The Symbolic Meaning of Dreams About Killing Someone

In Dreams about people by Jesamine Mello90 Comments

The symbolic meaning of dreams about killing someone doesn’t have anything to do with repressed anger or aggression – at least not in the literal way that most of the dream sites out there claim.

The real meaning of dreams about killing someone depends on who’s dreaming the dream and what is going on in the life of the dreamer at the time of the dream.  

Always remember, dreams about killing are symbolic.  They represent an unconscious psychological dynamic in you, not some latent crazed killer in you.

Dreams About Killing Someone: The dream figures

When analyzing the symbolic meaning of dreams about killing someone, you have to ask yourself:

Is the killing a necessary sacrifice, or, are you killing an essential quality in yourself?

Whenever psyche presents a dream of killing someone, both the killer and the victim are important aspects of the dream.  For instance, killing bullies in your dream will have a totally different meaning than killing your mother or father in a dream.

The people in your dreams are dream figures, each representing a part of yourself, and very rarely the actual people in your life.  The actions in your dreams represent unconscious psychological dynamics in you, meaning that you are not conscious of how your attitude or behavior affects your life.

Dreams are a response to the way you think, feel, behave, or see the world.  So we always have to translate our dream actions with that in mind.  For help with that, you can read my introductory article on How to Decipher Dream Meaning where I talk about types of dreams.

A brief look at the Symbolism of Killing and Sacrifice

Dreams About Killing Someone: the symbolic meaning of killingSometimes when we kill someone in a dream, we are symbolically killing something in ourselves that must die in order for something new in us to live, for example, killing a habitual thinking or behavior pattern.

That habitual pattern could be something such as an attitude or an ideal that no longer serves us, or, it could even be a narrative or story about our lives that we have carried around for far too long.

There are also times when dreams about killing show us that we are unconsciously killing something in ourselves that should live – perhaps something we have rejected or denied about ourselves. Take for example here, a dream where you are killing an innocent  child or an animal, such as the one I talked about in the post on dreams about rats.

And finally, killing someone in our dreams can let us know that it’s time to break away from certain relationships, for instance, relationships that keep us trapped in an unhealthy dynamic.

I have gone into the meaning of dreams about death in a previous post.  The two themes – killing and death – are related, so I would suggest reading that one too.

In this post, we’ll look at several dreams about killing someone. These dreams are from different people, each with very different life situations.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Questions for Reflection

 

The questions to ask yourself regarding your dreams about killing someone are: 
  • Is killing this person necessary in order for you to move forward in life?
    • For example, if you dream of killing your mother, then perhaps you are trapped in a mother complex. Killing your mother would be breaking free from the complex and stepping into an adult life, not a latent or hidden desire to kill your actual mother.
  • Is killing this person holding you back from moving forward in life?
    • Suppose that you dream of killing a child.  This could mean that you have a tendency to kill or negate anything fresh that tries to come to life in you.
And next, your considerations are: 
  • What’s happening in your life right now?
  • Are you conscious of any turmoil or struggle in your life?
    • Keep in mind that we are not always aware of inner conflict.  Many people are so disconnected from their emotions that they do not consciously suffer.
  • Are you suffering from any emotional or physical disturbances?
    • These are often signals from our psyche that something in our lives is out of balance.

Now we are going to get into some dream material.  Stay with me as I amplify these dream images because this is the approach you want to use when working with your dream interpretations.  You can always learn something by reading or listening to dream interpretations.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Killing Bullies and Other Antagonistic Characters

Dreams about killing someone

Flora Borsi, The Bully Project

Bullies and other antagonizing people play a big role in our dreams, most especially if we have suffered encounters with bullies or antagonistic people in our lives.  Whether we meet them in dreams or meet them in our daily lives, these characters torment us, and for some even to the point of suicide, as we can see in the far too many horror stories of children and young people committing suicide over this kind of thing.

To overcome any bully without, we first have to overcome the bully within us.

These dreams about killing are about learning to stand up for yourself, against both the external and the internal bullying forces.  This requires a healthy sense of aggression.  Falling victim to your own destructive thoughts is just as psychologically dangerous as falling victim to bullies.

