Transcript of 28th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Katherine Lippard, Wednesday, December 3, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Lippard: Hello, Doctor Balis. Did you have a good holiday?
Dr. Balis: Yes, thank you. How about you?
Ms. Lippard: It was just as I anticipated. We lazed around all day, watching football, drinking spiked eggnog, and eating turkey sandwiches that Jake brought from the deli. Then it was Pouilly-Fuissé with the cheese, Beaujolais Nouveau with the Lobster Newburg, cognac with the chocolates, and a hangover the next morning. By the way, did you know that orgasms are an excellent hangover cure? Have one immediately, repeat as needed. It's better than chewing aspirin, and there's no awful taste in your mouth.
Dr. Balis: I'll keep that in mind.
Ms. Lippard: So how do you like your new cat?
Dr. Balis: How did you know I got a cat?
Ms. Lippard: It's all over your tie. I can't help but notice those ties, they're kind of...uh, noticeable. But the last two times, you've had cat hair on them. If you ever stood up, I'll bet your pants are covered.
Dr. Balis: Yes, she's very affectionate. It's been a learning experience.
Ms. Lippard: I'll bet. Hey, how old is Alex? Eighteen, twenty?
Dr. Balis: Younger. Why?
Ms. Lippard: I met his roommate. I guess I should start at the beginning. I took him over to meet Phil last Wednesday, and we had supper. I know Alex is an artist--that's how we met--and I thought he and Phil would get along. And they did, they hit it off real well. I was afraid Alex might be attracted to me, but it became apparent at supper that he's gay. He had some doe eyes for Phil, but poor Philip's just oblivious to these things. Women do the same thing, and I don't think he notices at all. So after supper, I took Alex home and I met his roommate Ralph. He's at least twice Alex's age and apparently is well off. And I started to wonder just what the situation is there. I know Alex has trouble at home, and I wonder if he's being Ralph's little boy-toy just for a place to live. Not that it's any of my business, I know.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. What are your feelings toward Alex?
Ms. Lippard: I thought about that myself. He's cute and all, but he's way too young for me. And of course he's gay. I guess I feel kind of maternal. You know, since Philip's all grown up, I don't have anyone to take care of any more.
Dr. Balis: Is that important to you?
Ms. Lippard: Well, I have thought about having kids. I think I may have something to offer the next generation. But I wonder if I'd be a good parent. And. of course. I'd have to pick the father very carefully; I want my kids to grow up with two parents there all the time. I'd be pretty pissed if my husband left halfway through raising his children.
Dr. Balis: Like your father did.
Ms. Lippard: Yes, damn you, like my father did. Of course you'd bring that up.
Dr. Balis: It does fit, doesn't it?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, yeah, okay. Oh, I got to meet his mother, too--Lorraine. Good Southern name. She's a bit of a bitch, though. She had some harsh words for both of us. And the way she looked at me, I got the feeling she was ready to eat me alive. Something else, too: she seemed familiar. But I think I'd remember having met this woman before.
Dr. Balis: She made an impression on you, huh?
Ms. Lippard: Have you met her? You can't answer, I know. Well, if you have, then you know how...what a forceful personality she has.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lippard: Well, enough of this. It must make you uncomfortable to have one patient talking about another.
Dr. Balis: It's okay. I can keep pretty clear boundaries. Though my patients do seem to have a knack for running into each other.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, well, I guess you get a lot of business from SII. I know the contract you have with CalaCare. Some of them must know each other from work.
Dr. Balis: Yes.
Ms. Lippard: Okay, I guess I've done my chit-chat for the day. It's time to turn in my homework.
Dr. Balis: Something wrong?
Ms. Lippard: I guess I just don't want to admit it. You were right. When I said I'd be mad at my husband if he left halfway through raising the father did that, and I am mad at him. I was shortchanged, you know? He made a promise. When you have kids, you know that you'll have to dedicate your life to raising them, until they're ready to go out on their own. He didn't do that; he broke his promise. But you seem to think I should be just as mad at him as I am at my mother, and I don't think that's right. See, even though he left, he tried to keep his promise as much as he could. He called, he was going to visit, he might have let me move up there with him. It was Mama who cut him off, who forced him to break his promise totally instead of just halfway. So I feel justified in being more angry with her than with him. I guess if it was all him, I'd be mad all at him. As it was, he was trying to take care of himself and still to take care of us, too. So I could be half as mad. But Mama cut him off, so I feel like it's two thirds her fault. So I'm twice as mad at her as at him. Did you follow that?
