Dream Symbols

Being Kidnapped, Held Hostage or Abducted Dream Meaning

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Being kidnapped in a dream can be a very scary experience! While being held hostage or abducted may be a very negative dream, the good news is by learning what it means you can find ways to confront your fears and make changes to stop and prevent kidnapping dreams from happening.

What It Means to Dream of Being Kidnapped

kidnapping dream meaning

Kidnapping and abduction dreams can be very intense. If you dream of being held hostage, you may feel as if you are trapped in a situation with no way to escape. Depending on what other people appear in the dream, you may also feel feelings of betrayal or even anxiety after you wake. 

While it is very scary to have recurring bad dreams, the good news is it is very easy to stop and prevent nightmares once you understand the underlying emotions and fears behind the bad dreams.

Kidnapping Dreams May Mean You Feel Out of Control

Kidnapping is the act of someone taking you by force against your will. If a kidnapper grabs you and runs away with you to a place you don’t want to go to you have very little control over the situation.

Another word for kidnapper is abductor. While we usually associate the word abduction with aliens from different planets, this word is also used in a legal sense to describe crimes where someone is being held forcibly against their will. 

There are many instances in life where we don’t always feel like we have control. Control issues are a key focus in many new relationships, especially amongst newlyweds in their first few years of marriage. It can be difficult to learn how to balance the needs of different people. 

quotes about control

Controlling other people is something that is very difficult to do, and yet at the same time we often give away our power and control to others willingly, only to regret doing so later. 

Here are some examples of situations we may feel out of control in our lives:

  • Reckless and unpredictable behavior
  • Unable to save or manage money and finances
  • Feeling powerless in work or career role
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs 
  • Parents trying to control children

When we don’t have control over a situation, we often feel anxious and upset. We don’t know what will happen. We can’t even influence what might happen. This can be very nerve racking for many people. 

If this dream meaning resonates with you, you may also wish to look at what it means to be trapped in a dream for additional insight on how to understand your dream.

Insecurity and Vulnerability

being held captive in a dream

Everybody has weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Nobody on the planet is perfect! There are always things about ourselves we cannot control that we wish didn’t exist. Even superheroes like Superman couldn’t stand up to kryptonite. 

While it is natural for us to have different insecurities about ourselves, these fears can sometimes cause problems for us in life if we do not deal with them effectively. 

Our insecurities are often about things we feel judged for. If you are self-conscious about your body or how you look, you may be worried about what others might think about you. You might worry that others will think you are ugly or overweight for example. 

If you have been teased or bullied about a certain aspect of yourself recently this can sometimes manifest in a kidnapping dream where you feel insecure and vulnerable about this certain feature. 

While it’s natural to want to change the things about you that you don’t like, sometimes we have zero control over certain aspects in our lives. We can’t just change our body with wishful thinking, nor should we want to. 

Sometimes, just being aware of something you don’t like about yourself can be a sign it is time for you to learn how to embrace it. All weaknesses can become strengths once you learn how to embrace your uniqueness and use it for your advantage. 

Safety & Security

Most of the time we feel pretty safe and secure in our surroundings. However, there are things that can happen that make us lose that sense of safety and security. 

Maybe you lose your home to foreclosure, or maybe someone broke into your car and stole your wallet. Perhaps you just received noticed that someone with a criminal record for abuse has moved into your neighborhood. Someone could hack into your computer and steal your identity.

All of these are examples of things that can make you feel less safe. It can be upsetting to realize there is no way to fully protect yourself from things that are not within your control. The important thing to remember is you can either have a victim mindset or you can have a survivor mindset.

Life is certainly challenging and difficult. While there is no one way to truly protect yourself and stay safe, learning ways to cope with stressful situations and changes can make it easier to ride the waves of this storm of a ride. 

Common Kidnapping Dreams and Examples

kidnapper dream meaning
Many parents in the 1980’s were suspicious of white Ford Econoline vans after a young girl in a small Pennsylvania town was abducted at a bus stop by someone driving one. These vans are still often referred to unfortunately as “kidnapper vans”.

Now that we’ve looked at the common general themes that might be part of why you dream about a kidnapper, let’s look at some specific kidnap dream examples and how to interpret them.

