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eISSN: 2373-6445

Psychology & Clinical Psychiatry

Case Report Volume 10 Issue 1

Working with adopted women via pictures, drawings and dreams: "there is not enough"

Eleanor Avinor

CEO Psychotherapist Workshop Leader & Trainer, University of Haifa, Israel

Correspondence: Eleanor Avinor, CEO Psychotherapist Workshop Leader & Trainer, University of Haifa, Israel

Received: December 22, 2018 | Published: January 22, 2019

Citation: Avinor E. Working with adopted women via pictures, drawings and dreams: “there is not enough”. J Psychol Clin Psychiatry. 2019;10(1):18?30. DOI: 10.15406/jpcpy.2019.10.00623

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Introduction: description of case

This paper describes a composite of eight different women who were my clients and had so much in common not only concerning personal history, but also concerning symptoms, disorders, interpersonal relationships and symbiotic relationships with the mother, and with men in their lives, that I felt it was waiting to be written as the "There is not enough syndrome." The subject in this paper I am naming "S" for subject, but she is a composite of these women, all of whom were between 25 and 32 years old at the time of therapy and were in therapy from seven months up to a year in which they all improved enough to leave therapy and live as independent successful professional young women. All eight young women were adopted from a South American country from an orphanage from immediately after birth until age 3. All of them did not have information about the birth mother. The adopting mothers ranged from age 40 at the time of adoption to age 55. Today these mothers are all either retired or close to retirement age and all are professional. During the therapy I painted pictures and drew pictures that represented the issues the young women presented and their problems, and these are presented in this paper.

The clients drew some pictures that demonstrated their feelings and issues and also brought pictures that they found on the internet on "free images in google". They used the pictures to externalize feelings and impasses. The birth background was unknown to all of them, but was considered to be important only by four of them. All these young women were artistic and chose professions having to do with art and/or creating beautiful places and things. Three of them studied interior design; one is an architect; one is a fashion designer; one is an artist; and two are art teachers. Even though they all could express themselves artistically, most chose to find pictures on the internet or to have me draw what I saw and felt, and then to discuss these drawings. The following facts are common to them and so the composite of "S" is created:

From the very beginning S. knew that she had been adopted. She grew up with the strong belief that her adopting mother had traveled all the way to South America to choose her out of all the children. But in spite of this awareness, she cannot rid herself of the thought that her birth mother had abandoned her. The belief that she was wanted and chosen by her adopting mother could not erase the negative feelings she had of being rejected and abandoned as a baby. At the age of eighteen, S. tried to attain information about her origin, her past, her birth parents and background, but nothing could be found as she was adopted from an orphanage that had no information. Her mother raised her all the years as a single mother with no man in the background and no extended family except for a single family member, who passed away when S. was 10 years old. There was only the two of them as a family. The relationship between them is based on love and affection; however, in the background is the symbiotic components of this relationship. Understood is, "You have no life without me, and I have no life without you." As time passed and S. became an adult woman with sexual feelings, the mother was not ready for S.'s growing up and becoming a separate individuated mature person. She found it difficult to accept S. as an equal separate adult. As mentioned before, the mother had a professional job and their economic situation was reasonable. She now is retired.

S.'s mother made an urgent appointment with me for the both of them, reporting that she is extremely worried as S. will not get out of bed (for two weeks) and claims that she has nothing to live for anymore. In the first session with S. and her mother, I met a pretty young woman who appeared to me angry at being dragged in and just wanted to be left alone, claiming that her life had no meaning. When I asked her to explain why, she said that she had a boyfriend with whom she had been living and they had been planning to get married. One day he said that he cannot marry her; 'she is too clingy and dependent' and demanded that she move out of his apartment. She left, went back to her mother's house, went into bed in a depressive state, staying there for 2 weeks until the mother decided that she could not cope with the situation and made her come to my office. The mother opened the conversation full of complaints about S. and her behavior: S. does nothing but lie in bed all day, crying about the end of the relationship only months before she was to be married. S. just sat there with a sour face until she finally stopped the complaints by saying that it is not true that she does nothing in the house. The truth is that the mother never sees what S. does and never listens to her. When I asked the both of them how they thought the situation could be changed for the better, the mother said that something is wrong with S; she needs help and she would be willing to pay for therapy if S. would come. S. agreed to come to therapy because she could not go on with her life the way it was. She said that she felt that she had found a place and a person where she could talk and be unjudgmentally listened to. This show how desperate S. was to have somebody to listen to her. We made an appointment for the next week, thereby beginning therapy. S. has been in therapy seven months; she originally came for weekly sessions, but now only wants every two weeks and sometimes adds an extra session as needed. The mother decided to change the schedule to once in two weeks after six months into therapy, when she saw that S. found a job and started to study. She wanted to save money even though she was paying a reduced fee. This paper describes the process that S. underwent. The process is divided into three parts, each of which is exemplified by relevant dreams and drawings. Throughout therapy S. sent me emails, dreams and drawings. She chose which ones she wanted to discuss in our sessions. In addition I painted pictures describing some of the issues.

Each part describes the three main issues in this therapy:

  1. Abandonment complex issues, attitudes towards men and father complex issues.
  2. Separation from the mother and individuation, mother complex.;
  3. Coping with challenges of reality.

Stages in therapy

Stage 1

The first stage of therapy was 2 months, at the end of which, S. came out of her depression, decided she wants to study, and got a job. In this stage she came to understand her relationship with D. (her boy-friend who cut off the relationship before the wedding) and worked through her bereavement. We worked on her abandonment complex and the connection with D. The issue of her reactive depression was both linked to her abandonment complex and D. rejecting and abandoning her.

Stage 2

The second stage of therapy was 4 months, in which she dealt with her relationship with N. (her next boy-friend), understanding both similarities and differences, showing her development in the therapy process. Her feelings of abandonment are less frightening and less impacting her decisions in life, so she could leave home and live in a rented apartment with a girl-friend. By exchanging D. with N. she felt better, but it was not a final stage or step. Instead of depression, she coped with reality. She found an area of studies, a discipline that really interested her, interior design. She both worked and studied while living on her own with a girl-friend. As for her symbiosis, S. physically separated from the mother and saw her life as separate from her, while still being a "good daughter" and kept a warm relationship with her.

Stage 3

The seventh month and beyond, in this ongoing therapy:

Abandonment issues are becoming even less threatening and do not determine her behavior. She is coping successfully with reality and challenges in reality. Regarding her relationship with her mother, S. is capable of setting up boundaries while recognizing her developing self-esteem; for example, she has been visiting her mother twice a week instead of every day as the mother demanded, and does not phone her three times every day. She visits her on weekends and sleeps over Friday nights. The mother had problems adjusting to the changes in S., even though these changes were linked to S.’s overcoming her depression. The mother phoned me very upset that she is losing her control over S. and losing her. (I believe that actually this is the real reason she reduced the number of therapy sessions). I explained to her that this is part of S.'s individuation process and that this separation is necessary for S. to become her own person. As a result of the changes that S. is undergoing in therapy, the mother is starting to accept that her "little girl" is growing up and separate from her, in spite of the fact that she does not like this idea.

Part 1

When S. began therapy, she reported that she has nothing to live for, wants to die and will never have a man who really loves her. This is because her boy-friend, D., ended the 9 month relationship a few months before they were to be married. S. drew a picture describing how she felt: a picture of her depression.

