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DECONSTRUCTING BRIAN
Session 8
by Randall Morgan

If this is Tuesday, it must be another Lydia session! Here it is, and at the end is a little something about Justin's desire to recover his lost memories of the dance. Enjoy, R.

Doctor's Notes: BK arrived five minutes late, which is a first for him. He is always punctual. He looked tired and emotionally flat. He drank his Chinese tea from a tall Styrofoam cup and avoided eye contact.

Excerpt from transcript:

Doctor: You were late.

BK: Sorry.

Doctor: More interested in why you were late. It's not your style.

BK: I decided to quit coming in.

Doctor: I see. But here you are.

BK: I thought I should tell you in person.

Doctor: Why, Brian?

BK: I appreciate your help up until now. I know you've tried... I think maybe...I guess I'm hopeless.

Doctor: In what way?

BK: This hasn't helped. If anything, it's made things worse! I sleep, but I guess that's really due to Justin's being in my bed. Otherwise, I think I'm worse off than before.

Doctor: Tell me how things are worse.

BK: I confronted my mom, we had a little scene, and that was really painful.

Doctor: How long overdue was that?

BK: (Met my gaze.) Maybe so. She told me some things I didn't know or didn't remember. It's caused me to reconsider my view of my childhood slightly.

Doctor: Is that bad?

BK: It's not good, really. I found out abuse is multi-generational in my family.

Doctor: It often is, Brian.

BK: It made me wonder about my grandparents, the ones I was very close to as a child. Did they mistreat my Dad? Is that why he was such an asshole?

Doctor: Possibly. But sometimes a child can be spoiled into becoming completely narcissistic, which makes them impervious to the feelings of others. Perhaps he was adored too much, or perhaps he was just a son of a bitch.

BK: (Smiled.) Can you say that?

Doctor: I just did. Do you feel closer to your mother?

BK: I feel as if I understand my mother a little better. I still feel a lot of resentment, however.

Doctor: Natural. We can deal with that. Oh yes, you're not coming in anymore. What else is not being addressed?

BK: This whole love thing. This relationship thing. I once believed if I could tell Justin how I felt, then all the bullshit would go away. He'd know, it would be cool, end of story. So I told him. It's still a problem. We still fight. I'm still conflicted over Jeffrey, who, by the way, told me he's in love with me.

Doctor: Let's break that down. First, you thought telling Justin you love him would some how settle the relationship issues and you could just coast?

BK: (Grimaced.) Kind of. Yes.

Doctor: Brian, that was just the BEGINNING of the relationship issues. If there were no issues, wouldn't it be so boring, that no one would want to be in a relationship? All your declaration did, was to open you both up to honest discussions.

BK: It sure didn't seem to shut him up about things. He's jealous of Jeffrey and...

Doctor: He's jealous of this man who tells you he's in love with you? Do you find that unreasonable?

BK: No, I...I know what you mean. You don't have to hit me over the head with it. Justin doesn't know that Jeffrey said that.

Doctor: He wouldn't say that unless your relationship with him has progressed. Want to tell me about that?

BK: I thought I was quitting you.

Doctor: Brian, you're not required to come see me. But what you are feeling now is a very natural fear of the fact we have opened feelings within you that you've kept tightly bound for years. You think if you stop coming here, you can tie them up again. Maybe you can. If so, you lose. You wanted help to become a fully functional, emotionally capable human being. There were reasons you wanted that, and ask yourself if those reasons have mysteriously disappeared. If you fail to bind them up again, which I anticipate, then you can't afford to do this on your own. You'll become confused, panicky, angry and all of your relationships will suffer for it, but you will suffer most of all.

BK: I'm suffering now, Lydia.

Doctor: Tell me about that pain, Brian.

BK: I feel like I'm being unfair to Justin. I want him. I want him more than ever, and I don't want him to leave me. But at the same time, I really feel drawn to Jeffrey. I don't know why. But I am. So I feel bad for Jeffrey, because I know I have no intention of letting Justin leave. They are so different. How can I be so drawn to two such opposite men?

Doctor: You can be, but let's talk about their differences, Brian. How different are they, really? I know there's a difference in age and in what they do professionally, but let's look at them as people. Are they both direct?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Are they both in tune with who they are?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Are they both clear about their feelings towards you?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Can you talk easily to both of them?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Do you feel sexually attracted to both of them?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Do you feel emotionally secure with them both?

