It is not too
difficult to recognize the elements of the Oedipus myth.
Most of my
recognition is related in the report of my request
so I will not repeat it here.
A self-repairing ability
This is an astonishing to discovery. I call it "the automatic pilot". Melanie Klein frequently mentions it and I agree with her. There are two crucial moments when this ability is seen:
A crisis is not experienced as a choice, but the second crucial moment is a choice, a leap into the dark you must dare to make. You will see the self-repairing ability appear, although a helper will be very useful.
Oedipus did the same. In his case, the he had to go course was dramatic, but in my case things went nearly automatically. It concerns a quest for the truth about one's soul. One must be open to this quest and spend the time needed. If one does this, the process of searching happens nearly automatically. The process of searching is not difficult, but the content may be. It asks you to re-feel and re-experience your once suppressed feelings -- repressed for a reason. Coping with these feelings is difficult and time consuming.
It is remarkable how much my soul used dreams to sweep out my inner cellar, to give room to the suppressed feelings, and maybe also to do that what once had to be done.
In my case, this process happened nearly automatically, including the period during which my first therapist retired and the second had not yet started working with me. My 'automatic pilot' simply kept me on course.
In my dreams, I have so frequently felt a guide being near me that I think a human has an inner guide -- be it a guide from our inside, or a guide from the outside. In my case, it always was a young female guide who looked like my young daughter. It was striking for me to read that Oedipus was guided by his daughter.
The 15-year kingship: illusion and disillusion
Many people will recognize this period in the Oedipus myth. In certain years of your life, you are busy with a job and your family and you don't dwell on yourself... until a crisis arises, and you must look to your inner self. If a crisis occurs, it is a good advice that you do so.
Disillusion will follow. This is difficult, but liberating. Remember that the development of the child's identity begins with the disillusion about the dyad. Supposedly, the same holds for a crisis later in life. I thought that I had a good marriage, that I did well in my job, and even when things went wrong, I had a lot of such... illusions. Until the moment disillusion crept in. Difficult, indeed, but it also set me free.
A depressing start
As a very young child, I experienced illnesses, an incubator, death agony, hospitals, and war. According to my mother, I refused food. This must refer to an early-childhood depression. Apparently, I said NO to life, as I have written in my essay about Narcissism.
In such a case, the Oedipal phase becomes far more difficult. I am glad I dared to start that phase, and at least have found a solution, albeit a solution the literature calls 'negative'. Better to reach something than nothing.
My 'automatic pilot' knew exactly the route to take. First, I must re-feel and cope with that ancient stew. Freed from that, I could free myself from my narcissism, which simply crumbled off. Then, there was room to re-feel the Oedipal feelings, beginning with the fight with or against my father. It happened just as in the stories of Richard and the other children I have recounted from the literature.
Parental figures and the triangle
It was very clarifying to read about the parental figures a child constructs. They are inner figures, who are not necessarily like the real parents. The little girl Rita, for example, at first adored her father when her first Oedipal desires came up. When the same feelings became too difficult for her ego, she vilified the same father. This tells us more about Rita than it does her father. The idea that it concerns inner figures makes it easier to work with those configurations. For example, the fact that I, in my very early childhood, abandoned my father, says little about my father, but a lot about me.
Indeed, this was a split of my inner figures: in my feelings, the mother was only good, the father only bad. It was just like the account of Richard with his angel-like heavenly-blue mother figure and the black 'germ' father figure. After this phase of re-feeling, I could nuance this configuration, as I have described in the report of my quest. Again, we see that once an illusion is let go, a lot of freedom, inner room and energy emerges.
Concerning parental figures, I cannot recognize falling in love with my mother, al least not consciously. I may conclude those feelings from some memories which, afterward, may be interpreted as sexual. Apparently, such feelings remain unconscious.
Was my father figure my rival? Yes, he was. In my way of thinking as a young child, I did not allow him, that scary man, to be the partner of my angel-like mother.
Did my childish soul deny the sexual partnership of my parents? Yes, it did. Despite the fact that a clearly visible multitude of children proved the contrary, my young psyche refused to believe my parents were sexual beings. I pitied my mother being married to that man.
This came clearly into my young consciousness when I once entered the parental bedroom early one morning and could not avoid seeing the reality that they slept with each other. My parents just came out of their bed. It was very repugnant to see my father in that situation and I pitied my mother for having to sleep with that man. I refused to believe that she, an angel, was also a woman with a body and sexuality.
This feeling lasted quite a long time, including when I was old enough to know about sexuality and look for a girl friend. Coming home late in the evening, I crept along the stairs near my parents' bedroom. I went quickly past it because I still felt the same resistance to their sexual partnership and had still to defend myself for that feeling. The recent literature mentions this scenario of denying of the upper line of the Oedipal triangle, maintaining the V-form.
Clearly, my young psyche chose a so-called 'negative' solution. Still very young, I abandoned my father. I refused to identify with him. Instead, I identified myself with my mother as the figure caring for the children.
Is this negative? In my opinion, that term is misleading. It might better be expressed as 'converted' as this does not imply a value judgement. As I read about the children who, with their early-childhood depressions, did not dare enter the Oedipal phase, I think it is better to reach something than nothing. Apparently, I had an early depression, but I did dare enter the Oedipal phase.
I had a dream in
which I gave my father figure back to my mother figure as her partner. This was,
it seems to me a crucial dream, given the importance of that upper line in
the triangle. Indeed, after that dream many things happened in my inner self:
disillusions, which at the end appeared to be healing and resulted in inner freedom.
Better late then never, as they say.