once were, the place where your emotional troubles possibly began, back when what you were asked to do was too much for you, and might have felt like trying to cross a mighty river on a flooded bridge).

Read some of the other dreams above, I like this one about rescuing the daughter from a similar dream situation:


My hope is that your dreams will bring you encouragement to heal and follow the path that is truly right for you… and that this will bring you into better relationship with all the parts of your inner Self and with your real daughter too.

Until then, you know that you are always connected with your daughter in your heart, and she is your great motivation to choose well so you can be your best Self as an act of love for her. The dream helps us know how hard it can be, but it also teaches you that you don’t have to deal with everything alone (sister, dad and dog will all help).

All Best Wishes


Leslie February 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I too am so happy to happen on to this website. I had a very disturbing dream a few nights ago involving my family and mother. Most of it was hazy except the end. My family including my mother are vacationing in NYC and are on the roof of a large skyscraper at night. Somehow a madman is attacking my family with an ax and I’m fighting to protect everyone. At some point policemen are helping us, but the madman gets to my two year old son and he is mortally wounded. I remember one of the policemen coming up to me and his face is bloodied by the attack and he says I’m so sorry about your loss. I woke up completely freaked out and am fearing something bad will happen to me or my family as it felt so real. I’ve done some research on death in dreams and I know it doesn’t necessary mean what is shown in the dream. I am hoping to make a job change this year, perhaps it is a sign of my old career dying and a rebirth with a new job?
Thanks for your help.


Bruce February 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Hi Leslie,

I like your instinct about the dream and that you are already creatively engaged in possible meaning. In that spirit I offer some ideas to help amplify your own creative process…

This dream could arguably be about the conflict within you between career and childcare; and/or about the conflict within you between your identification with the child aspect and your identification with the parent/authority figure.

Depending on what NYC means to you, it could be a symbol for the big city, the collective aspect of the Self that includes money, power, drama/Broadway, glamour… or it could mean ill-gotten gains, as settlers pretty much stole it from the original inhabitants (and while this is not likely your association, I mention it because you have a nightmare set in this place) or it could relate to a strip of land between two rivers (two states of mind).

The skyscraper could signify higher consciousness, or power and ambition; in NYC it could symbolize a target for destruction (vanished towers) or the ego which builds towers that it hopes will give immortality but which vanish all the same upon the sands of time.

You are with Mother and Child, which could symbolize the older and younger aspects of your own Self. My suspicion is that you are not resolved in relationship to your mother—that somehow you carry resentment, or perhaps guilt… perhaps she was ambitious and you did not feel adequately seen as a kid, or perhaps she sublimated her needs to you and you carry her ambition which adds to your own.

The “madman” might be the part of you who is angry and the ax suggests a blunt drive not just to kill but to cleave or separate one thing from another. In this case the unconscious madman kills the child, which could symbolize that you have felt stopped by men, father, or by the male principle in the psyche, which is analytic, and analysis stems from the latin word meaning to cut, or be able to finely discern elements from each other (light/dark, city/nature, greed/generosity, etc.)

“Madman” might also be the singular of Madmen, and your inner wish to fullfil whatever Don Draper means to you, the sex and ambition of seeking our fortune in the Big Apple (or, like Lena Dunham, seeking it in the raw, naked terrain of artsy Brooklyn, the girl answer to boy power). Riffing in the spirit of creativity, you may see the resonance in a Mad Man killing a Child. Here is the Peter Pan vs. Wendy dilemma, the grown-up who insists on reality and responsibility is like death to the eternal child, but we contain all the parts and thus the conflict is within us.

The mad part of you certainly has an ax to grind, and the inner cop, the authority figure is smeared with blood, perhaps suggesting that you link the cop and the killer in your unconscious (this in light of recent news where the former cop turned killer of cops, at least in LA).

Perhaps a good way to go with this dream is to call an imaginary conference in the spacious offices atop the skyscraper. Imagine the child, the mother, the cop, the madman and yourself all around a conference table. Imagine the deep Self as the whole city, or at least the building, and your ego as in service to the deep Self as chairman of the board and yourself as potential CEO, if you can truly serve all the team and get them to work together. You start by listening to each one and honoring their position. This puts you in the King Solomon position and you must figure out a clever way so that no one hurts the baby (based on figuring out who loves it so much that they are willing to let it go sooner than see it killed).

Then you might consider your mission statement as a psychological corporation: what is it you all wish to serve? This unifying principle might help you broker a deal where child care is provided, executive function is utilized, power is channeled to good ends and abundance is cultivated—reaping reward not based on raw ambition but on true service.

Finally, a skyscraper and an ax brings to mind Jack and the Beanstalk, where a “giant” symbol of father, threatens to hurt Jack, the naive and innocent child, who must cut down the whole beanstalk (symbol of phallic power, hubris, grandiosity and greedy anger) in order to live happily ever after. But that is a Grimm tale indeed. Perhaps a post-modern, compassionate feminist twist on the old tale is that the madman is recognized as one’s own Shadow, and this better integration of dark power brings about a growing up of the little girl rather than a cutting down of either the parent/authority or the identification with the little girl.

Out of this death does indeed come new birth, but new birth calls for new and more attuned parenting so that the child within you can grow to fulfill her fullest and most authentic potential. And as for what that might be, you must go on your journey, live and tell your own stories and make your own discoveries.

New York is a great city, but it’s a grid… paths well-travelled by others. The true path looks more like being lost in the dark woods, or the night sea journey… the path you forge for your Self, for no one can have already cut a trail for you if it is to be your own true path, whether up to the sky in a building you will build, or into a future you cannot see until you architect it by living it.

Certainly wishing you all the best with it.


kia February 21, 2013 at 3:54 am

hi, ive had many dreams that come true… i had a dream last night that i was doing my hair in the bathroom,. looking in the mirror.. then i realized i didnt hear my daughter so i looked down.. My little sister was there and had put my 3 month olds head into the toilet by the time i took her out her face was pale.. i tryed to scream but no sound came out and i ran to the bathroom door to get away but my sister ran and closed it.. by the way her eyes were gray..can you tell me what it means?


Bruce February 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm

HI Kia,

I would love to hear more about the dreams that have come true. Were they good or bad things that your unconscious saw coming?

Certainly, even if a dream might come true now and again (finding love, for example), when it comes to nightmares we clearly want them not to come true.

And as Jung suggests, by being conscious of things we may even help avert their needing to constellate in waking life. I really don’t know if that is true but a little extra consciousness, hopefully, will not hurt.

Perhaps in your dream the hair you are doing is a symbol of your unconscious thoughts, for those too grow spontaneously out of your head to be combed and shaped into a sort of sense or left wild and tangled.

Looking in the mirror might symbolize looking at yourself, not just physically but also psychologically—noticing where you are at and what you think and feel right now.

“Realizing” that you are “not hearing” your daughter could mean you feel guilty about not paying attention in waking life enough, bur more likely as a symbol it is your little girl self you do not hear.

Thus it is your “sister self” or the part of you that is related to you but is not the same as you who puts the kid you’s head in the toilet, symbolically saying that the child is like poop—unwanted and disgusting.

This is symbolic for low-self esteem, and raises the question about how you and your sister might have felt when you were your daughter’s age.

That you cannot scream might symbolize that you felt you had no voice to speak up against mistreatment when you were little (or it could reflect the real fact that you were sleeping while dreaming and did not have a voice for this reason).

Your sister self blocks your exit from the situation, showing how you are forcing yourself to look at your past hurt, and your current fear/pain, so you can heal and be safe and hear both your child in reality and your child self within your psyche.

The grey eyes of your sister could symbolize the integration of light/dark, good/bad, the part of you who sees both sides of things?

What this all “means” depends on what it means to you, but I do hope these ideas help you gain new insights and that you have better dreams ahead and good times awake as well.

All Best Wishes


nikita February 21, 2013 at 7:16 am

Hey Bruce i really really like the way you comment understanding the psycological aspects of parents. Probabaly i am totally paved by the indepth understanding of what is going wrong and what should be fixed by the parents for their own children. What more could i say i am more than overwhelmed that i got the goodness to read your soothing comments which has made my way easier..Thanks so much..Keep doing the good work !!


Bruce February 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Thanks so much for these kind words, Nikita—sending you All Best Wishes as well


ivy February 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Hi Bruce,
I have been having nightmares involving my children the last few weeks.
It often I involves me running way from something beforehand and just when I am safe, I see one of my boys hurt, unconscious or lifeless.
The most recent one I was running in a dark alley away from people with very tall shadows. I KNOW that some were women in high heels, I was barefoot but they were gaining on me. My feet were cold and wet because it was raining. I reached a strange red brick house I have never been to before, ran inside and saw my 3 year old lifeless on the floor in the middle of the room, there were other people there, my husband, his mother, some others, but none of them seemed to notice. I ran to pick him up, but as I took him in my arms his beautiful long blond hair came away in clumps wherever I touched it. The clumps had scalp, tissue and bone attached to it, leaving bleeding holes in his head. I was covered in his blood and screaming for them to help me but they didn’t hear me. Then I woke up, frightened and realised my 3 year old had climbed I to our bed.


Bruce February 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Hi Ivy,

These dreams do sound quite terrifying and I am sorry for that. My first question would be about whether you experienced some sort of trauma when you were a child.

I ask this since the recurring pattern is that you are “running away from something” and then just when you think you are safe, your child is not safe.

If the child could be a symbol of your own child aspect, or the child you once were, it would make sense that your unconscious might be triggered by the mere fact of having a child who, at least unconsciously, would bring back into mind life when you were that age (even if you have no conscious memory of that time).

If we think of our dreams as a combination of random firing of neurons when we are sleeping, which are then interpreted and woven into a narrative through our natural instinct to make sense of things… then the type of sense, the narrative of the dreams, could be giving us clues to themes your deepest Self are trying to resolve.

Running down a dark alley could symbolize going through a place of danger, as alleys at night would be classically dangerous. Your unconscious is taking you into the danger, perhaps in the hopes to bring it to consciousness so you can let go of the past, or of fear, and be more able to live happily in the present.

If you read through other comments you will see much mention of “Shadow” as symbol of danger, bad guys, monsters… all as symbolic for the dark aspect of our own power, of our aggression that attacks our ego-self, or our child-aspect.

That you have “very tall shadows” and some clearly women in heels, perhaps your powerful self is “well heeled” or wearing high heels. These shoes could be symbolic of sexuality, power, higher consciousness (taller, having a higher view), money, desirability, etc.

That you are barefoot and wet casts yourself as the poor, unsophisticated, urchin/orphan who is persecuted by the high heeled aspect.

I wonder if there are issues of class, economics or social status at play in your family. For example, do you feel accepted as an equal (in terms of prestige, status, etc.) by your husband’s family?

Did you give up a career to be a mom? (i.e. did you give up your heels to find yourself “barefoot and pregnant,” and then barefoot and out in the cold wet rain with a child?

As for a “strange red brick house,” houses are often symbols of the wider self, as structure that can hold the different parts of us. You must ask yourself about associations to red brick—perhaps childhood, perhaps red is anger, or passion?

You see the child aspect of self “lifeless” on the floor of this house, and the fact that husband (the husband part of yourself) and mother-in-law (that part of self) are indifferent, not seeming to notice. Perhaps this means you do not feel seen or understood in your fear, struggle, pain… perhaps you feel drained of life at this stage of parenting (three is a particularly challenging age).

Hair can be a symbol for thoughts (they grow spontaneously out of the head) and the fact that hair comes with scalp and bone might be symbol for feeling like your mind is coming apart, or maybe that ironic saying that when something is painful we “need it like a hole in the head.”

Again, you scream for help but no one hears. Could this relate to feeling hurt, or mentally intruded upon, when you were little; and maybe feeling unseen and unheard in your cries for help in the past.

Sometimes the death of a child in a dream can symbolize the need for our own identification with the child, or our childhood, to die so that we can be born as our fuller grown-up Self.

Imagine pretending you are in the brick house and the lifeless child, the shadowy figures in high heels, the unseeing and unhearing family members are all there. You address them as parts of yourself and ask them all by turns what it could be that they are wanting YOU to see, notice, learn, feel, etc.

Often the shadow is trying to bring you power, the child needs to be seen as the child part of you, witnessed and loved. Dreams, and imagination exercises about dreams, are like cartoons. Things transform and dead figures revive, monsters turn friendly and helpful.

Finally, maybe a red “house” might symbolize a little red school house, meaning that new learning is in order. Hopefully, if you pay brave and compassionate attention to the symbols, letting them further reveal their guidance and meanings, you may find yourself mastering new lessons that only you can figure out for yourself.

If it works, your dreams are likely to stop recurring, and even turn more positive.

Certainly wishing you sweeter and more gentle dreams.


celeste February 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I had this dream a few weeks ago and have not stopped thinking about it ever since, and was hoping I could get some kind of an interpretation.

In the dream, my husband and I are getting married. We were at the hotel where the wedding was being held, and the bodies of young women kept showing up in the hotel rooms. The police would come investigate, but didn’t know who it was.

Fast Forward and it was revealed that the killer was my husband. He forces me and our daughter in the car as he escaped from the police. We are driving down a curvy road in the mountains and there is a lake to the right. As we are driving he is talking to me about how it will all be over soon and we will all be together forever. I can tell he is planning on killing himself and taking our daughter and me with him. Trying to find a way out of the situation and save my daughter and myself, I try to convince him to go to a hotel and rest, and that in the morning we will all “go together”. He agrees, and I feel a weight off my shoulders, But suddenly there is a gap in the guard rail on the road, and he swerves the car into the lake.

As the car is sinking, I struggle to get my seat belt off and get myself and my daughter out of the car. Finally, I get both of us out of the car, but my daughter is in the water about 2 feet away from me, so I try and swim to get her to go to the surface. But just as my hand goes to grab her, my husbands hand reaches up from the sinking car and grabs her foot and drags her into the darkness of the water. This was the moment I woke up.

The dream really terrified me, and I have been looking for an explanation for weeks now, but have not found anything that makes sense. My husband and I have a great relationship, we love each other very much, and my husbands relationship with our 3 yr old daughter is wonderful as well. So you can see why it does not really make sense.


Bruce February 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Hi Celeste,

As a former screenwriter we have to give hats off to your unconscious for crafting a such a compelling horror story, and yet I am sorry that you have been so disturbed by the contents of your unconscious.

My hope is that perhaps if we come up with a coherent interpretation it might unlock your feeling of dread and disturbance.

As you might notice from the dreams already shared in this space, drowning is a very common theme, one quite likely related to random firing of neurons conveying a feeling of sinking, which the narrative brain senses and then spins into a narrative as it prefers a story of terror to nameless, imageless dread.

That said, the contents and symbols of the dream might relate to the themes envy, competition and loss. Let me explain: taking the dream as a representation of your own Self, all the elements might then be re-envisioned as symbols standing in for seemingly contradictory emotions and impulses, particularly “forbidden” elements relating to the Shadow, or destructive power-wielding aspect of the psyche.

In this perspective we have a hotel, symbol of a collective self where many people go and many things happen, but particularly rest and sexual situations. The fact that you are getting married in the dream could symbolize the wish to know that you are still favored, desired and adored in waking life; but in the dream the husband would be a symbol of your own male aspect: that which adores you, but also that which might be a “bad guy”—the part of yourself you would not readily acknowledge or identify with.

Bodies of YOUNG WOMEN keep showing up, perhaps suggesting an unconscious anxiety that as you age your husband might lose desire for you. If you are the unconscious architect of the dream, perhaps there is a part of you who wants to “kill the young women” because they are rivals, threats to your husband’s affection (remember the husband would be the empowered/dark aspect of you, the part that carries the anger and destruction that you may feel unacceptable as emotions… which then become exaggerated into violence).

I actually suspect that the real rival here is your daughter, for at 3 she must be an adorable princess and she must be in love with daddy. In waking life you celebrate this, but as a mom you work your ass off to take care of her and end up feeling like Cinderella and when daddy comes home it’s a huge love fest and you can end up feeling like the dowdy maid.

This would be forbidden to think, which is often the birth of nightmares… You three escape together (from the police, symbol of the part of you who enforces the rules, fairness and justice). Yet you are outlaws on the road, Bonny & Clyde… and that is sexy, and you are alive and desired (even if it is death the love-object plans… for orgasm in French may be called Le Petite Mort after all).

