Here’s what Dirk said about InterVarsity. This is where it really got ridiculous–and threatening:
Dirk said that after the “stink” over the play last year, InterVarsity had really given itself a bad image on campus. (Never mind the fact that we didn’t do it to ourselves. It was forced on us by others and by public opinion and rumor.) There were a few other things, too. Supposedly new people did not feel welcome. Supposedly we were cliquish, though I don’t know where that came from.
But this was lie and rumor started by I have no clue who: Almost nobody but us ever came to the meetings to begin with! When somebody did show up once in a blue moon, they were lavished with welcome because we wanted the group to grow. We were also friends outside of the group, same as any other group of friends on campus.
Plus there was the way IV people treated Phil, and since Phil was his friend–and he was a very loyal friend–he hated IV for that. An enemy of Phil’s was an enemy of his as well. He gave IV a month to shape up, or else he’d go to the school president and tell him what we were really like, and we’d be banned from the campus. The president would be surprised because IV was his darling. But Dirk said I was not to tell Pearl who told me this, or he’d be my enemy as well: He was a powerful foe, as well as a powerful friend. He said I should distance myself from IV, one reason being that “our friends are reflections of ourselves.”
But how could I do such a thing? They had not treated Phil badly at all; it was all Phil’s imagination–or deliberate lying. What they objected to was how he treated me, which is a perfectly legitimate reason not to like someone. They were my dear friends (and three were my roommies now), with me long before Phil ever was, and IV was my church when I couldn’t get into town. I’d been called one of the “core” members, and I didn’t think IV or the people in it were bad at all. They had been there for me and stuck up for me during the troubles with Peter and Shawn. My friends supported me now and tried to help me out now that Phil had dissed me; why would I be ungrateful and walk away? And how on earth were these good people a bad reflection on me?
Hmmm….What does it reflect on Phil to have a friend like Dirk?
I now see that this was actually Phil’s latest attempt, through Dirk his proxy, to separate me from my friends, fitting the question, “Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or groups?…Or you may have been asked (or told) to reduce or stop contact with specific supportive people in your life“ (http://www.lilaclane.com/relationships/emotional-abuse/). Phil’s actions since the separation/divorce, from unpredictability (one day he’d be nice, the next he’d be rude), to irrationality (suddenly telling me we couldn’t be friends), fit the “Unpredictability and Uncertainty” section here.
The depths of deception and lies coming from Dirk were staggering. All that hate he carried toward innocent people, over things which never happened! Where on earth did it even come from? It must have been Phil, lying and manipulating his Flying Monkey into swooping in and manipulating me as well.
There were other things, too, which showed the black hole of manipulation into which Phil had put him. Ridiculous, baffling things with no anchor in reality whatsoever. Insults to my character, overblown reactions, accusations that I did things that I never did, recommendations to Phil which were absolutely ridiculous. Obviously Phil had painted me to Dirk as some kind of psycho abusive witch who deserved nothing but scolding, nastiness, even legal action. Phil had put him into the rabbit-hole, and tried to use him as a pawn to get me down into the rabbit-hole, too.
It was a massive gaslighting scheme, meant to strike fear into me, and finally break me into a submissive puppet who would do anything Phil wanted. Who would let him screw me up the backside even if I screamed in pain and couldn’t go to the bathroom for weeks. Who would perform oral sex on him no matter how disgusted I was, and no matter if he had not bathed in two months. Who would say nothing to him but “yessir.” Who would let him go on and on about all the girls he wants to screw, and say nothing in protest. Who would somehow see my friends dissing him even when they were not, stand up to them for something they weren’t even doing, and cut them out of my life, allowing in only people like Dirk, whom he approved because he listened to everything Phil said and could be used to control me.
Dirk decided he needed to lecture me, and give me pointers on how to get a man, or I’d end up an old maid:
1) Learn to compromise. (Which was odd, because I compromised as much as I could without endangering my principles. I liked to keep peace. Phil was the one who needed to learn to compromise, because he constantly refused to do anything I wanted or needed, while insisting that I do what he wanted no matter how degrading, disgusting or painful. What a mindscrew Phil did on Dirk!)
2) Dress to impress. Wear red, since that’s Phil’s favorite color. Wear great clothes. (But then, I did that already, so I have no idea why he said I didn’t. I mean, I wore nice clothes, vests, even clothes that showed off my figure when I was feeling particularly daring–like that black knit vest. Two people complimented me on how nicely I always dressed, and Anna once said I looked dressed-up, a compliment to my sense of style.)
