Typical nightmare images are of snakes or spiders on the attack, or some kind of monster chasing you. They can also be about riding in an out-of-control vehicle, being lost, finding oneself in a dark and scary place, or just about any situation that you would find frightening in waking life. This kind of dream feels so real that the dreamer may lie in bed for several minutes after waking up – body shaking, heart pounding, out of breath. Some nightmares are so terrifying that they are remembered for days, weeks, months or even years. Some dreams become recurring nightmares and occur over and over again.
Why do people have nightmares?
Would you be surprised if I told you that these worst kinds of dreams are of great value? Would you believe me if I told you that there are positive reason for them? Despite its bizarre and terrifying imagery, despite fracturing your night's sleep and waking you in a panic, the nightmare does offer a gift.
If you have been prone to nightmares you are probably shaking your head right now and thinking, "How could a dream that frightening be a gift?"
A nightmare is the messenger
A nightmare is perhaps the most misunderstood type of dream. It often is a profound, yelling-out from the subconscious to get your attention. The positive intention of a nightmare is to bring you an important message for your benefit and it insists on being felt, heard and seen!
Major reasons for nightmares – are fears about something that has happened, or is happening in one's waking-life. Because most people do not know how to release stress, it gets internalized.
Some people have a tendency to be stoic, and will suppress or deny their fears. These fearful emotions get buried (suppressed / repressed) within the subconscious, where they can fester and grow much worse.
You could be in a present situation that you think you are handling well enough, and not realize that subconsciously you have fears about it. When fears, anxieties, worries get stuck within, a terrifying dream actually shows how intense your fears actually are.
Children do not usually talk about what scares them. They tend to hold their fears inside. Children's nightmares can be caused by fighting parents, a mean teacher, school bullies, scary movies, etc. A sensitive child can become fearful of something that would never occur to an adult. For example, some children might feel displaced and fear that they are unloved because of all the attention the new baby receives.
The recurring nightmare usually starts in childhood. In order to put an end to a recurring dream, the parent needs to discover what intense fear or trauma the child has suffered.
In adults, nightmares can be caused by fears about the stressful situations in one's life. Job or money worries, a serious illness, deep insecurity, the potential loss of one's home – any of these can cause bad dreams or nightmares. The problem with comprehending that your dream is addressing a waking-day fear, is that the nighttime 'review' version is fraught with terrifying 'substitution' symbolism. If you are fearful of snakes, and dream about a snake biting you, the dream is NOT warning you that a snake may attack you in your real life. The 'dream-substitution' phenomenon has come into play. Most of you will not make the connection between the scary snake attacking you in the night – with the worrisome physical illness you suffer during the day. You may not realize that the dream monster chasing you – actually represents your fears about being out of work and not having enough money to pay your bills.
Other reasons for nightmares
A nightmare can bring up buried fears about a distressful, or traumatic situation that happened a long time ago. People with PTSD can have terrifying nightmares in which they re-live the traumatic event. Fears stuck in the psyche that surface in a dream, are a plea from the subconscious to resolve and let go of the past.
There is an interesting reason for some nightmares. For those who enjoy terrifying carnival rides or horror movies, your nightmares can serve the dual purpose of having you feel the inner fears, and also help you to release them.
Questions one can intuitively ask after awakening from a nightmare are:
What inner feelings, stress, worries or fears do I need to pay attention to?
What situation in my waking-life feels as fearful as this dream made me feel?
If there is no answer to these questions, then try this one: What event from my past might still be haunting me?
Ponder each of the questions, pause and wait for an answer to intuitively 'pop into' your mind.
A true gift from the dream monster
Anger, resentment, stress, or fearful emotions that are buried deep within the self could have a tendency to cause damage or illness to the body. Another very positive reason for nightmares is to show you what your emotions look and feel like. In your scary dreams, you can actually see your fears. They take on symbolic images proportionate to the intensity of the emotion. In other words, your fears become the monsters in your dreams.
A terrifying dream monster is called a "thought-form," ie, a symbolic, mirror image of the fear within you. If you had the presence of mind to face the fear-monster within the dream and ask it what it wants to tell you, it could say something like this: "I am your fear. I am buried inside you. I can not get out, so I live in your body. I can cause your body to break down. you could get ill. Or, this is the reason you are ill. you need to see and feel how intense I am, recognize me as your fear, and find a way to release it. "
Using EFT to tap on and release the fear shown in a dream
EFT or Meridian Tapping is a wonderful tool to release stress, worries and fears. You can tap on and clear the 'hangover' fear you feel when you first awaken from the dream. Then you can tap on the fears felt within the dream.
Even if you do not understand the meaning of your nightmare, you can still tap using the phrases, "Even though I do not know what specific fear this dream is about, I am open to getting the message in other ways, and I choose to safely release this fear. "
Use Dream Decipher to interpret your dreams
Most people do not understand the meaning of their dreams because they are symbolic, and often times do substitute one fear for another. You do not need to pay someone to interpret your dreams for you. You can learn to do it yourself. The Dream Decipher process, an intuitive-based dream interpretation tool, works quickly to help you get the actual message of any dream.