Now the car goes through the gap in the guardrail. Perhaps the guardrail is a symbol of the protective function, the boundary between road (reality) and water (the unconscious, but also perhaps the Mother). The guardrail also brings to mind the crib railings and the “gap” could symbolize the little space between mom and dad that all children dive into for a snuggle and exploit to get their way.

Perhaps you feel dad sides with daughter sometimes, spoiling and not holding the line on rules? Now you find you all three going down together, showing how some part of you would rather die than be separated from your husband and daughter… rather die together than live alone (remember your unconscious is the author, your ego self in the dream a mere player in the show).

Now the chiller moment, you get the girl out and hope to get to the surface with her (this might symbolize the wish to save the little girl part of you, the part that is killed by becoming a parent and being unthroned in the little girl department by the real little girl). Yet another gloss on this is how the little girl must die in ourselves for the woman to be born in full ernest.

Yet… the husband part of you and the child part are so deeply linked that they will not be separated and his hand grabs her… causing you to wake up: to have a chance at consciousness… to search for my blog, to search for meaning, to confront your own unconscious and the beautiful and painful mystery of how you yearn to be free and you yearn to be held and never let go… like all of us.

This dream does not mean anything bad is going to happen, and it does not mean you are a bad parent or that your husband is a killer. I encourage you to pretend you are back in the dream with this new way of seeing it. You say, “Pull over, you are my inner killer and you hold my power and you love my inner little girl and I am conscious about all this so we don’t need drama and driving into lakes. The cops are my inner cops and we are all in a big play meant to illuminate our total Self…”

Then, ask the killer husband what he really wants, and the daughter too. Since they are you you can assure them that you love them and will never leave them nor can they leave you. Maybe the dream becomes a pleasant adventure and all the dead young girls turn out to be the part of you who has felt killed by the toll parenting takes (but we deny because we’re supposed to just say the “nice things”)… maybe they revive and with them your spirit of sexiness and fun and adventure and power and innocence and trust and abundance and generosity… and once you are in the fairytale things tend to turn out happily ever after.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if I am “right,” only that you feel better and that your dreams become less upsetting and hopefully even sweet.

All Best Wishes


Megan March 2, 2013 at 5:12 am

Hi, I had this dream a few nights ago and it is still bothering me. The dream started out innocent as we were at my sister-in-laws new house. (We have actually not been there yet as they moved last week but I have seen a few pictures). We were all talking and getting along fine. It was a good dream. I have two daughters and my sister-in-law has one son. Her son who is almost 4 and my daughter who is 3 1/2 were playing together in the basement. I wanted to make sure they were being safe since that was the first time we were at that house so I proceeded to go downstairs with my 1 1/2 year old to play with the kids. We were all playing fine then I look over and saw him poke her in the eye and then proceeded to stick his entire hand down her eye socket. I woke up screaming!

(I actually don’t like my nephew and my daughter to play together as he doesn’t seem to have empathy and will do mean things for no reason out of the blue. In hindesight he did poke her in the eye on purpose at his 2 year bday party, so that could be where my mind came up with that)

I guess I was thinking this dream meant I don’t care for my nephew and since my sister-in-law won’t get him diagnosed it makes me dislike him more. But, as I was reading the other posts…. Maybe he was a methophor for me not liking myself. As I have been struggling with parenting my 3 year old… and been thinking my parents did a bad job bossing me around too much when I was 3 years old and I don’t want to do the same thing to my girls.


Bruce March 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Hi Megan,

I appreciate that you read other posts and have already began understanding your own dream. A few more ideas I would share to help along your creative process follow the lines of dream as representation of Self.

In this perspective you have “your sister-in-law’s new house” which could symbolize the new self of the not-me, or sister-in-law aspect—an aspect with which you have conflict, and thus a potential Shadow figure.

The children might represent your little girl self and your little boy self, “playing in the basement” could mean interacting in the unconscious.

It is interesting that this house is not described as “my brother’s new house” although presumably there is a brother (or sister) who is the spouse of this “sister-in-law.” It is as if you are refusing to recognize the brother, the nephew and thus the “male” aspect of self… that which holds power, money, hurts you?

In any event you go downstairs (you stare down, truly look at, what is going on in the forbidden realm of the unconscious) and you are holding the littlest girl, the self you have in arms protected, united if you will, at least psychologically.

And then the moment of horror: the nephew’s hand in the daughter’s eye and all the way into the socket. If the hand is a symbol of the aggressive instrument that hurts, and takes what it wants, and the eye is symbol of seeing clearly, perhaps without judging perhaps with higher wisdom to judge (the all-seeing eye) we have an interesting symbolic situation…

On the one “hand” it could imply that you, or your 3 1/2 year old self (and whatever you saw, felt and experienced when you were that age) has envy and wants to take what she sees, in a sense drawing the hand into her eye, her mind, herself where it becomes part of her.

On the other “hand” it could symbolize the part of you who feels aggression, shame, judgement… on your very own judgement (not liking sister-in-law or nephew in life, and/or in yourself); thus your secret aggressive hand strikes the eye that judges, envies, blames, etc.

Finally, the sense of a hand in a “socket” brings to mind a lightbulb and an illumination of some sort. For some odd reason Picasso’s “Guernica” comes to my mind, a painting about outrage at oppression of the underdog by corrupt powerful forces. Images of eye, terror, illumination and bearing witness make it one of the most powerful works of political art.

Perhaps on our way to a more compassionate world we discover the Self in all the others who have more and who have less, who are more contained and less contained, who are younger, older, similar and other.

Hope these ideas inspire better dreams and good waking times as well.


Kellie March 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Hi. I was searching about my nightmares i keep having and i found this site. My dreams have always been about my dad.. and I didn’t start having them untill i became a mother. In my dream i am holding my youngest child putting him to sleep my daughter is 5 and in the bathtub at my dad’s house .. I hear my daughter laughing and my dad talking to her.. then all of a sudden i get a horrid feeling i put my son down and head down the hall way when i get to the hallway the bathroom is at the other end. my father is hitting my daughter over and over and over and im screaming at him to stop and i am trying to run to the bathroom and i keep falling down all the while screaming at him, when i finally get to the bathroom i am trying with all my might to get my dad away from my daughter.. then i see her in the tub.. she is badly hurt and hes laughing saying thats what she gets for laughing at me… i wake up screaming every time. this has happened at least 6 times in the last 3 weeks. my husband is horrified when i wake him up screaming and kicking. What do you think this means? I would love to know. (p.s I live 1800 miles from my father, also do not have much of a relationship with him because of how mean he was to me as a child.)


Bruce March 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Hi Kellie,

I’m afraid this dream is all too easy to interpret: your father was abusive and now that you have a little girl it has triggered the experience of terror, helplessness and pain that you thought growing up, moving away, finding love and having a family of your own would put behind you.

Firstly I am so sorry that you were hurt as a child. While you are probably not keen to consider this, your father too probably had a lot of pain in his childhood (and no way to resolve and heal it).

Your dream shows us how we “internalize” our parents and they live inside us like ghosts of the psyche. The trick here is to grow a bigger and kinder parent to dwarf the hurt-mean one who now hurts the child in your nightmare.

The father in the dream is your own Shadow, it holds your power, but that power is still woven together with aggression (and thus you are inhibited from owning your healthy power, unconsciously, out of fear that you will be a monster if you dare to flex a muscle). This becomes a parenting problem as your child develops, because you have to be firm and hold limits sometimes in the face of your child’s frustration; if you think being firm makes you an abusing monster, next thing you know you have a spoiled brat on your hands because you can’t say, “No.” (not to mention a husband who tells you you need to be more firm, and who then feels suddenly like an abuser, and the conflicts become marital and you get more frightened and lonely).

The tub could be a symbol of the unconscious (water, womb, container) and the dream shows the relationship in your psyche between the inner father and the inner child; you are the conscious being who could not stop the father nor protect the child, so it symbolizes your helplessness and your feeling ineffective. You want and need to be able to become tough and protective, and my vote is YES!

Your unconscious is showing you this, I would guess, because your deepest Self wants you to heal and part of this is becoming conscious about what needs to heal.

Next is HOW to heal. Therapy can be an option, if you find someone who is skilled at trauma work. This can be tricky because just telling the story repeatedly is not necessarily therapeutic—it can dredge up old pain and just bring it all back without making it better.

A skilled therapist can help see if other issues (anxiety, depression, etc. are interacting with previous trauma).

Other options include some sort of mindfulness practice, like yoga or meditation which has proven helpful, and lastingly so, for depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, etc.

If your own well-being is not enough to motivate action, research shows that unresolved trauma in parents negatively effects kids, while resolved trauma does not.

I would recommend a couple of books to consider:

“Waking The Tiger” by Peter Levine


and my own book

“Privilege of Parenting”


I hope these suggestions help and I wish you and your family all the best


Kellie March 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Thank you very much! I appreciate you giving me your opinion and it makes total sense to me now thank you!


Chris March 2, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Hello Dr. Dolin,

I am Kellie’s husband. After reading what you wrote, and I do appreciate the response, I began to read some of your other responses. I see a strong Jungian theme in your messages. I wonder what your thoughts on Carl Jung’s work are? I am almost done with my Bachelors degree in Business, but I began my academic journey as a psychology major. I had an intense, almost infatuation with Dr. Jung and some of his written works. Man and His Symbols and his explainations of the unconcious, his typology, and his theory of the collective unconconseous made so much sense to me that I began to take his truths to heart. Although I switched my focus to business, I still use Dr. Jung’s philosophies in my daily life. Whether intentional or not, I really appreciate your response to my wife as it is an affirmation to my suspicions of her need to overcome the internal struggle she deals with, on her path to becoming one with her Self through individuation. Thanks!


Bruce March 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

Hi Chris,

Indeed I am much indebted to C.G. Jung whom I like to think of as a kindred spirit in our collective situation. My old therapist trained in Zurich was fortunate to have actually met with Jung and thus his ideas have permeated my path.

And yet I would not say I am a “Jungian” as even Jung joked that he would not want to be such a thing!

If you want to explore how Jung’s ideas cross with your own by way of my strings of words you might search for “Jung” at the home page of my blog. Perhaps synchronicity strikes in the confluence of our virtual meeting :)

In any event, wishing you, Kellie and your family all the best on roads individual and collective.


joyce March 3, 2013 at 2:37 am

Hi Bruce,

I just woke up from a nightmare, where my 18 year old son is apparently suppose to be shot in the penis. I can”t remember too much ahead of the dream but all l know l was talking to some guy (suppose to be someone that knows my son but l have never met) tells me that my son was shot in the penis. I asked who by and he said this guy that was in the dream. He was apparently a bad guy that apparently was in the dream that somehow l knew or I can’t seen to remember how l was suppose to know this person. Please help me with this dream it scares me. Oh yes l did see my son earlier that is why l was questioning the guy that told me that he got shot, that is why l asked him when he was and who did it..
Thank you.


Bruce March 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hi Joyce,

I might start with imagining all the figures in the dream are aspects of yourself, thus there is the mother who loves and wants to protect the son, there is the son whose masculinity and power and ability to have pleasure and procreate is threatened, and there is the “bad guy” who plans to shoot the son in the penis.

The gun is a phallic symbol here, the penis that can only hurt when it shoots, a penis to end life but not begin it.

Perhaps you have mixed feelings about your son growing up? Perhaps he is pulling away from you and your unconscious hurt and perhaps jealousy brings out your inner bad guy?

Perhaps you have been hurt by men (literally/physically, sexually and/or emotionally) and so you are inhibited from being powerful for fear of being the “bad guy” and you end up feeling too often like a victim?

Perhaps you fear aging (I have an 18 year old son myself) and if your son would lose his penis this might symbolically stop time and prevent you becoming a grandmother one day.

My hope is that you could imagine talking to the bad guy as your own inner hurt and angry self and your son in the dream as your own threatened self and realize that you love, and must integrate, both these people into your own personality.

This will allow you to become the fully mature, powerful, happy Great Mother who is forming within you and rising to the surface of lived experience.

Finally, if you have issues with men, but love boys, you must better understand this so that you can help your boy become the man he is meant to be—and that is just what all of us parents might work together on, and in return gain a more peaceful and pleasurable society.

Sweeter dreams we hope!


Virginia March 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Hi Bruce,
I woke up scared to death this morning. This dream was so vivid I am afraid to go to sleep. This a little similar to yours. At a summer house the house is white from when I was a kid. In the grassy wheel driveways that are close together. My husband fighting with me. Got in his truck to leave. I thought he was getting in the truck with himself his uncle and his brother and that’s it. Somehow my kids ended up in the truck with him. Mad at me speeding backing out of the driveway (I was walking up stairs on the outside of the house but had a roof and wall all around it completely covered so you cant see outside.) He was backing out of the driveway somehow steered of the driveway. Flipped the truck over a white parked car in the next driveway. All of my children were in his truck laying on the grass with their heads smashed together screaming help. I was so afraid to go out there to see what I would find. I continued up the stairs and called 911. Come to find out there was a kid on a bicycle right behind him and that’s why he went off the driveway to miss the kid. I then had two versions of the dream here one it was my son but he was fine and the other it was a kid I did not know. Also after calling 911 I have two versions to one me going outside and holding my children crying not knowing what to do waiting for help and the other me not being able to go outside to see how bad the kids were. I just can’t stop thinking about this dream and at the time it was so real. I know there is a hidden message but I don’t know what it is. Can you help me put the pieces together.


Bruce March 4, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Hi Virginia,

I can lend some ideas but you will have to continue with the creative work of contemplating whatever meaning ends up most resonant for you.

The house might be s symbol of self, and the “wheel” driveway implies the circle of life in which you re-visit feelings of the past but from the perpective of a parent.

My suspicion is pain unresolved from your own childhood, perhaps a time you felt hurt by male insensitivity (father, uncle, brother?) and were not protected by mother.

Now you are the mother and you experience the emotional scene not from the kid hurt by the male authority figures, but from the perspective of helpless mother (perhaps the way you saw your own mother?).

You are “going upstairs” which could symbolize moving to higher consciousness, maturity or perspective, yet you are inside, “blocked” by “walls” (symbol of denial, or inhibition from your own true feelings such as anger or aggression) and by “roof” the current upper limit on your consciousness, what separates your mother level from some even higher, Great Mother or grandmother/ancestor wisdom?

The various versions might echo the way so-called “memory” works; in other words we do not actually record events in our brains, and what we think of as memory is actually a reconstruction of images and sensations, an attempt to make a story that holds together. Vivid as things may seem, we are notoriously unreliable in matching memory to so-called “fact.”

That said, emotional reality certainly shows that your dream scared you terribly and connects to the general feeling of terror, loss, helplessness and overwhelm in the face of trauma.

Did you suffer losses in the past? Was there a car accident? Or a bike accident?

Let your associations flow, looking not for facts but for feelings and your need to heal whatever haunts you in the past (or perhaps nothing does). On the other hand there may be tension in your marriage and the unconscious feeling of rage and your inhibition from knowing your rage.

Then you may cast your rage as the insensitive husband, who is prevented from breaking up the family through the tragedy of destroying the family.

Keep in mind that your husband didn’t “do this,” rather your unconscious blames him for the mayhem and you are scared because it becomes unclear if your terrible dream might create some terrible outcome. We are not so powerful, and our deep fears about it drive our anxiety.

Better to realize you feel angry, hurt, abandoned, whatever and then talk it through. If you are having conflicts in your family it would be best to talk those through, without blame, as so often people soften when they feel understood (i.e. you as well as your husband).

If you are not in an outer conflict with husband, perhaps you need to realize the husband within who abandons is the hurt and angry part of you, the part that causes the inner children within you to be smashed in the head (i.e. rendered unable to think, crying out for help).

I hope these ideas help you feel less anxious and confused. If you spend some time dialoguing with the parts of yourself, as found in the dream, perhaps you will get a new, less terrible dream, to guide you beyond the false split of power that hurts others or weak kindness that cannot protect self or others.

All Best Wishes


Melissa March 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Hello Bruce! Let me start by saying how relieved I am that I am not alone in awful nightmares that don’t make any sense at all. Like many others you’ve responded to, I am hoping you have some possible insight into my nightmare….

