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Dreams About Killing Someone – Symbolism and Meaning

Dreams about killing someone can be extremely disturbing, especially if you consider yourself a law-abiding citizen, who’s empathetic and considerate of other people’s feelings. It’s common to feel that such dreams are indicative of internal darkness or a criminal mind.

While dreams about killing someone can be related to aggression in your waking life, the meaning of the dream can vary, depending on what you saw and what happened in it.

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Dreams About Killing Someone meaning

Are Dreams About Murder Connected to Aggression?

A recent study found that 20 to 35 percent of participants had dreamt of killing someone at least once in their lives, indicating that such aggressive dreams are fairly common. However, do these dreams indicate that you’re an aggressive person?

According to the researchers, waking emotions are often reflected in dreams in an amplified way, with dreams about killing someone associated with aggression. The study found that people who dream of killing someone can be more hostile, introverted, and antisocial.

However, the type of killing in the dream – whether it was in self-defense, an accident, or cold-blooded murder – can also have a bearing on personality. Cold-blooded killings in dreams are likely to be associated with waking life aggression. While the study isn’t conclusive, it indicates that such dreams may be alerting you to reflect on the emotions you feel in your waking life.

“Emotions in dreams can be much stronger than the emotions in waking life,” says Michael Schredl, head of research at the sleep lab of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. “If you do dream about killing, look at your aggressive emotions in waking life.”

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Common Meanings of Dreams About Killing Someone

Interpretations of murder dreams

1. Repressed Anger

One of the most common meanings of dreams about killing someone is repressed anger. Perhaps you’ve had an argument with a colleague, friend, or family member, which is causing this negative feeling.

There may be someone in your waking life who could be causing problems for you, making you feel angry and frustrated. You may be allowing these emotions to build up inside you and your subconscious mind could be using this to trigger your dream.

If you dream about killing someone and covering it up, it may indicate that you’re trying to hide your anger. Additionally, this dream may also signify a lack of control. When this anger builds up, you may become focused on it and could dream about murdering someone without feeling any guilt.

2. Relationship Problems

Some people have frightening dreams about killing a loved one. If you have seen yourself in a dream killing your parent, partner, or sibling, it may mean that you’re having relationship problems with these people in your waking life.

You may likely be disagreeing with each other. In this case, the dream could be telling you to become aware of how this can affect your relationship and resolve the issue before things spin out of control.

Another interpretation of a dream about killing a friend or loved one is that something is testing your relationship with that person. Your friend may be having a problem and needs your support to get out of it.

3. Real Life Crisis or Problem

If you dream about killing someone in self-defense, this could mean that you’re dealing with a real-life crisis or problem. This dream may indicate that someone is invading your personal space in your waking life. As such, a part of you may want to remove that person from your life so that you will feel safe again.

On the other hand, if you kill someone and run away in the dream, it may mean that you’re trying to run away from your problems without facing them. There’s a possibility that you’re having this dream because your mind is telling you that you need to seek help and support.

4. A Desire to Quit a Habit

A dream about killing a stranger could be a sign that it’s time for you to change your attitude or personality. You may have a bad habit that needs to be changed. It could be something that you’ve been struggling to overcome or it could be something you’re not aware of.

If in your dream you killed a stranger and buried him, it signifies that you’re ready to take the first step towards changing your bad habits or bad attitudes. Aside from that, you may also be having this dream if you lose someone in your life. Your dream may be telling you that you have the strength to move on and it’s time to put the past behind you.

5. Desire to Change Jobs

Dreaming about killing your boss could mean that you’re not happy with your current job. You may be having disagreements with your boss or a colleague and you dislike your work. This dream could be a sign that it’s time for you to consider a different career choice.

6. A Desire to Help or Protect

A dream about killing someone to protect your family indicates your desire to keep your family safe at any cost. You may be having this dream because your family is facing some challenges, so you want to do everything in your power to resolve your problems.

This kind of dream could also mean that one or more of your family members are struggling with a problem and needs your help and support. It could be a sign that the communication in your family has broken down. This dream could be reminding you that communication is the key to keeping you and your family united through difficult times.

7. Desire to Open Up

A dream about killing someone and hiding his body could be a representation of your desire to open up. You may be having trouble opening up to someone in your waking life. If this is the case, this dream could be a sign that you’re ready to express your feelings and open up to others.

8. Healing

Your dream may be letting you know that a difficult or stressful situation in your life has finally ended. You have ‘killed’ that negativity in your life, which is now a thing of the past. However, there may be lingering sense of trauma or guilt, indicating that you’re having trouble recovering and moving on from a bad experience. 

9. Success

If you dream about killing a supernatural being like a vampire, for example, your subconscious may be telling you that your struggles are ending soon, and all your efforts will be rewarded. It could also indicate that success and fortune are coming your way.

This kind of dream can also indicate that you’ll be successful in eliminating your bad habits or deeds. The supernatural being may represent negative characteristics and killing the creature signifies that you can eliminate those negative aspects of yourself in order to become a better person.

Is It Bad to Dream About Killing Someone?

Dreaming about killing someone isn’t all bad – there are some positive interpretations that can be taken from such dreams. It can indicate that you’re putting something to death in your waking life, including bad habits or a bad career choice.

If you’ve had such a dream, reflect on your life, and consider whether there are any issues that’s causing you anger, anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction, or other feelings that we experience. Your dream could be telling you that something needs to be addressed in real life.

While Freud attributed importance to details, he also said that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. If you’ve dreamt of killing someone, it might be that you watched a violent movie just before sleeping or heard about a murder on the news. While it’s entirely possible that the dream holds deep meaning, there’s also the chance that it could simply be your mind reviewing a detail from your waking life.

If you keep having such dreams, and they’re beginning to worry you, it might be the right time to talk to a therapist or a psychologist.

Wrapping Up

As uncomfortable as they may make you feel, dreams about killing someone don’t always mean that something terrible is about to happen. If you’re in a difficult situation, these kinds of dreams can offer solutions.

Most of the time, the solution will remain hidden and you may need to search for it. Some of these dreams can even make you aware of something that’s about to go wrong in your life so that you can be prepared.

Affiliate Disclosures

Apsara Palit
Apsara Palit

After completing her post-grad in Values, Ethics and Indian Culture, Apsara is sharing her knowledge of symbolism, mythology, history and culture through her blogs. Apsara lives in India and believes in getting a first-hand understanding of culture through travelling.