Dreams of being chased are very common. In fact, according to research, being chased by some threat is one of the most prevalent dream themes. It’s estimated that as much as 40% of adults have experienced a dream of being chased at some point. These kinds of dreams typically incite feelings of anxiety, fear, and unease within the dreamer. But what causes dreams of being chased? And what do they mean?

Why We Have Dreams of Being Chased

There are a few key reasons why we tend to have dreams where we’re being chased. First and foremost, being chased taps into primal survival instincts and the ‘fight or flight’ response. When we feel threatened in real life, our body prepares to stand and fight or flee to safety. Therefore, dreams of being chased likely represent areas in your waking life where you feel threatened or unsafe.

Dream analysis suggests that dreams of being chased can symbolize:

Running from Something Within

Often, dreams of being chased signify that you’re running from something in your own psyche or emotions. For example, you may be avoiding a painful memory or emotion. Dreams tend to bring our attention to issues and inner conflicts that we tend to avoid while awake. Being chased in a dream can indicate there’s something ‘chasing’ you internally.

Feeling Out of Control

Dreams of being chased can also symbolize feelings of not being in control of a situation in your waking life. For instance, you may feel overwhelmed at work or school and like things are ‘chasing’ you. Dreams of being chased likely mirror times when you feel hounded, pressured, or overburdened.

Fear of Moving Forward

Some dream analysts believe that chasing dreams signify a fear of moving forward in some area of life. For example, you may subconsciously be afraid to make a big life transition like marriage or a job change. Being chased in a dream can represent that anxiety catching up with you.

Common Dreams of Being Chased

There are various scenarios that tend to play out in dreams of being chased. Here are some of the most common:

Being Chased by People You Know

Many people dream of being chased by someone they know like a friend, family member, or co-worker. This can indicate interpersonal struggles or disagreements. According to Carl Jung, people in dreams often represent different aspects of ourselves. So being chased by someone familiar may mean you’re running from something related to them or what they represent.

Being Chased by Shadowy Figures

Unknown shadowy figures that chase you in dreams are thought to symbolize fears or issues you haven’t fully acknowledged in waking life. The anonymity of the shadows speaks to your inability to clearly identify the threat. Allowing the vague threat to chase you indicates there may be something ‘in the shadows’ of your psyche that you need to shine a light on.

Being Chased by Animals

When animals like dogs, snakes, or bears chase you in a dream, it can symbolize instincts or ‘beastly’ urges. For instance, being chased by a snake may indicate that you’re running from your own sexuality. A bear can represent aggression. What animal is chasing you and what does that animal represent to you? The meaning will be unique to your own associations.

Being Chased Through Familiar Places

Most people dream of being chased through familiar places like their childhood home, their workplace, school, or a street they often travel. This indicates that you tend to feel unsafe or threatened in these real-life situations. Events or habits connected to these places may be what you’re running from.

Recurring Dream of Chasing

If you have chased or have been chased in a dream repeatedly, it points to an ongoing issue in your life that you have not resolved. Recurring dreams mean that your subconscious is trying to get your attention about something important.

Reflect on When the Dreams Started

Try to recall when you first started having this recurring dream of chasing or being chased. Identify what was happening in your waking life at that time. Start a dream journal if necessary to track correlations between your dreams and daily stressors.

Face Any Unresolved Conflicts

Look introspectively at ways you may be avoiding confrontation about problems in your relationships or other personal issues. Recurring chase dreams signify an inability to face the deeper emotional truth.

Don’t Ignore the Message

It’s easy to downplay the significance of dreams, but recurring ones become more purposeful. Your inner self will likely intensify these chase dreams until you acknowledge the underlying message. Be open to self-reflection and resolving conflicts.

Dream about Being Chased by Something Dangerous

Being chased by threatening people, animals, monsters or other symbols of danger in dreams points to intense anxiety about something in your waking life.

Reflect on the Danger Symbol

Carefully consider what sort of dangerous thing is chasing you, as this reveals a lot about the nature of your anxiety. For example, a monster could symbolize an irrational fear, while a dangerous person may indicate interpersonal trust issues.

When Did You First Feel in Danger?

Try to recall when during the dream you first felt in danger, as well as any thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. This mirrors the initial trigger of anxiety in your waking life situation.

Avoidance is Not Helpful

Remember that running away in the dream scenario doesn’t make the danger dissipate. Similarly, avoiding dealing with anxiety head-on will only make it more intense. Pause and thoughtfully confront your fears.

Dream about Being Chased by a Man

Dreaming of being chased by a man or men typically indicates that the dreamer feels threatened socially or in their career.

