A Rhus remedy
Woman, 56, backache.
Case by Francis Heyman
Laurence is a tall and slender 56 year old lady; a math teacher at the town’s high school, she’s very invested in her work as she loves to transmit knowledge. A rather introverted character, she managed to develop a warm relationship with her students.
I meet her for the first time in 2014. She has suffered from backache for a year and has not found any analgesic nor anti-inflammatory drug to work. The pains wake her up in the night and prevent her to get back to sleep. She rehashes her past throughout her sleepless nights:
Her father has ever humiliated her, belittled her, verbally abused her, called her a dirty female and has never given her a call in the last 15 years. She says “I would be devastated each time I would see him. He never even sought to know my daughter”.
Her mother who wanted a boy and raised her as one, cut her hair short and dressed her in pants, who was helpless before her husband and never protected her. When she dies, Laurence is 14. She strives to live out her girlhood, grows her hair, puts on dresses and skirts, but is also helpless before the father. Her elder brother and sister do not support her.
She undergoes a psychotherapy and develops the illusion that she has come to terms with her father issue. In fact, she only covered her pain under a pretence of aloofness and pronounced rigidity.
She says “Don’t ever ask me to forgive this father, this is non-negotiable, don’t even try to act as my father or I cut off the relationship immediately”.
Laurence is entirely unaware of any possible connexion between her painfully stiffening back and her inability to confront the emotions of her past. At night, she must fill up the space by listening to the radio – music won’t do, only speech will distract her, dampen her thoughts. In daytime, fortunately, she has her students..
All the rumination, the repressed sorrow, the introversion lead me to prescribe Natrum muriaticum several times. Each time, an acute aggravation ensues (pains, nausea, anguish) then her condition improves for one or two months, but hardly more.
I change the dilution and get the same results each time, an initial aggravation but no lasting improvement. I try liquid doses but the same occurs.
Silicea and Ignatia were prescribed, but didn’t show any obvious sign of action. There is an improvement, but it seems to be more the result of our consultations which allow Laurence to better understand her pains and to step back from them a bit, at least as much as her rigidity allows.
In December 2018, he father dies. He asks to see her, she refuses. She also refuses to attend the funerals. The back pains, predictably, get even worse. In February she is able to go to the notary, where she meets her sister and her brother, whom she hadn’t seen for 18 years. She locks herself behind a mask of aloofness, as she has learnt to do so well, but on the next day she’s exhausted and her weight scale shows a 2 kg loss.
She is forced to interact with her brother to get done with the inheritance issues, but one day she notices that this brother cheated her of 2000 €.
She recounts the story to me with an intensity of anger that the misdeed doesn’t justify. She says “I was cheated once again, he despises me!”.
I catch up on this phrase as I had heard it from her a couple of times before, and I find in the repertory:
Mind; DELUSION; Betrayed, she is (15).
Mind; DELUSION; Deceived, has been (2).
Mind; DELUSION; Despised, is (38).
The Repertory suggests Rhus remedy. Will the Plant Theory confirm and justify this remedy? 655 Malvidae, Silver series, desire to be special, recognized, complimented.
Passionate about her job as a math teacher, about transmitting knowledge, Laurence craves for her father’s recognition.
Phase 4: rigid I will not give in I am in my own right merciless. Hard, insensitive, I will not even accept to visit my dying father.
Phase 7: lonely and rejected, cast out; the child wasn’t acknowledged by the father denied; the child doesn’t want a single contact with his parents.
Stage 14: detached, set aside, hides behind a mask of aloofness.
3-655.47.14: Rhus remedy.
After 3 months: after one month her anger towards her father calms down. She grows out of resentment.
She says “Had he still been alive, I’d have gone and visited him.”
The back pains have decreased significantly. An anal itching appears, a symptom of elimination.
After 1 year: The back pains are now just a bad memory. The calming down of anger is confirmed.
Year 2021, Issue 3, Article 2Author: Francis Heyman