It starts at my mother’s house. My husband and our 4 children were staying the night there, which in real life we have done every now and again when helping her with packing things up and such. In the dream, I’m locking the doors in her family room (she has 3 sets of double doors), and I’m having a conversation with my 9 year old son about what tasks we’ll be working on the next day, and I also am holding my 18 month old daughter. I am aware that my other two daughters and husband are in another part of the house. As I’m walking to the middle set of doors to lock them, the door bursts open and this ghost of a very old man with very bright and scary blue eyes and a long beard tries to grab my daughter out of my arms. I’m screaming and terrified as we have a slight tug of war, and my son and daughter are screaming, terrified. The old man is screaming at me “You need to stop this, No! No! Enough!!” and then I’m able to pull my daughter away, slam the door and lock it, and he disappears. I’m scared, of course and then my son is asking “What happened, what was that, what was I doing?” terrified. Confused, I ask if he saw the ghost try to take the baby and the situation that just happened, and he says “No, Mom, I just saw the door open and you screaming, and the you shut the door and locked it, and Kendall’s [my 18 month old] with Dad…..what happened?” Now, really freaked out, I run into the room where my husband is, my son right behind me, and find him asleep in a chair with our daughter also asleep. My son says, “See, Mom…she’s okay….” I feel a wash of relief come over me, but at the same time uneasiness about being in the house. And that’s where the dream ends.

I talked to my husband about this, and while he has done his best to comfort me, I am still a bit uneasy about this dream. My moms house in the dream is the same that I grew up in since I was 2 years old…and am now 30. It is a large house, and old, with some history to it, but I’ve never been afraid. I’m still not afraid of the house…it’s more that I’m afraid of the old man with the beard and piercing blue eyes…I can’t get the image of his face out of my head. I don’t know anyone with a beard, nor eyes like that that frighten me. I don’t have any reason to fear anyone, and certainly no reason to be worried that someone is trying to take my baby, or any of my children, away from me. In short, I have no idea what in reality could have brought this nightmare on……

So, any words of wisdom, thoughts…..prayers……would be greatly appreciated….Thanks!


Bruce March 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Hi Melissa,

While I find myself repeatedly reminding readers that I have no definitive idea about what these dreams mean, only a shared curiosity and wish to be of some comfort.

Let’s start with a “rational” take on the dream: it is classic to experience feelings of either sinking or of floating in dreams because of the random firing of neurons. Knowing that you are in bed, but experiencing floating sensations, it could be that the brain makes a story out of the conundrum and hence—a ghost is born!

What we project onto the neurons may reflect residue of the day, of our past experiences or become a place to work out unresolved emotions the way we might “see things” in an inkblot, but in reality it’s “just an inkblot.”

Once we get into inkblot interpretation, it’s more art than science, however I would offer some symbolic ideas and see if they click.

Mother’s House might be symbol of the deeper self and all the parts it contains: self, children, mother, husband and whatever “ghosts” connected to “the house before it was your family’s house” and as well, family secrets, traumas and thus any “ghosts” you all bring along with you.

The doors in the “family room” could symbolize portals to past and future as well as present; it could symbolize the “doors of perception” (written poetically of by William Blake, cribbed by Jim Morrison).

The family room itself could symbolize the “family psychological situation” as it exists within you. The key struggle here would be the “hungry ghost” and the 18 month old daughter.

To a certain extent dreams can represent forbidden wishes, and here it could be that you find your daughter a little difficult. She has three older sibs to inspire her to grow up quickly to keep up with them, and yet she may be your last child and her growing up represents a death of sorts, of that magical time of having little babies.

The ghost in this sense might be a symbol of the part of you who is suddenly feeling very old at 30, a sort of Father Time symbol who is taking your baby from your arms.

Time is demanding that you must let the baby grow, but it is extremely painful. This is the part that is not understood, the part where in real life you feel alone.

The the symbol of your 9 year old rational self who sees no ghost and no baby, just you “shutting the door” on this tender and beautiful chapter of your life.

18 months is, interestingly, when the brain begins to be able to form narrative, and to form memories as opposed to sense memories. This is a time where the baby differentiates that next step, beginning to explore her world (and needing you to be there when she returns, just as your mom, all these years later, must tolerate the pain of all you guys departing again from her house after her treasured moments when you guys show up).

You do not mention the father. Perhaps you have lost your father and wish he could have met your daughter? Perhaps this is another take on the conflict of the dream, the wish to share the baby and the dread to share her with spirits.

Turning to myth and archetypes, you might like to look up the story of Bluebeard, an old man with a long beard who keeps a little girl hostage in a fairytale. The psychological aspect in this involves female individuation, and she must pull the old man’s beard, or trap it in the window, in order to escape (and make her way to the palace and the prince).

Finally, you might like to ask your mom, now that you are 30, if there are any family secrets, tragedies, old ghosts she knows about. Sometimes the traumas get transmitted to the kids without them knowing even that they know them…

Hope these ideas help. Sweet dreams


Tiffany March 6, 2013 at 8:07 am

I don’t generally remember my dreams, but I do remember waking up, and falling back to sleep and the dream carried on.

I’m not sure what house we were in, but it felt like home.
My 4 kids were playing in a room upstairs, and I closed the window (its the kind that you wind open/closed and it opens outwards, if you know the kind… it case its important) then all of a sudden, I was outside looking up, I felt like I was waiting for someone to come, or about to go somewhere. As I look up I start yelling to my oldest (who is 7) to close the window, he’s not paying attention and my daughter (who is 3) stood up on the window sill and fell. She rolled onto a porch roof, I tried to catch her, I was right there, but I didn’t. She landed on the winding walk way and wasn’t moving. She was barely breathing. He face was swollen and bruised on her right cheek. I screamed for my hubby, and then she started to sit up. I noticed as she was laying on the ground she looked younger (like around 6 months old or so) and when we brought her into the house and laid her on the couch she had a siezer. Somehow an ambulance was called and I knew it was called, but I never called, and my hubby never called. It took forever to show up. Then my mind goes blank and I remember being in the hospital asking if my daughter was there yet. I remember seeing her gernie come in, but there were too many people around to see her and then a few minutes later more nurses were running in with a heart difibulater. All I remember after that is being in the hallway crying and screaming hysterically. Then I woke up.


Bruce March 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Hi Tiffany,

As you may see from reading other dreams in the thread, it may be useful to reconsider this dream in terms of your Self divided into characters and situation.

The “home” might be a symbol of all of the parts of you together: the Self (as opposed to your conscious identity, the self).

Your “kids” are “upstairs” symbolizing your innocence and your treasures are at a higher level of consciousness than your ego-self, and that they are “opening the window” to a new level of understanding, which, unfortunately, might be about realizing how hurt you have been in the past.

Your 3 year old self falls out the window and you, as you are now, are “unable to catch her” (i.e. to fully grasp, protect, understand and heal her). Thus your nightmare prompts you to action, to seeking understanding (and I am honored to meet you in this circumstance, but even I would be your symbolic helper person who you meet through me, but discover within your Self)

Your child self “falls” (i.e. regresses back in time) to six months (think about losses and injuries dating to when you were that age, grandparents deaths, parent quarrels, illness for yourself/hospitalization?).

She falls on “the winding walk way” (symbol of the path of life and learning? Your yellow brick road of trials and tribulations).

You “bring her in the house” now at a lower level, street level, but into your conscious Self. You witness the horror (i.e. move past denial into recognition, from which healing can begin), thus some unknown part of you “calls the ambulance” (i.e. is able to ask for help, unlike as a child when you could not).

She has a seizure, which could symbolize losing consciouness, perhaps meaning that you were “unaware about what was happening to you” when you were tiny.

Wondering “if you daughter is there yet” at the hospital could also relate to birthing her in the first instance, three years ago, but also to your own “psychological birth” as opposed to just physical birth.

My sense is that you are in a healing process, that you are fully here, now that you are a mom, and you are loved, loving and strong enough to have your inner baby come back to life (the difibulater) which could mean a “heart awakening” to your fullest love, to the realization that you are lovable (when we doubt this, and many of us do, we are unhappy and anxious).

Let the love of your children and husband and self in and see if you don’t have better dreams (and a happy waking life too, we hope).

All Best Wishes


KMarie March 13, 2013 at 5:20 am

I am so glad I found this. I just woke up sobbing. My youngest son had somehow called me on our home phone and I couldn’t find him. He is five but in the dream he was three. He had his winter coats and boots and glassess on and he said into the phone, “mommy, I want to come home.” I remember feeling so proud that he thought to call but then I was distracted by my husband and said the stupidest thing, can you find your own way home?” As soon as he hung up I realized my mistake. I ran outside yelling his name into the dark , waiting for his little body to show up. My husband drove out looking. I told me other two children to sleep as I got on boots and ran outside again yelling his name frantic. Then I woke up.
Also, the house I was in was a previous home we had when the kids were babies. Our first official home and we were in the same town we are in now.


Bruce March 13, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hi KMarie,

Jumping right in, perhaps the “first official home” is a symbol of your own first self when you were a baby. In those terms our own skin is our first self, and the love and nurturance help us grow into increasingly sophisticated Selves… however perhaps Mother Earth knows best and we are all already “home,” and it’s more about waking up to this and loving in a wider way.

In the meantime, the three year old self calls the mommy self; your baby that you once were is reaching up and out to you, using language and you are proud. Once upon a time your childhood felt cold and lonely and you didn’t have a phone or language or perhaps a receptive and attuned mom to answer.

You say to find his own way home, but Dorothy must do this and it’s more a matter of some helpers along the way.

But YOU are now the helper (I am more a Trickster to help you know this, but you too are also a Tricketer, asking the baby to find YOU, as being looked for does feel like love).

Go into your imagination and re-conjure the dream. Say to the child, who you see as your own Self, something like, “I know you are scared and in the cold, you haven’t been on my radar of love as I’ve been loving the new ‘real’ children, but you are real too. I am proud of you, you have a coat to be warm, you have glasses to see, and you have a device to reach me. I am going to talk you toward home as I walk toward you. Then we will hug and get warm and have hot chocolate and a warm bath and stories and snuggle and you will from now on and for the rest of our life together live happily and safely ever after knowing that you have found your way home.”

Hope this helps


Alanna March 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

Last night I had the most terrifying nightmare I can remember. In my dream I was at the home where I grew up. My daughter (3 years old) slept in the room that used to be my sisters room. I was in the kitchen after putting my daughter to sleep and I heard a scream coming from the end of the hallway where she was sleeping. I went running down the hallway and opened the door to find a man standing with her, holding her in his arms like an infant. He was just looking at me, holding my blood covered daughter and I screamed and screamed and ran for the phone to call 911, when i came back into the room he was gone, and so was she. I woke up then, so shaken I started crying and immediately went into my daughters room to check on her. Of course she was fine, sleeping like a rock, but I couldnt sleep at all after that. This is not the first dream I’ve had about my loved ones being hurt by someone else, but it is the first dream where the person who is nearest to my heart was killed. I’m even today shaken, remembering the dream. If anyone has any idea as to why I’ve had such a terrible dream please let me know. Thank you.


Bruce March 13, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hi Alanna,

I am sorry this was so disturbing, but it probably has more to do with the past than the future—suggesting the need for healing more than fear.

If we consider the house where you grew up to be a possible symbol of your childhood self, then the “man in your sister’s room” could be a morphed version of your sister.

I’m wondering if you felt that your sister was cruel to you? This would make sense, since the “stranger” is no longer a man or an “other” but the Shadow or destructive aspect of your own personality. Still this could reflect an internalized image of some dark figure you encountered when you were small.

The bloody infant would then be a symbol of you as an infant, metaphorically killed by the Shadow… and yet the Shadow holding the hurt or dead infant shows a sort of loving destructive bond between the two aspects.

My guess would be that you are overtly gentle, but have often been attracted to unpredictable and volatile partners. But perhaps I have it all wrong.

Your ego self witnesses the death, calls for help (symbolically new response, since when you were very small you could not call for help) and when you return both are missing, symbolic that when you witness (i.e. allow into consciousness) and call for help the danger evaporates like scary shadows when you turn on the lights.

What’s important here is to realize that your child is not in danger based on what you share here, but you may have ghosts of the past that need to be put to bed through compassionate awareness of past pain.

What I say is totally speculative, but in the spirit of helping you feel less afraid and more empowered. The Shadow holds your power (and it holds in its arms what is “closest to you in your heart”). Realize that you are all these figures, tell the Shadow that you will hold the baby now and protect it, and perhaps you will have much better dreams ahead.

All Best Wishes


Danielle mcneil March 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Hi Bruce please could you help me i hae just woke in a pool of tears after my terifying dream.
I was driving my car with my baby in the back (newborn as she is now) when this man appeared on thr motorway and smashed the car windown i breaked suddnly. Next thing the police were there told thm what happened thn all of sudden i was in hospital beibg told that she was being kept in I.C.U don know why. I then got woken up by my partner with me crying like mad then i realised she was asleep in her crip next to me very safe.

However in this dream not once did i meet a doctor or actually see my babies face just saw a body in a car seat.

Thank you


Bruce March 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Hi Danielle,

Your dream, as well as your poetic language, give us excellent clues into what you are experiencing…

You are a new mom and this is an awesome, challenging and profound time in your life and in that of your child. Some ideas about meaning, I hope, will help you simply feel better and more safe.

You wake up in a “pool of tears,” (I just watched “Life of Pi” and his name is from “piscine” or pool (in French) and a pool of tears is like the ocean in which he floats, realizing all sorts of things about God, life, nature and existence and himself.

Pools of tears also bring to mind Alice from “Alice in Wonderland,” and also the unconscious and the Great Mother… and this is all before we actually get to the contents of your dream :)

I’m wondering if your delivery was “normal” or if you had an unscheduled C-section; and also what your own delivery and birth were like when your mom was birthing you.

For example, a “man in the road” who “smashes the car window” would be an apt symbol for a doctor who pulls the baby out of the “car” of your body (where you were together with your baby) and then you don’t see the baby as they sew you up when you need to have the baby right on your skin and the baby needs you right away.

If you, or your baby, experienced any birth trauma, then the dream would be a way of saying that you need to make sense of your story, and heal from it, which includes crying, and tremors and the body’s natural way of coping with a big injury that it doesn’t understand.

And even if the birth was “normal” I am told by many women that it is rather physically intense (I’m a man so I can’t speak from experience, only admit I don’t really have a clue).

You meant to say she was in the “crib” next to you when you woke up, but you wrote, on accident, “crip” which is like “crypt” and again I am thinking that your own very early life may have included the NICU and/or separation from mother and some sort of feeling of deadness, drowning or confusion, which the birth of your own baby might have triggered into almost consciousness via the dream.

The main point is to help you feel better and not have another nightmare like this one. Hope that is what happens.

All Best


Allyson March 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

I had a dream last night that I had dropped off my 4 year old twin boys off at daycare and one of them was kidnapped from the daycare. In the dream I was out searching for him and I was in a video store when I got the call on my cell telling me that I needed to go to the doctor to see a Ms. Smith. I asked why and they said they had just found my son dead. I told the person on the phone that I wanted to see him. They told me I could touch him but couldn’t hold him. I remember laying on a couch at the video store crying and the manager coming over to me telling me she is sorry to hear about my son then hands me 4 free vouchers for video rentals. The next thing I know I am in the car with my mom and I start crying and my mom tells me I need to pull it together because I still have two other children who need me as their mother. Then I woke up. This dream has desturbed me all day. What does it mean?? Please help!!


Bruce March 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Hi Allyson,

My intuition is that you are a bit overwhelmed by parenting twin 4 year old boys and a third child, but your feelings of overwhelm, wish for a break and need for support are not being allowed into waking consciousness so your unconscious becomes a stern teacher, but a wise and loving one all the same.

If you consider all the elements and situations in your dream as aspects of your own Self with all its complex and interconnected parts, you “drop your kids off at daycare” which is you drop your “twin aspect” (good/evil; male/female; parent/child) at the part of you that “cares” by “day” (shows compassion in waking consciousness).

Alas, the Shadow shows up—a kidnapper (the kid part of you that needs a nap/the shadow part of you that loves your kids so much she would eat them up, as in “Where the Wild Things Are,” or the witch in “Hansel and Gretel”).

You go looking at the video store (already an old-school place to get movies, as now we Netflix and stream), a place where you are looking for a new movie, a new story that you would like better than the horror story of the overwhelmed and secretly angry parent.

