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Why Does My Boyfriend Occasionally Hit Me In His Sleep

by Erica Warren

I've been with my boyfriend for 4 1/2 yrs. Out of those few years he has striked me occasionally usually at night after we have a dispute. He's punched me in my temple, my shoulder blades, my kidneys all of which awake me from my sleep. All causing inscrutable pain.

I become very mad and upset, I question him and he says he was obviously doing it in his sleep. Why would he hit me on purpose. He appears to be awake pretending to be asleep after I awake... He says I'm the only person who he's done it to.

I've never been awakened by him, not from sleep talking, or even moving around other than these times he's hit me, I need to clarify what is causing this.

Could it be a sleep disorders or could it be abuse. I won't sleep in bed with him due to the fact he doesn't understand it as a problem, and I'm not sure what causes it.. Please help me figure out what the potential possibility are.. Thank you, Erica Warren

Comments for Why Does My Boyfriend Occasionally Hit Me In His Sleep

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Oct 22, 2014
Possible REM Behavior Disorder
by: Kevin

Hi Erica, thanks for sharing your story. There is a sleep disorder called REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) that is often the culprit in instances where someone hits a bed partner in their sleep. RBD causes the sleeper to occasionally act out part of their dreams. Frequently, the sleeper does not have any recollection of the assault, but may remember they were doing something in a dream when it happened, like fighting off an intruder. You can read more about it at the link below, and see other visitor-submitted stories similar to yours at the bottom of that page:

Jun 20, 2017
Same NEW
by: Mamabear91

You are not all alone in this. I experience the same and I am perplexed, frustrated, angry and once again wide awake while he snores away. Here I am awake while he sleeps after being woken up by the lightest punch so far. Yes, it tends to happen during a night after a disagreement, it often hurts and it's very startling to be awoken by a punch to the head from your mate. If you stumble upon this, and this has happened to you please comment. At this point, I no longer believe it's accidental. My prior Husband of 20 plus years never hit me in all those years and this marriage has been not quite yet 3 years long

Jul 04, 2017
Possible REM Sleep Disorder NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi I've been seeing a guy for 8 weeks. He stays over twice a week..last night we went to bed no arguments had a lovely evening together. I woke about 130am to being punched in the face twice on my right cheek..he lept out of bed, was so remorseful and felt physically sick that he'd hit me, he said he was in a nightmare and saw an animal in the bed. I was in shock and very sore..I've never experienced this before. I asked him to leave cos I was worried it could happen again. I'm thinking I'll have to end it with him now which is sad but can't live with the fear of not knowing what might happen in the future if he stays over. He did say he's never done it before. I'm also wondering if his drinking habit of 5beers a night during the week and more on the weekends, like 13 beers is something that can bring this on...but he is only 27yrs old when I've read it's normally older men. Thoughts anyone? ? Thanks.

Jan 15, 2018
Not alone NEW
by: Betty

In bed, my husband punched me in the mouth by accident first thing this morning and showed more anger at me than remorse. His eyes were open and it frightened me. It has happened multiple times "in his sleep" and this time l was outraged, still am. I had to ice my lip. It was helpful to read that it is common after a fight. He was having nightmares too. has help, even just to talk. We are NOT alone

Feb 08, 2018
Same thing NEW
by: Anonymous

Just chiming in you are not alone. My boyfriend slugged me three times in the cheek and later grabbed me by the back of the neck allegedly while sleeping and having a dream. He claims he's never done this before and he's nearly 60. I was advised to break things off. I have not seen him since this happened and I'm unwilling to take another chance especially as I'm in my 50s.

Feb 09, 2018
Hit in sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm experiencing similar situations I've been punched slapped grapped all by my boyfriend when he's sleeping I'm starting to great going to bed... when nit happens he wakes up & is remorseful I'm at a loss don't know what to do or how to get him help

Feb 09, 2018
Hit in sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

I'm experiencing similar situations I've been punched slapped grapped all by my boyfriend when he's sleeping I'm starting to dread going to bed... when nit happens he wakes up & is remorseful I'm at a loss don't know what to do or how to get him help

Feb 24, 2018
A make or break situation in an early relationship NEW
by: Anonymous

It's happening to me just within a 4 month relationship only, I'm lost and confused. i was punched (fist's were clenched) on the side of my face now this has been the third time, the other time he's punched the back of my neck, lower back and kicked me pretty hard. He is a loving person, but at night time when he falls into a deep sleep, i get nervous,i even have to bend his arm away and fold and roll him away..!incase he strikes me unconsciously I told him this morning, and he says "no, no no it's not possible you are lying" and that frustrates me. I wonder is it an undetected emotional problems he has? He is a Virgo,35y/o and is incredibly stubborn and always right.

