Dr. Donald Kalsched, Jungian analyst, teacher, and author, discusses his acclaimed work on childhood trauma; (see www.donaldkalsched.com for upcoming programs). When there is unbearable emotional pain in childhood, archetypal defenses dismember such experience and banish parts of it to the unconscious, where it remains as unconscious suffering. Such suffering is manifested as pathological symptoms, i.e., dysfunctional relationships, addictions, narcissism, and more. The defensive system that takes over–a ‘self-care system’–is both protective and persecutory of the innocence and vulnerability hiding in the inner fortress, and thus the trauma survivor leads a false, generic life instead of a true, personal one. He/she is unable to feel and be fully alive in the world—especially in intimate relationships. The potential for such aliveness lies dormant, like a seed in the prima materia of unconsciousness, waiting to be awakened and restored to the ego—but against great resistances thrown up by the defensive system. Often dreams lead the way in this process of self-recovery, reconnecting the dismembered parts so that exiled aspects of ourselves can come home and wounded hearts can heal.
Here’s the dream we analyze:
“I enter my parents’ kitchen, where a group of people are ready to cook lion meat for me to eat. I’m not sure who the cooks are. They show me the different ways they can cook the lion’s meat (minced, in a stew, steak, or raw, sashimi style). Afterward, they show me a mask made of the lion’s face, which I have to wear after I eat the lion’s meat. I never get to actually eat the meat or wear the lion’s mask in the dream.”
Donald Kalsched. The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defenses of the Personal Spirit. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0415123291/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_TTDKA7RX9NAHYNRGAFDJ
Donald Kalsched. Trauma and the Soul: A Psycho-Spiritual Approach to Human Development and Its Interpretation. https://www.amazon.com/dp/0415681464/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_ENFCXEKS1T3FV61WRMP7?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
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