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This is about either a shell you have to protect your vulnerability, or that you have lost your protective shell and so are very vulnerable. Crabs can also sometimes indicate fear or strong emotion causing tension within, especially abdominally. This may be due to fear or guilt of sensual pleasure. It may also represent outer hardness or cynicism covering inner softness; or outer hardness and graspingness in life. If the crab is threatening someone it points to a desire to cause pain to others.

The shell of brittle emotions we guard ourselves with grasping or hurtful attitudes. Fear or strong emotion causing tension within, especially abdominally. Or a desire to cause pain to others; or a tendency to hold onto things, especially too long or in a manner that is painful to one’s self or others.

Claws are tenacious and clinging. which can indicate something about the relationships the dreamer is in, especially with the opposite sex.

Hadfield (1954) in his book Dreams and Nightmares suggests that crab, spider and vampire images represent the visceral objectifications of the bodily feelings associated with orgasm. The crab portrays the changes in visceral and abdominal muscles which produce a gripping sensation; the relaxed feelings following orgasm are represented by the sprawling legs and soft underbelly of the spider image; the washed-out feeling of fatigue, as though the blood had been sucked dry, is externalized by a vampire figure.

Lacking shell: Our naked vulnerability.

Being nipped by crab: Physical or psychosomatic pain or even illness caused by being too tight or self protective. See: shell fish under fish.

Example: I say to her, I don’t want fireworks. She continues to express with enthusiasm how wonderful fireworks are. I say if you want this, you buy it. I then ask her if she wants to hold the crab as it is trying to snip me. She says no thanks. I carry it looking for a place to get rid of it or put it down.

Example: I went upstairs, felt the need to undress completely, and stood looking at myself in the mirror for a minute or so. I looked as if I had been working hard – which I had in my sexual life of late, with such a lot of release. Looking at my arms I saw what huge appendages they are. I was reminded of the fiddler crab with its great claw. My right arm reminded me of a great powerful piece of equipment or tool I carried about. It looked pretty heavy.

Useful Questions and Hints:

What is my dream about the crab describing? See – Dream Action

Am I aware of feeling either vulnerable or of protecting myself against hurt?

What is the crab doing or being in my dream?

See Learning to Allow Yourself - Techniques for Exploring your DreamsAssociations Working With



-jamie 2014-11-07 5:11:11

I have just uncovered at 40 that I have been living in a narcisstic nest of parents and a recent parter who aslo abused me etc. I thought I was going crazy and finally realised by researching and educating myself that there was more to it. The strange thing is I last night had a dream that my face became covered in shell like a crab, my entire head. It was painful and I knew I could not walk around like this and started to crack it open it took ages and finally I removed it and I was so injured underneath but at least it was exposed to air and could start healing as it was rather injured under the shell. I would like your thoughts on this and if there is a connection, it seems there is.


-Grant 2014-12-17 2:21:00

Had a dream that a bug burrowed into my arm I pinched it and it squished inside my forarm then crab spider like things started tearing through my arm flesh and I kept pulling them off and throwing them down. What’s this mean?


-Cecelia 2014-12-17 12:34:50

Dear Jamie
I just had a very similar dream, though not quit as intense. I too was growing crab shell on my face and picking it off as they grew on.
Blessing to you in your healing process.


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