You hear about “Mrs. Smith” which might be code for the interchangeable aspect, mother as robot, laundress, driver, cook, etc. (mom as Cinderella).

You are told “you can touch, but not hold” which might symbolize that you love and are touched by all the needs of all you love, but it’s simply too much for you to contain (hold) on your own.

Now comes your inner Mother (looking a lot like your actual mother) who tells you to buck up and deal, but she doesn’t comfort or validate or step up and help parent the other two while you just try not to jump off a bridge because you lost a child (in the dream, and in your own early childhood perhaps, but not in “real life” thankfully).

Tell your real mom you are overwhelmed and need more help and a big enormous hug. If that doesn’t bring more tears, but good ones, and better dreams… then write me again and we’ll go from there.

All Best


jen March 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I need help, I just cannot stop dreaming about my 2 yr old son being kidnapped, or hurt by someone. I am currently pregnant with our second child and the dreams are more frequent than when I was not pregnant.
Its 2:40 am and I just woke up by a dream where my son and I are playing in the front yard where it is a bit wooded. My son who loves to throw rocks and sticks is about 6ft away from me when all of a sudden a man appears within the woods and starts to watch us in particular my son, I immediately called my son to run to me as soon as possible as i tried reaching for my phone, but he was walking to slow and i felt a sence of desperation while the man watched us with a smirk on his face. I then woke up scared and making sure he was still in his crib.
I just cannot stand it anymore, I wake up in fear and extremely tired since it takes me a while to go back to sleep again. :(


Bruce March 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Jen,

If you read through other comments you will see that the theme of kidnapping is quite common.

One interpretation could be that you feel overwhelmed by the thought of a second baby (perhaps you are having some discomfort with the current pregnancy and your rambunctious 2 year-old challenges your patience and endurance) and so the forbidden wish of a need for a break becomes a nightmare of your child being taken away.

The woods are nature, and it’s nice you live near them, yet out of our nature also comes the Shadow, the man in the dream who could also be seen as symbol of your natural and powerful (and inscrutable) self, the part you do not see as yourself, but who “wants” your child. This could symbolize that even in your forbidden dark corners of your psyche you love/want your child so much.

Another option to consider is whatever was happening with you when you were 2 years old. You do not have quite as much energy to devote to your kid, being pregnant, and his being 6 ft away means he’s not as close as when he was nursing, and certainly not as close as when he was in utero. The dilema of distance and danger, wanting to stay close and his need to grow some autonomy and explore create conflict and concern. But also, kidnapping can be a defense against feeling abandoned or unwanted. If you had felt neglected when you were very little, or might be feeling that a bit now for some reason, that could also motivate a kidnapping dream where the child is a symbol of yourself as a child or your inner 2 year-old.

Waking up and being relieved helps you remember how much you love your kid, but the dream might be asking you to make more room for all your feelings, including some natural exasperation and exhaustion. I suspect that realizing this will let the steam out of the nightmare and it, hopefully, will not return.

All Best Wishes for better dreams


Lu March 21, 2013 at 4:05 am

Hi, for the past 3 days i keep having lots of dreams about little boys around the age of 4 or 5 almost dieing. About 2 to 5 times a night. The first night it was of my son when he was that age. The last 2 nights its of little boys i don’t know. But for instance one was the little boy was on top of a building and tried to jump over to a watertower and fell to the ground. I rushed down to him and he was laying there hurt but totally fine. The latest one was I was driving in a hurry to get home and a boy was walking across the street, I served to miss him didn’t hit him and kept going. About a mile down the road I get a phone call from someone crying saying they cant find their son. They described the boy I almost hit. I go back and he is laying there hurt, but again fine. All of them end the same the little boy somehow either by him self, or with my help ends up laying on the ground hurt but fine. (not life threatening) when other rise I would think that they would be dead. Like the little boy who fell about 8 stories or the boy caught in the fire but found laying in the bathroom fine.


Bruce March 21, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi Lu,

My first question would be about if you had any sort of trauma, or witnessed trauma (accidents, car crashes, fires, etc.) when you were 4 or 5? Perhaps nothing so obvious but rather an emotional disaster around that age, such as parent divorce or death of a beloved grandparent?

Sometimes our children trigger us to re-experience events of the past as they take us through our own childhoods through their turning each different age.

Symbolically, I would see these dying children as a part of yourself. One way to think about it is that the child must die for the grown-up to be born, thus you may be facing a new stage of emotional or psychological development.

The symbols include “boys you do not know” which could be the masculine, and/or the child part of you that you are not yet conscious of. On top of a building could symbolize higher consciousness, but it could also symbolize going too high up as a defense against the bad feelings on the ground (symbolic of some sort of melancholy you may be experiencing, and an attempt to get up above them, rather than hug and love and understand them, which heals better than going too high, which could also, for some people, symbolize “getting high” or using drugs to deal.).

A water tower could symbolize a container, or ability to hold a lot of emotion—tears, symbol of mother, ability to wash away things, ability to refresh and re-hydrate… the stuff of life. Attempting to “jump over” it could symbolize trying to get over your feelings of sadness, or over your feelings about your mom, or about being a mom, or all of it.

You swerve to avoid a boy (i.e. try not to hurt, but also avoid dealing with) and you get a call that the kid is hurt nonetheless, which you have to see/find him, as the person who calls to say he’s missing is the part of you who denies/doesn’t see the part of you who is hurt.

A child falls 8 stories (could relate to a trauma at age 8, or again just going high to get away, this time from fire, which could symbolize your anger, and your attempts to keep the child self, and your own child, clear of your sadness, your anger, your ups and downs).

The kid is hurt but not dead, symbolizing perhaps that your exactly this. My hope is that being more aware of your own emotions and need for healing will help you get whatever love, compassion or healing you need. This would be an act of love for your actual child, and it is often our love for our children that can finally motivate us to seek whatever help and healing we need and reach our fuller potential for happiness.

Hope this helps


Jessica March 23, 2013 at 12:17 am

Hi Bruce

I been having dreams for the past couple days about my 3 month old baby boy the first one was of him being taken away dead, I don’t remember the others, but yesterday I had one of him drowning, and tonight again for some reason I was in a car and the car de railed in to a lake or river deep and we landed I grabbed my baby and got out the car swam to ah house with a dad and mom that I did not know, but my brother was there and as I thought I saved my son coming to find out it was a doll baby I grabbed then I went in the water again and grab who I thought was my baby and came out and I told my brother this does not look like my baby so I look out and my baby was there in a boat or the car don’t really remember but he fell in the water andi can hear him crying but for some reason all I can do is tell a woman that was there to get him help please but I couldn’t to help my son as he drowned so I kept yelling right there right there get my baby and then I wake up and my baby is sleeping next to me so I just burst in tears…. I hate this dreams there so hurtful please help calm myself… Thank you


Bruce March 23, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi Jessica,

As you can see above, many moms (and some dads) are having similar dreams, so you are not alone. Perhaps there is no official meaning, but we are story-makers so we make dreams up a a natural thing; and we are worriers, it helps keep us alive and helps us protect our children. So perhaps there are several viable ways to think about this terrible dream (and if we “get it right” we will know because you won’t have that dream again).

First hypothesis: your brain, like all of our brains, is prone to generate random firings of neurons when asleep. Some wonder if this moves memory from short term storage to long-term (which is another way of saying consolidate learning). From ancient times mothers need to know to protect babies, this is instinct. Perhaps we “practice” saving them from danger in our sleep so we can be better at saving them if any actual danger arises… perhaps it “puts us on our toes” against danger?

In any event, the random firings of neurons often makes us feel as if we are either floating or sinking. Our brains seem to turn this into flying and falling, up in sky or sinking down into water or earth. This may be the biological basis for our myths of spirit worlds and underworlds.

We are spiritual beings, us humans, and this may be partly about how much we love our children, and how we expand our sense of self through them… and the great gift and beauty of this has a shadow side, the possibility of loss. The loss of a child, even in our dreams or imagination, is so terrible that perhaps it turns us either neurotic or spiritual (or both).

In more psychological terms, the baby could represent the baby part of yourself, and this could mean that inside you feel a little trapped, overwhelmed, symbolically drowning in emotion (hormones, attachment, sleep deprivation, joy and also dealing with the primitive rage and hunger of a baby).

If parenting makes you angry, which is natural, but forbidden to our idealized image of ourselves as super-parents of love, love, love… then the dark secret sneaks out as a dream of harm or loss. This is hard to look at, but the looking at it tends to dispel the bad dreams, and link us to each other as grown-ups in the honest admission that we love our kids, but they vex and deplete us sometimes.

Perhaps in the old-old days the clan was better able to support moms, as parenting is really too much for one parent alone to do optimally.

In your dream the “brother” would be the male part of you who could help, and the new mother and father could be the parents not that you had but that you are becoming. Symbolically, the child (or our identification with the helpless child, victim) must die for our Self to be born as a more full grown-up.

Beyond symbols of loss, growth and change, it is possible that you actually had a difficult early life. In this case your baby and all the love you have may trigger pre-verbal memories about what it felt like to be you as a newborn, and that might have felt scary and overwhelming. This leads to feeling less secure in life, but parenting is a way you may become more secure… by giving what you did not get.

Finally, just as you try to sort out real baby from doll in the dream, our little interchange here may be in the service of sorting out the past from the present, emotion/fear from reality (which is that your baby is safe right now).

As parents we need to be able to hold our own feelings and those of our children (the Great Mother kindness of vast love, but this is like the car trying to hold the lake, or a thimble trying to hold an ocean sometimes); and we have to be able to have limits, boundaries, firmness (the mother bear fierce that is part of nature).

This is hard, and this is worth it; for this we need each other as humans who care about each other and support each other and each other’s children.

Hope you have lots of love around you and that your child is kept safe and secure and happy as a result of it.

All Best


Kirstie March 31, 2013 at 12:46 am

I keep having horrid dreams about my son being hurt or lost or something like that; always short dreams tagged on to another.. A week ago, I dreamt that as we were getting on a train to go on holiday, the doors shut and my son was taken away, and no one could find him. I woke up so distressed that I had a panic attack and had to go find him ): . I just woke up from another dream, one in which I was in the next room from him and the roof collapsed on him in a massive storm. He was struggling to get to me and I was fighting to get to him because the door was stuck. I eventually got hold of him and bundled him up, then ran to the nearest undamaged house, battering on the door to get in. I didn’t know if he was hurt or just wet and scared.

I don’t want to have these dreams ): I love my son and they’re horribly distressing ._.


Bruce March 31, 2013 at 7:54 am

Hi Kirstie,

I am sorry you have been disturbed by these dreams but at least the point in talking about them is to try and learn from the dreams and thus allow them to stop, and a more happy time of it in sleep as well as awake to be more probable.

The themes here are about separation in the first instance and direct harm in the second. This shows two ways we are hurt, as babies and as grown-ups: abandonment (leading to loneliness) and attack (which can feel like nature/”God” coming down from above in a terrifying way; or some “bad guy” chasing, abducting, abusing).

It is worth noting that to me, as a psychologist, it seems that we first feel lonely (abandoned) and then we panic and either are hurt when we ask for help or cry out (a bad early learning that sets us up for such bad dreams later when we become parents) or continue to be neglected (and then imagine attack as a defense against abandonment).

In simple terms, I’m wondering if when you were a baby your parents’ limited ability to attune with you (or even refrain from getting too upset with you about your needs) is not imagined as you the mother separated from the baby self… able to both wish to be with the child and also imagine how the baby could feel abandoned and terrified even though that is not your intention.

The abandoned dreams/separation dreams then give rise to persecutory dreams.

Here the “storm” (perhaps a symbol of your own stormy anger, fear and fierce nature that can be dark as well as all-loving and soft) crushes the “roof” a symbol of that protection over your head, which could also mean your way of thinking about things.

Again we see the situation as symbolic: you are separated from your baby, but now a train becomes a single house and a mere wall the divide. This is a symbol of increasing closeness (between your grown-self and your baby self or the past hurts).

The “Massive Storm” could symbolize the way your childhood felt, or perhaps a singular event (i.e. if parents spilt up and separated after fighting on a stormy night).

Then you and baby-self are “struggling” to get to each other (to unify and become one complete person) and the “door was stuck” (the boundary that can help you connect the rooms and parts within yourself, but which can also serve as a protection or appropriate boundary (i.e. between your actual baby and your unresolved pain/fear about the past).

You bundle up your baby (excellent, you hold your baby-Self even if no one could in the past) and you run to the “nearest undamaged house” (a symbol of a non-damaged self, thus a symbol of a new Self quite nicely arriving on Easter which, whatever your spirituality, is a time of Spring and re-birth in the northern hemisphere).

You couldn’t yet tell if the child self is “hurt, or just WET and scared”. This is also a nod to parenting; when the baby cries is she hungry, wet, scared? But also “wet” suggests emotion. You have a lot of tears inside and perhaps if you cry a little river of love you will find yourself softly holding your new Self and clear that you did survive and you are blessed with a child in your life and another one inside your psyche.

My guess is that with more understanding and compassion, you will not need to have a dream like this again.

Please let me know if this turns out to help, or if more nightmares come let’s see if they are the same or different.

All Best Wishes


Elena March 31, 2013 at 7:50 am

I’ve been trying to find the meaning of my dream. I was driving a motorcycle with my husband. I then got off and he continued riding it. He lost control at a turn and got off. The motorcycle continued the turn out of control and slammed into some stairs where family was sitting. It turned out after going to the site of the crash that it had almost hit an adult and had badly injured my son. After talking to them I was able to find out that my son had been taken away because his legs had been amputated due to the crash. And aunt and my grandma were trying to distract me and I continued to ask his for whereabouts. My grandma was in a wheelchair in my dream, my aunt was being generous with food. Finally I was able to see both of his legs in plastic bags hanging on the wall. That’s when it really hit me and I was devestated an began to frantically ask where he was. My aunt just pointed at a small symbol on the frame of the door. Then I woke up.
In real life my there is no one in a wheelchair, my grandma walk just fine. My aunt is known to be stingy when it comes to food.

I am very protective of my kids. My son is 15 and my daughter is 17.

Any insight is greatly appreciated


Bruce March 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Hi Elena,

Perhaps the motorcycle is a symbol of a machine that can do harm if it is not controlled—in other words the part of yourself that feels “out of control.” Perhaps, parenting teens, you find yourself losing your temper sometimes and your kids might even tell you that you are “out of control,” or otherwise dismiss your parenting as mouthy teens may do.

Thus feeling powerless; as you are first off the rage-machine, then your husband is off the motorcycle (the “mother-cycle” of anger and sadness?), perhaps symbolizing how you don’t feel like he backs you up when you try to set limits, perhaps he takes the position that the kids are growing up and need more freedom and trust, more responsibility and you are the protective mother).

To prove your unconscious point the motorcycle nearly hits a grown-up (your kids are “nearly grown-up”) but hurts the son.

Now we get into symbols of parts of our Self: kid without legs (i.e. can’t run away, can’t grow-up and leave you… it’s so hard to allow them to grow up, as we love them so much it breaks our hearts… and then they piss us off and we unconsciously want to show them how it feels to be cut off at the knees by little kids who have no clue about paying bills and dealing with life).

Grandmother in wheelchair: the “great mother” aspect of Self that is impaired in a parallel way to the child. This hints at your original trauma: having a weak mother who failed to stand up to father and set an example of powerful and able love.

The aunt who gives food (in contrast to “real life”) is the sister of the mother, or symbolically your sister Self as mother—generous and abundant, just what is needed by your inner family that is starved for respect, and a good balance between freedom and appropriate protection.

Given that this is a dream, thank goodness, and not “real life” consider “The Little Mermaid” where Ariel wants both her voice and her legs. Imagine that you are the child and you magically get your legs sewn back on (Tim Burton’s “Strange LIttle Mermaid”) and then you sing beautifully and you and your husband discover that the motorcycle has transformed into two elegant horses and you ride off together into the sunset as you splendid children grow up safely and live happily ever after. Years later you host many feasts and feed your children, grand-children, parents and aunts and friends most abundantly and just keep living happily ever after.

