I heard somewhere that if it's hysterical, it's historical. When I took that first small step of acknowledging that something was wrong with me, I had to acknowledge that for most of my life, I used my traumas to justify the way I was in the world in relationship to others. I believed that my confidence, self sufficiency, sense of humor, desire to be a good person, and my ability to make others feel comfortable was sufficient to get through in life. I was strong and capable, able to take care of myself. So what if drank too much, was grandiose at times? So what if I was a little harsh, too honest, I liked to say. So what if I couldn't talk about feelings (that's lame anyway...), so what if you didn't understand me (though I expected you to!)? Maybe I was a little reactionary (passionate), I am a Leo, so of course I am a little fiery.
If you got close enough to me, you might learn that I had been given up for adoption (my adoptive parents got to choose their child), or that I had grown up in an abusive home (poor me), or that I had been a teenage runaway (wow...you really hitchhiked 2000 miles?), or that I was a high school dropout (but isn't it great that I got a college degree?). You might have seen that I clearly had a problem with alcohol (after all, it IS noon somewhere). But, hey I worked hard, so I played hard too. But you would never really know me, because you were never going to know the real story. I was too ashamed to tell it and besides, I am a survivor, not a victim....victims constantly tell their stories, survivors pick up and move on.
When I have been ready, the dream work has taken me to some of my places of trauma. The archetypes have prepared me for this difficult work by showing me that I am not alone. But, I have had to accept them, open my heart and "see" that they are there, that I am not alone. This is hard work for a woman who has believed for most of her life that she is alone, that when the chips are down, it is a dog eat dog world. But the dreams have shown the way.
I see Elvis Presley on a bed with a girl. He is his younger self. She seems very young and innocent. The girl turns and licks Elvis on his shoulder and he says, “oh, I get some free sex out of this and he reaches around to pull the girl to him, except then the girl is me. He is sleazy and entitled… he disgusts me. We start having sex and it is awful. He thinks he is fabulous, but he is gross in the way he moves and his dick is really small and he is completely self absorbed. Thankfully it is over quickly. I see his penis and it is really small, uncut and it has a huge silver cuff through it with a gem stone on it. It is ugly. He adjusts it and is talking to himself. I feel disgusted and get up and go into a large bathroom area. I look in the mirror and see something sticking out of my nose. I think it is just a runny nose and so I try to brush it off. Then I grab a hold of it and start pulling it out. This long thing starts to come out of my head. It is like it is attached somewhere inside my head. It is really hard to pull it out, but I keep pulling on it. It is slimy and hard to grip. I have to dig my thumbnails into it to keep pulling on it. I pull it out and throw it in the sink. It is gross. It is a disgusting yellowish color. It is gelatinous in consistency and it appears to be dead. I realize that it won’t wash down the sink because it is too big and thick, so I pick it up and throw it in the trash bin. Then I realize that someone might see it and I don’t want anyone to know it came from me or that I have even been in this place and so I take a pen to pick up some pieces of paper to cover it with. I use the pen so I won’t leave any fingerprints. Then I find a towel and wipe down the pens and the table and things that I touched. I hear Elvis in the other room say. “That’s it, I’m out of here”.
I am in a place where there is a woman who wants to have sex with me. I feel ambivalent but am in the bed with her. I realize that it is a trick, that she has a boyfriend who wants us to have sex for money. I feel lethargic, like I have no desire to move and I can’t seem to think; like I care about nothing. I feel numb. Suddenly I decide to take a shower. The water has the effect of invigorating me, waking me up so that I feel clear. I think, I don’t want to be in this place. And then He comes and takes me out of there. As I follow Him, we pass through a dark place. I see a huge space with some type of wooden bench with posts attached. I see people moving about doing something around them. I realize that these benches are for torturing people. I realize that I see many, many of these benches as far into the gloom as I can see. Then I see the woman from before seated on one of the benches. Her hands are bound behind her back... I feel contempt and defiance and underneath I feel terrified and hurt. But I don’t show this. I only show the contempt and defiance. I want to thumb my nose at this place, but I turn and following Him through the door, out of there!Dream:
I am outside. It is night and I am on the streets. I see a group of men and I think they are trying to rape a girl. I see no one else around. I try and yell at them to stop, but I have no voice. I try several times and then suddenly I have my voice and it is very loud. I yell at them to stop and they do. Then I see another group of men and a woman on the street below the over pass I am now standing on. They are doing something to the woman and I think they are trying to hurt her. There is no one else around. I yell at them to stop but they don’t. I tell them I have a gun, but I know that the gun has no bullets. I pretend that it does. I point the gun down at them. Then a young man comes towards me across the overpass. He pretends like he escaped from them and is coming to me for help, but I know he is really coming to see if I really do have a gun with bullets. I let him come, since I can’t shoot him anyway. He takes the gun from me.Dream:
...I find a babyon the ground. I pick it up and see that it is badly wounded. She is wrapped in a cloth, but I see that she has a gunshot wound just above her heart and her head is injured and bleeding. I bring her to the Man. He lays his hand on her head to stop the bleeding and I see that the wound is healed. Then he lays his hand on her heart.
These dreams were all worked with my dreamwork therapist, Sue. I learned that the first two dreams relate to trauma I experienced associated with being a teenage runaway. My experiences on the street are difficult for me to think about. I certainly never spoke of them. I have avoided the feeling of pain associated with this trauma by burying it away in shame. The expulsion of the worm represents the release of the shame.In the dream, I am desperate to hide all evidence of my trauma and my shame. But, it is there and I can see and acknowledge it. When I had this dream, I knew immediately what it was about. I didn't want to talk about it with Sue. I was ashamed and terrified, but I did it anyway. The speaking led to feeling into the deep hurt wrapped up in this trauma. In this work, the way back to the love is through these corridors of pain. To transform the pain into the love, to truly recover from the trauma, I have learned that this pain must be felt.
In the second dream, I know I don't want to be in this place. As soon as this is acknowledged in the dream, the Animus is there to take me out. The intense suffering of this place is shown to me and I am afraid, terrified. I cover this feeling with contempt and anger. The third dream here shows how the trauma affects my world view. If I see men with a woman doing something, the lens that I look through tells me that they are trying to hurt her, even if this is not true. This makes me suspicious of men, distrusting and creates a block in my work at times when the Animus comes to me. When he comes and I see him through this lens, he appears scary or aggressive or even evil.
In the final dream above, I find the infant. She is represents my soul. I clearly see she is wounded and yet I see how innocent she is. She suffers from the trauma of separation...separation from her birth mother and ultimately separation from the Divine. It breaks my heart. Somehow I know that she can only be healed by God and I bring her to Him. I see the healing take place. I know that she can be healed. I know this, I remember this and I do not question it. I experienced deep grief acknowledging this wounded infant that is me. It has been a great gift. This very intense feeling brings me into a close personal connection with the divine. I find compassion for myself in my woundedness and I find compassion for others because I see more clearly how we all suffer from our wounds. But most critically, this dream opened my heart to the fact that for my whole life I have walked around with this gaping wound and I was not consciously able to acknowledge it because I was simply unwilling to feel it.