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?


-Regene 2016-05-27 5:24:12

I had a dream that many people were in my house and one of them could turn invisible. This person was a white redhead man. He turned invisible and caused me to look crazy in front of family members and everyone else. Finally I managed to prove he was doing so, and we were in the process of leaving the house when I needed to get something, and I asked two other people to come with me. He touched my ass and they saw my ass moving and knew that it was him. He trapped us in multiple areas of my house. He let us go on the condition that I would make it a YouTube video and monetise it. We left the house and I tried to lock the door, but the keyhole was empty and the door seemed to be stuck in the middle of the purple yoga ball we have at home. His face was at the keyhole and he was screaming for help to get out. That was when I took my phone out to call 911 while he kept threatening me with his previous exploits. That was when I woke up.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-30 9:38:45

    Dear Regene – Becoming invisible, or appearing out of nowhere suggests something emerging from the unconscious, being forgotten, or relating to the unconscious; or hidden influences – as when touching dimensions of experience states of consciousness usually unknown.
    The redhead man may therefore symbolise passionate or sexual thoughts, feelings or memories that you have not allowed sufficient expression in your waking life.
    This part of you desperately wants to be freed so that any blocked energy can flow again which will also make “him manageable”.
    It is very difficult to manage a self – a part of your inner male in your inner world – when it/he is not allowed any expression in an open way, symbolised by the YouTube video and when it is not valued for what it/he has to offer you; monetise it;
    If you do not meet this character and manage him in your life, he will certainly manage you, and lead you into relationship tangles, emotional responses and actions that are not what you choose to be or feel.
    Not being able to close the door anymore I see as a positive step. So with what intention do you use the purple Yoga ball in your waking life?
    See also
    A way towards meeting “him”, opening up again and inner release is
    Please also read
    Anna 🙂

-Lauralyn 2016-05-26 9:22:12

I keep having this re occuring dream that i meet this kid and take him to the grocery store and he’s stealing and acting weird. He stole a washer and dryer from the store. And then met some of his guys friends outside. And they were all trying to steal different things. I got nervous and then someone texted me and asked if I needed a ride home. So she took me, but when I went inside she didn’t leave. Them a bunch of older men show up with bats and metal rods. So I get my dad and he goes,out with me. And we fight all of them off. But they attacked,my dog, and when I hit them back, I was hitting them with a huge,metal crow bar. It was making them bleed but it wasn’t stopping them. Then after that scene. Im inside with my mom and the first kid I mentioned comes in, uses my bathroom, then attacks my mom and I wake up. I dont get this and it’s freaking me out. I wake up sweating and so scared and paranoid l.p.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-30 8:14:36

    Dear Lauralyn – Dreams are a magical mirror in which your innermost hopes, longings, fears/terrors and genius are made real. They are made real as external environments, people, animals and relationships. So the person you dreamt about is not them, but is a dream image made out of your feelings and memories.
    Unfortunately this wonderful virtual reality world is usually felt as dealing with other people, as externals, like something that can damage you, or something like the Devil that can possess you. But the greatest truth I have found in exploring dreams – not interpreting them – is that we are alone with ourselves in the world of our dream. The terrors you dream about are actually your past hurts or fears that you have not faced presenting themselves for you to heal.
    So why not explore the symbols in your dream?
    The “worst” that can happen is that you lose your fear for the conflicts in your inner world and that your recurring dream will be transformed or changed;
    Another approach could be to use
    I believe that by letting things happen without criticism or interference, we can actually allow the dream process to break through into waking life and express in full body movements, speech, a dramatic theme, and deeply felt emotions. We begin to be aware of things that usually happen to our psyche only while we sleep. Our consciousness is expanded to the point where it includes a realm of experience that is in many ways different from our waking world. In quite a real sense we begin to ‘wake up’ in what was sleep. We start to become explorers of the unconscious. As exciting as that is, it might not have much point, apart from a novelty, if it were not for the many possibilities the awakening holds.
    Many therapeutic approaches completely overlook this fundamental process of self-healing through physical movement. Many traumatic experiences, from birth through to medical operations, are deeply physical. Tensions in our body do not simply melt away. Often the desires, anger and movements that are linked with the original episode need to be expressed and released in some way. Apart from that, body and mind are not separate. They are intimately meshed, and what needs to be felt with one is expressed with the other.
    Therefore, the opening to this process of self-regulation takes you into and through the jungle of your inner fears and strengths. But more important than anything else, it opens you to the influence of the transcendent principle that is at your core. That transcendent influence leads you into becoming a new being.
    Anna 🙂

