Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk (Part 2)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 10

(Part 1)

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 (Lilac Lane, Symptoms of 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 wanted 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 whenever I doubted it, 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 later married a nice girl, and that this disappointed Sandy, who dated him during this school year.

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 or full of Catholic-haters.

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.

As for what Dirk said–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.

Index 
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:

 

Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk (Part 1)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 9

I had been trying the past couple of days to get to Career Services, but they were closed each time I could make it.  The problem was finding a time when they were open that fit with my schedule.

I was thinking of finding a job in S– so I could stay around there, which I used to think I would do anyway, unless Phil and I went to live with my parents after the wedding.

Anyway, since this was right after the split and it still seemed possible that he would cool off and call off the divorce, it made sense to make sure I could stay in the area until then.

And it was also to stay near my friends.  I didn’t have many left in South Bend that I was still in touch with, but I had a bunch around S–.  I mention this for a reason that will soon become clear.

Wednesday evening I went to the library to take care of some class business, and Dirk was there, working.  He said he had a few things to discuss with me, if I wanted to talk to him.  I agreed.

He asked another student worker to cover for him while he took me into the adjoining room, the one with reference books and oversized books.  We sat on one of the couches by the oversized books, and talked.  This spot seemed too public, so I hoped our voices were low enough to not be overheard.

We talked about all sorts of things.  I could tell that Phil fed him all sorts of untrue things about me.  He gave me advice I did not need; told me to do things I was already doing, chewed me out for things I supposedly did or didn’t do.

He knew everything about relationships, me, and Phil.  He knew the real reason for the secret marriage (which he didn’t tell me).  He knew Phil was upset about particular things, and why, though I did not.  He knew how I could get Phil back.

He would tell Phil if I responded appropriately to this lecture.  Red flag warning!

He knew how a girl should act to get men (apparently, my dressing in attractive but modest clothes wasn’t enough to “dress to impress,” even though a Christian woman should not be “showing her wares,” so to speak).  He knew that I–Well, let’s just quote him:

“You’re the only girl I’ve ever thought I needed to tell this to,” he said, “but here goes: You’ll probably end up an old maid.”  (Yeah, tell that to my husband and child.)

He knew everything about the Bible and what it really said about sex; if he were wrong, he’d be struck down for the things he’d done.

He knew that I should convert to Catholicism if I wanted to marry Phil–even though I would have ended up one of those reluctant, “bad” Catholics who don’t really believe it.

He apparently didn’t know that there are ways for Catholics to marry non-Catholics so that even the Catholic church recognizes it, even without a Catholic ceremony or Mass.

Such weddings can be blessed by a priest, even if not officiated by one.  It sounds like Phil did not even bother looking into these alternatives, which is a shame, because they could have settled everything to the satisfaction of him and me.

Note how Dirk tried to shame me into abandoning my own beliefs and switching to Catholicism.  Red flag warning!

Unfortunately, Dirk was just like Shawn, and could talk you into believing anything he said.  Then later on, after talking to friends or contemplating, you’d realize, “He doesn’t know anything about me/the situation/reality!”

For one thing, it’s impossible to be an old maid when you’ve already been married.  For another, without adopting any of his suggestions of how to get men, but by being myself, I got three more boyfriends that year, and married one of them.

He told me that Phil thought my friends wouldn’t let him sit down when we were watching My So-Called Life, just because they gave him the only seat left, a cushioned milk crate we often sat on.

But that wasn’t all.  The time he came over after playing D&D with Dirk and his new girlfriend, and we were playing Spoons, Phil said he didn’t feel welcome, and no one let him sit down.  Both times, I didn’t defend him.

Well, I said, I didn’t know I needed to–I saw no such thing!   (Shows how much Phil communicated with me!)  So now Dirk thought I was horrible, over something that didn’t even actually happen, that wasn’t even true.  

And if Phil was so offended by something I had no clue about, why didn’t he speak up about it to my friends, instead of putting it all on my shoulders?  Am I his attack dog now, too?

Dirk chewed me out for telling Phil about my crush on Mike.  Apparently, Phil didn’t tell Dirk his rule that we confide in each other about attractions to others, or that Phil found it totally appropriate to tell me every girl he lusted after.

Apparently, what was good for the gander was verboten for the goose.  How dare I be attracted to a sweet, non-abusive guy after a summer of abuse, and how dare I mention it after my husband’s been repeatedly telling me I’m not enough for him.

Dirk also seemed to think I didn’t know what love is or what it means, and said I needed to learn that.  He asked, did I ever do anything romantic, like a candlelight dinner?–

While I thought, wait a minute, why in the heck is he telling me these things????  Why should he ask such a thing?

I stay faithful despite everything, and Phil leaves me without trying to work things out, yet Dirk says I don’t know the meaning of love?  If that were the case, then why did I stick by men until they left me, instead of leaving them first?

And who ever said I was not romantic?  I loved romance, and I liked special moments to be special however they could be.

