Transcript of 31st Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Wednesday, February 4, 1998 at 5:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Alex? Please, come in.
Mr. Rozzi: You can save the bull shit nicey-nice stuff, Doc. Oh, and here's your damn book back! I don't need that shit. What? Why are you looking at me that way? Shit! Okay, okay, sorry. But...
Dr. Balis: Alex, you're really upset. What is it? Is it the book? What bothers you about it?
Mr. Rozzi: I told you before, I don't want to talk about this! Jeez!
Dr. Balis: Hmm. It seems like the book brought up a strong emotional reaction...
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, well. That book is for someone who didn't deserve what they got.
Dr. Balis: Do you believe that you deserved having a knife held to your throat?
Mr. Rozzi: No, I didn't say that! Shit! Not exactly. I said that it just was something that I did. It was something that sort of happened to me. It's's...well, the people in that book are unable to live their lives or something. I can still do things. I go to school and stuff what?
Dr. Balis: Alex, you were too young to know better, you were too young to understand the consequences of what was happening to you. But you were physically, sexually, and psychologically abused. What happened to you would be difficult even for an adult to cope with--you were just a child.
Mr. Rozzi: It's...sometimes, it's so much for me to think about, you know? My throat is still hypersensitive. I still have this rash thing, see? Even the other day, when Luke and I told each other our little secrets, I couldn't tell him about this, you know? I couldn't bring myself to say anything. It's like it's too private, too personal. I don't know. And forget about touching my neck--when he even came near it, I cringed. I's just that...I don't know. I just don't know.
Dr. Balis: The box of tissue is right here, Alex.
Mr. Rozzi: I'm such a little pussy, you know? I should be able to just get over it. You know, last week after I left here, everywhere I looked I saw people who looked like him, like Joe. And some of them looked like Benny, but mostly like Joe. And I could see so clearly. I saw everything, everyone, and what it all meant to me. It was like I was hyper-aware of everything, anything. I think that's why all of a sudden over the past few weeks I didn't want to have sex. I went home that day, and ever since I worked out circuit training, rode my bike all over, in the rain even. And a couple of days after riding, I've come home to do the punching bag. And Ralph started to tease me about the kitchen and about my bedroom.
Dr. Balis: Why? Are they messy?
Mr. Rozzi: No, not at all. Not ever! But I must have reorganized this one section of the kitchen cabinets like ten times in the past two weeks, and I didn't even think twice about it until Ralph said something. Then I started thinking about it, and--for like at least maybe eight nights or so--I've waken up and went into Ralph's room just to make sure he was still there, you know?
Dr. Balis: I see. Alex, how is your sleep? Are you staying up, pulling all-nighters again?
Mr. Rozzi: No, I've been sleeping regularly, except for the times I woke up and checked on Ralph. But after I do, I just go back to bed and fall right back to sleep. Oh, yeah. I have this. This is a letter I wrote to Benny. I even sent it, too.
Dr. Balis: A letter? What did you say?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I kept it to one page, but I think I said a lot. Do you want to hear it? It isn't very long, really.
Dr. Balis: I'd like to hear it.
Mr. Rozzi: Okay, it starts like this...well, I'll just kind of read bits of it,okay? Here it goes: "Benny, now that Roly is gone--he killed himself over what you did to him. He jumped in front of a BART train. Well, now that he's gone, I decided that I wasn't going to let myself go the same way. And now I think I understand why you left the way you did, the way you disassociated yourself from me. You knew. You knew it was coming--this thing with that kid. You somehow knew you were going to get popped, and you didn't want me involved. It's the same reason you ransacked my mother's house. Were you somehow trying to protect me? Dora told me about the tape. I saw the evidence, but I didn't turn it over. It was wrong to tape me, to tape us, you and me. It was so wrong when it could have been right. But you had to go and find another younger one. First, Roly. Then, me. And then, that kid. It wasn't me at all, was it? It was youth that mattered to you, it wasn't the person you were with. And I understand everything now. So I write to tell you this--I understand. I'm not saying this to make you think I would do anything to help you, but I'm not going to testify against you in court. I won't help them put you away. But it's not for you that I'm doing this, so don't get it wrong. It's for me. I just don't want to live the rest of my life hating you for what you did. So I'll do it for me. And I forgive you. Goodbye and good luck. Alex."
Dr. Balis: That must have been a very hard letter to write, Alex. I'm proud of you for expressing your feeling this way. There is an exercise in this book that includes writing a letter to the person who perpetrated the abuse. Maybe you should keep the book for awhile. How did it feel to write this letter?
Mr. Rozzi: I didn't realize that it was an exercise. Let me see. Hmm. It is, isn't it? It's right here, "Letters to the abuser." Hmm. I really didn't notice that before.
Dr. Balis: So you sent the letter already?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, I did.
Dr. Balis: Well, that's an important step, Alex. You said that you do not wish to testify against Benny. You should do what feels right to you right now. But be aware that your feeling on this matter may change. You mentioned that you and Luke were exchanging secrets. What did you share with each other?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, he told me about Heather. She's the one in the pictures. Heather was his "coming-out" girlfriend. I talked about Benny, the real stuff--the tricks and the videos and stuff. But the thing about Joe...well, I didn't say anything about that. You know, besides Benny, you're the only other person I told about that.
