What it Really Means When You Dream of Being Left Behind

What it Really Means When You Dream of Being Left Behind

Do you ever get that feeling?

Of being abandoned or forsaken?

But what does it mean when you dream of getting left behind like this?

This kind of dream imagery is often a symbol of some type of internal struggle. However, the interpretation can be somewhat different depending on your personal life and circumstances.

Below, I’ll go over everything this can represent to help you pinpoint the true dream meaning for you at this moment in your life.


Don’t get left behind 🙂

What Does it Mean When You Dream of Being Left Behind

Dreams of being left behind all have a common theme of inner conflict. Dreams like this could represent feelings of loss, abandonment, rejection, or something missing in your life.

Some dream analysts suggest this represents the feeling of not being cared for as a child. Although this can be true (even if you were actually well-loved), it’s not the only possible meaning you should draw from your dream.

It’s usually not as simple as the first and most standard explanation.

The symbolism of this dream is quite emotionally charged.

It evokes feelings of being forgotten or forsaken, excluded, lost, or that a part of you is missing and unfulfilled.

First, let’s examine why you experienced this dream symbol.

I use the term “dream symbol” because the images in your dreams are all symbolic of something else or some other emotional issue. When we dream, the parts of our brain responsible for emotions are 30% more active than when we’re awake! This is because your unconscious brain communicates hidden feelings using symbolic images.

Why do I Dream of Being Left Behind

There could be a multitude of reasons why you dream of something like this. It could relate to a specific event in your recent waking life. It may represent a phase you are going through at the moment. Or it might be symbolic of some aspect of your childhood.

Most dreams are a reflection of things going on in your day-to-day routine.

Mostly, the things that we review in our dreams are emotional responses to our day-to-day lives. In fact, according to studies by professor Robert Stickgold, between 35% and 55% of our emotional concerns resurface in our dreams – See Robert Stickgold – “When Brains Dream.”

You should begin by questioning what’s been happening recently in your life to trigger the kind of emotional response depicted by this dream symbol.

For example, did you feel rejected by a friend lately? This might only be a temporary event without any dramatic effect on your relationship.

Perhaps recently, you’re struggling with some aspect of your waking life, and this is creating an unconscious warning about the resulting inner conflict.

Or are there some more deep-seated subconscious emotions that, for some reason, are resurfacing in your dream landscape?

To help you recognize the type of issue you’re unconscious is trying to resolve, here are some typical reasons why we dream about being left behind:

  • An underlying sense of being uncared for as a child
  • Feeling neglected (or a part of your life is neglected)
  • Anxiety about being left out of something
  • Uneasy feelings that you don’t fit in
  • A quest for emotional freedom and independence
  • A need for guidance or help
  • Failing to meet essential goals
  • The loss of an external guiding figure
  • The death of someone who gave meaning to your life

You should also note that dreams of abandonment can be expected after the recent death of a loved one.

To Dream of Being Left Behind (Some Examples)

This is actually quite a common dream!

Dreams like this are commonly associated with particular dream scenarios, such as getting left behind by family or friends, being abandoned somewhere on a trip, or missing a bus or plane.

The surroundings, characters, and setting might add an extra level of dream meaning.

Take note of these details!

The various aspects of your dreamscape might give you a clue to understanding the unconscious message.

For example, who are the people in the dream?

What do those people represent for you?

Or are you alone but feeling lost?

A parent could be a symbol of authority and a guiding influence.

Friends could represent an aspect of your personalitywhich you are neglecting.

If you are alone and left behind, your unconscious could be expressing a desire for emotional independence.

As you can see…

The people and circumstances in the dream could represent different things for you at other times in your personal life.

Dream About Being Left Behind by Family

Dream About Being Left Behind by Family

Dreaming of being abandoned by your family could be symbolic of two things. First, seeing your family leaving you behind could represent a psychological desire for greater independence in real life. Or this might convey a sense of vulnerability and feeling lost in your personal life.

Dream images involving family have a strong connection with aspects of childhood development (for example dreams about a childhood home).

The family unit is where we usually evolve from children to young adults. This is a delicate time when we struggle for individuality and leave childhood patterns behind.

So a dream of being left behind by family members could be symbolic of an unconscious need for autonomy and freedom.

Be honest and open with yourself about how free and independent you are in real life. For example, is there a dominant family member on whom you rely too heavily?

This dream could also be a metaphor for new beginnings and opportunities. Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to become more independent. So leaving behind the security of your family in a dream could be symbolic of embracing new opportunities which require you to be more autonomous.

One of the most exciting theories by Carl Jung is “Individuation.” This represents the period of childhood development where we become independent of childhood habits and develop into self-reliant and self-aware people. See “Becoming Whole: A Jungian Guide to Individuation” (Amazon)

As children, we are also dependent on our parents and family for security, nurturing, and protection. Therefore, a dream where a family member leaves you behind could represent feelings of insecurity or a fear of being rejected.

Do you fear losing the respect and love of a close family member?

Alternatively, this dream could be expressing that you now understand you are alone and the only person responsible for your life.

Maybe you need to take more responsibility for yourself?

