Being kidnapped or being held hostage is probably one of the most unsettling and terrifying possible life experiences.
Now, statistically speaking, these events are rare. However, because of the high emotional impact and security implications, the images of hostage situations and individual kidnappings are often featured in the media, both documentary, and fiction.
It is through this gateway that the idea enters our subconscious and the reason why kidnapping and hostage situations enter the dream realm.
Needless to point out, these dreams are nearly always in the form of nightmares.
What does dreaming of being kidnapped mean? And what about being a hostage?
Let’s find out.
Being Kidnapped & Held Hostage Dream Meaning
First, let me put out a disclaimer. I am very aware that some people have really survived kidnappings and hostage situations. If you are one of those people, my heart goes out to you. I sincerely hope you will find peace and resolution. However, this article may not relate to you since the images of this kind in your dream may not be purely symbolic but the act of reliving the actual experience. If the dreams of your trauma are recurring, it could signal that you have PTSD, and I would suggest finding professional support to help your healing process.
Of interest to interpreters are the dreams of people who haven’t had the actual experience of being kidnapped but still dream of it. That is especially true if the dreams are recurring. In that case, the symbolic background of kidnapping dreams might be trying to tell you something.
What does being kidnapped stand for as a symbol?
First of all, let’s examine the feelings connected to kidnappings and hostage situations.
The primary feelings that kidnappings summon are:
- Loss of control
- Desire (for being rescued).
What is interesting is that you don’t have to feel like this in your dream at all. Some people may feel cool or at ease while suffering the dream kidnapping. However, being aware of the default emotional content is vital for the interpretations.
Also, now may be the time to point out the difference between abduction and hostage situations.
Kidnappings are customarily personal affairs – done to extort money or achieve a private or a family goal. Although there are exceptions in the form of abductions of important people, our subconscious mind connects the act of kidnapping to the individual, sometimes intimate matters.
On the other hand, hostage situations are always a part of a larger plot, occurring because a terrorist or a desperate person is trying to bargain with the higher authorities to achieve a goal. Also, although there are opposite examples, in our minds, hostage situations are usually collective experiences.
In kidnapping dreams interpretation, this difference may signal if you feel pressure from your personal life or broader societal and political events. For example, even if everything in your personal life is in balance, living in an oppressive society or under an authoritarian regime can trigger hostage dreams.
Being Kidnapped & Held Hostage Dream Interpretation
According to Penney Peirce’s Dream Dictionary For Dummies, there can be three levels of abduction (or any other) dream meanings – physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Now we will consider them.
On a physical level, dreaming of being kidnapped or held hostage is that you are overly preoccupied with one domain of your life – whether it’s a career, family, special interests, or affairs. The people, animals, or symbols that appear in your dreams can signal what exactly the problem is. Your unconscious mind is trying to tell you that you need to step back and away from these complications and perhaps start fresh.
On an emotional level, you may feel like a victim of your circumstances, trapped by the desires and intentions of somebody else. You probably feel like you are forced to do things against your will. It is also worth noting that your dream abductor doesn’t necessarily have to be the person (or a group) responsible for these feelings in real life. Still, other people that appear in the dream might give you a clue about the causes of these unpleasant emotions.
On a mental-spiritual level, things get personal. There may not be a third party – instead, an overly dominant part of yourself might be holding you hostage. Maybe that part of your personality just wants to be seen and recognized for what it is, but it’s blocking your way forward because you’ve been ignoring it. Believe it or not, this dream might be a good sign since instead of being blocked, you are now moving towards a solution and developing a strategy to evolve. That is especially true if there is a favorable resolution in your dream, e.g., you dream of being kidnapped and escaping.
Symbols in Being Kidnapped dreams
There are common symbols that appear in kidnapping dreams that are worth examining.
First of all, your dream persona may be tied up. Being tied up in your dream points that you feel restricted, scrutinized, and not allowed to express yourself. However, if you manage to lose the rope and set yourself free in your dream, it might symbolize the beginning of the new phase in your life where you leave the old restrictions behind. This can feel very cathartic.