If you dream of killing a bully or other antagonistic character, consider it a good thing!

A woman recently asked me about this dream about killing someone: a bully in her life.

I dreamed of killing my bully, as well as all of the people who had apathetically witnessed her behavior.  Then I had another dream where the bully herself visited my house and we were nice to each other.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Killing a Bully in Your Dream

Trying to fight off my inner demons tonight. by themeanonemrgrinch

First of all, I have to say that I love these two dreams because they are a perfect example of how dreams illustrate both the problem and the solution in a person’s life – namely how she can transform the bully dynamic into one of psychological friendship.

As I have already said, dreams are symbolic representations of what goes on in our minds, but dreams show you the unconscious dynamic of what’s going on in your mind.  These unconscious dynamics affect every aspect of our lives.

These dreams want this woman to become conscious of something about herself:  she has a real strength within her, but apparently she is unable to access it.  The dream shows her the way.

The dream uses the image of someone who bullies her in order to show her that she has an inner bully, only it is not the kind of bully who antagonizes other people.  It’s a bully who antagonizes her from within.  We can even get a hint that her bully is an inner figure from looking at the dreamer’s own language:  she says, “I dreamed of killing my bully.”

She didn’t say a bully or a girl who bullies me.  Using the phrase my bully is very telling.

I think most of us have had some first-hand experience with this kind of inner dynamic.  The inner bully can manifest as chronic negative thoughts and feelings about yourself.  This is where the idea of “beating yourself up” comes from.

This young woman lacked self-confidence and she also admitted that she often felt bad about herself.

Whenever you feel chronically bad about yourself as a person, then you are feeling the effects of your inner bully.

Now here’s the strange thing about inner dynamics.  Whatever is going inside will also manifest itself outside.  If you have an inner bully, then you probably meet a lot of bullying type of people in your life.

Why does this bully show up in your life, both within yourself and in the external world?

Because you have something to learn about yourself.

If this is true for you, then a dream of killing your bully is an opportunity to grow.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Developing a Healthy Sense of Aggression

Dreams about killing someone make an extreme statement about our sense of aggression.

Given the circumstances of the dream I just shared, it’s clear that this woman was far too passive in her life. Pathological passivity is actually a problem in a lot of people.

This is also an example of a compensation dream. Because this woman is far too passive, the dream shows an extreme act of aggression.

All of us need to have some aggressive energy – it is part of our instinctual nature.  Healthy aggression protects us when we need protection.

We can’t wait for someone else to take up for us.  We have to protect ourselves.

In our dream example, the dreamer also kills all of the people who stood by, apathetically, as she stated.  I told her that she needed to understand that those apathetic people in her dream represented her own apathy about taking up for herself.

Dreams About Killing Someone: Changing the Psychological Dynamic

She needed to kill that apathetic part of herself as well.  And look what happened when she did this:  the energy of the bully changed. The bully went to her house and they became psychological friends, which translates into her personal power

In a dream, the image of friendship with a bully is symbolic of a possible change in the dreamer’s psychological dynamic.  At first the woman thought she was rewarding the bully.  Howeverthat is a literal reading of the dream, not a symbolic reading.

The symbol of the house in dreams points to our whole situation in life, meaning our whole system of adaptation to life: our relationships, our motivating forces, and in particular, our current attitude.

When this bully goes to her house, it shows the possibility of the dreamer integrating some of the bully’s strength. To become friends in the dream says, “now we are in alliance”. Now she has the power to be stronger in life because she is allied with a stronger – more aggressive part of herself.

This bully, both the dream bully and the actual one in the dreamer’s life, is symbolic of our dreamer’s lack of healthy aggression. The bully is what we’d call a shadow figure for the woman.

And as we can see from the dream, finding a healthy way to integrate the bully and the dynamic will change.

Dreams About Killing Someone Who is Already Dead

Another common dream theme is that of killing someone who is already dead.  Here are some basics behind this dynamic.

