Dreaming of Being Attacked: 9 Symbolic Meanings

A majority of people have had violent dreams or nightmares where they are attacked by someone or something.

To understand these kind of dreams, you must first figure out whether you are the one who attacks, or the one who is being attacked. After that, analyze all the other details in the dream.

If you are attacked, this suggests you feel threatened somehow. Maybe you’re threatened by your own desires and urges, or maybe by other people and how they treat you.

Being attacked in a dream is often a sign that feel threatened by something in your environment, your personal safe space. This threat can be someone you dislike in waking life, or repressed emotions such as aggressiveness, anger or sexuality (especially if you’re attacked by an animal).

If you are the one who attacks, then answer yourself who are what are you attacking? It may seem contradictory, but an attack is very often a form of active self-defense. This suggests some issues or aspects of your life are under threat, so you are lashing out in your dreams as a way of self-protection.

Thus, you committing an attack might represent a form of self-assertiveness, where you create and enforce personal boundaries. However, it might just as well represent a desire to attack someone or something in their own environment or safe space.

Besides these interpretation, being attacked in a dream could also be a metaphor for other bodily and emotional states: hunger, illness, a guilty conscience etc.

Being attacked isn’t always something negative however. Sometimes it can mean your old ideas are attacked by newer ones, which are so strong and persuasive they threaten your old way of life and habitual way of thinking about life.

Animals attacking you in a dream often suggests you are fearful of aggression in other people, as well aggression within yourself.

How you respond to attacks in dreams is important. Running away from the aggression means the trauma that causes the dream isn’t being dealt with while awake.

Dreams where your anger leads you to attack a person or an object suggests you feel deep, repressed hostility towards someone or something in your waking life.

If you find yourself being the attacker in a dream, then think about what caused you to lash out in such a way. Chances are high your mind dreamed up this attack as a safety valve so you can release inner frustration.

Another possibility is that dreams where you are the attacker are provoked by something, or someone, that exists in your waking life.

Maybe there is someone in your life with authority or power over you that you cannot resist? In such a situation, attacking them in a dream is a personal way to exact revenge upon whoever (or whatever) is causing you grief and anguish.

However, these sort of dreams where you rebel against authority might be your subconscious mind’s way of encouraging you to stand up for yourself.

Finally, dreams that involve violence often symbolize a person’s deep desire to have power and control in their waking life.

Whenever a dream involves you committing violence, try to identify who is the victim. Is it an aspect of yourself, disguised as a stranger? Or is the stranger just a dummy created by your mind so it can “release steam” and take out its anger on the dummy?

Meaning of dreams where you’re being attacked

Every person has a weak point through which they can be attacked, and dreaming of being attacked is often a warning that these weaknesses are neglected.

To have such a dream suggests a person isn’t paying attention to important aspects in their lives, or to parts of themselves that aren’t well developed.

Nightmares where one is attacked are often connected to internal motivations and basic surival needs such as food, warmth and shelter. If a child is denied these base needs, this will cause frustration and anger in adulthood that manifest as nightmares.

Extensive research on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome suggests the emotional havoc experienced at the time of the original trauma can come back many years later. It seems that the brain has not been enabled to get rid of the shock enough for the sufferer to recover.

People who were sexually abused as children tend to suffer these kind of nightmares.

This anxiety around basic needs will often manifest in adults as fear of the future, change and growth – largely it is a fear of the unknown.

Being attacked by another person in your dream

In some dreams the attack ends in murder. In this case, the murderer is frequently a person in your life that makes impossible demands from you. 

Since these demands are impossible to accomplish, it will make your subconscious feel guilty. This subconscious guilt is often released through dreams containing aggression. 

The interpretation of these aggression dreams depends on whether you, the dreamer, are the attacker or the person who attacks. 

If you are the one who is attacked, the dream reveals a deep fear of external events or internal emotions.

On the other hand, if you are the attacker, this suggests you need a healthier way to channel and process emotions, Thus, hitting or shooting somebody expresses anger that has not been acknowledged while awake.

Any dream in which you are attacked or pursued points to the existence of a deep, subconscious fear.

