What Do Dreams About Murder And Crime Mean? 4 Nightmares About Breaking The Law, Explained

If you've never woken up in a cold sweat after having a dream about murder or another crime, consider yourself lucky. Though though they're nowhere near as common as classics like the "nude and giving a lecture about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff" dream or the "my teeth all fell out while I was taking the MCAT" dream, dreams where we're the victims — or perpetrators — of crimes happen to most of us on occasion. Being the safety-conscious folks that we are, these kind of dreams can shake us to the core — but do they just symbolize our normal fears about crime, or is there something more to them?

With some help from "definitive" dream interpretation site Dream Moods, we've delved into four of the most common dreams about crimes. But before we even start, let's get one thing straight: dreaming about committing a crime doesn't mean that you're on your way to becoming a young Bonnie and/or Clyde, or anything other than your totally law-abiding self. In fact, according to Dream Moods, dreaming that you've committed a crime typically means that you're "selling yourself short and underestimating your own potential." Or that you've been falling asleep while watching CSI.

And dreaming that someone is committing a crime against you doesn't mean that something bad is about to happen, either; dreams about being the victim of a crime typically just symbolize different kinds of anxiety and dissatisfaction that we have about our lives. So, are you ready to dive in and analyze some crime dreams? Get your giant sack with a dollar sign on the side, and let's go.

1. Robbery

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If you dream that your home has been broken into and robbed or that someone has somehow stolen all your stuff, it might mean "that you are experiencing an identity crisis or are suffering from some sort of loss in your life." Alternatively, it might mean that you feel like you're being shafted by a coworker or classmate who's taking all the credit for your ideas and work — so they're literally stealing your figurative spotlight.

If you're the one doing the snatching (presumably jewels, presumably while in a Catwoman costume), it might mean that you have "unrealized and unfulfilled goals," and feel like the only way to reach them might be to cut some serious corners. But that's probably not true, so avoid taking the easy route — just because Selina Kyle cut some massive corners and things seemed to turn out OK for her doesn't mean it's a great idea for you.

2. Kidnapping

A dream about being kidnapped has to be one of the most terrifying dreamtime scenarios we can encounter. If you've experienced a crime similar to this in real life, this nightmare could be a sign of PTSD — dreams about your experience are often a common symptom of post-traumatic stress. However, if you dream about being kidnapped and you've never had anything remotely similar happen in your life, it could symbolize "feelings of being trapped and restricted" by some situation in your everyday life, one that's taking up way too much of your time and attention. Your captor in the dream may hold some key to figuring out what situation is draining all your energy — for example, if you dream that you're being held captive by an ex, it may mean that the act of sorting through your remaining feelings about that person is sucking up all your time and energy.

If you witness someone else's kidnapping in a dream, you might be "not letting aspects and characteristics of that person to be expressed within you." If it's a friend or family member, it could be aspects of their personality that you don't feel comfortable expressing yourself in your own life; if it's a stranger, the setting they're in when they get kidnapped may hold a clue as to the role they play in your mind.

And if you're the kidnapper, you may just be "holding on to something that you need to let go" — a job, a relationship, a favorite sweater that's way too stretched out to wear anymore and everyone can admit it except you. Let it go, my frightened, dreaming friend. Let it go.

3. Sexual Assault

A dream about being sexually assaulted may be actually the most unsettling dream that most of us ever have. If you've experienced an assault in real life, your dream may be a side effect of post-traumatic stress that you're experiencing — nightmares are common among PTSD sufferers. Working with a trained mental health professional can usually help you work through your trauma and cut down on the nightmares.

But if you've never undergone an assault of any sort in your waking hours, a dream of assault can signify that you feel violated; some aspect of your life feels wildly out of control, and it's scary. Take a deep breath, remember that it was just a dream, and then pay serious attention to which areas of your life feel scary to you. Is there a way to take small steps to get a better handle on it? How can you start?

4. Murder

OK, I guess these are actually all probably among the most unsettling dreams you can have. So I hope you're not having them too often. But if you are, let me say — as someone who went through a period where I had nonstop nightmares about my estranged mom trying to murder me in my childhood home (yeah, you don't need a dream interpretation site to figure that one out) — I feel you.

So what do your/my murder dreams mean? If you see a murderer in your dream, it could mean that "an essential aspect of your emotions have been cut off." If you're being chased by the murderer in question, it could mean that you're trying to "outrun" an aspect of your emotions. If you see a murderer kill someone else, you might be repressing some "deep-seated anger towards somebody." And if you (gulp) actually get murdered in your dream, it's not as bleak as it seems — rather than being some kind of eerie premonition, it probably means that either an "important and significant relationship has been severed" or that "you are trying to disconnect yourself from your emotions." So the death is a metaphor for the way you're trying to deaden your emotions.

And what if you're the one wielding the ax/knife/spoon carved to a sharp point? Dreams that you're a murderer are common among people who are feeling depressed, and they can often signal "repressed aggression or rage at yourself or at someone."

On a more positive note, they could also be referring to moving on from an old habit or an outdated way of thinking — the old habit is what is symbolically being killed, in this reading of the dream. There aren't any exact tips on how to tell which meaning your own scary murder dream has, but I think you'll probably be able to figure it out on your own based on your current life situation, your emotions, and whether you woke up screaming at the top of your lungs and trying to strangle your pillow.

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