It can make you feel a little uneasy when you wake up from a dream where someone you know is angry at you. While dreams are open to interpretation, these kinds of dreams can still leave you wondering what it all actually means. Sometimes dreaming about someone being mad at you can mean that they're actually mad at you. But according to dream experts, that isn't usually the case.
"The purpose of interpreting dreams is to bring conscious awareness to something your brain already knows, and only at the conscious level can you take steps to address the issue," Claire Harrison, reiki master and certified dream interpreter, tells Bustle. "When you dream someone is mad at you, it usually means that you're angry with an aspect of yourself at a subconscious level."
One of the most popular theories about dreaming of other people is that the people in your dreams represent aspects of yourself that need to be addressed. For instance, if you dream that your friend is mad at you, Lauri Loewenberg, certified dream analyst, tells Bustle, you may be mad at yourself in regards to that friend. Maybe you're feeling guilty over not being there for them when they needed you most. Now that guilt is being brought up in your dream.
Dreaming about a friend being mad can also represent the need for you to be a friend to yourself. If you've been pretty hard on yourself lately, your dream may be telling you to be more kind, loving, understanding, and forgiving.
"It's super important to pay attention to what's being said to you in a dream because it's really something you're saying to yourself," Loewenberg says. "Dreams are a conversation with the self about the self. So whatever is said to you should give you some good and honest insight into whatever it is you're angry about."
If you're physically fighting someone in your dream, it could mean that you're "beating yourself up" over something going on in your life. The dream may be a way for you to express the anger you feel and work through it.
Anger In Dreams Should Be Addressed
Many times dreams will have no real effect on you. But where there are emotions involved like anger or anxiety, it can have a way of affecting your mood.
According to Loewenberg, anger is one of the most common emotions felt in dreams. "In my experience and research, it's the third most common emotion in dreams — the first being frustration and the second being fear," she says.
In general, it's important to get to the root of your anger dreams because they're usually connected to an issue in your waking life. Whether you dream of someone being mad at you or you're the one who's always mad, it's unhealthy to carry around heavy, negative emotions for too long. If left unchecked, it can make you feel defensive, bitter, and anxious.
If you have recurring angry dreams, it's a red flag that something needs to be addressed. "Figure out what it is and find a healthy way to process it so you can release it," Loewenberg says, and "your dreams will continue to nag you" until you do something about it.
Other symbols for anger that can show up in dreams are the color red, fire, attacking animals, and war.
How To Figure Out What Your Dream Is Really Trying To Tell You
When you dream about someone being mad at you, the first step is to figure out if there really is reason for them to be mad. If there isn't, it may be an issue within yourself. In order to figure out what that issue is, there is an exercise you can try.
According to Harrison, all you need is a pen, your journal, and about 15 minutes of quiet time. Take some time to breathe and get into a meditative state about your dream and the person in it. Once you're there, ask yourself, "When I think of this person's impact on my life, what word comes to mind?" Write the word down along with the person's name, and then spend time analyzing what this could mean for you. For instance, how does this word apply to your life? What does it mean to you personally? You can write down anything that comes to mind.
"When you feel that you've completed the exercise, review what you've written," Harrison says. "You should be able to determine the aspect of yourself that isn't serving you, and the steps you can take to change it now so that it begins to bring you joy."
Some dreams can really linger with you. If you're constantly having dreams where anger is a central theme, it's worth looking into it just in case there really is something that you need to work through.
Claire Harrison, reiki master, certified dream interpreter
Lauri Loewenberg, professional dream analyst, author of Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life