"After struggling with death, hoping to be greeted with love, all I got was
that lousy expression
and ten days in a hospital's maternity isolation ward.
No wonder I had dreamt about
having murdered someone, driving in
confusion and guilt in a freshly bloodied car worrying
about a possible life
sentence. I had fought for life in the birth canal, ripped my mother
bathed in her blood and been left alone in isolation."
-- The author
I started self-primaling in March, 1995, and had my first clear
photographic primal in February, 1996. Between that time and January, 1999, I
had a total of ninety-five clear primals (I kept a log), out of which at least
ninety emerged through sleep. After January, 1999, I haven't had more
primals, and the need to do self primal therapy primal has lessened considerably.
I was born in 1971. Already as a teenager, I had wondered whether I should
seek some help to overcome my anxiety symptoms. After I left home in
1990 to study at a university, it became glaringly obvious that I had
to start taking better care of myself. During the summer break in
1991, I began reading more literature about psychotherapy. I started
with Freud's writings, moved on historically to Jung, Reich,
Fromm and the neoanalysts and humanist psychologists of the post WWII era.
Eventually I read Alice Miller's books and made up my mind that
therapy was worthwhile.
I moved to another city to study psychology and social work. I
attended various informal therapy groups, mostly groups practicing
different variations of psychodrama, and I began "intensive
psychotherapy" twice a week, one on one sessions with a
local therapist. After seven months of this therapy I delved into deep
waters. It was obvious that I had regressed to very early layers of
my psyche, and I had transferred or projected powerful emotions on my
therapist. I sensed that she was unable to help me work through these
feelings, so I quit and began J. Konrad Stettbacher's form of self-help therapy,[See Making Sense of Suffering Book Review].
I was extremely focused since I felt I had no alternative. I quit my
studies for a year to concentrate on primaling. I remember writing in
my diary back in 1992, that if necessary, I would do
Stettbacher's therapy successfully on my own. This happened after I had read one of
Alice Miller's books, where she highly recommended
Stettbacher's therapy, but was sorry that there were no trained therapists around
to help people do therapy. So, in 1995, it was a pleasant surprise to
read Stettbacher's guide for the first time and notice that he
believed doing therapy on your own was possible.
As soon as I had finished reading the book for the second time, I set
about the work. I had no idea how this therapy was supposed to heal me, but I
set a task of reliving early experience through photographic memory.
That was what I wanted out of therapy. You have to realise, that at
the time I hadn't even heard of Janov or of the wealth of
literature published on primaling in the U.S., so I was going by what I could
make of Stettbacher's convoluted book.
It felt impossible for me to do therapy lying down, talking aloud
with my eyes closed, so I opted for writing therapy. Stettbacher
mentioned an "intensive period" the first month in therapy
when you are asked to step away from the world and concentrate on therapy
three hours a day. I did just that, and felt vigorous going through
everything I had ever wanted to say to my parents, but had not had
the courage to say. I went through all the childhood events that I
remembered and that had bothered me. This took roughly a month, so
after the "intensive period," Soon, I had nothing left to write.
Nothing significant happened during that month so I was very
disappointed. Remembering what Stettbacher had said about keeping
the momentum in therapy, no matter what, I decided that the
disappointment I was experiencing wasn't in fact disappointment
in therapy but an earlier feeling that had been triggered by my going
through the earlier experiences of my life.
And so I started over. I wrote about the same experiences again, since I
didn't know what else to do. I kept concentrated on how my body
reacted, what I was feeling, etc. My depression grew worse. For six
long months I travelled in this darkness, conscientiously doing
therapy and receiving very little reward for doing so.
As I kept on pushing, I noticed certain patterns were emerging. For
example, there were times when I felt compelled to write with my
right hand (I'm lefthanded). Just a few lines of crow feet here
and there, when the pain and loneliness were too much. Reading through
what my right hand had been saying on these occasions, I noticed it
was asking the same question, even to the point that the written
questions were practically identically worded.
I had totally
forgotten that I had been writing with my right hand on several
occasions, so only by reading through my journal from the past seven
months, did I realise that something significant like this had been
happening. Also, I noticed that I had started to have recurring
dreams, and that some recurring nightmares that I had had as a child,
but which had disappeared years ago, were back.
I had very little external stimuli during these first months of
therapy. I had secluded myself from the outside world. I hardly met
any people, I believe there was a period of three months somewhere
when I didn't speak with anyone, just kept on doing my therapy.
