Moving from fear to love: a case of Lac humanum
Danielle is a lovely woman born in 1952, who is a Buddhist and bird watcher. She has worked with her husband in his financial investment firm, but has little interest in this field. She has rosy, high cheekbones and simple, short hair. As many women do in Seattle, she dresses for the outdoors, in a somewhat sporty and utilitarian manner.
I present this case as an illustration of profound healing, not in the flash of an eye or the downing of a single dose of a remedy, but to show how the patient can transform beautifully over many years through the process of taking a good remedy and the therapeutic relationship, which in this case fostered self-reflection and a touchstone to explore and acknowledge healing.
(Editor’s note: this case has been considerably condensed for the sake of brevity, retaining as much as possible the gist of nine years of consultations.)
“I have been a Buddhist since 1986, with a committed meditation practice of two hours daily. I feel homeopathy complements meditation.
“My father was huge – a deep voice filled with anger. He threatened to hit us; he abused us verbally. I was very intimidated by him but I stood up to him all the time. I was deeply afraid of him. I believed what he felt about me was deserved. In his old age, we became very close. He died in November 2001. The night he died, he became unnerved by my visit; he expressed his hatred, mistrust and negativity towards me. This brought me to a bare state of intimidation. I have been a mess since he died. I accept his ‘gift’. I can’t be with my friends because I pride myself on living honestly…”
Krista Heron (KH): Living honestly?
“I feel inadequate, intellectually inferior, unattractive and socially inept. In my teens, I barely talked at all. In my twenty’s, I lost myself in work and married someone I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t have to connect with him. I would never marry him today. My husband doesn’t understand.
“I have two sisters, both older than I. We have similar bodies; we all have plantar fasciitis. Mine is from damage to my right sciatic nerve after a long meditation sitting. I grew up barefoot in the Philippines but I don’t go barefoot any more.
“I have constipation, it has been life long, and I have hemorrhoids.
“I have a tendency towards sinusitis and I get chest colds. If I drink milk my eyes and sinuses swell, and I get colds. I also have allergies to moulds and will sneeze and get an itchy roof of my mouth. Sometimes, I get springtime allergies and I am possibly allergic to wheat. If I eat less, I have less of these symptoms.
“I also have circulation problems. My mother had high blood pressure, TIA’s and small strokes.
“When I was a child, I frequently had the flu with high fevers; I was treated with penicillin. I used to run behind the pesticide truck while it spewed out pesticides.
“I was afraid of people when I was little. I wouldn’t speak to adults. I was a loner.
“My father worked for the Navy. I lived on the naval base until I was fifteen. Every two years, families rotated in and out. A few stayed. I went to Catholic school.
“My mother was extremely busy; everyone came to our house. She would pile us into a car and take us places. It was like a troop of girl scouts. She didn’t care for babies; she treated us like adults.
“My parent’s relationship was terrible, yet she protected him. I felt betrayed by her. It became a war zone between my father and me. I always knew my mother liked me. She had an inability to come to terms with him…. like I do in my marriage. We both have the positive ability to recognize the that other person is suffering, and a commitment to not damage them more, but at the expense of ourselves. It would be damaging to my husband to leave him.
“I never wanted to be in a relationship but always found myself there; I even tried women. When I met Sam, I knew I had to marry him. I hated him on the day of our wedding. His power comes because I give it to him. There is something here about masochism, about giving it up, of not being pulled into it. He is rude and selfish, yet I love him like my father. I feel bound, trapped, I want out. I have been looking at nunneries. I already have one man who hates me, who is dead; it might no be so bad to have another… There aren’t clear boundaries between my father and my husband. I take responsibility for what they feel. They think I am wrong, and they are right.
"I want an open heart. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. ”
KH: Fighting with father?
KH: Recurrent dreams?
“Social situations are painful. I am afraid that people - babies too - will guess my lack of worthiness and not respond, not connect with me. I never wanted children.
“We don’t have sex; I have been celibate since 1989. I had a hysterectomy due to uterine fibroids at the age of forty-five, which led to hot flashes. It was emotionally devastating. My childbirth window had been taken out, that place where children could come through. I feel the uterus is a nurturing woman organ.”
Prescription: Lac caninum 200
Prescription: Lac caninum in 200 then 1M helped her emotionally.
D: “I am feeling more emotionally comfortable, more accepting of my anger and rage. I am not so self-judging.” Physically, only her allergies have improved. During the following months, though, she continues to struggle. “I am so afraid of saying something wrong, of saying something stupid. The underlying message is self-hatred. I have already decided I wouldn’t be good at whatever I love, so I do administrative work and get a reputation for being competent. I am really constricted; I am shy and mistrustful. I fear I won’t make it because I am not intelligent enough or empathetic enough.”
In March 2004, Lac defloratum was given based on the following symptoms, among others: desire to go into a nunnery, bearing insults yet still giving to others.
