Transcript of 4th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sarah Wright, Monday, October 7, 1996 at 2 pm.

Dr. Balis: Good afternoon Sarah. Please have a seat.
Ms. Wright: I'd rather stand if you don't mind. I just have so much nervous energy today I need to keep moving. I get like this sometimes. Either I'm so down I don't want to get out of bed or I'm like this...just pacing back and forth. I don't know which is worse. I guess it's better than crying. I just don't know what to do. I had the strangest dream the other night. It was one of those dreams that you just can't get out of your head. It just keeps running through my mind over and over. It's been making me crazy. I'm sorry I guess I'm rambling. Maybe I should sit down after all.
Dr. Balis: Whatever makes you comfortable. Do you want to tell me about the dream?
Ms. Wright: I dreamed that I was handcuffed in a wheelchair and had to depend on Jeff to push me around, only when he wasn't looking I could take off the handcuffs and walk by myself. People were so surprised to see me walking but I couldn't let Jeff know about it. I felt so sneaky, yet I also thought it was funny.
Dr. Balis: What do you think the dream meant?
Ms. Wright: It describes my life perfectly. Jeff treats me like a invalid. He doesn't think I can move on my own, make decisions on my own. He doesn't believe I can even think for myself. But I know what I'm capable of, which is a lot more than he realizes.
Dr. Balis: Have you told Jeff how you feel?
Ms. Wright: Yes, many times over the last few years. I've tried to tell him how much he embarrasses me and makes me feel stupid in front of others. Like a few weeks ago we had friends over for dinner and we were sitting around having coffee. These are our closest friends, my friend Lisa and her husband Glen. Anyway we were discussing our plans to go on a camping trip together, their family and ours. We were deciding who would bring what, and we discovered that neither of us had a camp-type coffee pot. We're big coffee drinkers. So I volunteered to purchase one and Jeff says, "Honey, those camp coffee pots are expensive, maybe you should check them out before you volunteer to buy one." Well, I was furious! I said, "Excuse me, but I do have a job and if I want to spend a thousand dollars on a coffee pot, that's what I'll do!" Jeff just laughed but I was so embarrassed. After Lisa and Glen left I ripped him apart! I told him never to treat me like that in front of people again. Oh, I could give you a million examples of how he's made me feel stupid. And how many times he's lied to just makes my head swim.
Dr. Balis: Jeff has lied to you on occasion?
Ms. Wright: Yes, if he thinks it will make his point better. Like if I say there's a new movie I'd like to see, Jeff will say, "Bill's already seen it and said it wasn't very good." Yet when I see Bill, he says he's never seen the movie.
Dr. Balis: When you catch Jeff in a lie, do you talk to him about it?
Ms. Wright: Yes, but he'll just say something like, "Oh maybe it wasn't Bill. It must've been someone else." I get right in his face and say "Bullshit!" He just laughs. It makes me so angry! He doesn't take anything I say seriously. It makes me so mad I just want to scream!
Dr. Balis: You've said in past sessions that you thought Jeff was a good husband, yet what you're describing sounds like you don't think that he respects you. Is that really a good husband?
Ms. Wright: Jeff is a good person. He doesn't drink or run around on me or abuse me.
Dr. Balis: Are those the only qualifications for a good husband?
Ms. Wright: No, I suppose not.
Dr. Balis: It would seem to me that you and Jeff have a problem with communication.
Ms. Wright: Yes I would agree, and I'm trying to make changes. I think Jeff is scared. He knows things are changing between us and he doesn't know if it will be for the better or worse. I'm not sure myself, but I know I have to do something. I'm scared too, but I'm ready to accept whatever happens.
Dr. Balis: What sort of changes have you been going through?
Ms. Wright: Well in the past I would never contradict anything he said. I'd never question his judgment or question his authority. But some days I feel strong enough to stand up to him, stand up for myself.
Dr. Balis: And this is what Jeff doesn't like?
Ms. Wright: No, he doesn't like it at all. But I don't care anymore. I know that whatever happens will be for the best in the end. My fate will remain the same whether I'm with Jeff or not.
Dr. Balis: Have you thought about leaving Jeff?
Ms. Wright: Yes once. Robby was worried that his homosexuality was going to cost him his practice. He's very careful about hiding his sexuality. I wanted to leave Jeff and marry Robby as a "front" so that he could continue his relationships with men without jeopardizing his career.
Dr. Balis: And Robby turned your offer down?