People leave their psychological imprints on us, most especially those who were present in our lives during our developmental years.  These living imprints remain with us long after a person’s death.  In a sense, everything these people did to us continues to affect us at some level throughout our entire lives.

if you’ve seen the movie, Mommy Dearest, then you know what this image means

For example, a woman with a negative mother complex will continue to suffer from that complex long after her mother dies.

She will continue to endure everything that she did when her mother was alive:  insecurity, bitterness,  and self-loathing are just a few examples of how a negative mother complex affects us. To read more about the negative mother complex, click here.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Killing the Mother

I have seen women in psychotherapy who worked for years on their negative mother complex, even long after their mother was dead.  So many times these women dream of killing their mother.

It’s never a pleasant dream to have, but it’s a very important dream for a woman in this kind of situation.  It means that she has broken free from her unconscious identification with the  mother complex.

In other words, she has finally broken free from believing all of the horrible things she’s been saying to and believing about herself.

This is psyche’s way of saying, “now you can kill the deadly effects of this complex and allow something else to be reborn out of this death.”

This could even happen with a too-positive mother complex.  A too-positive mother is just as debilitating to your psychological development as is a negative mother complex.  If you are to fully develop, then any psychological fixation that is too strong will have to symbolically die.

Reflections on Dreams About Killing Someone Who is Already Dead

First:

  • Who did you kill?
  • What did this person mean to you?
  • What was your relationship to this person?
  • Even though this person is dead, how does he or she still affect you?

These are questions you’d have to answer before you could determine the dream meaning of killing someone who’s already dead.

Killing Someone in a Dream:  Killing Abusive Men

Women often dream about killing abusive men.  One woman shared a dream about an abusive dream man and her mother psychologically attacking her:

In my dream a man and my mother disrespected me. The man made me feel hopeless. I grab the man’s neck out of anger and kill him. 

Dreams About Killing Someone - the symbolic meaning

Phantom of the Opera can be viewed as a negative animus

I could see from the dream that this woman had the kind of negative mother-animus complex that I just spoke about.  This kind of imagery is very common in the dreams of women with negative mother complexes.  An antagonistic male figure appears with the negative mother-image.

In Jungian terms, we’d call this man a negative animus.  I wrote about the positive animus in a woman in my post on Dreams About Cheating, but in this case, he’s destructive.

The two figures together – a negative mother and negative animus – are a powerful complex in the mind and soul of a woman.  Typically, this inner complex will manifest itself as extreme feelings of self-doubt, self-loathing, generalized anxiety, hopelessness, and fear.  A woman trapped by this inner dynamic will feel like she can never accomplish anything in life.

She will tell herself things such as, my life is over, it’s too late for anything to happen for me, or I am too stupid to ever succeed.

All of these together often make a person feel desperately powerless.

Anyone who suffers from this kind of inner state has to learn how to stand up to all of those painful feelings and negative thoughts, especially in the middle of the night when they keep you awake.  You can click here to read my article on Anxiety and Depression, where I talk about the power of complexes, where they come from, and how you can separate yourself from them.

The dream of killing a man like that says to such a woman, “you can overcome this state of mind.  Stand up to it. Grab it by the throat and throttle it.  You must overpower and kill it.”

The rage that this woman felt in the dream empowered her to take that guy out by wringing his neck.  I told her to find and use that rage to fight against debilitating thoughts and emotions.

And as a final note, before a woman can really kill the unconscious effects of a negative mother complex, she must first kill that negative animus.  She needs him on her side for the killing of the mother complex.

Dreams about Killing Someone

Dreamed that a gay man was helping me with some clothing. He was making some very serious passes at me, and though it was flattering, I wasn’t too tempted. My body felt and looked amazing – it was one of the reasons he was so attracted to me.

Then the scene changes and I am alone. There is a young woman harassing me to no end.  It was the same kind of woman that has been appearing in my dreams for decades.

I have been told that I must kill her, or that the harassment will never stop. This seems extreme and though I am fighting her off, I cannot bring myself to kill her.  It does not feel like she is trying to kill me, but it certainly feels like she’s trying to drive me into madness.

