Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 10/18/96

Saturday, October 12, 1996

Sunday, October 13, 1996

Monday, October 14, 1996

8:20 am. Joseph actually called me to cancel his appointment. I was surprised by his consideration--usually he just doesn't show up. But when I tried to ask him some questions about how the medication was working and what was going on in his life, he just insisted that he had pressing engagements and waved away my questions. I think that Joseph doesn't believe that therapy has any real benefit for him, and the irony is that I've never met a patient who is more in need of extensive therapeutic help.

8:35 am. Telephone Conversation with Phylis Birch. Phylis called sounding a little shaky. She apologized for missing her sessions on Monday and Tuesday, but said that she'd be in at her usual time today at noon. She said that she had "a little trouble" last Thursday so my speculation was correct--she was Mazurka's victim. It sounds like Phylis is trying to be strong.

2 pm. Fifth Session with Sarah Wright. First Sarah recounted a dream where she and Robby were having sex and everything was idyllic until after the act was consummated. Then Robby turned vicious, dragging her by the hair and demanding to know if she was happy now. When she next turned around she saw Robby back on the bed having sex with six other men. The dream, which Sarah took as an allegory representing their sexual relationship as a whole, led to a discussion of Sarah and Robby's sexual history. Although they dated for a couple of years in high school, they only actually attempted intercourse twice. Once was when Robby was at least partly inebriated and had difficulty maintaining an erection except when acting almost savagely and the other after he became aroused viewing an X-rated videotape featuring, at least in part, homosexual fellatio. The second occasion, which presumably led to Melissa's conception, ended with Robby vomiting in the bathroom subsequent to emission. He blamed it on food poisoning. It was after that last sexual encounter that Robby left unexpectedly to college and Sarah discovered that she was pregnant. Looking back on it, Sarah believes that she was some kind of test for Robby to ascertain his true sexual preference. Sarah described how years later Robby actually told her that he was homosexual in response to her desire to initiate a relationship. Sarah didn't believe him at first, but Robby convinced her through a narrative of the pain of discovering a homosexual sexual preference. I was struck by the assumption that Sarah expressed in a prior session that she and Robby would get married after high school. I can only assume that Sarah was blind to what must have been obvious to Robby--their sexual relationship was such that without dramatic improvement, they were not going to have a successful marriage.

12 pm. Sixth Session with Phylis Birch. I heard Phylis' story of her encounter with Joseph Mazurka and it was as I feared. When Phylis was playing Martha and was surprised by her husband, Joseph viciously beat him and then, while Phylis was in shock after watching her husband reduced to bloody unconsciousness, tried to rape her. Jack suffered substantial damage including broken ribs, broken nose, broken right leg, a missing tooth, and internal injuries. Phylis still seems a little numb. I feel that she really needs to talk further, but she is trying to be strong for Jack. Of course she feels guilty for having brought this upon Jack, and I don't think that she's had the opportunity to come to terms with her own feelings about the events of that Thursday night. Right now, most of what she is feeling is fear. She got a page from Jack about half way through our session and had to run off to minister to his needs. I didn't tell Phylis that I'm treating Joseph Mazurka and, of course, I haven't told Mazurka that I'm treating Phylis. I feel by concealing his identity I'm protecting Mazurka in some way and I can barely stand that thought. He's such an awful human that I don't think therapy is really likely to cure him. I'm glad he canceled his session today because I don't think that I would have been able to face him after having listened to the pain he has brought upon poor Phylis and her innocent husband.

6:15 pm. Telephone Call from Caren Patterson regarding Anna Green. This was a very interesting call. Caren wanted me to know that she has not had a lesbian liaison with Anna, despite what Anna might have told me. She went out of her way to explain that while she and Anna had talked about it, they had never actually engaged in any homosexual activity and that she had only had sexual relationships with two men and never with a woman. My sense was that Caren was telling the truth. So there are two possibilities--either Caren is lying and trying to suppress Anna's recounting of their tryst, which is possible I guess, or Anna is lying and she told me about a sexual encounter that never actually happened. And far from being the sexual encounter that a patient might fantasize about, this was an unsatisfactory encounter for Anna. So why would Anna make up a story about an unsatisfactory encounter? My conclusion is that it was for my benefit. Anna made up the story for my erotic amusement--to keep me interested (both sexually and professionally) in her and her problems. If that encounter is not true, then how many other of Anna's sexual escapades are false as well--little prurient stories developed for my libido. I must carefully go over the past sessions and try to separate fact from fiction.

