Thursday, March 10, 2011

A dream of competition with siblings

A 23 year old girl reported the following dream which she had periodically dreamt since the earliest childhood and once again a few days before coming to the session.

My sister Jackie, my cousin Kellie, who might be my sister, for we were inseparable growing up, and myself, walk up this mountain. At the bottom we are young, around four or five, the age when this dream first made its appearance, but by the time we reach the top we are grown up.
On reaching the top Kellie goes to the edge of the cliff to look down and starts to fall. Jackie and I rush and hold her hands to prevent her from falling. But her hands slip through ours, despite our best effort. As she falls, I find it is not she but me who is falling. Without realization I have changed places with her. I wake up with great fright before I hit the bottom.

She added the following to the dream.

In earlier dreams it was always I who would go to the edge of the mountain and fall and Jackie and Kellie would try to save me. It is only in the most recent dream that Kellie is the one falling. But even here not for too long, for I change places with her.

The girl brought the following associations.

Jackie, Kellie and I are one year apart, Jackie is the oldest, I am the yongest. We are highly competitive. Always trying to best the other. Since Jackie is the oldest, Kellie and I always competed to be in the same team with Jackie. So there is greater competition between Kellie and me than between Jackie and me [which explains why Kellie is falling instead of Jackie].

The mountain is taken from my great grandmother's house in Georgia. It was right across the house, but more of a hill than mountain, though it looked so huge as little girls. We spent our vacations there and would run up and down that mountain, sometimes even rolling down the grass.

For Kellie's slipping through the hands' of Jackie and herself, she brought the following two associations.

As children we watched a lot of horror movies. One of them was Child's Play II. There is one scene where Chucky the doll, who has soul of a serial killer trapped inside him, goes after a girl who is in the basement of a warehouse. There is a step like thing which leads to an escape door. The girl's brother is on the other side of the door and safe, but the girl has to climb up the steps to reach safety, with Chuck the killer right behind her. And she slips and is held by her hand by her brother just like the way Jackie and I hold Kellie's hand in the dream. As children we would play this game over and over again. One of us acting the role of the killer, one of the brother and the third as the girl who is slipping through the hand. Since I was the youngest, generally I had to play the role of the falling person.
The other association is of my playing at the bunk beds which were at Kellie's house. Her brother who is eight years older than us would jump from the top bunk on to the floor. I was very young and admired the feat very much, and one day decided to do it myself. But at the last minute I had second thought and instead of jumping off away from the bed, changed my mind, half-turned and caught the edge of the top bunk. As I began to slip I shouted to Kellie to help or call someone to help me. But she did not. No doubt out of jealousy, and from a competitive desire to see me suffer. I finally slipped and hit my thigh real bad on the lower bunk, which left a big bruise. Kellie was badly punished for not helping me.
The patient then went on to describe how she was always a tomboy and unlike Jackie and Kellie who as they grew up became more and more passive and non-challenging to men, she continues to have a strong streak of competitiveness and if any man tries to act superior with her he gets a taste of his own medicine. She described her jealousy of her boyfriend and how she imagines him in situation of infidelity which tortures her to no end, and that she does recognizes it as her problem and not his. For she thinks behind the fantasy lies her own excessive competitiveness and to be able to love the world [substitute for mother] actively as men can do.
She attributed the change of age, in the dream, from very young at the bottom to their current ages at the top as a competitive run between the three from earliest years to now. "As a child I always felt inferior to the two, who were 2 and 1 year older than me, and they could not rub off on me their superiority. That must have made me wish for them to fall and me to triumph."
This wish for their fall was countered by her conscience, turning tables on her, and making her fall instead of the other two. So it was a punishment dream.

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