BK: (Hesitated.) No.

Doctor: Explain.

BK: I don't feel emotionally secure with either of them.

Doctor: Why not?

BK: Justin left me. For another man. He cheated on me behind my back. He cheated on that man with me. That scares me.

Doctor: And Jeffrey?

BK: He's too perfect. He's a saint. He's rich. He lives with super models. I'm not in his league. I know he would see through to who I am sooner or later and leave.

Doctor: Listen to what you just said and then tell me you don't want to keep coming here.

(Played back segment of transcription.)

BK: (Frowned.) I am so fucked up.

Doctor: Why so, Brian?

BK: I have two guys, both of them hot, smart and good people, who say they are in love with me, and I can't allow myself to believe either of them is serious about it. I feel as if I've successfully hidden >from them the train wreck that I really am, but I can't continue do so forever.

Doctor: Maybe you're the one with a skewed self image, Brian. That's what we're working on here. Your view of yourself.

BK: (Sighed, brushed fingers through hair.) So what do I do?

Doctor: Exactly what you're doing. You come here, we talk, you take your anti-depressants. It's not like swallowing a course of antibiotics and the sore throat disappears. This takes time.

BK: What do I do about Jeffrey?

Doctor: What do you want to do about Jeffrey?

BK: I don't know.

Doctor: What do you want to do about Justin?

BK: I don't want to lose Justin.

Doctor: You view Jeffrey as a threat to that relationship?

BK: Well, duh.

Doctor: Well, then, there's an obvious solution. What about that one?

BK: Getting rid of Jeffrey?

Doctor: Yes.

BK: It's not that easy.

Doctor: Why isn't it?

BK: I don't know. For one thing, I can't find Jeffrey.

Doctor: What do you mean?

BK: I had to hang up on an internet chat, the very one in which he was telling me he loved me. Since then, I've tried to talk to him, to explain, but he was tied up at the hospital at first, and now he's on vacation. They won't tell me where. I just feel bad that he thinks he poured his heart out to me and I didn't even respond to him. That sucks.

Doctor: Sometimes a little distance helps everyone. It provides a clearer perspective. But if you really wanted to lose Jeffrey, you would.

BK: I don't want to send it to him in an email, or leave a message. That wouldn't be fair.

Doctor: What does Jeffrey offer you, Brian? What do you find unique about him?

BK: He's a calm center for me. We share experiences Justin is too young to have lived through at this point in his life. I admire Jeff's accomplishments and enjoy talking with him. What amazes me is that a man like Jeff is interested in more about me than just my dick.

Doctor: Which validates you beyond your sexuality.

BK: Yes. He's interested in my work. He likes to discuss how office politics function, and what it's like to be a rainmaker, bringing new business into the agency. He even likes to hear about the creative side of what I do. Justin, on the other hand, views my job as a hindrance to our time together, something that competes for my attention.

Doctor: Is that a function of his youth?

BK: Probably.

Doctor: Speaking of Justin, how are you dealing with the fact that he's meeting with Dr. Burns today? I know you had some initial concerns.

BK: With whom? What are you talking about?

Doctor: Regression therapy. He starts today. He didn't mention it?

BK: What is that? Who is this Burns?

Doctor: Hypnosis to help him recover his memory of the dance. Edmond Burns is one of the most respected practitioners of that therapy.

BK:( Suddenly agitated.) He'll also recall all the details of the bashing? No wonder he didn't mention it. I didn't want him to do this.

Doctor: It's his call, Brian, not yours. His memory.

BK: You don't know how bad he was when that happened! I don't want to see him hurt again, scared, angry. He got some of it back at my son's first birthday party, and he was devastated. He virtually collapsed.

Doctor: I understand your concern, but again, he has to make that call. You just need to be understanding if he reacts. And he probably will react.

BK: One more stress...

Doctor: Yes, Brian. It is stressful. But he's in good hands. Burns is the best at this.

BK: (Paused.) I need to remember to sign Justin up for domestic partner benefits.

Doctor: Your company recognizes that perquisite? Wherein a same sex partner can have equivalent health plan benefits and other security as does a spouse?

BK: It's one of the issues I pushed when I was made partner. Why should gays be treated as second class citizens and why should their relationships be relegated to the meaningless heap because they share a gender? It's bullshit.

Doctor: That's quite brave. Not a popular agenda in corporate America.

