Transcript of 20th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Anna Green, Thursday, November 14th, 1996 at 4 pm.

Ms. Green: Hello Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Hello Anna. How are you doing this week?
Ms. Green: I don't know--there are ups and there are downs.
Dr. Balis: Are you still thinking about Bill?
Ms. Green: I find it hard not to. He is there all the time and it's very hard not to bump into him at work.
Dr. Balis: That was true before but it seems to me that you managed to ignore him quite successfully.
Ms. Green: He was busy on this project that we have all been working on for the last couple of months. I even saw him sleep under his desk several times. I told you before that at SII there is no such thing as a 9 to 5 job. We all do these strange hours. I bet sometimes it's worse than those sweat shops in Chinatown--we work longer hours and there is a lot more expected of us.
Dr. Balis: But you enjoy it, don't you?
Ms. Green: Yes I do. But some people can't take it and we have a high turnover in some positions.
Dr. Balis: In the programming department?
Ms. Green: In our department there seems to be a core of regulars--the ones who've been with the company for many years. And then there are the drifters--they come in for a project, burn out, and quit.
Dr. Balis: So are you a regular?
Ms. Green: I'm getting there, although most of the regulars have been at SII for a lot longer than I.
Dr. Balis: You were saying that Bill was working on this project...
Ms. Green: Yes he was. So he turned into this hermit for the duration. I guess when he finished, he decided to focus on his social life. Now I see him everywhere. He is having long lunches with the guys or with the new love of his life, he is hanging out in the programmer's lounge reading the latest, just everywhere I turn--there's Bill. Or worse, it's the Bill and Ethel show. How many places can you swap spit in public places?
Dr. Balis: But Bill seems to be more...
Ms. Green: Of an idiot.
Dr. Balis: As I remember you used to do the same things with Bill as he is doing with Ethel, isn't that true?
Ms. Green: Yeah but that was me.
Dr. Balis: So what really bothers you is not Bill's current promiscuous behavior, but rather that he is doing it with someone else.
Ms. Green: Of course that's what bothers me. And I feel like he is flaunting his newfound happiness in front of my face. I think it's just rotten. And I know everyone is saying: "Oh that poor Anna, she must feel so terrible. We know she used to love Bill. They even talked about getting married. But he dumped her. And now she is all alone." That's what everyone is thinking about.
Dr. Balis: Are you more bothered by what you think people are thinking and saying about you than by your feelings of rejection and jealousy toward Bill?
Ms. Green: I think it's a mixture of these two. Yeah, jealousy and rejection. That sounds right. You know people who talk about staying friends with the people they used to date. Some even invite their ex's to their weddings and stuff. I thinks it's just bullshit.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean?
Ms. Green: I mean that if you break up with someone, the last thing you really want is for them to be happy. You can talk about how it just didn't work out between the two of you but you still respect and like each other as people but that's just total crap. If you broke up with someone, chances are you don't really like them anymore. I bet most of the time you hate their guts. Face it, the last thing you want is for them to be happy. Or worse, to be happy with someone else. You want them to be miserable. You want them to regret having lost you for the rest of their lives. You want them on their death bed saying: "Oh, if only I could have spent my life with her, it would have had meaning."
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you have some insight into human relations.
Ms. Green: Come on. I'm not the only one who thinks this way. I'm just being honest, while most people like to pretend like they have these high moral standards and ideals that requires them to embrace the happiness of people who actually made them miserable. I'm sure that deep down inside you agree with me too Doctor. Your training might prohibit you from admitting it, but you know I'm right.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: Well imagine some old girlfriend calling you up out of the blue. Now don't tell me that a chill of fear won't run through your body. I bet you would be nervous through the whole conversation, right?
Dr. Balis: Is that your reaction to old boyfriends?
Ms. Green: I get that reaction from just thinking about that call.
Dr. Balis: So you don't believe that two people who have had a sexual relationship can ever be friends after that relationship is over?
