I’m having trouble sleeping. which could possibly be my achilles’ heel, if you will. i can’t remember when was the last time i woke up and i didn’t feel like i was physically dying. i mean, waking up in general has always been a problem for me (especially considering that i must come to this work), but nowadays it feels like i wake up tired already. my muscles are sore – at first, i thought it was just weird sleeping positions, but i feel now it’s something else. that connects to my latest therapy session, where i realized that i have been doing a lot of thinking, but not a lot of doing. so, in other words, i need to put to action all the things i keep saying. because when you don’t act on things, they reflect on your body (all you do/don’t do will reflect on your body, basically), but i do feel that my inaction is what making my muscles contract so fucking much. my shoulders, for example, are always tense. my back hurts. sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night with tired arms, from just using force (to what, i ask?) while i am sleeping. why would i put so much tension into sleeping, for fuck’s sake?
meanwhile, i am still not being able to remember my dreams (i do feel this is connected to me being stagnated), but i do recall two vague images from today’s dream: one was the attacker/serial killer from The Fall – that image was slightly disturbing, although i don’t remember what exactly he was doing. the other was, well, funny to say the least. something related to Carmilla, my current obsession. she was actually just cool and hanging around with me. romantic feelings might me involved (probably from me), because that’s how needy i’ve been lately, good gosh. i mean, what else could justify me being this obsessed with a character. the only time this happened before was quinn fabray. but, back to the dream, i do believe (or am i wishful thinking?) that she saved me from the guy. so, i guess it justifies me being in love with her during the dream? don’t we all want someone to save us because it’s easier than saving ourselves.
and when i woke up, still all lazy and not thinking straight, my go-to thought was: i have a weird relationship with vampires. which is true, so i started reflecting on that. yes, there is pop culture (my first contact in that sense was Interview With Vampire, of course; later on, Buffy; then True Blood; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Dracula movie – but i will soon – there was also Vampire Diaries and Twilight: both I felt like I should take a look in order to see if I would end up liking, but I didn’t. i’ve never read any books with vampires).
but there is something else, that predates all of them. when i was 6 or 7 years old, i saw a vampire at my house when i woke up during the night. he just passed by my bedroom door, through the corridor. my brother’s bedroom was right after, so it was like he was entering his room. i think it was the most real thing i’ve ever seen as a kid (and i have felt/seen some scary shit while i was a kid, including seeing this guy that used to give me rides to school after he died, his presence was always there, like he was following me, i was 10 or 11 when this happened). so i did what i always do as research, i went to wikipedia (somebody help me with an intervention). but first, i must say that i’ve been thinking a lot about fairy tales, myths and legends in general as something that i’d love to study. for the rest of my life.
In his 1931 treatise On the Nightmare, Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones asserted that vampires are symbolic of several unconscious drives and defense mechanisms. Emotions such as love, guilt, and hate fuel the idea of the return of the dead to the grave. Desiring a reunion with loved ones, mourners may project the idea that the recently dead must in return yearn the same. From this arises the belief that folkloric vampires visit relatives, particularly their spouses, first. In cases where there was unconscious guilt associated with the relationship, however, the wish for reunion may be subverted by anxiety. This may lead to repression, which Sigmund Freud had linked with the development of morbid dread. Jones surmised in this case the original wish of a (sexual) reunion may be drastically changed: desire is replaced by fear; love is replaced by sadism, and the object or loved one is replaced by an unknown entity. The sexual aspect may or may not be present. Some modern critics have proposed a simpler theory: People identify with immortal vampires because, by so doing, they overcome, or at least temporarily escape from, their fear of dying.
The innate sexuality of bloodsucking can be seen in its intrinsic connection with cannibalism and folkloric one with incubus-like behavior. Many legends report various beings draining other fluids from victims, an unconscious association with semen being obvious. Finally Jones notes that when more normal aspects of sexuality are repressed, regressed forms may be expressed, in particular sadism; he felt that oral sadism is integral in vampiric behaviour. (Source)
And, of course, a jungian analysis, because that’s my jam:
In studying analytical psychology we can begin to look at the vampire myth in psychological terms. It is a fatal symbiosis and a nourishing of one self with another’s vitality (two central points of vampire legends). These traits are also inexplicable components of many human relationships. We all know people who have the unexplained ability to physically drain us in a relatively short period of time. By being in their presence, we actually experience the sensation of our life energy being sucked away.
Most psychological interpretations of the vampire legend are Freudian, and see the legend in terms of incest, homosexuality, sadism and masochism. These interpretations miss a core meaning of the vampire, one of our oldest, most recognizable archetypal figures. The vampire has been cursed, denied eternal rest because of some unredeemed sin against collective mores or religious taboos.
The vampire is not primarily a personification of personal darkness of the Freudian unconscious, but a scourge of the community, an archetype from the collective unconscious. Victims experience a mysterious loss of selfness, and they themselves are then lost to the community. Jung could also say this of the vampire: pure darkness is as far beyond our power to conceive as is the enlightenment we attribute to our gods. (…) The vampire myth is highly erotic because it is about libido (life energy), which Freud equated with sexual energy. The vampire myth is loaded with eroticism because it is about libido and mysterious possession.
