What Are Recurring Dreams Telling Us

Resham Agarwal
Jul 12, 2019   •  15 views

Dreams are integral part of our lives. Recurring dreams are those that occur frequently and repetitively in an individual’s life. Usually it is believed that recurring dreams occur because you some past life experience that you have not acknowledged or is now causing you stress. If you do not correct that problem you are to experience those dreams. Other theory is that if someone has experienced past trauma then they will experience similar dreams related to their trauma. But in this case it usually lessens with time.

It is usually experienced by 60-75 percent of adults, and it is more often in women than men. The most common themes of these dreams are running late or failing in exams, being attacked or chased, missing an appointment or important schedule, accidents or being stuck somewhere. It is often said that recurring dreams are mostly accompanied by negative dream content. It has also been also been associated with lower psychological wellbeing.


  • Teeth falling out or loss of speech- according to Sigmund Freud if a woman has such dreams then she is unconsciously longing to have children. Whereas if a man has such dream it is believed that he is afraid of castration. But as we all know that Freud’s theories have always been controversial.

  • Difficulty with house maintenance

  • Discovering new rooms in house- Freud believed that rooms represented bodies whereas others thought that new rooms are representation of finding new things or potentials about themselves.

  • Unable to find toilet

  • Ability to fly- Wallace claims that this type of dream indicates that there is an out of control situation in real life.

  • Losing control of vehicle or accidents- it may indicate that individual may have some health issues.

  • Being unable to move or held down (also referred to as sleep paralysis)

  • Failing a test or surprise test

  • Being caught up in a natural disaster (or sometimes escaping it)

  • Drowning or unable to breathe- it indicates helplessness or slipping out of control that a person might feel in his/her unconscious mind.

  • Missing important meetings, train, flight, bus or trying to chase it

  • Being chased- it is said that dreams related to being chased by something or someone represents that the individual is trying to avoid confronting something or battling with some kind of adversity.

  • Returning back to old places like previous school, house or workplace


There is one explanation of threat stimulation theory given by Antti Revonsuo; however there are contradictions that dreamers do not usually succeed at fleeing their threat. Gestalt gave Gestaltist dream theory where he viewed that recurring dreams represent the psychic imbalance of a person’s current state. Freud believed that neurotic repetitive compulsions result in traumatic dreams.


Some suggest relaxation techniques before going to sleep. Garfield suggests that treatment of recurring dream is to confront and conquer the feared scene. Halliday, in 1982, proposed to alter a small aspect of dream to overcome recurring dreams. Lastly Tholey suggest in 1988 to have the dream ego engage in conciliatory dialogue along with hostile dream figures. Other methods are; try to maintain a journal and write your dreams everyday to figure out what it means. This is also known as dream analysis. Try to meditate over your findings, concentrate in why you are seeing what you are seeing.