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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?



-Becca 2015-08-28 14:40:49

I frequently have nightmares about viciously attacking my own mother before she attacks me first. In the dream, no matter how hard i try she is never harmed no matter how brutal my attack is. There is also usually a lot of crying on my part in the dream, while her portrayal is usually malicious and taunting. I just woke up from a dream like this 20 minutes ago.


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-08-31 10:28:24

    Dear Becca – I believe that in your dreams you have given your (inner) mother the role of the inner critic.
    See also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/mother-mum-ma/#InnerMother
    The strategy you apply in your dreams is that “attack is the best form of defence”. Because your dreams do not change, I think it is worthwhile questioning this approach by exploring other ways and see how they work out for you.
    Because your inner mother is a part of your inner family, I feel it will be more helpful to try to solve this inner conflict.
    You could explore if you can learn to communicate with this part of your inner world and explain to “her” what it is that you need.
    For instance; “I need to feel loved by you for the fact that I AM a part of Life, not for what I DO in life.
    I need you to stop judging me, because it robs me of my innate goodness, worth, talent, values, and ability”.
    A useful tool to explore this way of working with your dreams is called Power Dreaming.
    So while awake and relaxed imagine yourself back in the dream and continue it as fantasy or a daydream and move it toward satisfaction. Alter the dream in any way; experiment with it; play with it, until you find a way to fully feel at ease with it. In doing this you must not ignore the feelings of resistance and spontaneous emotion and fantasy that may occur. Satisfaction comes only when you have found a way of integrating these into your conscious imagining.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/secrets-power-dreaming/
    Does that give you a start?
    Anna :-)


-Ben 2015-09-01 20:36:10

Please can someone analyse my dream,
I was sat outside my house on a longish table and on a chair, a girl I like is suddenly opposite me (I text her before I fell asleep and have been thinking if I want a relationship with her slot recently) anyway, I have a book in front of me to do with driving one of the only pages I rememebr is ‘preperation for secondary stopping’ I don’t even think this is a real thing. I ask her why she is out late and her mum will go mad she replies something along the lines of ‘sometimes you just have too’ she shortly goes and for some reason she runs off down the street with me running (normally) after her and I force a kiss out of her. Somehow I then take a pill (drug) not like a medical sort, I have never taken one before however have been offered a lot in the past 5 days, at first it makes me happy, a car come into the street blinded me people jumped out and I began to worry and get skittish, they both are people I consider friends however not exactly close with every time they got close their face changed I think and I suddenly thought I was going to get attacked (jumped) but when they stood with a good size comfort zone I was happy enough around them.
Thanks in advance much appreciated.


-Frankie 2015-10-26 17:40:50

Can someone help me with this dream? I have dreams with similar happenings at least once every 2-3days.

In my dream I see a group of men attacking a young girl, with the intentions of sexually assaulting her.

I run up, free the girl, and then the men turn their attention to me. In my dreams I always end up murdering all of the men.

I’ve never been sexually assaulted in my life, so I have no idea where this stems from.


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-10-27 9:37:22

    Dear Frankie – Sexual assault in a dream can depict the real evil of other people who disregard your personal needs and feelings, abusing not only your body, but particularly you as a ‘person’. Sometimes a sexual assault in a dream can mean that you are overcome by events, by other people dominating you, or by your own internal unwanted emotions.
    Please also read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/sex-and-dreams/
    In general dreams recur because there are ways you habitually respond to your internal or external world. Because your attitude or response is unchanging, the dream that reflects it remains the same. It is noticeable in those who explore their dreams using such techniques as described under processing dreams – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/processing-dreams/ – that recurring themes disappear or change because the attitudes or habitual anxieties that gave rise to them have been met or transformed.
    Your recurring dreams suggest that you have not found the right approach yet to this (inner) conflict .
    Killing these men could be a symbol of repressing or killing aspects of yourself, so you might want to explore different ways of dealing with this situation in your (inner) life.
    Anna :-)


-Mary 2015-11-02 3:41:24

I am having reoccurring dreams about being pregnant with my husbands child. All of them are the the same…I’m walking alone and someone is following me. I try to call my husband for help but he never answers. I then get attack by whoever is following me. It’s usually someone from his past that is attacking me, saying I’m not allowed to have his baby. And this last time, I dreamt it was actually my husband attacking me in this time.


    -Tony Crisp 2015-11-02 9:37:16

    Mary – First of all you must realise that when you dream you are not only receiving information from the outer world of your senses but from your inner world. Most people do not realise that their inner world is often more important than the outer world. See http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/#MakesInner

    This means that you may not realise that you have an inner husband equally as powerful as an external husband. You have taken in millions of bit of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences, along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with your husband, and they are what makes you the person you are. This is true even if your husband was never there for you – you still have all the memories of him not being there for you filed under ‘husband’. The memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. Such an inner husband can appear in dreams because you are deeply influenced by what you hold within you.

    It seems obvious from the description of your dream that it is not your outer husband causing the problem in your dream. So what memories or past experiences are linked with your feelings of protecting your baby? Take time with this.

    Perhaps you also need to realise that a dreamt of baby usually represent a new aspect of you wants to emerge in your life – perhaps a new ability or interest, but even a part of you, you never allowed expression because of other duties or marriage. See http://dreamhawk.com/pregnancy-childbirth/the-baby-in-your-dream/

    It is innate in women to dream of being creative and giving birth in their dreams. So I believe that such a baby is a very real part of you – though an inner and not always an outer part. It is because you are a female mammal and females are designed to have babies – it is instinctive and unavoidable to at least dream of creating a child. You developed in this way because you are a creature of evolution.
    But your baby can be creative in new ways such as the urge toward social actions, in caring for others, in creative art work, such as writing or music, or ways beyond counting.



-Joe S 2015-11-10 19:32:56

I have recurring dreams of being attacked whether at my car or apartment by one or more individuals. It is a typical home invasion/robbery. Most of the time I am properly equipped to defend myself, but when it comes down to it, I cannot defend myself. My attempts all ultimately fail. What is going on in my poor brain? (Several months ago I made the decision to protect myself with a gun carry permit and person defense firearm. I believe I am proficient with my firearm, and my heart is in the right place.)


    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2015-11-11 10:29:51

    Dear Joe S – In general dreams recur because there are ways the dreamer habitually responds to their internal or external world. Because their attitude or response is unchanging, the dream that reflects it remains the same. It is noticeable in those who explore their dreams using such techniques as described under processing dreams – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/processing-dreams/ – that recurring themes disappear or change because the attitudes or habitual anxieties that gave rise to them have been met or transformed.
    Dreams about home invasion/robbery might indicate fears or difficult emotions arising from within you in a way that threatens you. If this applies it could indicate neglected parts of yourself which if met could enlarge who you are as a person.
    The burglars might also suggest the loss of valuable talents or qualities that you have robbed yourself of through your behaviour – or been robbed of in some way during your growth and development.
    So the first step could be to bring your decision to “see” the threat in the outside world back to where it belongs; in your inner world; http://dreamhawk.com/inner-life/inner-world/#MakesInner
    Neglected parts are also called “the Shadow” and we often tend to project it; http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/projection/
    The Shadow is any part of ourselves that we reject, and so do not allow sufficient expression in our life. We may so dislike aspects of our nature we fail to recognise them altogether and instead see them in other people and criticise them.
    The shadow develops in us, according to Jolande Jacobi, because as we grow and absorb our culture, we naturally repress parts of our nature as they are not acceptable to parents or society.
    See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/the-archetype-of-the-shadow/
    Anna :-)


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