The sessions got longer, by September, I was doing six hours of therapy
Needless to say, I was in much turmoil. I was going crazy thinking
that what I was doing might be utterly useless, or worse; I
might be hurting myself and my future. I was 23 years old, almost 24, and
this was what I was doing with my life. Thinking about that made me
really scared, and once again I had to decide whether this fear was
real or a memory. I opted for the latter and continued.
So, seven months into therapy, a breakthrough happened. As I chose to
believe that my fear came from the past, it connected with my father.
I noticed that I hadn't really "talked" to my father in
therapy, only to the aunts who took care of me, as well as to my grandmother, my
brother and mother. But very little with dad. I realised that the way
that I'd been forcing myself to do therapy had a lot in common
with the way my father used to expect me to behave as a child .
on me that by writing excessively I had been burning out my defenses
and re-experiencing the stress of having to obey my father. Much like
with my father in earlier life, I now did what "the therapy"
wanted me to do. And much like back in childhood, I wasn't getting any
pleasure out of it. It was killing me with fear and confusion, and I
wasn't doing what was needed to stop it.
I realised that this had been preceded by the incident I mentioned in my
last post. My left hand cramped because I was writing six long pages a
day. I was too scared to take a rest, so I started writing with my
right hand. That brought back overwhelming feelings of shame and
inadequacy which I had been hiding by my competent left hand
Now the anger of the realisation that my dad / older
brother / mother / you name it -- didn't give a damn about how hard
I was trying, shot through my right hand. Without much control over what
happened, my right hand destroyed a couple of pens and my notebook.
What was left was a horrible torn page where it read, in my childhood
scribble, ΔITI MINΔ ITKEN (Mother I cry).
So from that point on, the therapy no longer functioned as a symbolic
act out of my relationship with my parents. A lot of stress got
dropped off, and some distinctive and encompassing emotions stepped
forwards, accompanied with words of more meaning. I got more
courageous in my hypotheses and demanded memories. I continued
writing a lot as the recurring dreams became more and more clear, and I
started experiencing proto-primals.
For example, one night the image
of the curtain in front of which I sat and wrote, returned to me
photographically just as I was falling asleep. Also, the different
bodily paind that I had been having in therapy were feeling more
alive, as if my body was preparing for a major dose of ache coming up.
By January, 1996, I stopped writing and began doing therapy lying down,
eyes closed, while talking out loud. The proto-primals had included a sight
of a hand slapping me in the face. A couple of times I had vaguely
seen a hand slapping me hard on the cheek, and this had brought tears
to my eyes. In January, I was having dreams where aliens abducted me
and were performing horrific radioactive tests on my left cheek. My
head was burning and I woke up in extreme terror.
And then, on a night in February, the memory came back in full.
I lay on the bed for minutes. I could feel waves of excitement,
terror and cementing stress move up my spine and to my head during
this primal. When the shock lets go, the waves move down, soothing me
and making me sob like a baby. I haven't cried like this since I
was thirteen and my big brother teased me. I asked, "Who did this to me?"
I see the face of my young mother, emotionless and and she is wanting to
After this the therapy took to its wings. In a span of one year I had
over 80 primals, 99% of which were accessed via sleep. Often the little doctor
appeared in my dream, and that automatically meant he's here to
guide me to a primal. Some dreams were very telling.
dreaming about my hometown (=me). A volcanic explosion had ripped the
town apart, and it was now a series of little islands connected with
ferries. I went to see what had happened to the house where I spent
my first years. There used to be a pet shop in the neighborhood, and I
was surprised to see it still active, so I popped in to ask how things
had been after the explosion. It turned out that the place had become a massage
Naked people were having obscene group sex on the floor. I
wished for less chaos in the room, and a small psychiatrist steps from
behind the counter. He calls everyone back in their place. The
parlour turns into a primal center. A woman is about to
"fall" on a mattress. She is afraid and asks the doctor why she is recurrently having a dream
where she drowns. As she asks this, she falls on her mattress
screaming. I wake up and hear myself screaming like a child. I have
no control over myself, I shriek and the terror inside of me explodes
like the town in my dream. I am an unstoppable catastrophe.
