Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 05/01/98

Saturday, April 25, 1998

Sunday, April 26, 1998

Monday, April 27, 1998

4 pm. Thirteenth Session with Olivia Stillwell. Olivia had an important conversation with her father. She seemed able to express to him her unhappiness at his overbearing nature, and he seemed to understand. First, she convinced him that she was unwilling to pursue a civil action against the men who attacked her. Later, using some histrionics, she was finally able to explain to him what she calls her "Trophy Complex." The Trophy Complex, which she eloquently described during the session, is the burden of being a perfect daughter. Olivia got a page from Jordan, the romantic prospect that she met in Lake Tahoe, and she ran out of the session early.

Tuesday, April 28, 1998

Wednesday, April 29, 1998

4 pm. Forty-Fourth Session with Katherine Lippard. Prior to the session, I prepared an exit interview based upon my notes on Katherine over the last year. I've blended that information with information gleaned from this session. We've decided to cut her sessions back to once every two weeks, with the goal of ending therapy by Independence Day. Katherine first started therapy as a rigid, unyielding business person, with no sense of frivolity or joy. The need to exert control caused distress. She almost consciously suppressed playfulness and creativity in favor of hard-driving corporate over-achievement. Became very proud of her accomplishments in therapy, even defensive about them. Finally revealed an emotional/spiritual emptiness that money and possessions couldn't alleviate. She seems lonely. Was unsure of how to create a social life. She was positively giddy about her first date with Jake. On review, her contempt of Joey, which she said was for his life dictated by financial and social constraints, might actually have roots in Joey being a representation of her father. Joey was named for her father, and was her mother's favorite, both before and after the abandonment. Perhaps she resents him for monopolizing her mother's attention and affection after the divorce. We agreed that although she may come to grips with the abandonment as the grief process unfolds, she might never look upon it without a feeling of loss. Her initial description of Jake was as profound and intelligent. Later, toward the end of that relationship, she described him as shallow and not as bright as she is. It seems that he always held most of the power in the relationship, partially because of his dominant personality and greater experience with relationships, and partially because her feelings toward him were not entirely requited. She used sex as a cover for an emotionally empty relationship. At the end she noticed the difference in feeling at being the initiator of the end of the relationship rather than the "dumpee." But she remains inexperienced at long-term emotionally intimate romantic relationships. She expressed a fear of being inherently unable to live her life independent of a male figure. As she gains increased understanding about herself through therapy, she's finding it less necessary to try to exert control over a chaotic world through the use of external routines. She talked about wanting children, but was concerned that she would be a poor parent, and that the father would leave before the child-rearing was complete, as her father did. She tends to wish for her father to be proud of each major accomplishment in her life: graduations, new jobs, etc. She had some anger at her mother for forcing her father's hand in the abandonment. But she directs none of this to her father, a fantasy figure. She may be afraid that admitting anger toward her father will tarnish his image in her head. She has cast her father as a hero, has idealized him as the perfect parent, and has made no progress toward a more realistic view. What happened to the crows after the dream? The whole crow/spirituality/mystical thing seemed out of character. The friendship with Alex is surprising, too. During the session, she was still very defensive about her view of her father, although at some level I think she understands that it is a fiction she's created for her own comfort. And although she expressed ambivalence about having children, she seemed genuinely disappointed that she's missing the chance to be a mother. Mostly, though, the session went briskly. She seemed to answer questions confidently, without taking a lot of time to think of the answers. She seemed well prepared, without slipping back into her corporate persona. She really has come quite a long way in the last year.

5 pm. Forty-Third Session with Alex Rozzi. Luke is missing and has been for almost a week. Alex and Camille were about to have sex when Luke walked in on them unannounced. Luke was having a lot of problems with Alex's experimentation with S&M, but Alex always dismissed his concerns. After all, both Alex and Camille are homosexuals--why should Luke worry? But walking in on the two of them as they prepared for intercourse must have confirmed for Luke his worst fears. Both Alex and Camille are surprised that they were about to engage in heterosexual intercourse, and they've been avoiding each other since finding out that Luke disappeared. Alex blames himself for Luke's disappearance, and it seems likely that he's partly responsible. He's feeling incredible guilt. The police are involved. Luke didn't show up for work. His condo and pet cat have been apparently abandoned and his car was found locked near Baker Beach. I have a very uneasy feeling about this. Alex also was sentenced to an incredible 1,120 hours of community service with an urban gardening organization. His work at the Art Alliance will also count towards fulfilling his community service requirement. Alex also reported having some sleep disturbances: particularly nightmares involving Luke, Benny, Joe, Jimmy, and Camille. He describes himself as "weirded out" by finding himself attracted to Camille.

Thursday, April 30, 1998

4 pm. Seventy-Eighth Session with Anna Green. Anna discussed her difficulty in making the Professor's home her own. She seems to be having a great deal of trouble living in an environment that she can't fully control. That's somewhat surprising, because I never heard her complain about losing control in her apartment when she shared it with Martin and Kathy. Martin was a slob and Kathy obsessively cleaned so the apartment must have been in constant flux. Perhaps there, she ruled. She took my advice and had her parents for dinner at her new place--they stayed the night, in fact. While her father tried to run interference with her mother for Anna's benefit, her mother is anxious for Anna to get into another relationship quickly. Anna feels that her mother is disappointed in her. Her mother had certain expectations of how Anna's life was going to unfold, and those expectations haven't been met. At work, Anna is busy but not challenged. She was on the team that produced the SIIMole product, and now she is on the team responsible for customizing the application for every large corporation that wants a site license. She says that she's guaranteed work until she's eighty, but that she won't get to do anything fun ever again. Anna is still having imaginary conversations with Kathy, but she clearly didn't want to talk about them. She has had no closure with Kathy, and it is eating at her. She went back to Kathy's adult book store, half in hopes of seeing her there, I believe. She didn't. She went there nominally to buy a primer videotape on S&M that she could play at her dungeon party. She invited a group of the men she works with at SII to come to her dungeon and witness a paddling demonstration on David. David enthusiastically cooperated. It wasn't about S&M as much as it was about Anna's enjoyment of taking center stage. I think she really enjoys the shock value of S&M as much as any of the pain that she either inflicts or receives. But overall, Anna seemed lonely and a little depressed. She even hinted again at a relationship between us, which she only does when quite moody.

Friday, May 1, 1998

9 am. I received another fax from the Anonymous Faxer. The image shows a cigarette dominating the foreground, its curling smoke revealing the Anonymous Faxer and another man in a close, naked embrace. This image could be interpreted negatively, like a visual pun--i.e. a relationship going up in smoke. But I don't think that's right. This is an image about the consummation of a relationship. The previous couple of images illustrated a budding relationship. I believe this image builds upon the common habit of smoking a cigarette after sex. The closeness and obvious attraction that the two figures have for each other belie the notion that the relationship is anything other than close and warm. I'm extremely happy that the Anonymous Faxer has been able to connect with another person on that intimate level. His emotional isolation was always the scariest part of his gender confusion. His unhappiness with his body clearly came across in previous images. That he would allow this body to participate in sexual intimacy shows that he has conquered many personal demons.

11 am. Fifteenth Session with Sharon Lough at the California Pacific Medical Center. I spoke with Victor Brisbane of the CPMC rehab staff last Monday and approved his recommendation of clonidine for Sharon, .5 mg. B.I.D. They determined that although she manifested signs of poly drug abuse, her primary withdrawal symptoms were related to opiates. I went to see her this morning and she seemed in relatively good spirits, considering. She reports a disinclination to continue with her crafts and seems predisposed to a bit of lethargy. But except for complaining about institutional food, and worrying about how a co-worker from SII found out that she was there, Sharon seems to have adapted to the program, and I believe that she's benefited. She is anxious to be released. She told me about an interview with Peter Coyote on the radio, where he apparently described in some detail the process by which he used to inject narcotics. Sharon felt a certain nostalgia in listening to the program. She told me what I've heard from several other addicts--the ritual of buying, cooking, and injecting the drugs is itself a source of pleasure. That's always surprised me, because were I an addict, I believe I would view the injecting of the drugs as a repellent necessity rather than a tasty appetizer. Sharon is due to be released tomorrow. I urged her to get Rob, or someone else, to pick her up.

4 pm. Twenty-Third Session with Thomas Darden. Thomas seemed to be making progress. He was able to muster up enough courage to send e-mail to Rachel asking her to lunch. She accepted. They had a lunch during which Thomas felt awkward--he felt that she was able to sense the fact that he was nervous. However, the lunch was a big step forward. Unfortunately, Thomas still harbors a great deal of jealousy and anger towards Scott Collavito, mostly because of his easy manner around Rachel. Thomas' jealous thoughts seem to have turned increasingly violent, and he has indicated that he may act on his feelings. After weighing what he said, I cannot say that I believe that Scott is in imminent danger of bodily harm, but it is a close call--Scott may be in some danger. However, Thomas' pattern is to make malicious statements, and even believe them if he's in a certain mood, but he rarely acts on them. They are like a fantasy. However, if Thomas continues to express his hatred of Scott by threatening violent present action, I'll be forced to take some action to try to prevent harm which may violate Thomas' doctor/patient confidentiality. Despite his paralyzing shyness, Thomas seems close to at least the possibility of a relationship with Rachel. Now, he seems intent on knowingly undermining any hope of winning Rachel's affections. It's like he's scared that it might work out and then not meet his expectations.

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