Her depressive state worried her mother very much. One hypothesis about depressions is that they are messages from the self, urging us to transform,1 and so I was thinking about her resources and potential. I had the impression based on S.'s background that her early abandonment complex had been regressively reactivated. According to Jung, "depression is a psychological state characterized by lack of energy… energy not available to consciousness does not simply vanish. It regresses and stirs up unconscious contents (fantasies, memories, wishes, etc.) that for the sake of psychological health need to be brought to light and examined … Depression should therefore be regarded as an unconscious compensation whose content must be made conscious if it is to be fully effective. This can only be done by consciously regressing along with the depressive tendency and integrating the memories so activated into the conscious mind – which was what the depression was aiming at in the first place. …Depression often foreshadows a renewal of the personality or a burst of the creative activity".2 This is what happened with S.: At the end of Part 1 of her therapy she came to the conclusion that she wants to study interior design and to create beautiful comfortable living spaces. (In Part 2 of her therapy, S. began her academic studies in interior design, depressive symptoms were reduced, got a job and had a new boy-friend.)

Sharp Daryl2 says that "Depression is not necessarily pathological. It often foreshadows a renewal of the personality or a burst of creative activity." Therefore, when I first met S., in spite of her talking about committing suicide, I did not immediately send her to a psychiatrist to be medicated. Jung in "The Psychology of the Transference," CW 16, par. 373, reports that "there are moments in human life when a new page is turned. New interests and tendencies appear which have hitherto received no attention….the new development has drawn off the energy it needs from consciousness." At the beginning of the therapy, S.'s mother was worried because S. had regressed into infant behavior with no plans for the future. She was not working; had no plans to study; was mourning the loss of the relationship and had completely lost her joy of life and even talked about wanting to die. However, as S. began to slowly change and to become more active, creating a separate life for herself, the mother became agitated and felt that she is losing her control over S. and losing her daughter. The mother shared with me her fears that since she does not have a biological connection with S., she could just grow up, separate and disappear from her life. The mother strongly believed and feared that an adopted child did not have the same innate connection with a mother as did a biological child and birth mother. S.'s adoptive mother is now 70 years old and is terrified of losing her daughter, who in her eyes is "becoming distant" and "egocentric" (only sees herself, her desires and needs).

S.'s adoptive mother is seen and felt by S. as too controlling. She has difficulties letting her daughter separate and individuate; for example, she has to know all the time where S. is, with whom, and what she is doing. The mother is constantly asking her when she ate, what she ate and with whom. S. especially is bothered by all the intrusive questions the mother asks concerning her relationships, clothes, time-table and even food. Sharp Daryl2 defines individuation as "a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality." Jung claims in "The Function of the Unconscious" (CW 7, par. 269) that "the aim of individuation is nothing less than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the persona on the one hand, and of the suggestive power of primordial images on the other." S.'s mother is constantly standing in the way of the development of her individual personality with her intrusive questioning and demands on her time and attention. My task in therapy is to help her in her journey of separation and individuation. For S. I am the transferential mother, the good mother, and not the swallowing spider mother that she drew to describe her own mother. 

According to Jung, in this journey, a person develops his/her inherent wholeness to the greatest degree of coherence and harmony possible and strengthens the psyche. This is what S. is working on every session; she has been very active in this therapy and brings dreams and drawings to the sessions in addition to the many emails she has been writing that report feelings, thoughts and events in her life. Included in this paper is just a taste, a small sample, of materials from the beginning of therapy, the middle, and the place we are at now. Both dreams and drawings are effective in this therapy. They help to heal the split between the ego and the unconscious by using the resources of the unconscious itself to help bring the dissociated material back gradually into a relationship with the conscious ego that before-hand had suppressed or repressed it. By asking questions such as, what is (something from the dream or drawing)……. for you?" S. relates to the previously dissociated material to the extent that she feels comfortable. Once this previously dissociated material is out in the open, it can be looked at and discussed more objectively; this is what happened when S. talked about how she felt when she looked at the picture she found on Google: it was a picture of a man cooking and a woman sitting. She said she looked for a man cooking supper for her and how she felt warmth and loved by a man doing something physical and caring for her. When asked about her associations, she then remembered how as a small girl she was jealous of her friends who had a father to pick them up and hold them and hug them. The reality of the unconscious and its contents as part of S.'s personality is dealt with and looked at verbally, through dream-work and with the help of drawings and pictures she found. One example is her answer to the questions, What do you feel when you look at "Picture A" that you found? What associations do you have? When discussing Picture A, S. reported that a man, cooking supper for her, brought her in touch with her need for a caring man to do basic physical things for her, such as feeding her and preparing food for her. She reported that she felt like a little girl imagining she was lying on the sofa watching D. prepare supper for her. It caused her to feel that a man is caring for her. She reported feeling warm inside and safe. When I asked her how she could explain this, what were her associations and thoughts, she suggested that maybe this is related to the fact that she "never had a father to do things" for her.

When looking at S., her functioning and dreams, and her application of the four mental functions that Jung called thinking, feeling, sensing and intuiting, we can see that S. does not use these functions in similar proportions and usually utilizes feeling and sensing considerably more than she uses the others. She does not usually use thinking, while she automatically uses feeling and sensing. She is driven by her search for male company and translates these relationships as equal to sex. S. speaks of her mother as wanting to swallow her whole, and not being able to accept all of S.'s parts. The mother wants to keep her forever with her as a dependent little girl who does not possess or demonstrate any independence, individuation or adult sexuality. S. draws the mother as a huge spider which could swallow her whole and/or spin complicated webs from which she could never free herself. When looking at S.'s dreams we can see a conflict between her overt behavior and the messages from her unconscious which she tries to deny on the overt level. In several of the following dreams, we see how S. is trying to deny her sexuality, any dirt and blood which she connects to her sexuality, and the physical parts of her body that she considers dirty. The dreams at the beginning of therapy demonstrate S.'s internal world and portray the metaphors of blood, dirt and the fear that the world is going to explode, while the dreams toward the end of therapy, as the therapy progresses, begin to represent relationships in which sex is not the main focus. S.'s dreams, as are all dreams, are messages from her unconscious to her conscious self. Their purpose is to clarify for the conscious, something that the unconscious knows and that the conscious does not know yet. The language of dreams is symbols and with the help of the associations of the client, we can understand the dream, its symbols, and its purpose. Jung's two most important concepts are the archetype and the symbol: symbols are the outward manifestations of archetypes. Since the archetypes, universal forms of human psychological traits and behaviors are deeply buried in the collective unconscious, unknown and unknowable to the individual, archetypes can only express themselves through symbols.

Dream 1

One of S.'s first dreams (a dream of one of the young women at the beginning of therapy that presents issues found in all of them)

