Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 12/05/97

Saturday, November 29, 1997

Sunday, November 30, 1997

Monday, December 1, 1997

Tuesday, December 2, 1997

Wednesday, December 3, 1997

4 pm. Twenty-Eighth Session with Katherine Lippard. Katherine has come a long way in understanding her feelings of abandonment by her father and anger towards her mother. She is still allocating blame unequally between her parents to justify the intensity of the feelings she has towards each--her father is spared most of the intensity. We played a numbers game, trying to rationally parse out each parent's proper measure of fault. But I was particularly impressed that Katherine thought that an additional reason that her mother might have cut off her father was to help herself heal from the loss of a loved mate. Katherine empathized outside of herself to reach that conclusion--a good sign. She was clearly emotionally drained during the session--she's been thinking about this a good deal during her "homework" time. She talked about having a catharsis, but I'm not convinced that it wasn't more for my benefit than hers. I suspect that she's tired of rehashing these thoughts in her head and would like to put them aside for now. But I've often seen my patients make their most significant progress in just this kind of mental state. She mentioned her physical relationship with Jake several times during the session--she clearly wants me to know that she is having satisfying sex with him. But that has to be an emotional cover for what I think is still a fundamentally empty relationship. And Katherine is not emotionally satisfied with her relationship with Jake either, whatever she professes to me. We started to talk about Alex Rozzi, and Katherine admitted that she had briefly thought of him as a romantic prospect before realizing how young he was and his sexual orientation. So she's looking. Katherine took Alex over to meet Phil on Wednesday. Alex was apparently attracted to Phil, but Phil was oblivious of Alex's interest. After supper, Katherine took Alex home and met Ralph--she described him as wealthy and was concerned that Alex was his "boy toy" in exchange for living accommodations. She also met Alex's mother Larraine--she called her "Lorraine"--whom she described as a bitch with forceful personality. Katherine describes herself as feeling maternal towards Alex. Katherine spoke about wanting children, although she's worried whether or not she'd be a good parent. But she is very concerned that her mate doesn't leave halfway through the child-rearing, as her father did.

5 pm. Twenty-Sixth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex was clearly shook up over the events of the past week. His Aunt Sofie died after preparing a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast. She died quietly so that everyone thought she was just sitting and napping on the sofa after the big meal. Alex relates it to his own feeling that anytime he gets close to someone, they suffer through some calamity. He cites his father, his grandmother, Benny, Roly, and now Sofie. Alex thought of Sofie as being the only member of that family that encouraged him in any of his pursuits. In fact, Sofie left him a stipend of money in her will with the understanding that he use it for either art or culinary school. Ironically, Alex remembers that the last words she said to him were that the truffles--Alex's contribution to the dinner--were "to die for." Tony was at the meal too, and the event was used by Alex's mother as an opportunity to get Tony together with his family. Tony didn't react badly, actually. Alex is still distressed over the events of the week and was having difficulty remaining clear and focused. Alex also had dinner with Katherine Lippard and her brother Phil this week. He said that he was somewhat attracted to Phil, which made him act clumsy--even though Alex was sure that Phil wouldn't be interested in him. Actually, I have no idea whether Phil is gay or not, and I thought that Alex was in a committed relationship with Luke. Alex took Katherine and Phil back to Ralph's and there met his mother coming down the stairs. His mother, who heads up SII's mail room, recognized Katherine from some company newsletter announcing her promotion. His mother made a fuss about the incident to Alex later and he believes that his mother is going to try to use the fact that Katherine and Alex have been seen together somehow against Katherine. He plans to warn Katherine of his mother's intentions. Alex also found out another family secret--his Aunt Sofie's long-estranged daughter Rosemarie. Alex thought she was educated and more sophisticated and attractive than his mother--they hated each other, apparently. Luke was enthralled by the cat fight--it sounds like a scene from "The Women," actually. Alex's mother believed Rosemarie was doing nothing but sniffing around for Aunt Sofie's money. But Aunt Sofie had written Rosemarie out of her will.

Thursday, December 4, 1997

10 am. Eleventh Session with Decker Jenkins. Decker told me a horrible story about his mother's boyfriend finding her in bed with another man and blowing that man's head off. Decker described coming upon the scene and seeing the decapitated body of the man with his naked mother covered in blood and brains. While Decker related it as a true story, this is just the type of violent misogynistic fantasy which Decker is prone too. I don't know how much credit, if any, I should give to the story. Decker said that the murderer in the story was one of the few men that actually stayed for a week. He said that Karen was trying to pretend that they had a relatively normal family life--family dinners, going to movies, and the like. Decker said that this incident occurred just prior to Simian's arrival on the scene. Decker also told me that his mother's usual pattern was one night stands--she would frequently bring home men, feed them dinner and then engage in sex with them, taking few pains to hide her activities from young Decker. He even said that she would ask them to beat Decker for her--"he needs a man's influence"--and reward them with an act of fellatio. Again, it may or may not actually be true. Decker said that he spent a great deal of money to bail his friend Telso out of jail. Telso was arrested on a possession of cocaine charge, and it was not his first arrest. Since Decker made bail, he hasn't seen Telso--not a good sign. Decker also told me that he showed up last Thursday for his session, on Thanksgiving. He said he went through the motions of his day, never realizing it was a holiday until he discovered that I wasn't in my office. Then he noticed that everything else was closed too. But Decker reacted with humor--quite different from the time that he was livid with anger when I was a few minutes late at the start of a session.