3) Go to more parties. Even frat parties. The kind I hate because they’re full of weed and alcohol. But he said guys wouldn’t find me unless I did this. (I wouldn’t have liked those guys, anyway! The guys I wanted, would go to church picnics, NOT cruise parties for easy lays or sit around smoking weed with the Zetas.) I want to make an impression my last year, don’t I? instead of being forgotten? Basically, go out with a bang instead of quietly passing, which he feared I would do. (Though on afterthought, I’m not so sure I’m forgettable among the people who have known me, and I didn’t know or care much about the freshmen anyway. What business was it of his if I was a serious student and introvert, and didn’t like stupid, noisy, wild parties?)
4) Positive outlook. This one doesn’t need too much explanation. (I’m not sure why he even said this. It had nothing to do with me.)
Dirk asked me, “Don’t you ever look at a guy and wonder what he’s like in bed?”
“No,” I said.
“Come on–everybody does–it’s not a man or woman thing, it’s a human thing to look around and wonder this!”
But I insisted that no, I didn’t. I was shocked at him. I was a Christian, and not supposed to be looking around and lusting after the guys I saw. So I didn’t. Maybe what he said is a “human” thing is really a “young man” thing–or, rather, a worldly thing, and not fit for Christians to participate in, male or female. So now he was trying to tell me my moral views were wrong.
One more thing: Dirk said he knew about the spiritual marriage. I just wished he hadn’t said so in the library–there were other people in that room! And he said I really didn’t know what was going on in Phil’s head when he agreed to it. He said Phil did it because it was so important to me.
But one must ask the question: If it was all an act, as Dirk seemed to claim, wouldn’t that make it the cruelest joke Phil could ever play on me? That means he spent all summer telling me we were truly married, I bought into it, and lost my virginity to him under what were false pretenses!
Persephone later told me that at the time he thought he would marry me. Though I don’t know who got the truth, and who got the lie, because Phil himself admitted to manipulating people during this time, letting them believe things that were not true. More on this later.
After Dirk went back behind the circulation desk, he asked me if Phil was any “good.” I didn’t want to tell him right there in the library, but he said I should be more open about such things. So I smiled and nodded. (Actually, there’s no “should”: If I don’t feel comfortable talking about sex in public, that’s my right. I should have remembered this and refused to answer his question.)
Geez, Dirk was so frickin’ slimy, such a know-it-all, such a sycophant, such a tool. He’s probably a narcissist himself, because he was able to “hypnotize” me into this trance where I bought into the crap he spewed, but later my friends snapped me out of it again. After this I could not stand the guy, wanted nothing to do with him.
I heard he married a nice girl, and that this disappointed Sandy. I could not understand why either one wanted him that much. He was, after all, unattractive, nerdy, obnoxious and slimy. I’m not a nerd-hater and don’t mind plain features, but personality plays a large part in whether I like somebody. So in his case, it all added up to a big WHY? What did the pretty girls see in him? If he were nice and sweet, I would see it, but no, he was obnoxious, a know-it-all, and probably a narcissist himself.
I see my old InterVarsity friends, friend him on Facebook, and I wonder WHY would they want to? If he hated them so much, thought they were so awful, then why did he friend them? I even got a friend request from Dave and accepted it, but when I see Dirk’s name, I feel a big, fat NO. Dirk has not offered to friend me, but if he does, I might just block him in response.
But back to September 14. Late that night or the next, I spoke with Pearl about IV, as I promised Dirk. I didn’t tell her who said these things, but she guessed all by herself. She was too shrewd not to, since she recognized his style. But I didn’t tell her if she was right or not, because I didn’t want to get in trouble with Dirk. His ludicrous threats struck fear into me, when I should have laughed them off. I also told her what he said about Phil.
Dirk’s comments about IV angered her. She said, “He’s never come to more than one or two meetings anyway, and we always invite him to things but he never comes, so who is he to call us unfriendly or cliquish?” Besides, we were all friends anyway, so why shouldn’t we do things together as friends outside of IV? We tried to welcome anyone who came to IV or wanted to sit with us at meals. And, as I’ve seen in the years since, being considered “unwelcoming” is a problem common to all sorts of groups and churches, not just IV.
As for Phil, IV as a group was not ostracizing him. Certain people in the group just plain didn’t like him. It had nothing to do with IV or him being Catholic or any of that, things which Phil told Dirk were the reason. It was because of his annoying personality and the awful way he treated me.
