Dreams that are connected to a sense of abandonment, anxiety or loss of control are often motivated by an underlying sense of conflict in life.
But what exactly do abandonment dreams mean, and what do they say about your internal life?
To dream of being abandoned or left behind by friends or loved ones suggests a sense of anxiety about being excluded from your social circle, or that you feel too different to fit in a group. It could also mean failure to maintain good relations with friends, colleagues or family.
Somewhat similar are dreams where you miss a train, bus, or plane suggest an internal tension caused by failure to achieve a goal, whether it is personal or professional.
Anxiously seeking the right road or path to take could indicate that you are concerned about losing your identity. Seeing yourself wandering alone in your dream may indicate that the source of your problems is not within you, but with the world and people around you.
To dream of an abandoned family or someone in great need suggests you will go through loss of someone dear and must prepare yourself for grief.
Abandoned by a loved one
Dreams where you’re abandoned by loved ones, or where you’re feeling lost and helpless often come out of childhood fears of being abandoned by our parents, or other emotional and material caregivers you were totally dependent on (such as grandparents).
In adulthood, this fear can often come back to life as dreams of abandonment or rejection by family, spouses, friends or parents.
Thus, to experience an abandonment dream as an adult means you are insecure about how much love and respect the person you dreamed of has for you during waking life.
It is also possible that your dreaming mind is reliving the actual pain caused by the end of a relationship.
In this case, it’s possible the dream is telling you to get over the breakup, to find a healthy point of mental equilibrium and reclaim control of your life.
In a similar way, dreams of abandonment may even reflect the death of a loved one that was important in your life.
Abandonment dreams however occur not just before a possible breakup or death of a loved, but also during a painful separation episode.
For example, you may experience a dream where you’re abandoned or left behind during a divorce, when a loved one is experiencing a severe illness or even after a romantic rejection.
But abandonment dreams can also be positive however. A dream in which you felt free after being abandoned by a friend or partner could be telling you the breakup is not as disastrous as you think; but is instead a liberation that opens new opportunities.
Abandonment dreams can mean independence
In a more positive view, abandonment dreams can also mean letting go of old attitudes, letting go of the past.
In other words, the abandonment dream symbolizes your desire to be liberated – to act in an abandoned manner – and suggests a need for freedom.
If the abandonment in your dream hints at abandoning your civilized behaviors, it suggests there is a subconscious (or even conscious!) desire within for greater freedom, to throw away the mental chains and feeling self-guilt that limit your behaviors and thoughts. Evidence for this kind of interpretation can come from other dream symbols, such as transforming into an animal which suggests a need to lose inhibitions.
In other words, you have to overcome your own, psychological limits in order to find your true self.
These types of dreams often (but not always) refer to a tendency to repress sexual behaviors.
However, these kinds of “loose” behaviours in a dream are usually just an exaggeration, because dreams use exaggeration or hyperbole as a way to break down the door to the conscious ego and force it to admit that there’s something wrong in the dreamers waking life that needs to be addressed.
That being said, to let go completely of all morals and self-control is not a solution, because it leads to a loss of sense of self and identity.
Abandonment dreams can symbolize loss of direction
The abandonment in a dream may signify a loss of external guidance in your life.
For example, it could be the death of someone you relied on (consciously or unconsciously) for your own feeling of worthwhileness, for a sense of purpose or meaning in life.
You may have had a conflict with your father or mother or another ‘authority figure’ from whom you previously obtained your moral code, or guiding set of internal set of principles and beliefs.
Maybe the authority in question was a set of personal rules and sanctions imposed on you by some religious or ideological belief system.
It is not unusual for people to escape one authoritarian code of conduct only to adopt another.
However, rejecting any such rigid behavior codes imposed by society implies you have realized that you alone are responsible for your life and for any choices or decisions you make.
It is ultimately you who decide who has authority over you in your life, whether it is a pope, guru, social convention, or whatever. This is not to say that giving them that authority is wrong; it’s just to say that it’s your choice whether to allow them that authority or not.
Remembering old traumas and reliving painful memories
The concept of abandonment is a powerful metaphor that expresses many kinds of anxieties because it is connected to the experience of feeling abandoned by one’s parents as a child.
As a result, abandonment dreams can represent a wide range of situations such as plain loneliness to feelings of betrayal.
Humans often experience abandonment as one of their first experiences, and is our first experience of rejection.
In many ways, it reflects our first experience of being estranged from our mother. A child that is separated from its mother in a traumatic and painful way can end up scarred and emotionally hurt, to the point where the pain can resurface years later as abandonment dreams during adulthood.
Abandonment dreams can symbolize letting go
Abandonment dreams may be your subconscious giving you messages about what aspects of your life need to be kept and which ones need to be let go.
Some dream interpretation theories claim that dreams represent the opposite of what was actually happening in a dream, as a way to compensate for the imbalances that exist in real life.
For example, if you experience a dream where you are abandoned by a friend you don’t talk to anymore, it might mean you should make amends and rebuild the friendship.
In the context of a relationship, an abandonment dream could suggest that you are too attached to your partner or spouse, and the abandonment dream.
To properly interpret an abandonment dream also requires to know which “side” of you is abandoned in the dream.
For example, the one who is abandoned in the dream could be a forgotten or ignored side of you, such as an instinctual drive, ambition or potential.
If you suspect the abandoned person in the dream is a particular side of your personality, take a step back and try to find a healthy way to integrate or at least recognize it’s presence in your waking life.
Resources and references:
- A dictionary of symbols by Cirlot, Juan Eduardo
- A dictionary of symbols by Chevalier, Jean
- Dictionary of symbols by Chetwynd, Tom
- A dictionary of dream symbols : with an introduction to dream psychology by Ackroyd, Eric
- Illustrated dictionary of symbols in eastern and western art by Hall, James
- Dictionary of symbols and imagery by Vries, Ad de
- Symbolism : a comprehensive dictionary by Olderr, Steven
- Dictionary of mythology, folklore and symbols by Jobes, Gertrude
- The complete dictionary of symbols by Tresidder, Jack
- The dream dictionary from A to Z by Francis-Cheung, Theresa
- 1001 dreams by Altman, Jack
- The Watkins dictionary of dreams by Reading, Mario
- Dictionary of dreams : interpretation and understanding by Colin, Didier
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