4 pm. Sixty-Fourth Session with Anna Green. Anna's complicated threesome just got more complex. The fundamental change seems to be that Anna is no longer at the apex of the triangle. Now it's Martin. Anna and Kathy are both vying for his attentions. It's as if there has been a paradigm shift. The relationship is clearly crumbling. I suspect that Anna's obvious distaste for a pure lesbian relationship was painfully obvious to Kathy. In Kathy's calculus, she can't see a situation where she will end up paired off with Anna and Martin will be cut loose. So in the relationship, it's either Anna or Kathy that will be set adrift. And each is determined it will be the other that will be sloughed off. Kathy has begun her battle using emotional manipulation and blackmail, and Anna is trying to win by using what she believes is her greater leverage over Martin's affections. But the upshot is that, with both women tugging on him in different directions, Martin ended up staying home with Kathy during Thanksgiving. Round one goes to emotional manipulation! For the first time, Anna is seriously talking about Martin as her prospective husband, and she sees Kathy as an impediment. At Thanksgiving dinner, Anna was busy explaining to her parents why Martin decided to stay home with their roommate. While Anna tried to outwardly dismiss her father's intimations that something of a sexual nature might be going on between Martin and Kathy, Anna knew that they were, indeed, actively engaging in sexual activity. She came back from the dinner as mad as a hornet and told Martin that it was either Kathy or her. She seems to believe that Martin will do exactly what she tells him to do, although I am not so sure. I'm quite concerned that Kathy has actually threatened suicide, although Anna believes that it is merely an idle threat. I've never met Kathy so I have no idea, but I told Anna that Kathy should get some help. I'm also concerned that as the stakes rise higher in this game, that Anna might commit to more of a future with Martin than she otherwise would. Will Anna marry Martin just to keep him out of Kathy's hands?

5 pm. Twenty-Fifth Session with Christina Herald. I'm concerned that Chris is taking the world's problems on herself again and that she may end up with a new series of panic attacks. She swears that she isn't slipping back into her caffeine addiction, but I'm concerned, that even without caffeine's added amplification, she's taking on too much. In addition to her normal classroom duties--including finals--she's in charge of her father's retirement party and wedding, and she's in some volunteer program assisting people in getting their GEDs. Furthermore, she's in charge of Jonny's emotional support (turmoil in his relationship with Greg), and Gavin's (he impregnated a "pretty little vegan coed"). Although she was tired, she seemed in find form. Despite my concerns, I must admit that she seemed to be taking her load more in stride than she used to. She was fairly relaxed during the session, wearing jeans and a sweater for once instead of the professional clothes that she has been sporting. She looked better this way--more like the Christina that I used to know.

Friday, December 5, 1997

10 am. Fourth Session with Sharon Lough. Sharon began by confessing that she is beginning to dread her therapy sessions. But as she spoke, it became increasingly apparent that she wants to avoid any reminders of her current situation. She spoke with some empathy for a girl that she read about that denied and hid her pregnancy and killed the child when it was born. She talked about getting caught up in the denial and being able to pretend that the unpleasantness is happening to someone else. She went to a lawyer, but seems unlikely to carry out his advice. It's for a similar reason--to avoid the reality of her current situation. Sharon is depressed rather than angry. She said that she was "depressed, defeated, drained." She's been eating in binges as well, and called in sick today merely because she didn't want to face anyone. Sharon opened up quite a bit during today's session, telling me something about a promiscuous sexual past which involved experimental homosexual and alternative lifestyle activities as well as illegal drug use including methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. Now she says that she feels like a neutered cat--that she has lost interest in sex, although she used to be obsessed with it. She describes her recent past like a morality tale: "Girl does drugs, has sex, goes crazy, ends in mental hospital." Sharon told me that she thought at one time that she was a lesbian, although she doesn't believe that now. While Sharon has opened up a bit about her past, we are still not near the foundational issues which have shaped her. Her promiscuous sexual history is as much a reaction to those issues as is her current persona. But her current depression coupled with her suicidal tendencies is a dangerous combination. I need to continually update my suicide risk assessment for Sharon.

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