BK: I feel very strongly about it, even though I had no partner at the time.

Doctor: But you do now?

BK: ( Met my gaze and smiled.) Yes, I do now. And I want to make sure he's protected.

Doctor: You have to register officially as partners with the state to ensure that these benefits will be given.

BK: I'm aware of that fact. So?

Doctor: So nothing, Brian. Bravo.

BK: (Smiled.) Big step?

Doctor: I think so, yes. Congratulations. It's a statement not only to officials, but to your co-workers. Ready for it?

BK: I think so.

Doctor: Despite the turmoil?

BK: Yes.

Doctor: Good for you, Brian. Will I see you again?

BK: ( Smiled coyly) Now you sound like a trick.

Doctor: I'm trying very diligently not to be insulted by that remark.

BK: (Laughed.) Don't be. And yes, Lydia, I'll be here. Same bat time, same bat station.

Doctor: You won't regret it, Batman.

End of excerpt.

Doctor's Notes: I anticipated that BK would attempt an early retreat >from therapy as his issues surface and require his attention. He has had the comparative calm of keeping everything he feels at arm's length for many years, thus avoiding the pain of interaction and rejection. As a hard driving executive, he is accustomed to identifying problems and finding a quick and permanent solution before moving on to the next challenge. He is discovering it is not that easy when dealing with his own scars and emotional roadblocks. As he exposes a nerve, he has to work through the pain. He finds himself in a dilemma involving his partner, JT, and Jeffrey, a man who surfaced early in his sessions, and who has become progressively more important to him. Jeffrey has declared his love for BK, but instead of causing him to run, which would have been his response prior to beginning these sessions, BK is struggling to understand exactly what he feels for Jeffrey. At the same time, he professes he's in love with JT and does not want to threaten that core relationship. BK is incapable of juggling two emotional commitments, at this phase of his therapy, too inexperienced with strong emotion and too fragile and insecure about his own self worth. In future sessions, we will concentrate on helping him clarify what he wants, who he wants, and why. If it comes to a choice, he needs to be sufficiently self- aware that he makes the decision that will provide him with a maximum shot at long term happiness. Until then, it's a matter of damage control. He could easily find himself with no one to choose if he stumbles along this treacherous path he currently travels.

SESSION WITH JUSTIN TAYLOR, Dr. Edmond Burns

Justin was referred to me by Dr. Lydia Monroe. He is a twenty year old Caucasian male who suffered a traumatic injury approximately two years ago. Justin was struck in the head with a baseball bat wielded by a fellow student, following his senior prom. The assailant objected to Justin's dancing at the prom with Justin's older, male lover. Justin suffered severe injuries, including skull fracture and concussion. He was in a coma for several days, and endured an extended rehabilitation. He lost some motor control on his right side, and has suffered a memory lapse that covers the night he was injured from the time his lover arrived at the prom. He has recovered partial memory of the attack, spontaneously, but only in flashes that he describes as nonsensical images and emotions.

Physical therapy has succeeded in returning most of his mobility to his right side, although he still suffers occasional tremors of his right hand, especially when fatigued. He experienced a common aversion to touch and intimacy and minor agoraphobia following his release from the hospital. He credits his lover for having helped him overcome most of these symptoms. He has nightmares that he attributes to the attack at the rate of approximately one or two per month, but he says they are inspecific.

He wants to recall the night of the attack for several reasons. First, his relationship with his lover has only recently been recovered following a separation and a brief association with another man. Justin feels his lover is insecure about Justin's commitment, in part because he has been unable to remember what his lover believes to be a seminal emotional moment between them, prior to the bashing. Justin feels his relationship with his lover would be strengthened by their ability to share the memory of that moment. Second, he wants to recall the full force of the attack. He wants to have real fear and pain to vanquish rather than feeling as if he is always fighting phantoms that are loosely related to his bashing.

Justin has never been in a hypnotic trance. He has never been through analysis, although his lover is Dr. Monroe's patient, and he has participated in his therapy. He has a strong sense of self, is unafraid of the process, and does not appear to be overly suggestable. He is open to the therapy and is not cynical. He is in good physical health, takes no drugs, other than occasional smoking of marijuana. Except for the injuries described herein and some allergies, he is in excellent health. We will complete a psychological evaluation at this session, and after analyzing it to ensure this therapy is recommended for Justin, we will begin the hypnotic sessions next week.

Next

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Beginning
July 25, 2004