bifurcating: (Explode the rock)

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Created on 2015-01-24 01:25:12 (#2367032), never updated

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Name:Jesse D'Amato
Adopted as an infant, Jesse D'Amato struggles with a lack of connection with his adopted parents, especially his mother, Marissa, with whom he's never enjoyed a very good relationship. He claims they pretend to love each other, without actually feeling anything. He feels that she ignores him, even though he tries very hard to gain her attention by acting out, confirming in his head that she ignores him because she simply doesn't care and has dismissed him as a degenerate. He also believes she harbours resentment towards him because of his homosexuality. Once she learned he was gay, she stopped attending church, although her sighs every time they passed convinced him that she misses it, but is too ashamed of him to attend.

He was much closer with Roberto, his father, until he was twelve when he met a lifeguard and his friend Peter at the beach during a family reunion. A budding photographer, Jesse took photos of the two men in the water before deliberately stepping on a rusty nail to gain their attention. Peter administered first aid and took the boy to the hospital, and Jesse claimed he was an orphan- his first time telling a lie about who his family is. He tried to use the photos of the two men in a school project on his family tree (he was allowed to use photography as opposed to a written report as he was considered developmentally delayed), which was to be presented to the class and parents. His mother asked for the photos to be taken down since Peter and the lifeguard were not a part of their family. Jesse says that afterwards, his relationship with his father drastically changed - Trips made to Coney Island every other weekend stopped because it was too far, and Jesse was suddenly old enough to take the bus himself even though his father had previously driven him every morning.

At sixteen, Jesse was forced into therapy as an alternative to expulsion after being caught selling Adderall prescribed to him to treat ADHD at school. His therapist, Dr Paul Weston, has said sometimes he felt he had been making real progress, forming a real connection with Jesse, until the next week when something in the real world had undone it all. What is more likely the case, however, is that Jesse, every time he starts to feel a connection with someone, works all the harder to push that person away and hide who he really is to avoid being hurt. He did begin to open up to Paul, however - sharing with him his photography, and that his most treasured possession is his camera, his desire is to go to a summer program at RISD, an arts school that his parents couldn't afford to pay for. Jesse continued to test Paul's boundaries, but formed a father-son bond with him. Jesse asked at one point, if Paul would want a son like him, knowing that he has ADD and is a slut - the response was, without missing a beat, "Yes."

Paul also tried to help Jesse work through how to respond when he's contacted by his birth mother, Karen, for the first time, whom Jesse had dismissed as being an unfit parent - a crack whore, mostly. His description of his birth father always varied - a Marine, or a doctor with Doctors Without Boarders - someone who's career wouldn't allow for him to care for a child. He discovered, through contact with them, that the reality was that they were both well off, eventually marrying. Neither one of them were unfit parents, aside from, possibly their youth, since they were both only seventeen, and so he believes that they had initiated contact because they were ready to care for him. Shortly after receiving a voice message from Karen, a letter from his father, Kevin, arrived. His adoptive parents were very distressed by this - Roberto was furious, threatening to call the police, and Marissa became withdrawn and depressed, taken to staying in bed for an entire week. At first, Jesse decided he wanted no contact with Kevin and Karen. He felt for the first time in years, that Roberto and Marissa loved him, so there was no need for him to look for that parental bond elsewhere, and he didn't want to cause them further grief. Paul suggested that one reason for this turn around was, especially, his father's reaction, since previously he was open to the idea, even considering asking his birth parents to pay for his tuition to RISD. After his session with Paul that week, he said he felt that somehow, everything would work out and would be okay, and because of that he impulsively reversed his decision to break off contact with his birth parents and called to set up a meeting with them.

