Transcript of 3rd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Olivia Stillwell, Monday, January 26, 1998 at 4:00 pm.

Ms. Stillwell: Hello, Doctor Balis. It's good to see you again.
Dr. Balis: Olivia, please come in. I'm glad to see that you've come back. Frankly, I was worried after our last session. Please, come in and sit down.
Ms. Stillwell: Doctor, I'm so sorry about our last session. I was just...well, I guess I'm a bit sensitive to how people perceive me. Tissue paper feelings and all.
Dr. Balis: That's quite all right, Olivia. And again, I do apologize if I somehow gave you the impression that I thought your problem was not serious. But walking out is not acceptable.
Ms. Stillwell: I understand. It was terribly rude of me and not helpful at all. Now I know you weren't making light of things and I just took things wrong. Well, Jonas won't bother me anymore anyway. I'm pretty sure he won't. And that was why I was here--to get your help understanding him. So I'm pretty pleased to see that we've accomplished what we set out to do.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. I'd be interested in hearing what happened with Jonas.
Ms. Stillwell: He's been arrested. He's a really bad computer hacker from what I hear. I don't know all the details nor do I care to hear it all. I'm just glad that he's not going to be bothering me anymore.
Dr. Balis: How did you find all this out?
Ms. Stillwell: I got online the day after our last session and was immediately bombarded with people sending me e-mail messages about Jonas. There are various versions of the story, but the bottom line is that he was caught hacking into a server. Evidently, he was posting pirated software and software license numbers. From what I've heard, someone alerted software police or something and his ISP about this. First, his home account was canceled. Then, he was arrested. I called the university and pretended that I was a reporter. I asked a lot of pointed questions and was told that he's on an extended sabbatical and his return was unknown at this time. I e-mailed the abuse desk at his ISP and was told that they had been monitoring his actions and that his account had been terminated for violation of their Terms of Service. I don't know what kind of punishment he's looking at in Denmark, but in the US they usually forbid convicted hackers to use computers as part of their punishment.
Dr. Balis: I see. I'd expect you to be happier with him out of your life and unable to harm you. But you don't seem all that relieved.
Ms. Stillwell: Yeah...well, I have other things on my mind--good things, splendid things, yummy things!
Dr. Balis: Such as?
Ms. Stillwell: Well, I managed a major coup while you were on vacation! Speaking of which, how was your vacation?
Dr. Balis: Quite relaxing, thank you. What was your coup?
Ms. Stillwell: I've been thinking a lot about getting out from under my father's thumb, personally and professionally. I started looking for a new job a couple months ago, but I was very picky about the ones I considered. I did my homework and came to the conclusion that Silicon Impressions was the best place to go. That is also how I found you. I did some snooping and found out that you were covered under their insurance plan. That was why I chose you. My father was bugging me about the bags under my eyes, and always being late to work, and being so tired, so I decided to appease him. In the process, I was allowing him to think he had more control. But actually, I was setting things up to take as much control away from him as possible.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Stillwell: So after our last session, I had a phone message at home from Vince Martinelli asking me to call him as soon as possible. I did, and he offered me a job! I'm in this group called Marketing Imagery. We come up with the logos and fonts and color schemes for all of SII's products. We set up guidelines on how a certain logo should look in color, reverse color, black and white, reverse black and white, and what fonts to use when the first choice font isn't available...all those things. We create the press packs. We work with the legal department to make sure we have everything properly licensed and trademarked. And we work with the graphic designers who come up with the logos. It's really a neat department.
Dr. Balis: How did your father take the news of your new job?
Ms. Stillwell: Not too well, and that's an understatement. He's beside himself. I turned in my notice the day after our last session. But since I had so much vacation time built up, I started working for SII immediately and took my two weeks notice at Stillwell as vacation. Essentially, I got double pay. I knew that if I worked my last two weeks, he'd be on me like white on rice. He would wear me down and make me give up my new job.
Dr. Balis: Didn't leaving on such short notice put your co-workers in a jam?
Ms. Stillwell: Nope. I've been anticipating leaving for several months, so I made sure that I was always up to date on all my work. I even created procedure documents for everything that I do, so the next person just has to follow the steps. I've planned this for a while, Doc.
Dr. Balis: While I understand your desire for more independence from your father, I hope this hasn't created a permanent rift between the two of you. Are you speaking to each other?
Ms. Stillwell: A little. It's still a bit strained. He's shocked that I ventured out on my own like I did, and I guess it hurt his pride a bit. I didn't do it to be spiteful or to make him look bad; I just had to have some breathing space and to know that I can do things on my own. He has always had such a watchful eye on me, and it's a smothering feeling at times.
Dr. Balis: Parents have a tendency to be protective of their children, Olivia. That's part of the child-rearing process.