If there is a special focus on a knot (e.g., you know you will escape if you manage to untangle the knot that’s keeping you bound), it can mean several things. First of all, something is restricting you. Being tied in knots is also a strong symbol of emotional worry and anxiety. In any case, a knot signifies a complex problem or a situation that you feel is getting you down.
Commonly, the kidnappers have a gun, threaten you with a gun, or shoot you with it in your dream. A firearm is a particular symbol – because of its long barrel, it is a phallic representation of male energy. This may mean that you feel endangered by masculine energy in your life, external (that of others) or internal (that of your own, and both men and women can experience this).
In hostage dream scenarios, there may be a bomb involved, which is especially notable if the explosion takes place. If you get blown up or burned by the flames, you feel emotionally burned and dismembered by an act of abuse or betrayal from others. On the other hand, an explosion can signalize a release of both physical and emotional energy, usually unpleasant but powerful emotions such as anger or a sense of loss. An explosion that feels positive in a dream and helps you escape (it can be weird, I agree) can be a sign of releasing your vital life forces and spiritual progress.
Dream of Being Kidnapped and Escaping
The means of saving yourself can also have important implications for the dream’s meaning.
If you manage to kill your captors in the dream, you must be experiencing intense feelings in your waking life – anger, frustration, even hatred.
Since you’ve, quite obviously, made the kill in the act of self-defense, it indicates that you are standing up for yourself and boosting confidence by managing to navigate the way out of a difficult situation.
If you’ve shot them with a gun, it can signal vengeance, but also that you feel you are setting yourself free with the help of male energy in your life. However, the energy is in your hands – you’re the one in control, so this energy may also be internal. Taking control back by stealing a gun from your abductors and shooting them is an empowering dream experience.
If somebody throws you a rope in your dream to rescue you, it can hint that you long for help, assistance, and rescue, or that someone is truly assisting you right now in real life to overcome your difficulties. If you have been climbing a rope successfully to your freedom, it means you are set on overcoming all the adversities in your real life.
If there is a segment of your dream which features running to escape your abductors like in a rape dream, it can mean that you need to face the things that have been sabotaging you in your real life, but you don’t want to take responsibility for dealing with them. Consequently, you feel pressured and trapped. That is especially true if you are running unsuccessfully – in slow motion or if you suddenly get paralyzed. That may warn that you lack self-confidence and self-esteem. Also, you may feel ambivalent about escaping your preoccupations and don’t really want to stop what’s been dragging you down, although you are aware that it is limiting you.
Dream of Being Kidnapped and Tortured
Not all kidnapping dreams will resolve positively for your dream persona. In some instances, you may end up tortured and killed – or snap out of the dream up just at the moment that was about to happen.
First of all, I need to stress that you shouldn’t be worried about dreams like these. Although it is scary and highly unpleasant, it is not a bad omen to dream about that stuff, period.
However, these dreams often do have deep and significant symbolism.
Getting tortured by your kidnappers in your dream signifies that you are experiencing the above-listed kidnapping-related emotions very intensely. If you have been suppressing these emotions in real life, a dream can be both a release and a reminder of the destructive power of repressing emotions.
Getting killed in a dream usually implies a big change and possibly the death of an ego. Dying in the hands of your kidnappers means that your preoccupations or limitations have suffocated your inner self.
However, this may not be such a bad thing for your real life. Perhaps, despite feeling trapped, you will manage to find your way out of the situation by shedding a part of your identity and ending a phase of your life. Following that comes resurrection and regeneration.
Although disturbing, kidnapping and hostage dreams can convey important messages for your waking self. The feelings of being trapped, constrained are often the background and the trigger for these dreams. The way they end can signal whether you are on the road to resolve the issues or you’re still just processing and letting it come to light.
Whatever happens during the kidnapping dreams, try not to take it literally. Instead, focus on seeing beyond this basic fear and focus on the details. For example, the variations in tools and weapons appearing in the dream can make all the difference when it comes to interpretation.
Whatever is the case, kidnapping dreams are never easy; they imply intense events are happening – but within yourself. I wish you the courage to pull through these temptations, both in your dreams and in your reality.
Did you ever have a dream of being kidnapped or being a hostage? Don’t be shy – free to tell your story in the comments below. It may be a relief.