I know it’s a little Disney but hey, it’s Easter and I just want you to have better dreams :)

All Best Wishes

p.s. It’s also Passover, and to “look at the symbol on the door” could relate to themes of protecting the son by the blood of the lamb and also the door as symbol of passing from one consciousness (alone, aggrieved, scared) to another (understood, respected, loved)


Michelle April 12, 2013 at 5:13 am

What does it mean if I dreamt about my son but he wasn’t my son my real son is 18, graduating this year, the boy I dreamt about was like 5 years old and we walked in this store like Aaron’s rental the boy walks out I watch him tell him not to get close to the edge outside cause he could fall, I keep watching he walks to edge and then falls I freak out, start yelling, some man from store holds up a rope lowers it down I quickly, frantically go down to get him, I get to him he’s just not moving, I yell out ,”oh my god, please no!” And I keep saying it then I go to touch him and he wakes up like as if he was sleeping on his side then I was relieved, and kept thinking to myself it was the angels that saved him, and smiled and was a miracle..I woke up and just kept thinking to myself why in the world would I have a dream of a boy that didn’t look like my son? why in the world would a store be by a edge of a cliff? and he fell so far down and survived it? Now my child hood wasn’t the best of years I grew up with a family size of 5 and all of us were competitive in sports, and with each other , and we now are all in our 40s and we have lost both our parents that are no longer here anymore, we siblings do not talk anymore to at least two of the siblings, one who is I call Adolf hitler because she rules out the weak and gives no remorse or feels no love at all, and a brother who took and took from all of us, including dad and mom for so many years that he is hitlers right hand man, he also lies, and abuses us in ways that are just infathamable to think about, but they appear to others as the best people in the world no one would ever have a clue that they are just hatefull people! I am strict with my son, he doesn’t communicate with uncle and aunt, they are mental abusers and he’s witnessed them prey on him, only my baby brother and older sister talk and are in my sons life, it’s just so sad that after a number of years taking and taking from mom and dad and now they are not here anymore to take from, they are attacking each sibling in a manner that is unhealthy !
My dream just doesn’t make any sense it’s either my child hood memories, or my own worries about my son, I’m confused!! Help me out here….


chase your dreams April 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

When someone writes an article he/she maintains the thought
of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it.
Thus that’s why this article is great. Thanks!


Bruce April 12, 2013 at 11:55 am

Hi Michelle,

I’m happy to offer some ideas, but your heart must decide what makes the best sense for you.

The boy is is your son but is not your son could be interpreted as the “not me” part of yourself. The dream could show the need for you to connect with, love and revived this part of yourself, a forgotten, “fallen,” sad aspect who you fear is dead (i.e. your child-like exuberance and life spirit) but which is actually “sleeping” (i.e. in a state of non-consciousness).

Your actual son is 18, which is an age associated with launching, and thus for the parent a feeling of being left. We love our kids so much that it breaks our hearts to see them walk away, and yet we want them to be strong and have adventures so we feel right and loving when we support their launching and cry our tears and get through it.

The fact that the boy is five could be a hint that some part of you got particularly hurt around that age. The fact that you say that your family is “size of 5″ could also be a clue that the boy represents your family of origin, and the sense you have that it fell apart, split into evil Hitlers and takers and victims… a broken family.

Aaron’s is a rental store, apparently, suggesting that you don’t need to buy anything at this point (i.e. believe anything/”buy into”), but the place of consuming may be the place of disaster, at least in our consumer culture where money and taking and competing leaves many children playing at the edge of a cliff (fiscal, health care, education, pollution, love or lack thereof).

The man from the store, symbolically just might be the part of you that actually helps you by giving you enough rope (but not to hang yourself, to rescue your child self). Going up and down ropes, (along with talk of angels) made me think of Jacob and the ladder. Yet a rescuing mother angel, such as yourself getting to your child down a “rope,” could be a symbol of the umbilical cord—the original rope connecting you to your boy.

The “angel that saves him” is Love, courage, compassion and journeying down to the sad dark place to connect and revive.

Maybe this dream is your unconscious’s way of encouraging you to see that although things may feel dark and scary, you have the power and the help you need, all is far from lost and angels are giving you a chance at a new day.

As much as you resent your family, casting your sibling as Hitler may, psychologically, mean that you have given away your power along with your badness. You can’t forgive until you can, (and keep in mind that people who feel good about themselves are kind, thus bad behavior reveals pain, low-self esteem and feeling insecure, be it Hitler or sister; and such “dark angels” are beyond simple understanding); yet when you can forgive you will feel better, as your resentment hurts you more than it hurts those you resent.

While you can’t make people be nice, others really cannot stop you from being a loving person (they can hurt you, but you can come back and climb up the rope and be smarter and stronger for it).

My hope is that if you suffer, you do not suffer alone, and that love can be the cure for confusion. You know how much you love your kid (and even, it turns out, your “not me” kid). When we love all our kids as if they were our own we will find ourselves enjoying our lives much more thoroughly—and isn’t that the very opposite of Hitler’s ideas, to figure out who is bad and kill them?


Rah maingot April 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Hello! I was just looking for an interpretation of my dream and stumbled on this. I have had nightmares about my kids aged 4 and 3 I just dreamt we were being chased by zombies and were desperately tryin to get away. The danger was imminent and I Wa trying to protect them from getting bitten bit failed to do so.. My heart sunk… We were with a group of my close friends and family and all managed to stay together but would have intervals where my girls appeared ro have savage bite marks and bleeding… I felt in my dream despair and disappointment and sorrow I was gonna lose them to being Zombies and the oldest said to me it’s ok mom! You tried… It’s now 3:18 on the morning and I feel so unsettled any ideas what this could mean? Thanks


Bruce April 16, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Hi Rah,

For a deeper look at my thoughts on Zombies as symbols please see my post “zombies on the couch”


A good way to think about this dream might be as a psychodrama about your own Self. In this perspective the “zombies” are the parts of you that feel dead, that are starved for love and whatever you think your life lacks (perhaps compassion, abundance, enough sleep, more time and money… parenting is tough and our overly competitive world may leave all of us feeling a bit zombified in our “race to nowhere”).

Your children might symbolize the child parts of yourself, and a sort of living memory of who you were at 3 and 4. Perhaps you felt a bit neglected back then? Perhaps, like Max in “Where The Wild Things Are” the zombies represent the monster that will “eat you up” because it loves you so… but in an unconscious and hurt form right now.

Thus your hungry monster is both resentful of your actual loved children (as they get the love and affection now that you might have liked to get yourself back then or even now, leaving you hungry for love… and love made hungry can look a bit like a monster, at least in bad dreams).

You were with close friends and family, and it’s great that you have that, in your life now—again perhaps in contrast to painful memories of the past?

Your feelings in the dream of “despair and disappointment and sorrow” probably represent the “secret” feelings that you try to hide, the lonely feelings that are the very place of potential connection, love and healing… if only we can bravely admit that we have those feelings and need love and closeness to be alright.

I love that your child-self affirms you, saying “it’s ok mom! You tried..” Trying our best IS the essence of a winning attitude, it’s all we really can ask of our kids and of each other, and thus it’s all we can ask of ourselves.

I imagine that your parents also tried their best, just as you do.

Finally, if you want to get playful, imagine going back into the dream in your imagination and saying to the zombies, “Okay guys, so you’re the hungry traumatized unconscious part of me. You can’t eat my children, but I can get you some better nutrition that doesn’t hurt anyone (just make something up to feed them).” Then add, “You are the powerful, but unhappy part of me. You are trying to help me own my power, and you probably have something to teach me, or perhaps some sort of gift to give me… I’m open to what you have to offer or say.”

Just be playful and let your imagination run with it. Once you are actively pretending you are in no “real” danger nor are your kids. At the very least i hope this would mean no more zombie dreams; better yet you might come to some new insight or creativity or power or happier feeling, and if that happens you will see how your dreams really can be a teacher and guide.

In the meantime, Sweet Dreams and All Best Wishes


Christy April 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I just had a dream about my children 13 & 15 the other night that scared the living daylight out of me.

I got a call from my older daughter, the line was staticy and she was very quiet and scared. The only part of the conversation I heard was “he nailed her to a tree and said I’m next”. Then the line went dead. I tried to call 911 on 3 different phones but I couldn’t get the phones to work.

I never remember my dreams, but I will never forget this one.


Bruce April 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Hi Christy,

As I read more and more of these nightmares I am humbled to ever more deeply realize that I do not “know” what they mean. Yet I have a human heart with which I can imagine the terror when the mind makes it seem as if our very worst living nightmare—harm or death to our children—is actually happening.

Thank goodness for waking up and realizing it is not so. Perhaps there is something about our fears that actually bonds and binds humans together, offering the possibility of love and peace in awakened reality? For this we could only do our individual best and hope the aggregate effect adds up.

Turning specifically to your dream, one way to interpret would be that the 13 and 15 year old parts of you are calling out for help, offering forceful “encouragement” to think compassionately about them. Where you hurt in some dramatic way when you were a young teen? Did something make you feel “crucified” (i.e. caught in the middle of parent’s divorce, or betrayed by friends or a boyfriend, or worse yet hurt physically or otherwise)?

In this perspective the “he” who nails to a tree would be the Shadow or aggressive, destructive powerful part of yourself—placing you in helpless relationship to both the girl you were unable to protect (because you were her) and the “bad guy” who is gone in reality but living in your unconscious.

So often women pay a price for their past subjugation by ending up in passive situations (i.e. the helplessness we see in the dream), and perhaps whatever has hurt you in the past left you quiet and passive, but very hurt and scared inside?

A tree itself is a potential symbol of life or soul and thus girls nailed to a tree could on the one hand suggest torture, but on the other hand suggest a return of soul and life spirit to the girl you once were, tumbling you out into the present time as a fully spiritual, strong, loving and grown-up woman.

Not being able to get any of three phones to work in you attempt to ask for help, might suggest three people in the past who did not help when you needed it (i.e. mother, grandmother, older siblings or currently the father of the girls, etc.).

On a mundane note, parenting teens can be rather vexing, and one interpretation of such a dream could be unconscious anger… when we feel like crucifying our kids for scaring us with their limit-testing and disrespect and the like in our more bleak parenting moments.

On the sacred side, crucifixion obviously brings to mind Christ and with a name like Christy you could unconsciously feel like you are the mother God being asked to sacrifice your own girls for some inexplicable reason. If that is resonant, than perhaps some epiphany of psychological resurrection can follow on the heels of this nightmare, one in which you realize that your love for you girls is so deep and potentially self-sacrificing that you actually participate in the divine mystery and are not just praying to some dusty patriarchal idea that no longer feels alive for you.

Remember, our deep dread of loss and separation from our children allows for our deep attachment and love. Perhaps it’s time to think about loving the teen you once were as deeply as you love your girls now?

At the very least I hope these ideas, and your conscious contemplation of this dream, will allow you to have safe and healing dreams ahead.

All Best Wishes


Mechelle April 21, 2013 at 2:27 am

I had a really disturbing dream a few months back about my 5 year old son. It started out at an indoor pool it was my boyfriend (who is not my sons biological father), my son and I. There were also other people at the pool that we did not know. There was a young boy there who I did not recognize, maybe a few years older than my son. Me my boyfriend and son are all playing and having fun in the water. We turn around and notice the young boy has pushed a man in the pool and drowned him. For some reason nobody seems surprised and we all carry on in the water. As we are getting ready to leave my son runs off following the boy outside Immediately I take off running after my son outside and I am then standing at the lake where I used to go every summer as a child. It is packed with people and boats in the water and I am searching for my son in the crowd. I feel panicked screaming my sons name as I head towards the water. I am literally running through the water searching for him and other people start helping me look for him. I then feel a hand on my shoulder and think they have found him, thank god! But when I turn around I see the womans expression and look down and there is my sons lifeless body lying in the sand. I feel my heart stop and I cant breath for a minute and then I scream out I am so sorry I failed as a mother and how could I let this happen to my baby! I am so sorry god please forgive me!. I then woke up screaming and crying. My son was staying with my parents for the weekend so I called them to make sure he was alright and sure enough he was fine.In the dream I did not see my son drowned but had a strong feeling that he did and it was the boys fault who he had followed outside.If you can please give me some insight on what this may mean it would be greatly appreciated! also I went back to work in july after being a stay at home mom for two years and have been feeling a large amount of guilt for not being with my son as often as I used to and am not sure if this could have something to do with the dream.


Bruce April 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Hi Mechelle,

While I cannot hope to be sure what your dream means, we can generate some ideas and hope some make sense to you (and help you have better dreams ahead).

And “indoor pool” could symbolize your personal unconscious—the watery part that is “inside” (i.e. of you). In this space you view your current “family” of son, self and boyfriend.

The “boy you do not recognize” could be you own male aspect and/or child aspect, perhaps it is also the boy within your “boyfriend” who either you, or your child, are not yet fully comfortable with as a “father figure.”

The “man” who is pushed into the pool by the boy would be some sort of inner figure who you either feel has died (your own ex, your father, the image of a “man” who disappointed you?). It is also maybe just “the man,” as in a symbol of oppression. The key here is not to blame but to consider all the figures as parts of Self.

Often we might consider the symbolism of the boy having to die so the man can be born, but here we see the boy killing the man, suggesting a desire not to grow up, perhaps a way of remembering how you yourself felt when you were five, perhaps some feelings you have about your baby becoming a bigger and bigger “little boy.”

In this sense perhaps the older boy represents the non-innocent troublemaker you fear your baby will become as he grows, or perhaps the firebrand you might have been as a “tomboy”? Or perhaps your secret desire to have been more tough and boy-like, particularly if you were hurt in any way as result of being a girl and not a boy?

The venue changes from inside pool to outside lake, and clearly relates back to childhood. The “woman” who brings you the terrible news might be the part of you who sees difficult things (particularly your own past hurts?) and then comes the horrible moment—seeing your child-self dead, presumably drowned, presumably at the hands of the “bad boy.”

Besides supervising your child around water and keeping him safe, which presumably is already an obvious parenting must for you, this dream suggests the confrontation of a feeling of horror, death and tragic loss, but not as a predictor of the future so much as a review of the past. It is when we confront and heal the past that we are free to truly live more fully and joyously in the present.

Yet connecting in dread, tears and lonely feelings of tragic loss sometimes bring the touch of compassionate company that helps facilitate healing. Of course your childhood may have been pure magic and no misery and sometimes a dream is just a dream and nothing more, yet this dream haunted you and so we want to find a loving way to put it properly to bed.

The fact that you had this dream when you son was with your parents would be consistent with some sort of feeling that you yourself didn’t feel entirely emotionally safe when you were little. Your guilt about going back to work could also be a projection onto your child about feeling “left to drown” by mother, when in fact such a long time with him has been fantastic and you’re probably both ready for new steps toward growth and autonomy (work for you, school for him).

Finally, you could imagine going back into the dream and using the power of love and imagination to recognize the “bad kid” as the hurt part of you and the drowned boy as the overwhelmed and “dead” part of you. In dream logic, like cartoon logic, things can reverse and magic can happen. See if you can’t create a better version of this, perhaps seeing the son and the girl you once were, the “bad boy” understood and forgiven and all the parts melding into a you who can love her actual son and actual boyfriend freer of guilt and sorrow.

Please feel free to let me know if this makes any sense or sparks other ideas, and if your dream life gets happier.


JDS April 29, 2013 at 12:43 am

I had this dream last night I don’t really remember the first part,but me and my friend and my 9 year old daughter are at a camp ground my friend gets my attention and points to my daughter who is on the back of a fake deer and the ground the deer is on is flimsy and it caved in and she fell! I ran and jumped in the hole after her unconcerned about my death thinking oh well if she dies I don’t want to live! I land on a wood pile feet first unharmed and my daughter is face down on the wood pile. I turn her over and she has bark in her eyes ad her eyes are rolling in the back of her head. I was thankful she was alive but very worried if she was gonna be blind I was holding her trying to rub the wood out of her eyes and when I couldn’t I think I patted her hair to console! Please help this had me feeling very anxious!


Bruce April 29, 2013 at 8:39 am


As I’ve tried to make clear in other comments, I cannot “know” what this dream means. If we deal with the fact that you had it, it disturbed you enough to search the web about it, and my interest in dreams and in helping parents brings us together to consider possible meanings—and more importantly, how to help you feel safe, good and be the best parent you can be to your girl—maybe we’ll be on the right track.

