Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dreams, Lies, and Video Tapes

So, I'd asked my father to have some old family videos turned into CDs for me.

I hoped it would provide me with additional insights into my childhood.

 He brought them to me a few weeks ago.

I was somewhat surprised. I'd forgotten my mother and, looking at her, I felt more distant from her than ever. She seems weird, cold, too eager to sound loudly interesting and funny, or just vanishes into the background, despondently.

She's the one who'll taunt me and criticize me for her amusement in those videos. My father actually sometimes defends me. It's nothing big, for sure. Annoying pecks more than stabs.

But, I just don't like her.

I guess that's surprising. She died, then I discovered my father was a narcissist, then I remembered he was always the dominant one, and I somewhat idealized her posthumously. And I felt guilty for being duped or forced into choosing him over her when I was a child. Now I'm not so sure it was the worst thing I could have done. I just don't like her.

I've been telling people about this interesting discovery lately, most recently last night over some beers with friends.

So, this morning I had one of those vivid nightmares, the recurring one I've been having for years with some variations: I find out again all my work towards my doctorate is futile, as I never actually graduated from college. I have to go back to my final year. Nothing is a big deal, except for one course that I'd apparently just forgotten to take and thought of as boring and useless.

I now realize I can choose another course instead, and this time, being older and different, I choose, strangely for me, a course taught by a lovely, helpful, kind woman, involving baking colorful cookies shaped like snowmen and stick figures and cartoon characters. It was childlike and fun and you couldn't fail. I was happy to learn something that might help me make nice gifts for my family. I felt like a loved child being allowed to take this course. I hugged the teacher for being so helpful and she hugged me back.

She looked and acted nothing like my mother. This time, passing the missing exams meant finding a kind, loving, mother surrogate.

The dream continued by me going to my therapist and discovering someone else there, a colleague of his. He insisted I talked to him, so I started telling him about my mother and my dream, and he interrupted me:

- Stop blaming your mother! Stop blaming your parents for your problems and behaviors!

So I started railing and ranting and howling at him:

- I'm NOT blaming her for my behaviors! I'm only blaming them for not loving me, and for how bad that makes me feel, but me screaming at you right now is all ME, and my anger is all ME! And if you think I can't blame them for making me feel that way, don't you dare blame me for how you're feeling right now, being screamed at!!!

That felt good.

(I still haven't terminated therapy, as things are sort of still happening in every session.)


  1. This gave me CHILLS! What a gift, to have a mother-figure show up in your dream, to help you reach your goals. You are being hugged by saints (if I believed in that sort of thing lol) - it seriously gave me chills.

    And to end the dream with you having the BALLS to yell at a therapist! So cool, so rightious, so empowering. I love this so much.

  2. This was an enthralling read! The relationship between the father/mother competition in relation to their kids was interesting.

    It reminds me of ..

  3. Hugs. Dreaming of a mother sounds lovely. I would probably sleep all the time if I could have a dream like this one. Good for you for standing up and yelling back. My counselor really encouraged me to do this. I learned to stand up for myself by standing up to him.

  4. Happy for you.

    - GKA

  5. WOW! I'm just curious, any ideas of who the unknown "Therapist" reminded you of? Not necessarily in terms of appearance, but in terms of your feelings towards him? Sometimes I find "Stand-Ins" in my dreams that represent specific others or more generally, societal "Thou shalt/shalt not (fill in the blank.)"
    That's one powerful dream and empowering anger: IMO, it's the kind of anger that's productive, not destructive.

    1. I guess the part of me that still feels all this is wrong and I'm a weak, spoiled brat for even considering that my parents could have had any negative effect on me whatsoever. Sometimes, those around who don't get it are in perfect agreement with this part of me.

  6. That's interesting about it being looked upon as 'passing blame back'- I have had this said to me too, 'Don't blame your parents for your own failings.' I wasn't and I don't! I can actually 'blame' them more, for my supposed 'successes'. My main and real failing, was in not allowing myself to fail,and of always trying to be better and better, for them. That's what I learned. It's so the opposite of what people think! x


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