Nightmares of Children being Kidnapped or Chased

August 4, 2013

The dreams in this category all have to do with bad guys, monsters, scary animals or other malevolent forces abducting, chasing, harming and tormenting the dreamer’s child or children.

This category of dreams could be called “Shadow” dreams insofar as they may be dealing with our own dark places, the aggression and cruelty that lurks somewhere, if not in the “heart,” at least in the reptilian realm of the human brain.

Often these dreams arise when we have some sort of hurt feelings, perhaps related to our own past, perhaps because our child has hurt our feelings or made us angry (and, of course, children are quite challenging and we DO get upset time to time).  When our self-concept is “loving parent,” our “bad guy” self has to be relegated to the dungeon of our minds, the unconscious.  And when it comes roaring into consciousness during the night in our dreams we wake up horrified beyond measure.

It is hoped that readers might see that they are not alone in their nightmares, and that becoming more aware and honest about ALL our feelings, including our anger and our wounds, we may become happier in ourselves and actually more patient and compassionate toward our children.

Of course real people really do hurt children, and this is something we must all work together to protect children from.  Yet it bears keeping in mind that abuse and harm tend to follow cycles across generations.  Understanding our pain and working it through can help stop cycles of pain and contribute to a more compassionate culture all around.

The dreams, and potential interpretations, in this Shadow category are as follows:

[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.]



Magdalena October 18, 2012 at 8:22 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



E.E. September 28, 2012 at 7:10 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Hanna October 18, 2012 at 8:26 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Lala July 28, 2013 at 1:50 pm [edit]

I had a horrible dream last night, I was sitting at a restaurant with a friend and “Sara”, “Sara” was kind of dismissing my portion of the conversation and ignoring me then coughed in my face. I hate other people’s germs, so I said to her don’t you ever f!!!ing in my face again. “Sara” replied with I can do what I want and started choking me, I started chocking back. Then she tried to kick me and she was wearing my 4 yr old daughters dress shoes. I started punching her in the face and kicked her to the ground, I slammed her face on the floor and was yelling at her “keep your hands to yourself” I let her up and when I did she resembled my 4 yr old in hairstyle only, I guess as we were fight we somehow ended up on my home kitchen, and knocked a knife off the counter, “Sara” picked it up and started coming towards me. I picked up my counter stool and hit her hand with it, she fell and dropped the knife but the handle broke off. I don’t remember if I told her to get out, but as she was leaving my grandma said to her “I guess there goes our cookbook”. I said to “Sara” I didn’t have to be like this but she ignored me and kept walking down my drive way. Now as she is walking away she has fully transformed into my 4yr old, realizing its my daughter I say out of desperation for her to come back in our home “your not even gonna tell your sister bye” she turns around and runs back in the house towards my mom and 7 yr old daughter. Then I wake up. I immediately run into their room and kiss her and tell her I love. I returned to my room but by this time I am in full blown hysterics and balling like a baby to the point I wake my husband who is asking what the hell is wrong. Feeling ashamed,guilty and embarrassed I just say I had a bad dream but didn’t want to talk about it and that I would tell him in the morning. I could get back to sleep so I went back to daughters room and layed with my 4 yr old for a while. Now, for the reality bits…… My grandmother has never met my 4yr old, me and “Sara” went to High school together but never talked besides the occasional wave o hi when passing each other in the halls, I saw her a few months ago and she asked how have I been and how is my brother, I told her and that was it.
What does this mean? I am completely terrified, and need answers. Please can anybody help??!!!


Bruce July 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm [edit]

Hi Lala,

Whatever this dream means to you is what it means. I can give some ideas to get you thinking, but whatever makes emotional and logical sense depends on what you think and feel.

That said, my mind goes to the idea that you might have felt rather abandoned when you were 4 years old. Perhaps you’re a younger sibling and now that your younger child is four it might be triggering you to think about your feelings from the past.

“Sara” sounds like a person who you did not have a connection with in the past, so perhaps she is, symbolically, a part of you who hurts your feelings or makes you feel judged or insulted (she coughs at you, threatening to infect you and even the germs might be symbolic of “cooties” and not fitting it, or of “catching” bad feelings of inadequacy).

It also sounds like you are having some unconscious feelings of conflict with your 4 year old. Obviously you love her a lot, but perhaps she is starting to become more independent, giving you challenges and power struggles? Sometimes our secret anger at our kids leaks out and up to the surface in dreams, then we are mean or hurtful and wake up guilty.

