vulnerable in my sleep

November 14, 2015Karen Courcy

54eb69a02583a_-_6-dream-mysteries-solved-mdnI have woken up many times in the past week crying out of my sleep; literally crying with tears and all out of my sleep.

I have written about this experience before and its something that I have gone through quite a bit in the past couple of years.

This past week I have experienced this almost every other night and it has left me feeling emotionally drained!

I have talked about it with Andy in therapy and he knows this has been something I have struggled with for years, but we never have put a secure understanding of why it happens when it does and what it truly means.

It happened again last night, only this time I cried for an additional hour after I woke – when normally I would fall asleep almost immediately after waking from the crying.

My therapist and I think it has something to do with emotions finding their way out when I am most un-able to stop them – in my sleep.

Tonight I did some research on this – even contacted someone who specializes in dreams and I found out some really interesting things about this.

These wake ups of crying is not only emotions finding their way out, but its my body’s way of letting me know that I have surpressed emotions that are trapped by fear of showing emotions in front of someone.

Emotions and showing emotions have always been something I struggle to show or be with. I have written about this a couple of years ago called “Fear of Emotions

Even after 8 1/2 years of therapy, I still struggle to show or have emotions in therapy, or even outside of therapy. I have this intense ability of keeping my emotions in check no matter how bad I feel inside.

Reading more on this “waking up crying” it says: according to mind/body medical experts, repressed feelings and emotions don’t just go away. They actually remain in the body, taking up our energy and laying the groundwork for emotional distress which can be emotionally damaging.”

Another Dr who writes about this says: “Unexpressed emotions tend to ‘stay’ in the body like small ticking time bombs,” she says. “They are illnesses in incubation. The danger, experts agree, is that when we delay acknowledging our emotions, this can lead our body to speak louder and louder to get our attention.” –

Hence me waking up crying out of my sleep is my body’s way of saying “your leaking!!!!”.. they say when you repress your emotions, the body tries to find places to express those emotions when we are vulnerably able and in the sleep is the one place the body rests the most.

It makes sense, but it doesn’t cure my fear of emotions or talking about them.

I found it interesting that in this article one DR writes: “This could also be due to repression from an external source, such as a person that will not allow you to cry or a person that you are afraid to cry in front of.”

I spent my whole childhood fearing my own emotions and spent many nights rocking back and forth in my closet trying to swallow them or talking them away! I feared crying in front of anyone because as a child, I wasn’t allowed to cry “or else!” I was SHAMED for crying.

I don’t like crying in therapy, it sends me signals that I am going to be harmed if I show emotions. I have this shame come over me like I am doing something terribly wrong.

I have had emotions in therapy, but its incredibly hard and I work my hardest to swallow them as fast as I can. It’s not something I like to talk about, and even writing about this right now is making me a little anxious and I want to stop …..

But I also don’t like the feeling of waking up and having thee heart wrenching moments that I don’t understand.

In a way, I am sad now because I realize how much I am repressing myself and the younger inner child that is healing from having emotions that I hold.

In the article and most of the Dr’s say the best way to move through this is to talk about the feelings, talk about those things that are repressed allowing myself to feel them, not just talk about them. I cringe at that thought as it’s not something I feel comfortable with, but I also don’t want to wake up feeling the way I have been the past week!

This healing journey has come with many different paths, and this is the one path I always detour around, and maybe its time to take that path and learn how to heal the very things I fear …. emotions.


  • denise

    November 15, 2015 at 12:54 AM

    bless you precious. I pray that you will be able to take this path, and let this part start healing. Jesus can, and will capture your tears, and put them all in a bottle.

  • amandarocksyoursocks

    November 15, 2015 at 12:58 AM

    Wow– thank you so much for this post! I’ve experienced the same before– crying in my sleep & waking up crying, and I’ve always thought that was a completely normal thing that everyone experienced. It makes so much sense though–I HATE feeling emotions, too. I feel A LOT, and I always think that to make things easier, I’d rather just stuff my emotions and “turn them off”. Even though I know that it helps in the long run to experience and to feel my emotions.
    My school therapist described hiding feelings inside (literally–I go on “ostrich in the sand” mode at times!) like trying to swim across a pool with a beach ball underwater (rather than having it on the surface of the water and moving it across).
    IT’S SO HARD learning to feel the very thing I fear~you’re definitely not alone in this~~

  • bethanyk

    November 15, 2015 at 1:02 AM

    Years of wailing in my sleep left me exhausted but it was I think the only time my body allowed myself to feel the sorrow of what I’d been through because I never felt safe to cry during the day. Now I try to let myself feel it and cry the tears and the nighttime tears went away. The first true real cry I had was in the middle of the night and I think it was my body saying ” ok,held that in ,long enough!”

  • Ava Savage

    November 15, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    It is wonderful to know there are other people who are like me. I was always told I was over reacting about molestation and trama I experienced as a child. So I stuffed it inside and came to believe there was something wrong with me. I am suffering the physical harm it has done from 64yrs. Of holding it all in. Now I have physical pain and emotional pain I live with daily, I pray you all that are younger can get the help you need before it destroys your bodies. Thanks for validating my feelings as not being alone in this and it is real for many not just me.

  • GettingrealwithPTSD

    November 15, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    I relate so much to this. Although, I don’t wake up crying, but instead wake up shaking. But I am emotion-phobic too — especially in front of other people, even my therapist. May we both find the courage to feel in safe places and in front of safe people. 🙂

  • Barbie

    November 16, 2015 at 9:40 PM

    Bless you sweet friend. I am forwarding this to a friend having similar experience. Hugs!

  • Barbara

    November 19, 2015 at 7:49 PM

    Karen, my friend! You are sharing your heart; your life; your fears…crying in your sleep?! I wish I were there to give you hugs when that happens, and can only pray that Tim is with you so he can do so…and continue to share with him; and with Andy…and as you can, write about it. I find that writing about my feelings – which I guess I repress mine many times, like how I felt a while ago when my husband was in my computer/craft room “pushing my buttons” as he always loves to do…pushing me to explode, which I did…

    Keep writing; keep sharing…I’ll keep you in my thoughts, my prayers, and am sending {{HUGS}} to you!

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: