GA Anderson writes about mystical and psychological symbol interpretations and how to apply them to your dreams.
What Does It Mean When You Can't Scream in Your Dreams?
Dreaming that no sound comes out when you scream or yell is a common experience—you are not alone. To understand the symbolism behind your dreamed experience, it is important to look at your inability to yell in the larger context of your dream. In general, dreams about soundless screaming or the inability to speak or yell relate to one of the following:
- Anger and Frustration
- Fear and Helplessness
- Sleep Paralysis
The first thing to consider is why you were screaming in the first place. This will help determine what it is you are feeling frustrated, angry, helpless, or fearful about. Although dream interpreters agree on the underlying feelings that are symbolized by soundless screams, you must look at your dream's specific context to understand why you are having it.
Can you remember why you were screaming or what you were screaming at? Were you screaming at someone or something as if they weren't listening to? Were screaming to warn someone about something?
1. Anger and Frustration
If you were screaming at someone as if in anger, it could symbolize suppressed feelings of frustration. Something may be going on in your life where people are not letting you express yourself or not listening to you when you do. You may have an underlying sense that you aren't being taken seriously, or you might have a problem that no one will listen to you about or a solution that no one will consider.
No matter how hard you try to communicate, it seems like your efforts are pointless. It feels as if your words (screams) carry no sound or meaning at all. The soundlessness of your scream indicates a sense of suppressed frustration. Think about what has been happening in your life recently. Have you tried to express a thought or feeling and been ignored? Is there an issue about which you feel no one is taking you seriously—as if your opinion doesn't matter? Or are you unable to express a thought or feeling and feel oppressed as a result?
Any of these situations could lead to a sense of frustration, and even if you aren't conscious of it, your dream may be telling you that this suppressed frustration is there. Think of recent events in your life. Your dream may be expressing a deep sense of frustration about something that has likely occurred on more than just one recent occasion. Is there an ongoing issue that fits this description?
2. Fear and Helplessness
Although dreams of silent screams can be unsettling, most people do not really think of them as nightmares. If you feel your yours is more of a nightmare than just a confusing and unsettling dream, then there may be another reason why your screams make no sound.
When you are screaming, does it feel like you are trying to scream a warning? Are you trying to send a message or get someone's attention? If this feels like the case in your dream, it may mean something completely different and may not be indicative of suppressed frustration at all. It may mean instead that you are feeling a sense of helplessness.
This helplessness could be coming from any number of possible sources. Your dream may indicate that you feel you are unable to help others or that the type of help others need is beyond your ability. Alternatively, it could mean that your help is being refused or that you can't get to a person or situation in time to help.
Consider an instance of someone about to take an unknowing step into danger. You want to scream out a warning, but you know it is too late. Perhaps they are too far away to hear your warning, or perhaps you know that they won't heed your words. Scenarios like these can create that sense of helplessness that you may be feeling.
There is a second type of helplessness that your dream may symbolize as well—one that comes from feeling that what you are facing is simply too large or powerful for you to handle. You are helpless to change or stop it no matter what you do.
This feeling could be coming from a fear of danger or facing a situation you just don't feel you can handle. Again, think of recent life events. Can you think of a danger you are worried about (or one you recently faced)? Perhaps there is there a job, relationship, or life change that you feel you are unable to contend with. Maybe someone in your life has become too much of a domineering force.
Any of these situations can lead to a sense of helplessness that may manifest as soundless screaming in your dreams. Are there clues in your dream that can help you figure out whether this is the case? Look for additional symbols in your dream that can help you answer these questions.
3. Sleep Paralysis
If you feel paralyzed—both in your dream and possibly for the first minute or two after you wake up—your inability to scream may be due to sleep paralysis, or the suppression of bodily motor function during REM sleep.
As mentioned earlier, this is completely different from the other two interpretations offered on this page. While in those cases, the lack of sound is symbolic, in this case, it is simply indicative of a normal physical phenomenon that may occur when you are transitioning between the different phases of sleeping and waking.
According to WebMD.com, "During sleep, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. One cycle of REM and NREM sleep lasts about 90 minutes. NREM sleep occurs first and takes up to 75% of your overall sleep time. During NREM sleep, your body relaxes and restores itself. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM."
In REM sleep, your body is relaxed and immobilized so that you don't act out your dreams with your body, but this paralysis stops when you transition to NREM sleep or begin to wake up. When your body doesn't handle this phase shift smoothly, the sensation of being paralyzed may occur both in your dream and immediately upon waking. It is estimated that about four in ten people experience sleep paralysis at some time in their life.
Sleep Paralysis Explained
Strange Facts About Dreams
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: I had a dream where two men broke into my house and attacked me, I wasn't trying to fight back and scream but no sound would come out my mouth what does this mean?
Answer: Your dream of soundless screaming seems to clearly point to a feeling of helplessness. The seriousness of the details - two men breaking in, are a message that whatever life event you are feeling powerless about is a very serious one.
Look for recent, (or expected) changes in your personal or work life. Is there a relationship change that you do not want, but feel you cannot stop? Is there a work situation where you must do something you do not want to do, or is there a coming work change that you cannot avoid? These could be things your inner-self is warning you about.
Question: I dream of screaming out loud when dreaming as in fear. What could be the problem?
Answer: You haven't offered enough dream information for an interpretation. However, fearful screaming is more indication of a nightmare than an interpretive dream.
Question: My daughter's deceased husband is screaming at her in dreams but no sound is coming out; what does this mean?
Answer: A very simple dream interpretation of the scream with no sound is that your daughter doesn't understand what her deceased husband is trying to say.
She has a feeling that there is a message but doesn't have the understanding to know what that message is. She is feeling helpless.
© 2018 ga anderson
Ree on September 07, 2020:
I had dreams last night that my mum let my young daughters walk in the dark on a country highway on there own and she came to tell my me and I was in so much distress but could not talk or barely move I was devastated and scared but nothing would come out my mouth and then had a mother dream about 1/2 hr later that I walked out to my car felt dizzy and funny like I couldn’t stand then tried to yell for help and once again nothing would come out?
stargirl on December 16, 2019:
I dreamt that there was a black cloud hanging very low and as I was showing my cousin the cloudy suddenly it had like 3 parts that looked like handshands or bats. It tried grabbing me and I was screaming help but no sound and as I tried to shout the name of jesus it came out but very faint. My throught was actually scratchy when I woke up. What does it mean. My uncle who passed away last year was also in my dream and he hugged me when he saw me.
Ally3030 on November 20, 2018:
It means you can't reach out there's something you can't face alone it's similar to trying to run but can't something Your scared to face! but you must let it out !
star-key on March 06, 2018:
expressionism or forgetting one's own true self