Transcript of 18th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, May 22, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: It's finally happening.
Dr. Balis: What?
Ms. Lough: Charlotte is moving out her things this weekend. Rob and Charlotte are getting a divorce.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Lough: Monday, Rob went to a quickie divorce type of place--you know, "Divorces-R-Us" or something like that. Diane was served with papers. He's already given her a check for the settlement.
Dr. Balis: I'm surprised it happened so fast. Usually divorces are long and drawn out.
Ms. Lough: Well, it isn't final yet. Charlotte wanted to get her things over the long weekend; she has the whole week off. She told Rob she didn't want me in the house while she was there. Where am I supposed to go? I guess it's not even my home. But she can't even give us a definite date or time, she just said she'd be "in and out" all of next week. Maybe I should stay in a motel.
Dr. Balis: What did Rob say about this?
Ms. Lough: Rob's a wimpy putz. He lets her walk all over him, and then complains afterward that she doesn't respect him. Last night, I started packing her things, mostly old junk--you know, magazines, paperbacks. My god, this woman has hundreds of paperback romance novels! I filled two big boxes full of them. Rob said not to throw them away. She apparently said that they represent her life, which is really sad if you ask me. I always thought she was an intelligent woman. I can't believe she read all that crap.
Dr. Balis: For many women, books like those are a form of escape.
Ms. Lough: They're so ridiculous. I couldn't help laughing when I read the blurbs on the back covers. "The haughty, handsome rogue Lance Poopy-Doopy would break the heart of the beautiful but fragile Brittany. But who knows what twists fate has for this mismatched pair. Read this mesmerizing account of how a hard resisting heart and a bruised soul open themselves to the magic of love." The artwork on the cover is hilarious, too: all those bare chested, long haired men in bulging trousers, holding simpering, creamy skinned women with heaving bosoms. I'll bet men never read garbage like that. Those books are an insult to the intelligence of women everywhere.
Dr. Balis: They can be rather silly, but some women do appear to enjoy them as light reading.
Ms. Lough: Not me. When Rob saw what I was doing, he yelled at me to put everything back where I had found it. He didn't want Charlotte to get upset. So I had to unpack everything and put it back. What a pain in the ass! I really want her to get her stuff out of there. Most of this stuff she doesn't need anyway. All the important things she really needs are with her in her condo. She used this house like a storage space and weekend getaway.
Dr. Balis: How does that make you feel?
Ms. Lough: Like a nomad. Like I don't have any right to be there, even though I've lived there for the past few months. I've always felt that way, whenever I had to share a house or an apartment with someone. I'm just a live-in maid and whore to Rob. Fuck him. He's such an asshole.
Dr. Balis: Is there anywhere you could go for the week?
Ms. Lough: Maybe a cheap motel. Maybe I could sleep in my car. If it weren't for these crutches, I could go out and do stuff--go hiking or go to the park. It's hard for me to even drive. It's frustrating. I really don't want to be there when Charlotte moves out. I know she will make it as difficult as possible for Rob, and maybe for me, too. I wonder if Tony would let me stay at his place?
Dr. Balis: Tony? He's the one you met at the recovery group?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I told him what was going on, and he said he had an extra bedroom.
Dr. Balis: Do you feel secure enough to do this? You've only just met Tony.
Ms. Lough: I don't know. I don't think he'd try anything, if that's what you mean.
Dr. Balis: Are you sure?
Ms. Lough: I'd much rather fuck Tony than Rob, if I have to. You know, Rob doesn't care about me at all. I've done a lot for him; most women wouldn't bother with him. That's why he stayed with Charlotte for so many years.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: He's unattractive, and old, and he doesn't make a lot of money. That's three strikes against him. Most women are pretty mercenary about those things; they might use a man like Rob for a free meal, but nothing more.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Don't sound so disapproving. It's the truth.
Dr. Balis: What would you like Rob to do?
Ms. Lough: I want him to put his foot down and tell Charlotte she has one day to sort through her things and get her stuff out and turn in her keys when she's done. I can't believe he actually agreed to let her take an entire week. It doesn't take that long to move, and most of her stuff is just old junk that she doesn't need. I'm going to be an outcast that entire week, and I'm hardly in a condition to go anywhere, which is completely her fault. It's not fair to me.
Dr. Balis: What do you think is fair to Charlotte?
Ms. Lough: I don't give a fuck what's fair to Charlotte! She crushed my foot, for Christ's sake! She never even acknowledged that. She's told all her friends on the block that I betrayed her and connived to break up her marriage and steal her husband. I get dirty looks from the neighbors now--they all think I'm a bitch and a tramp. What they don't know is that Charlotte left her marriage years ago, when she decided to "explore her sexuality" by getting involved in the S&M community. Of course Charlotte never talks about that. And you know what else? When she said I could stay there, she said I could "keep Rob company."
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Well, Charlotte never actually came out and said it, but I knew what she meant.
