Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reversal of letters in a dyslexic boy a manifestation of opposition/defiance

A woman in her late thirties came to the session and flat out declared herself to be a borderline personality,  in treatment since age of 9, and having been tried on every psychiatric medication under the sun.

When asked why she was borderline she replied, "Besides that I am also bipolar, schizoaffective, obsessive-compulsive, ADHD, in short a pain in the ass, and therefore psychiatrists [pejoratively] find me borderline. When they do not know what to make of you they call you Borderline."

"Why are you a pain in the ass?"

"Because I fight with everybody."

"And why do you fight with everybody?"

"Because I always have to be in opposition."

Then she added that her two children, and they are the same way. They oppose everything too. Though they have different styles. The older does by having emotional meltdowns. Slightest thing can spark a major upheaval in him and then everything around has to come to a halt. So he stops everything and everybody by overreacting emotionally. The younger one, his oppositionalism, is expressed through his refusal to cooperate with learning. I even think that his tendency to write letters and numbers backward is just an extension of this stubbornness. He must do everything in  reverse of what is expected of him.

And I wondered how much of dyslexic tendencies in children is initiated and maintained by this oppositionalism, perhaps an expression of grudge against parents or simply as a symbolic manifestation of one's life agenda being at loggerheads with that of the world's.


Last week I came across a dream the analysis of which further confirms that much of dyslexia arises from an opposition existing between one's agenda versus society's.

A woman who is now in her forties, who had a traumatic upbringing, where both of the parents were more interested in their own agendas than that of their two daughters, divorcing when the latter were 10 and 12, going their own ways, bringing step-children in to their respective houses, to which the daughters were shuttled back and forth, sometimes wanted, when they could be used to do chores or to get even with the other parent, sometimes despised, when they came in their way, often beaten, sometimes even boxed, to keep them in line, and who naturally harbored great grudges towards the parents, brought in the following dream, a year after her mother's death.

It is a very short dream. I would call it snap of a dream. For all it shows is my mother. She looks so pretty. The whole dream is like white. For there is a beautiful white silk gown that she is wearing. And my baby, who I lost,  is in her arms, held inside a white blanket, like they use for christening, as if he was being accepted in Kingdom of Heaven and becoming alive again. Everything about the dream is white except for a red ribbon that is over the blanket like a bow, and the natural colors of my mother's hair and face. Which enhance her beauty. 

She is getting prettier and prettier with each new dream, ever since she died. 

Patient added that the dream is refusing to go out of her mind and expressed surprise how can one single dream image affect a person so much. "I am trying to keep doing everything else to forget the image but cannot. Ever since the dream I have been crying, remembering my mother, and the baby I lost." 

Since the patient is familiar with the technique of dream interpretation I asked her without any preliminaries, "What sparked the dream?"

"The dream occurred on Sunday afternoon, while, after an exhausting night, in which I was awake for the most part, I fell asleep. In the morning my husband had come from his bedroom to mine, to lie next to me, and we talked and talked, like we have not done in years, for four full hours, at the end of which I nodded off and had the dream."

"What was the conversation about?"

"Everything under the sun. It was the frankest discussion we ever had. Things that we never ever bring up. Things no other couple would bring up, like mortality rates, life insurance, my mother's death last year. She was just 63. My grandfather died when he was 42, my grandmother's in her fifties. So I told him I won't be living for too long. And he better start getting serious about my funeral. At most I will live for another decade." She said half as a joke, half because of actual fear that she may die early like her mother.

"So the dream was sparked by the fear of your own death. But instead of your own death you saw the death of your mother, and to compensate her for thinking of her death, your shrouded her with the most beautiful white gown. White generally symbolizes death. Why the gown was silky?"

"My mother loved silk. My favorite image of her is in her wearing silk gown."

"Why is the baby in white blanket?"

"So he can be christened and be eligible to enter heaven and be with my mother. White stands for purity. He is pure and it was not his fault that he was subjected to abortion. He should be living in heaven." The patient began to cry.

"Why your mother has everything about her white?

"It symbolizes purity. Absence of evil. When I had the abortion they were real nasty about it. Just pushed me in to it. I don't think they gave anesthesia properly. The whole thing was so painful. But there was a nurse. She was wearing a white sweater. She was very kind. And talked to me throughout the procedure. She behaved to me how my mother should have behaved. The white of the dream is taken from the white of that sweater."

"What is the meaning of the red bow?"

"Yes, why couldn't it be blue, pink or another color? It had to be red." The patient exclaimed in anger. 

"Why? What does red mean?

"It means blood  It means murder.  It means abortion. The abortion, which I did not want. It was the most painful thing I ever experienced. I never got over it. I never will. My mother forced me to do it. I could not do anything about it, because I was living with her. That time Arthur was just an year old. I was already separated from his father and my mother did not want another child. I was barely twenty, and could not stand up for myself." 

"So the dream was sparked by the wish for death, which quickly changed into fear of death, and wishing that upon your mother, or rather contemplating about her death - though making up for it by making her most beautiful and living in heaven - to shift away the fear of your own death, and then the wish was countered by the thought that you cannot afford to die yet, because you have to reverse that abortion and make that baby alive again. In the dream you are succeeding in doing so, according him christening in heaven."

"Yes. Since my mother died I think that the baby I lost, he is now in heaven with my mother."

"Why is your mother becoming prettier and prettier with every new dream?"

"Because she was real ugly to me in my real life. She was selfish and did not think twice before having an affair which broke the marriage and tore the family apart. But she was beautiful too. She had lovely face and lovely hair. That is what comes in the dream without being converted into white. Because they do not need changing. Rest of her I want to change and make her into how my mother should have been. Now that she has died. I am mourning for her and changing her into Madonna - pure white, holding my baby like Jesus, instead of sending him to death.

"And now I realize why for the last three days I am doing everything backwards. I am writing orders backwards, dropping 'n's or 'g"s at end of the words, reversing my letters, even writing whole words backwards, turning into a new Leonardo Da Vinci, with all my childhood dyslexia coming back. Soon I will be using a white-out more than the pen. And I know it is happening to reverse that abortion. I am surprised I am not writing down-upwards, given how I hate my mother for forcing me to do what I did."

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