"The world is on the edge of destruction and because everybody is going to die we were divided into those that went up to heaven and those that went down to hell. I was wondering what about N. and how he was because I didn’t hear from him since the last time (that was the dream I had last week). I thought to myself where was he and where he is going after death. I see from the social network that he put a picture on Instagram (in reality he does not have Instagram). In this picture he was photographed at the beach with a friend of his and somebody else I don't know who was hugging him and half lying on him. According to the picture I understand that he met somebody else. Then I simply waited with A. to see where everybody is going. In spite of the fact that I didn't want to die I got to go up to heaven." This dream shows S.'s preoccupation with endings and death in addition to dealing with the masculine lover archetype. The endings are symbolic of the parts of the self and exemplify S.'s internal split between good and evil. The world is going to be destroyed and since we are all going to die, we were split into those going up to heaven and those going down to Hell. (The world is divided into good and evil.) The last sentence ends with "in spite of the fact that I do not feel like dying, I received the Verdict to go up to heaven." The message of her unconscious is that she has positive aspects of her personality and wants to live rather than to die. The dream is connected to endings. On the ego-self axis there is a transition from the symbolic to the particular: her boy-friend left her and has a new girl-friend which symbolizes her being abandoned and her lack of connection with a father figure. The lover archetype is actualized in S.'s life, drawings and dreams via her boy-friends that abandon her. The masculine lover archetype is a model of the big lover who exploits and abandons. An example is seen in the movie "Gone with the Wind" when Clark Gable abandons Scarlett O'Hara. He leaves her in order to remain the big lover in her eyes. Masculine figures in the lover archetype have a dimension of betrayal, abandonment and exploitation S.'s father archetype, which is an abandoning exploiting lover archetype, is actualized in her mind when she is in contact with a male figure that reminds her of the archetypal template. This father archetype is built into her personal unconscious as a father complex. Archetypes seek actualization in the context of the individual's environment and determine the extent of individuation; S. did not have the experience or the opportunity to develop her individuation, thus creating normal relationships with male figures. N. and D. are the particularization of the symbolic abandoning and exploiting male figure. The rest of the dream, the content, does not relate to death directly, but to endings. It relates to particularities, to thoughts about her relationship with N., jealousy, life and sex. N. is her new boyfriend, with whom the only relationship is sex, even though she wants more. When she wonders where he will be after death, in heaven or in hell, she sees him in the dream with another girl. Although she claims consciously that she wants to die, the dream shows that she definitely wants to live, which shows some progress from the beginning of therapy. This dream emphasizes the symbolism of abandonment and is parallel to the symbolism of death and resurrection. "To feel abandoned is, essentially, to feel forsaken by the 'god within us', that is, to lose sight of the eternal light in the human spirit. This imparts to the individual's existence a sense of estrangement." (Cirlot, J. E. 1971, p.1).

When discussing the dream, S. remembered similar dreams and connected them. She came to understand that the dreams exemplify the estrangement in the relationships in her life: N. does not respect her. He invites friends to her house and does not even bother to tell her. He does not tell her when he is coming back from abroad. He is outside both physically and emotionally; he is not really in the relationship, as demonstrated in her other dreams. In reality, S. yells at him that he is just like D. This is the one-directional kind of relationship that she knows how to create, but she does not like. She cries because she is frustrated and realizes that she wants each boyfriend more than he wants her. Each of her male partners exploit her and do not really see her. She feels betrayed in all of her relationships. She does not differentiate between male figures. In her experience there is no differentiation in the male archetype. The male abandoning lover archetype consists of both D. and N. and S. confuses between them; she cannot differentiate between the symbolic dimension of the archetype and the personal dimension. There is an oedipal confusion between the figures and therefore even though the dream and the drawing were sent at the same general time, a few days apart from one another, in the picture she is referring to D., whereas in the dream she is relating to N.

Dream 2

This dream was dreamt a month after the previous dream. We see the relationships S. has with men and also with women friends; the masculine aspect in her "Self", her animus, is perceived by her to be not respecting and does not acknowledge her. "I am at home with A. and K. (my friends), we are sitting at the dining table and talking about an article in the newspaper that we are reading that somebody who had studied with K. and was in the scouts with me and A. was important enough to be in the newspaper. We decide to go to sit on my bed in my room. My mother is home but she is in her room resting. A. asks me what about N. and did he speak with me. I answered negatively and asked her why she is asking. She answers me that he is coming back to the country for a day or two and waiting for his next flight out. I do not know when he is coming and feel that I miss him very much and want to see him. We left this topic and suddenly I hear a lot of noise outside my room and I do not understand why. In leave the room and see that in my house there are many people who I do not know personally and I do not know who let them in. My mother is resting and I prefer to leave it that way. I go up to somebody in the living room who I do not know and ask him what is he doing here. He answers that he is a friend of N. and that N. invited all his friends to meet him before he flies out of the country and continues on his trip. I hear this and I am very hurt to know that N. did not tell me anything about it and did not contact me. I see him in my garden, talking and laughing with his friends. I angrily go up to him and shout at him: "didn't you think to tell me that you came back? You invited everybody to my house and didn't even tell me about it?" I went from there crying to my room. A. and K. are still in my room. They don't understand what happened. There are another two friends of N. that are in my room too. I go straight to my bed lying with my face down. My two friends are asking me what happened and are trying to console me but I can only cry.

After a few minutes when I pick up my head, I see that N. is sitting on my bed next to me and reading in my therapy notebook. I am furious and yell at him that he is just like D. who also never bothered to tell me when he is coming. I yell at him that both of you are emotionally detached and do not talk about your feelings, you don't share your feelings and behave as if everything is OK even when it isn't. You are afraid to feel. Exactly like D. hurt me in the past, N. is hurting me now. I leave the room crying because I felt that N. does not really care. I sit in the garden on the grass. M. comes out. He had been in my house, taking a shower and now comes out to see that I am OK and we begin to talk about what happened. I remember that in the dream I was very much afraid that my mother would wake up and be very upset and nervous about what was happening in the house. An addition to the dream is that N. was wearing his Bordeaux blouse that we had always laughed at together because I had a shirt the same color and we were afraid that we would get our shirts mixed up." This dream exemplifies the relationships in her life: N. represents a problematic masculine part. He does not respect her. He invites friends to her house and does not even bother to tell her. He does not tell her when he is coming back from abroad. He is outside both physically and emotionally; he is not really in the relationship. S. does not differentiate between the men in her life, yelling at N. that he is just like D. This is the one-directional kind of relationship that she knows how to create, but does not like. She is frustrated and realizes that she wants each boyfriend more than he wants her. Each of her male partners exploits her and does not really see her. She feels betrayed in all of her relationships. S. knows that the situation and the relationships are dysfunctional; she wants to separate from the mother and her intrusiveness; therefore, she tries to keep her mother in the other room asleep. After discussing this dream, S. was flooded with memories of her relationship with her previous boyfriend, D. She realized the similarities and became ready to see her part in creating these one-sided relationships. The archetypal energy of her inner masculine part, her animus, is problematic for her and she sees any man as a "big lover" who will exploit her and abandon her as did D. She has women friends, A. and K., who console her and support her; they represent the good parts that take care of her and guard her, while the mother is not present. S. got rid of the mother in the dream. She wants autonomy and does not want the mother to control her. N. does not take care of her and ridicules her. He does not respect her boundaries; he trespasses on them and intrudes into her personal world by looking in her personal therapy journal. In the dream there is expressed emotional content that floods her; she cannot cope with it and cries. S. reacts to N.'s intrusive behavior by crying instead of telling him to get out. She reacts emotionally instead of cognitively dealing with the situation. She regresses to her girlfriends, looking to them for support and containment. These girls represent the feminine and consoling aspect of her personality. She passively lies in bed, hiding her head, not wanting to see reality, waiting for the girls to be active and console her.

S.'s defense mechanism is escape instead of coping. She does not tell N. to stop reading her personal diary and to get out of her personal space. The situation has to be extremely bad for her to react and be demanding of her own rights; only then did she yell and accuse N. of not relating to feelings. Another male figure that appears towards the end of the dream is M. who represents positive aspects of her animus. M. feels at home, took a shower and appears after the event; he is not in time when his intervention might have made a difference. S. left the room, went outside crying and sat on the grass. The grass represents nature and her connection to the Big Mother archetype. There, on the grass, she can accept M., the positive aspect of her animus. When S. describes the same bordeau colored shirts that she and N. have, we see that S. did not yet individuate. She does not have her own colored shirt, a different color, but she does pay attention to the fact that the shirts have an identical color. A picture that was drawn around the same time shows S and her current boy-friend – they are together but on a cliff and S talks about how insecure she feels – they will both fall off the cliff together. It looks as if they are happy together, looking at the sky, at the future, but in reality they are on the edge of a cliff. She talks about how she does not trust him and cannot depend on him.