I see a kitchen. I see my arm and leg. I am just a baby, and I see my
baby arm quiver in the air. I am in the air. Someone is holding me in
the air, and it is very violent. In a moment of shock I am smacked
with an open hand on my left cheek. It feels like a shotgun was fired
on my face followed by acid burning the left side of my head off.
Another smack, a backhand on my right cheek. And one more on the
left. I am dropped on the floor.
Eventually the doctor was no longer needed. Dreams of drowning in the
turbine of a power plant, of driving a bloodied red car, feeling
awfully guilty, feeling like I've murdered someone but unable to
remember who and when, emerged recurrently and in turn led to birth
primals that gradually got more terrifying.
After the first primal I had in February, 1996,
what followed was a very fruitful therapy period where primals
emerged at a fairly frequent rate. For roughly a year all I had to
do in therapy was to experience a primal, go through the integrating
steps as described in Stettbacher's self-help guide, sense
another dose of pain coming up, concentrate on feeling and describing it for
a day or two, and experience the primal that came of it.
I had a primal every four or five days during February, 1996, to
January, 1997, so the second year of my therapy was an activating,
exciting, yet stable experience.
This doesn't mean that it was effortless. I spent as much time
therapy as I did the previous year. To access a memory in full
required a lot of concentration. I continued doing lengthy daily
sessions, both writing and lying down. What had changed was the
nature of the effort. I spent less time in fear and confusion about
what was happening. Something had clicked and I enjoyed a sense of
intuition and trust in the therapy method and in myself. I often lost
sense of time feeling my pain and letting it "express" itself.
When I was writing I couldn't remember what I had put down on paper.
Reading through my journal afterwards always reassured me that
my therapy system was working.
Thinking that I managed to salvage repressed memories all the way
from my birth in just two years will give the wrong impression of the
load of work involved. I had a standard rate of speed in my writing
therapy an hour a page. Summing up the time I spent writing my
therapy log during the first two years of therapy measures to eight
years of (4 times 45 minutes a week) psychoanalysis. And that's
just the writing!
After the "slap on the cheek" primal it was time
Stettbacher's guide to see what he was saying about healing. The
post-primal euphoria had died down in a few days and I couldn't notice
much difference in the way I felt after I was back on "terra
firma." Three things Stettbacher mentioned caught my attention:
In one I was going to
the clinic where I was born. I'm going with my mother, because
the doctor is holding a dance lesson for us. Once we got there, the
doctor asks me and my mother to dance while he "prepares the
film." There's a big silver screen on the wall, and sure enough when the
film starts, I wake up to a birth memory.
Firstly, he said that as a person progresses in therapy, s/he will go through
recollecting one memory after another and thus put together the mosaic of
his/her history of repressed pain.
Based on these assumptions, I set a new task for myself. I was now able to
put together the mosaic of my history, regress to the state of
original integrity, and emerge from the process feeling my true needs
once again and putting my life in order acting upon my needs.
As said, the mosaic of my history started putting itself together
quickly after I had accessed my first primal. As I believe is usual,
the many primals that followed were not all from separate incidents
and experiences in my past. They were a blend of early hurts in which a particular feeling predominated, but after a while they became pieces of
bigger experiences that weren't accessible as a whole at one
For example, I re-lived my birth in a four-month span between June,
1996, and September, 1996, and even more primals on birth dropped in
from time to time all the way to 1999. These days, I constantly
monitor my daily actions and try to find out whether I'm still
working an old birth pattern that still waits to pop out.
I didn't have to worry about how to access primals, as they came
to me via dreams. If I were to take part in a primal workshop or group
right now, I'd probably be a real rookie in getting into feelings while
awake. I understand that this is where having a buddy or a therapist
at hand is most useful. To me doing it all by myself, and dealing
with relatively scary stuff as well, I needed the small psychiatrist
in my dreams to help me out.
As for the primals that followed, they were mostly standard stuff and
therefore not worth more attention in this context. However, there
were a couple of details and primals that should be addressed.
Whenever some really painful memory was on its way up, I turned to my
friends to talk about it. Even the slap on the cheek was preceded by
me and a pal of mine bathing in sauna the night before, talking about
therapy in general. I mentioned that I was doing this self-help
therapy where you are supposed to re-live early traumata. My friend
was interested and asked me to call him up sometime so we could talk
about it in more detail. I was delighted, of course, as I didn't
expect anyone to express interest in primaling. I went home that
night, fell asleep and woke up to the primal. The primal had clearly
been building up for weeks, so I guess it would have come out with
or without this incidence, but I am sure that this emotional backup from
my friend gave me the push to get through right then.
