Transcript of 32nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Alex Rozzi, Wednesday, February 11, 1998 at 5:00 pm.

Mr. Rozzi: Hey, Doc. You don't have to say it--I know, I know. It's just the way it grows when I don't shave. Tony said I look like a skin-head or something. Ralph thinks it makes me look Middle-Eastern.
Dr. Balis: You have made a lot of significant changes in your appearance lately, Alex. The goatee looks good. How are you doing?
Mr. Rozzi: I don't know. Okay, I guess. You were right about Katherine.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, I met her last Saturday over at Pasqua's on Eighteenth Street. She's a good friend, you know? We had some hot chocolate and watched the rain come sheeting down and all the lightning...did you see it? Wow! We hardly ever have storms like that! But Katherine is just cool, that's all I can say. I really like her, she's so smart but not snooty about it. It's like she's naturally cool, I don't know. First, we were both excited that Jake sold my paintings.
Dr. Balis: He did? That's wonderful news, Alex. Congratulations!
Mr. Rozzi: Thanks, man. Yeah, it was so out of the blue, you know? Jake had left a couple messages for me with Ralph. And then when I called him, he said he needed to see me. So I thought that he was going to give me back my paintings--he is always so serious about stuff. But when I got there, he handed me an envelope, kind of smiled--I don't think I ever saw him do that before--and just stood there waiting for my reaction. Well, when I opened up the envelope and saw the check, he said, "I think the price was more than fair." And I was like, "This is so cool." But you know anything would have been great. It was not a lot of money, but it's a start. He said the person who bought my paintings wanted to remain anonymous but also wanted to see more of my work. I was thinking it was all a joke--Jake was just standing there with his arms folded across his chest and that big smile on his face--but he was serious. Now, I'm wondering who it was that bought it. Was it you?
Dr. Balis: No, Alex, it wasn't me. What made you think that it was me?
Mr. Rozzi: I don't know. I just thought that maybe you were trying to make me feel better--you know, with all the shit I've been telling you lately. I just don't know who it could be. But I wish I knew, though.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Mr. Rozzi: Huh?
Dr. Balis: Why do you want to know who it is?
Mr. Rozzi: Well...uh, I don't know. I just do, I guess. It's just so not real, you know?
Dr. Balis: I can imagine it feels like a surprise.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, it was, and Katherine was overjoyed about it. She was all affectionate. It was like she was lit up inside over my little success. I have never had someone act like that over anything I did. She was so enthusiastic. When I told her that Jake smiled, I was sort of making an observation. But she got this funny look on her face--like she was trying to imagine that or something. I noticed that right away. But she and I had a nice long talk. I told her about Benny and Roly.
Dr. Balis: What about Joe? Did you tell her about him?
Mr. Rozzi: Hmm, no. Why? Why do you want me to tell people about him so bad?
Dr. Balis: That's not it, Alex. I want for you to accept support, the support you need from others. It will help in the healing process.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, it did feel good spending the day with Katherine. She listened to the entire story of Benny and didn't act like she judged me or anything. She just seemed like she had this deep intense understanding and...I don't know, respect I guess. Now, she kind of understands why I live with Ralph--I told her about that story, too. And I told her about my mom.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad that you were able to open up so much to Katherine. I do think that can be very beneficial.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, there's been a lot of stuff happening lately--things that I never thought I'd do or see. I saw this man the other day, he reminded me of myself except he was a lot older--your age maybe--and he was ranting and raving and carrying on and pounding his fist on the counter of the pharmacy at the medical center. I don't want to grow up to be like that--at odds with everybody, you know?
Dr. Balis: I understand that, and this is why we are working together. Why were you at the pharmacy?
Mr. Rozzi: Well, see, that's one of the things I thought I'd never do. Mark was away on a business trip, and my mom is having more trouble with being pregnant. She needed to go to the doctor again, so I took her. They did one of those things with the picture--an ultrasound, I think--and I saw the baby. We were able to see everything. It was weird! I could see it's fingers and toes, and it was all curled up but moving around and stuff. And then I got to thinking that it was me in there before. And then I got grossed-out and stuff; yuck, it's all gross in there or something. It's no wonder I was born six weeks early. I probably couldn't take it any more, you know? But it was so small. They said it was another boy, like me. So I wonder what life will be like for him? Will he have a better chance than me? Will he be like me? Will I like him? Will he like me? It's kind of weird to think about this stuff. But most of all, I wonder if he will be safe.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Rozzi: But my mom is a trip, you know? She can be so nice one minute and the next be a total raving bitch. She's psycho! There we were waiting in the pharmacy, and we were talking about her computer problems. I asked her some questions--you know, "Did she call technical support?" things like that--and she just turned on me for a split second. She just turned her head and looked at me with such hatred in her eyes. And I just looked back at her and didn't break the glare, didn't take my eyes off hers. She flinched first, then she just changed back. I tried to show her that she didn't bother me, and I think that's what caused her to calm back down. I think she actually stopped and thought about what she was doing. I think it reminded me of the time I told her, or tried to tell her, about Joe.
