Creative Connections & Client Communications
February 28, 2003The Earliest Memory/Suppression
We tend to use the word “repression” when we actually mean “suppression”; it’s important to clarify the difference. [Please see Synthesis & Counseling in Astrology, beginning page 651.]
Repression, a Freudian concept, is the putting remotely out of the way any idea or association of ideas that is painful, threatening, fearsome. The quantum is decidedly remote, extremely hard to revive or get to consciously or, some would say, even unconsciously … it’s there but gone. It is basically a theorized potential rather than an actualized experience.
Suppression is selective. Our conscious and unconscious mechanisms of thought and expression push negative concepts, constructs, feelings away, cloak them with symbolic substitutions often, and hide them in far-away corners, distant but not remote from recall. Contrary to repression, suppression does become accessible: the suppressed “stuff” emerges in dreams, in slips of the tongue, in substitute-projections of that part of ourselves onto others, etc. Deep memory is an access road to things suppressed.
Normally, if I think there is going to be some difficult awareness or occurrence suppressed in the course of the consultation –and this is just instinct and experience— I will plan to ask the question about the earliest memory right at the outset … as a “research question” … and usually I can return to it later, strategically, with helpful impact.
At other times, I will interrupt a course of discussion with the “research question” right where/when I think suppression is taking place. Analysis of the memory is almost immediately understandable right then and there, adding poignant dimension to the discussion.
My female client [“Jane”] had a compulsive tie to her mother. Jane was a single mother; she and the child lived with Jane’s mother. Whatever Jane’s mother said was “right.” It chained Jane to the mother. But when the mother was babysitting the young child, Jane told of enormous panic attacks of mistrust. There was clearly a strange, initially inaccessible ambivalent situation here with the mother.
“Jane, I can appreciate how uncomfortable all this is. Hard to understand … but, please … let me ask you a research question ...” [Now this takes the mind dramatically away from the rational discussion going on. It jars the mind into a level of secure response about an innocuous “research question.” The mind is off guard to one degree or another.]
“Please go way, way back, “ I said softly, comfortably, “to your earliest, earliest, earliest memory … way back, the earliest memory. What is it?
Jane thought calmly, and finally said, “I see myself in a big kitchen sink. My mother is bathing me. That’s the memory.”
I said –and this is a good nudge to push the memory farther, to get past any suppression—“And what else? What’s happening?”
Jane suddenly got deeply pensive. It took some time before she could speak. I prodded her gently a few times. Her eyes were clouded with tears. She recognized something. “My mother .. my … mother is sticking things into my… into my rectum. I know now what’s happening: it was an enema.”
“She .. she … she was punishing me.”
We sat there together calmly. It was clear now. Finally. The hold on Jane commanded by the mother still endured. –And Jane was petrified that the same thing might be repeated on her own daughter when left alone with her mother.
The suppressed thought with all its 38-40 years of reiteration in so many ways was finally in consciousness. We discussed this thoroughly and, shortly thereafter, Jane engineered moving away from her mother.
“Beate” has a powerful Sagittarian Sun and a public, grandly positioned Moon in Aquarius. Uranus opposes the Moon from the Leo Ascendant. This lady wants desperately to be an astrologer. She lives in a difficult, disadvantaged country. She is married poorly; her parents had been married poorly. Her relationship history is terrible. She does not count; women do not count in this country.
Our consultation dealt with the courage needed to institute divorce proceedings now, to be free to complete her studies and become a professional, shining uniquely in her country’s capital city.
Beate’s earliest memory was “I was in a small house in a small city, and I’m running, running to meet my mother coming home from work.”
“Where was your father at that time?”
“He was rarely at home. He was working. He was drinking. He was away … whatever.”
This clearly suggested that Beate was recognizing the professional, responsible woman that existed in her mother and in herself. Her earliest memory defined her mother and defined her. a major step in Beate’s country; in Beate’s pivotal time now to her future.
“Ann” and “Pamela” are identical twins. My client, Ann’s earliest memory was her being two years old, lying in a crib “with my twin, when a movie-star-looking woman came an picked me up.”
I had asked this question at the outset of our discussion, and said nothing about the memory image. Our consultation opened the door to tremendous neglect in the home. There was no idea where the father was (Saturn-rx); the mother was all powerful (Pluto opposed Moon); the mother and her lover then abandoned the twins when they were 14 … they just up and abandoned the twins to fend for themselves, forever!
After more development of this difficult beginning, asking about feelings of grief, sadness, torment, depression (Saturn=Neptune/Pluto) and learning that she had escaped much of this but her twin had not; “She got all the illnesses; I didn’t,” I returned to the earliest memory image.
“Remember your earliest memory? You said that you and your twin were lying in bed, and this most attractive, glamorous woman picked you up!”
“Well, why do you think she picked you up and not your twin?”
Ann was startled by this simple question. She thought a bit and finally said, “Well, I guess I was special.”
“Yes,” prodding her forward, “you were chosen?”.
“And, you know, I’ve always thought I was something special. Even now, I have a connection to God that’s very special.”
And I added, “and you’ve got all it takes to expand your business according to the guidelines we’ve discussed. It’s going to entail ….”
###So, the earliest memory can be a fascinating adjunct to the significances of rich consultation discussion. Think the premise and the technique through. Begin to test it softly with your clients. Listen carefully … and maybe share some results with the Forum!
Next Update: March 31, 2003