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What Does My Nightmare Mean?

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From the U.S.: What is your opinion on the reason behind a reoccurring nightmare such as this? I am in my home and demons come, take me hostage, burn my house down (which turns into this tall cylinder like building where each floor is a circle and you can look over the railing and see all the floors burning. They kill my family and friends in front of me, but I never die. I haven’t had this dream in awhile but have a it at least 3 times in the last 10 years. Its always exactly the same and always terrifying and I can’t wake myself up from it until the very end. I have many vivid and weird dreams.

What Does My Nightmare Mean?

Answered by on -


Although there are books and websites that claim to provide interpretations of dreams, none of them can give you real insight. Dreams are a function of a combination of lifestyle and personal experience. In order to know what your dream means, I’d have to know more about who you are and how well you take care of yourself.

If you came to me with this problem, the first thing I would ask you is if you are getting enough regular, restorative sleep. Nightmares are often an outcome of a disturbed sleep architecture. If you aren’t getting a solid 8 hours of shut-eye each night, you need to address that problem directly.

If you are getting enough good sleep, we would then look at what in your life is making you anxious and what the symbols in your dreams mean, uniquely, to you. Dreams are basically thoughts without the filter of language. Your “picture language” comes from your own history, your current situation, and problems you are trying to solve.

One way to figure out the meaning of a dream is to tell the story from the first person perspective of each element of the dream. Example: “I am a demon, come to take her hostage.” Really get into it. Talk from the point of view of the demon until you can’t think of any more to say about the topic. Then take the point of view of the building. Then take the point of view of the fire, the other people, etc. Often the meaning surfaces when people try this.

If the dream continues to bother you, you might consider making an appointment with a mental health professional for a session or two to explore it further.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What Does My Nightmare Mean?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What Does My Nightmare Mean?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 3 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.