The dream clearly shows that your love for your child is your very top priority, and it makes you brave (enough to jump into holes, etc.—to prefer your own death to that of your child). In loving anyone as much, or more, than we love ourselves we are in the realm of transcendant love. This can be “co-dependent” and maladaptive, or it can be noble and feel right for us.

If we start with rational science, we would say your brain just fired off a bunch of nonsense and your story-telling mind, part of what makes you human, spun it into a fabulous, albeit disturbing, tale. In this perspective, normal feelings of falling (one of the most common dream experiences) show up here… falling in a hole (this might be part of why we so easily relate to Alices improbable drop into the rabbit hole—as it isn’t “real” and yet it seems oddly familiar). The “hole” may also feel like falling into sadness with no one to catch us (this might be the feeling of the child or of the overwhelmed parent).

The fact that you turn the symbols of falling and seeing, or not seeing, into this story then begs the more poetic question: what do deer, stumps, bark, etc. mean to YOU? Here is where you must be creative yourself.

Not knowing you, I am then forced to either personally associate to these symbols, or try and draw on the most common meaning of these symbols in our shared culture.

For example, a deer could also be a pun on “dear.” I could be way off on this, but it crossed my mind that you are camping with a “friend,” and you are thus in the forest without your girl’s father. The deer/dear could symbolize father. Since father is no overt part of this dream, it makes me wonder if he is no real part of your life (i.e. if you are a single mom). If your girl is both your daughter, but also symbolically your own self at that age, maybe you as parent feel that bio-dad is a “fake,” that which is not real and crumbles when playtime (camping) is over and reality (paying bills, driving to school, dentist, cooking and cleaning, etc.) sets in. Thus daddy dearest is on flimsy ground.

Now before we go hating on hubby (or lack thereof) we might need a nod to wherever “father” sits in your own mind and early development… was he flimsy, fake, abandoning? And THEN… we are well-served to consider these symbols as “inner father” (weak/strong), “inner child” (idealized, up on a deer/falling into the depths of despair)., etc.

The art here would be to integrate all these parts of Self into one coherent story, and thus one coherent human (with good and bad qualities). From there we can work constructively with other humans to do well by ourselves and our children.

You land on a stump. Have you read “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. Maybe YOU, as mom, speak for the trees, for the spirit of vegetation. Tree spirits are the very taproot of primitive superstitions in our ancient past, and the basis for religion after that (christ dies nailed to wood, thus he may be God or he may be symbol of the vegetation god that dies and is reborn. I don’t wish to offend religious people, only to help a mom in a dark place where there is only daughter in the woodpile (which could be symbol for that which is wood meant for the fire, the symbol of sacrifice of children… which was actually done routinely throughout our human past—a true nightmare that modern religion, for all its faults and foibles, helped abolish).

Yet another meaning for “stump” (beyond a “stump speech”) is to be stumped or puzzled by a riddle. I offer ideas, but ultimately we must be stumped by our own lack of certainty about ultimate Truth. What we know in our bones is we love our children.

“Bark” in the eyes also seems like a potential pun: bark protects the tree like skin protects us. If she has bark for eyes she is becoming the tree, which is a symbol of soul. In other words you meet your own soul in the depths of yourself and wish to either die with her or bring her up into life as you may mortally live it with the rest of us.

“Bark” is also what the dog says (a warning, a threat). Perhaps this bark is better, not worse, than the bite of seeing clearly. To see that YOU have fallen into anger, despair, fear… and then actually wake up grateful that your baby is okay, creates the possibility to jump from mythic and religious ideas to scientific—as magic that actually works is called science. And there is no reason to think that science won’t bring us to the God of what is—an amazing grace once blinded by bark (back when we were trees) evolving into creatures with eyes (now we see).

And the attitude of science is to test things and pay close attention to the result.

My hypothesis: you are angry and hurt by men and have a right to feel so.

My hypothesis: if you work toward forgiveness of those who have hurt you, you may rub the bark (the angry snarl) out of your own eternal child eyes and see your power, your beauty, your grace and find that you are not alone, that real deer and real trees really exist and so does your real daughter.

Console yourself with all the consciousness you can bring, thank your nightmare as a teacher, and instead of pulling wool over each other’s eyes (and the golden fleece is another ancient symbol of kingly power nailed to an ancient tree, but that’s another story) we remove the bark (wasn’t it Jesus who said before removing the splinter from your neighbor’s eye remove the plank from your own?) and see the forest (which we’ve all but cut down entirely in “real life”) for the trees.

In the end, I hope these ideas are of help to you, and I’ll sign off admitting that although I may be as stumped as before I met you, I truly wish you and your daughter well and in doing my best I encourage you to do the same, and maybe that’s more important than being “right” anyway.


JDS April 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Thank you, luckily my husband is a big part of our life! However, it your input did help a lot! Thank you for taking the time to respond!


Bruce April 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm

And thanks for the feedback—we can guess, but not know, and caring means listening and correcting based on what we get. I’m glad to hear you are blessed with a loving husband, so many moms are going it alone these days.

In chatting about your dream my wife mentioned a book she’s reading, and loving: “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett (http://www.amazon.com/State-Wonder-Novel-Ann-Patchett/dp/006204981X)

Apparently it has much to say about the mythic potential of trees and bark… maybe it will bring good dreams :)


Mary Johnson May 2, 2013 at 2:19 am

Bruce, Worst nightmare! my son had hurt his back but insisted he was ok. He was playing with cousins both big n small and they were all running around in a big hilly yard with fences house etc. someone yelled n said my son was really hurt. I ran to him he was face down & his backbone was snapped n protruding between his shoulders I turned him over to see his face and saw that it was almost completely severed in another place around his chin mouth area only large veins were attached and I had screamed for someone to call 911 . I was just praying his life could be saved somehow . I was telling him to hold on and he looked at me very intently like he really wanted me to know and mouthed/ spoke “mom, I love you” I said I love you too jake. And I woke up extremely upset. In the dream somehow I’d gathered that he had been running down a hill with a smaller cousin on his back even though it was already hurt. Just a horrendous nightmare!!!! Please tell me what you think. Thank you!


Bruce May 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hi Mary,

While there are various ways to approach a dream, I would start by inviting you to see this dream, and all its aspects, as reflecting your Self (and not necessarily the reality of your waking life or any danger to your child).

In this perspective a “hilly yard” could symbolize the ups and downs of your emotions. Your child might be the childlike part of you. Injury to the “back” could symbolize the past—unresolved hurt from times you “fell down” (i.e. got depressed) while carrying a “smaller cousin” (i.e. feeling weighted down with responsibility, perhaps for younger siblings, perhaps for parents who needed you to take emotional care of them?).

The spine protrudes between the shoulders, the shoulders bear responsibility. Thus the pain of the past is breaking through into consciousness, and the unconscious is forcing you to look at it, perhaps something you could not do before, perhaps something your love for your child is either triggering (think about what was going on when you were the same age as Jake is now) and/or that love is compelling you to heal so you can be happier and more fully present to your child.

The injury to the face, severing the jaw, could symbolize how you had no voice, could not speak up about what hurt you.

The child aspect finds voice, however, to say the essential truth—you are loved.

Another approach to dreams, one Freud favored, was dream as unconscious wish. This is a darker path, but if you had felt hurt by your child, rejected or disrespected you might have a violent dream of aggression and loss, which inevitably spills us back to love and gratitude, all is forgiven and we are just relieved our kids are safe.

I hope these ideas spark your own creative imagination and healing heart, as I’m not confident in my interpretation (not knowing you or having a chance to more fully explore the symbols and what they mean to you), but I am confident that we both want you and Jake to be healthy, happy and safe.

It is my experience, and the research literature supports this, that confronting and exploring bad dreams seems to lead to them being resolved and no longer bothering the dreamer.

Hope that’s the way this one rolls out.


Mary Johnson May 2, 2013 at 11:32 pm

It was a comfort to find this page and type the
Nightmare out. Thank you so much for
Providing this service and Sharing your time. I
really appreciate your response and your unique
insight! :)


desiree May 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hello bruce,
I just had a dream and woke up hoping i can find an answer why?? I had a dream i was in a store shoping for my 4 yr old son he walks off with his father and then i go looking for them i then find my son playing wit tools, as if one corner of the store was being fixed. He had a ruler on his head i took it off and told him lets go hes not listening so i grab him walk off and he kinda drops so i pick him up i check him for cuts i then look in his ears its so much blood. So im rushing out the store to take him to er i look at him trying to make sure he stays up and his eyes rolled back and so much blood was every where from his ear and he was gone (dead) but he started deflatting i woke up looking for him crying, can you please tell me what that can mean


Bruce May 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Hi Desiree,

While I’d invite you to look through other dreams and comments for different ways to think about your dream and symbols in general.

A few thoughts, however, might be to look at your child in the dream as a symbol of your Self as a child (particularly when you were 4). The “corner of the store being fixed” could mean the area of yourself that is under renovation (as you continue to develop). “Playing with tools” could mean trying out new ways of thinking, parenting, relating, etc.

“Being fixed” implies idea that “store” as place that sells things, contain things, and changes (construction) is a symbol of the total Self, and that you see some need for improvement in yourself, perhaps in your relationship to the past or past hurts?

A “ruler on his head” could symbolize the measuring of ideas, intelligence, but also the oppression of a ruler/king lording over… a past voice of father, or of husband when you feel he’s too stern?

You drag the child, but “he drops” which could symbolize regression (i.e. toward crawling). The blood from the ears could symbolize the pain caused by harsh words, by not “measuring up,” according to the “ruler.”

The symbolism of death can relate to the need for your old self, or your identification with the hurt child, to die so that your new self, as a a human being empowered and free of oppression (rulers/measuring). The “deflating” is a literal symbolism of becoming devalued, small, rendered insignificant.

Perhaps you felt this way as a child for some reason? Perhaps as you love your real child you also re-think yourself, your past and pain, and set the psychological stage for a better present and future compared to some sort of past that diminished you, at least in your own mind’s eye.

Whatever I say, these are just guesses. Hopefully they will spark your creative process of understanding yourself, trusting that your child is safe, and growing into your own best Self.

All Best


Crystal May 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Hello, I need help with my nightmares. It seems like here recently they have become more frequent but has kept around the same amount of intensity. My dreams are always about my children dying. I am a fearful mother at times (sometimes I am cool with them just doing their own thing outside, except baby) but having dreams about my children dying, particularly my youngest, which is 1, is really stating to get to me. This afternoon I laid down for a nap. I don’t remember anything before looking at a new home and almost talking to a real estate agent (they were busy talking to another client at this home). Next thing I remember is taking a cab to the next town? over, even though we had our own car. We made it there, got dropped of at a Chinese restaurant and being the only customers there. We never made it past the fish tank, which used to be full of fish but now only had one. When we decided to go home,we realized we couldnt afford a taxi back cause it was expensive to get there. We were thinking if we can just get back into town, we can walk from where ever to get to our car. We ended up stealing a car. (I have never stolen a car a day in my life). We drove back into the town we lived in, the nearest place we could stop in the town we lived in was at the beach. We got out, got the carseats out, our stuff etc. Went walking along the beach sidewalk, down the stairs that usually would lead us into the sandy shoreline but this day was different. The water was high, I had my both my little girls hands, my fiancee had my sons hand and was higher on the stairway than me and the girls. A wave came in and swept my baby girl away. I saw her underwater facing up and looking at me as she was taken into the ocean. I just stood there and thought to myself ” She can be anywhere in this water.”, deeply, deeply saddened. Then I woke up and realized that I might have a nightmare issue since this is not my first go around here recently about having a dream about my kids dying. Please help me. I am on well my way to my breaking point about these dreams. They hurt me on the inside alot. I dont want to feel those feelings anymore.
P.S.- No im not suicidal, just am fed up with the way I feel during the dreams. I.E., the saddness, the emotional grief.
Regards, Crystal


Bruce May 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Hi Crystal,

While you have a lot of content here, I’ll make a few guesses at some of the central symbols and hope it sparks your own creativity and Self-exploration.

The houses towns could symbolize different feelings you might have or different “selves” or states of mind. You are looking at a new house, suggesting a wish to come to a new feeling; going to another town could be another way of saying the same thing.

You acknowledge painful feelings, so this dream might mostly be about your search for better feelings, symbolized by water (grief, sorrow, tears, the unconscious).

A lone fish in a tank could further the symbol of your feeling all alone in your sadness, like Alice drowning in her own tears in Wonderland.

You steal a car (not something you would actually do) and this could show that you don’t feel that you can get free, or get a new chance by honest means (suggesting perhaps that past hurts feel like they limit your forward progress).

You go to a “beach sidewalk” which could symbolize an ability to walk alongside the great water (ocean, mother, deep or collective unconscious). The “water is high” perhaps meaning feelings are very big and menacing.

Your fiance would symbolize your own masculine aspect, your higher or analytic thinking when you feel overwhelmed by feeling. Being “higher on the stair” could symbolize this higher consciousness or better view of the situation.

Your baby girl would symbolize your own infant Self, the overwhelmed part of you that felt swept out to sea, perhaps by the emotions of your own life when you were 1 or younger. She is “facing up” meaning perhaps that there is some strange optimism hidden in this seeming tragedy (i.e. “things are looking up”).

Perhaps you too are “looking up” the meaning of your dream, paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and the likely sorrows of the past (which feel like they keep repeating).

If the dream is suggesting that you may be depressed (recurring bad dreams, sadness and emotional grief) perhaps seeking some sort of direct therapeutic help would support you to be happier, and that is always good for our children.

Certainly hoping these ideas help, and that you start to have better dreams.

All Best


Darran May 10, 2013 at 3:56 am

Hi Bruce

I had a dream that my 2 year old and 9 year old were climbing on a climbing frame at the playground when all of a sudden the height appeared to increase before I realised they could fall.

I started to call out to them to hold on and was screaming for my wife to help.

I began to get increasingly more worried as I could not reach them in time and then my 2 year old lost his grip and began falling.

Thankfully my wife caught him before impact with the ground.

Could you advise what this dream may relate to?


Bruce May 10, 2013 at 7:08 am

Hi Darran,

I must admit I felt a strange feeling of what Jung called “synchronicity” when I read your dream… because just yesterday I was thinking about my son, now finishing freshman year in college, but I had been remember him just starting at his preschool for that little one-hour step toward school when he was 2… and I was remembering the climbing structure and how he loved to hang on it, back when he could best express himself with his big muscles and not with words, or feelings, or fine motor skills… and then I had a flashing image of imagining myself hanging facing my child… and then a monkey–my ancestral evolutionary “father and mother”

I was thinking because time goes so fast, because in some ways the child is father to the man, etc.

Thus it informs my response to your dream.

In any event, and with or without my journey across the developmental structure of parenting, I would guess at some meanings for your dream:

The children could be the child aspects of Self—you at 2 and you at 9.

The climbing structure or “frame” could symbolize development and growth; it could symbolize a way of looking at life and the world, at meaning and purpose, a way of “framing” it; it could represent the rat-race, the ladders to success and our deep questions about what is truly of value, about earning and achieving vs. being and loving; it could also represent a metaphor about consciousness… the child, that which is pure, in us that wants to climb to higher consciousness, but which also wants to “fit in” and “stay safe” (i.e. conservative vs. risk-taking).

Our kids grow fast (days take forever, years fly by) and this is shown by the suddenly growing height (it’s our kids who grow, the monkey bars stay the same, but seem smaller later).

This sudden height also is neurological: we sense dropping, we make up a story in our brain (hence flying dreams, or children falling from heights).

Your wife is the “good mother” (perhaps your own mother was not a reliable to “catch you when you fell”)

Your 2 year-old Self “lost his grip” (perhaps you had some emotional struggles around that age, things you would not remember but carry with you in terms of trusting love and the world or not so easily.

Your wife symbolizes your inner Great Mother in the dream (the ocean, the ancestors, the earth, the bear… the uber-symbol of “you can handle it” for it is the loving and safe you inside, the one that makes it okay for the child you to reach for the stars… and your ego self is the dad who loves, who does his best, who must struggle to integrate all these pieces into a coherent Self… and then we all have to integrate our selves together into a world—one that catches all our children if they lose their grip, so they can learn to climb to a higher consciousness: Love

All Best!


Lipja May 13, 2013 at 12:39 am

I just want anyone to interpret this dream for me please.

