What does it mean when I kill someone in my dreams? In my dream I was
climbing up a ladder behind by brother (I don't even have a brother in waking
life!) to get to the top bunk bed and I put a knife in his back. Even in the
dream I was shocked by my behavior. I'm a very non-violent person and was
upset that this occurred, even in a dream!
Finding ourselves behaving in dreams like criminals is very upsetting, even
though it is quite common. For any upsetting experience, its often useful to
write the experience down in a journal as clearly and detailed as possible.
Although your dream will have personal meanings beyond what anyone but you
yourself can discover, the act of killing and being killed in dreams is
really quite normal, even among those who would never hurt a fly.
Dream workers find the most useful way to approach these dreams is to first
see that the deaths and slayings are not meant to be taken literally, but
rather symbolically. This becomes especially clear when we kill figures that
don't even exist in waking life. The image of death taken symbolically can
mean many things, one of which can be the death of an old attitude or
personality trait or behavior pattern.
In this way the whole sense of the dream is reversed, and death becomes a
doorway to a new way of living. As you can see, the meanings shift according
to who is being killed. Killing our parents may be giving up values they
gave us that no longer work for us, while killing a sibling may be getting
beyond relationships that involve useless rivalry and competition.
It is always interesting to note how *far away* the murdered figures are
from you, both physically or in terms of blood relations. An unknown person
or distant cousin may indicate that the personality trait or habit that is
dying or being done away with is rather distant from your core personality.
Killing oneself or an intimate other
offers the opportunity to make key changes in your life or attitudes.
If this were my dream, the unknown brother might represent a part of myself
that I'm very competitive with but don't admit it. We both want the "Top
Bunk" or top place. By dreaming about this I become conscious of this
struggle and may choose some alternatives, such as sharing the top position
with those key parts of myself where I would usually kill rather than let
them be on top. I would want to know who the unknown brother was, and perhaps
watch and see who I compete with as I go through a regular day.
The key here is to approach the elements in the dream metaphorically, and
then to apply these metaphors to ourselves and our life. In this way the most
adverse dream conditions become our allies in personal growth & self
Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The
Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet
Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for
the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.