This dream came from a woman who battled constantly with dream women such as the one here.  These women seemed to appear in her dreams anytime she had started feeling good about herself.  She too had come from a family where the women in her life mocked her for being herself. Any accomplishment she’d made was given the kind of humoring praise that you’d give a two-year old for his first drawing.

The day before the dream, the dreamer had an embarrassing incident in a parking lot. We both laughed about it because it was funny. Yet, there was a taunting female voice in her which had turned that small, humorous incident into something mortifying.

She was feeling a horrible self-loathing over this one small incident.  As a matter of fact, this would happen often to her.  Her simple and humorous human folly and embarrassment would sometimes antagonize her beyond all endurance, even though she knew better.

This kind of self-antagonizing psychological dynamic is represented by this woman in her dream, who the dreamer felt would “drive her into madness”.

We worked on this inner dynamic of self-mockery. Eventually, she had another dream where this same kind of woman showed up, again making trouble for her.

In this dream, the mocking woman had fallen asleep in a car that was about to be crushed.  If you’ve read the post on Dreams About Cars, then you’ll remember that they are about the unconscious driving forces in our lives.

Mockery and self-loathing were an unconscious driving force in this woman’s life and those forces were clearly in the voice of an inner feminine.

At first, the dreamer felt an urge to wake the mocking woman, but she resisted. She realized, it’s best to be rid of her.  This is part of the problem with women who suffer from antagonizing females. All too often they are naive about their antagonizers.  Even when given an opportunity to be rid of someone like that, they give into being too nice or too forgiving, and thus, the cycle begins again.

Dreams of Killing Abusers

Here’s another dream from a woman who confronted killer men in dreams.

Why did I have a dream of murdering my abusive husband when I have no husband or partner? This was immediately after waking from another dream of murdering two male intruders in my house trying to attack me.

Dreams about Killing Someone: killing our aggressors

Painting “Iliyooneka mwanamke”, Swahili for “battered woman” unknown artist

The dreamer was not married in real life, nor did she have a partner.  In the dream, she is married to an abusive husband.

This abusive dream-husband suggests that she is trapped by an unconscious, inner marriage. Again, this manifests in a woman’s psychology as an inner persecutor who torments her with self-doubt and meanness.

That her dream ego kills him is a good thing. It says to her, “you have the power to overcome self-doubt and negativity”, but that she must take extreme measures.  Psychologically speaking, she has to stand up to negative thoughts and emotions.

The two murderous intruders are always interesting in women’s dreams. Typically, if you confront them, they change. The way you confront them in your psychological life is to discover what they want from you.

Very often, it’s some kind of creative venture that wants to come to life through you – a venture that will earn you your rightful place in this world.

Dreams About Killing Someone:  Final Thoughts

As you can see, these dreams about killing were really about killing the antagonistic figures in our psyche.  I think that you can extract what it might mean to kill something or someone innocent in your dreams.

If you have some specific dream material regarding the thread of killing innocents in your dreams, please share them with me.  In a later post, I’ll talk about what it means to sacrificially kill something or someone.

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Jackie

If you have time to give insights. I would appreciate it. Thank you. I was in a house with others, so it was either kill or be killed. It was down to me and a final male, I don’t distinctly remember killing any others. I stabbed him twice with a knife, I felt very uncomfortable doing it but also wanted to survive. Afterwards, I saw a note that said I should have died so that I would be reborn in a higher position. (I can’t remember exact details) but I remember waking up feeling that I had made the wrong… Read more »

Owen

I dream I killed a few people in my dream but the one that got me the most is last. He was a mental patient, really delusional. He didn’t Die after the shots I put into him so I sort of coaxed him over pretending to be his friend , again this guy had the mind of a 3 year old, and when he was close I grabbed his hands and stabbed him in the neck with a pen and when he was trying to bite me I stabbed him in the eye with the pen and drove it into… Read more »

Wayne

What does it mean to dream of people telling you, you killed a child and you don’t recall killing anyone

Aiko

Well, I dream today that I killed two people again and the reason why I killed them is that I heard that my mom has complained about them, so I directly kill the one who looks like a maid because she’s washing the dishes I cut her neck without hesitation and my feeling while and after I killed the woman is same I feel no emotion but somehow I feel so satisfied. But I forgot how I killed the one person, but I know that it’s the same reason why I killed both of them also someone called me a… Read more »

Mall.

