Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 09/11/98

Saturday, September 5, 1998

Sunday, September 6, 1998

Monday, September 7, 1998

Tuesday, September 8, 1998

12 pm. Third Session with Madeline Trent. Madeline describes her current situation with a degree of self knowledge that I found surprising. She feels a lot of stress in her life and I suggested that she try to eliminate some of the small stressors before tackling the larger ones. Madeline was amenable to my suggestion. She thought that a time schedule at home might assist her in relieving some worries that she has of not being able to spend enough time with Natalie. Madeline said that she was sometimes jealous of Jesse for being able to spend his whole day with Natalie. I'm considering administering a stress assessment exam to quantify her current levels of stress and track any improvement. We talked about Madeline's parents--they don't like Jesse and keep urging Madeline to leave him and return to them in St. Louis. Although Madeline has made it plain to them that she has no intention of breaking up her marriage and, furthermore, that such talk is intensely painful to her, they persist. Madeline talked about her friends from the Rape Crisis Center. She said that she needed them after the rape, but that, as time passed, she found that they allowed themselves to be continually victimized by the crime in that they couldn't move past what had happened to them. Madeline thinks that Natalie has helped her in moving on with her life. She admits that she was horrible to Jesse after the assault by taking out her anger and fear on him, and says that, although he doesn't understand what she went through, he's tried hard to show her his love and give her his support. I asked her whether the upcoming trial would help or impair her healing. She said she didn't know. She feels the fears and insecurities that she thought were gone being dredged back up to the surface, and she said that she's jumpy at work and has little patience for people generally. Madeline thinks that the more she talks about what happened the night she was raped, the worse her fears will become. I think it is likely to be exactly the reverse, but I would hate it if the first time she goes through a recall of that night's events was in a courtroom filled with strangers. I think we need to talk about these issues much more before she faces her ordeal at trial.

Wednesday, September 9, 1998

2 pm. Fifth Session with Kelly Wiseling. Kelly came in with a hangover from a night of drinking and dancing. She met a young man at a dance club and invited him back to her place where they had sex. Seemingly, she achieved a long held fantasy of inviting a stranger back to her place without ever having him know that she was deaf. She enjoyed the sex and the rest of the experience quite a bit--but somehow I wasn't able to join in her enthusiasm. I felt like a kill-joy as I queried about safe sex practices and found myself reminding her of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." I really didn't like the movie; it seemed to me to criminalize sexually liberated conduct. I think my worries about my father have cast a pall over my advice--Jesus, she was telling me about a pleasant sexual episode and I was warning her about serial killers! I have to do a better job of keeping my personal problems from my work. Kelly left early and I think it was predominantly due to my gloomy frame of mind. She left feeling bad about herself and the choices she made, which was certainly not my intention.

5 pm. Sixtieth Session with Alex Rozzi. We spent much of the session talking about Katherine Lippard. She's been back from Alaska for a few weeks now, and she's spent some time with Alex. Although she told Alex some stories about her travels, Alex didn't volunteer anything she might have said about the fate of her father. I might have pressed harder to find out what happened if I didn't have a session planned with Katherine tomorrow morning. Apparently, Katherine is considering the purchase of a fancy house in Seacliff. She went out there with Alex driving her Jaguar. He parked it in a tow away zone and, sure enough, the car was towed while they were looking at the house. Alex was embarrassed but Katherine laughed off the incident. Alex was quite grateful for her attitude. Alex also told me that he received a phone call from Benny, like a bolt out of the blue. Benny told Alex that he had been thinking of him, which made Alex happy. With all that's gone on, Alex still craves Benny's attention. Alex told Benny some of the hurt and pain he had caused, and Benny tried to shake it off with platitudes about the past being in the past. But they had a long conversation which Alex wasn't interested in cutting short. I guess I'm glad that Alex had a chance to express some of his anger directly to Benny, but I'm not thrilled about the prospect of Alex visiting Benny in prison. And Alex doesn't want Benny to feel that, just because he called, everything is now all right between them. It happened that Luke was over at Ralph's house when Alex received the call. Luke was very angry that Alex spoke to Benny for such a long time. And just after the telephone conversation, food which had been ordered from a delivery service arrived at the door. The delivery person was the same man that Alex had previously met who looked like Benny. The delivery guy reacted with obvious recognition and sexual interest, causing Luke to become very upset. Luke left angry on a trip to New York and Alex hasn't heard from him since. Alex has a feeling that this might be it--the end of his relationship with Luke--but I disagree. This sounds more like petty jealousies which will resolve over time.

