EXCERPTS FROM AND SUMMARIES OF R6's HISTORY AND SESSIONS
History Female, 20 years' old, single, no profession. Before beginning the Sessions, R6 had said the following about her mental state : "Ever since I was a small child I have felt like a frightened animal. I'm afraid of everyone and everything. I can't find understanding or support anywhere. I'm full of guilt feelings. I punish and torture myself because of these feelings. I live a life full of anxiety. I feel so alone. A life full of insecurity where everything, even the simplest thing, terrifies me and often causes me extreme shame.
"Until I was fourteen, I tried to hide my agony from my family until one day I could contain myself no longer ... A social worker referred me to a psychologist. In his person I sought the security and affection I needed so much. Unfortunately I had only 2 - 3 appointments with him and then nothing. Again I felt lost ... Five terrible years of suffering passed ... I visited the same psychologist again. He considered that I should see a psychiatrist and he recommended Dr. Kafkalides to me. And again I sought in the doctor the security I lacked. With him I found understanding. I felt I could trust him. But I wanted - in fact, I very much needed - to be completely dependent on him. I wanted him to love me as if I were his child. I wanted him to love me above all else. Naturally this desire of mine tormented me very much psychologically. It was in this state of mind that I decided to begin autopsychognosia sessions."
Session 2 At the moment I feel I've taken on the appearance of the nymphomaniac 24 ... Now I feel as if I've taken on the fierce appearance of my mother ... I want to become a foetus. What should I do? (The doctor recommends that she as sume the foetal position. She does.) Again I've take on the appearance of the nym phomaniac ... again the appearance of my mother. I'm afraid of her. She'll tear me to pieces. Now I can see Christ ... I don't feel relaxed in this position (the foetal posi tion). I'm afraid to return to the womb ... I can see red circles ... I'm afraid to return to the past. I feel very small and I feel aggressive. I felt as if I was entering something and I became frightened. I could see circles. I would have felt closed in and I wouldn't have been able to escape. I repress that feeling because I'm afraid. I feel shut in and I become a skeleton. It's unpleasant and I don't want to feel like that. I feel small. (R6 stammers) ... I feel that something is covering me. I feel I'm an object of contempt. I can feel only my little head. I feel closed in and as if they're choking me. (At this point R6 puts her hands around her throat and squeezes it.)
It's as if I've taken on the appearance of my little niece. I see light and then darkness again. I feel that there's something I can't escape from. It's as if they control me ... They do whatever they like. "They" are my parents and more generally Nature. It's as if I've been tied by the legs. I can feel only half my body. I feel that something inevitable is going to happen ... I can't stand it ... I feel as if they're choking me. I'm a baby. I feel naked. I fell aggressive towards everyone! Perhaps I'm in the womb ... but I'm afraid ... very afraid. I feel that maybe I'll die. I feel I'm choking., There's something on my head, like strong pressure - like the pressure I feel in my sleep which wakes me up. As if I'm dying. I didn't want to go into that place. I didn't want my conception to take place. I feel as if I'm being punished because I was conceived, and I can't escape. I want to get out but I can't. My vile mother has closed me inside her womb. She didn't want to have me with my father. For nine months that's how I felt ... as if I was choking
... as if my parents are punishing me. As if they want to kill me because I'm a girl, a lousy female. I can't bear feeling choked! As if I was born and my father is choking me ... I feel I'm also vile because I'm a girl. I can't stand being closed in. (sobbing) ...
... I still feel that I'm in the womb as if ... as if I don't believe all those things ... I felt that after their sexual act I entered the womb and afterwards I was born. That's what was inevitable. Now I await my fate! I feel I'm choking, as if I knew they didn't want me and that's why I feel I'm choking. The cramped place I was afraid of is perhaps due to that. As if I'm going to be choked to death ... My parents are choking me. I'm afraid that I'll die. My legs don't feel free. At times it's as if something gets into my throat, but I don't know what it is. I feel that I'm an object of contempt. It's as if I've come out of the womb ... but it's as if I'm ashamed that I'll be seen! Sometimes I see darkness and other times half-light ... now only darkness! As if a dead child comes out ... a dead child after nine months of agony in the womb. As if the nymphomaniac is being punished by being forbidden to have sex.