Last night my mom saw this dream. She saw in her dream that it is a dark place and there is a voice there saying that ‘a person’ is killing your children and cutting their bodies into pieces. After that my mom woke up and she was really scared and so came to our room and sat with us. Actually the voice she heard told her some name of that person but when she woke up she forgot that name.


Bruce May 13, 2013 at 7:11 am

Hi Lipja,

The very fact that you, the “child,” seek understanding about a dream your mother told you, may be a clue into a potential “meaning.”

More and more I am humbled that I don’t really know the meaning of dreams, any more than I would know the “meaning” of life. What I am interested in is a spirit of love and of bonding in our non-understanding; in a spirit of compassion for the parents and the children (not to mention the animals and the plants).

This dream comes on “Mother’s Day,” perhaps that is significant too—one day a year we take them to brunch, and most of the year they are just there to take care of us, but get criticized and blamed for everything that goes wrong. Still, it really does help a person to have a solid and loving mom; but if mom had a rough time of it as a kid herself, how is she supposed to just power up and be all perfect?

Maybe kids understanding how moms need societal support and not just a card on Mother’s Day is part of the deeper meaning of your mom’s dream?

In any event. Looking at the dream in terms purely of mother and her own psyche. The “voice” would be her own critical voice, her “Shadow” that she thinks of as the haunting bad guy or evil witch or villain, not consciously realizing that it is actually a psychological part of herself. This Shadow is very important in growing and healing, because it not only gives us trouble, it holds our power.

If the voice is so strong, and it became happier and more loved, the loving and warning meaning of the dream might be revealed: your mom is guilty and fears that she is a terrible mother. She has shame, and she fears that it is she who “kills” and “cuts into pieces” her own children.

But this is symbolic killing and cutting; needing the child to take care of the mother kills the “child” and turns him or her into a “parent” figure for the parent. This cuts the child into baby and parent in her own mind; and those kids grow up as caregivers, or caretakers or “co-dependent” people sometimes.

This may be how you get/got hurt (mom coming into children to share nightmares with them, in this case transfers the dread and fear to the child, who ends up worried about the parent, not the idea that a “bad guy” will kill them and cut them up).

Thus your mom’s unconscious wish, the child-like need (which is universally human, at least when little) is to be the center of attention, to appear like she is just trying to protect you kids while actually getting concern and attention.

Of course, not feeling like she gets enough love and attention is what makes her mad in the first place; but she ends up denying this anger, even to her conscious self, and so dreams about her “evil twin” part of her psyche who is mad at the unloving and ungrateful kids.

Your mom probably doesn’t want interpretation; it’s you who needs to understand your mom. If you can forgive her for being less than ideal as a mom, and gently explore if she might have been a little angry at you, or her other kid(s), she’ll probably not have the bad dream again.

And if you, when you are taking care of kids (now or in the future) keep in mind that we “cut things up” (which can also mean analyze them, or make them into smaller pieces so we can mentally digest them) not for it’s own sake, but for the sake of love.

If we break the cycle of parents not getting support and love, and then kids growing up never feeling truly safe, loved and understood, then we break the cycle of human behaviors (selfishness, brutality, lack of compassion) that are not only bad for the group, but bad for the individuals who, through being scared, lonely and unaware about their true feelings, and their true lovability, perpetuate lonely fear and shame for themselves.

LIke all of us, we forget the name of the bad guy who most haunts us: it is our own damned self! If we can realize that we all do this, we can take our love to the mirror and see that we are in fact lovable; and we can take that love to the world and reflect love back to it.

Thank you for writing. I see myself in this situation, and I also see that when people randomly connect and try for understanding and love (as you wrote in the service of your mom) we form new kinds of relationships, perhaps even turning our fast-paced virtual nightmare world into a virtual better dream.

All Best Wishes and Sweet Dreams all around!


Lipja May 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

Thanks a lot Bruce! For such a detailed and informative reply!
Stay Blessed! :)


Krystal whitacre May 13, 2013 at 1:55 am

I have been having some very bad dreams about my 2 year old son getting hurt. The most recent dream i had was so horrific i woke up crying. We were house sitting and their steps were open and for whatever reason we were on them when my son slipped through the crack. I clearly remember holding on to him awkwardly screaming for my husband who just continued to sleep soundly. I was unable to pull my son up and he fell but underneath the steps wasnt just your average carpet/floor, it led to the garbage disposle 30ft down :( I was scurrying down to the little open door to crawl in and see if I could find him. Fortunetly when I opened the door he was there crying. He had a broken arm and was acting limp and just out of it. I called 911 and couldn’t get them there quick enough so my dream turned to me trying to get him to the hosp on my on. Once we were in the hosp things started to go wrong medically and I was intervening. For ex: he had on concentrated oxygen and was trached. Well, I had woke up in my dream to him choking from water gettting through his nasal canula. I ripped out his oxygen and saved him from aspirating. Then at this point I actually woke up in real life time running into his room to find him sound asleeo. Why am I having such horrific dreams about my baby getting hurt? Thanks in advance!


Bruce May 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

Hi Krystal,

I’m sorry that you’ve been waking up crying, but I suspect these dreams are more about your own past and your own traumas than about your actual child now. The good news is that resolving your own trauma helps you make your child secure so that the trauma does not get carried forward in the family.

Your dream is both graphic and also poetic. After all, how many children seem to “fall through the cracks” in our culture that fails children and parents so often with regard to health services, education and compassion.

But just as a nightmare literally costs nothing, the mind just makes it up; perhaps our ability to care about each other as human beings does not come from government. We are the people, after all, we’re just a bit scared, traumatized and lacking in conscious awareness; when we feel safe and loved, we are generous and compassionate. Men change the world one war and empire after another, going around in a big circle; mothers change the world one child at a time, taking that big circle in an upward spiral of consciousness toward the angels, the Buddhas, the Christs, etc… whatever can bring the love, that’s what we need.

So… you’re a mom, and you know you love your child more than anything (same as every mother through human history); and you feel a bit powerless against the current situation: badly constructed steps in a house that is not really your own.

The steps could symbolize development—individual and collective/societal. The “house” you are “sitting” is a symbol of self (something that contains multiple rooms, ideas, states of mind). “Sitting” is passive, but also meditative; it is time to contemplate this “other” house. That house is the house of bad ideas, but it is not men, governments, fathers, perpetrators and other traitors (but rather our own Shadow, that which is “lower” or less conscious in us… our reptilian brains, (see: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2011/01/19/the-lizard-brain-is-a-lonely-hunter/

The Shadow holds our power, and we must deal with it consciously, in the light of waking thought. Your 2-year-old self may be a symbol of a time when you got hurt, when you fell through the cracks (of a disintegrating family situation, of economic struggle, of difficult moves, or losses in the family?)

The “garbage disposal” is an apt symbol of utter annihilation, that dread of being unwanted like garbage and pulverized into sewage and swept out to sea of non-existence. It is the core of our human, and universal, existential dread. It can undo us, but our shared dread of it can bond us together. First in primitive superstition, then in religion, and later in a more enlightened and rational society.

Pain is a teacher, and threat to our children is a very powerful teacher indeed.

Still, in dream-life, your child is your child-self, thus the broken arm could represent your own past helplessness to fight back or even contribute to the family situation (arm not working/capacity impaired).

Acting “limp and out of it” suggests a dissociation response. This is where the child goes after fight-flight is overwhelmed by threat combined with helplessness. They look like they are “calm” but they have left their bodies, psychologically. Thus perhaps this dream is a sort of “soul retrieval” for you, a coming back into your body where it was when the soul left the body of your building and sent you “house sitting” a sort of ghostly persona somewhere that was anywhere but in your actual self, for she was in too much pain to deal.

The metaphor of having to get your child-self to the hospital on your own only furthers the message, as your call for help is not heard (“911 is a joke,” to reference Public Enemy, and it’s true, at least in your nightmare).

Your mother self knows her way around a hospital, and that’s a good thing for your child self. “Concentrated oxygen” could be a pun about mental acuity, your ability to concentrate what is needed, and pull the trache… which could symbolically be like a knife in the throat, choking your child self and preventing him/her from having a voice.

Finally, a child who is getting oxygen, but not on their own, could symbolize a fetus connected by tube to the mother… the “bad mother” as nightmare hospital; and themes about garbage disposals, broken arms, cracks (“crack” the drug) could also symbolize urban oppression, and themes of pregnancies that may not be born of love… leaving kids feeling like garbage, unwanted, like they were psychologically aborted.

While this may not be true for your waking reality, having worked with group home kids and other children in “the system,” I can attest that it is true for too many of our children. In this way sometimes dreams are about a bigger situation and not just ourselves.

If you had a tough childhood, I encourage you to seek help to heal any lingering trauma. If you had a good childhood, perhaps you are so solid you are dreaming about the collective situation and the needs of other moms and kids who fall through the cracks that form when we are divided from each other as parents caring together for all our collective children.

I do think your real baby is okay, and I do think “concentrating” on these dreams and their potential meaning will help you no longer have the nightmares.

If the dreams don’t go away, write again and we’ll try another interpretation.

And send good wishes to all the children who feel like the child does in your nightmare. Sometimes our identification with the child must die in order for our fuller selves as parents, grown-ups, fellow humans to be born.

Here’s to all the help and love we can get and muster for that!


hannah May 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Hi I had a nightmare about my 2 year old daughter she got kidnapped by a group of young kids then we found her in a garden calling slumped on a chair calling out to me their was 2 dogs attackin her and then someone came out and cut off her foot… I woke myself up shouting dont touch her really worried now and wondered if u knew what this meant also in my nightmare when I found her I couldn’t move jus stood their couldn’t even help her! Dont want to fall asleep tonight


Bruce May 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Hi Hannah,

You can look through other people’s dreams for various different ideas on how to approach the symbols, but I’ll venture a couple of thoughts, taking the dream as a reflection of your own Self.

Think about life when you were two, and try to imagine how you felt then. Perhaps there was some feeling of abandonment, as this can be an underlying trigger for kidnapping or persecution. It is very scary to be alone, so we dream about a sort of diabolical “wantedness” as a way of not facing our feelings of unwantedness.

The garden could be symbol of paradise gone wrong, and also a symbol for the part of us that is natural and wild. The group of kids could be a symbol of older siblings that made you feel left out, or or your own frustration with your child, as it can be a lot of work and frustrating to deal with a 2 year old every day. Yet our anger is forbidden, and so it can leak out in a bad dream. It’s normal to not be perfectly delighted to take care of others with every waking breath… and certainly it’s exhausting to dream about kids being hurt.

Just as you are reaching out for help with this comment, your inner child is calling out for help from within your own feelings. The two dogs attacking could also be symbol for the animal part of your own self–instinctive and hungry. Perhaps you must feed and love your inner animals so they won’t have to try and feed on your baby (the animals might be jealous of all the love your actual child gets, when you might not have been so lucky when little).

Think about the type of dogs, etc. for clues on what they might symbolize for you.

The foot being cut off could symbolize being immobilized, unable to run from harm. You might have felt this way as a kids, but since you’re not grown up, you find yourself revisiting your own unresolved feelings by way of your child as symbol. You feel helpless (“i couldn’t move”) and this may be showing you how you sometimes feel, or felt in the past–but it is not how things really are when you are awake.

My hope is that by thinking about possibly meanings, the very act of contemplation makes it more conscious and creative and the dreaded nightmare is much less likely to occur.

Sweet Dreams


Stephanie May 20, 2013 at 7:10 am

I had a dream last night that my 7 year old son was kidnapped by two men that lived in the same apartment complex as we do. (In real life I have never seen these men before). I knew where he was but I couldn’t save him for some reason. I would just wait outside their apartment until I knew it was time that I could save him. Then the two men come outside and have other kids with them, and my son, but it still wasn’t the right time for me to save him, It was like a rule in the dream or something. So I asked if I could hug him, and one of the kidnappers told him yes, but not below the gut. When I hugged my son, he told me “becareful mommy, it hurts me down there”, I whispered to him that I was going to save him and that it would all be okay soon, but not to say anything. He started to cry but stopped himself so the kidnappers wouldn’t see. Then I woke up. I have been crying ever since. That was the most awful dream I have ever had. For some reason I was helpless, I couldn’t help my baby.


Bruce May 20, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Hi Stephanie,

Please read through some of the other dreams for comments about “Shadow” and about dreams possibly being interpreted as reflecting aspect of your own Self.

In this perspective, the kidnappers are the part of you who holds the “child self” part of you hostage. The idea of it hurting “down there,” could mean a “gut feeling of pain or sorrow or abandonment or loneliness…” and it could have some sort of sexual connotation. Not going on witch hunts of abuse, but if you did carry wounds, particularly around age 7 yourself, one way to consider the dream is that it is now “time” do deal with it. The dream talks about waiting (i.e. you couldn’t deal with your pain when you were little…) and now you are old enough to be a mommy not just to your son, but to your own self of the past.

You must ask yourself if your 7 year old is in deep pain and this dream is making you see that; more likely your kid is benefiting from the love you have for them and it’s your own “gut” instinct that it’s time to heal that makes your dream a teacher, helping you wake up, seek help, gain consciousness.

The “apartment complex” would then be a symbol of your total Self, with all the “good” and “bad” parts. The kidnappers are the part of you who love your kid so much, your inner child that is, that they are “baby-sitting” until you are truly ready to integrate the grown-up mother and the sad child into one person.

Your motivation to do this is your love for your child, as they benefit from your happiness. Now is the time for that!

All Best Wishes & Sweet Dreams


Diana Hart May 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

well all i can say is i dread going to sleep at nights cause that means i will have a dream and when i dream it could be anything but the ones i hate are the ones that involve my two young children aged 5 and 7 i have woke up before now and started crying sobbing my heart out due to the content of the dream, sometimes i even wake up with my heart beating so fast and that scares me as i have SVT i can recall nearly every dream i have had but that would take to long, its just the ones about my children that i hate and when i wake up with my heart racing.


Bruce May 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Hi Diana,

My hunch here is that you are experiencing racing heart in your sleep, and because it is racing your mind comes up with stories to make sense of the physical sensation.

Since racing heart would suggest that something is terrifying, one of the most horrible things you can imagine, something that would “make sense” if your heart is racing, might be something bad has happened to your children.

I’m very sorry that you are suffering, both physically and, in turn, psychologically from bad dreams.

The main thing would be to work with your cardiologist, for if you were able to better regulate your SVT this would likely help with your sleep and particularly your bad dreams.

In the meantime, perhaps you can strive to become more conscious that if you are experiencing something nightmarish, there is a very good chance you are in a nightmare. Maybe if your first guess in a nightmare situation is that it must be a dream, you can try flying… if that works you know for sure you are dreaming. From there you can say to whatever is happening that you know it is a dream and that you know this is your heart running fast. Maybe you can imagine that the bad situation is just a symbol for your scared heart. Maybe you can try to “talk” to your scared heart and tell it that you know it’s scared but the doctor said, “____” (whatever reassuring thing the doctor might have told you about the danger you face from your heart, versus the fear you feel).

Finally, if you have found anything that helps you calm your heart, particularly breathing deeply, etc. so that your anxiety won’t continue to drive the heart fast, maybe you can try to do that in your lucid dream—imagine transforming the scary situation to something exciting but not dangerous (i.e. like being on a zip-line or riding a bike very fast), then your fast heart might make story sense without the story being about danger to your children.

