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Dreaming of broken things: how to interpret meaning in your waking life

Dreaming of broken things: how to interpret meaning in your waking life

Elements of a dream often represent a part of the dreamer. Therefore, a broken thing in a dream can represent a “broken” part of you.

Dreaming of broken things, may mean you are devastated, strangely detached, or even relieved or elated. You may want to fix the broken thing, hide it, forget it or simply not care what happens to it anymore. One of the most obvious things people consider broken in themselves is the heart, followed by the spirit. We can experience big and small heartbreaks, crushing blows to the spirit or the slow erosion of hope and joy over many years. Consider all of these when you dream of something broken. The end of a relationship, job or hope can all provoke dreams of broken things.

Sometimes, when a dream for your future dies inside you, you aren’t paying attention to it, or don’t want to admit it. Perhaps you want to let it go. Maybe you would rather pretend you don’t care because there are so many logical reasons why you should give up on your dream; this thing that once held a treasured place in your heart. You may want to be mature, practical and logical, so you let it go. Sometimes you have to; that’s okay too. The important thing is to acknowledge what is really going on. Don’t ignore it. When you let go of something precious, it is only right to mourn it, to feel sad. Dreams of broken things could be asking you to honour what is passing. They can also be warning you to look at what’s really happening, giving you a chance to mend a broken dream before it is beyond repair.

Another thing we refer to symbolically as breaking are promises. If you have broken any promises, to others or to yourself, broken things may appear in your dreams. It could be you have you been on the receiving end of broken promises, which would indicate broken things in your dreams could be exploring your feelings around these events.

To break something immediately implies a concept of reparability, whether or not something is worth repairing. A broken thing is just a thing. It was not alive and is therefore not about life and death. A thing is not dead, it is broken. This is potentially within the scope of human capability to alter.
The question is, how broken is it?

With regard to a broken dream, we should ask if the concept of broken is a symbol that also implies an end. Consider if the thing is broken or ruined forever. Your dream may be exploring why you would want to hold onto a something beyond repair, or asking what you can let go of and the best way to do that. Is the broken think in your dream in need of fixing? If so, you could be contemplating if you are prepared to do an upcoming task and whether or not you feel capable of doing it.

Often in dreams you can experience a sense of panic as you try desperately to mend something potentially lost for good. This can reflect a sense of loss of control in waking life, especially with regard to relationships, as well as finances and self-identity. It is worth remembering that dreams work on many levels. Just as one level may be about a relationship in the waking world, on another level a dream could be about exploring your own inner feelings and addressing the growth occurring inside you as you struggle to cope with the world around you. Dreams can guide you towards helpful behaviour in the outer world while simultaneously healing you on the inside.

To understand the meaning of a dreaming of broken things more fully, consider not only what you feel is broken in your life, or what you fear is breaking, but also what you wish would break. Your dream may include watching something break, accidently dropping something that breaks, trying to fix something broken or smashing something on purpose. Your feelings about the broken thing can give an important indication with regard to what this dream means to you. You could be feeling distressed, panicked, strangely detached, relieved or even elated. The nature of the broken thing is also important.

Common objects to see broken in dreams are mirrors and windows. Given that that elements within dreams often reflect a part of the dreamer, to
dream of a broken window may relate to an issue around your perception of the outside world. You could feel your ability to see things clearly has been impaired somehow. Perhaps your own ideas and judgments are impacting how you view the present situation. Broken mirrors can also relate to perception, however tend to be more about the view you have of yourself. You may dream of a broken mirror when going through a challenging situation that makes you see yourself differently. If you have made choices or survived situations that you never imagined you would, you may feel as if you don’t know yourself anymore. The broken mirror may be a symbol of your shattered perception of who you really are. This can happen after a relationship breakdown, surviving an abusive situation, going through legal proceedings or being in an accident. While your sense of self may be shattered, your actual self remains whole. It is this whole self that is viewing the broken mirror in your dream. This is the self that you really are, who is pure and strong and unbreakable. Dreams of broken mirrors and windows remind us that what we perceive can change drastically, but that the one who perceives is not the one that is broken.

Another common item to appear in broken dreams is phones or computers. When these items appear in a dream, it is likely that somewhere in your life you feel the lines of communication have “broken down” and are not working as they should. You may have stalled in a business deal, feel that a relative or friend is not hearing your side of the argument, or you may simply feel someone has given up on trying to communicate with you. If you dream of breaking a phone or computer on purpose, it could symbolise that you wish to cut ties with someone or that you have heard enough from them for now. Smashing a phone can also symbolically indicate a need to disconnect from a highly social, electronic world. You may be feeling that you need some time out, some peace and quiet or simply to “break the habit” of device use.