Ms. Wright: Not right away, but yes. I was crushed. I wanted to be with him so badly I didn't care what the circumstances were. Of course now I realize what a huge mistake that would have been for both of us. I was trying too hard to rush things. I know patience is a virtue but it's never been one of mine.
Dr. Balis: So how would you describe the current relationship between you and Jeff?
Ms. Wright: Guarded I'd say. He knows what I've been going through since my heart attack, although he doesn't realize the depth of my anxiety. I will admit that he's been very supportive. At least he's trying to be, which for Jeff is a big step. We talk more than we used to, and I'm able to tell him certain things that I've always been afraid to say in the past. I guess I've just gotten to the point where I will say or do anything because I don't care what he thinks anymore. I'm still working on getting him to understand that our problems are real, that they're not going to go away by themselves, and that he has to stop putting the blame on everyone else.
Dr. Balis: Who does he blame for the problems you're having?
Ms. Wright: Everyone, but mostly Robby or my friend Lisa. Actually she gets the brunt of it.
Dr. Balis: What does Jeff see as Lisa's role in all this?
Ms. Wright: He thinks that Lisa is the one who has put all these "ideas" in my head, like I'm not capable of thinking for myself. I think Jeff is jealous and intimidated by Lisa. She's very intelligent and Jeff doesn't deal well with intelligent women. Although he does respect the women that he works with, which I've always resented. I get really tired of hearing about Renee and Janet, the two women in his department. Neither of them are married or have children. They work hard and earn as much as he does. See, that's been a sore spot with me also. Because I don't make as much money as he does, my job is not as important. He sees my job as a hobby, not as a responsibility I have. My job gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride which Jeff thinks should come solely from being a wife and mother. He wants me to be more like his mother.
Dr. Balis: Has Jeff told you that?
Ms. Wright: No, but he sees his mother as the picture-perfect example of motherhood. Hear him tell it, he had the perfect childhood. Whatever was done for him as a child will be done for our more, no less. I was raised totally different. My parents are both professors. Both open-minded and uninhibited. They never put limits on us kids or made us feel less of a person for the way we felt. Growing up, I had very few restrictions. I was encouraged to explore and examine the world around me. We had a very unstructured, but extremely loving household. On the other hand, Jeff grew up in a very formal environment. Meatloaf every Tuesday, church on Sunday, never go to bed without brushing your teeth.
Dr. Balis: You and Jeff disagree about how to raise your children?
Ms. Wright: Yes, sometimes. For the most part I just go along with the flow, but there have been times when I have stood up for something I really believed in. When we were buying our first house, I wanted 4 bedrooms so that each of the kids could have their own room. Jeff just had a fit! He said when he was growing up he had to share a room with his brother, therefore J.J. and Nicolas had to share a room too.
Dr. Balis: What do you say?
Ms. Wright: I said, "Well, I didn't have to share a room with either of my sisters." But Jeff gets a nasty sneer on his face like he's thinking, "Yeah and look how you guys all turned out." Jeff avoids my family like the plague. He says my folks are creepy and my sisters are psychotic. He says it's a wonder I turned out as normal as I am. I think he means that in a good way but it comes out sounding like a backhanded compliment.
Dr. Balis: So how many bedrooms did you end up with?
Ms. Wright: Four but we use one as an office. The boys are still sharing a room. Jeff saw that as a reasonable compromise.
Dr. Balis: And this is okay with you?
Ms. Wright: No it's not okay, but right now there's nothing I can do about it. I feel myself getting stronger as the weeks and months go by and I challenge Jeff more and more. I don't feel the need to correct past mistakes but I am trying to keep from making those mistakes again. I know that I am becoming a better person--someone I like and respect--and to me that's all that matters right now.
Dr. Balis: The transformations that you want to make are going to be difficult. It's not going to be easy to break the habits that you and Jeff have gotten in to.
Ms. Wright: Yes I realize that, but these changes have to be made if I'm to survive. For so many years I felt beaten and run down. That black cloud just hung over me but I know it is fading and one day it will disappear totally. At least that's what I'm hoping for.
Dr. Balis: Well our time is over for today. I'd like to see you again next week if that's okay.
Ms. Wright: Next Monday at the same time?
Dr. Balis: Yes, that will be fine. That's October 14th at 2 pm. See you then.
Ms. Wright: Goodbye, Dr. B.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sarah Wright's Transcripts Transcripts of Sarah Wright's Communications
Button to Sarah Wright's Patient File Sarah Wright's Patient File

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