Thursday, June 20, 2013

A dream of revenge getting discharged upon the wrong person

A young man, recently divorced, had two dreams on the same night, back to back. He claimed the first dream was premonitory.

The First Dream:

I receive a text from K -the girl he had broken off a few weeks ago after dating her for couple of months- that she wants to meet, and not because she wants to get back together but for the sake of children [they have a child each from previous marriages who had begun to get used to each other].  I message back: absolutely not.

He added that surprisingly a few days later he did receive a text making the exact same request but so far he has not replied to it.

The Second Dream:

I am back in the house where I grew up. It is Christmas. My ex-wife is taking down ornaments from the Christmas tree. But it is not she who is doing it. A pair of sneaky hands just emerge and take away the ornaments.  It is difficult for me to explain how, but the best I can describe is that the hands belong to nobody, they just emerge out of nowhere and are taking off the decorations from the tree. I am watching all this through a camera that is monitoring the entire proceeding. I want so much to hug her. My love for her, which I no longer feel when I am awake because she cheated on me, returns in the dream. Then slowly the realization comes that we are divorced and I feel great sadness. I wake up missing her terribly.  

Patient initially was only interested in talking about how the first dream predicted what was to take place a few days later. There was an element of pride in his premonitory power and a desire for me to be impressed by it.

Since I hear all kinds of premonitory dreams especially from my obsessive patients who cannot dream enough the death of others and therefore once in a while their dream does turn premonitory, I was not very impressed by it and we quickly proceeded to analyse rather than appreciate this psychic gift of his.

But the task was not that easy. Why would he dream of receiving that text before it actually arrived? It is not that he needed some extra time to think over it before the reply. In fact in real life he had just sat upon it unable to make up his mind to accept this veil invitation to rekindle the relationship. If he was psychic and could foresee the future, even if only in dreams, couldn't his psychic abilities have done a better job and shown him dreaming of something more important than a mundane instant message text. Perhaps the clue to decipher the dream lay in his reply: absolutely not. He had ruthlessly rejected her.

Why did he reject the offer from K, who possibly really loves him, to get back together, and then immediately proceeded on to another dream where he is craving to hug and love his ex-wife, who had cheated on him and had broken his heart?

Now we know all the dreams on the same night arise from the same circle of ideas; same dream-thoughts. So unable to make head ways with the first dream, it was but natural to abandon it and go on with the second one in the hope of finding the common dream thoughts behind the two dreams.

To figure out the wish which had motivated the second dream was not rocket science. It was a desire to hug and love his ex-wife again.

But why on Christmas day, why was there a Christmas tree and what could be the meaning of those sneaky hands taking down the ornaments from it?

"Why was it Christmas day?" I asked him.

"That is when everything came to a head - on the Christmas day year and a half ago.  For weeks we had been arguing on how the Christmas day should be spent between the two families. I was exhausted by the bickering as to whose parents' house we will go for what, and for how long, yet I was looking forward to the Christmas day hoping that somehow the spirit of the holidays will straighten things out between us. Then came the shock. She disappeared, leaving me and my son waiting for her all day, not returning till the next morning. I had no choice left but to do some detective work, which, in this day and age with electronic trail everywhere is not hard, and found that she was having an affair. So I guess in the dream I was going back to that Christmas day, a time when I was still not aware that she was cheating on me and when my love for her was still untainted."

"Why was the dream taking place in the house you grew up instead of the house where you lived with your ex-wife?"

"My fight with my ex-wife at least partly arises from my anger at my mother. She was addicted to prescription medications for many years and could not take care of us the way she should have. She was either depressed or busy partying and drinking with a bunch of card players in a bar not too far from home. And I think my anger at her for this neglect has become generalized to all women and it emerges as a need to control them. I drove my ex-wife away because of my subliminal anger at her and my need to reform her. I could not control my mother from her self-destructive behavior because she was my mother and I had little power over her, but that impulse found an outlet with my wife. And I think she could not handle my controlling nature and finally copped out of the marriage by having the affair."

"Whose hands were removing the ornaments?"

"They are my wife's. Perhaps my mother's. Perhaps the snake who broke our marriage. He was my close friend, he grew up with me, I trusted him, and he stabbed me in the back by having an affair with my wife. The hands are doing the job sneakily because the destructive influence upon the marriage of the three was not visible. They were all working behind my back, or at least out of my consciousness, to pull the plug on my marriage. I think the dismantling of my marriage is being symbolized by the ornaments being pulled off the Christmas tree.

"But also by making those sneaky hands do that dastardly deed I was protecting my ex-wife from blame. If I could convince myself that she cannot be faulted for cheating on me then I could love her again. My pride cannot  forgive her. Without forgiving her I cannot love her again.  But in the dream I found the way to love her by making the blame as much as my mother's and my friend's as her's.

"The camera monitoring the dream field itself is a reflection of my need to control everybody. I drive my mother crazy too by trying to control every aspect of her life which comes in guise of stopping her from smoking and taking all the medications that doctors prescribe her which I think have worsened her in the long run than helped her. And I think I drove my wife away by trying to improve her beyond her ability to improve and micromanaging our marriage."

After getting the associations to the second dream [which have been condensed and put as a monologue here for easy reading] from the patient it was not hard to decipher the first one.

The condition for his loving his ex-wife was for him to absolve her from the guilt of having cheated on him. One way to do was to reject that aspect of his ex-wife which had cheated and only remember the part that he had loved till that Christmas day. And this rejection was being practiced against the girl K from whom he had recently separated from. In the dream he was making K, the innocent one ,as the culprit, who had done nothing wrong to him, in order to salvage his love for his ex-wife.

Patient told me that he meets his ex-wife many times a week to pick up or drop off their son and though he still finds her extremely beautiful, he no longer feels any love for her.  But, he added, in the dream it is another matter. Perhaps his pride goes to sleep allowing him to forgive her and to love her with all his heart the way he had done once upon a time.

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