A dream of getting kidnapped where you are the victim

These types of kidnapper dreams almost always means you feel out of control about something in your life. This can mean that you are out of control with your finances, you are engaging in reckless behavior or even feel like you can’t control what direction you are going in setting and reaching goals. 

Pay attention in the dream – after you were attacked, were you able to escape from the kidnapper?

Dreams of Being Kidnapped and Tortured

If you had a dream about being kidnapped and tortured, this typically illustrates how much anguish and agony you experience about a situation you cannot control. You may feel such an overwhelming sense of pain that it is difficult to cope with certain situations that have happened in your life. 

It is not uncommon for these types of dreams to appear after some sort of trauma, such as surviving an attack or losing a loved one. If you are experiencing many bad dreams after experiencing a traumatic event, it can often be helpful to work with a professional to learn ways to cope with and treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Being tortured or harmed by someone can sometimes mean that you are not feeling strong enough to fight for yourself. You are may feel helpless or feel that someone else is stronger, bigger and more powerful than you. 

Dreams About a Child Being Kidnapped

If you dream of a child or family member being kidnapped, this could mean that you are worried about this child’s future. You may have fears that you are not doing enough for the child or you have very little control over what type of behavior the child is engaged in. 

Often times these dreams can bring your own insecurities about being a parent to your attention. You may worry that you are a horrible parent or even feel judged by other parents in situations such as work and childcare centers.

Many mothers often dream of a daughter being kidnapped, because the pressure to raise a good daughter and be a good mother is something women have struggled through generation after generation. Often times your own mother may have had insecurities, which led to your own insecurities and now you are worried about the future for your own daughters. 

If you don’t have children of your own in real life but still find yourself dreaming of someone stealing a child, it’s very possible that the child in the dream is a symbol for some part of yourself you are either afraid of or feel insecure about. 

Ask yourself: is there any part of myself I wish I could protect or keep safe from harm?

Dream of Kidnapping a Baby

kidnapping baby dream meaning

Babies are small, naive and vulnerable, so it could be that this case a baby is a symbol for your own weaknesses and insecurities. Look at the image above – these tiny fragile beings are new to the world and need protection and care to grow to stay healthy. 

Sometimes this can mean that your own needs are being ignored or that you are feeling uneasy about something new in your life. You may feel insecure and helpless like a baby or small child.

Another possible scenario if you see someone kidnapping a baby or you dream that you are a kidnapper stealing a baby, is that you are currently struggling with your fertility and desires to have children. 

There are a lot of different feelings that surface when trying to conceive. You may feel inadequate or as if something is wrong with you for not being able to get pregnant.

If you have experienced several miscarriages or delivered a stillbirth baby, you may feel as if your child was stolen away from you.

Some women who choose to have abortions and their partners may occasionally have dreams of someone stealing a baby when dealing with their own feelings and insecurities about the event, especially if these are feelings of guilt, regret or inadequacy.

Dreams of Being Kidnapped by Someone You Know

Even in real life crime statistics, it’s common for an attacker or kidnapper to be someone you know. Over 200,000 children in the United States each year are kidnapped by parents in child abduction cases. This is a very starting and alarming fact indeed. 

In your dream this can mean that you do not trust the person in real life. You may have worries that they are too controlling and demanding. This person may seem like they have ulterior motives in their dealings and exchanges with you. 

Sometimes these dreams can be a symbol for the dynamics in your relationship with the person. Are one of you overly pushy, aggressive or controlling? Do you feel as if you are not able to do anything right? Do you fear this person may want to harm you? Do they have your safety, well-being and happiness at heart?

If you have real life concerns about your safety with a person you had a dream about, you should reach out for help as soon as possible. There are many toll-free domestic abuse hotlines you can call that can help you find shelter and escape from an abusive situation.

You can call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline by dialing 1-800-799-7233 anytime. They understand the complicated matters of leaving an abusive person and know the most dangerous time is when you try to escape. They will help you find a safe way to get the help you need and deserve.

