Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 11/06/98

Saturday, October 31, 1998

Sunday, November 1, 1998

Monday, November 2, 1998

11 am. Conversation with Lenore Marconi respecting Herbert Michel. Herbert is my patient and I have an ethical obligation to act in his best interest. But Herbert is a wife-beater and his wife has now turned to me for help. How far can I go in advising Lenore to criminally prosecute Herbert before I've violated my ethical obligations to him? I must be careful here, and not allow my personal distaste for the man color my judgment. However, I have an obligation to Lenore and I cannot try to shield Herbert from the consequences of his criminal behavior. It's a fine line. Lenore showed up unexpectedly at my office. She'd clearly been beaten--she had a large gash on her forehead and several other facial bruises. Her clothes were stained with blood. I phoned the emergency room at CPMC and let them know that Lenore was on her way, and called a cab for her. I also called the Hamilton House and arranged for her to spend the night there. I've found they're excellent at giving advice to abused women, so I felt less obligated to counsel Lenore to call the police. I did, however, tell Lenore that she had that option and that she could also get a restraining order issued. Lenore is reluctant to have Herbert arrested because she feels that one of his friends will bail him out of jail and then he'll come after her. I was unequivocal in my advice not to return to the apartment, however, and I think she understood. I hope she can find a way to leave Herbert. Incidentally, Lenore's purse was unzipped and I saw the same small cell phone that Herbert showed me at his last session. I thought it odd that she should have taken that, although perhaps it's the same model but a different phone. Maybe when Herbert was flush with money, he bought Lenore one as well.

12 pm. Thirty-Fourth Session with Thomas Darden. Thomas told me that he has been absorbed by the uneventful routine of work, which has helped him get his mind off his problems. I also think that I've noticed an improvement ascribable to the Zoloft, which I've increased by 10 mg. I'm convinced that the roots of Tom's avoidant behavior can be traced to early sexual exploration. We talked about college today, but it was clear that he already was having problems functioning in a social environment at that time. I'd like to explore further back, before high school, to see if there's one stand-out traumatic event from his childhood. Thomas told me of his loneliness and homesickness when he first went to live in the dorms as a freshman at Penn State. He had a roommate, also named Tom, who had a girlfriend Leah, who was a fantasy object for Tom Darden. Tom recalled an event, which deeply shamed him, where Leah caught him masturbating. The next day, Leah and her boyfriend had sex while Tom watched and masturbated. This was Tom's first sexual experience with another person. While engaged in sex with the other Tom, Leah even pressed Tom to admit that he wanted her to orally copulate him. Although he made the request, she did not comply, although Tom's presence seemed to excite the copulating pair. Tom later told both of them, individually, that he had been made uncomfortable by the event, and it was not repeated. Tom said that their friendship was strained thereafter. Apparently, Tom was--and perhaps still is--disconcerted by a feeling that he might have latent homosexual tendencies. It sounds like he might have had some homoerotic fantasies which have terrified him into a false belief that he might be a closeted homosexual. I think it's pretty clear that he is not. Perhaps I should try to reassure him on that point.

3 pm. Fourth Session with Darius Booth. Darius demonstrated a certain emotional lability by swinging to an exuberant high today. He was ecstatic because he's been offered an undefined job at The Cha-Cha. He got the job by hanging out in the bar, upsetting the manager periodically by asking to see the owner. He had nothing particular to say to the owner, but he liked the strong reaction his request elicited from the manager. At last, after begging him to leave, the manager introduced him briefly to the owner--a small woman buried under an ocean of paperwork--and then offered Darius a job. Darius accepted and is ready to quit SII even though he has no idea what job he has been offered.

Tuesday, November 3, 1998

12 pm. Sixth Session with Madeline Trent. Madeline came in and she had obviously been crying. Her eyes were blood-shot and puffy and her nose was decidedly red. She told me that, since the attack, she's found herself suddenly crying with no apparent reason. I assured her, of course, that sudden bouts of crying was common after a traumatic event such as the rape, even after several months have elapsed. But she is tired of hearing how things will get better with time and wants to know how long she's going to be like this. Obviously, there are no easy answers. Her relationship with Jesse is clearly suffering. She told me herself that she's been snapping at him without cause. I told her that the fact that she recognizes that she's not being fair to him is a good step towards resolving the problem. But she interpreted that as being on Jesse's "side." She told me that, even before she was assaulted, she and Jesse had grown somewhat apart. She's annoyed that he still works in a bookstore and is consumed with his motor scooter instead of being more ambitious and aggressive. Madeline told me about how they fell in love and got married. She recounted a bit about her parents' negative attitude towards Jesse, especially after the car accident where she lost the baby. She told me that she started to see Jesse through her parents' eyes and saw that some of the criticisms they leveled against him were legitimate. Madeline told me about a man who worked where Madeline worked in St. Louis. He was clearly making a play for her, and Madeline was tempted. But she refrained from cheating on Jesse and, instead, made a decision to pursue a job with SII, and move out to San Francisco. Madeline's primary motivator didn't seem to be Jesse alone, but rather an unwillingness to break down the forms of marriage through divorce. Perhaps that's unfair; that was merely an impression. Madeline puts it different--that she understands every relationship hits some bumps and that the people in the relationship should work hard to resolve those bumps, rather than just giving up. Madeline suggested that we spend our next session talking about her parents.