Who is Chasing You?

Take note if you recognize the man or men chasing you. Someone familiar may represent a particular social or professional contact making you feel insecure or powerless.

When Did the Chase Start?

Reflect on what you were doing in the dream right before being chased. This activity parallels a situation or behavior in real life that initially triggered feelings of vulnerability around male contacts.

Stand Up to Intimidation

Think about times you feel you have less leverage around domineering men. A dream chase shows this is intimidating. Don’t run – stand up for yourself.

Dream about Being Chased by a Madman

Being chased by a deranged, unstable or dangerous man in a dream reflects feeling very unsafe socially or romantically.

Who Does This Symbolize?

Even if the madman chasing you was a stranger, think about what male figure in your life may seem frighteningly unpredictable. This could offer insight.

Recall Emotions Felt

What emotions were you experiencing as the madman chased you? Fear and helplessness? Anger or panic? This mirrors how you feel when interacting with the person symbolized.

Establish Better Boundaries

Standing up to a madman can seem impossible because their behavior is not rational. Similarly, don’t expect to reason with the person represented. Focus on creating safety.

Dream of Being Chased by a Killer

If a murderer or killer is chasing you in a dream, this signifies that you are avoiding a truth or situation that could totally destroy your peace of mind if revealed.

What Secret are You Keeping?

Think about if there is a lie you are telling or a truth you are withholding out of fear. Even if it’s not life or death, you likely feel acknowledging it could ‘kill’ the way others see you.

When Did You Feel Trapped?

Recall what was happening in the dream when you initially felt trapped and realized you couldn’t outrun the killer. This likely mirrors when you feel the burden of secrecy in waking life.

Come Clean

As hard as it is, confessing difficult truths is what will ultimately set your mind free. Living a lie only gives more power to what you are hiding from.

Dreams of Being Chased by a Woman

Dreaming of being chased by a woman or group of women indicates social anxieties or fears that others may have malicious intent.

Who is Chasing You?

Try to discern if the woman/women chasing you are familiar. Someone you know well chasing you in a dream can symbolize a feeling they want to undermine you.

What Emotions are Evoked?

Being chased by other women can make the dreamer feel fear, anger or helplessness. Consider times you’ve felt a female presence was trying to discredit or humiliate you.

Stand in Your Worth

Don’t buy into the myth that women have to compete and cut each other down. Nurture female friendships and refuse to play the comparison game.

Dreams of Being Chased and Hiding

Frantic dreams where you are both running from a threat AND trying to hide from it reflect anxiety about being emotionally exposed.

What are You Trying to Conceal?

Think about aspects of yourself – flaws, mistakes, desires – that you try very hard to keep hidden from others. The dream may point to one of these.

Who Do You Feel Judges You?

Consider when in waking life you are most afraid of being “found out” or exposed. Do you fear a certain person knowing the real you? Why?

Learn to Be Vulnerable

Hiding parts of yourself is exhausting. The dream reminds you that authentic, intimate relationships require vulnerability.

Dream of Being Chased by a Lion

Lions and other big cats chasing you in nightmares symbolize predatory instincts – either your own or someone else’s.

Are You the Lion or Prey?

Ask yourself if you identify more with the hunter or the hunted. If the former, you may be asserting dominance in unhealthy ways.

When Did You Feel Helpless?

Pinpoint the moment when you felt most helpless and paralyzed by fear in the lion chase dream. When in waking life have you felt others had total power over you?

Stand Up to Intimidation

Think about who in your life leverages their strength or status to make you feel small. Their tactics are unfair, but calling them out can reclaim your sense of inner authority.

Dream of Being Chased by a Dead Person

Being chased through dreams by someone who has passed away in real life suggests you are unable to let go of that emotional relationship.

Who is Chasing You?

Clearly identify the dead person chasing you, as this reveals which relationship still feels unresolved. Do you need more closure?

What Emotions Get Triggered?

Pay close attention to what emotions arise as the deceased person chases you – anger? longing? regret? This provides additional clues into the conflicted feelings.

Seek Spiritual Closure

If possible, tend to the grave of the person chasing you or look at photos and actively communicate the forgiveness or words left unsaid. This can provide resolution.

Dream of Being Chased by People

When a group or crowd of people chases you in a nightmare, this indicates anxiety about conforming to the expectations of others in waking life.

Who is Chasing You?

Do you recognize anyone in the group? If so, those individuals likely represent people you feel particularly pressured to impress in some way.

When Did You Feel Cornered?

Pinpoint when during the chase you felt most trapped and overcome by the crowd of pursuers. Compare this to times in reality when you feel immense peer pressure.

