recurring dreams and nightmares

Why we get recurring dreams and how to stop them


Suppose you wanted to send an important email to someone but as soon as you hit the ‘send’ button, your screen displayed, ‘Message not sent. Check your network connection’. You check the connection but it’s fine and so you hit ‘send’ again.

The same message displays again. In your frustration, you hit ‘send’ again and again and again. You desperately want the message delivered.

The same thing happens when you get a recurring dream. There’s something important that your subconscious mind is desperately trying to convey you but you haven’t got the message yet.   

What exactly are recurring dreams?

Recurring dreams are simply dreams that occur again and again. The dream content of recurring dreams includes typical themes such as failing a test, teeth falling out, being chased, missing a ride, etc. But a recurring dream can also be specific to a person containing his own unique dream symbols.

Most of the time recurring dreams have negative dream content, meaning that a person feels a negative emotion such as fear or anxiety while going through the dream. This is consistent with the fact that these dreams serve to remind us of some important concern in our life.

waking from recurring dreams

What triggers these dreams?

Any unresolved issue that you might be having in your psyche, any emotion that you might be suppressing again and again or any future concerns that you might be currently having can translate into a recurring dream. 

Recurring dreams and nightmares are common in people who’ve had a traumatic experience in the past. According to psychologist Carl Jung, the traumatic experience has not yet been ‘integrated’ in their psyche and recurring dream is just a means for this integration.

I think the biggest reason behind getting a recurring dream is un-interpreted dreams.

Recurring dreams are common because many people do not know how to interpret their dreams and so their subconscious mind sends them the dream again and again, till the dream is understood or the underlying issue has been resolved, knowingly or unknowingly.

How to stop recurring dreams and nightmares

The best way to end recurring dreams and nightmares is to learn dream interpretation. Once you understand the message that your recurring dreams are trying to convey to you, they will end on their own. However, it is important that you act on the message and resolve the issue as soon as you can because even if you understand the message but don’t act on it the recurring dream may resurface for obvious reasons.

Some examples

If a recurring dream is currently bothering you then the following examples will give you good insights to help you understand them and consequently get rid of them…

Stacy had this recurring dream of being lost on a desolate island. On careful examination, she noticed that this dream had started about a year ago when she broke up with her boyfriend. She understood that this dream was nothing but a reflection of her fear of being single and lonely.

When she found a new relationship partner a couple of weeks ago, her recurring dream ended. Kevin had this recurring dream in which he was falling off the edge of a huge cliff. He had recently quit his job and started a business. He had doubts about this new business and didn’t know where it was going to take him.

The recurring dream represented his anxiety about the future of this new business. As soon as he started seeing success in the business, his recurring dream disappeared.

Hamid, a medical student, had a crush on this girl who was her classmate. He never expressed these emotions to her and didn’t tell anyone about it, including his closest friends, for some personal reasons. He saw the girl repeatedly in her dreams.

This recurring dream enabled him to express the emotions that he had toward the girl. The recurring dream ended when he left medical school and his emotions for her faded away.

Same problem, different causes

Sometimes, even if we have knowingly or unknowingly eliminated the root cause behind a recurrent dream, it can still resurface because the same problem appears again in our life but with a different cause.

For instance, there’s this famous case of a guy who had a recurrent dream in which he was unable to speak. He had this recurrent dream throughout his adolescence right up to his college. The reason behind the dream was that he was very shy and so found difficulty in communicating with others.

When he joined college he overcame his shyness and the recurring dream stopped.

After graduating, he moved to a new country and found difficulty in communicating with people there because they spoke a different language. At this point, the recurring dream of not being able to speak resurfaced.

The problem was the same- difficulty in communicating with others- but this time the cause was not shyness but an inability to speak a foreign language.

Now, what do you think would’ve happened if this guy learned that foreign language or got himself a translator or moved back and found a job in his native country?

Of course, his recurring dream would end.