Friday, August 12, 2005

Peter John

He was schizophrenic from early adulthood. Had been in the war but had not fought. At 50 he was now living a marginal life with his elderly father and his cocaine dependent sister. For kicks he drank. Was in a turmoil of paranoia all the time. Could not trust his father. Could not trust his sister. Could not trust his ex wife who had abandoned him when he started to mistrust others.
Only Duque could love him. Duque was a fierce Rotweiler that would not tolerate any humans no less any other dog. But in a stormy tropical night, Hurricane Hugo had destroyed Peter John’s wooden room in the cement house that belonged to his father. Out of fear of the canine.his father and sister threatened to take his dog away.

In desperation Peter John walked across the ruins of his room, approached the dog, put a sling around its neck, put the other end of the rope over a branch and pulled Duque up. The dog looked at him in amazement but did not squeal. Silence.
Minutes later Peter John sobbed alone in the yard, having killed the only being that loved him like a human.

I felt a very uncomfortable combination of anger at Peter John and sadness for Duque. How unjust!

This true story was told to me by a patient of mine. He had come to our session early. When I called him in the next visit he had the first smile I had ever seen on him for over one year. He was happy that he was in love with this married woman, a woman that is in the process of divorcing her husband. Peter John was also happy that he was found disabled to work and would be receiving disability benefits.
How frustrating the end of the session became. You call that countertransference?