Freud: Dreams And Oedipus Complex
The introduction to Depth Psychology was an interesting course to take. It introduced me to the theories and traditions of depth psychology and took a deeper dive into the world of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Depth psychology examines the hidden and deeper aspects of human experience. My interpretation of depth psychology is to understand the concept by being thorough, while going deeper, and encourage a great sense of self-awareness. It was the first class that I’ve taken that was spent on these two psychoanalysts. In my master’s program, we didn’t go in-depth in the history and perspective of Freud and Jung. In fact, I didn’t spend more than one class session on these two psychoanalysts alone. The topics that really stood out to me in this class were Oedipus Complex, dreams, and archetype. In this paper, I would be talking about these topics and speak about my understanding of the matter.
Intro to Dreams
Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung arguably defined the world of psychology. Both had different theories but made equal impacts on the perception of the human mind and experience. They are seen to be the ones who provided the blueprint of the world of psychology. There was a point in time where these two were not merely colleagues, but great friends with an intimate bond. The intensity of their relationship could be experienced by reading the publication of 360 letters that were sent from each other from 1906 until their breakup in 1914. Freud was viewed as a mentor and influencer to Jung. Jung, however, had a different and conflicting set of beliefs that affected their partnership. In Freud’s final letter written to Jung it stated, “your allegation that I treat my followers as patients are demonstrably untrue […] According, I propose that we abandon our personal relationship entirely.”
Jung and Freud had different perspectives on the fundamentals and derivatives of dreams. Freud believed that we can know and gain more of an understanding of a person through their unconscious as in contrast with their conscious mind. He also believed that we are in a conscious state of mind and don’t act on our deepest desires. However, when we are sleeping, Freud believes that we live our desires through our dreams. He mentioned that when we are sleeping, we are in our most vulnerable state and are not subject to the considerations of reality and morality. Essentially, Freud expressed that our dreams are repressed by our thoughts, mainly sexual in nature, and we don’t act on those thoughts due to fear of embarrassment. He believed that our defense mechanisms allow those thoughts to present in symbolic form. For example, if you are dreaming about poles, Freud would view them as if you are dreaming of a penis.
In contrast to Freud, Jung believed that dreams are a depiction of the unconscious mind. Jung did share the same view that everything presented in a dream had relations to repressed sexual desire. He did focus more on symbolism and imagery. Jung believed that dreams could contain different meanings depending on the dreamer’s associations. He disagreed with Freud about Freud’s strict fixation on looking at the external aspects of a person’s dream, rather than investigate the dream on a deeper level both subjectively and objectively. Jung expressed that dreams are the bridges together the conscious and the unconscious. He did not feel that dreams represent desires or outcomes, but it is seen as a tool to assist the person to explore solutions to problems that they are facing consciously.
Ever since I could recall, I’ve experienced vivid and lucid dreams throughout my childhood years up to my early adulthood. I recalled feeling frustrated when I couldn’t articulate them in my early years. Like Jung mentioned in his book Memories, Dreams, Reflections, he stated that “I do not know what started med off perceiving the stream of life. Probably the unconscious itself. Or perhaps my early dreams. They determined my course from the beginning” (Jung, 1963, p. 373). I felt like I had all the words that would describe my dream but when I’ve tried to explain them it didn’t make sense when I said it out loud. I remembered that colors had such a significant impact on me, and I couldn’t fathom why. All that I was aware of was in my grammar school years the color grey was very prevalent in my dreams. I felt like that was the color that I related to the most. It wasn’t my favorite color, but it resonated with me in some way. I wore that color like a child attached to their blanket. I remember checking in with my teacher in first grade about my experience. I told her that after I woke up, I felt grey. She asked, “What does that mean?” I said, “I don’t feel sure about what it means.” She told me that colors often time represent emotions, but I didn’t understand at the time what that meant. Through the years, I came to realize that grey signifies a sense of uncertainty. It’s a dull color that lives between white and black. It doesn’t really know its place yet. It’s neutral in tone and expression. I think that was what I was feeling at the time. As a child, I had a vivid imagination and a tendency to bottle up my emotions.
I didn’t grow up in an environment where I felt comfortable expressing myself. I related to what Jung said in his book. He stated, “As a child, I felt myself to be alone, and I am still because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, for the most part, do not want to know” (Jung, 1963, p. 373). I grew up in a dysfunctional family where everyone had a deep love for each other but struggled in accepting it. I am the youngest of seven but the only one whose parents are married. My father has three daughters and a son from two previous relationships (with of those relationships being with an ex-wife); while my mother had two additional sons from two different men. I grew up with my mother’s children and through my childhood, I realized that I had additional siblings from my father’s side. I was introduced to my siblings in different stages in my childhood years. There was always a sense of uncertainty where I stood with people. I think that is why the color grey was very prevalent in my early years. I had this yearning to be seen by my sisters, particularly by one of them, and her name is Christina. My father would tell me stories about her and informed me that I reminded him of her. That I carried physical as wells as emotional characteristics from her. It should be noted that I don’t look like my siblings, apart from her. However, each of my siblings carried similar traits from each other that make them look like they are siblings. I felt a sense of loneliness that was hard to express where it came from at the time. Jung mentions in his book that “loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain view which others find inadmissible” (Jung, 1963, p. 373).
It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my mother around the age of six, where she explained to me that she too experiences vivid dreams and premonitions. She explained to me that premonitions are this vague but strong feeling that something about to happen and often is something unpleasant. She told me that she pays attention to her dreams and what the dream is trying to tell her. We had endless conversations about how colors were prevalent in dreams and she shared her experiences with colors. She once told me that her experience with the color grey was due to her feeling overlooked in her family. She would tell me, “There were times where I had to ask myself ‘does my father love me?’” As she has gotten older, she would dream of black and purple. She expressed that the color black represented the unconscious, the unknown, and the mystery of her negative feelings. She spoke about experiencing a dream where she was surrounded by family and when she tried to give a hug the individual would fade into black smoke. She would try constantly finding someone where she reaches for an embrace, but everyone disappeared to a cloud of black smoke. She would say, in her dream, she would inhale the smoke so she would feel something. My mother informed me that her dreams fueled her addiction to alcohol for a very long time. She mentioned that her addiction was so bad that every dream was about coping with her hurt in an unhealthy manner. Along with her dreams came her premonitions that carried her anxiety to another level. My mother was adamant about finding ways to write or document my dreams because she felt that it meant something. She recalled one night waking up in the middle of the night with a heaviness in her chest. As she rose, she mentioned that she felt that something was not right. She called her children one by one, with an exception of me. My brothers said they were fine. Hours later, I called my father and let him know that I was in a serious accident on the freeway. It was a miracle that I wasn’t killed in the accident, but I was hurt.
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