Dreaming about self-harm can be disturbing, and if you have this kind of dream, you shouldn’t ignore it because it could be a warning sign that something is not quite right in your subconscious mind.
This kind of dream doesn’t necessarily mean that you will turn to self-harm in real life, but you should still take steps to try to understand where this dream came from – and to help, in this post we talk about how to interpret dreams about self-harm.
Dream about Self-Harm – Interpreting dreams
Before we talk about dreams about self-harm, we need to say a few words about interpreting dreams in general since dreaming is a highly personal and subjective experience.
When we dream, what we see and what we experience can carry important messages, but understanding what those messages mean depends to a large extent on the dreamer.
For example, a dream about a spider would likely have an entirely different meaning for someone with extreme arachnophobia and another person who keeps a tarantula as a pet.
For this reason, if we want to correctly interpret a dream, we need to look not only at what we saw and experienced in a dream but also at what the various elements in the dream mean to us, how we felt and how they might relate to our current life situation.
To interpret any dream, you need to consider what happened in the dream and the significance of the symbolism to you, and then, through deep thought, reflection and meditation, try to understand what the intended message was.
This way, and by allowing your instinct and intuition to be your guide, you will be led to the correct interpretation of your dream and the answers you are seeking to the issues you are currently facing.
Self-harm dreams – why they are important
To interpret most dreams, it’s important to look at the associations we have with what we see and experience while we are asleep.
To take the example of the spider above, some people might associate spiders with fear, which would color the meaning of a dream about spiders.
However, for someone fascinated by spiders, the spider in the dream could represent something to admire or explore, or it could be a symbol of happiness.
Dreams about self-harm, though, are different.
In the real world when we are awake, self-harm is a serious condition that is only partially understood by science, but what is known is that it often represents deeper psychological issues in an individual and is commonly seen as a kind of cry for help.
If a person self-harms in real life, it’s a sign the person needs help – certainly from the people around them and probably from a professional counselor or psychiatrist too.
This means that dreams about self-harm also need to be taken seriously, much more than dreams about other common things like flying, losing one’s teeth or being naked in public.
If someone dreams about self-harming, it should be seen as a warning sign that the person may begin self-harming – or that they may start doing it again if they have a history of self-harm.
That’s not to say these dreams are always a sign of mental anguish or turmoil – it just means that they shouldn’t be brushed off and forgotten.
So in short, if you have a dream about self-harming, whether you have done it for real in the past or not, the least you should do is spend time reflecting on the dream to see what your subconscious mind might be trying to tell you.
Now let’s have a look at some of the possible interpretations of self-harm dreams.
How to interpret dreams about self-harming
The interpretation of a self-harm dream depends partly on whether you were formerly a self-harmer. However, often the root of such dreams can be similar, regardless of whether you’ve previously self-harmed. Here are some possible interpretations:
1. Negative self-image
Often, self-harm is a manifestation of low self-esteem or a negative image of oneself, and even if you don’t self-harm in real life, doing so in a dream could be a warning sign that you are suffering from some of the issues that cause self-harming in the waking world.
Try to explore the feelings you experienced in your dream while you were self-harming since this may give you some information about why you were having this dream.
Also, consider whether you have a negative self-image or low self-esteem. Sometimes feelings such as these may be suppressed by our conscious minds, but they will still force their way out in our subconscious minds.
Then, when this happens, it may manifest itself as dreams about self-harming, even before we are fully aware of these feelings while we are awake.
Dreams such as these may be important warnings since if the emotions are already beginning to surface in our dreams, unless we deal with the issues, it may only be a matter of time until they reach the surface in our waking lives too.
For this reason, take heed of the warning, and seek help from friends, family or even professionals if required. This is true for those who have never self-harmed in real life before, but it is especially important for those with a history of self-harm.
2. A need for more self-respect
A similar interpretation could be that you are lacking in self-respect, something that can also manifest itself in your dreams as self-harm.
If you self-harm in your dreams, it is up to you to search within yourself to find the underlying reason because you need to understand where this impulse is coming from before you can take steps to make things better.
3. A message to love yourself more
Again, negative feelings about yourself and your own self-worth may result in self-harm dreams. Explore your feelings through deep thought and meditation to find the root of your troubles.
4. A feeling of being overwhelmed or out of control
An alternative cause for self-harm dreams could be the feeling that you are out of control of certain situations in your life or that you have the impression of being overwhelmed by something.