The initial meeting with his birth parents did not go as well as he had hoped. Jesse dressed well for the occasion, and recognizing that he is frequently late, turned up hours early to "scope out the place." He discovered a couple kids playing in the driveway, one of whom was confined to a wheelchair. Devastated to learn that he has younger siblings, Jesse left to try to decide what to do next. Unable to find a diner, he ended up getting high before returning to the house. All evidence of the kids had been erased - Kevin and Karen even went as far as to wash the chalk drawings off the driveway. The only evidence that remained was childproofing on the electrical outlets and a bar in the bathroom used by those with physical disabilities. Believing that the only reason for contacting him was out of medical need, he offered to help them in return for tuition for the RISD summer program. They asked him to leave, although Kevin offered to drive him to the train station.

Upon his return, crushed by what happened with his birth parents, Jesse turned up at Paul's home office that night at nearly 10:30 to ask for an emergency session. Despite trying to spend time with his own son, Paul agreed, although it was at this point that he realized he was overstepping his professional boundaries with Jesse. He admitted his frustration, pointing out that this is part of a pattern in Jesse - he tests the people around him, and then pushes them away when they can't pass, confirming his belief that he's fundamentally unlovable. Jesse exploded with anger, blaming Paul for telling him to contact his birth parents, even though this wasn't the case, and stormed out. Paul found him moments later, sitting on the front steps, weeping. Paul assured Jesse the mistakes he had made weren't so grievous that he ruined his entire life, nor was Karen and Kevin's rejection of him both at birth, and that day, because they saw something wrong or terrible about him. Once Paul had to step away as his own son upstairs had accidentally set a frying pan on fire trying to cook dinner, Jesse left.

The following week, on his seventeenth birthday, Jesse explained that he left because he realized he never should have been there in the first place, and that Paul should have kicked him out. Jesse questioned the usefulness of therapy - after all, it hasn't made him any happier, even though Paul's probably doing the best he can for him. He revealed he received an email from Kevin, stating that they contacted him prematurely, but leaving the door open for Jesse to respond when he feels he's able to handle it. Clearly feeling miserable and rejected, he was urged by Paul to go home and celebrate his birthday with his adoptive parents - the people who loved him. Jesse responded by revealing his plans to leave for RISD - the school wanted to set up an appointment, meaning he was a finalist. The financial issue unresolved, it was his hope that they would let him in anyway, after hearing the story of how he met, and was rejected by his birth parents. Paul tried to dissuade him from this plan, reminding him that running away wouldn't help him escape his problems. Jesse asked Paul to go out for ice cream with him, but Paul declined, urging Jesse to ask Roberto instead.

Jesse did, indeed, try to make it to his appointment at RISD, but he didn't have enough money for a ticket, and was caught trying to dodge the conductor. After he was taken to the police station, he had to call Roberto to come get him as they wouldn't let him go until he paid for the ticket. His father drove eight hours from Buffalo to pick him up, and paid the ticket. They had a long talk on the return trip home, which led to Jesse's decision to quit therapy after he and Roberto decided that Marissa was at fault for all of his issues. Afraid that all of the progress they had made would be undone, Paul tried to talk him out of it, but Jesse was convinced. He found the answers he was looking for, his mother was the reason for all of his screw ups, but his father really did love him, and he had no further need of this person he had developed a bond with, but had been deeply disappointed by due to the rejection of his invitation the previous week.

Long story short, Jesse harbours a lot of anger, especially towards Marissa. He lies frequently, especially when entering a new relationship, especially about his family. He tests the limits of those around him who show that they care about him, mostly so he can prove, at least to himself, that they don't, and then pushes them away. But under it all, he's still a kid struggling to figure out who he is and where he belongs in the world. He sometimes has concerns about his promiscuity, but more often doesn't think about the consequences to his actions. At times of great stress, he says he hears static and voices he can't quite make out in his head - like a radio station that won't come in clearly. He has trouble sitting still, and is at least usually tapping his feet. He taps his fists together too, when thinking, and questioned Paul at one point as to why this is a reason he needs to be medicated.

~ Jesse D'Amato (and his parents, and therapist) are all from HBO's In Treatment, and definitely not owned by me ~
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