Feel free to let me know how you progress. Certainly wishing you a calm heart and Sweet Dreams


Lynn May 21, 2013 at 4:04 am

I just awoke from a horrifying dream. A little background first. I caught my nine yr old daughter viewing porn on the Internet and feel it is my fault for not protecting her. Some guys at work have referred to the site before, and my curiosity got the better of me. Pretty explicit stuff, and apparently your web history conveys to all kindles on the account. I forgot to put hers back in child mode when allowing my son to play a game. She found the website as it popped up in the history. I caught her looking at this site and she tried to hide it from me. I sat down with her and explained it was not her fault, and told her that it was not a site for kids and was not even a site for most adults. I told her that it was not love, and was how some people choose to behave or express themselves. This was awkward, but I tried to stay calm about it for her sake. She has a history of problems that I’m trying to get diagnosed. Possibly ADHD or even bi-polar disorder. She parallels my experience as a child educationally and emotionally. I have a family history of mental illness and sexual abuse. Segue to last night, I also have been watching the Oklahoma Tornado aftermath and am horrified so many children are dead and feel terrible for the parent and workers who have the task of recovering bodies of children, AND as if that isn’t enough ammunition for a nightmare, I have had a recurring dream about prisoners in some prison who have all become animals and have no humanity left. They live in some sort of run-down facility, sometimes this is underground, others it is above. Always with several floors, and there is no protection from guards whilst traversing them. Men are lining the corridors and stairwells like the homeless, blood, urine, and feces are everywhere. It’s very dirty and probably smelly, but in my dream I don’t smell anything. For some reason my family, mother, husband, three kids, had to go up a stairwell, and there was some sort of side stairwell that intersected the main one and led to a set of corridors, along the halls which had large metal doors that had a strange locking mechanism. Kind of like a metal flattened oval piece that when spun around it would lock from the outside. The corridor and doors were all an institutional grey paint. It was known that these “janitor’s closets” were often used by prisoners for sexual acts. I am therefore extremely concerned when my family takes the stairwell to reach another floor, and I have my children with me and am horrified at what they are seeing. I am in the middle of the train headed up the stairwell as my mother is telling the kids to stay in the chain, and at some point it seemed chaotic, and I had a glimpse of my daughter heading down the side stairwell to the grey corridors. I wasn’t sure and yelled her name, no site of her, then up to my mom and husband if she was with them. In a split second, I ran back and down the side stairs. I ran through the corridor searching and it was like a maze with so many doors. I began screaming out her name and trying to kick in the doors, but they were steel. I saw that many were locked from the outside, so I felt maybe she hadn’t come down this way, so I ran back up and no, she was not there. We all then went back down to find her, and after having someone help open the doors, we found her and a younger little boy laying unconscious. They both were dirty and covered in a dirty white-ish blanket. I pulled the blanket away to get her, and at this point her age dropped to about four. I lifted her body and I think my mother was saying, thank god they are okay. I then pulled her pants down and saw some sort of baby wipe lodged between her buttocks cheeks and her feces everywhere. She had been raped. I frantically carried her upstairs and when we entered the top room, I woke up.

So….history of sexual abuse, daughter is accidentally exposed to really raunchy porn, tornado in OK, and to top it all off, I just saw the movie “Descent”.

I think I’m very impressionable, feel great compassion for others, feel guilty about my own sexual abuse as a child, feel guilty I didn’t protect her in real life or the dream, and need to stop watching CNN and horror flicks before bed.

Any other insights are greatly appreciated.


Bruce May 21, 2013 at 7:04 am

Hi Lynn,

I am struck by how clear you really are about the cycle and pattern of abuse, about how you still carry shame and trauma, and about how much you love your child and seek help in the service of her.

The dream does not need fancy interpreting: it looks like an emotional map of your history; about how the beast within all of us, which can be loved into something higher, or hurt into something lower, continually effects our children.

You are trying to break a cycle. What needs to be done is ultimately societal, but my hope is that it is poised to transform organically when enough people are ready to give a little to get a better world—in other words when consciousness reaches a collective level where it becomes obvious that we’re all in it together—and it’s hell if we are terrified and alienated, maybe it could be a little more heavenly if it became societally “cool” to actually care (like you do).

In brief, you are still having to process and heal your trauma. Your trauma sounds like it is particular to 4 years old; it likely felt like a tornado (overwhelming); this caused you to have to “leave your body” and then your body becomes a prison rather than a blessing. In poetic terms, you must retrieve your soul, or call back the part that has ended up locked behind doors (code for denial).

Your child unwittingly got exposed to porn; this echoes your own mistaken belief that the abuse you experienced was “your fault.” Of course it is not your fault, but to face that is to face the horror of an innocent who is hurt; particularly the notion that the child develops not that they poop, but that they ARE poop—thus the feeling that they deserve to be locked away in squalid conditions fitting their perceived lack of value as human beings. So tragic. And our prisons are filled with such once-innocent children; and other literally profit from this. To point fingers does not heal; to stop the cycle and bring love does, in the longrun, make real difference.

I guess my message to you is to trust that you are not alone; many care and are just waiting for a safer time. Tornadoes come and that cannot be stopped (although climate change may increase the frequency) but humans will not hurt other humans as often if they are secure and safe; and that is a long cycle.

As for movies, watch “Shawshank Redemption” if you haven’t, that is a deep film about our human condition, and about how it’s tunneling through shit to get free.

As for your girl, check out this guy’s TED talks: http://sirkenrobinson.com/

he’s a voice for effective change; your girl may seek stimulation, but perhaps she’s a perfectly wonderful child struggling to cope with a world that needs more love, limits and insights into its own nature.

As for you, take a look at the work of Peter Levine, particularly “Waking the Tiger” for another insight into how to heal your own trauma: http://amzn.to/17YwH6z

You can always read my book for parenting guidance set into the social context, I think you yourself might find it healing: http://amzn.to/w76zcY
(that might be something for your kindle)

My hope is that if we come to understand the nightmare of waking life, we can work to transform it the way a mother would, with love and limits, but mostly love, compassion and kindness; rather than the way a hurt father (so many generations of those) would—with more rules and not enough love and insight.

Lao Tze, a great Chinese spirit said something like: When love leaves, rules come in.

Porn, greed, violence, war… these are clearly within our nature, but so is love, community and compassion.

Finally, your own unresolved trauma of the past may be a component in your daughter’s struggles. Better understood, we might have more success helping both of you live more safely, joyously and with greater sense of power and meaning as we strive to be good ancestors to those who will follow.


Let me know how it goes

All Best Wishes & Sweet Dreams Ahead (fingers crossed)


Christine May 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I had a dream last night that definitely left me a little distraught after I woke up. I was walking with my boyfriend and my two sons down an ally. There was a small corridor to the left that led out into a small concrete area with benches there was also a gate 10 feet farther from the corridor that led there as well. My oldest son who’s 8 years old turned and ran down this corridor and I could hear voices from the corridor after he ran down it. I quickly ran through the gate to stop him from running after he left the corridor but I couldn’t get there soon enough and he kept running out another gate and wouldn’t reply or listen as I was yelling for him to stop and come back. My boyfriend then started chasing him and my son ran across a busy road and kept running. My youngest son who’s 5 started crying and a lady appeared and was trying to talk to him. I picked up my youngest son and started chasing after my boyfriend and oldest son. No matter how fast we ran we could not catch up to him. My son ran into a building and we followed we seen him turn and run down another corridor we got to the corridor and he was gone. The corridor was dark but we began walking down it and calling my sons name. And that’s when I woke up. I managed to fall asleep shortly after and found us in my dream walking down this same ally. My son turned and ran down the corridor again and this time I chased him down the corridor with the sound of voices all around me. I managed to catch him after we left the corridor. I woke up right after the encore dream. After I fell asleep again the dream occured again but this time my youngest son went to run and I had grabbed onto his arm to stop him from running and my boyfriend had caught my oldest boy from running. I then woke up again and immediately ran to check on my boys who were fast asleep in bed. I’ve tried finding an interpretation on this dream and am having no luck. I have never seen this ally or benched area, or even the abandoned building where we lost my son in the corridor. I was scared to sleep after these dreams therefore stayed awake. Any help or insight to what these could mean would be greatly appreciated.


Bruce May 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hi Christine,

While the “meaning” of a dream is more an art than a science, and your own deep Self is the architect of this dream, I’ll offer some thoughts and hope it sparks a creative process within your own mind.

An “ally” is is someone you form an alliance with, which is an interesting mis-spelling, and possibly a clue to the dream. I believe you mean you were walking down an “alley” which signifies the back route, a classic place for trash and for bad guys to lurk and for bad things to happen.

Your children would be the child parts of yourself, and like Alice in Wonderland, your older one takes off down the rabbit hole. The settings are concrete and spooky, perhaps suggesting a mood-state for you of alienation, fear and confusion, as the corridors are a bit maze-like.

Crossing the busy street could signify your kid crossing another dangerous threshold and going into a sort of abandoned building. This might symbolize your own feelings of abandonment. Chasing in dreams often occurs when the conscious feeling is abandonment, however you are doing the chasing, suggesting that perhaps you wish you felt more “wanted” in your own childhood.

A lady talks to your crying 5 year old self (perhaps you had a nice kindergarten teacher? someone who tried to help when you were five?). Your boyfriend might represent your own male aspect, the part of you that won’t just give up but rather helps you keep the kid self feeling safe and also cared about.

The dream gives you three tries, but finally the family is united and safe; perhaps your family as a kid didn’t stay together and your wish is to deal with the fear and loneliness you still carry with you and come to trust that now you and your kids are safe and loved.

Hope this helps. Sweet Dreams


Destiny May 25, 2013 at 11:44 am

So today my and my son joshua (11months old) layed down for a nap. I sleep when he does lol. I had a dream that i was laying in bed and looked into my hallway and noticed my cat sniffing and walking around my sons empty carseat wich was laying in the middle of the hall, not were it usually is. So i got up to check on him. I looked in his room were i keep the door cracked and seen him breathing and ok then the door slammed in my face! So i opend it up and walked in angry. Screaming “Hes my baby, leave him alone!” The door slammed mehind me and i heard growls and screams but saw nothing then sudenly a force yanked me off of my feet and was pushing me out my sons bed room widow which is two stories up. I was still screaming “hes my baby, you cant have him! Leave us alone!” Then i woke up but still couldnt move like i was being held down. Finally i calmed myself and checked on him


Bruce May 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Hi Destiny,

I’d give some thought to how life was for you when you were 11 months old. Did your mother experience a loss at that time? Was there danger around you or affecting you?

One way to take this dream is that the cat is the animal part of you, sniffing around the empty car-seat as if the child has turned magically into a cat (which has 9 lives by myth, and can survive falls, etc).

The “force” that slams the door in your face is the Shadow–the dark and scary part of your own personality. As you joke about sleeping when your kid does, parenting is exhausting; we love our kids, but must push our frustration with them, and our sometimes wish to not have to take care of them, out of our conscious minds and into our unconscious… where it turns monster.

When the Shadow slams the door in your face it is expressing your forbidden wish to be relieved of parenting responsibility (just for a nap of your own). You can’t easily admit this, as it would make you feel like a “bad mother,” so you force your way in, but that old Shadow fulfills your deeper wish to not deal with the baby by throwing you out the window (but you slip and say it through you out “my sons widow”)… sometimes parenting feels like it kills us :)

I suspect that the simple acceptance of your “Shadow” and the mischievous “bad” instinct to protect you (not particularly harm the child you) might help you normalize your mixed feelings, ask for a little help, consider if you’ve had any trauma in your own childhood and talk that through with someone (http://bit.ly/i52peT), and tell that old trouble-maker part of your own psyche that you love and respect it, and are willing to learn from something so powerful, perhaps learn how to love both your baby AND your own Self.

Sweet Dreams


Tiffany May 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I have dreams quite frequently about my son being in danger. I am currently expecting my 2nd child (also a boy) but its always about my 2 1/2 yr old. In the last dream I had I was at the house my grandma lived in when I was a kid. All my family was there along with my husband and my 2 dogs. my dogs being there was odd to me even in the dream as my grandma is frightened by them. We were in the kitchen standing around the table talking when my husband opened the back door to let our dogs out to pee. We always look around first to make sure no other dogs are loose or outside. He shut the door turned to yell for the dogs and all of a sudden we hear a wolf howl. I ran to the door looked out off the 2nd floor deck and behind the house on a hill at the edge of the woods we see a pack of wolves laying there, waiting. I say forget that they’re (my dogs) not going outside they can hold it until later. I then turn back to the others at the kitchen table to continue the conversation when I hear loud thumping on the back deck like someone running up the back steps. I run to the door thinking its the wolves and as I reach to slam the big door I see my sons face appear on the outside of the screen door. I frantically open the door and grab him to pull him inside to safety.

Generally at this point in the dream I wake up just before something happens to him. I never actually see him get hurt but it freaks me out enough I have to go touch him in bed and make sure he’s ok. Then I generally never get back to sleep.

My husband’s opinion on it is because I always consider the negative things that can happen. He says I never look at the positive end of anything I am challenged with. Could this be related?


Bruce May 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Hi Tiffany,

One take on this dream (and I am in no way saying this is any sort of “right” interpretation) is that “grandma’s house” represents the psychological self of the Great Mother. The dogs represent the animal aspect of yourself, but domesticated. This part of you is “pissed” (has to pee; and you are able to see this as natural) and your instinct is to let it go out the back door (i.e. water under the bridge and in the past).

HOWEVER… the wolves show up, and this is the animal part of you that is not domesticated–like Max in “Where the Wild Things Are” it’s the part of you that “puts on the wolf suit.”

“You” in the dream is your conscious self—up on the 2nd floor (suggesting a more mature view of things than you might have had as a child).

Think about “The Three Little Pigs” and how the wolf there symbolizes the devouring mother, or Shadow in the personality. The pigs must build their house/Self strong… and in the end capture, cook and eat the wolf (i.e. integrate the Shadow into the full personality).

Think about “Little Red Riding Hood,” and how going to grandmother’s house is where Little Red meets the big bad wolf. And remember how the hunter (husband) kills the wolf and cuts granny back out of its belly (i.e. brings the human aspect of the Great Mother back in to consciousness when she had “turned into a monster”).

In other words… you are working out how the “child part of you” (symbolized by your current child) is “left out” (i.e. he’s not in your womb, safe and cozy where the little one is). You may have had some anger and jealousy as a kid that is getting stirred up now by the imagined situation where the older one will become a “wolf” and threaten the younger one. You put the hungry (for you, for the “great” mother who is all loving) part of you out the back door; and then realize it’s with the even older, or more primitive, wolf part of you.

Healing ideas: read “Where the Wild Things Are” (let the wild rumpus begin, for you all love each other so much in your family you’ll eat each other up, but in a playful way); also, imagine the wolves as a noble, “Jungle Book” part of you and use your imagination to talk to them, to commune with them under the full moon of your goddess power; howl, be with your sisters (your “girl wolf pack”) and let your husband be a man and run with his wolf pack time to time.

Watch “Dances with Wolves” and then put on some music, light some candles (and maybe Neal Young’s “Harvest Moon”) and commune with the wild and natural and protective and hungry awesome love of your husband, your grandmother and your growing family.

And let me know if your dreams turn sweet and your feeling of self grows just a little more powerful, wise and natural.

All Best


Carlene June 1, 2013 at 5:41 am

I just had a dream last night that disturbed me. It was very real and vivid, and I remember it clearly (and I rarely ever remember my dreams). I dreamt the my 9 year old son, and myself were in a big truck I was driving and the truck somehow ended up sinking in a body of water. We couldn’t get out and darkness came quick my youngest went out of sight first then my 9 year old but before he disappeared completely he grabbed my hand and then I was succumbed to darkness. At this point I didn’t try and fight I just allowed it to swallow me and then I had this huge grasping for air. Now at this point I kind of thought I was dreaming and felt myself really grasping for air where my son sleeping next to me would have felt me grasping and would have woken him up but when I woke he was sound asleep unaffected. I was confused and disturbed by the dream but I went right back to sleep dreaming right away but don’t remember what about. Any interpretations….really felt it was significant but not sure what it could mean…


Carlene June 1, 2013 at 5:50 am

It was my 9 year and my 3 year old sons and myself!


Bruce June 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hi Carlene,

Firstly, dreams about drowning and water seem to be the most common theme when I tally all these nightmares we have about our children. The second most common theme is falling or flying.

It seems that our brains naturally generate a sensation of sinking and another of floating, and some people suggest that this is where our myths of heaven above and hell below originate.

But our brains also naturally try to make meaning of our experiences, and so we create stories of drowning and flying. One possible idea about your nightmare could be that when you were three, or nine, you might have had some painful experience (parents’ divorce, a move to a new school, loss of a grandparent, etc.) that gave you a sinking feeling of sadness, or an overwhelming feeling like emotional drowning. Of course if you ever had a scary experience with water, in the tub, pool, lake, etc. that could certainly inform your fears.

In this sense anxiety is often a memory of something scary that we then project into the future and fear that it might happen; this is a way of trying to deny that it already happened.

In your dream you allow the darkness to swallow you up, and this might be a signal that whatever pain you have of the past, your mommy self who you are now has a grip on your child selves (symbolized in the dream by your children) and then you wake up, which could mean that you are coming into a more co