What it really means when you dream about being chased

Have you ever dreamed a witch with a green face (think The Wizard of Oz) is chasing you through a dark, dry forest that never seems to end? What, just us? Well, according to Bustle, nightmares about being chased are among the most common motifs people experience in their dreams — along with your teeth falling out, another doozy of a nightmare. Dream interpretation expert Lauri Loewenberg tells the outlet that if you are dreaming about someone or something chasing you, it is your fears about your daily life rearing their ugly head at night.

Richard Nicoletti, J.D., a psychotherapist, told HuffPost if you wake in a cold sweat after dreaming about being chased, you are "being told by your unconsciousness that you're avoiding an issue or a person." The key to exactly what you are avoiding, interestingly, lies specifically in who is chasing you in the dream.

Why who is chasing you in your dream matters

Nicoletti prompts dreamers, "Is it a male, female, animal, or an unknown being in the darkness?" According to Bustle, if a person is pursuing you, you may be trying to avoid an aspect of your own personality. Wild animal hot on your heels? You may be trying to repress anger.

Jane Teresa Anderson, a dream analyst and the author of Bird of Paradise: Taming the Unconscious to Bring Your Dreams to Fruition encourages nightmare sufferers to dig deeper. "The question to ask yourself is: Do I feel like I'm running away from something that's chasing me, or trying to hide from something I don't want to face?" (via The Cut). This could be financial troubles, or a difficult conversation.

But dreams about being chased can also indicate serious trauma, as PTSD sufferers report having this scary nightmare. Avoidance is the worst tactic according to Nicoletti. Consider confronting the issue, or it will continue to haunt your dreams, literally.