6 Most Common Nightmares and Their Meanings

December 25, 2015


Have you ever wondered what your dreams mean?

Of course, the theme our dreams are influenced by a myriad of variables many of which are very personal, but today we are going to share some common themes and their meanings by borrowing from the marvelous works of famous neurologist and father of psychoanalysis, Dr. Sigmund Freud.

In one of his most well-known works, The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud argues that all of our dreams symbolize the fulfillment of a desire, including our nightmares.

Negative dreams signify the failure to fulfill a desire. Freud gives various explanations, but the one that stands out is the satisfaction of a personal masochistic tendency.

Keeping this explanation in mind, our dreams are the fulfillment of our repressed desires in disguise. Consider that each one of your dreams can be interpreted, and you will find their meaning within.

It’s especially important to pay attention to recurring dreams. These are the dreams that are repeated every now and then throughout our lives and could be a response to certain traumas or fears that we haven’t yet overcome. These types of dreams appear during times of major stress or anxiety.

The interpretation of recurring dreams varies from person to person. In order to receive a completely accurate interpretation of someone’s dreams, it’s necessary to be familiar with their personal history.

There are two types of recurring dreams:

  • Personal recurring dreams. These are the dreams that you personally suffer from.
  • General recurring dreams. These are dreams that are common and can be more easily interpreted. Among these dreams are those that threaten our physical integrity and include our most primitive human fears.

What are the 6 most common nightmares?

  1. Being naked in public. You find yourself in a place that you are familiar with, such as a university, your job, etc. and, of course, you are surround by people. All of a sudden, you realize that you aren’t wearing any clothes and everyone begins to stare. Given the situation, you start to feel vulnerable and extremely embarrassed. It’s possible that this fear is related to our need to feel completely accepted within a group.
  2.  Someone is chasing you. You try to run, but you aren’t able to move or you are moving very slowly, as if you were stuck in a place with very little gravity. This type of dream normally appears when there is something in your life that either worries or bothers you, or when you have certain regrets.
  3. Suffering from harm or feeling pain. You could be the one feeling the pain or maybe even someone you love could be feeling it. These dreams revolve around someone being hurt or even dying. For example, spider and snake bites are very common in these types of dreams. They represent vulnerability in the person feeling the pain.
  4. Falling. You might fall from a high place, like a tree or building. It’s also common to either run or fall into a hole after we’ve started walking. It’s possible that we are feeling nervous, dealing with very stressful situations or having to face certain problems or difficulties.
  5. Being trapped. You find yourself in a labyrinth or a place where you can’t find the exit. After going around in circles, you start to feel helpless and afraid because you can’t find your way out. This type of dream is normally paired with waking up in a cold sweat or feeling overwhelmed from the negative feelings that we experienced during this dream. Several authors point out that dreaming of feeling trapped indicates that we are also feeling trapped within a specific stage of our lives.
  6. You scream, but nothing comes out. This happens in dangerous situations where we try to call for help or warn someone, but we just can’t make a sound no matter how hard we try. This dream is associated with situations in your life where you feel helpless.

This is just a short list of some of the most common nightmares that people experience when going through challenges or difficulties in their waking lives. Are you able to remember any of your dreams? Would you be willing to share some of them with us? What do you think it all means? Although we may not be able to remember 90% of what goes on behind our eyes as we sleep, dreams are still a great way to call our attention to certain matters that we may be ignoring and take a closer look into what’s going on in our heads.