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A Powerful Man Glimpses His Demons

By Bernard Weiner  Posted by Bernard Weiner (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink

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"We're under confidentiality here, right? You can't ever tell anyone what I say to you, doctor/patient relationship, yes?"

"That's correct. Under normal circumstances, I cannot be forced to reveal anything you say to me. Only if you're about to do imminent harm to yourself or others am I allowed to break that vow of silence."

"I mean I've got to know that what we say here is totally private. A close friend of mine told something to newspaper reporters and now is in big trouble because he thought that was confidential, too."

"So, tell me why you are here."

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"My wife said I had to come. She thinks I'm starting to doubt myself, get real moody, not enjoying myself like usual. In trouble, you know."

"What kind of 'trouble'?"

"I've been having bad dreams. Plus I'm under such pressure these days that I feel like I want to start drinking and blowing stuff up my nose again. In short, I feel like a piece of sh*t. Is that good enough for you?"

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"That is very honest. And brave to make those admissions to me. Now tell me about those bad dreams."

"I keep getting the same one over and over, night after night, and sometimes even in naps during the day. I'm swimming in a huge ocean that is covered in sticky black stuff, like molasses; I can hardly move. Then the molasses or whatever suddenly starts turning red, and I hear moans of agony all around me. I realize that I'm crying red tears. It occurs to me that the ocean is made up of my tears. And that's when I wake up, covered in sweat."

"Why do you think you are crying in the dream?"

"If I knew the answer that, I wouldn't be paying you, doc! (pause) The images from this dream keep coming back to me during the day, and it's interfering with my work. I can't concentrate. And I'm getting facial tics and drooping mouth on one side again."


"Well, let's think this one through. People usually cry because they're in great pain or depression. In the dream, you don't seem to be in pain, or depressed, just frustrated by having to swim so slowly in the black sticky stuff. Are you crying because of that difficulty?"

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"No, I don't think so."

"People also cry because of happiness, which doesn't seem to be the case here. Or sometimes they cry because they're inflicting unhappiness or pain on other people, and that makes them feel terribly sad. You say in the dream you hear the moans of agony all around you."

"Yes, I think I do feel sad like that. I don't like it when people don't like me."

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Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)

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