To overcome this fear, you should first discover who or what is the attacker that haunts your dreams. Confronting the demons that haunt you will then help to resolve internal conflicts you might have.

Dreams where someone breaks into your house are widespread and frequently express a fear or concern about a specific person or situation in your day life.

Do your best to identify the intruder, as this will give you a key to help interpret the dream.

Being attacked by someone with a sword signifies a drastic event has occured, while fighting with a sword suggests you are in combat against evil gossip, which you can triump over if your emotions are kept in check.

Being attacked by a criminal

If you are attacked by a criminal, you must watch out or you will have an accident. If you attack back, then it’s a sign to trust your own judgement. See others being robbed and you’re about to embark on something you suspect will embarrass you. You’re right, don’t do it!

Being attacked by a vampire

The vampire represents personal attributes or negative habits that drain energy and resources or cause emotional exhaustion. If you are being attacked by a vampire, you may perceive yourself as a powerless victim. Interpreting this dream’s message may help you to identify the source of your negative feelings and helplessness.

Dreams where you’re attacked by wild animals

Being watched, chased, attacked or trapped by animals can suggest you are feeling controlled or threatened by your urges or even the emotions of others.

An animal watching you in your dreams often symbolizes your subconscious and acts as a reminder not to forget or neglect the instincts that it represents.

If the animal is attacking you, this could indicate you are about to lose control over your rage and lash out. Thus, the dream is urging you to release your anger, but in a controlled way.

If the animal from the dream is chasing you, this suggests you are running away from some area of your personality that want to be expressed.

Running away from animal, or defending yourself against its attack, indicates your trying to control instincts that threaten your safety in waking life.

Other times, dreams where you are threatened or attacked by animals suggests your are denying your insticts and desires, that you are too civilized. The cure would be to loosen up and give in to them.

Being bitten by an animal could indicate aggression from someone close to you, or that your own aggressive instincts are not under control.

If the animal is abnormal or out of this world, it might that you have fears and doubts regarding your ability to control your own emotions.

Dreams in which you are being attacked or threatened by animals are sending a clear message that you have suppressed your instincts too much and need to be more natural, or loosen up, in waking life.

Being attacked by a dog:

Dogs are the most frequent symbol of animal appetites and instincts. Being led by a dog means you are connected with your inner strength and instincts and live in harmony with them.

Thus,  you live in peace with your instincts, the “dog” in your dream will obey your commands.

On the other hand,  a dog bitting you is a sign of a bad conscience.

Generally speaking, dreams where you are attacked by a dog are a warning that you are acting more from instinct than logic.

Being attacked by an eagle:

Eagles are the animals of freedom.

If you are attacked by an eagle, this could mean you are either in serious danger or are interfering with the freedom of others.

Being attacked by an ox:

Being attacked by a lion: a warning of danger.

Defeating the lion: you are eliminating an opponent.

Looking at a caged lion: a powerful enemy has no way of attacking you right now, because you are protected.

Being attacked by an ox:

Hearing the bellowing of the ox: be careful, there is danger afoot.

Being attacked by an ox: an influential person becomes hostile.

Being attacked by a panther:

Killing a panther: you are getting over false accusations.

Being attacked by a panther: cunning intrigue and slander may harm you.

Dreaming of being attacked by a bee:

The bee symbolizes immortality, rebirth and order. Bees are beneficial to humans, but because of their sting, also threatening. This gives bees an ambiguous meaning.

To be stung by a single bee is a warning of the possibility of hurt, while being attacked by a swarm indicates we are creating a situation which may become uncontrollable.

Being attacked and eaten in a dream

Being eaten in a dream suggests being attacked by our own Рor possibly other people’s Рemotions and fears. Being eaten by a wild animal shows the likelihood of us being consumed by our more basic, carnal nature or by our internal drives.

Dream where you’re being attacked by a shadow or invisible force

If the attacker is shadowy or hidden, this can point to feelings of fear or pain connected to past events in your life.

If you feel paranoia in your dream, or have an irrational fear of going mad or insane, this suggests you are going through a confusing situation in your waking life, one that you are struggling to make sense of.


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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