Dr. Balis: Do you think Charlotte expected you to service her husband sexually?
Ms. Lough: Or something.
Dr. Balis: I got the impression that you were having sexual relations with Rob out of a feeling of obligation.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, and what's wrong with that?
Dr. Balis: Wasn't this "sex as barter" arrangement originally your idea? Didn't you take it on voluntarily?
Ms. Lough: Look, it really doesn't matter whose idea it was originally. I didn't think Charlotte would care if I slept with her husband. She was busy sleeping around herself. It gave Rob one less thing to complain about. I did her dirty work. I placated Rob while she was out sucking every cock in San Francisco.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: And Rob doesn't feel any sense of loyalty to me. I've really gone out of my way to play the girlfriend role, and I know he enjoys that. He's really happy with me, much happier than he ever was with Charlotte. It's been a long time since he's gotten laid or had someone cook him dinner, for that matter. I've been very nice to him, much nicer than Charlotte ever was. And look how he repays me. Men like Rob can't exactly pick and choose, you know. If I leave, there won't be a line of women at his front door, ready to volunteer for my duties. I really think he should reassess his priorities.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean by that?
Ms. Lough: For the past two months, I've cooked, cleaned, and had bad sex, and I've been taken for granted. I'm a de facto wife. I'm a wife in the most traditional sense of the word. I took care of Rob when he was at his lowest. Rob used to tell me how lonely he was before I moved in. It's really humiliating to be rejected sexually by your spouse. Charlotte wouldn't live with him, wouldn't fuck him, but would deign to have dinner with him on alternate weekends and go on vacations with him, as long as he paid, of course. What a selfish cunt! Charlotte always said she was a feminist. But what that really means is that women can do whatever they want without any sense of accountability. Who needs gender equality? I've shown more compassion and concern for Rob than his wife ever did. He should consider my needs, especially now when I'm laid up like this. I should be his first priority, not that fucking breed sow.
Dr. Balis: Divorces are always hard. I think you should try to be patient, this is a tough time for Rob, too.
Ms. Lough: He'll be sorry if I'll move out. He'll be all alone and no woman will want his fat, pimpled ass.
Dr. Balis: Are you planning on moving out?
Ms. Lough: I think I should leave once my foot heals and I'm able-bodied again. He doesn't appreciate me, and I don't feel welcome in his home. I think he's making a big mistake.
Dr. Balis: Have you expressed these feelings to Rob?
Ms. Lough: I've been avoiding him. He doesn't care what I think anyway. He's so pussy-whipped by his ex-wife. I've decided it's not only nice guys that finish last; the same applies to women.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: There's no point in trying to be a good person, to do the right thing. Do you know how the religious right is always yelling about Christian morality? If you were to actually live like a Christian, according to the traditional precepts of morality, you may as well carry about a sign saying, "Screw Me." Jesus was the one who said to turn the other cheek, right? What a moron! What good does that do?
Dr. Balis: How does this relate to your current situation?
Ms. Lough: I tried to do right by Rob. He wanted a girlfriend, a wife, a partner, whatever. And I did what I thought he wanted. And look what I got. Nothing. He'd rather have Charlotte, the bitch. If you want a man to need you, you have to be a castrating shrew.
Dr. Balis: Have you ever asked Rob what he wants?
Ms. Lough: What am I supposed to do? Do I have to sit him down and ask, "So, what do you want from me?"
Dr. Balis: There are subtler ways of going about it.
Ms. Lough: "What do you want from me, asshole?"
Dr. Balis: You know what I mean, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: I'm not good at all this interpersonal communication business. He should have noticed what I was doing for him. He's not deaf, dumb, and blind.
Dr. Balis: Do you have any feelings for Rob?
Ms. Lough: Do you mean besides disgust and revulsion?
Dr. Balis: You appear to be very agitated about the amount of attention he is giving to Charlotte. I would hardly characterize your reaction to the situation as indifferent.
Ms. Lough: So I'm jealous? I don't know. I'm just angry. I'm angry at everyone. It seems like life has been horribly unfair to me. I just want to wallow in self-pity and smoke a joint.
Dr. Balis: Has it been helpful to talk about it?
Ms. Lough: No. Yes. I don't know. Maybe. Listening to myself, I sound like a cranky, foul-mouthed bitch.
Dr. Balis: You have a rather colorful way of expressing yourself at times. So what are you going to do next week?
Ms. Lough: I think I'll call Tony. The worst he can do is say no. Maybe there will be a heat wave, and the windows won't open, and we'll be forced to walk around the house naked. We could accidentally bump into each other, and...
Dr. Balis: Do you want a physical relationship with Tony?
Ms. Lough: I need a good fuck. That's probably why I'm so cranky.
Dr. Balis: Please don't do anything rash, Sharon. Given your history...
Ms. Lough: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've got to go.
Dr. Balis: All right, Sharon. I'll see you next week.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

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