It’s normal to have some angry feelings. Kids are frustrating and we don’t give much voice to the truth that parenting is very hard and sometimes makes us pretty upset. On this count my hunchi is that being consciously aware that you have some angry feelings, some hurt/ignored/insulted feelings, and also that you feel a bit attacked (knife, etc.) might help you have awareness of your full feelings instead of any more bad dreams.

It seems like you’re trying to be the “perfect mom” and none of us our anywhere near perfect so try to relax and realize that you have not actually hurt your kid, rather you feel hurt and probably from the past more than from your child.

The fact that your grandmother has never met your 4 year old suggests that this makes you feel abandoned or rejected. The idea that she might have been working on a cookbook with Sara implies that your inner Great Mother and your inner “sara” might be able to come together in a nourishing way… if you can realize they are symbolic parts of you (in your dream) and not the actual people in waking life. This is just as true about the 4 year old child part of you.

Notice how Sara becomes your kid Self through shoes (empathy is putting ourselves in “the other person’s shoes”) and hair (which, since it grows out of our heads, can be symbolic for thoughts).

Finally, the fight with Sara, and then her running away in the guise of your child, could help you realize that you are fighting with yourself and then the part you fight becomes the hurt child, and then it runs away from you and leaves you feeling guilty and lonely.

Try to imagine you are back in the dream, but that Sara as your enemy and as your child is really you, as with your grandmother figure. Ask them what they really want from you; recognize them as parts of you and maybe suggest that you want harmony and maybe suggest you all cook something together that can feed you with love and security and healing, realizing that the past may have hurt but that you now have a family, are safe and loved and loving.

Maybe it’s a little bit like “Wizard of Oz” where you feel orphaned and alone and need to realize (with the help of shoes and guidance) that there really is no place like home—and you are blessed to have a loving home. It doesn’t help to bear grudges, so working toward understanding and forgiveness, in the service of loving your children, might help you feel better, less guilty, angry or ashamed and more loved and less alone.

Sweet Dreams

^ * * * ^


Destiny May 25, 2013 at 11:44 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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 (, 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

^ * * * ^


Melissa March 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Vivi December 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



sara December 28, 2012 at 4:20 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


mommy January 28, 2013 at 4:45 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


jen March 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


hannah May 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Tiffany May 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Tasha July 23, 2012 at 5:26 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Heather December 11, 2012 at 4:28 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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.

^ * * * ^


Alanna March 13, 2013 at 8:14 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Rick August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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.


Note:  “cutting the grass” and smoking weed?

^ * * * ^


Rah maingot April 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Geetika October 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


mr February 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Cherise July 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm [edit]

Hello I had the most horrible nightmare it seemed last night about my 4 year old little boy, it had started out my boyfriend and I were watching a movie in our home then it jumped to my uncle and my brother and I leaving to go find my son that had been kidnapped and the man that kidnapped him was some sort of powerful being and lived in this hug black house and told all of us that came to see my son that if we brought cops then he would continue the job on my son. When we arrived at the house he taunted us saying he didnt know if we were ready to see my baby or not and that my son was clearly not ready to see us because he wasnt finished with his work, and it frusterated us so bad we took off running looking for where my boy was and when we finally reached the room he was laying in a bed with pjs n the lights were very dark and dim and when I walked around to the bed to see him his arms and legs were stitched as if like he was a ragdoll with stitches from being sewn together and his neck was like this too and the kidnapper walked in flipped a switch and a set of dimmer lights came on and my son woke up and the man threw him one of those voice things people use when they cant talk and my son started to speak into it and said hello to his two uncles and myself and told us that we werent supposed to see him and i leaned in to kiss his forehead and i told him yeah but i love you and noticed his head was on his spongebob pillow like if he were at home..and i remember thinking in my dream i have to get him out of here and get him to a hospital and also thinking i wanted to hold him to bad but the man wouldnt give us a chance to escape. ive had bad dream before about my children but never had i had one that has woke me up crying made me go check him and then fight back tears all day and still bothering me enough im scared to sleep again.


Bruce July 31, 2013 at 10:26 pm [edit]

Hi Cherise,

If you read through some of the other dreams you may get additional insights into how to think about your own dreams, but my overall thought is that the symbolism of this dream might have to do with your own emotions, quite possibly having to do with feeling traumatized when you were younger.

Kidnapping as a theme could be about wantedness and unwantedness; if we feel unwanted, we may “fantasize” (i.e. imagine, dream) about being chased by kidnappers, monsters, etc.

You start “watching a movie” with your boyfriend (i.e. distracting, escaping) and this is not with the father of your boy, so unconsciously you imagine you are already abandoning your baby by being with your boyfriend. This could mean that the grown-up you is into your boyfriend, but the child you feels alone and hurt.

