Page Type: Trope
Adopted by Miss Desperado after five years unedited, formerly titled Cried Himself to Sleep
What is sadder than someone crying himself to sleep? For one thing, it means the character is upset enough to be crying. Crying until he is no longer conscious (and thus no longer able to cry). In addition, it means that he is presumably a very lonely person. Nobody comes to comfort him when he's crying (even though that's most people's instinctive reaction); he is left to console himself.
The phrase is often used in order to indicate a really upsetting past, and it usually will imply in such a case that it was something the person did repeatedly. Less often do you see someone who actually cries himself to sleep. If this is shown, it's also likely that the character doing it is The Woobie.
- In a Superman comic called "The Unknown Super Deeds", Superboy surmises as he picks up a boy who fell into a well that he cried himself to sleep while Superboy was getting there.
- In An American Tail, Fievel cries himself to sleep after giving up on finding his lost family and taking up residence in a dark, rainy alley.
- In Mrs. Doubtfire, the ex-wife says that when she was married, she was so unhappy with her married life that she would cry herself to sleep.
- Josh cries himself to sleep on his first night as Tom Hanks in Big, and no wonder. Nobody knows who he is, he's staying in a fleabag hotel in the Big Rotten Apple, and somebody just got shot in one of the other rooms.
- Realm of the Elderlings. In The Liveship Traders, Brashen Trell remembers how he did this on his first sea-voyage after being disinherited and discovering the brutal hardships of being a sailor. Then, another sailor tried to molest him.
- The Time Traveler in The Time Machine is so distraught when he discovers his machine is missing, leaving him trapped in the distant future, that he falls and cries until he wakes up the next morning.
- Mentioned in one chapter of Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys, in a chapter where he explains the unbridgeable distance between men and women's thought processes: Eileen offhandedly mentions they've been dating for six months, sees Roger lost in thought and makes a bunch of assumptions (Am I being too forward with this? Does he really want the same thing out of this relationship as I do?), building up from them regarding their relationship and ends up crying herself to sleep after a conference call with all her friends because she thinks she's being a horrible person to Roger. Roger, on the other hand, was lost in thought because he remembered it'd been at least six months since he'd gotten the car checked, and of course has no idea what Eileen is getting upset over in the first place.
- Ender's Shadow. During his first night at the Battle School, Bean overhears a kid crying himself to sleep. Bean, who at this point is an extreme rationalist, dismisses the kid as stupid because crying won't fix the situation. Having grown up on the streets, Bean had no parents and thus is extremely emotionally stunted due to having to fight for survival every day of his life.
- In the first book of the Venus Prime series, Sparta often cries herself to sleep during the months that she spends training to become a Space Board Inspector, because the training is brutal and she is incredibly isolated.
- Intrigues: When Mags is driven from the Collegium due to psychic pressures and depression, he cries himself to sleep at least once.
- In My Side of the Mountain Sam Gribley's first night living off the land in the New York Catskills doesn't go as well as he had hoped:
(After describing the winds going through the valley right to where he was, the cold wet ground, and the sound of a bird keeping him awake) Well, anyway, the whole night went light that. I don't think I slept fifteen minutes, and I was so scared and tired that my throat was dry. I wanted a drink but didn't dare go near the stream for fear of making a misstep and falling in and getting wet. So I sat tight and shivered and shook—and now I am able to say—I cried a little tiny bit. Fortunately, the sun has a wonderfully glorious habit of rising every morning.
- In the Classic The Twilight Zone episode "Two", the woman cries herself to sleep after her hostility, left over from pre-apocalyptic days, has driven off the only other person on Earth.
- The song "Don't Laugh at Me" by Mark Willis, which about how kids that get bullied feel, contains the line "And I know how it feels to cry myself to sleep...".
- Brought up in complete irony in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged, when Jonathan completely denies getting completely beaten by Dio, being abandoned by his friends and completely denies crying himself to sleep that night. As in the source material, it is meant to show the drastic turnaround Jonathan's life has taken now that Dio was part of the family.
- A variation from South Park:
Blaneologist: I can show you how to make your true self appear. Let me ask you all something: do you consider yourselves to be happy?Butters: I don't think I'm very happy. I always fall asleep to the sound of my own screams.Blaineologist: [pause] Right. See, the reason that you are...
- Implied in the Adventure Time episode "Crystals Have Power" when Finn gives a Suspiciously Specific Denial stating "You didn't even make me cry silently into my pillow last night for thirty minutes."
Feedback: 64 replies