chapter
5 Pages

Dreaming: A “Path of Least Resistance?”

Slowly, I told her some of what was taking place for me subjectively, and a process began that was initially defined by her switches between self-states, in which she oscillated from being remarkably responsive and forthcoming to being distrustful and frightened. The difference for me was that although I had seen these states many times before, there were now periods in which both states of mind had access to her consciousness simultaneously though they were not yet felt as a unitary self-experience. She could now begin to feel the presence of multiple realities as internal voices that were still at war but were now talking to each other. She told me that one reason she had been angry at me-just before she had the dream-was that I was not aware of how frightened she was to take things seriously, and in the previous session, when she was telling me about her current life, I wasn't "getting" how bad it was because she told it as though she was "above it all." She was furious that I was being just like her parents and didn't really want to know about the "m arginal" world she really lives in, both inner and outer. This led to a stream of associations beginning with "It's more fun than a nightmare"; nightmare had reference to the horse, the "m are" she rode as a child, on the back of which she could live in her dissociated world, flying magically "above it a ll"— above the real nightmare she feared would flood her if she achieved fuller access to consciousness, and memory of the exploitation, disregard, and neglect that constituted her "objective" reality of relationships with adults. Thus, "don't trust adults" became her secret motif for survival through turning everything, including herself, into a cartoon. But now, one part of herself had enough insight into this process to respond to my parental failure with a dream that, by my entering through enactment, took her to a next step in her growth.