-Lance 2016-05-05 22:18:49

I was dreaming about being in school when i noticed everything was opposite than in real life. Like the toilets were supposed to be facing this way but is facing another way. I realised i was dreaming and when i told it to a dream character, that i am dreaming. Everyone there faces’ turned blurry and they started to brutally attack me. I was woken up and my whole body was numb and i was unable to move for 10 min. What is this dream help please i am now terrified to sleep. Ps i could feel actual pain of being punched and scratched in the dream.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-09 14:20:20

    Dear Lance – Unfortunately you do not share if this is the first time that you become aware that you are dreaming, which is also called lucidity;
    If so then the attack could mean that some of your beliefs are under attack, now that you have entered a lucid experience that shows you the opposite of what you have experienced so far; you do not lose your sense of self in your dream anymore; you are aware!!
    This condition, usually called ‘lucid dreaming’, holds within it enormous possibilities that are generally unavailable in waking time, sleep or dreaming.
    I trust that reading the book lucid dreaming will give you a different perception, as will reading
    Anna 🙂

-David 2016-05-05 13:35:00

Im having this reoccurring dream. Its in the time frame of the salem witch trials. I see the burning of the bulidings and the masses of people running in fear. As the dream continues forth, I see that the people in terror are friends and loved ones running from me.

However the ones I see before me the most are my siblings my dad and lastly my mother. One by one I strike a fatal blow to these people…till I come to my mother.

She kneels her hands out holding a key. This key is silver with a broken heart shaped end. She holds it and seems to be in prayer before she utters the words…You are one atlast.

Translation if any?

-Tracy 2016-04-17 23:50:26

I had a nightmare and I woke up so scared. The beginning of the dream was I was buying a dishwasher and had to collect it I was suddenly at a pub where a old friend turned up to work there and my two sisters were there I had trouble with the dishwasher getting it in my car so my sis offered to take it in her car and we was to meet at my parents house we couldn’t leave straight away as my car was blocked in the matter was solved really quickly with the person moving the car all of a sudden I approach some traffic lights this teenager put his hands through my window which was undone trying to strangle me saying can’t you see the road the lights turned green straight away so I drove off in panic the boy still had his hands around my neck and verbally abusing me he was being dragged along by my car he wouldnt let go I came to a stop outside a pub as couldn’t drive due to being attacked by this boy there was people outside the pub next thing I’m out the car the boy had gone I asked the people if they knew who it was and they knew next thing I no I’m getting threats on Facebook I finally arrived back at my parents house but it was the old family home in the meantime I had received a voicemail from my mum who was upset saying I need to phone Dad asap I walked into the house and my sisters were there looking pissed off as wondering where I had got to I explained I had been attacked then I asked what’s wrong my mum informed me that her sister had cancer and they were operating straight away in a hysterectomy I was in bits and scared of the attack next thing my sisters friend comes in and systems don’t go out there are people out there and there not happy my sister looked really scared and wouldn’t go outside as she was ready to go home it was the same person who attacked me at the lights I was even more scared at this point then I woke up.
What does this mean I had visited a museum that day and remember looking in depth at this mummy could there be any connection please help me to interpreate this nightmare

-Rick 2016-04-12 14:26:00

My wife had a dream that our son’s girlfriend (a freshman in college, he’s a sophmore) attacked my wife in front of the theater playing Hamilton (the new musical in NYC), and she lay dying.

Thank you so much. She is really scared.


-Briana 2016-04-11 13:51:27

I had a dream that I was watching a guy friend that I’ve only known for a little while being what I thought was sexually assaulted by an older man ( my guy friend is gay)….. I cannot remember if I was hidden or not, but when I confronted my friend and told him that he needed to report it to someone or I was going to tell someone about it he told me “no no its ok, I wanted him to” I still had a feeling that it was inappropriate and he didnt really want it

But my biggest concern is why am I having a dream about watching what I thought was a homosexual attack…….. or if not an attack a homosexual encounter?

I have many gay friends and would consider myself in the “questioning” category but witnessing a rape doesn’t seem right…

-Payal Mukherjee Basak 2016-03-18 5:51:06


I am now 3 months pregnant. Yesterday night I have seen a bad dream. Generally I am very kind girl towards animals. I love cats & dogs. But in my dream I saw that two unknown persons were disturbing a
cat family. I was passing from there then & suddenly
a black & white cat jumped on me & tried to bite me..
Being scared & in Self defense I have killed the

What is the meaning of this dream???