Ms. Stillwell: Not like this. He's not my real father, you know. I'm not even related to him. When he was a teenager--I guess he was around seventeen or eighteen or maybe a bit older, because he had graduated high school--he was working for a moving company. He'd load people's things into trucks, unload them, and put the stuff in the correct places in the house. One day, he was helping unload for this one family, my mother's family. My mother was fifteen, I think; her name was Melissa. While he was unloading the truck, my mother was unpacking some of her things and was kind of putzing around the house. Her family went back to the old house to pack some more and asked my father to keep an eye on her while they were gone. Melissa was in the kitchen when someone came in the kitchen door and attacked her. My father...uh, Eric ran in to see what was going on. The attacker had Melissa on the floor and was going to rape her. Eric tried to pull him off and ended up being knocked out cold. Melissa was raped and became pregnant with me. Eric felt very guilty: he was supposed to be taking care of her and had failed. He felt so obligated that he offered to marry Melissa. She was a wreck. She quit talking; she would rock in place and just rub her belly. She died when I was born. Melissa's parents didn't want me, I only reminded them of the daughter they lost and the shame of the rape. Eric was so consumed with guilt that he felt he had to make it up to Melissa's parents. They allowed him to adopt me as long as he took me away. He moved to California and got into computers.
Dr. Balis: That's a horrible story! And it sounds like your adopted father took a lot of responsibility onto himself. What did his family think about all this?
Ms. Stillwell: They were in complete shock when Eric offered to marry Melissa, let alone when he adopted me after she died. They just couldn't fathom his guilt. They also thought he'd never be successful or be able to get ahead in life with a baby and no wife. I found a letter at their house once. Eric sent it to them shortly after he adopted me. He told them that even if they couldn't understand why he felt so responsible to Melissa's family, he hoped that with time they would try to accept me.
Dr. Balis: And did they?
Ms. Stillwell: I really don't know. They lived back east, and we hardly ever saw them. They both passed away when I was in elementary school, so I never really knew them. Sometimes I feel like my father is trying so hard to protect me because he wasn't able to protect my mother.
Dr. Balis: You seem rather dispassionate about all this.
Ms. Stillwell: Well, I can see why he is so protective and, in a way, I guess I understand it. But I'm on the receiving end of this, and it's hard not to be resentful or angry at the smothering.
Dr. Balis: It's okay for your father to express his wishes and desires for your life. And while you don't have to do what he wants, it's okay to hear him out. Do you agree?
Ms. Stillwell: Yes, that's true. But he becomes so adamant about things sometimes. It's hard to say no to him.
Dr. Balis: How about "maybe?" Saying "maybe" doesn't mean yes or no. "Maybe" could give you an opportunity to decide for yourself while relieving some of the immediate pressure.
Ms. Stillwell: I use "maybe" a lot and then just don't tell him that the answer is really "no."
Dr. Balis: Communication is very important, Olivia. If your decision is not to take his advice on something, try explaining your reasons to him. He just might surprise you and accept your decision. You're obviously not a child anymore, but maybe he needs some help cutting the strings.
Ms. Stillwell: That's no understatement, Doc! Now with my new job, he has even less control, and it's just bugging him something fierce. I think I'm going to make a dinner date with him every week and see if that helps cool him down a bit.
Dr. Balis: I think that's a wise decision. I don't get the impression that you want to exclude your father from your life. It sounds like you just want to lessen his impact on your decisions. He may be feeling alienated by you right now.
Ms. Stillwell: He needs a woman. I've been checking out some of the women at work to see who is single and decent.
Dr. Balis: Playing Cupid can be a dangerous game, Olivia.
Ms. Stillwell: Well, I'm not real obvious about it. I've set him up before with my teachers, my friends' mothers and stuff. It's helped take the pressure off me for a while. Don't get me wrong, I want to see him happy. My matchmaking isn't entirely selfish.
Dr. Balis: I still advise caution. Love isn't something that can be forced or manipulated.
Ms. Stillwell: I'll be good; I'll be good! But if he won't fish off of his own company's pier, I'll just introduce him to my company's pier. Arranged meetings aren't bad. If nothing happens, nothing happens. I don't send love letters to them and sign them from my father! It's all innocent. I just arrange the first meeting and let nature take its course.
Dr. Balis: Just be careful, Olivia, okay? It looks like our time is almost up. Before we go, however, I'd like you to consider keeping a journal.
Ms. Stillwell: Like "Dear Diary?"
Dr. Balis: Not necessarily. Just someplace you jot down your thoughts, feelings, doodles, or anything that comes to mind. You don't have to show it to me, if you don't want to.
Ms. Stillwell: I'll think about it. I'm doing so much writing at work that it might feel like a chore. But I'll think about it.
Dr. Balis: Good. Will your new job permit you to keep the same appointment time?
Ms. Stillwell: Yup! I go in early and leave early, so it's no big deal. Our group is really informal. As long as we get our stuff done, everyone's happy. I'll see you next week, Doc!
Dr. Balis: Sounds good, Olivia. Have a good week.
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