“I am crashing into depression. I am connecting my life with my mother’s: she has suffered from low esteem like me. There are astonishing parallels: her mask that allowed no one to know her; how she felt about her husband; she didn’t have a lot of friends but many people liked and admired her; they thought she was competent. She was depressed but with incredible endurance. I am afraid my own endurance will win; that none of this has anything to do with my dad or with Sam; it is really just fear, low self-esteem and an endurance to stay alive. There is little joy in the day to day.
“I have always had a loathing for my physical body. I feel fat and ugly especially my thighs. I had a dream. A bus driver looked at me and drove away. I felt disconnected from everyone.”
Prescription: Lac humanum 200
D: “My self-awareness has increased and my self-flagellation has lessened, as has my self-loathing. I feel I can find my way back to myself easily. Sam and I have been doing so much better. I am trying to shift out of being a victim.
“My plantar fasciitis is almost completely gone; my energy is better, as is my constipation and headaches. I am not meditating cross-legged any more so my sciatica is improved.”
A year later, her relationship is again in question.
“I am not feeling self-hatred; I do not harm myself anymore. My relationships with my friends are better.
“I am afraid of loneliness. I don’t trust myself to choose well; I will ask to get hurt again. The remedy has allowed me to see Sam as a good man.”
Her depression resurfaced: she felt she was not bee heard or seen, she felt helpless and disconnected. Still, she is starting to gain more healthy introspection.
D: “Before, I felt like nothing could get better, now I am aware of why I have been disliked. Some of it I have earned, some is because my self-absorption has been misunderstood. I used to roll over people, discount them if I felt their ideas were unworthy. Now, I feel I have more understanding of how I can be someone who can care and be cared for.
“My heels are sore, my back is sore, I am constipated and I have allergies. I can’t stop eating dairy.”
After a brief return to Lac caninum, Lac humanum was repeated in 1M.
“I have been feeding my mother. She can’t feed herself because of her stroke. Sometimes, I eat off her spoon.
“There is a shift in how I see the world. The worry that people do not like me is crumbling. I am more in touch with my honest feelings. My mother is more real to me. I feel less guilt saying no to her; I like her; I feel gratitude for her; I no longer feel pulled in to fix her. My personality is expanding. There is a side of me that I have been incorporating. I want to be called Danni. I am becoming fierce. I can be nurturing but it is not my strong point. Before I would have been embarrassed about this, now it just is.”
In the course of the following months she says: “In terms of overall happiness, I am doing wonderfully. I am feeling so much compassion. There has been a huge shift this past year. I have faced a constant storm of negativity my whole life and now, I have the awareness to shift this.”
Meanwhile, she decides to separate from her husband.
D: “It is wonderful and at the same time I am raw, unsettled. Sam wants to talk, I just want it to be over. It is difficult to discuss money. I used to want him or me to die.
"My allergies are in full force but my neck is better. I have sciatica again.”
Prescription: Lac humanum 10M
Over the next months, her relationship with her husband was off and on.
D: “Sam and I are trying again. He was at a retreat and I was blue. I was lonely; I only had the cat.
“I don’t trust him enough. I am more frank, less intimidated. I don’t want a connection with him. There is a good deal of caring and a good deal of dislike.
“I can also see Sam as a real person, someone I don’t have to dislike for not being who I want him to be. I am getting fierce and he is backing off. I am taking baby steps.”
Meanwhile, her mother died. Her relationship to her religious organization changes over time, as well as with her friends.
D: “I have found my practice in my meditation but not in the organization. It acts like the Catholic church: the ‘only’ path. I am slipping out of my roles in the organization.
“I am making more friends. I am more available. I am taking risks. I am aware I am different.”
During this time, Lac humanum 10M was repeated as deemed necessary, then Lac humanum 50M.
It takes more than a year before this actually takes place.
“I am no longer meditating two hours a day and am no longer worried about the requirements of the organization. I am aware of when I might be labeling the organization negative as a means to leave it. I don’t feel the need to burn bridges, no need to push something away.
“My sister seems put-off by me. I have had two dreams of her dying. In one, we were walking on a frozen landscape. She turned to disagree with me and then slipped under the ice. I thought ‘she is going to die’ and then, she froze in place.”
Analysis of the dream
When the sister disagrees (asserts herself) she slips under the ice; this is the risk that Danielle fears, that disagreeing, individuating, would cause her to be trapped and frozen in place. I see this dream as an expression of healing, and suggestive of the next self-image she will need to integrate.
D: “My dreams of late have been around becoming more comfortable with the male aspect of life. Dreams are one of the things I suppressed, so it is good to have them back in my life. My dreams are battles between my two names: Danni and Danielle. I used to think it was just male and female, but I think of Danni as deeper, intuitive, introverted; the one who sits. Danielle is more of a mask; she is not happy being out of tune with the culture. Now, there is a third name - Daniella - who is softer, someone who is more available to people. I feel a quiet joy in me; I feel more.
"I have an ability to be around people in ways I have never been able to before. As I become friendlier and more connected with other human beings, I feel it to be nurturing. I feel a sense of community with myself as well as with others - a sense of abundance rather than a lacking.
