• Psychoanalysis > Dream Interpretation

Dreaming about Dying

By J Jones

Generally speaking, death cannot be represented in dreams as such, as it is no psychic content to be experienced, lived. Hence the conclusion that, when dreams about dying do occur, we have to interpret this in a completely different direction.

Personally, I have had no such dreams but seemingly dreams about dying are not infrequent. We have to conclude that such dreams are also part of the category of collective dreams, shared by many people.

Another dream about dying is that when one is aware of one's invisibility, at the same time being able to watch what everybody else is doing. The explanation would be that there are people who would like to put their fellows' love on trial and therefore produce dreams picturing themselves as dead, in order to be able to see the others' reaction. There are also sadistic persons willing to emotionally blackmail their fellows and whose dreams simulate death in order to receive more affection. Such persons displace what they would like to do in real life to the province of dreams. Nevertheless, in dreams about dying (sometimes symbolic death, as in dreams about invisibility) death is just a tool dreamers use to meet their own affection needs related to their likes.

There are yet dreams about the death of others - more or less close people. When dreaming about the death of close people, we have to discover some adverse feelings. Dreamers re-enact these feelings of adversity for relatives and friends, etc, in their dreams (feelings usually placed in one's childhood). Such feelings nevertheless are only very rarely present under their real shape and therefore corresponding dreams have to be interpreted in a different manner too.

When dealing with dreams about dying we also have to take into account the symbolism of death.  Death is a structural transformation of the being - during the Ego development process we often undergo successive symbolic deaths and re-births: something of us is dying and another thing is emerging.

Death in dreams finally may point to a contrary meaning: birth, life, etc. In this context, this specific aspect should be considered in the interpretation of death.

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