One feminist interpretation sees Dracula as a myth of feminine liberation and empowerment. Through her encounter with the vampire, Lucy changes from a silly, giggly girl to a powerfully erotic woman. This interpretation sees Lucy undergoing the domesticated compliant woman’s encounter with her own sexuality, an encounter Victorian culture deemed evil. In almost a parody of Hades rape of Persephone, Dracula promises to make Lucy “Queen of the Undead.”
When we use a vampire metaphor to describe an inter-personal relationship, we mean that one person nourishes themselves at another’s expense: what one gains, the other loses. In the vampire there are no springs of abundance, or abundant life, as in the Eucharist. Instead, there is lack, greed and death. The vampire metaphor describes one person driven to use another’s vitality and life-energy to sustain their own life.
Vampires are “the Living Dead”. For some terrible reason they have no contact with springs of life within themselves. They must prey on others. Once vampires were normal human beings, but something has happened to them: an attack, a possession, a curse, etc. Vampires themselves have been victims. We see in many stories that the vampire also suffers, and wishes to be released from his dreadful compulsion to drink their victim’s blood.
The vampire once was a perfectly normal human being, who has lost the ability to generate their own life energy as the result of some incident or series of events. In fairy tales, this may be described as an enchantment. Perhaps the father gave the child to a witch, or the child wandered away and was lost in an evil wood. Legend describes where vampire attacks are most likely to occur. In Gilgamesh, the person who has wandered too far from the community, who is isolated from others, is most vulnerable. Loneliness, physical or spiritual, may allow this complex to manifest. Falling in love is another common way to become vulnerable to this manifestation. Many vampire stories tell of women or men who unwittingly fall in love with a vampire, and after marriage become their victims. The most likely place for the transfer or vampiric energy is in the family unit.
In “Red Riding-Hood,” the great mother figure is a wolf. Symbolically, the wolf stands for greed and hunger: the hungry, greedy wolf who will eat you up. The mother can devour her child. Little Red Riding-Hood is a girl, but mothers also devour sons. Vampires transform themselves into many animals, particularly serpents, cats, or bats, but often a wolf. The word “vampire” means “wolf”. Modern vampires are not just maternal. They can also be sexual. The word “wolf” is our slang for a man who sexually preys on women. We identify the vampire with the demon lover: Count Dracula, the Flying Dutchman, Heathcliff. These are destructive animus figures who draw women away from life into death.
It is significant that in Wuthering Heights, there is no mother. It is Cathy’s adored father who brings Heathcliff home to her and fosters the fatal relationship. Cathy has a shattering revelation of demonic; psychic possession when she cries, “I am Heathcliff!”. In all vampire stories there is an unconscious psychic connection, a fatal symbiosis, a sort of psychic identity between victimizer and victim. In Jungian psychology, Heathcliff is part of Cathy herself, a personification, of the animus, which possesses her psyche. Jung describes this kind of possession in Volume 7. He specifically mentions a vampire, and describes a vampiric process, “When unconscious contents are not realized they give rise to negative activity and personification, i.e. the autonomy of the anima and animus. Psychic abnormalities then develop, states of possession. In this state the possessed part of the psyche generally develops an animus or anima psychology. The woman’s incubus consists of a host of masculine demons; the man’s succubus is a vampire.” Jung continues, “… an unknown something has taken possession of a smaller or greater part of the psyche, and asserts its hateful and harmful existence undeterred by all our insight, reason, or energy… thereby proclaiming the sovereign power of possession.” Jung then states, “the archetype fulfills itself not only psychically in the individual, but also objectively.” Heathcliff is, of course, Emily Bronte’s fiction. However, a vampire archetype can manifest itself objectively, physically, as well as psychically, in someone’s life. Jung further states, “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, a fate.” In the lives and deaths of celebrities, we often find literal and eerie parallels to vampire lore.
[not] all victims of vampires become vampires. Sometimes they escape, but they need help to do so. Dracula was destroyed, but Mina, his victim, survived to write a book about her vampire experience. Children can escape vampiric mothers or fathers. Men and women can escape demon lovers. No one is required by life circumstances to become vampire. Sometimes the vampire complex seems to live in the family like a curse, almost as if an evil Babylonian spirit has taken up residence.
Sometimes we can trace in a family history what seems to be a perpetuated complex that sucks away the promise of succeeding generations. (…) The family is the place we are most susceptible to vampiric energy. Isolation from the community can make us especially vulnerable, and falling in love can also be very dangerous.
D.H.Lawrence wrote many stories on this theme, that falling in love is a battle for self or soul, but that when the process goes awry the lovers become vampires to each other, and one partner sucks the soul from the other. If one is weak, the other will devour them. If both are strong, both may survive. But the love relationship is vampiric, a life or death battle for vitality. Lawrence himself said this:
It is easy to see why each man kills the things he loves.
To know a living thing is to kill it…
To try to know a living being is to try to suck the life out of that being.
The temptation of the vampire fiend, is this knowledge.
The desirous consciousness, the spirit, is a vampire.
Lawrence is saying that, to try to know any living being is to try to suck the life out of that being. This is the desire of the vampire complex.
listening while writing: Tom Petty – Something Good Coming