Meaning of Nightmares
If you have nightmares, try to understand the fears and the events in those dreams. They suggest that you might be holding on to be traumatic or guilt based conflicts. You may have a lot of powerful negative feelings that require reconciliation. If nightmares continue for an extended period of time, the individual should consider obtaining professional counseling services. Nightmares are a direct result of overwhelming feelings of fear and helplessness, or a result of an unprocessed traumatic experience. A nightmare is any dream that wakes you up because of its frightening and overwhelming images.
Nightmares have an enormous impact on all of us. They are ordinary events after traumatic events or disasters. Nightmares serve to digest the horrific events. Just telling them to someone can have a positive effect on an individual's sense of well being. Nightmares are very common following a traumatic event. Whether they picture the traumatic event directly, or involve other images and themes, or both, they probably reflect a normal healing process, and will diminish in frequency and intensity if recovery is progressing. If after several weeks no change is noted, consultation with a therapist is advisable.
Though it has been scientifically proven that we all dream every night, fear of nightmares or other anxieties or misguided beliefs about dreams and the unconscious can block dream recall. This can usually be overcome by learning about the useful nature of dreams and by recognizing that the majority of nightmares, like a bitter but quite necessary medicine, represent opportunities for personal healing through much-needed emotional release. They are often indirectly warning us about current behavior patterns or psychological imbalances that we need to remedy if we don’t want such unpleasant dreams to repeat, or worsen. Sometimes, such imbalances or patterns resolve themselves as the dream percolates into waking thought and we unknowingly respond and make adjustments in our life. But if we block, deny or ignore such messages from the subconscious for too long, then it usually speaks ‘louder’ to get our attention often by bringing related events, which I call daymares, into our waking hours. These daymares show up as sickness, accidents, relationship difficulties or other unfortunate personal circumstances that force us outright to deal with the issue at hand. Interestingly enough, such events often have repeating themes as well, such as recurring relationship patterns, for example.
Psychologist Ernest Rossi has put forth that one important function of dreaming is integration: the combining of separate psychological structures into a more balanced and comprehensive personality. Renown psychologist Carl Jung observed that portions of our whole personality which we knowingly or unknowingly judge become disowned, and are frequently projected outward in dreams, taking the form of aggressors, devils, monsters, intimidating animals or natural events (e.g. tidal waves), and so on. Jung referred to these symbolic figures as "the shadow". Whether we become aware of such elements of our shadow through nightmares or daymares, re-accepting these judged and disowned portions of ourselves is the message and the awaiting gift.
So, we truly are lucky to have such nightmares, since they provide a natural ‘pressure-release’ therapy for the psyche, and especially since they may even provide what amounts to an early cure if we listen to, make an effort to understand and then act upon the valuable insight that dreams try to bring us. The goal is still to put an end to nightmares and recurring dreams, but by evolving them into more beneficial scenarios, and not by blocking, ignoring or denying them.
If one believes that nightmares are truly a psychological problem or a symptom of a traumatic life experiences like rape, war, child abuse or the 9/11 towers attack read
Nightmares and Treating Trauma Disorders