S. talks about how they are alone in the world, nobody understands them. There are a few yellow flowers, but only a few. They are stick figures, no body to them. Also they are not touching – no real contact. She talks about how alone she feels, not even her boy-friend is close to her. It is interesting to note that when S. is happy in the relationship, the figures have bodies and clothes. When she is frustrated and feels threatened, her figures are not fully drawn or dressed. A month later, when S was feeling better about herself she found an entirely different kind of picture to describe herself and her boy-friend. In a picture that S brought from the internet she found figures that are colorful, together and happy. She made a copy that is big, not the size of the stick figures. Also these figures are from Harry Potter and so have an element of magic about them. Everything is possible.

They are happy and S. is holding D. and leaning against D's head. She is in control. There are colors, happy alive colors; red symbolizing activity and intensity. Red is also the color of pulsing blood and of fire, for the surging and tearing emotions.3 These are real people hugging in love. They both seem to be happy and smiling, holding hands, facing each other. There is an attempt to connect between the masculine and the feminine, but there is shadow which S talks about when asked what she sees in the picture and what she feels when looking at the picture; and the meaning of the shadow is anxiety. S. speaks about the shadows in her life and in her relationships. The drawing is ambivalent: there is a desire for coniunctio (a union of unlike substances, a marrying of the opposites in an intercourse which has as its fruition the birth of a new element), while there is anxiety connected to the union. "coniunctio represents two poles of possibility; one positive, the other negative. Hence, when it occurs, death and loss as well as rebirth are inherent in the experience."4 There are several ambivalent elements in S.'s drawings and dreams which are seen by her in this picture. Her personality is ambivalent as is reflected in her drawings and dreams, and in the pictures she finds and brings to sessions.

Dream 3

The following dream was sent to me via email a week later:

"I am wandering around in a shopping mall with friends. I am tired, weak and do not have any strength to go shopping. While one of my friends is walking from store to store looking for a new bracelet, my other friend and I are lying down on a mattress in the store. I am wearing a short white dress and when my friend finishes her journey in the store she calls us to go on. When I get up I see that there is blood on the mattress. I am upset that I got my period and I don't have any protection now and my white dress has a big blood stain that everybody can see. I am so embarrassed that I don't know what to do. I have with me a side ourse that it can't hide the big stain and it looks suspicious when I go to the bathroom. My friends tell me that the period did not pass through the material on to the dress, and I have nothing to worry about. I can walk as usual in the stores and go to buy pads."

As S. is adopted by a single mother, the connection with a father figure is problematic because she does not have a personal father image and no man in her childhood to relate to or to model a couple relationships. She developed a negative father complex, overcompensating for this lack. Since a complex does not always exhibit its characteristics only in conscious behavior, but may also appear in the form of dreams and drawings, this dream is especially important as it could hint at S.'s negative father complex and negative feminine self-image. This could explain her belief that couple relationships are mainly expressed by sex. Her disturbance of behavior and exaggerated sexual focus as demonstrated also in her dreams may be seen as indicative of her negative view of her femininity in addition to her negative father complex. Her lying in public on a mattress in a mall where she can be seen by all the passers-by, may be associated with sexual thoughts and behavior, thus touching upon her father complex. This is a feminine gender dream. S. is in a shopping mall with female friends, doing female activities such as shopping, but she is too tired to actively take part.

This is connected to her persona and her feelings of tiredness and lack of energy. She lies on a mattress that happened to be there; what dirties the mattress in her mind is the blood from her period – expressing the shame in her femininity. Anything connected to her femininity such as her period, arouses negative feelings in S. She is uncomfortable about how she appears in public as a woman. Her friends help her hide her uncomfortable feelings and shame connected to her femininity. We can see a gap between how she perceives the blood (=shame/ the dirt/ the world) and how others perceive the "blood". Others, the women friends, say it is not so bad whereas she is ashamed. She wants to hide the "blood" while others do not even see it. She does not have any protection from her sexuality and femininity. S. is afraid that everyone and anyone can see the dirty female characteristics and she is ashamed. Other pertinent symbols are the mattress and the side purse. The mattress is a symbol of sex, a place of rest, depression and tiredness. The purse represents identity. Her gender identity is linked to her feminine stereotypes, which she cannot erase. This is a feminine dream composed of women and feminine stereotypes. Help comes from her female friends and not from men. The female world gives her security. In part one of this therapy S. brought to the sessions the following topics:

  1. D. and her ambivalent feelings towards him. This ambivalence was linked to two issues:
  1. The absence of a father figure as a model.
  2. The rejection by D. In spite of the fact that S. desires to be part of a couple, as seen in her drawings and dreams throughout these months, she does not feel secure in her relationships and feels anxiety.
  1. Her mind-set concerning her feminine self-image and identity. In her eyes being a woman is connected to shame and dirt.

In this stage of therapy, she does not yet see the positive aspects of being a woman.

Part 2

In these months of therapy, the issues that S. worked on were:

  1. Overcoming feelings of abandonment
  2. Moving from depression to coping with reality
  3. Breaking the symbiotic bond with the mother

Dream 4

In this stage of therapy, the process of individuation and separation were seen in two areas:

  1. S. chose an area of studies and began her life as a student.
  2. S. moved out of her mother's home and lived with a friend.

The following dream was dreamt two weeks after dream three:

"I dreamt that I am getting up in the morning and getting ready to go to study. When I come to get my bra out of the draw I see that I am dirty and stained with something brown and sticky and it comes from the bra. I am looking for another bra but everything is dirty with this sticky something. Evidently, this is something that is in the cupboard and I do not know what it is." The dream starts with a positive intention. S. wants to get dressed to go to her studies, but then her intentions are ruined by the obstacle of "dirt". At the end of the dream she says that she cannot identify or exactly pinpoint the source of the dirtiness; it is something in the cupboard, but she does not know what. In her eyes, something in her femininity is seen as dirty. This negative feminine complex was also seen in dream 3, where she experienced her femininity as something dirty and according to her interpretation is expressed through sexual relationships. In this dream, S. wants to dress and finds that her bra is dirty and sticky. The bra represents her identity as a woman which is difficult to change; it sticks to her. It is part of her. At the same time, it is also dirty. It appears to be that she does not like the dirty image of her femininity. Brown is dirt and also could represent dry blood (this connection between dry blood, dirt and brown were associations that S. spoke about). At this stage, S. does not have any suggestions of something that could give her the feeling of being clean. This dream sends S. a message from her unconscious that there is something wrong with her exaggerated sexual focus. She has become in touch with her feelings which do not reflect the reality that she wants to create– relations not necessarily focused on sex.

Dream 5

In this period, her relationship with D. was emotionally terminated. She began a new relationship with N. S. sent me dream 5 two weeks later:

"I dreamt that I need to teach the children I am working with, the story of Pompeii. The two main figures in the story are S. and I. (two friends of mine). I am walking with the children and during the walk I see D. and he is very angry and upset when he sees me. I am embarrassed but feel OK because he is already just an ordinary person that I knew in my life." The lost city of Pompeii, frozen in time, representing her relationship with D., is the main symbol and focus of this dream. Pompeii is mentioned in the dream symbolizing figures and situations from the past, – black and dead, having less impact on the present. This is where she meets D., perhaps representing how she sees and feels towards him today. Pompeii was buried in a thick layer of broiling ash in a matter of hours; in the same way, S. is ready to bury her relationship with D. In this dream there are two figures, Sarai and I do whose names sound similar to S. and D. She talks about these two as if they are detached from her. This comes after seeing D. in a negative way, dissociated from her. This dream belongs to Part 2 because D. is not central to her life anymore and has changed from the source of depression and feelings of abandonment into an ordinary less significant person in her life. His presence evokes less strong feelings in her. This leaves S. free to create a new relationship.

