Dreaming about being paralyzed can be simply terrifying. You are powerless, unable to move, and sometimes exposed to grave danger. No doubt you’ll awaken out of breath, panicked, and feel very vulnerable.
But although we’re powerless in our dreams, we can do a great deal of action afterward when applying their meaning to our waking life. How we interpret these dreams is what matters most.
Today, we’ll go through the exact symbolism and meaning a paralysis dream can give you, including the different future events that might happen as a result.
8 Meanings to Dreaming You’re Being Paralyzed
1. You’re feeling stuck in life
If you dream of being paralyzed, one of the strongest interpretations of this is you’re currently feeling stuck. This can apply to a moment in your life, from being “stuck” feeling an emotion, stuck in a phase of your life, or feeling helpless to something. Ultimately, you don’t see any escape from your current situation.
Pay close attention to where your dream is set and the emotions you experience during the paralysis. Sometimes, these dreams take place in very significant places that can pinpoint where our insecurities lie.
For example, if at work, this may indicate you’re feeling stunted in your current role. If it’s at home, perhaps you’re feeling trapped by commitment or underappreciated.
Quite often, these dreams act as a nightmare that makes us feel anxious and scared. No matter what you try, you can’t unstuck yourself. But as you wake up, you’re given this clear information to make changes in your life to help.
2. You’re too afraid to take risks and fail
Sometimes we become frozen in time when we’re stressed out and indecisive. You try to think your situation over but hesitate too long, and the opportunity passes.
In dreams, sometimes we are paralyzed by this very same behavior. If something presents itself and you hesitate, you are preventing yourself from any action or reaction.
This type of dream stems from a fear of failure; you don’t even attempt something, as you’re afraid you’ll fail before even trying. But your subconscious mind is sending you a stark message to change this behavior, or else great opportunities will surely pass you. This dream teaches you that doing nothing and receiving nothing is a poor way to live.
If you experience a sleep paralysis episode, your subconscious could demand you take more action in life. Life is full of choices, challenges, ups, and downs, and sure, you don’t have to deal with pain or embarrassment, but you also won’t experience joy, happiness, and pleasure.
3. Someone might be manipulating you
Our subconscious often has direct, blunt messages that our physical self doesn’t realize or tries to ignore. Sometimes, we don’t want to admit the truth, especially if it implies friends or family are less than angelic.
But often, paralysis in dreams can stem from someone in your life manipulating you. The sensation of powerlessness over your movements or speech directly results from someone’s control over you.
Perhaps you don’t know who is doing this – and the dream may not indicate who is pulling your strings. It would help if you reflected on all your relationships to see which ones are more one-sided than the rest.
Sometimes the dream can quite clearly blame specific people, and you may experience sudden paralysis in the presence of another person or the mere mention of them.
This is a stark warning to distance yourself from them in the waking world and establish clear boundaries with them to get your freedom back. Only then will your thoughts, movements, and actions be yours again.
4. You cannot move on from something
Being paralyzed in a dream can signify your unwillingness to move on from a past event, and you are essentially “stuck in time” until you deal with your emotions.
This often takes the form of an embarrassing moment or situation, where you relive anxiety and humiliation you thought was behind you. We might dream of these troubling events to try and “rewrite the past,” but sadly, the paralysis kicks in, and we cannot do anything productive.
These dreams symbolize you need to move from the past, distance yourself from it, and start thinking more about your present and future. The past is the past – learn from mistakes and move on.
Similarly, some people may dream of incredibly traumatic events that have resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder. They might stem from a bad childhood, a toxic relationship, an accident, or an assault buried into your consciousness.
In these instances, your paralysis dreams are inviting you to reflect on your past and learn new coping mechanisms from them. Deep down, something about them still troubles you; the paralysis you’re suffering from in the dream is a metaphor for your emotions in the waking world.
5. You’re going to face demanding challenges
One of the most common forms of sleep paralysis is during night terrors when something frightening happens, and you can’t move, turn, or even scream. You could be faced with demons, intruders, and even aliens – all there to cause you to harm in your dream.
They can be incredibly distressing to experience, and when you wake, you’re relieved it’s finally over. This feeling of helplessness indicates you may be going through a rough patch in life right now. Or that there are challenges in your near future that you need to keep your guard up for.
Your only solace is to remember that a difficult period in your life may begin soon, but its end is also in sight. You’ll endure.
6. You may need to improve your lifestyle
Sometimes, what we experience in the dreaming world directly reflects our physical self, and periods of paralysis can be a warning that there’s something wrong in our bodies.
Paralysis is defined as losing the ability to move your muscles, in part or all of your body. It can manifest from injuries, stress, and life-changing trauma like strokes, autoimmune diseases, and nerve damage.
Other times, the quality of our sleep and dreaming needs to be addressed. Simple changes to your lifestyle can improve your sleep hygiene and may enhance the quality of your dreams.
If you suffer from sleep deprivation or sleep disorder, you should avoid caffeine, drugs, and alcohol, take appropriate medications and try to implement a daily sleep schedule.
7. You’re finally at peace with yourself
Conversely, there are times when a state of paralysis can be a peaceful, cathartic, and euphoric experience. So long as you’re enjoying the experience, you can draw immense positivity from the dream.
So what does this mean? On a practical level, being paralyzed can symbolize being content with your life. You don’t want anything to change and are happy staying still in this positive state of mind. You aren’t feeling threatened or endangered and can relish your inability to move.
This can also signify your need to unwind. Perhaps after a taxing time, your body and spirit ask you to sit still for once. Forced paralysis could be comforting as you finally allow yourself to stay still and recover.
8. Specific paralysis of body parts
When dreaming, we can experience emotions and sensations differently than in the waking world. Sometimes, we experience paralysis differently, too.
Pay close attention if only certain body parts become paralyzed, as this can help explain the purpose of said dreams. They include:
- Legs: You’re feeling unstable and insecure in life. You’re also putting a necessary journey off.
- Tongue or mouth: You’re afraid of speaking your mind freely. Others could easily lead you astray – be careful.
- Hands: are paralyzed, you’re feeling unproductive and unchallenged right now—time to expand your horizons and take up something new.
- Your neck: You’re too focused on the future and not enough on the present or the past. Reflect on your life, learn from your mistakes, and don’t forget your core values in life.
People experience sleep paralysis at some point in their lives. It can often be a confusing, anxious experience where our total lack of movement feels threatening and restrictive.
Ultimately, these dreams signify that you’re currently stuck in life and unable to move on past an experience or incident. However, you can avoid this immobility if you reflect on the dream and change your way of life.
But like any dream, keeping an open mind to interpretations is critical. In rare instances, the dream can symbolize that you’re in a great place in life, free from worries, stress, and dangers. You’re content with your paralysis, allowing your body to recover and enjoy peace.