What Do Dreams About Fighting Mean?

fighting dreams

Why am I Dreaming About Fighting?

Are you having dreams about fighting? Has your mind conjured up imagery of you getting into a fistfight? Is the person you are sparring with a stranger or someone you know?

If any of the above describes your situation, you wouldn’t be alone. One of the most common types of dreams, particularly for men, relates to fighting.

As a person who teaches courses in dream interpretation, I can’t tell you how many times a student has come to me and asked, “Why am I dreaming about fighting?”

And so that’s what this blog post is all about – why people dream about fighting in dreams. It’s a topic that is not often discussed and widely misunderstood. The reason? Most folks aren’t OK with talking about violence.

In this post, you will learn:

  • Causes of fighting dreams
  • The importance of symbolism
  • The significance of the person you are fighting with
  • Why you can’t take your fighting dream literally
  • Dream interpretation resources

Now before we dive too deep, you have a right to know who is penning this piece. I won’t bore you with a bunch of detail except to say that I have a doctorate in psychology and am a licensed mental health professional.

In addition, I’m a board-certified clinical hypnotherapist with many hours of training in Jungian psychology. In case you don’t know, Carl Jung was a famous Swiss psychologist who many consider to be the father of psycho-spiritualism.

In short, psycho-spirituality is the merging traditional psychology with spirituality. That’s important to know because some believe that dreams contain material from the beyond, such as having a dream about the deceased.

OK, now that we have the prefacing out of the way, let’s assess fighting dreams.

dreams about fighting decoded
Dreaming about a fight?

Fighting Dreams Explained

Here’s the dirty little secret of dream analysis. Nobody can say for certain what a given dream means. That said, what can happen is an exploration of the material in your dreams, which heavily pulls on dream symbols.

I’m going to walk you through common causes of fighting dreams and use symbolism as a conduit for self-insight.

I’ll say this now and emphasize again later – dreams cannot be taken at face value. Instead, focus on the imagery, which can help you to look inward about what’s going on.

Fighting dreams often signify:

Internal struggle

One major reason you may be dreaming about fighting someone relates to a deep subconscious struggle. Examples include making a difficult decision about a relationship or work.

Internal struggles can be short-term or long-term. If by nature, you are an indecisive person, this type of dream imagery tends to pop up more frequently.

Subconscious fears

Deeply held fears are often at the root of fighting dreams. For example, if you are afraid of a secret being exposed or worried about a specific issue, like someone cheating on you, your mind may project a villain to fight against.

Bear in mind that fear and anxiety are not the same. Anxiety is the engine behind fear. In the case of dreams, it’s important to look closely at the symbolic representation to assess the source of your anxiety.

Unreleased anger

If you were bullied as a child or somehow abused, it shouldn’t surprise you that your mind is projecting something violent, like a fistfight.

The subconscious has a way of processing and discharging what the conscious mind cannot. This allows for the psychological process known as catharsis.

A phobia

Do you have any phobias? An example might be an intense fear of rats or a parlaying reaction to spiders. If the answer is yes, your mind may be conjuring up imagery that matches your phobia. For example, if you fear rats, your subconscious may project a scene where you are fighting one with the goal of building up confidence.


Some people have horrible fighting dreams that contain scary creatures. Examples include monsters, wild animals, and even ghosts.

In many cases, the person having the dream is dealing with some type of illness. The creature being fought in the dream is symbolic of the condition.

Exploring fighting dreams
What are your fighting dreams about?

Fighting Scenarios and Dreams

There are more ways a fight scene can manifest in a dream then I can shake a stick at. What follows are several scenarios that people typically experience. I’ve included an analysis to assist you in creating possible meaning.