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-03-23 10:32:38

    Dear Payal Mukherjee Basak – When you are pregnant your body and psyche go through unprecedented changes which are reflected by the two unknown persons in your dream.
    In the first trimester of pregnancy, your oestrogen and progesterone levels rise and this may cause symptoms in early pregnancy that may lower your sexual desire.
    Around week 10 this will change again and with the drop off of the increased hormone levels, your sex drive may increase in ways that you have not met before.
    Your dream may reflect that you are afraid of this unexpected change and so you rather not express this new sexual self and therefore you “kill it”.
    See also
    Anna 🙂

    -Beth 2016-04-28 9:56:14

    Hello. I have had multiple dreams throughout the last few years where I end up becoming extremely angry with my mother and I end up beating her (pushing, pulling, hitting) being extremely belligerent and disrespectful verbally to her. In these dreams I know that I am behaving horribly and even though I am my current age (49) in the dream but I behave that way anyway, as if I am an angry, raging teenager inside. I only dream about doing this with her which is strange to me because as far as I can remember, she is the only one in my family who has never hurt me emotionally. If I was going to have dreams about attacking family members I would think it would be my father or my sister. Anyway this disturbs me quite a bit when I wake up and makes me feel uncomfortable for quite a while. Any insight you can give would be helpful. I know I love my mother with all my heart but I really don’t understand why I am having this recurring event in my dreams.

      -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-05-04 11:05:57

      Dear Beth – Because you describe your behaviour “as if I am an angry, raging teenager inside”, your dreams could reflect that a part of you – your inner adolescent – is expressing her needs to let go emotionally and escape the influence of your inner mother and probably also your mother in your waking life;
      The process of becoming a self-aware and independent human being is not age dependant and menopause and adolescence may show the same similarities in “rites of passage”.
      Did you become rebellious and did you have to deal with intense emotional responses as an adolescent too?
      See also
      You wrote that “If I was going to have dreams about attacking family members I would think it would be my father or my sister”.
      This may help too;
      Anna 🙂

-david jm santos 2016-03-17 22:53:59

i had have a nightmare of a dark figure attacking me wiith a hammer.It was crawlling near the wall and straight into my head.I defende my self bravely,the i scream and i woke up. It was on 13.mar.2016,2 days later my beloved cat desapear,for 2 days i cannot find him.This cat was rescued from a park on 13 aug.2015,he is about 9months old.Does the dream has a kind of warning because of the dates’?
david j

-Marissa 2016-03-06 6:18:54

One time I had a dream where I was at school. A news cast came on and had said that my state was being attacked. My class rushed outside. This wasn’t the school I went to. It was a very tiny building. When we got outside it was a big flat field and kinda dark. The sky had black cloud like things and there was a little sky that was colored orange. One of my teachers pointed towards some fireworks going off and she said ” There are the prayers.” Then the dream ended. I tried going back to sleep to see the dream again and it wouldn’t work. It seemed so real. It was so vivid. I remember like all of that dream. What does it mean?

-letitia 2016-03-02 6:40:31

Hi, the last few nights i keep having dreams where i am under attack. There are explosions, but i dont know where is safe to go. People try to help each other, but those people helping, turn out to be the attackers and keep killing everyone. What does this mean?

-Kjb86 2016-02-26 20:42:40

I just woke up from a dream where i was in a carpark of a pub in the same suburb i grew up in as a child. I was with a couple of friends and i get a phone call to say someone is out to get me due to something i had done (however i had no understanding of the situation ) next thing a rather large young man rocks up, holding a baseball bat and starts chasing and threatening me. I run but start calling for help , as i am running someone who i cant picture or remember is battling the guy as I run. Im yelling for a security guard and as i reach the security guard the man chasing me drops his weapon, i then confront him and scare him, i ask him why me? To which he replies he was told i was the one doing him wrong, i ask how he knows if its me, he replies that he was shown video footage of me on the day in question leaving a dentist studio, which happens to be my childhood dentist but i have now moved areas, i tell him this, yell at him to leave and he does! Then i wake up

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-03-02 11:00:00

    Dear Kirsten – What I see in your dream is that your dream figure is confronted with an inner conflict between you and your inner male, which could bring you closer to the conflicts and pains connected with your father and/or other men.
    You try to protect yourself from becoming aware, from feeling, by running away and when you meet your inner male you tell him that you have now “moved areas”.
    It will be helpful to explore what you mean with having moved areas – – and if you feel that by this action you have truly dealt with your past, which might still be influencing you in ways you are not aware of;
    Your inner male knows things that you might have repressed because he was shown a video footage.
    In filmmaking and video production, footage is the raw, unedited material as it had been originally filmed by movie camera or recorded by a video camera.
    In dreams a film is a symbol for a way of looking at a part of your past or your behaviour or experimenting with feelings and your dream suggests looking at it by using the “unedited version”.
    Much of the time we edit or control what we allow ourselves to think or feel. Dropping this form of judgment, if only for short periods while you open to the mystery you are, is important. At first it may cause some concern because you are unblocking part of the flow, and it may start pushing out some of the attitudes, past experiences and habits that have been blocking your greater flow. Usually those things would have been cleansed in the normal LifeStream, but unconscious tensions and resistances prevent the healing. This is why we have to consciously take in hand the work of dropping our self-control for periods of time;
    Anna 🙂