(to the doctor) Feeling as I do like a foetus and grown up, I'm looking at a part of your body that I shouldn't be looking at and I take on the appearance of the nymphomaniac. I feel that people are telling me that I'm being punished just as a nymphomaniac is punished when she can't be gratified sexually. My parents' sexual act isn't pure and that's why I feel scorned, humiliated ... When I come out of the womb, I feel that the sexual act is forbidden me because I'd been rejected by my parents etc. ... As if I come out of the womb of a nymphomaniac who is forbidden to have sex. I feel that everyone around me feels contempt for me. I feel defenceless and within me I wonder when I too will get my revenge by being aggressive towards everyone. I feel I'm out of the womb ... I'm vile ... I'm not pure. I'm an object of scorn ... I feel insecure because I don't feel pure. Everyone despises me ... I feel that I deserve to be despised because I'm not pure ... That's why I feel ashamed in front of people. As if I come out of an oven! (At this point R6 refers to an excursion she had been on, during which she visited a brick factory. She goes on to say:) At the brick factory I was scared they'd put me into the oven. (Here she explains that the oven of the brick factory symbolized her mother's womb.)
I can't face small children because maybe the affection I'll give them won't be pure. I feel that small children despise me because I'm not pure! I feel like a foetus and I can see my little niece scorning me and I say to her: "You want affection but I'm not going to give it to you!"
I reject the sexual act because through sex I'll return to the womb and I'll be terribly tortured all over again.25
Session 14 When I saw my mother pregnant - I felt I was in her belly - and she was hitting me furiously, I realized that she wanted to remove me from her body and I felt afraid because everyone was against me and at the same time I felt very weak. I don't want to see phallic symbols (such as candles which are on the doctor's desk, the knife which is illustrated in a painting in the room). They cause me pain because I associate them with the male genital organs. In the place of the man's genital organs I'd like there to be a hole just so that they could urinate, but without a hymen. I'd also like men to keep company with members of their own sex but without them having sexual relations amongst themselves. As men won't have genital organs, they won't have sexual desire or relations, neither amongst themselves nor with women. A fat man without a sexual organ comes into my mind. This man comes from the past. There's something primitive in his appearance. He says to me: "What can I do with you now that you've cut my genital organ?" His voice expresses sarcasm and punishment. Actually, he doesn't really care about not having a penis because he's old and anyway, even if he had a sexual organ, he wouldn't be able to have sexual relations because of his age.
I can see the image very clearly before me. This man, wrapped in a tunic, was having a discussion with someone and he said: "Forget her. Do you think I'm going to be concerned with that brat of mine now?" I felt he was rejecting me and I removed his genital organs to punish him. Let him feel as I felt in my mother's womb. That man was my father. For him, it's as if I don't exist.
Every movement I make I connect it with sex and into my mind comes the image of Christ with a crown of thorns crucified on the cross. I resemble him - I'm pale and thin just like him. We don't care that people pay us no attention, sick and pale as we are. We want them to despise us!
Suddenly the images disappear and a small monkey appears before me. This little monkey scorns me, even the monkey scorns me. Now I feel I'm becoming a big monkey, ready to tear the little one to pieces.26
I now see the doctor as my father. He's taken on the appearance of my father. He is a liberated man, meaning he doesn't have any problems. Beside him stands a woman who has my mother's features. Both of them are looking up at the ceiling where there's a hole from which water is running. Suddenly I feel very ugly in the face, as if I don't have a face. My face is different to other people's. My father and mother want to leave, as if something is threatening them. It's the hole that's threatening them. The man leaves and abandons his wife, my mother. The woman is trapped! She's caught and she can't escape. Oh! What a mean person that man is. Why did he go away and leave her? He wanted to throw off his past and he left. He didn't want me ... Something is pressing on me ... it's choking me ... They're trying to get me out ... They don't want me ... But when I come out, so will that man! But that's impossible.,
In front of me now is the local garbage truck collecting the rubbish. When I come out I'll be a bit of rubbish, while he (the man above) will be a man. I won't exist, but he will. No! No! That can't be. Why do I feel so discarded? That's how I always feel. I can't bear to continue this scene. I feel very afraid and anxious ...
I can see a fat old woman who comes from the past. A very bad woman. She's holding a broom and she's sweeping the rubbish which is me. I'm certain that this woman is an ancestor of mine. I feel I'm lying in the mud of a tortured past and that they're treading on me. Everyone is against me and they're crushing me and treading on me and I'm in the mud, a piece of rubbish.