  • Fighting a girlfriend or boyfriend: These types of dreams represent a conflict that is happening in the here and now with your mate. The more frequent you have these types of dreams, the more intense the conflict.
  • Fighting with your mother or father: Maternal or paternal based dreams almost always speak to an ethical aspect of your persona. You may be having a fight a parent because you are trying to make “the right choice” about an important life issue.
  • Fighting with a stranger: Fights with strangers in dreams are frequent – and common for guys. Typically, the stranger appears in the subconscious as a target to work out pent-up aggression. Many men who consider themselves alpha-types have these dreams.
  • Fighting a friend: If you are having dreams about getting into a brawl with a friend, there’s a good chance you have unresolved conflict in the relationship. It is also possible you are jealous of your friend for reasons that are known only to you.
  • Fighting to stay alive: Survival dreams are common and often speak to an aspect of your life that you are working through. An example might be struggling to keep a roof over your head. These types of subconscious themes are often paired with dreams about money.
  • Watching a fight: Typically, this type of dream means that you are an observer of someone else’s conflict and are torn about the situation. You may or may not have chosen sides.
  • Fighting with an animal: Did you dream about having a fight with a bear, tiger, or wolf? If so, it is important to look at the animal itself. Native Indians believe that animals come to us in the form of guides (spirit animals). It’s possible the animal represents an aspect of your personality that you are in conflict with.
  • Fighting while being chased: If you are dreaming about someone chasing you and then getting into a fight with that person (or creature), then it could be your mind’s way of urging you to confront a fear. Chasing dreams often go hand in hand with violent dreamscapes.
  • Dreams about animals fighting: Some people dream about animals fighting, such as a pet dog or cat. Typically, these types of dreams speak to a fear about the pet’s safety or welfare. Are you worried about your fur-baby?
  • Fighting with demons or ghosts: Almost always, these types of dreams speak to a closely held fear about something you dread. The demon or ghost is a manifestation of that fear.
  • Fighting with someone who died: If you are having a dream about someone who has passed, such as a family member or friend, the fight itself represents unresolved conflict.
  • Fighting in battle: Did you serve in the military? Are you currently serving? It’s possible your mind is creating a battle as a way of working through unresolved feelings. Some veterans diagnosed with PTSD experience these types of dreams.
  • Fighting with a crush: Do you have a secret crush on someone? Have you held these feelings to yourself for a long time? If so, your subconscious may project conflict with this individual as a paradoxical form of wish fulfillment. See this post on dreaming about a crush to learn more.
  • Fighting with your boss: This is a very common type of dream. In most cases, the disagreement is about something in real life that has not been worked out. The dream may also speak to feelings of resentment about a decision your boss has made.
  • Fighting a coworker: This a dream-scape scenario that many people have. If your coworker got the job you wanted and you feel angry about it, your mind may whip up a fight as a way of working through your emotions.

Dream Interpretation Resources

One of the most effective ways to better understand your dreams is to keep a dream journal. By writing jotting down the imagery, people, things, and feelings you experienced while sleeping, you’ll be able to look back and identify themes.

The journal itself needn’t be fancy. A simple notebook will work just fine. Some people find that recording material helps to reinforce journal keeping. You can find these types of tools online, like Amazon.

If you happen to be in psychotherapy (or thinking about it), having a journal may be beneficial to you and your therapist. Did you know there is such a thing as dream therapy? Yep, there is. You can learn more about this via this link.

In addition to the journal, it may be a good idea to study dream symbolism. This will allow you to better understand what some of the images you are seeing mean.

You can find many dream interpretation books online or at chain bookstores. Personally, I like the Dream Interpretation Dictionary by DeBord. See Amazon for price.

Wrap Up

If you are having dreams about fighting, don’t be alarmed. Most of us experience this type of situation at some point or another.

It is best to think of your dreams as portals to the unseen.  Consider them a gift – a pathway to your inner you.


Dream Interpretation: A New Approach (2018). American Psychological Association. APA Psyc-Net

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast

1 Comment

  1. This was a great article and especially helpful for me because I’m always running and fighting in my dreams.

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