Later, I used to talk to other friends as well. One woman in
particular proved an excellent listener (I hung out with psychology
students) and this helped me greatly by, basically, doing nothing at all.
I would invite her over to talk with her for an hour or two when my
fear was at its highest, experience a terrible stomachache or a lump
in my throat, see her home and thank her, go back home, fall asleep
and wake to a primal. So, in truth, you could say that I wasn't completely on
my own, even then!
I would like to share two interesting primals that I had during the
second year of therapy:
Secondly, he said that eventually, the person in therapy will regress to a state of "original
integrity." This means that there will be a primal where you are
back in the place where you were whole before anything bad had
happened to you.
Thirdly, he said that the therapy is over when the person will feel his/her real needs and act upon them.
I slept well that night, and in the morning proceeded to integrate
this memory. At first, I couldn't get hold of what was bothering
me. I remembered a photo of me and my brother in the children's room.
My brother is sitting in his green pyjamas, and I am laying on my back
in my blue and white nightie. I could not have been much more than six
months old. I reckoned this memory had just stuck with me because
our mom had taken a photo of this scene and I had seen it so many times
in my childhood. That explained why it was easily accessible to me at that time.
But, as I concentrated on feeling the worry, the primal opened up to
me like the feelings ingrained in a fine work of art. I could sense
that my brother had been very anxious. A moment that looked like fun
hid desperation. It had bothered me as a baby and I had turned to my
mother. But my concentrating on mother brought me feelings of
My mother was in pain. I felt like reaching out to her,
but something in me told me it wasn't worth it. My brother was
already venting his frustration at the mattress. He did it very
skillfully, he managed to mix in enough fun looking energy so that
it made our mother laugh and thus give my brother some of the attention
that he needed. But at the same time mother was scared. She might
have been scared of the aggression already visible in her child, of
her own aggression towards her children, of her inability to feel
love, or whatever. But she couldn't reach out to us.
The feeling of bother only dissolved when I reached this thought:
The second primal I ever had emerged in February 1996. This one came
while I was about to fall asleep. I felt my body relaxing totally,
I had never sensed the mattress under my back so perfectly. My whole body
opened up to sensations and feelings, and the toes in my right foot
felt radiant. The feeling of radiation moved up my leg and started
to fill me up. Vivid colors of green, blue, red and violet were dancing
in my eyes. It was ecstatic, and ended in a photographic memory where
I was in the children's room.
There were pictures of ancient cars
on the wall I recognised these from our family photobook. My
brother was sitting on the bed in his green pyjamas. He was holding a blanket
with both of his hands, banging it against the mattress with an
expression of energy, aggression, desperation and happiness all
mixing together. Moving my head, I saw my mother standing in the room,
with her arms folded across her stomach. She was smiling, but her smile was frozen. She looked very beautiful to me, I loved her very much, but there was something in that scene which bothered me.
A day later I went through the feelings again, and realised on a more
general level, how this memory was a sort of a first act in me and
my brother's hopeless rivalry. To gain our mother's loving
attention required the very subtle tactic of being funny. But because this
didn't lead to any caressing, it made the child trying to reach her more
aggressive. And when you slipped past the point where mother no
longer interpreted you as being funny, but as being bad or annoying,
you'd get a scolding from her. And when you got that, you had to
take it out on your brother to bear the disappointment. My brother is only
a year older than me, so we fought a lot and acted out our mother's
subconscious attitudes towards us on each other.
So, I then realised how the lack of attention and love from our mother had
started to rip us apart and turn us against each other. It was easy
to add to this insight some events from later on in my childhood to realise
how stupidly my dad and mom were trying to stop us from fighting so much, when in fact they only added to our misery with their efforts. Like this, the mosaic moved along.
Another primal that I would like to share is interesting in that I
regressed to a very early state of functioning and literally saw the
here-and-now world through baby's eyes. Also, the impact of the
primal was noteworthy. This primal feeling was in April of 1996.
When I had recalled the first repressed memory in February, I'd
taken stock and glanced back at what I had been writing in my log. I
noticed that already in my first week of therapy, I had speculated
about my mother possibly hitting me, about my father abusing me
sexually, and about birth.