Massimo suggests there are three Motifs, or observations, one easily makes upon first meeting with the Lac humanum patient: Abandonment, False Oblativity (a word Massimo uses to suggest a giving or altruistic nature, where the focus is not on the self but others) and Ambition. Danielle spoke of these motifs in several ways. In the initial case, she states: “I would like to resolve how to have more joy and be of more service…” In the retake of her case, she says: “My primary struggle is doing what I am called to do, avoiding my own intimacy with myself, and getting caught up in tasks rather than following my bliss.” And: “ My heart doesn’t know what the right action is. I fear being selfish, of making a choice out of selfishness rather than what is correct for everyone.” We see this theme of service, oblativity, and ambition demonstrating healing and repair in her later statement: “I feel a driving need to be involved with community, organic food and sustainable lifestyles. It is a driving force to do something beneficial for the planet. It is the same with meditation; the planet needs it.”
Massimo further outlines four Fundamental Themes that should be seen in patients requiring a Milk remedy:
We see this theme expressed in the early case in the following statements:
“The night he died he became unnerved by my visit, he expressed his hatred, mistrust and negativity towards me… I have been a mess since he died….I believed what he felt about me was deserved. I accepted his gift.”
“I am connecting my life with my mother’s: she has suffered from low esteem like me. There are astonishing parallels: her mask that allowed no one to know her; how she felt about her husband; she didn’t have a lot of friends but many people liked and admired her; they thought she was competent. And she was depressed but with incredible endurance. I am afraid my own endurance will win.”
“I became what my father hated. I egged my father on to strike me. I felt glee and said, “Go ahead.” I felt such awful hatred and it turned against myself.”
“…Yet I love [my husband] like my father. I feel bound.”
And then, in the retake of her case, she says: “I don’t know the correct steps, I am not able to walk or, like my mother, I am unable to talk.”
In this case Danielle tells us: “Mother didn’t care for babies; she treated us like adults.” As well as: “I am afraid that people - babies too - will guess my lack of worthiness and not respond, not connect with me.”
Later, she says: “I have been feeding my mother. She can’t feed herself because of her stroke. Sometimes I eat off her spoon. … My mother is more real to me. I feel less guilt saying no to her; I like her; I feel gratitude for her; I no longer feel pulled in to fix her.” And when discussing her surrogate family, her Sangha: “I am slipping out of my roles in the organization.”
Danielle demonstrates this theme in the following statements: “I married someone I didn’t like, so I wouldn’t have to connect [with him]…I hated him on the day of our wedding.” And in the retake of her case, “I turn joy into work.”
When I ask Danielle about her dreams, she reports: “I am not awake but I am not asleep. I fear I can’t move. I struggle out of sleep and I can’t. I am paralyzed and there is someone in the room who will kill me. I can’t wake to escape.” We see in this statement her irresolution to move away from her family, and that if she were to escape she would risk great peril. We also see her irresolution when she says: “I know what I want to be doing but I am not doing it. I am living a constipated life.” And we see this irresolution repairing when she tells us after taking the remedy for some time: “I want to be divorced by the end of the year. I know I am not going back.”
In addition to the Fundamental Themes, Massimo lists Characteristic Themes that differentiate one Milk from another. The Characteristic Themes for Lac humanum are:
Ambition / Dissatisfaction
Later, we see this symptom in her statement: “My self-awareness has increased and my self-flagellation has lessened… I am not feeling self-hatred; I do not harm myself anymore. My relationships with my friends are better.” And she further states: “Before I felt like nothing could get better now I am aware of why I have been disliked. Some of it I have earned, some is because my self-absorption has been misunderstood. I feel I have more understanding of how I can be someone who can care and be cared for.”
Rigidity / Laxity
Almost two and a half years later Danielle continues to confirm a successful prescription in her exclamation: “I almost didn’t come because I feel so great. Immediately after taking the remedy, my constipation was better, my feet were better and so was my depression.”
Fullness / Emptiness
Symmetry / Asymmetry
The first book of Massimo Mangialavori’s Materia Medica Clinica will be published soon and is titled “The Milk Remedies”. It includes a natural history, Materia Medica and two cases for each remedy. The Materia Medica includes a list of common ailments, an in depth exploration of the motifs, fundamental and characteristic themes, and coherent groups of symptoms and an Organization of Personality, and Differential Diagnosis for each remedy. The remedies included in this book are: Lac caninum, Lac felinum, Lac vaccinum defloratum, Lac equinum, Lac caprinum, Lac delphinum, Lac glama, Lac asinum, Lac ovis, Lac suis, Lac lupinum, Lac leoninum, Lac humanum and Lac loxodonta Africana.
 An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis By Dylan Evans, Research Fellow in the Department of Philosophy Dylan Evans
..."oblativity", a term used by some psychoanalysts to designate a mature form of love in which one loves the other person for what he is rather than for what he can give….oblativity - "everything for the other."
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