Articles Disturbing Dreams

Dreams that leave us disturbed when we wake are not uncommon and we see examples of them in the Bible as well.  The prophet Daniel, whose story is told in the Old Testament, is one example. Another is that of Pilate’s wife, her story is found in the New Testament.

Daniel 7:15 (NKJV)
“I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.”

Matthew 27:19 (NKJV)
“…for I have suffered many things today in a dream… ” 

There are many reasons why a dream may be disturbing and troubling. Perhaps it is self-evident that dreams could result from a deep-seated concern or conflict—situations that bring emotional pain—for example, a person who suffers during a traumatic event such as a relationship breakup or divorce.


In February 2007 I encountered a lady during one of my seminars who shared the following disturbing dream.

I dreamt that I watched two men digging my grave. I then stood in front of it to have a look and saw a photo of me on my grave. It didn’t look like me but I knew it was me.

After seeking the Lord and talking more with the woman, I believe the Lord revealed that the two men digging the grave were symbols of her two marriages. The first one hadn’t worked out and the second marriage was on the brink of collapse. The photo she saw in the dream represented the person she has become during this ordeal, instead of the person she used to be. 


During a dream I saw myself walking through sewage deposits, covered in filth and searching for somewhere to wash myself. I was trying to get away from the filthy foul-smelling place. Finally I located a tap and began to wash the dirt and grime off.

To dream of sewage can represent issues or situations that a person finds objectionable. The dreamer in this case was involved in a toxic and abusive marriage. Washing or removing the sewage was indicative of the desire to be removed from the stain and effect of a destructive and dysfunctional relationship. Just as sewage can spoil an environment, the toxicity of abuse can spoil the human spirit when exposed to negativity and unwanted verbal excrement. Sewage is also a symbol of waste. This dreamer felt the marriage was such a ‘waste’—something that could have been valuable and should have been cherished had wasted away.


A father’s hostile verbal exchange with his son triggered the following dream.

In the dream I was holding a gun, which I used at point blank range blowing my mother’s face off. I woke up deeply distressed.

His mother is a symbol of gentleness and nurture. The father’s verbal aggression and altercation with his son, was powerfully portrayed by killing off these qualities at point blank range in shooting his mother.


In my book, ‘In Your Dreams’, I refer to several examples related to the symbol of sexuality. One such case involved a lady who shared a dream with me that caused her some concern.

She dreamt that her husband was making love with another woman. She started to choke the lady and was very upset with her. She also rejected her husband.

She was distressed by the dream when she woke up. She sat down with her husband to talk over the troubling dream and was satisfied he wasn’t cheating.

After talking further with her about it and seeking wisdom from the Lord, we began to understand that when the woman was choking the other woman in her dream, it was symbolic of the playmate aspect of her life, which she had been rejecting. When her husband had made advances to her she had shut them down. Without realising it, she had been slowly suffocating that side of the relationship with her husband.

The key to understanding why we have disturbing and distressing dreams is to understand the message that is often contained in them. It is helpful to reflect on your most recent events and concerns, which may be directly connected to your dream.

Many times our dreams contain answers to our problems and concerns. The first dream discussed in this article encouraged the woman to rediscover the person she once was. The second dream contained the message to not allow the toxic nature of her experience to contaminate her spirit. The third dream reminded the father of the importance to a gentle, calm and controlled approach. The focus in the fourth dream centred on the wife and her responses to her husband.

Ref: Article on Nightmares.