Blaze Your Own Trail

The dream reminds you that making choices just to please people or ‘fit in’ will only make you feel powerless and overwhelmed.

Dream of Being Chased by the Police

Being chased by police in a dream often means you feel guilty about something in your waking life.

What Rules Did You Break?

Carefully evaluate if you actually committed any crimes or ethical breaches lately. Even if not, you likely broke personal rules or are doing something others would disapprove of.

When Did You Feel Like a Fugitive?

Pinpoint when during the police chase you felt most panicked and trapped. Compare this to times in your waking life when anxiety emerges about your secret perceived ‘transgressions.’

Make Amends if Needed

If you actually did something illegal or violated others, take responsibility by admitting fault and making amends. This will help resolve subconscious guilt driving the dreams.

Dream of Being Chased After an Argument

To dream of being chased after an intense argument or disagreement signifies that you feel someone is out to undermine or sabotage you.

Who Was Chasing You?

Identify exactly who was chasing you in the dream. If it was the person you originally argued with, this confirms you feel they want to ‘get back’ at you in real life.

What Emotions did You Feel?

Being chased after a fight triggers anger, betrayal, and fear. When awake, reflect on times you expected backlash from someone you disagreed with and felt similarly.

Stand Firm in Your Boundaries

Don’t let fear of retaliation prevent you from stating your needs. The dream offers the reminder to stand firm in your truth even if others get upset.

What Does It Mean to Dream About Being Chased and Killed?

If a chase dream culminates in you being murdered or killed, this indicates that you feel enormous guilt over mistakes you perceive as ‘fatal’ to your life path or reputation.

What Mistake Are You Obsessing Over?

Carefully evaluate if you actually committed any crimes or ethical breaches lately. Even if not, you likely broke personal rules or are doing something others would disapprove of.

Where Did You Feel Most Trapped?

Recall when during the chase sequence you felt doomed and that death was inevitable if caught. Compare this fatalism to situations in reality you perceive as hopeless.

Forgive Yourself

We all make mistakes but holding onto guilt helps no one. Vow self-forgiveness and focus energy on making amends rather than mentally replaying the event.

What Does It Denote to Dream About Being Chased by Police?

Police chasing you in dreams typically means you feel guilty about something in your waking life.

What Rules Did You Break?

Even if you didn’t actually break laws, reflect on ways you may have violated personal ethics or social norms recently and now feel ashamed on some level.

When Fleeing, What Did You Feel?

Pay close attention to the emotions experienced when fleeing police in the dream, as feelings of fear, panic or hopelessness confirm shameful secrets weighing on your subconscious.

Make Amends If Needed

If your dream stems from actual illegal/unethical deeds, take stock and make things right. But even perceived transgressions call for self-forgiveness.

What Does It Denote to Dream of Being Chased and Hiding?

Dreams where you both hide AND run from a threat signify anxiety about being emotionally exposed in waking life.

What Are You Trying to Conceal?

Think carefully about personal flaws or secrets that, if revealed, would leave you feeling intensely vulnerable in front of others. Your dream may hint at one.

Recall Moments of Feeling Cornered

When during the dream sequence did you feel most trapped by the combination of being chased while seeking cover? Compare this to times in life when feeling pressure to be inauthentic.

Strive for Greater Vulnerability

Hiding parts of yourself is exhausting anyway. See the dream as encouragement to nurture intimacy through calculated vulnerability.

What Does It Imply to Dream About Being Chased But Can’t Run?

Inability to run from a pursuer in chase dreams reflects situations in the waking world where you feel trapped or immobilized by problems.

Why Couldn’t You Escape?

Consider why your body felt unable to run away – were you paralyzed with fear? Too tired? Injured? Examine parallel situations in reality that leave you similarly stuck and powerless.

Who/What is Chasing You?

The specifics of what or who is chasing you often symbolizes what is holding you back in real life. For example, being chased by an aggressive boss but unable to run away likely mirrors issues standing up to them.

Seek Problem-Solving Strategies

Make a list of real-life issues that feel inescapable. Then brainstorm reasonable ways to tackle each one rather than perpetually fleeing from difficulty.

What Does It Mean to Dream of Being Chased by a Madman?

Being chased by a crazed or unstable man represents feeling very unsafe in a close relationship or social situation.

Who Might This Symbolize?

Even if you don’t recognize the ‘madman’ in the dream, consider what male in your waking life seems frighteningly unpredictable or dangerous right now.

When Did You Feel Helpless?

Pinpoint when during the chase sequence that you felt most powerless and overcome by fear. Compare this to times in relationships where you felt forced to simply endure volatile behavior.

