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Attack Attacked Attacker

In looking at many dreams in which attack takes place, it is obvious that there are many degrees and forms of attack. So attack or being attacked can represent many things such as feeling attacked or threatened by ones own impulses such as anger or sexuality; feeling surreptitiously attacked by other people and their attitude to you or their remarks; a subtle sense of being attacked by age, or a serious attack by an illness – one speaks of an asthma or virus attack for instance, but also one may be attacked by a poison, or food if one is allergic to it; one might personally attack an issue or a project, and so a dream might depict one attacking something in this sense; confidence may be attacked; it is a common term in sport or business, and so may refer to attitude or energy. This aspect of attack may also refer to ones beliefs, or to other peoples, which may be attacked and threatened; attack is also sometimes a form of defence, so may suggest defensiveness about some issue or aspect of ones life. A positive side to attack is that we often feel attacked by an emerging new insight or positive personal change. We feel it as an attack because it threatens our old way of life, our habitual way of ding things and thinking about things.

It is important to define or be aware of ones response to threat or attack in a dream. Experiments in connection with dreams in which the person runs away from attack, or is very passive, show that if the dreamer visualises changing the situation and faces attackers, their dreams and even waking behaviour changes radically. Passivity in dream situations may depict the innate feeling that we are helpless in dealing with the feelings involved. This usually dates from past experience, perhaps in childhood, where in fact one did not have the strength or maturity to meet what was happening. See Life Changes.

Occasionally attack in dreams shows a desire to be attacked in order to live out forms of self punishment or sadism. In most such cases this desire arises out of a need to remember, and make fully conscious, punishment or sadism that has been practised on the dreamer.

Being attacked: This dream usually arises because in some way you are repressing, in conflict with, or frightened off your own emotions, sexuality or anger. Occasionally the fear is about ones own potential or expanded awareness.

Attacked by animal: Feeling under threat from external events or internal emotions, impulses or ideas; feeling a victim in relationship to others and self; taking a defensive attitude. The repression or fear here is in regard to your own natural urges. Sometimes our dreams put into animal form someone who we feel is expressing anger toward us.

Attacked by shadowy or frightening figure: Our childhood traumas and fears may take this guise in a dream. So in this case the attack is depicting our feelings of fear and pain surrounding those past issues. How we meet such an attack is important. If we run from it, the trauma may remain largely unconscious, and therefore capable of influencing our behaviour negatively. Better to explore it or change it. (For help doing this see Stand in Role under peerdream work.)

Attacked by animal: Introverting one’s own aggression or sexuality; fear of one’s own natural urges; anxiety about aggression in oneself or other people; feeling attacked by an external person.

Being the attacker: This is more positive, as you are not being passive and hurt in your dreams. But you are still in conflict with whatever it is your attacking. Considering that what you attack is probably a part of your own personality, it might be better to meet it in some way. Positive self expression; defending oneself against something one feels threatened by; attempt to destroy some urge or feeling in oneself or others. The word attack is also used in many ways, so might refer to an ‘attack’ of an illness, or ‘heart attack’. Can express the difference between feeling threatened by a work/relationship/sex problem, or feeling challenged by it in a way to stimulate creativity or research.

Bird attacking: Fear of ideas, ideals or opinions; verbal attack by others; fear of the Self – a view of things that may destroy ones present more limited views or opinions.

Sexual attack: This has many aspects, and can at times be a re-playing of previous sexual attacks, or an expression of fear concerning them. But we also create dreams of sexual attack when we are frightened of our own feelings and desires. Grof gives the interesting account of a woman who experienced many images of sexual attack. He says:-

…. whenever a boy friend initiated even the most innocent sexual approach, such as touching. embracing, or kissing, she was overwhelmed with terror. It seemed to her that when such a situation occurred, her lover was actually changing physically and assuming animal features. Repeatedly, she fled from these situations in a state of panic anxiety and never wanted to see her partner again. Episodes of this kind were repeatedly relived …. with details of the physical setting, as well as the physical sensations and emotions involved. From Realms of The Human Unconscious, by S. Grof. Published by Souvenir Press.

Someone else being attacked: Anger or aggression toward another; killing off an aspect of oneself represented by the person in the dream. If the person is someone you are in relationship with, it suggests an attempt, however short, to distance oneself from them emotionally. See: fight; War.

Example: I had this dream at a time when there was a lot of talk and anxiety in newspapers and on television about nuclear war. In the dream a nuclear attack had been announced. I immediately thought of my children who are away in boarding school. I go out into the street to see if I can get to them, but realise it is hopeless. In the street everybody is walking about as if it were a holiday Sunday. I realised there was no time to get to my children so decided to join the people on the street. John C.

