crying wake ups – what does it mean?

November 16, 2017Karen Courcy

Those who do not weep, do not see.”  – Victor Hugo

I’m sleeping soundly, and then I find myself crying in my sleep, and when I realize this, I am wrestling and struggling to wake up out of the dream – and when I wake, I have tears rolling down my face and the emotions build even bigger as I continue to cry.

I then realize, WAIT I just woke up out of a dream, why am I crying and why am I so sad?

Sometimes I will stop crying right away, sit and think about it, feel puzzled on what just happened! Then other times I will continue to cry out of my sleep, even sob and feel completely sad about whatever it is that I may have seen in my dream that made me have tears.

Sometimes the crying wake up is so bad that it leaves me feeling out-of-place all day, and it sits within me wondering “what is going on, and why does this keep happening to me”?

As some of you may know, I have written about this a few times on my blog, but for a few years now I have gone through bouts of crying as I wake up out of my sleep. It’s the worst feeling in the world because as our bodies sleep, our body is paralized, but the mind and emotions are not, therefore you truly feel what it is your feeling.

This has been a huge topic in therapy, and when I tell my therapist “I had a bad crying wake-up” he knows what that means. He understands the depth of how that makes me feel, and the struggle I have had with this for quite some time now. He will ask “did you continue to cry when you woke up, or did you stop it right away?” because there are times I will keep crying because I feel so incredibly sad, or I will stop it out of anger that it hapened again and why??!!

SO what does it mean and why does it happen? There are many theory’s written online like, “repressed emotions having a space to open up when you are at your most vulnerable (sleeping)”. But for me, I believe it has to do with the young inner child within – – showing her emotions when I am least likely to stop them.

Its no surprise that I fear having emotions. I have struggled with this my whole life, and this fear showed up most in therapy when I began expressing my emotions! I have a fear of showing emotions, therefor maybe that is why they show up in my sleep.

I’m not sure the reason, but I hate it and it feels horrible when it happens. When it happens it takes me out of my sense of self that whole day – even DAYS will go by that I struggle with the dream / crying wake up, even to the point of projecting.

Just this past week I had such a hard week in therapy since the crying wake up – I was projecting my feelings onto my therapist and in the room, but I can’t help it, this is what happens to me and it sucks.

SO for now, all I can do is pay attention to these cruyingwake up’s and work with them the best I can until I really get an understanding around them, but for now, its something I struggle with and I have no understanding around it and that is OK because it means something.

Does anyone else struggle with crying wake ups or crying out of your sleep


  • Rachelle

    November 18, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    I don’t do it often, but I woke up about 4 nights ago crying. I laid there for a minute and continued to cry. I cannot for the life of me remember what I was dreaming about, but I’ve thought about it a lot for these past few days, wishing I could remember. I’m really glad to see your posts showing up more frequently in my inbox. Keeping you in prayer.

    1. karenbethc72

      Karen Beth

      November 21, 2017 at 2:04 PM

      OH wow … im so sorry that you experienced this too ….. its a horrible feeling to wake like that … thanks for commenting and I hope it doesn’t keep happening to you.

  • Susans Soul

    November 20, 2017 at 8:31 PM

    I had these types of wake-ups when I was first in therapy for my childhood sexual abuse. My memories were blocked before age `12 so most of the dreams were actual pieces of memories coming back and because of the abuse, crying was appropriate and coming from what I thought was an inner wounded child. One thing I tried was to write down as much of the dream/memory in my journal. This worked in 2 ways. It got me busy doing some writing and getting it out on paper, I was able to let it go and return to sleep if there was time for that. I stopped having these dreams except on rare occasions now, but I have insomnia the night before I see my therapist and am working on writing what is in my mind that is making me stay awake.

    1. Karen Courcy

      Karen Courcy

      November 21, 2017 at 12:23 AM

      thank you for sharing your story on this. i may try that. thank you so much and i’m so sorry you endured so much 🙁 i hope healing is finding you.

  • Carla F Steinbuchel

    January 19, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    WOW! Just spoke with my therapist about this last week. She called me this AM & suggested that I take a look @ your blog if I choose. This entry jumped out @ me because of it’s recency in my experience. Such a puzzling occurrence seemingly out of nowhere & with such an impact on my day as well. I’m trying to capture snippets of whatever I’m dreaming about to help make sense of it. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to reading more. Is there an entry somewhere about your story? We all have such unique experiences, but yet, similarities as well. Validation of experience just the same. Important!

    1. Carla Steinbuchel

      January 19, 2018 at 4:41 PM

      Adding website

    2. Karen Courcy

      Karen Courcy

      January 26, 2018 at 12:35 AM

      Hi.. I sent you a response and not sure if you got it or not …. im so sorry about yourwakeups as well … I would love to connect with you … you can read more of my story on my about page! I hope to connect with you more and know you can reach out anytime .. thank you for visiting my blog

  • Carl’s

    March 9, 2021 at 7:17 AM

    I just experienced this. I woke up hysterically crying from a dream that felt so real. My husband was pushing my neck a spot which he had done before that I do not like. I think my brother would abuse me when I was a child and now I’m accepting some form of abuse with my husband. After he released me in the dream I bite his finger so hard. Then woke up crying uncontrollably. I am currently in therapy. She says I suppress my emotions and need to feel them prior to this.

Please take a moment to comment! I love connecting with others!

Previous Post Next Post

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

%d bloggers like this: