Self Neglect in the Netherlands -or- Reparation and Self Love

Coming of Age -or- The Self and Emotional Well Being 

Caring for oneself and self love are important emotional aspects for psychological well being and health. During our youth for whatever reason, perhaps as a result of our "coming of age",  narcissistic conflicts and problems, we often forget and neglect to nurture and satisfy our natural inner emotional needs and hungers for care, affection, and sensuality. We forget our true feeling self. The dream below seems to be one such dream, where going home means being reminded of the care one received when growing up.

Veronica, 21 Dutch

I'm in my old room at my parent's house. There is a white cage standing against the wall, it's big and high. Inside there's a big white bird with sad but sweet eyes. He's lying on the ground and he looks at me. I can see he's starving, he hasn't been fed for some time. It's my fault, I forgot. I feel so guilty, I love this bird. I stroke his big wings and try to show him that I love him and that I'm so sorry I didn't feed him. Then I give him some food and he raises his head, his eyes now happy and cheerful. Unfortunately his body is still very weak. I ask my mom if I can cuddle him, but she says he's too weak and I have to wait until that evening. I can't wait that long so as soon she leaves the room, I pick my big white bird up and cuddle him.

Mark's Reply: The Gilded Cage of Youth -or- Holding Environment 

Donald Winnicott's psychological concept of the "holding environment" which provides security, attention, affection and love is vital to emotional health. Your feelings of blame ("my fault") for the neglect, your feelings of "guilt" and remorse (feeling "sorry") all add up to the psychological idea of emotional "reparation".  

It is difficult to ascertain from the manifest dream the significance of the "big white bird", there are many animistic metaphors that poetically use the bird, such as "free as a bird", or the "birds and the bees", or perhaps "love bird". Evelyn De Morgan's painting "The Gilded Cage" is an allegory of feminine captivity. The African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou wrote her autobiography using the phrase and title; "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings".

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.