I had written that I had a hunch that these were at the roots of my problems. The first week's writings had very eerily touched upon everything that I had been writing about in
more detail the following months. It was much like all in a nutshell included in my first right hand writings). So at that point, I really started digging in on
possible sex abuse memories. Glancing at the log proved that my
speculations about such abuse had been showing and growing through the
following months as well. I was afraid I might be "creating"
some memories, if I began associating about something about which I had absolutely no
recollection, so I proceeded with caution.
It bothered me greatly, that I knew that my fearfulness had a lot to
do with my father. As an adult I looked at him and saw a cowardly
loser. This perception brought up a lot of guilt, but I couldn't
help thinking that this man couldn't scare a mouse if he tried. Yet I
knew I was afraid of him. In fact. I was so afraid of such stupid things that
I loathed myself.
Now it seemed that to really get rid of fear and
the shame it caused, I had to prove that my father had scared me so
badly as a baby, that it was only natural of me to be so frigging
scared of anything and everything. The alternative was of course,
that I was, by nature, the worst coward who ever lived and it had
nothing to do with my father or anyone else, just with me. Well, that
couldn't be. That wasn't logical.
So I concentrated on my father, and began having recurring dreams
"Mom, I can't touch you. You hit me if I cry for you. You don't look
at me if I just lie here quietly like this. You enjoy brother's
funny stuff, but that's not enough to bring you closer. This is very
painful to me, because I love you so much, and I want to look at you
and touch you and feel your warmth, but you withdraw from me. How can
I live here?"
I woke up from these dreams
fondling myself. I was really scared, because right when I woke up,
I couldn't realise that it was my own hand that was touching me. I
thought someone was in the room and about to rape me. Thinking about
these dreams in daylight brought the speculation that I was going
back to the time when I was a one year-old and my mother had to go
to another city's cancer clinic for four months.
In one dream I met myself.
In one my father and brother were burying my mother, and
the graveyard was full of posters of female celebrities who had
recently given birth to baby boys.
Connecting all the leads got me speculating that perhaps while our
mother was away, our father had abused me. The problem with my father
was, and is, that whenever I try to get into a serious discussion
about my childhood, he resorts to telling me how he loved us kids and
could never hurt us. For some reason he chose to reveal to my
girlfriend that when I was a very small child, I used to scream and
howl in my sleep, and that he was forced to hit me to shut me up.
Once when he was drunk he told my brother that when our mother was
away at the clinic he was disappointed in us kids, because we were
nothing but "shit making machines." I think my real father is closer
to this guy than to the one who continually tells me he loves me, and because of
all his smoke and mirrors made it very hard for me to think ill of
him. That meant extra work and lots of patience towards my hesitating
So, the primal brewed up and emerged in April. This had been preceded
by me running into a hobo on the street. He had insulted me and I had
crumbled to pieces because of his words. In that disappointed state
of mind I wrote in my journal that I could believe that my father had
been an insulting bastard who probably had taken the opportunity to
rape me. After that I went to bed and fell asleep.
A kid who looked like a heroin addict came
to me. He was blond (I'm dark haired), but as he came close, I
realised it was a sort of a photo negative of myself. We got to
talking. He was obviously out of his mind with fear, utterly
paranoid. He described his home, where he had all the latest CIA
gadgets installed. He had total camera surveillance, sensory
monitoring in the stairway and a lot of guns in the house just in
case someone came to get him. He told me he could sense from his home
when the police was coming and had enough time to hide away through
his secret escape routes that took him deeper in the basement of the
house. After this, the me stopped, smiled knowingly and asked if
I'd like to visit him. "You know where my home is, don't
you", he said, looking focused and sane for the first time, "it's in the
Central Nervous System."
I wake up screaming. I'd never been this horrified before and thought that death
must be near. I have my eyes open and can tell that I am a 24 year-
old man in my home, and everything is fine. The horror lets go a
little. I feel paralysed. I cannot move my body, my muscles aren't
working. I'm staring at the ceiling, and it becomes so frightening
that I decide to turn my head towards the window. But my poor head
weighs a ton, I can barely move it. I remember realising that this
must be how a baby feels his weight.
I turn my head with effort and get a look at the room and its window.
I don't understand the shape of the room. I look at the corners,
the seams of the floor, wall and ceiling, but it just doesn't make
sense to me. For a second I forget my fear trying to make things out. My
eyes aren't functioning in 3D.