John had this dream at a time when there was a lot of media coverage about nuclear attack. It is therefore most likely dealing with his real fears about how he would deal with such an attack if it happened.

Example: Whilst suffering from nervous exhaustion three years ago. I had a recurring nightmare that left me feeling totally worthless and wretched. In it I underwent an indecent attack upon my person by my father. I was about four or five in the dream. It was not the attack in itself that left me with these feelings, but rather the look my mother gave me shortly afterwards – making me feel like a specimen in a jar. In the dream I sensed she had refused to be his wife fully, until he had got us into our own home again. I sense she is blaming me for not being able to continue with this threat, and that once more she will have to suffer my father’s attentions because of me. There is no one to help me so I decide to leave. I pack a small case, which I believe someone gets for me. In reality I did try to leave home at this age but got no further than the bus stop across the road. Maria.

Maria gives no indication of whether she was abused by her father, but the dream is certainly dealing with the sexual politics of her parents.

Example: Several men attacked me and were trying to drag me off somewhere against my will. As the dream progressed, or replayed, I began to realise that it only appeared like an attack because I was resisting the process. In fact the men wanted to show me something that was important to me. They were being quite gentle, but because of my resistance, it felt to me like an aggressive act. My thoughts about this are that this may represent the way I feel about events. Because of underlying anxiety, I feel events and changes, such as losing my job are very threatening and difficult to bear. In fact no harm has come from these events at all. The dream suggests that I am being led somewhere if only I would go along with things. Albie R.

Sometimes it is our response to the action that makes it appear like an attack. So it is worthwhile entering the dream again in imagination and exploring it – try Acting on your dream.

Useful Questions and Hints:

If I take the images away what are my feelings about the attack, and where am I meeting those feelings?

Is there any way I can change this dream? For help doing this see Carrying the Dream Forward.

What are the underlying issues here?



-shanon 2013-12-28 16:14:27

my husband had a dream of me being attacked by four men and him fighting to get to me but couldnt then awoke swinging and sweating.can u please help me to understand what it means


-Shannon 2014-03-30 16:44:38

I dreamed that I was bitten on my left hand by an obviously injured black wolf..or werewolf. Our eyes met…then the wolf attacked. I fought and got away…then woke up.


-jinx 2014-04-14 17:34:37

I am 11 and I often have dreams where I’m being attacked or falling or being chased. Although I am young I still have awful dreams. I have these dreams nearly every night. I want to seek help from someone but my parents don’t agree. bso I have seemed help from the internet. This has really helped me.


    -Tony Crisp 2014-04-15 8:25:59

    Dear Jinx – First you need to understand a great deal about dreaming. For instance whenever we dream its images are not like real life. because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear. So all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind.

    But in another sense the things that are attacking you or chasing you are very real, but not as outside people of things. They are real because they are your own fears, lack of confidence or worries that can do you harm. They are as harmful as outside attackers because they can ruin the way you response to opportunity or events. See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/. Also see http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/questions-2/#Summing

    I don’t know if it helps to read http://dreamhawk.com/news/avoiding-being-my-own-victim/ or even http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/secrets-power-dreaming/

    But you can certainly change the dreams you have by understanding them and developing a different attitude. You are much bigger and stronger than you realise, and can grow into a beautiful woman.



