Are you the one getting bizarre and weird fantasies too often? Do you really wish to know what they really mean? These repetitive and strange dreams are called recurring dreams.

They occur over a period of time and often represent unresolved issues related to various traumatic events of your life.

Recurring Dreams – Meaning, Types, and Illustrations
Recurring Dreams – Meaning, Types, and Illustrations

What Do Recurring Dreams Mean?

Recurring dreams symbolize strange dream themes that happen frequently and quite repetitively in a person’s life. They keep coming back and signifies stress, anxiety, unresolved conflicts, trauma, and lack of emotional healing.

Were you dreaming about falling from a great height, shouting and screaming for help and rescue? And yeah…when eyes opened, you were drenched in sweat, fearful and speechless about what you just saw. It took time to register that it was just a nightmare.

Major research done in psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud suggested that recurring dreams represent unconscious desires, deepest fears, insecure mindset, wish fulfillment, and negative patterns of thoughts. 

As these dream themes occur regularly and repeatedly over a period of time, it can either be pleasurable or nightmarish. Most of the time, these recurring dreams induce fear, grief, anger, and resentments.

Symbolically, recurring dreams mean the following:

  • Recurring dreams are a sneak peek to the unconscious. The unresolved residues lying here and there tell you to notice them, attend with intuition and clarity.
  • When you are dreaming the same dream again and again, it means a clarion call to listen to your day to day life, be present in the moments you live and acknowledge the way you think and feel about the happenings of daily life.
  • It symbolize significant life changes, transition, and transformation. It may come back regularly in your life, when you are moving from one place of development to another; like getting a new job, promotion, marriage, parenthood etc.
  • These symbolize previous trauma and painful emotional experiences that were hard to ignore, and forget. It resulted in poor mental health.
  • Recurring dreams are a way of processing negative emotions occurring out of stressful circumstances in waking life. These unpleasant dreams can cause distress and you may wake up panicked and nervous.
  • This symbolize unpleasant occurrences that try to communicate important messages to the conscious mind.

Recurring Dreams – Spiritual Meaning

Recurring dreams are vivid imagery rehearsals, patterns, and symbols that can have rich meaning. Spiritually, these dreams symbolize accepting change and moving with the flow of life. 

Recurring dreams are symbolic of inner strength and clarity about personal qualities and vulnerabilities. It reveals the path of empowerment and highest good.

The Causes of Recurring Dreams

Recurring dreams are experienced quite frequently and represent life stress and other mental health issues. If you wake up upset and bewildered after such a dream, you might be interested to know why such dreams keep on coming back again and again.

As dreams are difficult symbols to interpret and study, experts and dream theorists believe that dreams reflect:

  • Unresolved conflicts
  • Needs that were never met
  • Past issues causing frustration in waking life
  • Substance abuse and medication
  • Mental disorders such as PTSD and BPD

Unresolved conflicts

The traumatic events in life can leave a scar in your psyche forever. It causes fear, insecurity, and psychological conflicts. You are always worried, frightened, and disturbed. This stops you from taking the right decisions in life.

The mental conflicts are holding you back to realize your abilities and as such you are getting recurring dreams that remind you to stay strong and notice the unresolved issues of your waking life and cope with it. 

Needs that were never met

If your needs, whether physical or psychological, remain unmet in waking life, these dreams will reappear. This is a way to remind you to notice what’s going on in waking life.

Your needs can be love and recognition needs, competency needs, need to succeed and avoid failure. 

Issues of daily life causing frustrations

Some challenging life situations can lead to recurring dreams about negativity, failure, sorrow, grief etc. This idea was backed by a research study done in 2017, where 200 adult students were evaluated to see their daily frustration levels.

It has been found that those students who had more unmet needs and daily frustrations in their waking life suffered regular recurring dreams than others.

Substance abuse and medications 

If you are prone to drug abuse or alcoholism, it increases the chances of recurring dreams. These substances change the chemical composition of the brain chemicals and can cause recurring nightmares. 

Studies have found that sedatives, beta blockers, amphetamines can cause weird and nerve-racking common themes that keep coming back regularly.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

People suffering from PTSD or sexual abuse often report re-experiencing the same trauma scene in dreams. This is caused due to the underlying fear component that the trauma has left in them. 

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

BPD is a mental health disorder where patients report recurrent episodes of dreams involving threat, abuse, and maltreatment by others in real life. These fearful scenes in dreams cause fear, anxiety, and anger. 

Various Types of Recurring Dreams 

Some common recurring dream themes with detailed illustrations are discussed below:

Recurring dreams about Ex-boyfriend

A recurring dream about an ex-boyfriend may mean a real life concern with them. You may have a hidden desire to get them back, or you are unable to accept the ways things ended between the two of you.

Another dream context may represent that your ex-partner brings happy memories of love and togetherness. Some common themes associated with ex-boyfriend are:

  • Sharing intimate moments with him
  • Getting back together
  • Fighting with him and parting ways
  • Missing him in your life
  • Dreams of your ex dying
  • Dreams if where he is cheating you


Recurring dreams about snakes symbolize deep seated emotions that affect waking life. It could mean that there is a toxic person in your life who is constantly trying to harm and abuse you emotionally.

Maybe your spouse, or boss; or even a teammate who is jealous and trying to conspire against you. 

Dreams about someone

When you get recurring dreams about someone, it could mean you’re longing and wish to meet that person in your waking life. It could mean you miss them but try to repress your true feelings, as if nothing has happened. 

Contrary to this, dreaming about someone you know may symbolize an unfinished task with them. The suppressed issues are resurfacing in dreams anew.

