Category: Dream Symbols

Dreams of being chased/pursued/persecuted – what do they mean? (dream interpretation, persecution)

Persecution in dreams  – to be chased (/being a fugitive) in dreams naturally falls in the category of nightmares, as such dreams often involve great amounts of anxiety. You’ve probably also tried waking up with your heart practically pounding its way out of your chest, with cold sweat pouring all over your body – as as you woke up you realized that it was “just” a dream, and that everything is OK. But why do we dream of being persecuted? It can be about several things – these are all reviewed in the following.

Something inside yourself is chasing you. When you dream of persecution, it is often about being chased by something inside yourself (thoughts, experiences, emotions). If another person, more people or even animals are chasing you, these can all be illustrations of sides or elements of yourself, something you either will not acknowledge, or simply hasn’t yet realized you contain.

As a man you might dream of being chased by a crude biker type person – as an illustration of a yet unintegrated, rather primitive masculinity. Or that you as a woman dream of being followed by another woman, and as you in the dream turn around to see who’s following you, it turns out to be a not at all frightening street musician! She might be a symbol of a more loose or free, potentially creative/musical side of you, that you currently are hiding in waking life.

Both examples illustrate how persecution dreams – despite being scary – are often dreams that has a positive meaning, as they tell about unused resources inside ourselves. There can be more reasons for why we don’t want to acknowledge these sides of our personality. It might be that we are embarrased about them (what if you dream of being persecuted by a very dominating, maybe even lying type of person? It is hard to accept that you are also that type of person!)

Or maybe our upbringing has taught us, that is is not okay to be “creative”, “wild” or play music. It often turns out – as we realize we dream of sides of ourselves we are not too aware of, or hasn’t yet integrated – that the best strategy is to start having a “dialogue” with these sides of ourselves.

This by either in the dream stop as we are being chased, turn around to see who’s following us (being conscious while dreaming is something we can all learn – it’s called lucid dreaming), or by in waking life starting to experiment with these unintegrated sides. If – as a man – you are a bit too much of a pretty boy or mama’s boy, you might benefit from being more of a crude biker sometimes.

If you’ve prevented yourself from playing music, painting or in other ways being creative simply because it didn’t “fit” into who your parents or your immediate friends wanted you to be, well then it’s about time to let your inner street musician come out! Dream work is all bout becoming who you are.

Haunted by experiences, thoughts, or emotions. It could also be that what is really chasing you (potentially symbolized as people in your dreams), are a lot of thoughts/emotions that are nagging you unconsciously, but in waking life you are trying to hide from them. It could be actual traumatic experiences you’ve had, or it could be the enormous demands put on you from the outside world (your job – illustrated by being chased by your boss?), demands you feel you have a very hard time living up to. In this last situation it is crucial that you somehow respond to this in your waking life by making changes at the workplace, or there’s a great danger you’ve might burn out.

Persecution dream as a symbol a needed change / personal development. It is not uncommon for a teenager to repeatedly dream about being chased by an adult of the same sex. This could be your dreams telling you that it is about time to “grow up” – the persecutor is simply a symbol of a more adult personality, trying to break through in waking life behaviour and thinking. But growing up can be a very scary thing – hence it is perceived as a nightmare.

A woman kan also – after maybe having been on maternal leave for a longer period – start having dreams of being stalked by unknown men as an illustration of her more performance-focused sides (career, status, power), and hence a longing to get back to work and do something more “productive” (while others would argue that being a loving and caring mum is highly productive, this is where people are different!).

Finally – in persecution dreams it is important to understand what is haunting you – as this most likely is something you have inside yourself, making your life more difficult right now. Or something outside you, making your life difficult. No matter what – you need to confront and accept it – or you will continue dreaming about it.

PLEASE NOTE: I have decided to no longer help out / interpret dreams in the comments below – I simply get too many requests every day (on this blogpost and the many other blogposts).

Also note; Dreams are a 100% individual, and if you dream of being persecuted by a tiger, it most likely means something else for you, than for someone else having dreams of being chased by a tiger. It might also be that none of the above is relevant for what is happening for you. A given interpretation of a dream is only correct if you truly feel it is correct, if you feel struck by the interpretation.