Sunday, June 11, 2017

Further dreams of escaping death

The patient whose dream of trying to pass his own aggressive illness upon the friend of his son - see blog entry of April 25 - in his next session reported further dreams of escaping death which may be of some interest to aficionado of psychoanalysis, especially since the dreamwork used typical dream symbols to cobble together the manifest content.

Most of the dreams were chaotic and only a few fragments he could recall with reasonable accuracy. But since they all followed the same theme we could figure out what the dreams were trying to convey.

The following dream  he could recall with good amount of manifest material.

He was out in a business area, running from one place to another doing errands, even though it was like 2 am and no businesses would have been open. [The dream had disregarded this anomaly.] He felt an urgent need to urinate while driving from one spot to another and stopped to relieve himself at a house which he had recently purchased but had still not closed upon. He had the keys to the house or knew the keycode of the lockbox. He assumed it would be empty so there should be no problem in his slipping in and out and relieving himself. To his surprise he found a hobo living there with two of his family members. They were squatters. They had eased themselves into the house illegally.  In fact they were cooking something on the stove at that weird hour as if it was quite natural to do so with no concern the house did not belong to them and it was so late in night. He went out to find some legal authority to help him throw them out. A middle aged police woman happened to be around and came to his rescue. She ordered the hobo and his family out of there which, to his surprise, they agreed to without any protest. 

The house, where enroute, he had stopped, was his own body. Though he does possess many properties he had none in the area where the dream shows he had one. This falsehood conveyed the wish to deny his having the deadly disease. The occupied house/his body was taken over by the hobos (disease) but only in dream. But since dreams are fiction and do not exist in reality, the illness was fiction too and the disease did not exist. It was all a bad dream
The hobo and his family were obviously the illness that were occupying his body illegally and needed to be gotten rid of.
When he had the dream, it was actually around 2 am, and he did have an urgent need to urinate at that hour of the night. This need to urinate which was real need had been woven into the structure of the dream to escape getting up and getting rid of the need by actually going to the bathroom by dreaming of doing so in that house.
Having a lot of unfinished business was an attempt to postpone death. "I have so many things to take care of that there is no way I am dying." One of the unfinished business was to find the hobo (the disease) in his property (body) and throw him out. The police woman stood for his mother who had got rid of all the childhood ailments successfully, whose image he was now invoking to do the same with the current disease. She had been transformed into a police woman to symbolize the legal system whose help he was taking to get rid of the disease. For the disease had no legitimate right to invade his body and he was getting  the law enforcement to get the illegal aliens out of his body..
The hobo and his family departed so easily was another wish fulfillment. The disease had gotten rid of in a hurry without any difficulty.

In another dream he saw himself in a bright and sunny day on a road which had a row of shops from one end to the other. He was supposed to catch a train after he went through those shops, primarily to find a restaurant to eat.  Each restaurant he entered, he felt like he had been there before and the food  in the past had not been bad.  It looked like at every restaurant he stopped he could not make up his mind whether to eat there or not and kept on finding himself in the next restaurant doing the same thing. All this indetermination about eating and moving from one restaurant to the next was accompanied by anxiety that he will miss the train if he does not hurry up.

The train symbolized the last journey and exit from the world. Going to the row of restaurants was an attempt to go back to all the women from the past with whom he had had relationship and to get a fresh lease on life by impregnating one of them and starting a new family, which, because of the obligations incurred, would postpone taking the last journey (dying).  Restaurants symbolized the girls from the past and eating there for having intercourse with them. But just like all these relationships had not ended in his having a child with any of them when he actually was having relationship with them, even in the dream this reality was preventing him from indulging in the fantasy that he was getting a fresh lease on life through having a family with one of them. The anxiety/fear of dying was shifted, for lessening its impact, from fear of dying (getting on the train) to just its opposite, missing the train (not dying); a reversal.

Another dream a short one was of confronting death itself which came in form of a hoodlum/animal dressed in black hoodie, that was challenging him in front of Burger King. Fear and darkness was the ambiance.

Entering the Burger King restaurant was to eat food. Consuming food symbolized having intercouse, which would have given fresh lease on life through rebirth (having a child). But death, in the form of a frightening animal, was preventing it from happening. The  animal also symbolized the Oedipal father, the deathly fear of whom had first appeared during the Oedipal phase for having sexual attraction towards the mother the pursual of which would have led to castration and death.

There were a lot of other dreams, all vague, the common theme of which was that he was breaking the law and would get into trouble if caught. All of these dreams originated from the wish (which his conscience deemed illegal) to give his disease/fate to others. In one dream he had invited somebody to one of his houses for some educational instructions. He noticed the invited person had parked his car illegally. It was facing the wrong way. He felt the anxiety (guilt) of that man's wrongful action. The man then began entering the house. He was watching this from a distance. But while the man was crossing the threshold of the door, its wooden frame suddenly developed gaping splits,  giving it an eerie dilapidated look.

Doing something illegal was pushing somebody else into the jaws of death through transferring his own bad fate on to that person. Which his conscience was deeming illegal. However, the dream was pushing the blame for this unacceptable (illegal) wish by making the person who was getting pushed into death as the one who was doing the wrongful act (parking the car facing the wrong way). The dream however could not succeed in projecting the feelings of anxiety/guilt upon the victim and he still felt it, even though in the manifest dream it was not him but the victim who was doing the illegal parking. This proves Freud's rule that it is easier to reverse and change the visual content of the dream to suit one's wishes but the affect associated with it is much harder to block out.
The house as well as the wood frame symbolized woman. Wood is a typical symbol of woman (matter/material). But as he entered inside her (house/wooden frame) instead of deriving pleasure from the act he met the fate of death. The gaps (gaping splits) that appeared in the wooden frame were symbol of the frightening aspect of female genitals (reminders of castration and death).

Another set of dreams were about being poisoned. While in a hospital the nurse is trying to poison him through the IV, or a waitress is trying to poison through the food she is serving, or there is a bitter debate going on between him and the waitress over a credit card error. In all these the wish to poison the other person or put them on the wrong through giving them the disease and through such an action getting rid of it from one's own self is projected, reversed, and experienced as they are poisoning or harming him.

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