Apr 02, 2018
Abuse NEW
by: Anonymous

I had this, didn't have to be an argument beforehand, I take a long time to drift off, during the night I was punched around the face area usually, I was suspicious so decided to keep still and quiet before I was tired. One night as his fist came towards my face I grabbed his arm and he was surprised, he was in full control of his movement,next time he stuck his elbow into my back drawing it downward in a line,hard, I stayed still and he repeated this three times until I moved. I became aware that he always aimed for my head, he didn't lash out at thin air when he was faced away from me. I was sure h
E was doing this purposely so one night I did it back, he never mentioned this but didn't do it for a long time, also when he was showing signs of doing I told him that if he hit me again I would punch him in the throat, he would turn over and leave me be. Some of these people may have sleep issues but in my opinion most of them have serious personality disorders.

Apr 24, 2018
I lightly hit my boyfriend NEW
by: Sleep attacker

My boyfriend says that I twitch during the night in a way that I suddendly hit him. I used to sleep walk and have been known to sit up and talk. I'm not quite sure what to do. It sucks because he says he already has sleeping problems. Right now, it is making me giggle. I don't want to affect him like this, though.

Apr 24, 2018
Same here NEW
by: Anonymous

My spouse is an alcoholic and verbally abusive. He will say horrible things to me all through the night, like he wakes up and says them and goes back to snoring. I have a bad low back and bursitis in my hip. Always, that is where he hits me. He used to hit me, kick me, grab me by the neck, shove me, etc., until his psychiatrist questioned him about it. Now he does it after we have an argument that day. I truly feel it's all intentional.

Apr 26, 2018
I hit my husband at night sometimes. NEW
by: Gay hitter.

I'm a man and I'm hitting my husband at night.
I wouldn't know if he didn't tell me, angrily, the next morning.
It seems to happen about once a year, after we've had a disagreement.
It happened last night. I really messed up his back this time.
I only remember one dream, of smoking my first cigarette in a year.
I'm mortified at the idea that I hit him. Even through the last two days of arguments, heated discussions, the thought of hitting him never occurred to me.
In fact, I fell asleep sad that we were not spooning as usual, frustrated to sleep on my edge of the bed, with the secret plan that I would wait until he would fall asleep and then spoon him.
But I did fall asleep frustrated instead.
Now, I'm conflicted. I don't know how to address this problem, don't know how and if I can tell my sleepy self not to hit my husband in my sleep.

If it happens once a year, I already is a problem. But I read that some struggle with it several times a week?
I tend to avoid confrontation in life, I'm not good at talking things out without being overwhelmed. I cry at every movie, even songs and some commercials. I'm gay and I barely drink alcohol. There's no other red flag of me being an abusive man.
So either I bottle things up and lash out in my sleep,
Or it's an early sign if some neurological disorder. And I'm just 36.

May 10, 2018
A right hook during the night... NEW
by: Anonymous

my partner of 6 years punched me really hard - a right hook - in the face during the night whilst he was 'asleep'. This is the first time this has happened. No argument. No disagreements the day before. We have a fun and happy relationship. I immediately woke up, a bit stunned and in disbelief that he had hit me. He said he had dreamt an intruder was coming towards him. I pointed out that i was lying beside him -to his left - and not infant of him. His right arm came across his own body and down onto my left cheek....... In the morning i asked him to take me through it again. I decided that i would joke about it, but talked about it a lot the following days. Im watchful of him. he has never hurt me before although there was a time when i came up the stairs - he was standing right at the top on the last step and wanted to give me a hug...... right there..... i backed off and went back down the stairs. I don't know if i am paranoid but i am being very watchful of him. is is trying to hurt, mame, kill me and make it look like an accident?? whose to know until it happens? who can i talk to? who should i tell?? its a tricky one because nothing as happened.... yet.... apart from the right hook during the night.

May 10, 2018
Commenter above NEW
by: Anonymous

Let your suspicion be your guide. Use your intuition and trust it. I had covert abuse for years and didn’t recognise it because it was slow and insidious. I was hit whe he was "sleeping " only after I got out did I finally realise what he was.