Thursday, September 10, 1998

11 am. Forty-Seventh Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine came in full of rapture for the beauty that she found in Alaska. She told me about fabulous vistas freed from human contamination that inspired her to poetic language and grand arm gestures. But, of course, the issue I was most interested in was her father. While she didn't actually find him or learn his current fate, she did find a woman, Mary-Louise Clark, with whom he had lived for four years. She said that he kept a picture of his family, including Katherine, which he treasured. She also described him in glowing terms as a type of frontier hero, using his plane to rescue those in need from the Alaskan wilderness. It sounded a bit like a fantasy--a television drama about the unchained bush pilot with a different adventure each week. But it was just the type of fantasy that Katherine needed to grab hold of. She says that she's now reached closure--she did seem to be at peace with this issue. I think that she now has a skeleton mental construct of a father with which she can imbue all the positive personality traits that she needs him to have. When she finally was able to talk to Phil about this, she realized that he never had the same difficulties understanding her father's abandonment of them. Katherine believes that, ultimately, Phil is much more like her father than she. And Katherine probably has made the unspoken assumption that she's much more like her mother--strong, controlling, a dealer rather than a dreamer. And, like her mother, she was abandoned by the man she loved. Now, she has to work to justify the abandonment so as not to blame her mother, and by transference, herself. The hero mythology is precisely what she needs. So while it may seem a bit artificial to me, Katherine has constructed a scaffold to support her emotionally while she tries to build other relationships that are not fraught with issues of abandonment. I hope the scaffold is strong enough to survive until she is able to form a relationship with someone whom she can genuinely trust.

4 pm. Ninety-Second Session with Anna Green. Will it never end? Just when I thought Kathy was finally out of Anna's life forever, the saga of Kathy continues. Kathy had been staying at her Aunt Helen's house. She was there at breakfast, but by lunchtime she had vanished. That wouldn't be all that strange if it weren't for the fact that the window to Kathy's bedroom had been forced from the outside. So Kathy is gone, although the room is immaculate. No note, no nothing. The police believe that she may have been abducted, and Anna thinks that she may be next. To make matters more emotionally volatile, Martin has moved in with Anna for "protection." Anna is a wreck. She's sucking down incredible quantities of caffeine and sugar and then dealing with her inability to sleep by smoking marijuana at night. She's also compulsively twitching and picking--her cuticles are a bloody mess. Her father tried to get the police to watch Anna's house for protection, and they refused. Either they are remarkably unresponsive, or they are watching the house anyway, but don't want Anna to know about it. Perhaps they're using Anna as bait in a trap. Either way, I'm unhappy about it. I'd really like Anna to get away from Martin and the house and go stay with a friend--perhaps Carin and Greg would take her in. Anna was also spooked by my absence over the last couple of weeks. When I told her it was necessitated by my father's stroke, she felt guilty for lashing out at me. Anna also told me that she got the transfer she sought at work into Martin's department. Now Anna is working with the futurists at SII.

Friday, September 11, 1998

10 am. Thirty-First Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon spoke to a lawyer named Fielding Walker who sounds like he gave her some pretty good advice. He walked her through the deposition process, and it was a lot milder than what Sharon had been expecting. At trial, however, Sharon believes that it could be worse if her credibility comes into question. Sharon summed up her previous history as "a slut, an S&M devotee, a heroin addict, a psilocybin-cultivator, and a mental patient." She told me that she found herself empathizing with a convicted child molester who had been exposed as such to his neighbors and had consequently hung himself. She said that she understood how trapped he must have felt. She also spoke about how she used to enjoy innocently watching kids at the playground--now she feels as if she really is a pedophile if she expresses any interest in children at all. She said that she now feels an aversion to kids and she has decided that she's no longer interested in becoming a mother herself. I assume that when Sharon no longer feels it necessary to defend herself against a charge of being a child molester, all of this will pass. Sharon also told me that her reawakened sexual interest has now withered--which sounds like the predominant reason that she broke off her relationship with Tony. She speaks of him now with nothing but contempt, and was completely unsympathetic to my attempts to get her to give Tony an explanation for her conduct. When I pointed out that it wasn't right for her to take out her anger on Tony, she told me something interesting--she said that she can't control it. And I think that's right. She's angry all the time at something. Rob is having problems with his hands, and Sharon is not filled with sympathy towards him. She remembers his lack of concern for her broken foot and now feels somehow that the tables are turned. Rob hired Charlotte, of all people, to paint the bathroom of the house. Charlotte tried a faux marble technique that she saw in a Martha Stewart magazine. After Charlotte was done, Sharon defaced the wall with pornographic line drawings and scrawled messages of her own. While I disapproved of the canvas she chose, I suggested to Sharon that she might consider drawing on paper as an outlet for her unresolved anger.

3 pm. Seventeenth Session with Rachel Tanner. Apparently, Rachel's relationship with Carla has ended. Rachel sees everything in negative terms right now: she had certain sexual limitations which caused her to fail in the relationship. I urged her to see things in a more positive light: she was able to trust Carla and engage in many forms of sexual intimacy, she was able to reveal her OCD to another person, and the experience will be of enormous value to the next relationship she has. Perhaps Rachel can see it that way over time. But the biggest enemy Rachel has is free time. When she's not busy, and she's of a certain frame of mind, she can allow her OCD to become quite destructive. Rachel pulled off a scarf on her head that she had been wearing and revealed a hideous bald patch over her left temple. I'm surprised I hadn't noticed it. She suffers from trichotillomania--I remember learning from her grandmother a while ago that Rachel had pulled out all her pubic hair. She told me how she finds the root end of each hair she pulls and lines them up and presses them into her book. While Rachel seemed interested in increasing her medication, I'm hoping to go in the other direction. So I told her to be consciously aware of her propensity to pull her hair and to guard against it both by pulling her hair back or otherwise protecting it, and by keeping a profusion of worry toys around her with which she can fiddle. In a week, school starts and I'm hopeful that this will become less of an issue. I also hope that she doesn't find herself in one of Carla's classes.

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