I move my eyes and automatically focus on the lamp shade hanging from
the ceiling. From my position, the outline of the shade forms an
ellipse, and it's the only thing in the room that makes sense. It
looks like its hanging in the air, all by itself, and coming out of
another dimension. It is a truly lovely shape. There's a round
socket in the middle of the lamp where the bulb is screwed in, and seeing
it makes my mouth water. The whole thing is just like a breast.
The fear hits me full on. There is something awful in the round
shape. It turns into the face of my father! He is talking to me, I
can't take my eyes off his mouth that is spewing awful words at
me. He moves closer, everything goes black like a blanket was thrown over
my face. I feel he's pulling my clothes off. I smell baby vaseline
and feel him inserting it in me. What follows is a rape primal that lasts
for two or three minutes.
At the end of it I feel a bloody diarrhea
leaking out of me and taste vomit in my mouth. The sensation is so
real that I thought I really did throw up and crap under me. The
primal was shatteringly intense. I was sure I was going to die, but
at the end of it I just felt sarcastic and dirty.
I fell asleep after this and woke up in a few minutes. I didn't
recall the incident at first, I got up sitting and looked out the
window when it hit me again. Had I been standing, my legs would
probably have collapsed.
If the primal was deep, so was the euphoria afterwards. I went for a
walk that day. A regular bus drove by me; the sound it was making was
damned ugly, and I heard it perfectly. The beauty of the green of the
grass and the trees moved me deeply. I stopped to look at a river
from a bridge. The vision of the current filled me from the legs,
making me feel the water that I'm made of. Life was precious and
Two months after this feeling, the first birth primals followed, and the next
half-a-year went in putting together the mosaic of abuse and birth,
but I'll skip further descriptions of that. The primals came and
changed somewhat my method of accessing primal material.
It was very hard to make cognitive sense
of birth, for example. It required a whole new mindset of doing
therapy. For months, I just went with bodily sensations and turned off my mind from trying to
form an understanding and being in control of what was happening.
This probably came as a natural consequence of my improving
skills in primaling. Some birth primals were very self-explanatory,
like the one where I became aware of my left / right division. The
length of birth primals varied from seconds to hours, and were mostly
During Christmas, 1996, I re-lived several big abuse and birth primals
in short notice. The last photographic birth primal I had was about
me seeing my mother for the first time. This was interesting, because
of the expression on my mother's face. She had an expression of tiredness,
unwantingness and a slight hope of being noticed and comforted
by the child, followed by disappointment and finally arrogance in that that
wouldn't happen. This feeling I "saw" in the primal had followed me through the years.
I had always fallen in love with girls who had a face of some sort of snobbishness
that hid insecurity. Some major pieces of the puzzle of why I had loved those types clicked with
that insight. John had written on the Primal Psychotherapy Page about the memory of her mother's face and how he took in all the nuances of rejection from there. That
was the experience for me as well.
My original interest in therapy had arisen because of a relationship I had when I was a
teenager and early adolescent. I swore to myself when we broke up
that I would find out why I acted the way I had acted with her, and I
wouldn't allow myself into another serious relationship until I
knew why. Well, this face I saw in that primal had the answer I was searching for.
After struggling with death, hoping to be greeted with love, all I got was
that lousy expression and ten days in a hospital's maternity isolation ward. No wonder I had
dreamt about having murdered someone, driving in confusion and guilt
in a freshly bloodied car worrying about possible life sentence. I
had fought for life in the birth canal, ripped my mother and bathed
in her blood and been left alone in isolation. That's where my
confusion originated and how my senses were cursed. By working
through birth trauma in therapy I learnt to trust my instincts again,
and got the bonus of understanding why I couldn't trust them in
the first place.
In January, I had a four hour primal of "swimming" in the
womb. I was making somersaults and flips had lots of glee but also a sense of anguish that filled
me throughout the primal. I knew my mother didn't want me there. It was
very sad, but coming out of it, I thought it was time to meet a good
woman for a change.
Turning outwards again, women looked so good it
was heartbreaking. This time, though, instead of panicking and going
through a hidden pattern of withdrawal and rejection, I knew who I
was and I was more interested in finding out who women really were.