Same place

Maybe, you want to visit this place in your real life; a mere wish fulfillment dream. If the dream location is scary and frightening, it could mean unresolved conflicts, fear, and anxieties of real life. 

Teeth falling out

It indicates a personal loss such as death of a loved one, job loss, broken relationships and abrupt breakups. This dream symbolism denotes lack of peace, emotional pain resulting from stress and obstacles in life. 

Recurring dreams about school/college

A dream theme of this type, where you must have left your school or college long back and it does not house your present life status can be quite disturbing and intriguing.

It simply means anxiousness in real life, with too much pressure that you are unable to handle. 


It signifies your inner abode. It is your ‘psyche’, a reflection of your internal state of existence. This dream is a reminder to look after yourself, to take care of your mental health and physical well-being. 

Dream about Ex

It suggests a need for closure and intimacy that may be lacking in your personal relationship. When you dream about an ex, it could mean your innate desire to feel wanted, loved, and cared for by your present partner.

It also symbolizes unresolved issues, pain, suffering between the two of you. 

Recurring dream about the same person

This usually represents wish fulfillment. Maybe you wish to have someone loving and caring in your waking life. This symbolism brings positive emotions; but sometimes this dream theme holds negative meaning as well. 

Being chased

This dream means fear, threat, and insecurity in real life. The dreams of being chased could symbolize:

  • Anxious and avoiding something
  • Stress and emotional highs
  • Guilt-prone
  • Overwhelmed with so many tasks and responsibilities
  • Feeling of being stuck and confined

Tornado dreams

It represents anxieties and worries that are beyond control. You are emotionally overwhelmed in real life; maybe the daily stress is taking its toll on your mental health.

You are unable to cope with it because it signifies inner turbulence and massive emotional highs. Tornadoes are destructive and powerful; so when it shows up in dreams, it represents generalized anxiety and lack of peace of mind. 

Being fired

In real life, a job loss symbolizes instability, ambiguity, and lack of clarity. When you get recurring dreams of this type, it is symbolic of ambiguous life goals. You are not sure of your next step.

It also signifies uncertainty and vulnerability about your future life. This signifies inherent fear, worry related to your real life job situation.

dreams about spiders

This is a reminder that you are overwhelmed with fear and tension, but you need to take decisive action to overcome it. Spiders also signify being trapped, confined, and fall in a web of lies and deceit.

Recurring dreams about flying

It indicates a good sign. It represents freedom and your ability to feel and act with independence and liberation. You have the power to accomplish everything. 

Plane crashes

The dreams about plane crashes are symbolic of deepest fears and anxieties that you have about your worth and ability. You may have fears of starting a new venture, because you are not sure whether you can achieve things successfully. 

Car going out of control

An out of control vehicle represents speed in waking life. Maybe you are moving too fast in your life. This communicates the message to slow down and take a pause and analyze situations carefully. 

Being late

You are running out of time. If you frequently get such dreams, note down the events of your daily life and focus on maintaining a proper timeline for all your activities.

This dream interpretation reminds you to develop good time management skills on your own and not to be influenced by others.

Killed by someone

If you dream about being killed by someone, it represents fear in real life. It is symbolic of a dramatic change in life, where you see the end of something.

It could mean the end of a toxic relationship, losing a job, death of a loved one. Being killed by someone means to become powerless and submissive in real life. 


If you have a recurring dream of examinations or tests and that too you are failing in it, this means self-criticism and self-doubt leading to real life failures. You have not been able to move smoothly through a difficult timeline of your life. 

Recurring dreams about death

This type of dream symbolism means the end of a relationship, goodbye to a good job, or leaving an old house. It represents an important aspect of your waking life that is changing and dying. 

How to Stop Recurring Dreams?

The emotional component of recurring dreams induces a lot of fear and uncertainty. Thus, you tend to run away from it, ignore it, avoid it, and hardly feel comfortable to talk about it.

Few ways to stop such dreams can be:

Follow a definite sleep schedule

A regular sleep schedule ensures good sleep that you need for a healthy body and a calm mind. For this, follow a regular sleep time preferably in the same room with minimal disturbance. 

Keep away your electronic gadgets

This can help in getting a quality sleep without much chaos and disturbance around.

It is a known fact that the blue light emitted from gadgets reduces melatonin (sleep hormone) and as such falling asleep and maintaining a good sleep, or sleep deprivation throughout the night may occur.

Avoid caffeine and other stimulants

Taking caffeine and stimulants at night may disturb the quality of sleep. You may not be able to fall asleep easily and anxious thoughts may haunt you and make you feel tired and agitated.

If you are not sleeping comfortably, nasty dreams can make a comeback.

Practice meditation

Meditation helps to remove negative thoughts and keeps the mind relaxed and peaceful. You can do regular yoga or mindfulness practice to unwind and relax.

If your mind remains calm and stable, you will have better clarity and insight of your waking life. 

Discuss dreams with your loved ones

If you feel sad or emotionally overwhelmed after experiencing the dream episode, you may relate the dream theme with your loved ones. You can discuss your fears and apprehensions with them. 

Write a dream journal

You can maintain a dream journal by referring to the details of the dream, the frequency with which it is occurring, and your associated feelings with it.

This will help you to develop better insight and understand the underlying causes of recurring dreams.

Parting words ‘ThePleasantDream’’

Recurring dreams reflect the dreamer’s unconscious whims and wishes. Interpreting such dream themes can be tricky as it highlights those issues that were left untreated, or ignored in waking life.

Our conscious mind usually denies and ignores stuff that appears stressful and painful. Thus, the unaddressed issues show up in dreams; sometimes in its wildest and scariest forms, beyond our control and authority.