Wednesday, November 4, 1998

2 pm. Ninth Session with Kelly Wiseling. Kelly hesitantly told me about a sexual experience she had last week. Angie, one of her roommates, caught her masturbating with a vibrator. Angie began to initiate sexual activity with Kelly. Kelly described herself as frozen and unable to resist, although she also said that she didn't particularly want to resist. Angie took her time with Kelly and ended by performing cunnilingus on her, although she was unable to bring Kelly to climax. Kelly was unable to reciprocate by doing more than touching Angie's breasts while Angie used the vibrator on herself. I gave Kelly a lecture about safe sex, and then tried to discuss the issue of passivity in sexual situations. I'm afraid that Kelly's early sexual experiences where she was pressured into sex by one partner and then ridiculed and betrayed by another might have rendered her so conflicted about her own desires that she is pray to someone who's sexual confidence is greater than her own. Kelly rejected this suggestion as relates to this episode with Angie. She describes the encounter as a positive sexual experience. Kelly hasn't seen Angie since they had sex and she very much wants to. I think she needs fundamental reassurance that affection was mixed with the desire that Angie expressed.

5 pm. Conversation with Lorraine Jarrod (née Rozzi). The ever-charming Lorraine Jarrod flounced into my office in her best accusatory manner and informed me that Alex was in jail. A lifetime of her neglect has nothing to do with it--it's my fault. Benny was found--alive, thank god--severely beaten and left unconscious in the Marin Headlands. Alex is being charged with a whole series of counts including assault and attempted murder. He's being tried as an adult and bail was set at one hundred thousand dollars. Larraine was all in favor of letting her son rot in prison, but Katherine Lippard decided to post bail for Alex, instigating Larraine's fury. Larraine has an interesting theory that babies who don't fuss much as infants turn into troublemaking adolescents. That was the pattern that she observed with Alex and she now is worried that her baby Aaron, who's easy now, will turn into a "disappointment" like Alex is to her. Although I don't think that Larraine has much feeling for Alex, really, I told her that I believed she was having difficulty expressing her love for her son. Somewhat disingenuously, I recommended to Larraine that she tell Alex that she loves him without expressing the criticism that she normally lays on with such relish. I summarized a year and a half's worth of progress with Alex for Larraine, but she was still dissatisfied and left the office muttering threats against me.

Thursday, November 5, 1998

4 pm. Ninety-Seventh Session with Anna Green. Anna told me that she went to the S&M Halloween party with Martin and saw Gray there. Gray was the "whip master" who Kathy introduced to Anna when Anna was seeking to learn the "pleasures of pain." I was very upset at the time, and as I recall, Gray took advantage of Anna's submission and got her to perform sexual acts on him for which she hadn't bargained. But Gray, apparently, still holds some form of power over Anna. She describes feeling that power just by having him look at her. She reluctantly watched a scene that Gray put on at the S&M club which involved three submissives. Although one bound, bald, and masked woman seemed familiar, it wasn't until Martin joined her and recognized Kathy that Anna also placed her. Anna thinks that Kathy might have been living as Gray's sex slave for the past six months, and she also thinks that Gray might have been the person who assaulted her in the hotel room, although that would mean that Kathy would have lied about not recognizing her assailant. Neither Martin nor Anna approached Kathy or Gray at the party. Both are afraid of Gray. But after they went home, they called the detective investigating Kathy's disappearance. He wanted evidence, which they didn't have, and he wanted information on Gray's whereabouts, which they also didn't have. The detective had Martin and Kathy go to a series of S&M Halloween gatherings looking for a repeat appearance by Gray and his slaves, but they didn't see them again. I certainly don't think it's in Anna's best interest to come in contact with either Kathy or Gray again.

Friday, November 6, 1998

10 am. Thirty-Seventh Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon came in mumbling and incomprehensible. Then she opened her mouth to reveal her newly-pierced tongue, swollen and purple and perhaps twice its normal size. Before I could stop her, Sharon pulled down her pants and showed me that she had also had her left outer labia pierced as well--it looks just as swollen and painful. Sharon couldn't talk, but she had brought with her a battered laptop to type out her responses. So we conducted this session, side by side, so that I could view her responses on the screen. Incidentally, Sharon is an excellent typist although she made many mistakes--it was kind of like participating in an on-line chat session, except that she was here in the office. In any case, I thought it revealing that Sharon would fall into the piercing fad--it seems sort of unlikely given her armor of cynicism. But Sharon professes to love performing oral sex and she believes that this stud in her tongue is going to somehow improve her performance. Ironically, Rob apparently doesn't like receiving oral sex, which Sharon believes is un-American, given our president. Sharon hurled some invective towards Charlotte, who's apparently gained weight. Curiously, she criticized Godzilla for losing weight and told me that she looked better before, together with other sometimes fat celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Paul Prudhomme. Rob's hand is apparently almost completely disabled now and he's getting some medical advice on treatment. Sharon apparently is taking over a caregiver role, at least tangentially. We spent a good part of the session talking about the conjunction of feces and underwear in various configurations.

12 pm. Telephone Conversation with Rachel Tanner. Rachel is still sick, but we spoke by telephone. Her grandmother has decided to go back to Germany and, although she's still willing to provide some support to Rachel, Rachel is going to have to find another living situation. She's exploring her options in a reasonable way, although it seems that she's really hoping that her brother will invite her to come and live with him. Rachel told me that she has avoided pulling out her hair for 8 days now, and I believe that she's experiencing some positive benefits from the fluoxetine she's taking.

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