-eugene 2016-02-20 15:20:04

I am having this same dream and in my dream I am tied up laying on the floor and I can’t get lose and these two masked men are toying with me and occasionally beating me but towards the end of the dream they bring my fiancée and my daughter (I have no children in real life) out in front of me and blow their heads off with a shotgun and continue to laugh about it and tell me how helpless I am to stop them and how they are going to kill the rest of my family. The dream feels so real that I can feel the rop es against my skin and even smell the blood of my fiancée and my nonexistent child. I wake up screaming, crying, mad, and a feeling of helplessness I can’t shake.

-Alyssa 2016-02-15 14:35:08

I am a soldier and my fiancé is on a deployment. Last night, I had a dream where my Unit where I work besieged by terrorists. We were given weapons and patrol routes in our own compound. We found the leader and had to take him out. I did not to that, but I did pull security and killed many others. It was night time when my dream started, so I don’t know if I killed the enemy or my own. My dream continued into the daytime, where we were put on high alert for anything suspicious. On my fiancé I found an insect I had never seen before. I alerted her of it and we were immediately put into quarantine and monitored. I woke up shortly after they started coming into the quarantine zone for people. I’m very worried about what this dream could mean, I don’t often dream for so long with the same people in my dream or in one long connecting line.

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-02-19 16:14:43

    Dear Alyssa – In the world of dreams your most intimate fears and longings are given an exterior life of their own in the form of the people, objects and places of our dream.
    Every image and person in your dreams is an expression of your own life process. As such it is alive and intelligent and is something sent to help you. A dream is like a projection from a movie projector, except that you are the projector.
    I believe that being besieged by terrorists reflects your belief that there are untraceable and unstoppable forces that manage to create terror inside you.
    Finding the leader and taking him out of his hiding place is like bringing all these thoughts and feelings into the light, where they can be recognized and openly dealt with; traced and stopped;
    You did not do that and decided to kill – to repress – your thoughts and feelings, without knowing what thoughts and feelings you are repressing.
    The enemy reflects a person or group you are pitted against and so represent something, probably within yourself, that you are in conflict with. The enemy reflect parts of yourselves you struggle with. Jung called this the Shadow, the aspects of yourself that you are frightened of, or repress for one reason or another. Enemies in dreams usually refer to some facet of this;
    “High alert for anything suspicious” reflects a great deal of stress, maybe because you cannot distinguish what is “your inner enemy” – your own shadow that you project onto others – and what is “your outer enemy”.
    The insect/bug that you do not recognize I see as a part of your shadow too; it is what is “bugging” you and you project this bug on your fiancé;
    Is there anybody in your Unit who can help you monitor/observe your state of mind? See
    Anna 🙂

-Quinn 2016-01-29 13:37:14

I had a dream where my boyfriend and I were being intimate and moved into the shower . He suddenly became child like and I started helping him wash his hair and then just as suddenly turned either animal like or possessed and violently attacking me. At this point I woke up hysterically crying. I don’t know what to make of it but it really bothered me

    -Anna - Tony's Assistant 2016-02-01 16:29:24

    Dear Quinn – I believe your dream shows that it serves a purpose to explore your relationship with your boyfriend. Do you think/feel/believe that you have to take care of him emotionally? Do you think/feel/believe that you are responsible to cleanse irritations or emotions that cloud his inner life? Do you feel you have to mother him when his inner child shows up;
    In some dreams being attacked depicts what we feel in relationship with other people. The attack, the criticism and malign emotions directed at us by others are frequently shown as an animal attacking or biting us. Sometimes we may be aware of this, but often remarks are made which we miss, yet are sensed as an attack by our unconscious.
    Could it be that his criticism and malign emotions that are directed at you are actually an attack on his own mother?
    Do you feel that as a couple you have clear boundaries in what is his cup of tea – the inner work he has to do to heal and mature – and what is yours?
    See also
    It will serve a purpose to explore your dream yourself as well – and why you respond to it crying – by using
    See also
    Anna 🙂

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