So I met witty, beautiful, and tempting young women. I dated a couple but
thought -- I'm going to take my time. In Spring I met someone with a
spark in her eye and a little fire in her soul, just in case it could
come in handy. We dated, and as she seemed good enough, I looked to
my left and right, wondering if this one would be worth it.
So far, it's been a pleasure sharing a life with her. But
returning to the theme, after meeting her, I took stock again. I had collected
the mosaic, I had regressed to the womb but didn't know whether that
had been the original integrity experience Stettbacher talked about. And
quite clearly, a very basic need for loving the opposite sex had
returned and I had acted upon it.
The third year in therapy was quiet. I didn't want to do therapy
anymore; it was so much more fun to live life for a change. About a dozen
primals emerged during the year, though, and the last of them was
In February, 1998,
In the dream I was running out of money. I couldn't believe it. I
had figured my budget out before I took the year-off from school, and I
had been following my budget, but still I had nothing left.
Worried, I left my room to take a walk outside. Around the corner was
a red door. I suddenly remembered that the door led to another
apartment I had. I had rented two apartments, and forgot about the
other. All my money went to the rent, so I was very pleased to know
I could now get rid of the forgotten space. I opened the door to look
inside. The room was empty, there was only a mat and a lamp there.
I walked about, feeling really happy that my problems were about to be
I could hear talk from the next door. Arthur Janov (I had just
recently read The Primal Scream for the first time in real life) was
there giving primal therapy to a young woman. The woman had just come
back grom a big primal where she re-lived an early rape by her
father. Arthur asks her what she would like to say to her father now.
The girl replies, sarcastically: "Thank you for beating the beast in me."
When she says this, she falls back in the memory, screaming horribly.
I couldn't have understood what the dreams or the primal were
about, had I not a week or two prior to the primal, found Australian
primal therapist Graham Farrant's writings on the internet in the Primal Psychotherapy Page. He was talking about cellular level primals, where you regress to the
level of semen and egg. What he had written about the egg's journey to
the uterine wall to implant had matched my experience.
Needless to say, I was amazed. I blew the dust off my old therapy skills and concentrated on feeling the experience again. This opened many introjections that I have which originated from
my father's and mother's attitude towards life.
I never had another cellular level primal again, so I can't say
for sure, but concentrating on this one primal felt like I had carried
a message from my father to my mother, a parcel that included all my
father's wishes and dreams for his life, his wife and his
I then received mother's package as well, and as the egg
rolled down, these hopes and aspirations got in a dialogue, and while it
wasn't a very harmonic dialogue, it was worthwhile, i.e., not too
painful, to keep it going, and so I became into being.
It seemed to me that my purpose in life would be to keep alive my parents' hopes that some way they would find harmony in their lives. All the issues they never talked
about or never dealt with openly, bugged me, and I served to keep the
dialogue alive, on some level at least. But once I re-lived the start
of this all, and possibly experienced my original integrity, as it
was, I felt like I had cut the cords to my parents and let them drift
away in time and space, away forever from my slice of heaven.
I was doing therapy totally on my own, writing on a daily basis and
"going down" feeling and talking aloud when I felt it was
necessary. After some eleven months of therapy I experienced my first clear primal
(regression to early photographic memory) when I was sleeping and
woke up from a nightmarish dream. This path of sleeping and waking up
to a primal soon established itself and helped me greatly in re-experiencing traumata that probably would have been too much to experience alone and awake.
After I had begun to experience birth memories in therapy the
memories gradually got more intense and terrifying. The worst memory
emerged after about three months of active working through and re-living of birth (20 months into therapy).
I had a dream one night:
I dreamt I was onboard The Titanic as it began to sink.
(Yes, the movie was out). There was a diving bell ready to be dropped
in the water. I was sitting on the stairs in the hall, when the bell
was lowered and the ship started to turn up. I fell underwater. I
woke up to a sensation of rolling down like a ball. I rolled and
stopped for a couple of times. The sensation was breathtaking, and
whenever I stopped, I wondered whether or not I could handle the sensation.
Without much doubt, I always continued. I entered an open
space, the rolling stopped and I floated there for a while. I came
against a big soft wall, and once again I had to decide whether to
continue or not. I remember a crystal clear, zen-like thought that
wasn't actually a thought but a realisation of life. I thought, I
want to live and grow as a me, yet as a part of something bigger.
Then my "hands," or whatever those two limbs were, punched
forward or slammed down my sides like the wings of a windmill, went into the
loving, perfectly soft wall, and I felt a wonderful feeling of peace.