Dreams Involving Celebrities Similar to Scary Movies or TV Shows You’ve Watched

I’m sure you know this one already, but if you watch scary movies, they can often surface in our dreams. Our brains absorb millions of images and pictures each day – and that is a lot for our mind to process!


Sometimes we might see something in one movie or on the news and then our brain will mash it up with a different movie or news story. If you dream of a celebrity kidnapping this usually is not a precognitive type of dream to predict the future. Most often it just means you need to take a break from watching so much TV or read less news.

If your dream eerily reminds you of a movie scene or tv show you saw not too long ago, it could mean that it’s time to maybe focus on happier and more enjoyable things that help you feel safe and secure.

There’s no shame in watching kid’s PG-rated cartoons instead of horror movies, even if you are a grown adult!

What It Means to Dream of a Ransom Note

Ransom notes are demands from the kidnapper, typically demanding money in exchange that the person who was stolen will not be harmed.

ransom note example

Above is an example of a ransom note that was used in the Coors-Corbett Kidnapping case. 

In a lot of old movies kidnappers usually would write ransom notes. One of the distinguishing features of these notes is the kidnapper would try to disguise their handwriting in some way. They might use cut out words and letters from magazines or type the message so it is not possible to trace back who wrote it. 

When we dream of a ransom note it can be a sign that we feel like we are not good at negotiating. This is especially true if you work in careers where you need to often negotiate for yourself or your clients. 

You may also feel as if someone in your life is trying to bribe you or extort you in doing something you do not want to do. It can seem like this person is trying to manipulate for their gain.

Seeing a ransom note in your dream can be very helpful for you to identify your fears and insecurities. For example, if you notice the letters are written in a certain color, you can use color symbolism to better understand what your fears may be. 

Sometimes the items requested in a ransom note can give you clues on your own fears and insecurities. If the demand is for a large sum of money it can be a symbol that you feel out of control about your financial situation or you feel as if you are not able to earn enough money for your needs.

If you see numbers in the dream, these numbers can often have great significance. For example, if your captor demands 4 million dollars, the number 4 could be a clue that your fears are surrounding your own stability and security in your home. You may have subconscious fears about your ability to provide for your family. 

Dreaming That You Kidnap Someone

So the tables are turned and now you are the bad guy – you are the person doing the kidnapping in the dream.

If you dream of being a kidnapper, it could mean that you subconsciously desire more power or that you wish to dominate over someone.

You may wish that you could control the behavior of another person. These types of dreams are very common if you feel as if you are powerless in a situation. In some ways the dream is a wishful-thinking where you can explore what it might feel like to have control. 

Obviously it is illegal to kidnap a person, so if you have a dream like this it is very important to not act on it. Watch enough crime action movies and you should know the bad guys rarely ever come on top.

If you have concerns that you may harm someone, don’t be afraid to get help with a mental health professional. You will have a much better outcome for yourself to reach out for help with these feelings than to actually act on feelings that could harm others.

Scary Dreams Are an Opportunity to Better Understand Yourself

Having scary dreams, are…well…scary! But just because something is scary doesn’t mean it can’t be useful or help us in some way. 

One benefit of these types of weird dreams is they can give us a chance to better understand ourselves. If you dream about a kidnapper stealing you and holding you hostage, you can try to think about what situations in your current life make you feel out of control or trapped. 

For example, let’s say you work in a job you really don’t like. Your co-workers are rude and mean and your boss constantly makes unrealistic demands. You might hate the job, but you might also really need to work because you need money for bills or to even save up enough money to move to a different city with better job opportunities. 

If you look at the dream in context with your real life situation, it can seem like a hopeless situation where you have very little control over the situation. While we can’t always make changes instantly on demand, we can often times look for ways to help make difficult situations less stressful.

In this case, identifying the feelings from work as being the cause of the dream can help you address some of the issues at work. Are there ways you can gracefully handle those co-workers? Can you tell your boss no? Would you be able to work other less stressful jobs that maybe don’t pay as much but would give you a much better situation in your every day life?

Obviously in all of these examples the outcome is completely up to you. When you explore your dreams it can help you understand your feelings and guide your heart to lead you on a path to the life you want. 

Have you ever had a dream about being kidnapped or a kidnapper? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!

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