Issues that repeat themselves in dreams and drawings

A motif that repeats itself both in several of the dreams and drawings is "lying down to rest" and "tiredness"; this could represent wanting to detach and dissociate from an uncomfortable situation. It can be seen in Dream 1 where S. talks about seeing in her dream a girl that she does not know "half lying on N.". Maybe this represents the "half relationship" that S. has with N.; it is not yet a full real mutual relationship. In Dream 2, S.'s mother is resting in another room in the beginning of the dream; S. is removing her mother from events in her life as part of the separation process, and thus the mother is separated from all the happenings and ongoing events in her house. At the end of the dream, S. chooses to emphasize that her mother is resting in her room, again separated from the events, and S. states that she prefers it like this. In Dream 3, S. says that she is tired and does not have the strength or energy to go shopping; this is her way of separating and not functioning. She is tired, depressed and has no strength. In Picture A S. is lying on the sofa while D. is preparing dinner; she is separate from him and putting an obstacle between them,-the table. In Picture D, D. is resting on S., half lying down, when they are travelling on their imagined honeymoon. Different from the other pictures, her hand is on D. as if she wants to prevent him from detaching himself; this is how she described the picture and her associations. D. is like a little boy and she does not want to let him get away. She is looking out the window while he is sleeping. D. exemplifies a weak animus in S. There is no real contact between S. and D. On the one hand she wants him, while on the other hand she experiences her fears that he is getting away. Her fantasies are that she is saving the relationship. When asked about what she sees in the picture, she said, "I am keeping him with me." The world is passing by outside, while she is separate from the real world. She is not the driver of this train (the train symbolizes control and management of her life). She is not controlling the relationship. This is not an equal relationship. D. does not strengthen her and does not support her. Even though she has the fantasy of control, D. got away. Dream 5, Pompeii, and dream 1 have a common theme of the end of the world. It is her experience of all the things that are being destroyed in her world. S. has expressed her feelings of depression, passivity, dysphoria and inertia already in dream 1, and in dream 3, the shopping center. Picture A demonstrates her passivity.

S., her libido, sexual activities, progression and regression

Working with S. and her dreams, especially her sexual dreams, it appears that she was controlled by her sexual needs, drives and libido. Sex was her way of interacting with men. She had no past experience of a male interacting with her in a loving way who could serve as a model of a healthy relationship with a man. A girl needs a father who smiles at her in a loving tender way that does not have sexual innuendos. When a little girl sits on her father's lap and he tells her that she is the most beautiful princess, she feels loved. This is when the seeds of a positive feminine identity are implanted. This is a crucial component that will help her in the future to build positive satisfactory relationships with men. As an adult woman her positive feminine identity will be able to assert itself, whether asleep (as seen in dreams) or awake, demonstrating appropriate balanced feminine behavior. All this was missing in S.'s childhood, thus creating a void, a negative father complex, instead of a positive supporting father model. Psychic energy originates from the experiences a person has and those experiences enable homeostasis. Due to the lack of a loving present accepting father figure who could help create a balanced energy system, S. invested and invests, much of her energy into satisfying her unfulfilled father complex. In the case of S., as she progressed in therapy and became more conscious of her needs and behaviors, she left her mother's apartment and began to live more as an independent adult. S. got a part time job and began her studies in internal design. It appeared as though her psychological maturity is progressing, but this is mistaking her conscious external behavior for her actual psychic adaptation. She still is controlled by her excessive sexual drive and needs. The one-sidedness of sex can be explained in part by the fact that she equated love and warmth from a man with sex. Her psyche developed a one-sidedness of the sexual drive which became too dominant, too powerful, and draws every communication with a man, every experience, to sex. This dominant function is not adaptive and a new function is needed. Kris5 coined the phrase "regression of ego in the service of ego." Jung spoke about the therapeutic and personality enhancing aspects of periods of regression. Regression may be seen as a time of regeneration, even though it is the backward flow of libido. Ego forces are released. The opposite of regression is progression, which is a relatively easy progression of libido, a forwards movement of libido. New situations and relationships in S.'s life may require a thinking orientation for proper adaptation. The excessive sexual orientation is losing its strength by helping S. become more conscious of her needs and behaviors, and the progression of psychic energy in that function is slowing down and hopefully will cease as therapy progresses. In order for a healthy reinstatement of the progression of libido, it is necessary that the pair of opposite functions, for example, feeling and thinking, be balanced. The psychic functions were unbalanced in their development, and so a homeostasis of mutual influence and interaction must be achieved. Regression helps achieve this homeostasis: regression is the backward movement of libido. With the help of collision and interactions of the opposites, they become deprived of their energy, depotentiated, by the process of regression.

In this way, regression subtracts energy from psychic elements, and thus S. is becoming less sexually oriented. There is a diminishing of sexual forces and a developing of psychic elements. In contrast, progression adds energy to psychic elements, so that the new opposing function can develop. This newly developed function is thinking and it is adapted to S.'s changing inner world via therapy and enhancing consciousness. She has become more conscious of her tendency to project what she feels to be unacceptable (her shadow parts) onto others. This adds to the possibility of changing the way she relates to her mother who has limitless infinite demands. S. has become conscious of the fact that she is projecting her shadow parts onto men (from whom she never can get enough love) and onto the world.

We see in part 2 the process of change in three areas that we worked on in therapy these months: abandonment, depression and symbiosis. This process that she is undergoing took her out of bed emotionally and physically (in issues of depression & sexual behavior); nevertheless, it is a zigzag process with ups and downs.

  1. Abandonment- S. is overcoming her feelings of abandonment by D. and is weaving a new relationship with N.; it is still not the mode of relationship that is mature, but the important issue is that she is working on her feelings of abandonment.
  2. From depression to coping with reality- S. is learning to deal with reality in a realistic way instead of reacting by becoming depressed as a solution or acting-out by giving in to her sexual drives.
  3. Symbiosis with the mother & the process of separation towards independence and individuation- S. moves out of the mother's house, lives on her own with a friend, found work and an area of studies that interests her.

Part 3

Part 3 of S.'s on-going therapy after 7 months.

After seven months of therapy, S. seems to be able to cope with her main issues that prevented her from functioning effectively:

  1. Organizing her priorities in life.
  2. Separation from her mother and breaking the symbiotic hold the mother had on her.
  3. Creating an equal relationship with a partner.

This part of therapy focuses on reinforcement of S.'s achievements in separation and individuation and coping with the demands of reality in the areas of studies, job, and relationships.

In Part 3 of her therapy, S. is now succeeding in her studies in addition to feeling fulfilled. An interesting side effect of S.'s being immersed in her studies and succeeding, is her mother's ongoing complaints that S. does not pay the mother enough attention, only visits her once or twice a week since she moved out on her own (also a result of the therapy sessions), and does not phone her more than once a day. The mother also complains that the phone calls are too short and that S. does not invest enough time in the mother.

Dream 6

The following dream was dreamt about a week later:

"I dreamt that I am moving to another apartment and I am packing all the things that seem important or significant. I am leaving everything that does not seem important. I remember that I have a very important decision to make: what is important to take with me and what isn't important and I should leave behind. I remember that the pictures and greeting cards which I got from people, even those that I am not in contact with anymore, are very important for me and I take them with me."

We can see in this dream that the therapy is working; she is in the process of separating from old baggage which she is leaving behind. S. is in the process of categorizing what is important for her and what she is ready to leave behind because it does not contribute to her future. She realizes that relationships are important to her and she appreciates them, keeping them with her.

