Crying in a Dream – What Does it Mean?

Last Updated on November 23, 2021

When we witness crying in our dreams, it typically follows one of six scenarios: yourself, a loved one crying, a child crying, hearing disembodied crying, seeing a stranger crying, or making someone cry.

Crying in dreams can represent suppressed emotions, decision-making, incoming change, emotional release, and more.

Determining the meaning behind the crying in our dreams relies heavily upon the context in which the tears were shed.

According to Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, dreams are typically composed of two types of content: manifest content refers to the events that occur during your dreams while latent content represents the symbolic meaning of your dreams. In the situations discussed in this article, crying in dreams is the manifest content while the root cause behind the dream tears is the latent content. By analyzing the manifest content of our dreams, we can determine their latent content and interpret the meaning of our dreams to benefit our waking lives.

Crying in dreams can initially be very concerning, but there’s no need to worry! Although dream crying can have malignant causes, it can just as easily be a good sign. Understanding the meaning behind crying in dreams can help provide mental and emotional relief.

Crying in a Dream

Yourself Crying

When you are the person crying in your dreams, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate your waking emotional state. Oftentimes when we are the ones crying in our dreams, we have emotional needs that are not being met or we are actively working to suppress certain negative emotions. Stress and tension can bleed into our subconscious and express themselves as tears.

If you’re crying in your dreams, it may also be your way of expressing helplessness. When life is stressful, it’s easy to feel as if you are unable to solve difficult situations negatively affecting you. Crying in a dream is a good way to help you recognize your feelings of helplessness so that you can start working towards a solution.

Your dream tears may also be the result of loneliness. People who need support or whose needs are not being met often cry within their dreams. Although you may believe that you’re doing fine when you’re awake, your dream self is aware of your need for companionship and expressing that desire.

Loved One Crying

Witnessing a loved one crying in a dream can be a heartbreaking moment. Your loved one may be crying in your dreams because they’re going through turmoil or emotional distress and your waking self has managed to pick up on this tension. If you witness someone you care for crying in your dreams, it’s a good idea to take time to check up on them. You might find they’ve been carrying a weight on their shoulders and need your help.

The loved one crying in your dream may also be a subconscious representation of yourself. It can be difficult to face our own inner turmoil, but witnessing its effects on someone we love can make that negativity easier to digest and address. If you’ve checked in on the person who you witnessed crying and they assure you they’re doing fine, it may be time to look inward for the root cause of the tears.

Child Crying

Seeing or hearing a crying child in your dreams can really tug at your heartstrings. Crying children in dreams often represents grief or sorrow and the crying child is there in order to help you release some of the negative emotions you are incapable of letting go of in your waking life. You may find that you feel happier after dreaming of a crying child. This is a good thing: it means you are properly releasing your unconscious worries!

On the flip side, crying children in dreams can also represent incoming tragedy. If you don’t feel better after witnessing a crying child in your dream, be on alert for incoming health problems or other unfortunate events.

Finally, a child crying in dreams may have ties to your family. If you’re trying to conceive a child or dealing with an important family situation, crying children may appear in your dreams as a way for your subconscious to acknowledge important familial matters.

Hearing Disembodied Cry

When you hear crying in your dreams but you’re unable to determine its source, your subconscious may be warning you about incoming conflict or turmoil. Perhaps you’ll soon be bickering with a loved one or someone important to you may fall ill. If you cannot distinguish the source of your dream crying, your brain may be waving a red flag so that you can emotionally prepare yourself for the coming days.

Disembodied crying in dreams can also be representative of purification. If you’ve already been through hard times, hearing someone crying in your dreams could be an indicator of your upcoming joy and happiness as you shake the emotional weight you’ve been carrying.

Seeing a Stranger Cry

Seeing someone that you don’t know crying in your dreams is often a good omen, believe it or not! This scenario indicates positive change is coming your way. Perhaps you will receive a promotion that you have been working towards or repair a relationship that has suffered recent damage.

Conversely, seeing a stranger crying in your dream can sometimes be an indicator of unbalance. You may need to evaluate the stability of your emotional state or assess whether a negative situation in your life has grown out of control.

Additionally, you may want to check in with your loved ones. If a stranger is crying in your dream, your subconscious may have recognized someone you care about is in trouble and could use your assistance. Sometimes we pick up on subtle cues while we’re awake that our brains are unable to process until we sleep, so it’s always good to follow up on particularly unnerving dreams.

Making Someone Cry

Dreaming about making someone cry can often be a sign that you’re in a transitional period in your life. You are subconsciously preparing for changes, which can sometimes bring out negative reactions from others. This is especially true if the person you are making cry is a loved one or someone important to your current life state, like your boss or a colleague.

If you’re making someone else cry in your dreams, you may also be projecting your frustrations and worries onto your sleep self. If there is stress in your life, your subconscious might redirect it towards the other inhabitants of your dreams. Take time to step back so that you can examine whether you’re reflecting your own negativity back onto your sleeping self.

Additionally, dreams where you make someone cry, can indicate it’s time to cut something (or someone) out of your life. If you know the person you’re making cry, it may be time to take some distance from them to let your subconscious heal. If you do not know the person, look for negative areas in your life that you can start working to improve.

Why is There Crying in My Dream?

Oftentimes when we are awake, we can ignore our own subconscious needs and desires in favor of addressing ‘the here and now’. While this allows us to be more productive members of society and ignore any discomfort we might be carrying around, it can lead to unfortunate disregard for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Dreams are one of the body’s many ways of throwing up a red flag to make us stop and assess ourselves.

If you consider yourself to be an emotionally detached person, your subconscious may be taking the only opportunity it has to express itself while you’re asleep. When we work to suppress our emotions, we can create inner turmoil that must eventually be addressed. Dreaming allows us to address that stress and can often manifest in the form of crying.

You shouldn’t be alarmed if you witness crying in your dreams. Instead, consider how your mind is subconsciously creating a way to help you be more aware of your needs and the needs of those around you!


The reasons for crying in dreams can vary greatly and it’s important to look at the context of the crying when trying to decipher its true meaning. Witnessing a loved one crying in a dream can have a very different meaning than merely hearing disembodied sobs, so it’s important to analyze the source of the tears and the situations that led to them being shed.

While we have provided six possible scenarios to help you determine the meaning of the crying in your dream, there are many other scenarios out there for crying in dreams. It is possible that two or more of the above examples could be combined and you would need to take time to understand how multiple interpretations work together to form the final solution. Understanding dreams can be difficult, but the answers you gain can provide valuable insight for your waking life.

If you have recently witnessed crying in your dream, don’t worry!  While it may initially seem like cause for great concern, dream crying can also signal positive change and allow us to better understand areas of our lives where we have the potential to grow.

About Brandon Hall

Hi! I am Brandon. Writer and content creator for PA, specializing in phenomena that is sometimes beyond normal scientific understanding. My mission is to help guide people seeking answers in a positive and enlightening way.

Leave a Comment