Prioritize Establishing Safety

Don’t expect to reason with an irrational person. Focus energy on disengaging from the unhealthy bond that is making you feel scared and out of control.

What Does It Mean to Dream About Being Stalked?

If someone is stalking you in a dream, this signifies that you feel harassed or intimidated by them on some level in real life too.

Who is Stalking You?

Try to clearly identify the dream stalker. The fact your subconscious chose this particular person reveals you likely feel unease around them when awake too.

Analyze the Emotion Triggered

Being stalked tends to invoke feelings like fear, anger and powerlessness. Reflect on whether interactions with the dream stalker in waking life also leave you feeling insecure.

Establish Better Boundaries

Don’t ignore signs that someone is not respecting your boundaries or gives you bad vibes. Limit contact and stand firm by verbalizing the need for space if necessary.

What Does It Denote to Dream About Being Chased by Soldiers?

Dreaming of being pursued by armed soldiers, or groups of uniformed men, suggests anxiety about conforming in some area of your life right now.

What Do Soldiers Represent Here?

Ask yourself what soldiers symbolize to you – concepts like patriotism, aggression or loyalty may come to mind. This reveals why your subconscious chose armed men to indicate conformity pressures.

When Did the Chase Begin?

Try to recall what you were doing in the dream right before soldiers started chasing you. This mirrors the initial trigger of feeling pressure to conform in your waking life.

Foster Greater Authenticity

Make a list of ways you pretend, hide your true self or obey without question due to peer pressure. Then reflect on small steps to reveal more authenticity.

What Does It Mean to Dream About Being Chased by the Government?

If agents or officials representing the government chase you in a dream, this reflects fears you are doing something illegal or being unjustly persecuted.

Do You Feel Implicated?

Think carefully – have you broken laws or do something that, if found out, would get you in big trouble? Even if not, you likely harbor some guilt or fear of unfair punishment.

When Did the Chase Begin?

Pinpoint the moment when government agents first noticed you in the dream. What everyday activity were you doing? This parallels something in reality that triggered subconscious fears of censure.

Separate Paranoia From Truth

If you actually committed misdeeds, make amends. If not, then analyze whether your fears of persecution are exaggerated or hold any factual basis.

What Should You Do if You Have a Dream of Being Chased?

Dreams of being chased will naturally invoke fear and anxiety. After all, we are literally running for our lives in these nightmares! But once you wake up, you can take steps to relieve anxiety and uncover the deeper meaning behind the dream. Here’s what you should do:

Calm Your Nerves

When being chased in a dream, we tend to wake up frazzled, with our heart racing. Take measures to actively calm down by meditating, having some tea, or doing breathing exercises. Remind yourself that you’re safe and it was just a dream. This will put you in the right state of mind to reflect on the symbolism.

Reflect on What Was Chasing You

Think about who or what was chasing you in the dream. Ask yourself why your psyche may have conjured up this particular threat and what it represents. For example, if your boss was chasing you, consider how you feel about your workplace. If a bear was chasing you, reflect on issues regarding aggression or sexuality.

Identify How You Felt

Focus on the feelings you experienced while being chased, as they provide hints. Were you scared, angry, resigned, overwhelmed? See if any real-life situations are causing you to feel similarly. The dream likely mirrors situations where you feel hounded, stressed, or insecure.

Pinpoint Where Issues Originated

Think back to when you first started feeling threatened in the dream. Where were you? What was happening? Dreams of being chased usually start off innocently enough with you going about mundane tasks. Identify what seemed to trigger the threat, as this speaks to what initially made you feel unsafe or at risk in real life.

Seek Resolution

Most importantly, a dream of being chased means there’s something you need to stop running from. Instead of fleeing in fear from the threat, turn and face it head-on. Of course, this is symbolic, but in waking life, you must deal with situations where you feel overwhelmed or insecure. Tackle the root issues that are ‘chasing’ you, even if it’s difficult.

In Conclusion

Being chased in dreams is very common because feeling threatened is an innate primal fear. Dreams likely conjure up chases due to situations in the dreamer’s waking life where they feel unsafe, overwhelmed, or out of control. By recognizing what the chase symbolizes, calming anxiety about it, and facing the issues head-on, you can resolve inner turmoil. Ultimately, when you stop running scared in real life, you’ll stop having disturbing dreams about being chased.

Kash is a talented 3D artist who has worked at Apple and Splash Damage, and many other projects within the Games Industry. He also loves to blog about spirituality. He is the co-founder of Spiritual Unite, where he combines his business and spiritual Interest to inspire others.