Dream question: Why can’t I speak in my dream?

Dream Question: “I had a dream where I was trying to speak but nothing would come out.  When I touched my mouth, I noticed there was a string hanging out.   I pulled on it and it was like this never ending piece of bunting.  What does this mean?”

This may be a common dream for people who are struggling to communicate.  That doesn’t mean you’re not articulate, just that someone around you may not be getting the message.  In some people’s dream, the object in the mouth is cotton wool, tissue, socks, even teeth falling out.

This, like the never-ending bunting you’ve described, can symbolise the difficulty speaking or getting your point across.  You may also feel like you’re being silenced by someone who doesn’t want you to hear your story or version of events.

When we are dreaming we are also physically paralysed.  This is why for many people when they try to speak in a dream nothing comes out. It can sometimes feel as if you’re straining to speak, and your bed partner may even describe strange noises you’re making.  Again, this can symbolise the frustrations of trying to communicate with someone (who’s just not listening or paying attention) but also recognising the physiological nature of the dreaming process, which means you physically can’t speak at that time.  Some people have this experience within something known as Old Hag Syndrome, which can happen during (or feel like) a nightmare.

Make sure you’re managing your stress and having conversations that need to be had, especially if you’ve found yourself making sacrifices to keep someone happy.    

Keeping a dream diary can be useful to help you understand why you have these dreams when you do.  I talk about this and offer a template in my book Answers in the Dark.

Copyright Delphi Ellis 2017, updated 2021.

Published by Delphi Ellis

Therapeutic counsellor, well-being trainer and author working with grief and mental health, helping people get their sparkle back. Explores dreams on telly. Avid tea drinker. © Delphi Ellis - Helping You Sparkle™ 2006 - 21

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