Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Primal Fantasy dream expressed as a three-car accident

A woman of 26, related the following dream in a therapy session:

I am inside a car on the driveway of a house. The house is on a hill. I am four years old. Somehow I get out of my seat and mess with the gear which goes in reverse. The car starts to roll down the hill towards the main road where a car and a semi are coming from opposite directions and hard as I try I cannot stop my car's rolling down and it is crushed between the oncoming two vehicles.

When asked where is the house taken from? She said it is the house where she was born and where she lived the first years of her life.

Why the hill comes in the dream? The house was actually in a suburb which had rolling grounds. The dream was conveniently using the location of the house, without any need for modification, to represent coming down from a height and to represent the feeling of losing control over one's vehicle.

Now we know from "The Interpretation of Dreams" that climbing up or down stairs and romping on hills almost always signifies intercourse.

Playing with the gears could it refer to masturbatory activity? The patient drew a blank here but did not object to the construction.

Why are you going back? I guess I am going back in time to my childhood [to bring a closure to some unfinished business from that period].

At this point a construction was made based upon the theoretical knowledge of typical dreams from The Interpretation of Dreams:

Could it be possible that the car and the semi that crush your car represent your mother, father and yourself?

This provoked a gasp and confirmation of the correctness of the interpretation with:

"I would have never thought of that."

Now we know from Freud's article on "Negation" that no other sentence is greater music to the analyst's ear than patient proclaiming, "I never thought of that," or "I never quite looked at it that way." It says in effect "Oh I always knew that in my unconscious, but, now that you have directly confronted me with it, I guess I can admit to it, but only with a negative prefix." It is a best signpost that one is on the right track.

The patient, who I know quite well, is unhappy with her life. A most powerful wish in her is to return to the beginning of it and rewrite her destiny. The script of this wish/fantasy was carved when she was four. Till then the only child, she had to confront the unpleasant reality of the birth of her brother. Noticing the penis in this unwelcome addition (from her point of view) to the family, she had gone into intense jealousy and rage. The emotions had found outlet by resurrecting from her phylogenetic memory the fantasy of returning to the womb, participating in the parental intercourse there, sandwiched between the two (getting crushed between the two oncoming vehicles), and in the process wresting the coveted penis from her father, as her brother had done.

This fantasy had become more and more powerful with years as life had brought more disappointments. Birth of a second brother and the realization that she amongst all the siblings who had been specially chosen to be wronged.

When the interpretation was made that getting caught between the car (mother) and the semi(father) can be viewed as getting sandwiched between parental intercourse and satisfying the wish to make love to both the parents at the same time, she recalled another dream.

I am trying to escape from zombies. I am first running on foot then in a car. My husband is with me. I run out of gas and have to stop at a gas station. The gas station attendant who pumps my gas, when he turns around, shows himself to be a zombie too. He pours the gasoline on the car and then flicks a match. Then he goes back to purgatory.

Since the second dream was resurrected out of repression on analyzing the first dream, it indicates that our interpretaion of the first dream was hitting the right spots and undid the repression of the second dream enough for it to be recalled. It also indicates that the two dreams are most likely dealing with the same complex.
The second dream was not fully interpreted because of lack of time. But the two zombies turned out to be no other than her brothers who were now coming after her for stealing something (penis) from them. They set her car on fire. It probably symbolized her burning jealousy of her brothers. The theme of zombie was taken from her unconscious wishes for their death and her fear that they will return as zombies and take revenge.


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