Dreams about Children Poisoned

August 4, 2013

While not terribly frequent, I have received enough dreams with this theme to make a category:

[Please note that I cannot continue to interpret individual dreams at this time, however if you read through these dreams you will very likely find insights into your own dream—and you will discover that you are not alone in having such nightmares.]



BrittanyE November 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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.

^ * * * ^



Ana December 20, 2012 at 2:26 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Tina October 9, 2012 at 9:40 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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.

^ * * * ^



rich June 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Natasha July 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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 :)


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bruce April 14, 2016 at 6:38 am

P.S. For readers who may end up here, but who haven’t read through the threads of other dreams:

Given that I can’t really keep up with the demand for dream interpretation that I have been receiving and that I don’t have time to organize the material into a proper guidebook to nightmares about our children I have elected to take an interim step: to offer nine blog posts dealing with the most common categories of nightmare with some insights about overall themes and a quick guide to get a reader moving toward nightmares that might most closely resemble their own.

My hope is that if you find the best general category, and then go to that list of dreams which have been organized in terms of the age of the child in the dream, you may find some insights that you can then use to think about your own particular dream (and hopefully feel less afraid and more conscious about what is being stirred up for you and about how you personally discover is best to take care of your own self and your child).

Note that the threads are long and you must be patient in scrolling down through dreams until you find some that match the age or situation of your own dream.

While I realize it is still cumbersome to scroll down through multiple dreams until you reach one matching your child or your theme, my hope is that it will be somewhat easier than the random thread of comments at the original post.

So… If your dream involves water or drowning click here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/that-sinking-feeling%E2%80%94dreams-about-children-drowning/

If your nightmare involves falling or flying try here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-about-children-falling/

If the core dread is kids running away or being hurt from neglect click here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-about-children-running-away-or-being-neglected-or-abandoned/

If kidnappers or scary animals, bad guys or monsters are the subject go here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-of-children-being-kidnapped-or-chased/

If the child actually does die in the dream click here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-where-children-die/

If the dream involves overt abuse or graphic trauma read from here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/nightmares-about-children-being-abused-or-traumatized/

If the dream involves poison try here: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/dreams-about-children-poisoned/

If there is a family feud or families fighting see these: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/dreams-where-families-fight/

And finally, if the dream doesn’t quite fit any of the above categories but you suspect that it is teaching you something consider these dreams: http://privilegeofparenting.com/2013/08/04/dreams-as-teachers/

And… Sweet Dreams


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