Examples of this could be being in debt, someone close to you dying or falling ill, being laid off from your job, not being able to afford the mortgage on your house or all kinds of other similar situations.
If you self-harm in your dreams, it may mean that you are feeling helpless and that circumstances are too much for you to manage.
However, the fact that self-harming is appearing in your dreams is a sign that you are suppressing your feelings and may be in denial about your problems, which will also mean that you are not taking useful and practical steps to solve your problems.
Understanding that you are suppressing your fears or anxieties can be the first step to dealing with them, so make sure you spend time in reflection being honest with yourself and facing your concerns.
This way, you will be able to deal with the situation rather than just hiding from it.
5. Feeling neglected, isolated or lonely
Feelings of neglect, isolation or loneliness can also lead to self-harm, and this may manifest itself in your dreams before it happens in real life.
The problem is, feelings such as these can creep up on us, building slowly so that we are unaware of them.
This is why it’s important to take time to try to understand our inner emotions – and if you are experiencing feelings such as these, you shouldn’t feel afraid to reach out for help.
6. Expressing suppressed emotional pain, anger or frustration that needs to be released
Sometimes when something happens in our life that causes pain, anger or frustration, if we bury it and don’t deal with it properly, it can resurface later in unhealthy ways – and self-harm is one of them.
You could experience this kind of self-harm in your dreams, and it may never progress to actual self-harm in your waking life.
However, it’s still a strong indication that you may have some emotional issues that you need to deal with, and unless you face them and deal with them in a healthy way, they will continue to eat away at you, surfacing in more unhealthy and uncontrolled ways.
Think about what could be the cause of this. Have you suffered a bereavement? Have you been treated unfairly and you are harboring strong feelings of injustice?
Feelings such as these need to be processed correctly, and if you are unable to do it alone, it might be a good idea to seek the professional help of a counselor.
7. A memory of actual self-harm
For previous self-harmers, dreams of self-harm can be worrying, even if you haven’t self-harmed for a long time.
Has anything happened in your life that might trigger a new bout of self-harm? Are you undergoing any particular stresses or anxieties at the moment?
If you are, you should consider seeking professional help to find out what is causing these memories of self-harm to resurface, especially if the dream is repeated and not just a one-off.
8. Fear of a self-harming relapse
If you have conquered your previous self-harming, a dream of self-harm can be particularly concerning.
It could just be a dream representing a fear of beginning this behavior again, but you should try to examine your situation and your emotions to see if there is anything else underlying this kind of dream that is making you think of self-harming again, even subconsciously.
9. Suicidal tendencies
Occasionally, dreams about self-harm can be a precursor to or can accompany suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
If you are depressed or are otherwise having any suicidal thoughts, you should seek help immediately. Remember that you are not alone and that people are always there to help, whether that be friends, family or professionals.
Dreaming about other people self-harming
Sometimes in a dream, you may also see someone else self-harming, in which case the interpretation will be different. Here are some possibilities:
10. Someone you know is in need of love or recognition
If you see someone you know self-harming in a dream, it could be a message that that person is in need of love and attention. Perhaps you have been neglecting them of late, so this dream could be a reminder to get back in touch and make sure they’re ok.
11. Someone means you harm
A more sinister message this dream may carry is that someone means you harm. Pay attention to your feelings during the dream and how the person in the dream was behaving to look for clues.
Think about who might want to harm you in real life and why. This dream may be a message of warning.
12. You fear this person
This dream can also be a sign that you are afraid of someone. Search within yourself and examine your feelings to see if this is a truth you are hiding from yourself.
Is the dream really about self-harm or is it symbolic?
If you have a dream about self-harm, it’s important to try to ascertain whether the dream is really about self-harm or if it’s symbolic of something else, and to do this, you should start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Have you been thinking about self-harm when awake?
- Have you recently self-harmed?
- Has anything happened that could cause you to self-harm or want to self-harm?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it could mean that the self-harm dream is a manifestation of a desire to self-harm in real life, in which case it might be a good idea to seek professional help, especially if you have a history of self-harm.
However, even if you answered no to all these questions, you should still be on your guard since the dream could be a warning that something in your life is amiss.
Take the time to investigate this dream and its meaning
If you have a dream about self-harm, you shouldn’t ignore it and should try to understand what it meant and why you had it.
To do this, think about the details of the dream and examine it through deep thought and meditation. Your intuition will help guide you to the true meaning of the dream – and if you are lonely, anxious, depressed or even suicidal, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.