May 19, 2018
Husband punches and scratches me NEW
by: Anonymous

My husband of many years has now started pinching me more and leaving bruises. This is the first time he has scratched me. It bled. He never does this when we take a nap.
He has punched me in the head and back. He also has kicked me. He claims he was asleep. I am unsure what to do.

May 28, 2018
Snore NEW
by: Anonymous

Apparently I snore. My bf would tap me in my alley, but I woke up to a hit at the base of my neck..I seen stars..I checked the back ok f my neck and it was red. I never confr6him..but I'm thinking get out of this relationship

Jun 14, 2018
I’m hitting my boyfriend in my sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

I searched to see if any women have experienced this because just recently, my boyfriend had told me i occasionally slap him in the face while sleeping. I’ve never known myself to do this or remember it. I honestly just wanted to see if this was abnormal. I haven’t seen a lot of women posting about it though.

Jun 19, 2018
My brother hits me when he's asleep? NEW
by: Anonymous

Me and my brother share a room together, as of now he's hit me twice in his sleep, when he wakes up and I tell him about it, he says he simply moved.

The first time was when he was hogging space on the bed so I asked him to move, Then, He elbows me in the nose and I start to bleed.

The second time was just now, I was browsing my social media then all of a sudden, He hits the top left of my head with his fist.

I'm not really sure why he does this, but we do fight alot and things do often tend to get violent, I'm sure that has to be one of the reasons why he keeps doing this, All I wanna know is how to get him to stop because this is just getting annoying.

Jul 04, 2018
Wife hits me while I sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

She has done this about 4 times for definate that I know of. She has a bad temper at the best of times. My snoring infuriates her and rather than wake me will knee me hard in the base of the spine. The first time she did it I could not walk for about 2 weeks and was badly bruised, the second time was a year or so later. The latest was about a month ago and I could not lay on my back, move very well and it took about 10 minutes to get out of bed as the pain was incredible. Huge black bruise on my back. Just as I'm recovered the same happens and now I'm bruised again and can barely walk. All she says is it's my fault for snoring. It's only a matter of time before I end up in a wheelchair.

Jul 04, 2018
Poster above NEW
by: Anonymous

Kneeing you in the base of your spine??! That person thinks nothing of you or your well being. Sounds like a demented idiot as well because abusing you clearly isn’t stopping you snoring. Take your backbone or what you have left of it and get the hell out of that so called relationship as soon as possible. Your sleeping with a nutter. Good wishes coming your way.

Jul 24, 2018
It personality disorder NEW
by: Anonymous

My fiance hit me pretty hand making mybhead jerk causing me to wake up I asked immediately why did you do that cause he was wide awake and quietly said I didn't try to but never said sorry so I'm thinking like wow I wonder if he do this alot but he seemed kind of shocked when when he realized I caught him like why tho

Aug 23, 2018
hitting in sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

So i stayed home sick from work yesterday and spent the day with my partner and our kids since they both return to school this week. Helped with dinner and bedtime and we both went out after t hang out with each other. I had one drink while he had about 5 double shots. We came home and he obviously was a bit on the drunk side. Everything was fine til he decided to nag me for sex and i turned him down because of his inebriated state. So he then send me messages talking about his theres other women out there who will help him out in bed since i wont and i replied back with how i wont be intimate with him in his drunk state because id rather him be awake and in tune to whats going on and told him its not ok for him to send me stupid things telling me he will find someone else if i wont.
Well about 4am i got elbowed in the middle of my back. Thought nothing of it cuz he was asleep so i attempted to go back to bed with his arm laying on me, but then he laid about 3 more blows to my back and when i screamed at him about hitting me he sighed a sigh of relief and rolled over removing his arm from my body curling up and taking the blanket with him (but i always keep an extra blanket on my side of the bed cuz hes a hog when it comes to the covers). Im almost certain he was not asleep. especially with the sigh of relief

Aug 23, 2018
Abuse NEW
by: Anonymous

If you been with him seriously for about 6 months it’s probably my ex 😂

Sep 04, 2018
I believe it has to do with suppressed feelings of frustration and pain. something so profound that it's pushed into the deepest recesses of the mind. One must learn to carefully chip away at those NEW
by: Scar

I believe it has to do with suppressed feelings of frustration and pain. something so profound and many people pushed it into the deepest recesses of their minds in order to not cope with or deal with the ceiling it has to come out somehow the best thing to do is be patient and gently guide them to opening up

Oct 08, 2018
Same situation NEW
by: Anonymous

I've recently been going through this last night he elbowed me so hard in my sleep it woke me up I was crying saying ouch he apologized saying I'm sorry kissing me. He doesn't remember anything or ever doing it. He's hit me a few times in the middle of the night wacking me with his arms.

