Dreams can be incredibly vivid, especially if the action is intense. Maybe you have woken up in the middle of night and realized, “I just had a dream about someone trying to kill me?” With the sweat still fresh on your brow, you find yourself wondering what it can all mean. Is it symbolic? A premonition, perhaps?

Dreaming that someone is trying to kill you can be a terrifying prospect — especially if you know the attacker in your dream. Before you start side-eying that person in real life, though, understand that this doesn’t mean that this individual is actively attempting to physically harm you. Yet, your subconscious may be trying to warn you of some underlying issue that needs your attention.

Dreams can serve as a symbolic guide for our subconscious thought. So what is your subconscious trying to tell you when you dream about someone trying to kill you?

Symbolism and Interpretations of Dreams About Someone Trying to Kill You

No one wants to get attacked or have someone make an attempt on their life. So, understandably, dreaming about this nightmarish scenario is not ideal. But what further complicates matters, is that you cannot just focus on the one moment where someone tried to kill you in your dream. To fully understand what the dream means, you need to break down as much as you can recall from the scenes that played out in your mind. Key factors such as your assailant, the location, what led up to the attack, the outcome, and even how you felt in the dream or when you woke up all influence what a dream like this actually means. 

Do you know the assailant?

Your assailant is the person trying to kill you in your dream. Is it someone you know, a shadowy figure, or an unfamiliar face? If your attacker is someone close to you in real life, this usually means that you are currently in conflict with that person. Something in your relationship is unresolved and your subconscious feels at war with them. Maybe you have recently had a disagreement with a romantic partner, are vying against a work colleague for a promotion, or have started to notice one of your friends is always making shady comments. Whatever it is, this unresolved drama is manifesting when you snooze. 

On the other hand, if your attacker isn’t recognizable, this dream is most likely pointing to internal conflicts rather than those with other people. Whether you’re afraid of upcoming life changes, or have been contemplating quitting your job, all of this can channel into your dreams as someone attacking and attempting to kill you.

Where is the scene set? 

Along with understanding your assailant, also consider the scene. Were you in a familiar location? Were you being chased? And, how did someone attempt to kill you?

If your attack occurs in a familiar location, this again points to unresolved conflict in your life. Your subconscious could be trying to tell you that you need to create better boundaries, or that you feel vulnerable around someone who is no longer a safe space.

By contrast, an unfamiliar location can often point to internal unresolved issues. This is especially true if they are chasing you in your dream. You might be in conflict with yourself over real-life concerns but aren’t quite sure how to move forward. 

If your attacker is chasing you, this usually means that you’re avoiding conflict in real life. If your attacker is unknown, then the conflict you’re evading is internal. Meanwhile, attempting to escape an attack from someone you know means that you’re avoiding conflict in your relationship with them. 

If you escape your attacker, this is a somewhat literal translation of you not wanting to deal with a confrontation that you fear might result in significant emotional fallout. Alternatively, escaping can also mean you’re avoiding a specific person or trigger that’s going to cause more emotional distress. 

If you see blood in your dream, this doesn’t always mean you’re going to experience bodily harm. It can also represent complex emotions like rage, anxiety, or fear surrounding a stressful situation. Still, this further underlines that as much as you might try to ignore a frustrating or intimidating situation when you’re awake, your subconscious will force you to deal with it in one form or another. 

What is the method?

As if we haven’t driven home the point that a dream about murder has many meanings, the weapon used will also influence interpretations. If your attacker uses a gun, it usually means that you’re feeling vulnerable, worried, or have legitimate concerns about your physical safety. So, if this image is paired with an attacker you know, it’s a good idea to be alert. 

Meanwhile, getting stabbed with a knife usually means that you feel threatened by your attacker or fear the thought of betrayal if you don’t know them. In most cases though, stabbing dreams usually coincide with a known attacker. An axe attack typically points to anxieties surrounding recent changes in your career or relationship and a fear of general loss. Finally, if your dream involves a pregnant version of you being pursued by an attacker trying to kill you, this usually means that you’ve outgrown a situation, or you are on a journey of spiritual awakening, and are making a turning point in your life. 

Don’t take it literally

Waking up from a dream where someone tried to kill you is far from ideal. Naturally, you’ll have conflicting emotions. But it’s important to remember that very rarely should dreams be interpreted literally. In most cases, major characters, the setting, and even the manner of the attempted murder are all symbols that represent unresolved emotions or conflicts from your waking life that your subconscious is trying to handle. 

Usually, managing the unresolved issues should make these dreams go away. However, if you’re experiencing anxiety or additional emotional stress because of these vivid dreams, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to better understand what your dreams mean and help you work through them to find an effective resolution. 

Analyzing the Psychological and Emotional Significance

It can sometimes be hard to interpret dreams independently — especially if you’re someone who previously gave little attention to your nighttime thoughts. If working through a dream’s meanings feels too difficult to do on your own, you might be better served to work with a professional who can help you to understand what dream symbols mean, and apply them to your real life. 

Keep in mind that a dream about someone attempting to kill you does not mean that a person is actually trying to kill you. In most cases, psychologists and dream experts note that these dreams usually represent feelings such as vulnerability, powerlessness, or an unresolved conflict that hasn’t been addressed in your waking life. Until you take the time to work through it, these dreams might return. 

Encouraging Personal Reflection and Self-Analysis

Intense dreams can be disturbing, but they can also serve as moments of clarity that help you focus on unresolved issues in your life. Whether you’re battling internal conflicts or issues that have been festering with people in your orbit, your subconscious wants you to work through them. A good way to do this is to keep a dream journal where you make notes about recurring themes, people you recall, and even your feelings immediately after a dream. Often times, once awakened we go through different phases of trying to recall a dream in which we just experienced, which ultimately leads to dream decoding (dream interpretation). Dream decoding is uncovering the ‘why’ behind dreams also known as the revealing process. It’s important to not only acknowledge but to also come to grips with the message being conveyed in your dreams as they come from spirit guides, such as ancestors, angels, and elemental spirits, and can help you discover your life’s purpose and more.

A dream about someone trying to kill you is a scary prospect. But it doesn’t mean that people are literally out to get you. In most cases, these dreams represent unresolved issues that you can’t avoid. Whether you need to create boundaries with loved ones, speak up in the workplace, or get out of a familiar setting to force yourself to grow, your subconscious will push you to do the work whether you’re ready or not.