Dr. Balis: Yes, but my math comes out differently. Listen to this reasoning: he left on his own, your mother didn't kick him out. So all the fault would be his. Then she cut him off, so she shares in the fault. It seems to me like that makes it closer to 50-50.
Ms. Lippard: Oh, but she does share in his leaving. We could have gone with him, it was Mama who said she wasn't moving the family and made him go alone. So it was 50-50 until she cut him off. Now it's much more hers.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Well, let's table that for now. So you realize that some of your anger is directed at your father?
Ms. Lippard: Well, yeah. But it's hard to be mad at him, you know? When I think of Daddy, mostly I'm just sad. I feel the loss, but not the blame. I know you don't want to hear this, but I think mostly I'm over it--being mad, I mean. He did what he felt he had to do, and I can understand that. At least he tried to live up to his promises, as much as he could. I just...I'm tired, Doctor Balis. I'm tired of carrying this burden around. I don't want to be angry, I don't want to be sad. I just want to get over it.
Dr. Balis: I understand. Carrying such a weight of emotion around can be quite draining.
Ms. Lippard: Yeah, exactly. And I feel better about it, I really do. This has been good for me. All this talking has been...uh, damn, I can't find the word. When you talk about something and it feels good just to get it off your chest, just the release is a relief...what am I talking about?
Dr. Balis: Catharsis?
Ms. Lippard: Yeah! All this has been cathartic--just getting it out in the open. And you've really made me consider just what my feelings are, so I can see it so much more clearly. Just that has been a relief. Things are sort of falling into place on their own.
Dr. Balis: You've done a lot of hard work here, Katherine, and made some real discoveries about yourself and your feelings. I'm glad you feel that it's helping.
Ms. Lippard: I do. It is.
Dr. Balis: So what do you feel about your father now?
Ms. Lippard: Hmm. Okay, I'm a little mad at him. He made a promise, a pretty big one, and he broke it. But people change, and priorities change, and I can see where he's coming from. It doesn't excuse what he did, but I can understand it. We don't always make good decisions. So I can forgive him and get over being mad.
Dr. Balis: Anything else?
Ms. Lippard: I'm still sad about losing him, but I guess I may always be. It doesn't make me cry anymore. Well, you know, I miss him; I'd still like to have had a Daddy. I'd like to have one now. So I am sad, and I do miss him. I guess that's the grief process, right?
Dr. Balis: Uh huh.
Ms. Lippard: Seven more months, right?
Dr. Balis: However long it takes, Katherine. Don't cut yourself off at some arbitrary date.
Ms. Lippard: Like my mother did, yeah.
Dr. Balis: What about your mother?
Ms. Lippard: Oh, man, Doctor Balis, do we have to get into this now?
Dr. Balis: If you don't feel up to it, you don't have to do anything. But we have the time, and as long as we're on the subject...
Ms. Lippard: You're right, of course. I'm just tired. This can be real work sometimes. My mother. I'm pretty mad at her, and that's fresh, because I just learned about her part of it just recently. So I may be awhile getting over that. But I thought of something over the weekend. As Jake was soaping me up in the shower--of all times--I felt kind of bad that my mind wasn't on...uh, what was going on. Maybe it wasn't all about me. Maybe it just hurt her too much to be reminded of him all the time. Maybe she had to cut me off so she could cut herself off, so she could start getting over it. If that's the case, I sort of pity her for that. Sometimes, I forget that she loved him, too. I mean, I could see it whenever they were together; she was so totally in love. I think I described that to you.
Dr. Balis: Yes, I believe you did.
Ms. Lippard: So maybe I can get over being mad at her, too. Right now, I don't feel much of anything. I really am emotionally exhausted. Time's about up anyway. I think I'll call it a day.
Dr. Balis: That's fine. I'm proud of the work you've done on this, Katherine. You've made real progress in a short time.
Ms. Lippard: Thanks. That's good to hear. I'll see you next week.
Dr. Balis: Good night, Katherine.
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