Dream 7

The following dream was sent a week later with the comment that she is ashamed of it, but will show it to me anyway:

"I dreamt that I am at some event that is connected with work where I sell tickets. The manager was there too. I decided that I don't want to sell tickets at that particular place because I don't want to work with Y. who works there.

Then, in the dream, I am in a room with a big sofa and I remember that I was talking with somebody sitting on a chair. Then Y. comes in and starts to talk to the person that I was talking to. I pretend to be asleep because I don't want to talk to Y. Then Y. sits next to me on the sofa and continues talking. After that the man goes off and Y. still continues to sit next to me and to talk. All the time I am thinking that I want him to go already, but he simply sits next to me and doesn't go. After a few minutes he starts to touch me and undress me. I am surprised at was happening but am as if frozen. I let it happen even though I do not want it to. Then he opens my legs and that is the stage at which I stop pretending that I am sleeping and try to stop him because he is over the boundaries. But he only smiles at me, tells me to relax and goes on. I want to stop him because:

  1. He repulses me in every way and I am not attracted to him
  2. I do not want to sleep with him
  3. I prefer to go on waiting for N. and not to sleep just with anyone.

But instead of stopping him I let him go on because I feel that my sexual drive wants it more than my feelings want to stop. At the beginning it begins slowly and continues slowly and it feels to me that there is not enough passion. Then I take control and make it go quicker until I am satisfied, but not really satisfied. Because immediately after that I am very ashamed about what happened and that I didn't wait longer for N. because he will be coming soon. Y. says that I should flow with it slowly and not finish so quickly. He says that I should let him decide the rhythm and enjoy the slow pace. He says that I make sex like a man, quick and be done with it.

In addition, I think a lot about what we talked the last session concerning N.

As you know I told you that he came back to the country on Thursday and talked to me about what was going on in his life. The conversation was very strange. I feel that our conversations, N. and I, when he was in Thailand were closer and more flowing and suddenly now he behaves in a strange way and responds to my phone calls to me only after a few hours.

I am very embarrassed about what is happening with him. I feel like I am chasing him.

The day after I met N., he continued to talk to me in a very dry emotionless way as he always talks to me. This was towards the evening when he was already home, alone and without people around him and he talked to me in a more flowing way and I didn't succeed in falling asleep. The whole situation bothered me. Then he suggested that we meet in the bus stop under his house.

We met and it was nice to see him. We laughed and we shared his experiences and went to sleep each in his own house. The next day we also met and this time I came to him. I admit that I really missed him and wanted to come to him at his home. Again we only talked and it was nice and I went home. He didn't try anything and on the one hand I was happy because it shows that he really has a connection to me, but on the other hand it felt to me like again we will go back to the old script of meeting only at nights and secretly. It is as if he is ashamed of me and doesn't want his parents to know about his connection with me. I really don't want to go back to our old way of meeting secretly.

The next day we talked and I was in the apartment with my girlfriend. I tried to do my homework for my studies but it was hard to concentrate. Anyway, he was interested in how I was progressing in my studies and when I asked why he said that wanted to visit in my apartment but it was too late because I am studying and the talk was OK.

The next day he really came to me in my apartment and it was during the day, in the afternoon, and he stayed for a long time and it was very nice. In the end we talked about the elephant in the room and the barrier that seemed to exist between us. He wasn't very clear and talked generally and not specifically about us, but I tried to sum up his words in order to understand what he was really getting at. He talked about his trip abroad and how he really enjoyed it and how he decided not to commit himself to anyone. He does not want to be tied down and to commit himself to a relationship. Instead, he wants to be free and not to take somebody else into account in his decisions. I told him that I understand and accept it. I thanked him for his honesty and that there are relationships in which he could still make decisions and be independent. (I felt that I was trying to convince him to keep the relationship with me going and that I don't demand anything from him – I felt like a prostitute or like a girl that would do anything to keep her man). I told him that I respect his decisions. We parted with a hug and smiles but I felt and since then I feel that I only want to cry all the time. I sold myself short.

Also, during the time that he was with me and we talked, he started to draw and wasn't really fully with me. He drew a face. When I asked him who he was drawing, he said it was only a face and whenever we draw something there is always something of us in the picture.

That is how it ended and I am in mourning. Our relationship died. I know that I am trying to reach a place where my expectations are low but even when I try to lower them I always thought that there was hope. I am ashamed and I am telling myself that it is not fair that I am in this situation. I think that after all that I went through with D. I learnt something and that I would be a good partner, even better than my girlfriends who have a boyfriend for years. My girlfriends have better relationships and their boyfriends really love them and they have a more difficult personality than I do. I deserve it that N. should love me the way I want to be loved. I don't deserve to be alone. I deserve to have somebody next to me who loves me.

When I spoke to E., my friend, she told me that the things that I am telling her now are things that she had told me in the past And I didn't want to believe and accept. She told me that N. is confused and will only want me when he sees that I am happy with somebody else. I need somebody who wants me more than I want him. I don't have it with N.

She answered me that maybe it is worthwhile to add this to my desired list… that I need somebody who will want me more than I will want him. She said that if he had more experience in life he would have not left me."

In S.'s eyes she has two different kinds of relationships with men:

One is with N. which is more than just sex and she wants to wait for him, willing to postpone sexual gratification in order to have a stable relationship; she is frustrated that she cannot control her sexual drive and gives in to Yovi. S. is ashamed that she could not control herself and gave in to her primal sexual needs.

The second kind of relationship is her sexual encounter with Yovi, which is only sex and based only on her libido, also known as psychic energy, not including her thinking parts or feeling parts and is based only on her sensations. This kind of relationship disgusts her, repels her and causes her to be ashamed. However, she feels unable to control herself.

"Energy is not a thing; it is only the possibility for transformation… Freud viewed libido as limited to sexual energy", while Jung understood a more general concept of energy. 6

According to the Jung Lexicon,2 in "The Concept of Libido," (CW 5, par. 194), Jung defines libido as "a desire or impulse which is unchecked by any kind of authority, moral or otherwise. Libido is appetite in its natural state. From the genetic point of view it is bodily needs like hunger, thirst, sleep, and sex, and emotional states or affects, which constitute the essence of libido."

S. is able to separate and differentiate the two kinds of relationships and to choose the one she desires. The myth of Psyche and Eros7 is relevant here as it can reinforce the part in her that can defy and oppose the barriers and difficulties that she must overcome on her way to build a healthy relationship. S. was exposed to this story as part of the therapy process. This story centers on the power of true love. Psyche first doubts that love, feeling that she must see Eros in the flesh. She later redeems herself many times over when she proves her commitment, overcoming all obstacles in her way. Figuratively, Eros and the soul ("psyche" is the Greek word for the soul) belong together in an inseparable union. When Eros sees Psyche, the soul in its beauty, he immediately wants to join with her. They are happily married until the jealous sisters tempt Psyche to break her promise of secrecy, that is, libido gained control over her thinking part.

The happy ending, with Aphrodite, Psyche, and Eros all reaching a positive resolution, illustrates that when love is pure, as S. is trying to achieve with N., all pains, sorrows, and challenges will align to ensure that the love is realized. S. intends to overcome her libido and to have a true love relationship with N. or somebody else able to fulfill this need. This story demonstrates that true love is achievable.

Dream 8

The next day S. sent me the following dream:

"N. came to my apartment and everything was nice…We acted like good friends. In the living-room I see out the window that there is a meeting of D. and his friends from the Kibbutz. I notice him and I see that he notices me. I quickly put my head down and hide. He doesn't see that N. is also in the room with me. I really want N. to make some move but he doesn't and we go on as before. I work on a project and N. is cooking. I keep looking out the window to see what is happening outside and D. catches me looking at him and he waves at me. N. sits next to me on the sofa and begins to touch me. He starts to kiss me and we lie on the and he says that he will go with whatever I want. I stopped him because I understood that this is not what he really wants."