Now I can see a clothes line in the yard of my house full of trousers. They're my brothers' clothes. So many babies and they're all boys! What did she want them for? What can my mother do with so many boys? Why did I also come along? What can I do with boys? I can see my face as being very ugly, as if I don't have a face. Why should I also be amongst all those men? What was I after? I feel like a nymphomaniac.27
I feel that none of those men want me amongst them. I want to cut that clothes line with the trousers! I just don't want to see anything! I'm the only woman amongst my brothers. Like a pig, that's how I feel. I can see a black crow which wants to snatch something. I'm the black crow. I want to grab at happiness and I become a bird to do it. But nothing happens. What was I doing in the house seeing that my mother was there! Isn't one woman enough? Besides, my mother wanted to be the only woman around.
I see an opening in front of me ... They want to get me out. I shouldn't exist! I shouldn't exist! Since I don't have a body, why should I exist? Is it my fault? ... my fault that I was conceived? She didn't want me.
Now I feel like a fish. That fish lives in the water but it feels very cold ... The water's very cold, freezing. So I can't even live as a fish because I'm a human being. I'm thinking once again of the original hole in the ceiling with water running from it. I feel like urinating. Water is running out of the hole again and together with the water comes me ... a piece of rubbish. When I'm far away from people, my life will be better. But I must learn to live with them ...But how? How, seeing that they reject me? That's my big problem. My father sees me as a piece of rubbish. Since I'm rubbish, it means that I don't exist. How then can I live with people? Will I feel that I am something? Now I can see my father staring into my mother's womb where I am. Why are you looking at me in the womb? You should be ashamed of yourselfl To me he feels like a guard waiting for the moment when he can take me out and torture me. I say to him: "I won't come out. I'm not allowed to come out. I don't have the strength." But that doesn't concern him because he is himself. Everyone looks out for himself. I can't see ... I can't see myself as existing ... I see knives, leaves ... but I don't see myself as existing. Nor do I see my mother. That's how discarded I am, then. I feel like that wherever I am, all the time.
The womb is something unclean. It contains folds, pieces of glass ... When someone enters the womb, that's it! He becomes a sucker! He's nothing. A small foetus ... so small. I didn't expect it and yet it's as if they put you into a grave. A big opening like a grave. You know nothing, nothing, nothing! It's as if you're in a plastic bag until you come out. Can these things happen without feelings, without anything? Is such a thing possible?
Now I can see little babies everywhere. Since I don't love them, what can I do with them? Shall I constantly become a baby then? I can't bear, I can't stand babies, I can't stand foetuses. Me love babies? But how can I love them as long as I didn't exist? They upset me, Doctor. Those babies upset me terribly! I want to feel, for goodness sake, that I exist, that I have existence. But I can't see that happening.
Now I address myself to the doctor who has taken on the appearance of my father. I say to him: "I want to feel that I exist, but I can't. Are you such a sadist that you can't understand that? Just because I'm a woman, what harm am I causing you? I'm a woman and you spit on me. Just as you mistreat me, I'll mistreat you. You want to feel something. You want me to give you something ... but what will I feel if I give it to you? What will come of it?"
I feel I'm a skeleton. I see myself as a skeleton. Skeletons exist to remind us that we exist too. We exist too ... I exist as a skeleton which begs for love from the great ladies ... Did I say great ladies? No. Great lady! That's it ... I, the skeleton, beg my mother, the great lady, for love ... acceptance ... But in vain. The great and wealthy lady plays the piano and we are its notes! Is that right? No! This difference between the great and wealthy lady and poor me shouldn't exist ... the rich and the poor. Shame!
I'm afraid of the sea because it'll drown me. And when I drown, I'll become a little baby, a foetus ... and then ... then there's the grave. Then Christ and death. But how does one really go to one's death? It's simple ... When they don't want you, they bury you, they bury you!
An enormous man's hand is approaching me now. I don't want that hand. No, I don't want it. What can I do with it as long as it doesn't satisfy me? That enormous hand is my father's. And my father says to me: "Come out, you piece of rubbish!" and I came out a piece of rubbish ... and he came out a human being. I can see people and women around me. Where am I? No, I don't see myself: I can't find myself anywhere. As if my father cares about that! But I want to learn to exist for myself - I don't care about others - to exist! to exist!