Tonight I had an awful dream. I woke up crying. There was this little guy who had been made smaller by magic, around 1cm tall. It was my job to retrieve him and make him normal again, my grandmother helped me. But my father did not want me to retrieve the little guy, he tried to obtain him too. When I finally had the little guy my father chased after me. Eventually he told me to calm down, but I didn’t. I had a weapon in my hand: a rope with something sharp at the end. I swung it at… Read more »

Anonymous

I had a dream about a man who is staying in my house and it was a little late that i noticed he has been poisoning my whole family along with me (my family had different faces than the ones in my real life). That man has been poisoning my family and myself to the extent that my in- dream parents Succumbed to death. He might’ve weakened us all that we are not too strong to tackle him down. I also saw my little new born infant and I noticed that man tried to poison my baby. And that’s when… Read more »

Kris

I had a dream last night that me and 2 of my girlfriends were killers we worked together but we killed them for a certain reason. My friend killed someone the day before then came to my house to spend the night. Next day, we were at this party at someones house in the kitchen the owner of the house tried to stab me so I killed her my friends helped to dispose the body. There was also a detective at the party in the living room trying to solve the other murders we did. When I got to the… Read more »

Eva

Hi I just had this weird dream but I don’t quite know why. I was at the cabin with my family and others, i went into a room where another girl was i don’t know why but I killed her and cut up her body and squished in her eyes and cut open the stomach so all the organs was seen. Then i hid the body behind the cabin, in some bushes. Later people where asking where she was and I made up excuses and stuff, i was never caught. I’ve never had a dream like this before but I… Read more »

Vibhuti

I recently had this dream. I killed this young woman who I didn’t know. I killed her because someone (like my sister, though it wasn’t her) I trusted and loved very much wanted me to kill her. By mistake a relative of mine captured it and then I was proved guilty and no one talked to me. Not even the person who wanted me to kill the woman. Although the person herself had killed the woman first. I just made sure she was dead or something.

Blackman

I recently had a dream where I found myself in one of the classes of my Junior High School then all of a sudden I this lady I don’t recognize came straight at me with a pen. I didn’t know why she did that but all of a sudden I saw myself struggling with this lady where by she was trying to hurt me by inserting the pen straight into my mouth but I was tougher than her so I defended myself by squashing her eyes with my bare hands till she died. oops I don’t know what this implies… Read more »

Melina Rodriguez

Hello Jesamine, I really appreciate that you have explained most of my dream in your interpretation. May you please explain the points that don’t make sense to me. I’ll give you a background info about me. I live with a narcissistic mother n her misogynistic partner, i rent a room, n I have my 6month baby. I had stop letting them near my baby til recently and i been feeling drained having to deal with her n before the dream i was overthinking of a way to tell my mother to back off. Now going to my dream. I was… Read more »

Jesamine

Hi Melina, I will help you but I refuse to read text speak. Use the word “and” if you are replacing it with “n”. I spend more hours than you know working out these posts and trying to edit them in a language people can understand. Seeing this kind of thing makes it impossible for me to relate to you. 🙏

Hamonangan

I have a strange dream and a hazy one. I dreamed about killing someone that i didn’t know. In this dream, I’ve been pursued by someone, it’s like war condition even I didn’t know who we fought, where we are. But I’m hiding, and I’ve been spotted by the main villain, we talked at first time, and there’s another man with me. I didn’t know who the hell he’s, suddenly we sleep with that villain. For the record, I’m a straight guy this horrified me both in dream and reality. Suddenly both of us stab that main villain with knife… Read more »