-Haylee 2014-06-10 15:39:58

I had this dream that I was hoping someone could explain because it scared me like crazy. what you first have to understand is that in my dreams I feel things as if it were real life. If you were to cut me in the dream, I would feel the burn and sting of the cut as if it was really happening. With that said, this dream was very painful and very easily terrifying. okay, so as the dream began, I was preparing for a battle. two pairs of people were facing off far away from me. Two people on one side and two on the other and they slowly walked towards each other. I ran to my house and there was a box of swords and knives but all of them were too short of a blade except one. I grabbed the sword and ran down the street to where the people were. one pair of people were standing up looking off in the distance. I followed their gaze and saw that one pair wasn’t all there. one member was a girl who sat facing away from the others. she sat looking at this sack that was writhing around and thrashing. I looked back at the two people who were standing and they told me she had killed her other teammate. I looked over to where she was and instead of facing away and sitting down she was standing and staring straight at me. never breaking eye contact with me she bent closer to the moving bag and stabbed it, twisting the knife, until it stopped moving. I had to choke down a scream. She came back over to me, looking sad and guilty, and tried to hug me. I figured I would try to distract her so the other two people could call the police. she stopped short and said, “you might not want to do that.” she looked at the two people and screamed, “ill kill her two! I have the knife to do it!” she lunged at my stomach with the knife but i blocked and stumbled to the side. she kept swinging her blade, occasionally striking me and leaving a long red bloody gash at her target. this is where it was obviously painful because my skin was burning with every cut. I tried to fight back but was overtaken. she cut me again and again, never letting up speed or strength. she was mercilessly swinging her knife at me, first giving me a multitude of deep gashes on my stomach and then aimlessly swinging and hitting my arms that I had raised up to protect myself. I begged her to stop but she said, “you know you want this, you have scars to prove it, you’re used to this!” (in case this part doesn’t make sense, I used to self harm but I have been clean for a long time now and m fully recovered so she is referring to the scars on my arms) she laughed at me as if this was all some big joke. as if my flesh was her toy that she could rip apart at any moment. eventually the only thing keeping me alive was that I desperately held onto the sleeves of a jacket I was wearing what made her slashes against my arms a bit more dull. I tried to run but wherever I ran she would already be standing there and was way faster than me. wherever we were she was always swinging her knife and it continuously hit me and caused more burning and another bleeding gash. I ran into a house, and she followed. she had me against a wall and was still trying to drive her knife through my stomach. at this point I was aware that it was a dream and I was trying my hardest to wake up before she stabbed me again. I slammed my eyes shut and tried to visualize my room and wake myself up (I wake up by either falling asleep in dreams, visualizing myself awake, or dying in dreams), eventually I wrestled the knife out of her hand and threw it to the ground. she wrapped her hands around my throat saying “if I cant stab you to death ill f***ing choke you to death!!!” (sorry for the word, im just saying it as exact as it happened in the dream). I allowed her to do this because I figured that choking hurt WAY less that stabbing but it would eventually wake me up. I could feel reality, I could feel my bed and it was quiet. I opened my eyes, thinking I was awake, but came face to face with the lady as she pulled on my shoulders and pulled me back into the dream. she screamed at me, “you cant leave me! im not done with you yet, you’re not allowed to leave your way! you’ll leave MY way!” she grabbed her knife off the ground and tried to stab me again, I caught the knife and held the blade with my hand. it was painful, and blood was pouring from my palm as I forced the knife away from my stomach. she screamed at me again but with my free hand I punched her in the solar plexus and again in the jaw. she stumbled back, releasing the knife in my hand. she fell onto her back but got up again to charge me, I grabbed her by her hair and repeatedly swung her head around, hitting as many blunt objects as I could. trying my hardest to knock her out long enough so I could escape, trying to subdue her. I hit her head against the bedframe, dresser corner, and even the wall. she kept screaming but I wouldn’t stop. not until she was unconcoius, that was all I needed. it was then that fighting seemed inevitable so I threw her into the bed and stabbed her in the stomach, dragging the knife across her mideseciton. she thrashed around wildly and I slit her throat, drawing a long red bleeding gash across her neck. she smiled at me evilly, twitching and thrashing around. I cut deeper in her throat until she was still. I looked beside me and saw the two people from the clearing, both nodded at me in approval. Blood poured from my many cuts and stab wounds, and I passed out in the dream. then I woke up from the dream and was in bed like normal.
if you want to know description of this lady, she looked anywhere ranging from 18-25 had long, straight platinum blonde hair. her cheeks were hollow and sunken in. she had pointed features and was very tall (6ft) and was thin but muscular.
I was just hoping for some sort of explanation because this dream was so vivid and I felt it all. honestly it scared the living crap out of me. like to the point of tears. I was just wondering what it might have meant.
thanks for reading, sorry its so long and confusing.


    -Tony Crisp 2014-06-12 7:31:16

    Haylee – There is too much going on in your dream to make sensible comments on. But it seems certain you have a conflict happening inside you that may have arisen from the relationship with your mother or another woman.

    Although you say you have dealt with the self harm, there is still a great deal going on under the surface. You have had a rough time and the dreams are trying to help you. But please read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/questions-2/#Summing

    In a way you do not have to fight the people in your dreams because really they can do you no harm, so given way to them is a show of your tremendous power. Fighting them shows you are still afraid of them. Here is someone’s dream showing what I mean – “Recently I dreamt or saw myself attacked by a man with a sword. He hacked off my arms and I was simply watching him with a sense of being awareness that could easily put out other arms. I was bodiless consciousness and nothing could hurt me.”