Ms. Green: There's just no way. It's clear that I can never be friends with Bill, for example. The whole idea is just unthinkable. And I'm sure he feels exactly the same way.
Dr. Balis: But you started to date Bill because you found him interesting. I assume that you felt the you had some common ground and you found each others company rewarding.
Ms. Green: That's true.
Dr. Balis: But you believe that it all changes after a sexual relationship has been consummated and then severed?
Ms. Green: Well let's see. I find his company nerve-racking and unpleasant. I think that if we had some common ground, it was all a delusion on my part. And I think I would find him less than entertaining now.
Dr. Balis: Well if all that is true, why care? Why waste energy thinking about him? You clearly don't want him back...
Ms. Green: Very clever Doctor. But the problem is that while I don't like him and under no circumstances want him back, he still dominates my emotional landscape. It's like a lot of dark energy is focused on him. And when I see him walking my way, I feel uncomfortable. I feel stressed and unhappy. I feel nervous. My stomach hurts. And I feel like I just want to be transported someplace...anyplace else.
Dr. Balis: Do you think this will change with time?
Ms. Green: I think I'm handling his new relationship with far greater ease now that I would have if he found her earlier. But it's still hard.
Dr. Balis: I can see that.
Ms. Green: I wish I was seeing someone now. It would make it easier to accept Bill's relationship.
Dr. Balis: Are you looking for a long-term relationship?
Ms. Green: I'm not sure. I'm still young and I think that if I found that special someone right now, I would blow it. I still need some time to try things out and learn before committing.
Dr. Balis: What do you need to learn?
Ms. Green: I felt really unsure of myself when I was with Bill. I let him dominate me. But that's wrong. I suspect that even if Bill didn't act like such an asshole about the whole pregnancy thing, it still wouldn't have worked between us. There would have been some other issue down the road.
Dr. Balis: I think that's an important insight, Anna. I see you've been thinking a lot about this.
Ms. Green: I have. In some ways it's a real blessing that Bill showed his true colors relatively early in our relationship. Some people don't find out until much much later and by then they might have children already and a bunch of other responsibilities. Take Ms. Bows for example.
Dr. Balis: Hmm?
Ms. Green: She is about to have a kid and she is clearly having some marital difficulties. Now if only she found out earlier, she might not have ended up being a single mom. I feel really sorry for her. I'm glad it didn't happen to me. And I want to do all I can to keep it from happening.
Dr. Balis: How do you plan to do that?
Ms. Green: Bill was a good learning experience. And everything that happened to me since has probably been good for me too. Even though it hurt a lot, it was good for me. You know what I mean?
Dr. Balis: You feel like you are gaining experience and learning how to make a future relationship work?
Ms. Green: Exactly.
Dr. Balis: What about stories that you told me which turned out not to be true?
Ms. Green: I feel like they are true.
Dr. Balis: But they are not, are they? You made them up for my benefit.
Ms. Green: I wish you wouldn't bring that up Doctor. Don't you think I've been showing a lot of progress during this session?
Dr. Balis: Yes I can see you've been doing a lot of thinking since our last session.
Ms. Green: Yes I have. And I want you to recognize it and praise me for it. Instead you are bringing up something unpleasant.
Dr. Balis: I do recognize your self-examination and I think you do deserve to be praised for it.
Ms. Green: That's better Doctor. Thank you.
Dr. Balis: We didn't get a chance to talk about the good things that happened to you this week. Do you want to tell me briefly what they were or do you want to save it for next session?
Ms. Green: I think I entertained you enough this week. I'll save the good parts for next time. Maybe you'll get lucky and I'll have something exciting to tell you.
Dr. Balis: I'll just have to wait.
Ms. Green: Yes you do. Now do you want me at the same time next Thursday?
Dr. Balis: Yes. November 21st at 4 pm.
Ms. Green: It's nice to be wanted Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next time Anna.
Ms. Green: Goodbye Doctor.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye.
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