If you find yourself fighting with someone in your dreams, it may indicate you have buried emotions, stress, or conflict trying to come out.

Scientists have — and continue to— look into the science behind dreams. Several people over the years, including Sigmund Freud, have had input into what dreams are as well as how and why they occur.

Dream interpretation does not have a large body of evidence supporting its use in psychotherapy or other therapies.

Still, several people claim to be able to interpret dreams and provide spiritual or other reasons for what happened in the dream. Some interpretations are based on the understanding of how dreams work and scientific findings.

In either case, interpreting a dream about fighting someone is speculative and still requires some work on your part to understand what it may mean.

Research into dreams may help with understanding why you find yourself fighting with someone while you sleep.

Test out how a fight may go

In a 2020 study, Ole Vedfelt described how dreams may have 10 core qualities that may help with providing therapy to the person. One of the ten qualities is allowing you to perform a trial run of how something may play out in a safe spot.

If this hypothesis is correct, a dream about fighting someone may be a way to test out how the fight may go in a safe spot for you.

Release pent-up emotions

If you’re the type of person who bottles up your emotions, you may find yourself fighting someone in a dream in an attempt to release those emotions.

You may also find yourself releasing pent-up emotions about your boss, teacher, parent, or other people whom you feel like you cannot express displeasure or anger with.

Possible unresolved issues

Another possible explanation for a fight involves unresolved issues with the person you find yourself fighting in your dream. For example, maybe you are fighting your spouse over an argument that never fully got resolved in your waking day.

It could also be a fight with a co-worker over work frustrations, a teacher that you feel gave you an unfair grade, or similar types of issues.

Stress release

Another possible explanation for fighting in a dream may be to help reduce stress. This may be in response to:

  • tight deadlines at work
  • personal issues
  • dealing with a medical issue

A 2018 study found evidence that suggests stress during waking hours contributes to mood dysregulation both while awake and asleep. A sense of well-being has the opposite effect and contributes to better mood regulation both during waking and sleeping hours.

To learn more about how stress impacts dreams consider visiting our resource page.

Other interpretations

Several people suggest spiritual meanings behind dreams. They can include explanations such as:

  • attempt to resolve inner conflict
  • overcoming negative emotions
  • battling personal demons
  • way to face fears or insecurities
  • spiritual warfare

Spiritual explanations for fighting in dreams may point to emotional struggles, unresolved issues with others, or other conflicts in your life. If you experience a fighting dream, it could indicate you may benefit from self-reflection to help you understand why you may find yourself fighting in a dream.

The exact reason you may find it hard to fight in a dream is not clearly understood.

Some anecdotal speculation involves the notion of sleep paralysis. Your body cannot move, so when you try to punch in a dream your physical, sleeping body cannot perform the movement.

While this may explain some instances of troubling fighting in a dream, it may not explain all. If you have dreams of flying, running, swimming, or other types of movement, sleep paralysis would not explain an inability to throw a punch in a dream.

Other explanations may involve your subconscious. According to a 2018 article published in Frontiers in Psychology, Freud suggested that what occurs in a dream comes from real life, but it is not identical. He argued that a connection and a transformation must exist between dreams and waking life.

As a result, the connections are not random but instead represent a subconscious thought or desire.

In this explanation, your subconscious would prevent you from fighting because it’s guiding you — even in your dreams — to do the right thing.

According to a 2020 study, researchers found evidence that supports the notion that dreams are a continuation of what happens in everyday life. This could allow scientists to develop technology in the future to better understand different components of dreaming.

Self-organization theory is another explanation for dreams. This suggests that three components contribute to dream formation, including:

This hypothesis suggests that dreaming can give you some information about the dream or dreamer.

If the different hypotheses are correct, it may be possible to interpret or better understand what a dream about fighting someone may mean. The following may be possible interpretations of what a fight in a dream means.

It’s important to remember that interpreting dreams lacks a lot of scientific understanding and research. Several studies and theories suggest that subconscious thoughts, emotions, and stress can play a role in dreams.

To understand the exact reason you end up fighting someone in your dreams will require some self-reflection. Is that person bothering you? Do you feel powerless to stand up to them in real life? Are you under a lot of stress?

For an in-depth explanation of interpreting your dreams, consider visiting our dream analysis page.