Yet I am a nothing in front of my mother. She shut me in there in her womb and I'm a nothing. And my father watched and waited for the pregnancy to run its course. Alas, I feel I don't exist so that they can't see me. And since I didn't exist in there (in the womb), how can I ever feel that I exist?
The hand isn't my father's any more but my mother's. A beautiful hand, feminine, my mother's hand holding apiece of charcoal and crushing it. The charcoal is me ...
I have no worth, no worth at all. Why, God, did you send me? God is the womb. God is afraid of me and I'm afraid of God. Only God exists and I collaborate with him but this collaboration makes me feel terrible. God, I'm not his daughter! I'm nothing is his world. Priests are all-powerful and they become one with my father, one with the train which rolls over the track and I'm the track.
The thing that frightens me is the man's penis because it's the most powerful thing of all. It terrifies me because through it I was conceived. Skeletons await someone's judgement. Skeletons cannot live on earth. Skeletons await God's judgement and God is the womb - and I the skeleton.
Session 20 One problem that I have is Death. At this very moment I don't know if I'm going to live or die. I constantly feel Death and I constantly defend myself. I can't make love with anyone. The thought that I could make love with someone gives me a feeling of death. Sex brings me to the womb. To feel well, I have to kill the womb. I want to kill it, to kill it, to kill it. There's no other alternative. How can I kill it though? Can I kill the womb? How could I kill it? ... Could such a thing be done? ... Could it?
The doctor gives me a newspaper rolled up and says to me: "Kill it!" I take the newspaper from him and begin to cry and feel very afraid. The doctor seems like a murderer. The doctor is rejecting me and that makes me feel very sad while at the same time I hate him ... I throw the newspaper a long way away. If I kill the womb, I won't be satisfied. Again the result will be chaos, a void. If I destroy the womb, it's as if I'm destroying my own womb. I feel the doctor is an oppressor-murderer who wanted to deflower me. I feel he's rejecting me and I associate him with my father. I hate him. I hate him. And if I destroy the womb, what will happen? There'd be chaos, seeing that my conception has taken place, seeing that I was born. What's the point? I don't want to remove and destroy my womb because then men won't want me. The womb is a monastery for men 28 I ... Will my children feel well, or will they feel as terrible as I do? By killing my mother's womb, I don't solve my problem because I also have a womb and my womb is a threat to me.
When you're rejected, you want to die ... and then follows Eternity and you'll always feel like that, always like that. Death'and Eternity are one and the same thing. I'll always feel as if I'm dead ...
I must be thin. Being grown up and thin, I suffer, I suffer, I suffer ... They don't want me to exist and I would have liked never to have been conceived, but I exist ... Even if I'm a stigma in the womb, still I exist. Earth, you whore - Mother, you whore - womb. you whore! All wombs are to blame ... Now, even at this very moment, the womb wants to kill me. I fight back ... I'm afraid I'll die. When will I get out of this situation? It's black. I come out naked and people don't want naked people. I feel as if I'm burning ... I see black ash ... goodness me ... what's that? The womb is everything. I come into the world as if I'm burnt.
When I'm born, when I come out of the womb, I can't fight it because I feel I'm always in it. I feel I have something from the womb even if I'm outside it ... Now they know me for the dirty child they didn't want. They wore me out. My ancestors oppressed me ... The children I see around me remind me of myself ... I feel sorry for them.
Now an image appears before me. A very big hand which symbolizes power, dark power. It's holding the cross and the grave ... It's as if that hand is coming out of the tomb ... All the situations of the present rekindle the past. I want to break my bonds but I'm afraid of the unknown. When I break them, I'll want to hide in the womb again.
24 Doctor's note: R6 is referring to a neighbour of hers who was considered a nymphomaniac.
25Doctor's note: Symbolism of sex for R6.
26 R6's note: I feel like this because I want to defend myself against the small monkey and the only way I can do that is by becoming big and fat like my father so that I can tear it to pieces.
27 R6's note: In previous Sessions I have also felt like a nymphomaniac. For me a nymphomaniac is a woman who has many sexual relationships in her effort to find security. She wants to enter the womb to find security. But the womb always rejects her and so she never finds what she's looking for.
28 R6's note: I compare my womb to a church, to a beehive. On the one hand I do not want to destroy it so that men will accept me. On the other hand I want to destroy it so that it will never be a refuge for men.