Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 12/04/98

Saturday, November 28, 1998

Sunday, November 29, 1998

Monday, November 30, 1998

Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

2 pm. Tenth Session with Kelly Wiseling. Kelly has been absorbed by her work. She describes her father as similarly absorbed as she was growing up. Then, she resented it. Now, she empathizes. Kelly has been suffering from a neck and shoulder problem which has led her to take large quantities of over-the-counter pain medications. Those, in turn, have led to stomach ailments. I urged Kelly to seek a doctor's care, but she has been having difficulty getting through CalaCare's bureaucracy--a problem rendered more difficult because of her need to depend upon a third party service to converse over the telephone with CalaCare representatives. Kelly has a virtual phobia of needing someone else's assistance--she sees it as diminishing her own independence. I insisted, however, that she allow me to get her an appointment with a physical therapist through CalaCare--I can issue a referral slip myself, I think. Kelly needs to learn to relax her vigilance against accepting offers of assistance. She told me a revealing story about seeing a presumably deaf man panhandling on the BART train. She sees his conduct--and her own--as representing all deaf people to the hearing world. She told me that there are people at work who think she was hired merely because of her handicap. Kelly thinks that she has to be twice as good as anyone else to put such stereotypes to rest. Kelly has substantial issues which stem from her mother's attitudes towards her as she was growing up. She told me that her mother's only praise came when she displayed a lack of appetite. Her mother seemed to be particularly afraid that Kelly would become overweight, although Kelly doesn't appear to have any predisposition to obesity. I believe that it's possible the pain she's feeling in her neck and shoulders are related to stress. I'd like to spend some time next session going through some stress reduction exercises. Unfortunately, the audio tape that I often use for this purpose is going to be useless with Kelly.

5 pm. Seventieth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex seemed agitated throughout the session. He tended to speak in bursts and often seemed to lose track of his own thoughts. He's clearly been sleeping poorly, evidenced by the dark circles under his eyes. Last week seemed to be one of introspection for Alex, although I'm not sure I agree with his conclusions. Alex feels that something died inside of him when Benny left him, and since then, he's been drifting aimlessly, feeling unworthy and lacking self-esteem. I've always had trouble reconciling Alex's two views of Benny: one, as the hated abuser, and the other, as the longed-for love object. Alex referred to Benny as a "hero object" in his life. He described an interesting social pattern where he sets important people in his life up as heroes in his eyes. Alex said that he learns what he can from each hero and then moves on. I suspect that the heroes have a hard time living up to Alex's expectations, and so end up disappointing him or turning to villains. It's an interesting dynamic which I'd like to explore further when Alex isn't so emotional and even maudlin. Alex appears to be considering the possibility of renewing his relationship with Luke. He's reevaluating that relationship and seems to have concluded that there was nothing wrong with Luke as a boyfriend, rather that Alex just wasn't ready for a relationship at the time they got together. He even said that he felt unworthy of Luke. Alex also described Katherine in hero worship terms: he told me that it is her patience that he most admires. He patched things up with Katherine, although she scolded him for running away rather than talking things out. Actually, it seems that things ended rather neatly for Katherine. Alex's mother didn't know where Alex was and thought that Katherine might be lying to her when she denied knowledge of his whereabouts. So she had a loud, angry confrontation with Katherine in her office at SII, bringing up echoes of her previous charge that Katherine and Alex were engaged in an unlawful sexual relationship. Katherine calmly deflected her allegations, although Larraine left muttering threats and slamming doors. Alex went to Thanksgiving dinner knowing about the confrontation that his mother had with Katherine. His mother, however, did not know that Alex had heard about it. Alex was able to contain his anger through the dinner--he told me that he discovered a previously unknown gay relation and was proud of hitting some sort of nerve when he asked about the boy's father. But Alex saved his confrontation with his mother until later, when they were alone. They actually seem to connect for a moment, mother and son, in the knowledge that they were both emotionally high-strung--"hot heads" is the term they used. Later, Cecil called and told Alex that the police have arrested someone in connection with the assault on Benny--presumably the stranger who kicked in the door. Alex seems to think that he's now in the clear, although I doubt his legal difficulties will disappear so easily. The truth is that I'm worried about Alex's stability, even with all his self revelations. I'm very worried about the month I'll be away in New York, leaving Alex without the routine of our weekly sessions. Given Alex's emotional lability today, I decided against breaking the news of my impending absence to him.

Thursday, December 3, 1998

4 pm. Ninety-Ninth Session with Anna Green. Anna is slipping into a relationship with her police officer friend Trevor and she barely notices. It sounds like he's courting her more than currying her favor for a police investigation. He calls her every day and he went up to her parents place to gain their support. Anna said that he made her out to be a hero to runaway minors caught in a web of sexual misconduct, and she said that she liked being portrayed that way to her parents. She said that they are both proud of her now. If Anna is to start a relationship with this policeman, she should do it with her eyes wide open rather than following her customary pattern of slipping into something desired by someone else. Anna told me that she's studying physics as part of her continuing education at the futurists group. She told me something about a theory advanced by a friend of Lloyd's which ended up winning the friend the Nobel Prize in Physics. Anna said that it had something to do with fractional charges on electrons and said that it could help further miniaturize electronic gadgetry. I understood none of it. Apparently, Lloyd is going to Sweden for the medal ceremony.

Friday, December 4, 1998

10 am. Thirty-Ninth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon came in with her hair mangled and dyed. I'm afraid I wasn't very diplomatic in my expressions of shock and horror. Her hair used to be long and dark brown. Now, it's short and platinum blonde hair--at least most of it. It has streaks of varying shades running through it. She tried to cut it herself, and now her hair sticks out in tufts all over her head at odd angles. I'm afraid we spent a good part of the session on Sharon's hair. Sharon is showing a reluctance to return to work. Instead, she's staying home and playing the grumbling nursemaid to Rob, who's not going to work because of an ulcer. Sharon told me that Rob purposefully destroyed his own stomach with a diet of aspirin and water to avoid the Vietnam war draft. I never heard of that before--the war is still being fought in Rob's stomach. Rob got some pain medication which Sharon covets, although she told me that she wouldn't take any. Rob has been trying to encourage Sharon to return to work, and she's feeling the pressure. I'm not sure what her reluctance really is, but she's clearly not looking forward to it and wants to delay her return as long as possible. Her work as an editor for the school literary magazine seems to be petering out--no one has turned in work that satisfies her and the one woman who wanted to help was rejected by Sharon because of the way she looked--specifically the fact that her tight pants outlined her vulva. Sharon herself made the observation that she shouldn't be rejecting people because of their appearance given her hair in its current condition. Sharon averred that therapy is a scam because she hasn't noted improvement but said that she keeps coming back because I represent a constant in her life. I'm afraid that her antipathy to work at SII goes beyond mere dislike of the job. I'd like to explore why she is avoiding returning to work, but she will be immediately defensive if she feels that she must justify her continued absence to me.

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