Dr. Balis: I think it's good to be able to talk about all this with people that you care about and that care about you. Ralph, Tony, and maybe even your...uh, Mark.
Mr. Rozzi: It's okay, you can say it. Mark is my father, no big deal. Hmm, I know that they're there for me, but...well, I don't know. There's Katherine, too. She called last week and said that she was concerned about me--my short cropped hair and just how I looked all out of sorts. She was worried. I really like her a lot. When I saw her today, she suggested that we do something this week.
Dr. Balis: It's just important, Alex, to realize that you have a nice circle of friends, and they can offer you their support. And I encourage you to accept it. It will make a difference. I know how independent you can be, but opening up and letting people in can be an important part of healing. And you have my support, of course. This is some serious stuff we are dealing with here, Alex. I'm proud of you for talking about it. I know how hard it is to do that, and you should be proud of your work here, too. The letter is a great step in itself.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, somehow, I don't think I can bring myself to feel proud about it. I'm kind of ashamed of myself, maybe even a little humiliated or something. It's all fucked, you know? Sometimes, I think that I saw it all on TV or something. I feel like it really isn't real. But it did feel good to talk to Luke. It was like a huge weight had been lifted, and I know that he felt the same. You should see how guilty he feels over that girl, Heather. He told me that he was dating her--as I suspected--and at the time he already knew that he was gay, but he didn't want to admit it, to come out to anyone. But his sister knew, and she kept trying to get him to accept it and admit it. Well, the day he finally told Heather, she was driving in a car with him. She got so upset that she stopped the car and threw Luke out and then drove off. Later, she got into a really bad accident. Down in Carmel, there're all these sharp twists and turns and cliffs and ravines and stuff. Well, she drove herself into a wreck and fucked herself up--hit her head and got brain damage. Now, she lives in a nursing care place, and Luke blames himself for it. That is the real reason he graduated early from high school. As for my story, after I told him all about Benny, it sort of meant less to me. It was like Benny didn't matter that much anymore, or maybe more like I came to a different understanding about it, a different feeling. I realized how important it was for me to not be a part of that...that trial thing, and to try to let it go so I could let him go. He's going to get everything he deserves anyway. Plus, Luke didn't seem to judge me or anything. He just listened, and then he put his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes and told me that it didn't matter to him. It didn't matter to him what I had done in the past. That helped me feel better about some of it.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad that Luke is being supportive. I want to continue to urge you to look through this book some more. Why don't you try out some of the other exercises?
Mr. Rozzi: Hmm. And I told Luke that his secret past with Heather didn't change anything between us. We had sex, but my heart was still not into it. He noticed that, too. I felt kind of distant or something, I don't know. I think I love him and want to be with him, but my heart isn't in it like it was. Do you think I'm crazy?
Dr. Balis: No, not in the least. I think that at your age, and with all that you're dealing with now, it's hard to be in love. It doesn't surprise me that sex is uninteresting to you currently. It may feel this way for a while. Most people who are sexually abused have similar reactions. Some become withdrawn, like you, while others become overly sexual. It can be difficult to assess the damage that was caused. It's important to realize that there isn't any one specific answer and that your reaction will change over time.
Mr. Rozzi: So the reason I'm so scared about all this is that it's deeper than I want to realize. Does that make any sense?
Dr. Balis: Yes. Being confused is the one thing you can be certain of. Dealing with sexual abuse is very overwhelming. So try to be kind to yourself.
Mr. Rozzi: See? This is why I didn't want to go into all this. It's's so...I don't know. It's the one thing I don't have control over. And all these thoughts in my mind are just overwhelming. That's why I try not to think too much about it. But when I try not to think about it, I find myself thinking about it even more. I'm afraid that if I let the thoughts go on, I'll lose control or something. I don't know. I think I'm having a hard time putting all this into words. Do I make any sense?
Dr. Balis: You do. As I said to you before, any feelings you have are okay to have, as conflicting as they may be. Allow yourself to feel what you feel, and if it becomes too much for you, I'm a phone call away. I want to encourage you to continue to write your feelings down--you seem to have a knack for that. And try to accept the support of your friends and loved ones. Try not to shut yourself away from them.
Mr. Rozzi: Okay. I guess we're running out of time. Gee, time sure flies in here sometimes.
Dr. Balis: It does, doesn't it? Okay, then. Good work, Alex. I'll see you the same time next week. And remember to call if you need to. I'm here to help.
Mr. Rozzi: Thanks, dude. See ya!
Dr. Balis: Alex, here. Don't forget the book.
Mr. Rozzi: Aw, shit! I guess I was trying to forget about that.
Dr. Balis: It's okay, I understand.
Mr. Rozzi: All right, man, talk to you later.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Alex, and take care of yourself.
Mr. Rozzi: You too, dude. Later.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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