Month: January 2013

Why post abuse stories? (Was: Wondering if my blog stalkers will read about Phil now….)

The story of my abusive ex Phil is just about to begin in my College Memoir posts.  There is some more yet about Shawn, but the psychological abuse and sexual using by him has ended….

I knew Shawn had sorely used and abused me, but I had seen nothing yet.  Phil’s manipulations hit a whole new level with the lies he wove, even more lies than Peter told.

I know Peter lied about things like his opinions on smoking, making me believe we were meant for each other, saying he wanted to marry me, then later casting me aside and denying it, complaining to everyone about my “marriage talk.”

I can’t tell for sure if Peter really believed it when he told me he set up a mental link when he hypnotized me, and all the special psychic abilities his ninja training gave him.  He could have been fooling me, as Shawn thought, but he also could have believed it, being the sort of person who believes in such things.

But Phil deliberately fooled and manipulated me, taking advantage of my gullibility.  He took my interest in psychic and psychological subjects and–practically from the beginning–began elaborate ruses which climaxed in the summer of 1994, having made me believe that he acted out his dreams.

He told me we were married before God, kept reassuring me when I doubted, but when he lost interest and no longer needed my parents’ hospitality, he quickly discarded me and said we were never truly married.

I’m no psychologist, but he was probably a narcissist.  Phil is the reason I first got interested in researching abuse, in the 90s, because it took me many years to recover from all he had done.

The reason to post these stories: It’s a public service.  All these stories–of Peter, of Shawn, of Phil, of Richard and Tracy–are not just about expressing myself or venting, but about warning and validating others.

I’ve long since been freed of those abusive relationships, but others could still be going through one much like it.  Abuse victims need to know they’re not alone, and that this is not normal treatment, so they can escape it.

Abusers try to make you think the abuse is your fault.  Shawn would coerce and try to convince me to do what he wanted, tell me there was nothing wrong with it–then after I did it, blame me for giving in, make me feel dirty and cheap, talk like I was seducing him.

Phil kept blaming me for his abuse, telling me I had to have my own way, always had to be right–because I did not want him to sodomize me.

Tracy abused and bullied me and tried to make me believe it was all my fault, that she had every right to do it and I had no right to complain.  Richard went along with it.

Not only that, but he even called me “ridiculous” for being psychologically affected when a couple of his friends began sexually harassing me online.  The harassment triggered feelings I had long since forgotten, brought them back up, alive, so that a year later I was still being triggered.

I had been sexually harassed by guys in high school, and sexually abused by Phil–and now Richard was calling me ridiculous for equating those incidents with what his friends said and did to me, for remembering those incidents because of what his friends did, and begging him to stop mentioning those guys around me so it would stop triggering me!

Abuse victims need help to get out of the gaslighting fog.

Reading stories and articles like the ones I post, and discovering the names for what I went through–emotional abuse, abuse by proxy, engineering impossible situations, sexual abuse, and the like–helped me realize it wasn’t me.

I used to say Phil was “borderline abusive,” because I thought abuse was physical–though I did write in a letter to him that he abused his authority as a husband.

But reading in women’s magazines in the mid-90s about emotional and verbal abuse, is when I realized he truly was abusive.  I now understood why it spooked me one day in 1995 or 1996 to think I heard his voice at my workplace, even though he had never hit me.  (I believe I actually heard the boss’ son.)

My husband’s observations on Phil’s behavior, helped me see that no, it wasn’t just me, he truly had mistreated me.  My husband is the first one who told me that even though Phil did not hit or beat me, he did things that could qualify as physical or sexual abuse (forcing me into disgusting things I did not want to do).

When you think about it, I was “rescued” by Phil himself: He decided I was not submissive enough, that I was the problem, and left.  But for a long time, I felt that his leaving was the ultimate form of abuse.

Though my friends told me he was controlling and possessive, my eyes were not fully opened until after I stopped grieving the relationship, met my husband, and started doing research and writing about what happened.

In those days, the Internet existed but in a much smaller form, and we did not have computers capable of using it beyond e-mail.  I had access to the Net my senior year through my roommate Pearl’s computer and a modem, but it was limited to AOL.

That was 1994; I had no idea just what the Net was capable of.  The explosion of websites and blogs on abuse had not yet happened.  We didn’t have Google.  After leaving college, I did not have a computer capable of doing much on the Net.  All I had were occasional magazine articles to open my eyes.

But now, you can search the Web for information and stories about abuse.  You can immediately identify what you’re going through.  You can learn how to leave safely.  You don’t have to wait years until you happen upon an article, book or TV program defining what happened to you.

Precognitive Dreams of Phil Before I Met Him–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–Summer 1993

Summer 1993–Music, Storm and Precognitive Dreams of Phil Before I Met Him

I listened to the local Top-40 station, U93, but alternative station Q101 from Chicago was my favorite.  It usually had better and more interesting songs than U93 did.

Even when a Q101 song crossed over to U93, it would often happen some time after it was first played on Q101.  I also listened to dance station B96 from Chicago from time to time.

On June 8, I wrote this in my diary:

Fun happenings at [our house] tonight.  We’ve been having terrible downpours (or ‘wonderful,’ depending on your point of view) for the past couple days.  Tonight, lightning struck the tree on the [front] side of the house, and it split in two!

The one half fell into the neighbors’ front door….I saw the half lying on the ground when the lightning lit up the sky once.  My parents were on their way out to help them, when they saw our back door was blocked as well, by a limb from the oak tree!

When we first saw the tree in the neighbors’ yard, after Mom called Dad and me over with a voice that told us something was up, the phone rang (I knew it was the [neighbors], after only one ring;

my parents probably guessed as well), and we heard sirens off somewhere–all in the space of a few seconds!  I thought the sirens were for us, but I guess not.