The broken thing in your dream could also be a bone in your body. To understand what this means in greater details, consider in what area of the body the break occurs in. In modern society one broken bone is rarely seen as a sign of a permanent end to anything. Broken bones hurt, broken bones limit the ability to function fully, but broken bones usually heal with time. Broken in this context does not refer to an end but it may symbolise impaired ability for a time.

Which leads us to the idea of functionality and usefulness. To dream of something broken may lead you to question if there is an area of your life that is no longer serving you well. You may wish to consider what is not functioning as it should and whether this thing can be repaired, left to heal on its own, or discarded. Perhaps the broken thing is of no use anymore and your dream is prompting you to consider letting go and moving on.

If the symbolism of the broken thing is more obscure, try to reflect if the object has any connection with your past. Perhaps a broken toy reminds you of your childhood or a broken plate reminds you of a certain relative and so on. Consider what feelings or memories from your childhood or prior relationships relate to your present circumstances. Perhaps you have dreamed of a broken doll. This may remind you of a childhood hurt that seems relevant to a situation in the now, such as not being invited to a party when you were young and feeling that same rejection from a friend just recently.

Dream symbolism often reveals meaning through patterns. It connects unresolved past issues with current ones to try and create resolution and healing. Perhaps you have justified to yourself letting a friend down, but on a deeper level you feel an uncomfortable guilt. The broken doll may remind you of a time you broke a friend’s toy and felt guilty about it. The important thing to remember is that your dreams pass no judgement on you. They are from within your own mind and can be a source of healing when you recognise the true feelings beyond them. Denied feelings can cause anxiety, anger and frustration, and even make you sick. By consciously working through your own judgements of yourself, you can learn acceptance, forgiveness and peace.

Dreaming of broken things is often symbolic of some of the most common “broken” aspects in human beings — broken hearts, broken spirits, broken promises and broken relationships. These things breaking in dreams can stem from feelings of pain and loss, as a direct reflection of your internal experience. Broken things, however, are not always associated with sadness. In some situations, breaking something in a dream can be a positive thing. The broken things in a dream may be breaking for a good reason. You can outgrow opinions, ideas and worldviews as you mature and become wiser. Previous perceptions of the world may need to be broken in order for new perspectives to be embraced. You could need to break away from internal limited beliefs in order to grow.

You can have a breakthrough on many levels; at work, in relationships, in the direction of your life. Spiritual growth is often preceded by the pain of old ways of living “breaking down”, followed by a transformation that can be symbolised by “breaking out”, much like a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis or a bird breaks out of its egg. Broken things in a dream may reflect your emotional growth and spiritual evolution. If you dream of emerging from something broken or observing something break to reveal a new thing inside, you may be experiencing inner transformation.

We speak of breaking bonds, chains and shackles, of breaking free and breaking out. If you have been in a situation that has limited you, you may dream of broken things as your life improves. You may be leaving a toxic relationship, finishing a job with no prospects and gaining new employment, starting education to redefine the possibilities of your future, or moving out of a dangerous neighbourhood. These breaks can open opportunities to greater freedom. Sometimes it can be a positive thing to break the rules, though it may often require personal courage to do so. In your dreams you may see such symbols as breaking down walls, fences or other obstacles. You may dream of smashing though a glass ceiling as your career advances. Smashing framed photos of people who harmed or limited your life in some way can also symbolise breaking free of their negative influence. You may also dream of breaking rings, jewellery or other tokens of connection as a relationship changes or ends. Just as these events may be going on in your external life, there is likely to be simultaneous changes occurring within you. Dreams work on many levels at the same time, so, just as you start that new education or leave a failing relationship, your old view of yourself may also change as you form a new sense of who you are.

If you dream of something broken, you may wish to look at the puns around the word “break”. Perhaps something in your life is moving too fast and you need to “put the brakes on”. Maybe you have become too involved in one area of your life and need to “take a break” from it. Dreams of broken things can also encourage you to consider what is not breakable. Perhaps your relationship is broken but your heart is not, or your heart is broken, but your spirit never will be etc.

Broken things in a dream bring up issues of loss and letting go, control, or lack of, repercussions around actions taken, pain and healing, transition and impermanence, freedom and release, and the physical versus the emotional or spiritual. To dream of something broken may lead you to question if there is an area of your life that is no longer serving you well and if this thing should be repaired, left to heal on its own with rest and care, or discarded. The initial impression of a broken thing in a dream may seem sad, but look a little closer and you could discover it is guiding you towards a different outcome, or it could be supporting you through a change towards a brighter, freer future.

Want to learn more about what your dreams mean? Visit our Dreams archive page.