Thursday, December 25, 2014

A revenge dream showing dreamer as a superhero

A patient who comes once every two months, and who rather not come because of his shyness and because he feels he is letting me down if he does not bring up something significant to the table, has discovered that a good way to fill up the 45-minute session is to narrate a dream or two, for he knows how it immediately perks up my attention, declared triumphantly that he has five dreams for me to analyze. But as he began, he apologetically confessed, he can now recall only three, and then proceeded to tell me the following four laconic dreams:

1. I am in a house and suddenly on top of me the glass shatters. It is strange that though there is extensive breaking of glass they don't hurt me at all.

2. Somebody is terminally ill.  I feel real sad for him.

3. A teacher with whom my brother and I went to Europe on a college sponsored group trip and who died not too long after we returned due to breast cancer was alive again. She looked young and had resumed teaching classes.

4. My mom is laying on hilltop on a grassy nice area. And she was young. 

To the first dream patient expressed his puzzlement as to why suddenly the glass will break over his head and why it caused no injury to him. But at my suggestion - based upon psychoanalytic theory and my knowing the patient for over two decades - that shattering of glass could have symbolized loss of virginity and gave the example as to how in Jewish weddings smashing of glass is a standard ritual and most likely an allusion to the rupturing of the hymen and consummation of marriage, the patient said that what I say could be correct for in real life he has never been able to look at any woman as a sexual partner but in dreams he often does so.

After some other things that the session drifted into he returned to the dream and talked about another association that had popped up in his head regarding breaking of glass. His passion for reading Marvel Comics and how in them superheroes like Superman, Incredible Hulk, Batman, Captain America crash through glass walls while in pursuit of supervillains and nothing ever happens to them. The crashed glass never ever even scratches them.

So the patient who in waking life is the very model of meekness, utterly respectful of women, who finds sexual as a violation of a woman's dignity, in his dream had turned into a superhero - the ultimate phallic symbol - boldly going through the glass wall - deflowering a virgin without a thought- and coming out of it unscathed.

In the second dream as to the person who was terminally ill, patient could think only of Professor J, who is director of the theater program at the college where he works, and whose health is rapidly deteriorating because of liver cancer. He had run in to the professor on the day before the dream and feeling sorry had asked if he could do anything for him. The professor had told him, "Pray for me." The meeting had aroused associations in the patient's mind connected with the theater but through the bridge of cancer primarily about a co-worker, M, who gets parts in the plays staged by Professor J. Now this lady had beaten lung cancer. In fact, given that she is in her late seventies and had smoked all her life, it is remarkable that she had survived the cancer. And the patient expressed his admiration for her in that she can still act on stage and recently had done an excellent job of playing a funny alcoholic.

As to why the association to M came in connection with J, besides both having cancer and both connected to the theater, the patient recalled that couple of weeks ago, M had met him and his brother at the church and had joked that she would love to fix them up with suitable matches but alas they were past the age when people date and get married. This putdown, which was at least on surface done to provoke humor, had provoked impulses of revenge, which at that particular time could not emerge in consciousness but which perhaps ran on some such line:"if the bitch had only died of lung cancer how much better the world would have been".  But true to his nature, which due to his religious upbringing forbids him to see or think any evil, what had emerged in his consciousness was seeing her playing the drunkard on stage which the patient did not fail to tell me with a laughter, was incredibly funny.  

The third and the fourth dreams were continuation of this vision of seeing M as a funny lady, alive and well and not dead due to her lung cancer. But there was a slight modification. Instead of M being brought back from dead, it was the person who the patient and his brother had gone to Europe with, and who also had cancer, and had died because of it, who was being being made alive again. The logic of course was that it would have been so much more fair if M the bitch had died of cancer instead of the professor. Whom he not only brought back from dead but also gave her additional presents of being young and back to teaching at the college.  This granting of reprieve from death had also been extended to his mother, who had died a few years ago.

 The mother had been brought into the equation because underneath his great filial piety and love for her, there was an equally strong resentment for her making such strong bonds with her sons that they could not dare venture away from her and find mates for themselves. In fact all their lives they had lived in the same house where they had been born and raised. They were now in their late fifties and even though their mother had died they could not leave the house as if it would have been betrayel of their mother.  In fact his inability to develop courage to have sex with [strange] women owed to this excessive loyalty to his mother and which part of his mind greatly hated. So the dream was showing his mother young and enjoying herself on the grass on top of a hill instead of showing her dead and six feet under.

The motive for the first dream became clear as well. Unlike what K had claimed that he was no longer fit for being fixed up with a girl, he was not past his sell-by-date but a young and vigorous superhero, invincible, devouring a virgin with impunity.

1 comment: