The Meaning of Being Chased in a Dream

After being chased in dreams we might wake up feeling exhausted!
After being chased in dreams we might wake up feeling exhausted!

Like being attacked, the dream of being chased, of running away from something or trying to hide is one of the most common as well as distressing dream themes.  It is not uncommon after waking from a chase dream feeling stressed, anxious, or even exhausted as though we actually have been running all night!  These dreams may involve long and complicated plots moving from location to location, or they may have just an intense feeling of needing to get away.  You may be running, using transport, or seeking places to hide.  All of these other elements give us different clues as to our emotional state and what the thing is we are running from.  Look at the other symbols to help piece together the meaning.

Also similar to attack dreams, chase dreams can be confronting to deal with.  They often ask us the questions:

  • What are you running away from?
  • What do you not want to face up to in your life?
  • Where are you feeling under threat or under siege in your waking life?

If these questions were easy to deal with, they would not have reached the stage in our dreams where we feel panicked, so don’t worry if these questions are difficult to answer at first.  Learning to confront our fears, to face up to people or ideas that we find threatening or demeaning, or to admit our own bad habits and self destructive behaviour  is one of the most difficult aspects of self development.  How can we learn to be brave and strong when we feel intimidated, threatened, guilty or afraid?

The good news is, you can start to address these elements in the same way your dreams do – symbolically.  As you work with your dream, you can “train” your subconscious, eventually becoming strong and certain enough that you can act in real life as you do in your dreams, and claim back your own personal power.  Try the following exercises:

  • Write a conversation with the person or thing that is chasing or following you, it doesn’t matter if you never actually knew what it was in the dream.   Write it like a script or dialogue, letting the words flow freely.  This will help you “face up” to your assailant
  • If this dream is because you feel guilty about something, write your self a letter.  First, one explaining why you did what you did, and how you feel about it, then another, to forgive your self and recognise that you can’t change the past, that making a mistake does not doom you forever, and that everyone will be better off if you learn to be happy and strong.  Read these letters out loud then destroy them.
  • Make a sculpture or drawing of your chaser.  If it still looks scary and intimidating, draw or sculpt something on it that makes it look funny or ridiculous. Tell the person or creature they have no power over you any more.

You will know when this dream work starts to take effect as the chasing dreams change – either you will face the one who chases you, you will dream of getting away, or the chaser will change into something positive.  And as these changes take place in your subtle, subconscious mind, so too should you feel a renewed sense of freedom, confidence and strength.  Chase dreams invite us to stop running, to face our fears and recognise what is good and healthy for our life.

You may also be interested in the following posts

The meaning of attack in dreams

The meaning of monsters in dreams

Nightmares Part 1 and Part 2

The meaning of Obstacles in a dream

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11 Comments

  1. I love my chase dreams! Because I have them so often (at least once a month), I’m not bothered by them. I wake up feeling exhilarated; they’re stressful in a fun way, quite like watching a high-stakes scene in a movie. The chasers are always different: aliens, zombies, velociraptors and other dinosaurs, ninjas and other trained assassins, menacing serial killers, and even a creepy version of Daniel Radcliffe who had designs on ruling the universe (which the Harry Potter franchise has pretty much already done). I’m not really satisfied by the explanation given here, at least in my case. I don’t think I have any huge demons I’m running away from, and if my chasers do represent these problems, I don’t think I’d assign them to a ninja. I mean, maybe I just think ninjas are cool, y’know? Which I do, along with raptors and aliens and zombies. Maybe what I should pay attention to is when my chasers are truly terrifying, like the lone wolf serial killers who sometimes pop up. That probably means something different, and those dreams have a darker tone of fear than the others. I’ll definitely be monitoring that.

    I think because I’m mostly thrilled rather than stressed by these dreams, it means that I love the idea of accomplishing a task with heightened stakes. I’m an actor, so my life’s work involves (literally) performing well under pressure, and getting from one place to a better one as quickly (and desperately) as possible.

    I never quite escape from the chaser, and they never quite get me. Only once have I reached my destination safely by the time I wake up…. I weasled my way out of certain death at the hands of Supreme Ruler Daniel by promising to be his servant throughout his conquest of the world. Meh, what can I say. I guess I didn’t feel like running around that night.