Your uncle and brother are involved once the child is missing, thus it’s about your family of origin once the inner child is hurt. The kid has to be kidnapped to be noticed.

The bad guy in the huge dark house could be a symbol of the part of yourself that feels overwhelming. This could also be called the Shadow and it holds your power; it holds your inner child and thus you have to enter your Shadow in order to rescue your child.

The “work” that is diabolically done seems to be about turning a real child into a sort of doll—an object used by people rather than a real human being with a spirit treasured by loving parents and family.

Perhaps something happened when you were 4, maybe parents’ divorce or conflict, moving, death of a loved one, etc. that made you feel like you or your world went to pieces?

The main point of this dream seems to be dealing with your own pain, anger, feelings of loss/abandonment, hurt, and confronting the effect this had on your own self-concept as a child. Sometimes the child in us (or rather our identification with the child in ourselves) has to “die” in order for our identification with a more grown-up Self to come into being.

In waking life you help your child by really seeing and understanding him, particularly when there is no crisis, just really loving him for who he is, and sometimes by giving our kid what we did not get as a kid we heal ourselves.

As for the Spongebob pillow, I might recommend another blog post/interview with the voice of Spongebob, who has a healing and caring spirit, and this might be why kids everywhere respond so well to him:

Sweet Dreams

^ * * * ^


On Mar 22, 2013, at 8:39 PM

Dear Bruce

I keep on having bad dreams about my 5yr old daughter, just now I dreamt that as if I am her teenage sister and there are other siblings as well and we are busy playing next to someone’s house ( a guy, around 20 something) and he keeps on calling me and giving me stuff like ear phones etc and my daughet looks so hungry eventually we get home ( without parents) and try to quickly prbuyepare porridge and spinach (all we have and last food) but my daughter passes out or dies because of hunger and i woke up.

P.S. My sister inlaw is visiting her parents with her kids and she’s taking my daughter, do you think I should cancel the trip? I have had another dream about my daughter , where I think she is dead but she comes around again.

Your response will be really appreciated.


South Africa

Hi Verdi,

You can read through my other ideas on various dreams for more ideas, but one way to think about this dream would be in terms of symbols of various aspects of your full Self.

In this context, your daughter would be the child part of you.  I’m wondering if your mom was a teen mom when she had you, or if her mom was this.  I ask because being a teenager in charge of a child could be a symbolic way of representing how you feel—like a mom on the one hand, and like  a teen who is overwhelmed by responsibility on the other.

The 20 something and his house might be the male aspect of you and a house, or larger Self, to contain it.  He is “calling” you, meaning he is trying to connect, communicate and bond, especially ear-phones to drive home the message of hearing and talking.

The child part of you “looks so hungry” because she is hungry, but not for food so much as love, protection, understanding.  Perhaps you were neglected as a child and this left you vulnerable to inappropriate male attention?

You “eventually get home,” meaning coming back to your fuller Self, where you have limited resources (i.e. you are exhausted) but you find nourishment for the child aspect—porridge which is basic sustenance and spinach which is strength, iron, earth, healthy nutrition (actually and symbolically/in terms of love).

The child “passes out’ (goes unconscious) or “dies” (possibly meaning that your long identification with the hurt child, starving child or victim must “die” for your next self to be born as an empowered grown-up woman and mother).

As to what is best for your daughter in “real life” I have no idea, but my hope is that if you are more aware of your own hunger and pain you will be more clear about discerning the past, however painful, from the present and having a better time of things in waking and sleeping life.

If you are happy and well-nourished at every level this will benefit your daughter.

All Best Wishes, Bruce

^ * * * ^



Rachel August 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm [edit]


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 [edit]

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 :)

^ * * * ^


Stephanie May 20, 2013 at 7:10 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Gemma February 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Sharise December 29, 2012 at 6:33 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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:

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

^ * * * ^


andi February 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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.

^ * * * ^



Louisa Mart October 9, 2012 at 2:25 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Cheryl August 21, 2012 at 9:41 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Bruce January 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm [edit]

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


^ * * * ^


Tori February 7, 2013 at 12:11 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^


Leslie February 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm [edit]

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 [edit]

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.

^ * * * ^


joyce March 3, 2013 at 2:37 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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!

^ * * * ^



Jodie September 22, 2012 at 1:12 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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 [edit]

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

^ * * * ^



Claudia September 12, 2012 at 1:24 am [edit]

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 [edit]

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


Note:  consider tremors in context of Peter Levine and healing trauma