Friday, 6 May 2016

Father-Son conflict: Post #3



I have been working with a dreamer who is having two, simultaneous dreams. One occurred while he was asleep at night. It was about being cut by glass while climbing a wall. The other, which we are analyzing this week, is a waking dream about an ongoing conflict with his teenage son.

In the last post we isolated the important symbols of his waking dream, and I asked the dreamer to “tell me about” each one. (Scroll down to prior posts to follow that discussion.) When we reassembled his dream using his descriptions and adding phrases to remind him that this is a conflict within himself, this is the narrative that was revealed.

Restated dream
There are two parts of me that are constantly fighting with each other. It’s a lose-lose situation. Nobody wins. One part of me is nearly an adult, my offspring-self. It’s my flesh and blood. It has a good brain. It’s analytical and logical. It performs well in a learning situation (school). It knows how to help the other parts of me understand difficult things. I’m honored to be associated with this part of me. But this aspect of myself seems to be attracted to frivolity, things that are more fun than meaningful; they’re lacking in substance. This part chooses to work with its hands to make things out of clay. It sings with a group within myself. This part is making food to eat. It is making choices that won’t promote it. It ignores higher education, accelerated programs and serious learning. It chooses not to use its brain power to compare itself to other parts of me. I’m frustrated.

Examining the restated dream
As always, restating dreams in this fashion results in a cryptic narrative that, nevertheless, has definite themes running through it. In this case, it seems apparent that the dreamer is conflicted between his drive to achieve, and his desire for doing something less intense, purely for its own sake. There are two statements that are particularly telling: “This part is making food to eat,” and “It chooses not to use its brain power to compare itself to other parts of me.”

Making food to eat, when understood metaphorically, is an essential activity. The dream suggests that it is precisely this “frivolous” part of the dreamer’s psyche that is providing him with his own inner nourishment. It implies that, while it may seem as if the more laid-back aspect of him is wasting time and energy, it is this easy demeanor that is revitalizing him.

The second highlighted phrase is also telling. “Using his brain power to compare himself to others” reveals a competitive streak that may be self-subverting. There is certainly nothing wrong with being competitive for the sake of excellence. But when it is about living up to an external standard, that needs to be carefully examined.

Tomorrow, we’ll put this dreamer’s two dreams side by side, and we’ll get his own take on what they seem to be telling him.

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