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    1. You might like your chase dreams because they are not quite intense enough to draw an emotional impact throughout your day, I have them weekly and they are not pleasent at all, even when I know I’m dreaming it takes control of things you have taught yourself in lucid dreaming leaving you stuck in the same scene that feels like days, even when you have had enough of the chase you confront the person or creature in your dream and 95% of the time cannot kill it and will keep on coming for you with weapons of your minds choice like a blade or a crossbow or it could be a large animal like a bull charging at you constantly, and on the small encounter you do kill the person or creature in your dreams you wake up feeling that horrible that you subconsciously thought of these horrible things you did to something to escape what has been happening to you

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  2. Thanks so much for your post Anna. Your raise two really important points that I would love all people who read these posts to consider. First, I have said it before and I will say it again – only YOU can realy know what your dreams mean. They come from inside your own mind, and while they may draw upon common symbols that can imply similar patterns, that doesn’t mean they have a universal meaning. We should always question other people’s interpretations of our own dreams. We can accept what is useful, but must disregard what seems inherently wrong to us. So thanks for reminding us all of that Anna! 🙂
    Secondly, one of the most important paths to understanding our own dreams is through emotional honesty. If you feel exhilarated Anna, these dreams are likely to be communicating something different than the anxiety of chase dreams to you. The “thrill of the chase” seems well and truely at play here. But I am interested if you are always the one being chased, or do you ever become the pursuer yourself? I am also intrigued that the one dream you mentioned where you decided not to run anymore saw the alternative as you becoming a servant. Perhaps running for you implies a certain freedom, evading people or circumstances that you feel would seek to control you or impose a certain set of values, beliefs or behaviours that you feel are not your own. This may be particularly importnat for you to protect the “real you” when as an actor you are constantly taking on new roles, and these could potentially threaten your sense of self if you were to take them too seriously, or believe in the too much, or let them “catch you.” Alternatively, I might also explore the notion of comitment and what “being caught” implies to you, not just relationships but also work.
    It is also interesting that you draw a parallel between your dreams and movies, with you yourself being an actor. This is the kind of unique circumstance I am talking about when I say only you can undertsand your dreams fully, becuase only you know all the circumstances of your life. We draw upon images and themes from waking life to populate our dreams with. You work as an actor and have dreams like movies. But why these kind of movies in particular? If you wanted to understand the deeper layers going here, you could try to undertsand what chase movies have meant to you in your life, and also what do the different characters mean to you? How do you feel about Ninjas? And why are you running from one instead of battling one, befriending one, becoming one? These questions, if we ask them honestly of ourselves, can help reveal deeper levels inside us we never knew before. Dreams can be fun and exciting, and it is good when they are. But they also help to teach us. What else is going on with you apart from exciting adventures Anna? May you continue to be thrilled by your dreams Anna, and dream well!

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  3. Hello,
    I had 2 dreams last night.both was the same..I dreamed I had a baby girl .I can remember holding her and calling her by name and what she looked like.I even remember her weight and how long she was.I was in the hospital bed and the nurse come in and got her to take her to the Nursery and 30 min later I went down to get her and brought her back to my room.my husband was in the dream to and he was holding her as well.

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  4. I always wake up excited and happy from my ‘being chased’ dreams.
    They are really fun, mostly because I’m always faster than my chasers.

    In the past I was most often running in my dreams, nowadays I’m flying a lot, fast as a rollercoaster, dodging all kinds of obstacles. Going from the city to the forest and back.

    It’s almost like a video game. I mean, first I had people on foot chasing me, then people shooting at me from helicopters, and then I flew into a cookie factory and grabbed a bunch of cookies to bring home to someone, though I don’t quite remember who. The dream ended when I got there.

    These dreams really don’t feel negative at all to me.

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  5. I had I dream of hideous black man chasing me, In the dream I thought he’s gonna kill me. I ran into a near by house where I told knife to defend myself, When I tried to stab him he couldn’t. His skin was like rubber. I put him in the water and I throw the water that’s when he disappear and he said he will gravitate back towards my life again.

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  6. I have these recurring dreams about someone in a black sweatshirt and black sweatpants. The persons hood is always up and I can’t tell who it is! He was always chasing me! I was able to get away but he got very close at some points. My dream ends and then continues the next night. It is creepy and went on for about 4 nights and then stopped and came back about a week later when I was addressed with some new problems with someone in my life. I think it might be that person but I can not tell for sure. They are scary and whenever I am just walking down the street, I get paranoid and am always looking around for a person in a black sweatshirt and sweatpants.

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