The Dream Route
To Primal Pain

By Mika

"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
and 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 per day.

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 .

It dawned 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 writings.

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 was 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 parlour.

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.

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 murder me.

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.

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.

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.

On average, 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 doing 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 to re-read 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:

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.

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.

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 time.

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:

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.

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 hopelessness.

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:

"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?"

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 about him.

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.
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.

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."

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 self.

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.

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 over.

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 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 beautiful.

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 painful.

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 significant.

In February, 1998,

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 will.

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 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 children.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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