Phil had tried more subtle means before of separating me from them–such as getting upset when I wanted to sit with my friends after dinner, and badmouthing them to me, telling me they hated him because he was Catholic–but now he was using Dirk to isolate me from them far more blatantly.
Dirk probably had no idea he was being used as Phil’s proxy, because Phil was feeding him all sorts of untruths about me, our relationship, and my friends/InterVarsity. But I had friends not in InterVarsity who also hated him:
Why would Catherine hate him for being Catholic, for example? Cindy was not in InterVarsity, was Catholic herself, and hated him. And I had friends in InterVarsity who were not Evangelical or Fundamentalist. Mike, Clarissa and Astrid were in the UCC, a very liberal church; why would they hate Phil for being Catholic?
Most of the people in InterVarsity, in fact, were not in churches which saw Catholics as somehow “not Christian” or the “enemy.” Now Charles was both Catholic and in InterVarsity, and Persephone also, a Methodist and a liberal, had joined InterVarsity. So it was not closed off to Catholics.
Religion had absolutely nothing to do with Catherine, Sharon, Pearl, probably Tara, probably Mike, and others hating Phil. Tara was not even religious, though later she became Catholic.
It had everything to do with how he treated me, so that made them a threat, people he needed to isolate me from. Meanwhile, I didn’t much like Dirk, but Phil would be perfectly fine with me being friends with him.
Dirk told me how depressed Phil was, how desolate he felt, that he came to Dirk’s apartment recently (probably the night of the 13th) and said he had no friends. Everyone in the apartment tried to convince him otherwise. So I pulled Mike into my room on what was probably the 15th and asked him to be a friend to Phil. I still loved him, you see. How could I just stop? I didn’t like to hear that he was desolate.
However, he sure didn’t sound depressed or desolate when he controlled the conversation with me that night, telling me we couldn’t be friends. And as I will describe later in the chapter, Phil told me this was actually a con he played on Dirk and the others.
I don’t think I told Mike a whole lot about what had happened, so I think he knew things from my roommates and from his own observations. He said he would be Phil’s friend, and he also said, “If Phil doesn’t like you the way you are, if he doesn’t think you’re good enough for him, you should just say, ‘Screw you.’ We like you, and you’re good enough for us.” His support meant much to me, though I couldn’t (yet) imagine saying “screw you” to Phil.
During the day on Thursday, September 15, still under some of Dirk’s trance, I asked Sharon if she knew of any parties around campus. She said she didn’t know and she didn’t care: She didn’t like the parties people had around there, nothing but drinking and drugs (marijuana) and loud music.
She shocked me back into reality, and then it hit me–Why did I even want to go to one, just because Dirk told me to? Sharon and I had similar opinions about such parties: that they were worthless, and you could meet people and have fun in other ways.
I didn’t know how I could have listened to Dirk about this. He was like Shawn, somehow weaving a web on me so I listened to whatever he said, but then I’d get away from him and with my own friends again, and realize he was full of crap. My future “friend” Richard could do the same thing. Why was I so susceptible?
Then I saw Clarissa, and told her Dirk was like Shawn: He could talk me into believing whatever he said, no matter how wrong it was. I said, “I can’t believe I fell for it again!”
Clarissa also noticed that about Shawn. He talked her into thinking she should pledge Phi-Delts to make friends. She didn’t know why she’d listened to him, especially after seeing what happened to me when I pledged.
Telling me to change myself. To “learn to compromise” when Phil was the controlling one who never would be reasonable and absolutely refused whatever I wanted, while insisting I do whatever he wanted, no matter how painful, gross or degrading. And all the other stuff Dirk said, a ventriloquist doll for Phil. I had to keep a tighter rein on what I let myself listen to and believe.
By the way, all of these people are still my friends. We chat on Facebook, meet up every now and then, and I have grown closer to them through e-mail than I even was before. Before Facebook, we often shared group e-mails. Mike has helped me through some difficult times, such as the trauma from abusive ex-friends Richard and Tracy, and opened my mind on religious and other issues. He even advised me to report Richard and Tracy to CPS. Sharon also advised me to report Richard and Tracy to CPS, when I did not know whether or not the state would consider them abusive. Pearl disappeared for a while, but has finally come back. I see Catherine every now and then as well. If I had done as Phil wanted, I would have missed out on all this.
My mom said Dirk’s opinions were bullsh**. Gee, Mom, don’t hold back! Also, the support of my friends and family, and an hour-long prayer with Pearl the night before, caused me to write in my diary that the 17th was a good day, that I was cheerful and enjoyed the day.
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)