Laura

I had a dream that it was night time and the only way to get what I wanted was to help a gang of mass murderers kill people. I was walking around the block trying to create an outfit no one would recognize me in and on the way, I noticed my best friend in real life walk into the gang of mass murderers. He pulled his hood up, looked around, and walked in. I was confused and decided to follow him. When I reached the door, I asked him, “what are you doing here?” He said “I could ask… Read more »

Emmi

This has been bugging me for a while but I have a series of dreams about killing people, in my first dream I killed a little girl, I felt really guilty and started panicking, I ended up putting her corpse in a box in my room, but I never got rid of it, in my 2nd dream I killed 2 more people, I was feeling less guilty and kinda apathetic? At the end of that dream I was going to get rid of the bodies but never did, in my third dream it was all about me disposing of the… Read more »

Bryce

Hello! Im absolutely loving your posts and explanations super thorough and you reply to so many people, i hope that youll have time for me because my dream was hyper vivid and didnt quite match what you were saying. . . In my dream i was in a public park (surounded by homes) where i was two of my friends who i dont recognize meeting up with 3 hooded boys who apparently were going to give us 15 million dollars, when we met up they ran, but instead of runing we hid and waited for them to come back when… Read more »

Jesamine

Thanks for your comment of appreciation. That really means a lot. ? You didn’t leave any information about your current life situation, which is the most important aspect of understanding a dream like this one. Remember, your dream is saying something about your life, as it is right now. Here are some things to work with: what does being in a park surrounded by houses mean to you? Make associations like I show you in the posts. now you have your current inner situation strangers want to give you money, means some part of your unconscious psyche has some of… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Jesamine
Christina

Last night I dreamed that a man was trying to hurt me and my ex boyfriend and his friend killed him to protect me. The dream jumps into another scene where someone else was trying to hurt me, an unknown woman so I kept hitting her over the head every time she tried to come at me. My ex and friend ended up killing her and took her body to hide the evidence. I was so distraught in the dream and scared that they would get caught. I have not been on good terms with the ex and pregnant with… Read more »

Leo Custodio

I had a dream last night, and I am trying to interpret it, so far I don’t have any answer, maybe you can help. In my dreams, I was being chased by four or three women, from what I can remember, they are killers and hell bent on killing me, they cornered me on a some unfamiliar building and we fought. It was a vicious and bloody fight, ever seen one of Quentin Tarantino action movies? just imagine the scene like that, I barely made out alive, but I manage to kill all three … and they all died horribly… Read more »

Martin Towey

Dear Jesamine, Your website is excellent, but especially your writing. Your Jungian interpretations are very interesting. I looked up your website as I had a dream last night about murdering, I think it involved stabbing a stranger (or at least someone I did not know) under water. I have not dreamt about killing before. Certainly I have dreamt about being really angry or fighting someone or some act of violence but never killing. Interestingly enough, I attended a course yesterday on the subject of the Art of Wanting. The theme of this week concerned ‘intention’. I realised through discussion that… Read more »

abiwolf

Last month, right before I came back to University after staying with her for almost 2 months, I began having night terrors surrounding my Mother every few days. I felt so lost, isolated, alone, and confused. I didn’t know what to do. I was fatigued and started taking Melatonin to sleep at night. But since reading your work, I’ve discovered the Mother complex as Myself. Since realizing this, and awakening to Animus projection in a wonderful friendship I have with a freedom-embodying person, I’ve been inspired with passion for life and creativity. Just last night, I had a dream of… Read more »

Jesamine

Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It makes me very happy when I see that someone has actually worked with the material, rather than skipping the read and requesting interpretations. ?❤? Comments like this one make it worth it.

N

Last night I dreamt I went into some sort of “zombie like” state where I was detachted from myself and started killing random people whilst walking down the isles of what seemed like a school Hall/ cinema or something. Everyone seated in rows and I would just hit, punch, slice and kill these strangers whilst walking past showing no emotions, but I could feel anger & frustration inside me. I got to my (older) sister and her (younger) boyfriend in one of the rows. They were laughing and making remarks as if my strikes were nothing. I can’t remember the… Read more »