Dreams are a powerful way for our subconscious mind to communicate with us. They can tell us how we are doing in the present moment and what we need to look out for and send us warnings about the future.
Dreaming of being trapped, lost, or stuck inside the dream can be one of the most terrifying and frustrating dreams to experience. You might awaken exhausted, worried and vulnerable – what exactly does it mean?
This article will explore the twelve most common reasons you may be experiencing these dreams. We’ll highlight ways to apply their meaning to your waking life and suggest what you need to do to overcome them.
12 meanings to feeling stuck in a dream
1. You need to move on from someone
Dreams have a powerful way of representing the quality of our life. If you experience being stuck, and cannot move or free yourself, then chances are you feel the same way in your waking life.
There is something or someone currently in your life that is holding you back. Perhaps you can’t move on from something that happened in your past. Or a person who hurt you that you cannot forgive?
Your dream is asking you to work towards closure. Find a peaceful resolution that allows you to move forward. You can only put one foot forward and free yourself from your bindings.
2. You need a new perspective on things
Sometimes, our dreams see us energetic, active and trying to find a way to free yourselves. Maybe your freeing yourself from ties, breaking free from prison, or trying to escape a maze-like structure. This kind of dream suggests that you are working through a life problem and must find a new way to overcome it.
Sometimes you are trying just isn’t working. And the constant feeling of being stuck is growing. Try to find new perspectives on situations, and only commit to a new plan when you know all the facts.
That said, if you free yourself in your dream, this can be a good omen that you will find a breakthrough in a current problem in life very soon.
3. You need to put yourself first in life
Sometimes, we dream about being stuck with other people. This can be quite an emotional ordeal, as it’s usually with people we care about and deeply love. And rather than trying to save ourselves, we’re focused on their needs first.
Dreaming about dependents like your children can symbolize your love and affection for them. But your subconscious is reminding you not to ignore your needs. You are forgoing your survival by trying to save them in the dream.
You might be taking on too much to keep them safe. Reflect on what you can and cannot do for them, and make time for yourself– you need care and compassion, too.
4. Your relationship may need help
If you dream of your partner being stuck, examine how you’re feeling in the dream. If their presence reassures you, this suggests the two of you are in harmony and can overcome any obstacle you face together. But if being trapped with them is a source of anxiety or frustration, your dream asks you to find new ways to reignite your relationship and enjoy each other’s company again.
5. You may be isolated
Being trapped in a dream can feel isolating and threatening. No matter how loud you shout for help, your cries are left unanswered; this symbolizes your isolation. You feel alone, adrift, and like no one is nearby to offer support.
Your subconscious mind is asking you to open up more to people, reach out to old friendships, and start being more present in their lives. Working on these relationships will bring more allies to your corner when you next feel stuck.
6. Be wary of future commitments
Sometimes, our subconscious mind warns us about a future event developing behind the scenes. In this instance, you are asked to be wary of future commitments that may, in fact, trap and tie you down.
Maybe someone is going to ask a big favor of you? Or you’re going to take on new responsibilities in your life? Your dream is asking you to think long and carefully about this. On the one hand, new opportunities might seem inviting, but sometimes they can shackle us down the line, trapping us in place. Be careful.
7. You need a new direction in life
Sometimes, we can be stuck in life if we don’t have a direction. Your dream is commanding you to plan your goals. Think of new ways to become fulfilled in life again. Take on new challenges, and don’t be afraid to mix things up.
Perhaps you feel like you’re working in a dead-end job? A loveless relationship? Or maybe you need some excitement to remind yourself that you’re alive.
Even making slight changes to your morning routine can reinvigorate you. Become curious, and do something unexpected. Only then can you unstick yourself and finally begin moving again.
8. You need to distress from life – immediately
One of the most common dreams of being stuck is when you experience a ‘false awakening.’ This is when you think you’ve woken from a dream, continue your morning routine, and eventually realize you are still inside a dream. This Inception-like feeling can be distressing, as you cannot trust your senses.
This dream is a literal wake-up call to relax, recover and destress. Right now, your mind is too active, and you cannot make logical decisions, concentrate or control your thoughts. Make time for yourself and unburden any frustrations or anxieties you may face. A clear mind will have clear dreams.
9. You need to look after your mental health
Dreams can often show us our true feelings about life. If you continually dream about being stuck, especially in dangerous situations like quicksand, drowning, or earthquakes, this signifies you are going through a difficult period in life right now.
The fact you are in danger suggests you’ve got high anxiety levels and are not dealing well with a current situation. Perhaps you’re battling through a bout of depression. Or you’re currently experiencing grief and loss. These negative emotions carry through into your waking life when you awaken in a cold sweat.
Your dream is asking you to relax more. Find ways to express yourself and channel positivity back into your life.
10. You have an underlying condition developing
Although dreams are often symbolic in their messages, they can also represent underlying conditions impacting your current life. Many sleep experts claim that lucid dreams about being stuck and experiencing forms of sleep paralysis may result from insomnia and sleep deprivation.
This is because our REM cycles intensify and last much longer when we sleep-deprived. These dreams can feel incredibly life-like and troubling.
If your dreams are causing you to panic, your conscious mind demands that you rest more. Stop bad habits like staying up late, drinking lots of caffeine, or using your phone in bed. Set a strict but calming routine to relax your bust mind before bedtime.
11. Be careful who you can trust
Sometimes during a trapped dream, we see our nearest and dearest beside us. And when we call out for help, they don’t answer. Or worse, ignore us.
This can be a telltale sign of your insecurity with the people around you. When you’re in trouble, you don’t feel like you can rely on them for help. Or perhaps, they don’t have your best interests in mind?
Following on from this dream, be wary of who you trust. Build better friendships and prioritize those people who’ve shown you in the past that you can depend on them.
12. You will become more confident and capable
One of the more overlooked positives of being stuck in a dream is that it can also represent your self-determination, willpower, and self-confidence.
When stuck in a dream loop and made aware of it, you reclaim enormous amounts of power. You have a problem – now, how are you going to solve it?
Many sleep experts suggest trigger actions wake you up (e.g., asking yourself to move in real life, blink, or move). Developing these mechanisms to wake yourself up signifies that you are becoming more confident in life and self-reliant.
As we’ve learned, dreams can be a gateway into our subconscious mind, reflecting our innermost desires and insecurities. It’s essential to keep an open mind about their meaning.
On the one hand, being stuck in a dream can reflect how you feel. You might be directionless and need a new life goal.
Trapped dreams can also indicate developing sleep disorders, so you must closely examine your lifestyle choices and daily life. Seek ways to improve your mentality and sleep hygiene.