Monday, January 10, 2011

Green eyes in a dream as a symbol of jealousy

A 17 year old girl who suffers from extensive anxiety and some obsessions, primarily involving numbers, could not bad mouth people enough in a recent session.
She claimed that the whole human race is annoying. She wants to do nothing with anybody. They all irritate her. She claimed she had hardly left home in the last few weeks.
Then she recalled a dream which had no detail other than that her eyes were green in it. The dream picture was so intense that on waking she rushed to the mirror to make sure that her eyes had not really turned green.
She wanted to know what could be the meaning of the green eyes.
I conjectured that green eyed monster refers to jealousy; getting green with envy. Perhaps she is jealous about looking at others.
She stated, "I would have never thought of something like that. It sounds weird but it is right."
When asked why does she think it is right she replied, "I think I don't go out because I am too jealous. I cannot stand anybody being better than me. I get all kinds of evil thoughts towards any girl who is prettier than me. So I cannot go to public places."
So here she brought up spontaneously the origin of her agoraphobia and panic. They were defensive maneuvers to prevent her from going out and getting jealous and start thinking of doing evil things to others.
As for the evil things that she would do to others she did not elaborate but a little later she recalled that it greatly irritated her that a friend had put six cubes of ice in her drink. She claimed 6 was an evil number, it came from the devil and would harm her. She avoids number 6 while she thinks highly of 7 and considers 8 as neutral. She associated that by putting six cubes her friend was jinxing her to die.
So here was the origin of her obsessions.
Burdened by extreme jealousy, which itself arose from desire to be better and prettier than everybody else, she was quickly beseeched with thoughts and impulses to cause the rivals great harm. The fear that acting upon these impulses would cause retaliation by the world was what lay behind her panic attacks, anxiety and agoraphobia. The impulses were also deflected from their primary aim of harming others into playing obsessive number games.
Her friend's putting 6 ice cubes had reminded her of her own obsessions with numbers which was indulged in to prevent her from actually harming others.
Her panic, anxiety and phobia prevented her from noticing as to how jealous she was of others. Instead of noticing she was jealous, all she noticed and complained about herself was that she is weird. And that if she ever really talks about herself people will think she is retarded.
Only in dream her jealousy found full expression - the intensely green eyes. However, one must notice that only symbolically, for the patient though she was disturbed by the dream, she had no clue that it arose from her pathological jealousy.