Dr. Balis: When did you try to tell her?
Mr. Rozzi: When it happened. But she didn't want to hear it. She said I was just looking for attention and maybe even making the whole thing up. I get so mad when I think back on it. She acted like kids didn't do that sort of thing. And I was like, "Hello?" But it made no difference. Well, not until Benny came along.
Dr. Balis: Alex, how old were you when that happened?
Mr. Rozzi: I think I was about ten. Definitely not more than eleven.
Dr. Balis: And where did Joe come from?
Mr. Rozzi: He was this kid who lived in the apartment building across from where my mom lived.
Dr. Balis: He was a kid? How old was he then?
Mr. Rozzi: I think he was five or six years older than me. Why, does that matter?
Dr. Balis: I was trying to get a better understanding of what happened. So when you told your mom, she wasn't supportive or understanding. Did she try to deny it ever happened? You said that things changed when Benny came into the picture. Now, as I understand it, he put an end to the abuse, is that correct?
Mr. Rozzi: He sure did. You better believe it. He stopped it all right.
Dr. Balis: Benny and Joe were about the same age, right? What did Benny do to stop Joe?
Mr. Rozzi: Hmm?
Dr. Balis: What did Benny do to stop it?
Mr. Rozzi: To stop what? Oh, shit! I guess I kind of drifted off or something. What were we just talking about?
Dr. Balis: How did Benny help to stop Joe from abusing you?
Mr. Rozzi: Oh, yeah. Well, he caught us, I guess. He walked in and found us together. That's what he did. Plus, he was bigger than Joe, and I guess he kicked Joe's ass. That was more than my mother did, that's for sure. You know, this is going to sound weird, but I kind of miss that part of it--the part where Benny would kind of protect me from things. I know he loved me. I figured it all out, you know.
Dr. Balis: I'm not sure I follow you.
Mr. Rozzi: Well, he saved me from Joe, that was the first thing he did. Then later, he did other things to protect me. He was protective of me. He broke up with me when he realized he was going to get in trouble. And he tried to get that tape back--the one I didn't have--but he didn't know that at the time. I think he was trying to protect me somehow.
Dr. Balis: Alex, you've told me that you were grateful to Benny for rescueing you from Joe. I know that you had a sexual relationship with Benny. But are you sure that you loved him?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, so? What's wrong with loving him?
Dr. Balis: Nothing. And you don't have to justify that love to me, I understand.
Mr. Rozzi: But the thing was...I forgot again. What was I going to say?
Dr. Balis: We were talking about Benny and your mother.
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah. See, the thing was...she was sort of right. The thing that I remember is that I liked it sort of, so I probably deserved it, too.
Dr. Balis: No, you didn't. Not at all. Alex, sexually abused children are not to be blamed for being victimized, even if they have a sexual response. You were a very young child. This guy held a knife to your throat. He threatened you and used his physical strength and size to overpower you. You didn't have the ability to protect yourself from him. Look at your younger sisters. They are both smaller than you now. Think back to when you were that size and realize how vulnerable you really were. Can you remember that?
Mr. Rozzi: Yeah, but...I'm sorry.
Dr. Balis: Why are you sorry?
Mr. Rozzi: I don't know. I guess...I just sort of spaced again.
Dr. Balis: Alex, are you taking something?
Mr. Rozzi: Huh?
Dr. Balis: Are you on drugs?
Mr. Rozzi: No! I'm just spaced, that's all.
Dr. Balis: Alex, it's important to keep yourself focused on the moment. You need to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings right now. Humor me. Stomp your feet on the floor, like this. Good. What do you feel?
Mr. Rozzi: Déjà vu. Haven't we done this before?
Dr. Balis: We have, but it doesn't hurt to have a little refresher. What did you feel?
Mr. Rozzi: My feet hitting the floor, duh. I know, I know--you want me to do this when I start to space out.
Dr. Balis: That's right. It's okay if you space out. But do it in a safe place. Here it's okay, although I'd prefer we stayed focused on our conversation. It's important to stay in the moment and not to shut yourself away. Spacing out is a coping technique that may have worked in the past. But now, you need to rely on your self-awareness to get through. You are doing great work, and I'm impressed with the way you are handling your problems right now. I know how hard it is, and I don't blame you for trying to escape it. But it's important to try to keep yourself from doing that all the time.
Mr. Rozzi: I know, but sometimes I can't help it, you know?
Dr. Balis: I do know. Now, Alex, keep up the good work. And I want to urge you to keep getting the support you need from your friends.
Mr. Rozzi: We're out of time already?
Dr. Balis: I'm afraid so. Next week then? Same time?
Mr. Rozzi: All right. Well, thanks dude.
Dr. Balis: Take care, Alex.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

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