[Our street] was flooded, too.  Some people on FOX [32] News were saying their Chicago neighborhood got flooded the worst it’s ever been, that it gets worse every year.

This weather’s covering several states, including Wisconsin, but it’s worst in Michigan and maybe Indiana.  There are flash flood and severe weather/thunderstorm watches all over the place, and in some places they’ve even had tornadoes.

FOX News was reporting baseball-sized hail, and I saw a newsclip of someone holding some.

This weather must be covering most of the Midwest, all the way over to Minnesota!  White Castle restaurant, in Chicago, has a moat around it, which probably won’t be pumped up until about midnight, so the people there are stranded, wanting to go home.  What a week, so far.

I had no idea that the storm that led to the trees falling down was only the beginning of an awful summer for Wisconsin and other areas.  Though we got nothing worse than constant rain and annoying earwigs, there was flooding in some states that caused property damage.

Wisconsin was hit with flooding, and when junior year began, notices were posted on Krueger Hall doors about how to get relief if your farm had been damaged by the summer floods.

I believe Missouri got it, as well, and I wondered how Latosha was doing in St. Louis.

Though a South Bend Tribune article on earwigs said it was only a myth that they bit people’s ears, my older brother could swear that they did so to him when he was sleeping in his basement room one night.

Imagine, though, what it was like for me, when the house was invaded by earwigs, to find a big picture of an earwig on the front page of the Sunday paper!


Fortunately, I recorded my dreams–which, somehow, foreshadowed my future relationship with a guy I hadn’t even met yet: Phil O’Hara, Dave’s brother.  Phil’s face reminded me of Eric Idle of the Monty Python troupe, and I told him so a few times.

At least twice over the summer of 1993, I dreamed about Eric Idle: He’d be my hero or a teacher making a move on me.  Yet when I actually met Phil, I forgot these dreams completely, not remembering them until 1999, when I re-read my diary and wrote about my junior year.

On July 9, I dreamed about a young priest.  I wrote, “I like the priest, even though he’s ‘unavailable,’ because I feel he could become available.”  Phil spent seven years planning to be a priest, until he decided he didn’t want to be alone.

On August 14, I dreamed this:

I discover that I’m to be married to a guy I’ve just met at school, or wherever that place is….I’m finding out about this guy by talking with him, and it may be this one or the next one that knows some ninja moves.

This guy’s about my age, with short, thick brown hair, and a bit taller than me.  Then something happens to him, so I have to marry his twin brother.  He’s a little different than him, but not very much.

He shows me the knife blade…that he carries in his pocket, and I think, …’This guy’s a fighter.  He could beat Peter up any day.’  The fact he’s a strong fighter stirs up something primitive in me, and I feel a strong attraction.

I hope my thought of Peter isn’t a problem.  But the marriage can’t take place until I take care of some things….

I’ve found out some things about him and like him, but I can’t say I can’t live without him or can live with him, because I don’t know….

I was afraid he’d get tired of waiting [after some things I did] and leave, but here he is, ready for the after-wedding.  I guess there isn’t much to do, maybe exchange some words, to be married.

The physical details I recorded matched Phil’s.  The alarm went off too soon, and I wrote, “I was disappointed, of course, to find it was only a dream and I didn’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a fiancé or husband.”

I recall a dream about getting engaged to a priest, whose brother did not like me.  We may have even had a secret wedding.  Unfortunately, I can’t find it now, or I’d copy parts of it for you.

This, as well as the Eric Idle dreams, has an uncanny resemblance to what was to happen with Phil.  The funny thing is, on June 26, I pondered in my diary whether I was precognitive.


Over the summer, Catherine began dating a guy named Glen.  And also over the summer, she got engaged to Glen.  She had all sorts of praises for him in her letters to me.


I wrote in my diary on July 30, “Why do I keep thinking of Peter so much these days?  It’d make you think I wanted him.  Maybe I’m alone too much; I don’t know.  A little voice said, ‘Perhaps he’s thinking of you, too.'”

Several months later, I would find out the answer to this question.  On August 10, I wondered if the memories of Peter were taking me over again because they were “actually less painful than those of Shawn.”

That is possible, that after all the hurt from Peter, what I felt for Shawn, and the pain I felt over Shawn, was far more than I ever got from Peter.

Keep in mind that our whole strange, twisted friendship-with-benefits lasted for more than a year and two months, far longer than my relationship with Peter.


Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:


More Links on Narcissism

Narcissists thrive on evoking both reactions and emotions from their victims. In the beginning stages of my divorce, I would dread opening my email account and cringe at the mere sound of a text message.

Both means of communication became avenues for attacks or narcissistic rages. As a narcissist who was set on winning and hurting me at all costs, my ex husband thrived on creating unrest.

As I became educated on this personality disorder, I began to repair the cracks in my foundation and I became increasingly empowered as I healed through education. I began to take the power back and I chose to be a survivor versus a victim. –Tina Swithin, Communicating with a Narcissist: Using the Narc Decoder

Never Accept Abuse

He discovered that people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences felt happier and less anxious. Through the studies, Pennebaker found that those who made meaning out of their difficulty or gained insight from writing were healthier than those who simply wrote about the details of their day.

In another study by psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky and K. M. Sheldon, subjects who wrote about their best possible future selves experienced health benefits as well as an increased ability to set and achieve goals.

No matter where you are in your journey through difficulty (in the muddle, emerging, healing, or living a new life), writing will help you cope. You may want to craft your story into a memoir that can inform, entertain and encourage others.

Or you may simply want to record your story for yourself, so that you can examine, understand, and grow from the difficult events you have encountered. That has enormous value as well. But for all of us the starting point is the same: writing our story. –Rochelle Melander, Heal By Writing About Your Trauma


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