In this dream we can see S.'s lack of confidence in her relationships with men which is the result of her being adopted by a single woman who had no relationships with a man. S. did not develop her animus, the inner masculine side of a woman, because she did not have a father figure to identify with. "Like the anima in a man, the animus is both a personal complex and an archetypal image."2

Both D. (her previous boyfriend) and N. appear together in the same setting and situation. S. sees D. outside and he sees her, but she does not allow herself to openly acknowledge his presence in front of N. In her dream, her unconscious, she understands that she cannot have a relationship with both of them at the same time; however, she is not willing to let go. She is not ready to be without a man outside, because she does not have a developed animus inside. As her animus is weak and undeveloped, she is not willing or able to set D. free as long as she feels that her relationship with N. is not stabilized and secure. If she had had a strong animus she would have long ago separated from D. and freed herself both physically and psychologically; there would be no background disturbances and "noise" in her relationship with N.

At the end of the dream we can see S.'s progression in her attitude towards relationships with men: from a relationship which is based wholly on her libido and needs, she has changed and has developed the ability to see the other's needs and to suppress or hold back her own desires. "I stopped him because I understood that that was not what he wanted".

Dream 9

Two days later she sent me the following dream:

"My girlfriend G. comes to see me at the apartment and she really wants to see the hamsters that my room-mate H. is raising. H. is not in the apartment and I let G. go into the room and see the hamsters. But, she touches H.'s things. I think she wants to understand her better and to know more about her. I told her that she came into the room just to look at the hamsters and she should leave now. But G. started looking in the cupboard and saw that H. takes a lot of pills. I was at the entrance of the room that is exactly opposite the door to the apartment. I was looking to see if H. was coming. H. had changed the room and had taken down some walls and the room was much bigger than it had been before. Then, H. came into the apartment with her parents and I told G. to stop looking at her things because she is here. I told H. that G. wanted to see the hamsters and that is why we were in her room. H. had a suspicious look on her face but she flowed with it. H. told us to touch the hamsters. We did it and it wasn't so bad. I asked H. why she had such a small old television in one of the drawers and she answered that it was a spare TV. I would have made different the interior design of the room so that it would be more comfortable and pleasant. When we returned to my room the windows were open and so was the light and then bugs came into the bed and we had to chase them outside. We closed all the windows. G. and I spoke about how it was so uncomfortable and embarrassing that H. caught us in her room and G. was wondering why H. took so many pills."

This dream shows that S. is ready to let the world into her psyche, but she is aware that unwanted elements may also enter with her, giving up full control; she does not have control over unwanted elements that may come in, but this does not keep her from opening the windows, because she knows that she has the power to get them out. This demonstrates that she is gaining confidence in her ability to control her life. The bugs entered her room and she was able to chase them out. The insects could represent parts of her shadow, "tsell", that she now is able to recognize and be in touch with. Daryl Sharp2 defines the shadow as "hidden or unconscious aspects of oneself, both good and bad, which the ego has either repressed or never recognized."

Dream 10

Two weeks later, the following dream arrived in my email:

"I am on a backpack trip with D. It looks like some place in Asia. I don't know exactly where and I remember that I am wondering to myself what happened with H. because I am supposed to go to trips with her. During our trip, when we decide to sit some place to eat, by chance we meet her. H. was surprised to see us and asked us where we were going, what's new, what we are doing, what we have seen and was full of questions as if we have not spoken for a long time. Then I understood that we are actually after the trip that we had gone on with her and that actually this was a new trip that I am going on only with D. D. and I get to a new place with new people that we did not know and I remember that we made friends with a specific person; at least I did. D. kept pushing me that we have many things to do and to organize so that when I wanted a few minutes to talk to other people he pushed me to finish and said that we have to do other things now.

I still don't understand why I dream about D.; it has been more than a year since we have separated and I haven't seen him or spoken with him. Maybe I still haven't managed to get over him completely?

I would like to know what's with him and how he is. I need to close the circle. I don't know why I want this. I do remember our relationship and I miss what we had. It wasn't always sweet and honey but all in all we enjoyed being together and enjoyed each other's company.

After our last meeting I decided that I will try to flow with my relationship with N. I still do not know what is good for me. I do not know if I am able to be with somebody who wants me less than I want him. If I don't try how will I know? From mistakes we learn.

I think there is a similar script with N. and with D.; N. does not include me in the things that are important to him. I often feel that I have to ask him in order to get any details. I think to myself that on the one hand what do I need this for, but on the other hand this is the way it is and this is what I have. Maybe I have enough skills to manage with it.

I am not convinced that N. is worth all these difficulties and efforts to keep the relationship going. I was very hurt by him. Yesterday I asked him if he was going to the student's day party and he asked me when is it and I told him next week and he answered me no. I asked him why not and he answered me that he is in Amsterdam. I didn't understand if he was being real or laughing because if it is real he never told me and it is not funny. I was so surprised at that moment and angry. He claimed that he had forgotten to tell me as if it is no big deal. He plans to go Amsterdam in another day and he never told me about it. It is as if I don't exist. Is it exaggerated from my part to expect him to tell me that he is going to fly to Amsterdam? Is it exaggerated that I get angry when he forgets to talk and tell me things like this? It is not a trip to Eilat. It is a flight to Amsterdam and for a week. I felt so stupid. I got myself into this mess and he expects me to laugh about it. Is it too much to ask that he tell me that he plans to buy a ticket to another country?

On the other hand I am afraid that my mother's polish genes are coming off on me. It is as if nothing that he will do would make me happy. I will always demand more and more. I don't know what is right and what is not right."

S. has not yet completely freed herself from D.; cognitively and practically she understands that she and D. are not a couple anymore and will not be in the future. He has stated several times that what he defines as "her clingy and childish personality" is too needy for him. However, in her dreams, which come from her unconscious, she has not yet released him. That is why whenever N. appears in her dreams, D. is in the background, representing the remnants of her yet unresolved father complex.

N. appears also in Dream One, where S. is not active in their relationship; she stands aside and is afraid that she will be left, abandoned and replaced by another girl. She feels she is not good enough. In Dream Ten, N. appears again, but it is a different S. This S. is standing, not afraid and on her own two feet, capable of checking and deciding if this relationship is really good for her.

When S. analyzes her own dream we can see that she has gained an understanding of the commonalities between her relationship with D. and with N. Both of them do not include her in the relationship as an equal partner, and when she demands more, they call her "clingy".

At the beginning of the dream, S. is on a trip with D. in Thailand (which for her is a romantic place and symbolizes her being a couple with D.). She meets Chen, who is surprised that they are together – Chen, also her close friend and flat-mate, is in addition, a part of her unconscious that knows they have separated and so is surprised at their being together.

We see that S. has progressed in that she realizes that she does not deserve to be treated in the way that N. is treating her. He told her, by the way, after she pulls it out of him, that he is traveling to Amsterdam. She is furious and is humiliated as she realizes that he is laughing at her, ridiculing her, and not treating her in the way that an equal girl-friend should be treated. He is not taking her seriously. S. has finally come to realize her worth as a woman and an equal partner in a relationship. Proof of this maturation process is that she is not relating to the sex between them, but to a social and emotional level and understands her rights as an equal partner in a couple relationships.

S. is gaining self-esteem, which was hidden in the unconscious, at the beginning of therapy, and now has risen to the surface facing the old "afraid she is not good enough" S.

We can see at the end of this email a conflict between two opposites: the old "clingy" S. and the new "demanding her legitimate rights" S.