Tuesday, October 15, 1996

4 pm. Fourteenth Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia finally told Tom and the Family officially about her pregnancy although her family already knew. Her mother is apparently unwell with some unspecified heart problems. Sylvia's pregnancy is adding to her worries and Sylvia now feels responsible for her mother's health as well. Although her family must know that the child is not Tom's since they know of the vasectomy, I don't think Sylvia told them about her plans to divorce Tom. And Tom waited for Sylvia in the dark to catch her unawares. He destroyed her fantasy of the ultimate in civilized divorce conduct--she had an image of handing him the papers over coffee in the morning and he saying something like, "Oh righto. I'll be gone immediately. Sorry it didn't work out. Chop Chop." Apparently it isn't going to be quite so easy, although Tom was perfectly calm about being presented with the divorce papers--clearly he has been expecting it. Tom was extraordinarily calculating in the way that he confronted Sylvia. He waited in the dark for hours, knowing her routine would drive her back to the kitchen to get something to eat before retiring for bed. He let her go through all her evening rituals, thinking she was alone, while he waited in silence. Maybe he wanted to see her going calmly through her routine--he could remember how it used to be in their relationship before there was such trouble in his house. Sylvia believes that he did it in order to gain the upper hand in their confrontation--clearly he rattled her. Tom is not above having both motives for his actions. Sylvia skipped town after the confrontation and I have a strong feeling that she hasn't yet heard the second shoe drop.

Wednesday, October 16, 1996

I received another Wednesday morning fax. This one depicts three naked women growing like plants out of a root formed by a skeleton planted in the earth. The naked women meld, in turn, into flowers which resemble narcissuses, flowers named after a Greek God who fell in love with his own reflection in the water and, transfixed by his own image, was turned into a flower. Although beyond my expertise, I would guess that the skeleton figure was male, based on the narrow hipbone structure and the past faxes by this person. So what does it mean, these women growing from the dead and planted skeleton of a man? Whatever the message, I'm only picking up a fraction of it. I'm still thinking of these faxes as an elaborate production for a wide audience. However, I do think that the sender genuinely desires to communicate important issues of their own anguish or psyche through these images. Is he the male, giving birth to the three women-flowers after his death? Is she one of the women, growing only after the death of some male figure who is still rooting her to the spot? Of note, there are three women, each mutating into three flowers. Is there a hidden meaning in the numbers: three cubed or a progression 1, 3, 9? I feel helpless in not being able to help this person come to terms with the pain so clearly reflected in these faxes.

Thursday, October 17, 1996

4 pm. Sixteenth Session with Anna Green. I really upset Anna today by cross examining her to figure out whether she was in fact telling me the truth about her various erotic encounters or whether she was representing her fantasies as truth. While I never got her to actually confess to lying about having sex with Caren, it was clear that she didn't represent the truth. I started out the session slowly, talking about fantasies in general--I wanted to give Anna an opportunity to tell me that she has been lying to me if she wanted to. But Anna never did. The sessions rapidly escalated when I forced Anna to admit that most of the story about skinny dipping in Lake Anza was in fact made up. She tried to defend her practice of telling me a rich mixture of fantasy and reality and representing it as truth by saying that this is what she was thinking about and it is how things should have been. This of course doesn't fly. When pressed, Anna became very upset and clearly felt trapped. Anna guessed correctly that Caren tipped me off and I believe she will confront Caren about this. It is unfortunate but couldn't be helped. I had to talk about the stories with Caren because if what Caren said was true, then these stories could not have been. About other stories I didn't have such a firm footing.

5:30 pm. Cassandra didn't show up for her session. She has always been very responsible about her sessions--even when quite ill she either dragged herself to the session or at least called. But last week she had her friend Michelle call for her and this week I have had no word at all. She must be ill and I'm worried about her, so I'll try and get in contact with her tomorrow.

Friday, October 18, 1996

10:30 am. Telephone Call from Phylis Birch. Phylis called me to reassure me about her reason for running out of last Monday's session. Apparently Jack had an infection resulting from his knocked out tooth which precipitated a spiking fever. But he is better now and Phylis says that she is holding together and will see me at her normal session on Monday.

I tried to get in touch with Cassandra Evans today, calling her home and her work with no success. At work they told me that she had been absent for quite a period of time. They weren't specific, but I gathered it was at least a week. At home, all I got was Cassandra's answering machine--I left a message of course. I even talked briefly with Dr. Halsey, but he said that he hadn't heard from her, although they had no appointment scheduled during the last couple of weeks. I should make sure to get an emergency number for Cassie. I am starting to get really worried.

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