    You see you can easily do the same in dreams as you overcome your fear. See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/

    Also it might help if you used slow breathing for some weeks as this quietens your inner noise. See http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/the-slow-breath/



-shalu 2014-08-07 23:08:47

I just had a dream and I want someone to helo me know it’s meaning and the dream was that a mob is chasing me,few of them were my friends,I was running,hiding from them,but at last they caught me.Two dogs,one was mine, in the dream,they were happy to meet to each other.people drag me to court then,no one gives support to me,I havent done anything, but still my mother doesn’t talk to me,my father had not spoken to me even once,all my friends and loving one’s look at me with disdain and turn away their face from me.I found myself going to a corner and weeping,when my teacher came to me consoling,my mother enters the scene and says that then is not the time to console,tell us what to do.Then,I was unable to utter a single word,I start crying uncontrollably,one of my classmate who is not at all my friend tries to persuade me. Then I woke up from my dream crying badly.
Please help me.


-MELISSA 2014-08-08 12:45:00

My Best Friend had a dream that we (just her & I) were walking through the woods down a gravel road talking when a bear came upon us. We started running back to the car, she got in the driver side, I tried to get in the passenger side & could not get the door open, the bear clawed my back I was bleeding badly when she got the door open & dragged me in. we were terrified & screaming. The bear then went to the her side of the car & was clawing the car & trying to get to her. She got the car started & started to backup when looking back she noticed that the bear had turned into a man, clear as day it was a man. Then she woke up terrified. Can you help explain what this may mean?


    -Tony Crisp 2014-08-10 12:42:39

    Melissa – We sometimes use the bear to represent our feelings of being aggressively attacked. And you in the dream is not about you at all, but is about the feelings she has about you, the sort of person you are for her. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/characters-or-people-in-dreams/

    And the dream represents her fear of men, a fear that turns men or a man into a killer bear. Not good fear to have.



-Ryan 2014-08-24 10:45:54

I’ve been having this dream for the past couple of day that has been picking up where I woke up each time, there is this spirit following my family and slowly killing off everyone around me. No matter what we do it seems we can never be safe from it, this is the first time I have ever had a dream pick up where I left off and it’s been doing this the past three days, even when I take little naps. Anyone know what this means?


-Ashley 2014-09-04 5:11:28

We had just put the baby to bed. I go out to see my boyfriend was cooking steak on the balcony I come back in the room and see a deer I scream and duck it’s hoof or leg hits me then it goes to the balcony jumps behind him over the balcony. He goes after it and tries to chase it but gets very close and falls then comes back. I see if he’s ok then scold him for chasing it. Feeling overwhelmed we go lay in the babies room with the door cracked lights on and deer comes running back in right for me. I somehow end up holding it’s antlers back while Ko has it’s legs/body were trying to keep it away from the baby and I’m screaming for him to get a knife but I know he can’t let go. Then I realize I’m dreaming and wake up


-Ashley 2014-09-04 5:12:03

We had just put the baby to bed. I go out to see my boyfriend was cooking steak on the balcony I come back in the room and see a deer I scream and duck it’s hoof or leg hits me then it goes to the balcony jumps behind him over the balcony. He goes after it and tries to chase it but gets very close and falls then comes back. I see if he’s ok then immediately scold him for chasing it. Feeling overwhelmed we go lay in the babies room with the door cracked lights on and deer comes running back in right for me. I somehow end up holding it’s antlers back while my boyfriend has it’s legs/body were trying to keep it away from the baby and I’m screaming for him to get a knife but I know he can’t let go. Then I realize I’m dreaming and wake up


-Steph 2014-09-22 5:02:28

Dreamt about a curch. People had some sort of virus if you got in contact with it then you’ll get blood hungry and farel like. You had to bash their heads in inorder for them to die. It was sad. People used everything they could in order to kill off these people. Crazy thing almost like in the second half of my dream the devil was there in human form and I sprayed him with wipped cream in the face as a joke. Sad to say there were more of those things and i even removed the lock that was on the door of the church. The owner then took the door to her house many years on and I stood infront of tis newly painted door and a lock which is from the devil and I asked my husband are we waiting for the dvd or are we going to see it at the movies. The date was 1 Aug which is long gone. Haha


-Fae 2014-09-27 13:43:40

Thanks for this. I had a vivid nightmare were a bear attached my dad and tore him apart to the point were a doctor said he was so light from missing so much of his body they could pick him up with one arm. It was scary and I couldn’t think of why.

This article helped me calm down knowing it is because my parents refuse to communicate so I have to distance myself from them and not something more sinister.


-Elizabeth 2014-10-01 12:28:18

Im hoping someone can help me, last night I dreamt my husband tried to stab me in the eyes with 3 screwdrivers.
I dreamt we was in bed, he leant over me to reach for something, then sat on me and tried to stab me in the eyes first with 1 green screwdriver I was fighting him off saying not my eyes he then got another 2 one was red; I don’t know the colour if the 3rd one, I’d like to try and make sence of this dream because I feel it means something


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