The idea of “family” might mean something entirely different for you compared to somebody else. This is because the way you were raised as a child has a profound impact on your psyche. So your dream will mean something unique and individual for you depending on your experience of family life and your relationships with family members.

So dreams involving family members should be considered in this context.

To interpret your dream, think positively, and be honest and objective when resolving any inner conflicts. Look at your current relationship with family members for guidance.

Dreams of Being Left Behind by a Husband / Boyfriend / Girlfriend

A dream where you are forsaken by a partner could represent different things depending on the circumstances of your relationship. For example, this could symbolize an unconscious feeling of neglect. Or this could express a desire for emotional freedom and independence.

First of all, ask yourself how you felt about being abandoned in the dream?

Did you feel liberated?

Perhaps your partner is too possessive, and you feel the need for greater freedom.

Or do you feel your partner neglecting you in some way?

If you found your dream to be very disturbing, be careful to consider your relationship with your partner. Are you over-dependent on them for your own emotional well-being?

This might indicate signs of “separation anxiety.”

Separation anxiety, or the fear of being separated from a loved one, is typical in childhood. Still, in adulthood, this could present problems for a person’s emotional development.

Dream About Being Left Behind by Friends

dream about being foresaken by friends

If friends leave you behind in a dream, this could mean you fear losing out on something in real life. But, on the other hand, this could also represent a feeling that you don’t fit in, don’t belong, and are not accepted by others.

Friends in a dream underline aspects of your social behavior and how you interact with friends and acquaintances in waking life.

Humans are social animals. We like to be part of a group.

If you feel different from others in your circle of friends, this might actually mean your friends are changing, or maybe you haven’t found your “tribe”yet?

It’s also possible you’re in a self-conscious phase at the moment and worrying about what other people think.

If this is the case, feeling abandoned by your friends in a dream symbolizes low self-confidence.

Stay positive! Remember your dream is encouraging you to find a resolution to the struggles you’re facing.

But the friends in your dream might also represent something else. They could be symbolic of some part of yourself or your personal life which you feel you’re missing out on.

Fear of missing out, or “FOMO,” is a common occurrence. It stems from the idea that you might be missing something fundamentally important in your life.

This fear is usually unwarranted and is provoked by the false impression that others have a better deal than you. However, the kind of envy that this produces can negatively affect your self-esteem.

Here are a couple of things you can try to seek resolution to your dreams message:

  • Seek new connections with people.
  • Cultivate gratitude

Try to consciously change your attitude by focusing on what you have rather than what you feel you don’t.

And spending time with new people will help develop a feeling of social belonging.

Dream of Being Left Behind on a Trip

What does it mean when you dream of being abandoned on a trip? Dreams of being left in a strange place to fend for yourself could represent a need for emotional independence and autonomy in waking life.

Do you feel like other people or circumstances are controlling your life?

A relationship with a controlling person can undermine your self-confidence. As a result, your subconscious dream might be warning you to gain greater autonomy in your waking relationships.

This might also be a sign that your freedom is being restricted by your day-to-day routine.

Are other people over-dependent on you?

Alternatively, this could be symbolic of your desire to find a guiding figure in waking life.

Have you recently lost an external guiding influence? This could increase your unconscious need for help from others.

Dream of Being Left Behind by a Bus

Dream of being left behind by a bus

Dreaming of being left behind by a bus is symbolic of a neglected desire or ambition or the failure to achieve your goals.

The inner tension revealed by this dream shows you have aspirations in life, but at the moment, you’re not meeting your objectives.

Try to identify what this is so you can give it time and an appropriate place in your conscious life.

Note: If you dream of waiting at a bus stop, this usually represents a transitional time in your life. And things that you see in the distance could indicate the future or past, or even ideas you don’t strongly identify with anymore.

Dreaming of Being Left Behind by a Plane

Dreaming of Being Left Behind by a Plane

If you dream of missing your plane, this could represent a fear of failure. But, on the other hand, it could also simply express your anxiousness about getting on a plane!

If you fear flying and need to take a plane for an upcoming trip, the most obvious dream interpretation is that this reflects your general fear of flying.

On the other hand, perhaps you are going through a competitive phase in your career. Or maybe life is testing you in some other way.

This can cause negative emotions such as “failure” to symbolically display in your dreams with a “missed plane” image.

If you fail to turn up on time for your “dream plane,” it could also represent your conscious fear of being late.

Dream of being left behind by a boat

Being late for a boat in a dream joins the general theme of dreams where you are left behind by some form of transport. The interpretation could signify a fear of missed goals or missed opportunities in life. Or an overall feeling of failure.

This kind of dream expresses general uncertainty in your waking life.

Something or someone in your day-to-day life could be responsible for your insecurity.


Anxiety dreams of being left behind and lost can be scary since they probably reveal some kind of inner conflict, fear, or loss of control.

Identifying the problem area and thinking positively about solutions should help you get back to a state of psychic harmony!

In the words of Carl Jung:

“I must learn the dregs of my thought, my dreams, are the speech of my soul. I must carry them in my heart, and go back and forth over them in my mind, like the words of the person dearest to me. Dreams are the guiding words of the soul”.

The Red Book – Carl G. Jung.

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