Whatever attitude exists in the conscious mind, and whichever psychological function is dominant, the opposite is in the unconscious."2

Dream 11

A week later S. sent me this dream:

 "I was in N.'s house. I am not sure why. N. did not really relate to me much. He was with another friend and busy with him. I was in the living room busy with my thngs. My friend E. was also there and said that she was going back to her apartment. Then I told her that I was staying to finish my homework that I had already begun.

At one point N.'s parents came back to the house and I finally managed to meet them formally and this is after all the times we had slept together and spent the night together. N.'s mother already knows my mother; they are almost neighbors. I had never met the father. The parents were happy to see me and I felt comfortable with them. Again N. ignored me and continued to be with his friend. Then the father sat next to me and began to read the newspaper. The mother was busy with housework and N. was with his friend. I said that I was going home shortly and his father asked me why. I told him that I will finish my homework at home. He again asked me why and I said that I am not comfortable bothering them and I don't want to be one of those guests that keep staying and don't leave. His parents both said that I am not bothering them and that it is OK and his father even advised me how to finish my drawing. He reminded me of N. except he is an older version. N. talked to his parents a little bit but was never with them."

Finally N. introduces S. to his parents. This shows a development of a more "normal" relationship which is not only focused on sex. In the past, S. had only been in N.'s house in the middle of the night, sneaking in when the parents were asleep, and only for sex. She used to leave the house before the parents awoke, so that she had never formally met them.

She has changed, but N. has not. This we see in her statement that N. was busy with his friend and ignored her; he was not ready to see her in his home in the daytime, openly and not for sex. She has progressed from the previous status and is ready for an equal relationship NOT based on sex.

She has her own interests and life and is independent of his. In this dream, S. is busy with her own friend and homework, her own life, as opposed to N. She is both with him and separate from him, demonstrating her journey in her individuation process.

S. for the first time, describes normal couple and family relationships; however, N. seems to have difficulties accepting S.'s new place in the family context. On another level, we can also see that N. may represent S.'s previous developmental stage of her "self/psyche".

Previously, at the beginning of therapy, she had been "clingy and dependent" (according to the accusation of D.) to the extent that he could not bear it and abandoned her before their wedding. In this stage of therapy, she is independent of the male figure and not clingy. She can conduct her own activities and fulfill her own needs, and be accepted by his parents.

N. shows that he is not ashamed of the relationship anymore and respects her enough to introduce her to his parents. She gets also reinforcement from the father, who is especially important to her, that her presence in the house is accepted, and so is she. She even gets from his father the support and additional attention in the areas that are hers personally and separate from N. She relates to him as a father figure that she is so needy of, both in her psyche and in reality. The father is described in this dream as a stable, mature and balanced version of N., which may show that she has positive hopes that N. could mature enough to be like his father.

Throughout the dream, the emphasis is on acceptance as opposed to her previous feelings of abandonment. For the first time, a male figure accepts and supports her and does not abandon her.

Dream 12

Again two weeks passed and S. sent me the following dream:

" I dreamt that I am in a room with people that I do not know but they seem to be friends of mine. We are all in a common apartment and the atmosphere feels like Jerusalem with all the old buildings made of old stone. In the group there was a couple, somebody blond who was gorgeous who was with another gorgeous person. There also was a woman who looked horrible. She had hair on her forehead and I understood why she always went with a pony. She had hair also on her cheeks and nose. Her whole face was covered with hair. She was repulsive. She repulsed me but even she had a couple relationships with somebody from the group. Today, now, they are not together anymore. I don't know what the reason for their separation is but it was not the hair on her face. WOW ! If even she had somebody who wanted to be with her, what the hell is my problem!

Then I went to sit in another room and I started to bleed from my nose (this never happens to me). I was wearing a white scarf and the blood started to make it dirty. I told the beautiful blond and she tried to help me clean the scarf and to keep it from getting even more dirty.

When I came to leave I saw that my friend T. is there. I went to her and asked her, aggressively, what happened that she stopped being my friend. She was not ready to answer and then I simply pulled her by her hair outside and stayed with her until she answered. When she wanted to go I pulled her back by her hair and kept asking her. I didn't get an answer and she just yelled that I should leave her. Then my friends came outside to see what was happening and then I let her go. My friends came to see that I am OK and we went to an empty room that was full of spider webs. I did not have the courage to go inside because I am afraid of spiders and the beautiful blond went in because she was not afraid. I was hysterical with fear and could not go in. The yard outside suddenly was also full of huge spiders. I got into a panic and began to yell and cry and somebody from the groups tried to calm and said that it was OK that the spiders are here and that they will not do anything to me. I became a little bit calmer.

When we were back in the apartment, two friends of the gorgeous man pretended to be dead."

S. has progressed and separated in spite of the mother. In this dream she again is in an external arena, physically separated from her house. The physical separation from her home is completed.

Her mental and emotional separation from her mother has not yet been completed – she is still bothered by images of spiders which represent her mother complex and the devouring possessiveness of the negative controlling mother.

In reality, the mother found it difficult to physically and emotionally accept and understand the changes S. is undergoing. The mother still complains that S. does not pay her enough attention. S. only visits her when she wants something from her (according to the mother) and does not share her intimate thoughts and feelings. The mother complains that S. is detached from her, not investing appropriate time and emotional resources. The mother feels that S. does not include her in her real life as she would have liked.

In this dream, S. describes a couple in which the woman has a lot of hair on her face and forehead, hair being a symbol of force, power and masculinity. "A woman possessed by the animus is always in danger of losing her femininity."7

Perhaps, S. in her journey of separation and individuation, is afraid that she might be changing too much and losing her femininity. She is constantly questioning her femininity, previously identified by sex, and now there is a void which she is not sure how to fill. (There seem to be the possibilities of beauty and sex as opposed to ugly facial hair which symbolizes power). S. dreams that if the hairy powerful woman figure managed to find someone to love her, S. is sure that she will too. The beautiful blond feminine figure and the hairy repellent feminine figure represent opposites; "coniunctio, conjunction, used in alchemy to refer to chemical combinations,…psychologically… point to the union of opposites and the birth of new possibilities."2

After seven months, S. brought me this picture to demonstrate the different parts of her personality that she has learnt to live with. They are completely different, but can get along side by side and be compatible.

What was hidden, slowly becomes acceptable, and by understanding and evaluating inner factors and issues (her strong desires and needs for connectedness via sex) together with outer factors (her inhibiting resistances) in therapy via reflection and externalization, opposite forces are united.

S. is slowly progressing in her journey towards "conscious wholeness".4 Since the idea of wholeness is linked to Jung's theory of opposites, and if two conflicting opposites come together and synthesize, and the result creates a greater wholeness, we can see S.'s journey in several issues.

First of all, at the beginning of therapy, S. was completely enmeshed with her mother and this symbiotic relationship fixated her in depression and inactivity. Today, she is living on her own with a flat mate, studying and working.

The second issue that changed in Shelly's consciousness is her attitude and resulting behavior regarding her relationships with men; at the beginning of therapy she saw men through "sexual glasses", sex being the focus, goal and main activity of a relationship and herself as being the "less valued" or "less wanted partner". Today she is searching for and desires a multi-faceted relationship, a dialogue, an involvement of give and take which will result in an equal relationship in which her partner values, respects and truly wants her for more than just sex.S.'s journey towards wholeness is a journey from looking at the world as a place where there is deprivation and not enough (not enough love, not enough acceptance, not enough freedom …) to a world view of the universe in which she has choice and can fulfill her potential (as the metaphor of flowers in an empty vase or a vase with enough water). Now: There is enough.8−14



Conflicts of interest

The author declares that there is no conflicts of interest.


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