Oct 08, 2018
Found this thread NEW
by: Anonymous

Today my husband informed me I shouted at him to listen, it woke him and I slapped him. He said he asked if I was ok and I was fast asleep.
I have been with him for 30 yrs and he said sometimes I talk in my sleep.
I did have a dream that I was trying to get someone to listen to my sister [who is non verbal]
I saw my sister yesterday for the first time since Easter and I made her a communication board which she was able to use. We had a lovely time together but I worry about her everyday. So I had excitement and anxiety through out the day and I was exhausted last night so I wonder if this caused it.
Anyway I feel so awful it happened and hope it never happens again. My husband said I didn't hurt him just shocked him.

Oct 15, 2018
Boyfriend hit me in his sleep NEW
by: Anonymous

This happened to me just now, and he's sound asleep after hitting me hard on the back of my head. I woke up crying,he said he felt bad, but got mad at me for crying and told me to stop because it was makeing him feel more bad. We got into an argument earlier in the night, now I'm woken up by him hitting me in his sleep. I need to know if this is abuse or just an accident if anyone would know?

Oct 15, 2018
Sleeping disorder NEW
by: Brooke

Just wanted to say that I have done this to my boyfriend about 10 times in our 6 year relationship. It's usually when I'm having a bad dream where I'm fighting someone and next thing I know I end up slapping him in his face. The worst was biting his back and he woke me up with his yell. It's very embarrassing but I felt the need to comment because I see alot of women are scared that it may be intentional from their husband but I feel that it is a very real disorder and it doesn't take arguing for it to happen at night. I have been in a perfectly good mood and still had an episode that night. I feel terrible afterward and wish there was a way to guarantee i won't do it again!

Oct 27, 2018
hit while sleeping NEW
by: Mr Fox

I have been with my partner for 27 years and during that time she has hit me whilst sleeping more times than I can remember, she has no recollection of it in the morning but most times I wake up in the morning in pain from the areas where she has struck me, I have actually stayed awake many times to watch how it happens and its always the same she raises her right and left arms, one to stroke the other and then brings one of her arms down to hitting me in the process, it normally hits me in the back or shoulders but occasionally in the neck or face depending on which way I am facing, over the years it has damaged my neck and back because of the constant hits. Wish i could do something but I love her so leaving or sleeping alone is not really an option that I can take. She has started putting a pillow between us at night to try and protect my back as I already have back pain from a fall down some stairs which resulted in a microdiscectomy and permenant nerve damage, my employer at the time had no insurance so could not get a financial settlement as uk law states that you must bring it to the courts attention before a certain time period, which i was unwilling to do as my family asked me not to because we were friendly with the guy. So here I am spine already compromised with debilitating pain being struck on a nightly basis by my partner, My sympathy goes out to all those who suffer with the same problems but it is what it is, they dont know they are doing it so cannot be held responsible for actions they are unaware of. If your in the dame boat as me my heart goes out to you but the only advice i can give is to create a barrier with pillows or something similar to absorb the blows while you are sleeping.

Nov 14, 2018
Sleep kicking NEW
by: Anonymous

Hello. I can sympathize with all of you. I’ve been through 2 abusive relationships & just started dating a new guy a few months ago. He kicks me & elbows me almost every night & I am beginning to think he is doing it on purpose. I usually go to bed before he does & typically wake up when he comes to bed. He wears a sleep mask to bed. After he gets into bed I noticed that he will feel around with his leg until he touches mine & then the kicking starts. Recently he has been elbowing me on the face. It’s weird because I looked over & saw his face mask on the top of his head like he was looking to where he was going to elbow me. He claims he is sleeping & does not know that he’s doing it but has been told by his last gf that he would kick. I’ve done research on RBD & if someone has that the kicking or elbowing happens during a later phase of sleep....not a few minutes after getting into bed. Last night he woke me up by throwing something at my back, laid down in bed & tossed & turned a bit. A few minutes later I felt his leg moving toward me, I moved mine back & when he touched my leg, he started kicking I kicked back & he screamed ow & said wtf & then angrily gathered his pillows & went into the living room. I don’t know what to do. He gets mad when I don’t sleep in bed & claims he doesn’t do it on purpose but I find it hard to believe. Anyone have any evidence that their significant other is doing this on purpose? Or ideas on how to stop it?

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