Alas, it was followed by a sense of oppression. I felt my mother
informing me, that if I am willing to survive here, I must obey her
I was awestruck once more. That was so purifying. For almost a year
I had had recurring dreams of driving, riding or flying through Finland
in tear-shaped cars, trains, buses and aeroplanes. The dream always
started out the same. I was in a town that was in the throes of a
heatwave. All stations were full of loiterers and people trying to
get out of town. I managed to get a seat in a bus or a plane that
shoots off the terminal at an enormous speed. And I keep thinking
what it was that I was to return to my parents.
I woke up and immediately realised what was happening. I sensed that
I was a foetus trying to push forward in the birth canal. (I had
earlier experienced some pleasurable moments of co-operation with
mother. Her contractions early on in birth sent extremely exciting,
orgasmic rhythmic pressure down my body. But now she wasn't
helping me but rather resisting and squeezing me to death !)
The pain ignited the horror of dying. I wasn't suffocating but the
pain increased no matter what I tried. I don't know how long this
lasted, but in the end the right side of my body went all numb and powerless,
as if paralysed. The left side of my body, however, fought the pain,
and I sensed the pressure increasing and my left foot kicking and
pushing. mother began pushing again, the pain decreased, and
my left side never lost its power the way my right side had lost it.
During and after this primal I FELT how this had been the beginning
of my inner division. I'm left-handed (don't know if this has
anything to do with that experience, though) and my left side has
always been stronger and "more alive" than the right side. I
also became aware how I had subconsciously attributed my
self-hatred and loathing to the right side of my body. As if my left side had always
loathed having to drag around the cowardly right side, had never
forgiven how it had chickened out and left him with all the work.
Earlier in therapy, when I had been working on my relationship with
my older brother I had sensed his attitude towards me as very similar
to the way my left side now reacted towards the right side.
I had then even reached the insight that somehow my left side had
tried to reach my brother's acceptance, and identified with his
aggression and "blamed" my right side after having failed at
This first left/right insight had come after some eight months of therapy
when I forced myself to do written self-therapy, six pages a day, and my left
hand cramped. I had no alternative but to write with my right hand,
and as it tried to scribble away, I felt a surge of ridicule coming
from my left side (similar ridicule I had experienced from my
brother). I realised that "the child" was stored in my right
side, and as I tried to continue writing, and my left side came up with
more and more ridicule, my right hand began to express very primitive
pain, ripping up my notebook, destroying pen after pen
trying to come up with the words MOTHER I CRY. (This incidence
happened about a year before the eventual birth experience.)
After the birth primal I concluded that I had divided into two in
birth. My right side had encapsulated the true reaction to birth pain
psychotic, primitive scream-like stuff. And, whenever, as a child
I had tried to express it to my mom, dad or brother, they had rejected,
punished and/or ridiculed me, leaving me feeling like dead weight. I
had internalised this: My left side still managed to avoid collapsing
under the total pressure and ridicule of my childhood and tried to
fight its way to the glory of acceptance.
But my right side knew that
this was impossible. It understood that the pain came from the
outside and that the only true reaction to it would be to go crazy and/or die.
Whenever this understanding came closer to consciousness, my left
side (denial, false self, identification with aggressor, etc.) took
over and silenced the right side with inner contempt while trying to
find a suitable way to relate to the outside world.
After working through this issue for a while, I began to feel more at
peace, more together with myself, and I understood that it was this
inner harmony that I had lacked all along, and that my efforts (of
the left side) to adjust to the environment had only caused further
pain and inner division. I recognised the origin and the importance
of the functions of my two halves for my survival and felt better.
My right side had silenced the real reaction to my experience and
this had enabled my left side to keep the (false) faith. I had been
"dysfunctional" and "co-dependent" within myself.
In it I was in the bedroom of a small
apartment. The room was empty and dark. There was a kitchen too, and
I sensed that in there was a woman with food waiting for me. I was
lonely, a little scared but understood clearly that it was best for
me to go to the kitchen. I opened the door to a small and narrow
corridor leading to kitchen. The kitchen door was slightly ajar
a ray of light shimmered invitingly.
I took one or two steps and was overwhelmed by a great pressure in my
body. I tried to take another step and the pain centred around my
head, chest and waist. It was insurmountable.