I didn’t do candlelight dinners because I didn’t cook and I didn’t have any candles, and it wasn’t like we ever had the chance to anyway.  There was no place in the dorms, where they were verboten, and we lived with our parents.

That didn’t mean I didn’t make up for it in other ways.  Candlelight dinners are not the only romantic thing you can do.

I am a romantic soul, the one who writes about passionate love between aliens and time-travelers and such, and between humans and vampires.  I fell in love so easily with the people I dated, and longed for romance.  I didn’t/don’t know where Dirk even got the idea that I might be lacking in love or romance.

Phil abuses me in various ways all summer, fights everything I need or want, cuts me down constantly, even sexually assaults me because he refuses to respect my wishes that sex not involve excruciating pain, but I don’t know anything about what love is or what it means?

I don’t know what Phil had been telling him, but obviously it was a whole pack of lies.  Phil had his brain so screwed over that Dirk thought he knew everything about me and what happened, but he knew absolutely nothing.

I could tell Phil didn’t listen to me, but Dirk listened to him.  Dirk was a pawn in Phil’s Control by Proxy.  Nowadays, he’d be called a Flying Monkey or a sycophant.  I never had a thing to do with him after September.

For example, when Phil broke up with me, he kept saying, “You say you want to be a housewife,” as if that were a fault, as if I refused to ever work outside the home.

I’d tell him that’s not what I said, but he kept harping on it.  Over the summer, I told him again and again that I wanted to be a housewife so I could have time for my writing, because I saw writing as my life, not any other career.

But I said again and again that after we got publicly married and moved out on our own, I’d do my share to bring in money until he got his acting break–even work in a factory if I had to.

But my wish was to one day retire from this and write full-time–once we could afford it.  I also felt it was best to stay at home with our future children.

I never said I’d refuse to work no matter what.  I just said I preferred a traditional role so I would have time to work on my writing career.

Now, Dirk started harping on my wanting to be a housewife.  Phil must have ignored everything I ever said on the subject, and told Dirk I was not willing to contribute financially.  Here’s the gist of what Dirk said:

“You should have plans for something to do with your life.  You’re smart.  You can do something, make something of yourself.  Look at Margaret Thatcher–she’s a prime minister!  Just because you’re a woman don’t think you can’t do anything important.  Find a career goal.”

What I wish I would’ve said to Dirk: “I do have a career goal: I want to publish novels, as I told Phil many times.  It takes brains to do that, and it’s important. 

“And what the heck ever gave you the idea that I thought women could do nothing important?  Do you think I could be born in the 1970s and grow up in the 1980s thinking that women were fit only to look pretty in the drawing room?

And what’s so unimportant about raising children and running a household?  Just tell a stay-at-home mother of three kids that she’s lazy, she’s not contributing and her work is meaningless–and see what happens.

“Once upon a time, women were expected to be housewives; now that the pendulum has swung the other way, women are often expected to go out and get a job along with taking care of the house, and derided if they want a traditional role.”

I have to wonder if Dirk knew that Phil treated me like a disobedient servant, not a wife, a throwback to the days when men thought women couldn’t handle intellectual pursuits.

Just so you know I meant what I told Phil:

After college, I got a full-time job in insurance.  I worked for a couple of years, became a homemaker for a year after being downsized, then worked again part-time for four years to pay off some debts.  Then I became a stay-at-home mother.

All along, I have written; my books are now published here and making a little bit of money.  I am also getting some success as a blogger.

Just what I said I would do, and all perfectly acceptable.  Despite how he and Dirk both scorned it, I’m living the dream, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

This article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Orthodox woman who used to be a feminist Episcopalian, describes how feminism–while certainly making good changes, such as the vote for women and more natural standards of beauty–also made some very bad changes.  One was the idea that women should find careers more important than staying at home, that “staying home and raising kids was mindless drudgery,” that “housewives were dumb.”

There’s nothing wrong with mothers working.  But the choice of a housewife should be respected, not derided.  Housewives with children are very busy, and have to use their brains all day long; calling them lazy is ludicrous, as is saying that a housewife is wasting her brain.  These jobs would have to be done by somebody, even if the wife didn’t do them.

And I certainly don’t waste my brain when I do finances, make out a menu, or act as the tech support for my household, since I understand computers much better than my engineer husband does.

But back to September 1994.  Though ticked and confused, instead of what I should have said, I said, “Tomorrow I’ll go to Career Services.”  (You’ll note I’d been trying to go there already anyway.)  He said that was good, and he would tell Phil that.

I should have told him off.  Of course, I don’t remember what else I said.  I might have set him straight, or tried to.

Right after I said I’d go to Career Services, I said that the next day I would also talk to Pearl about what he said about InterVarsity.  He was pleased with that as well, and said he’d tell Phil about that.

So you see, he got me under a bit of a spell, controlling my mind, getting me to think he was right even when his words made no sense and had no connection to reality.

Part 2

Index 
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:

 

Cribbage, Richard’s ongoing legacy, and long live the Forum

We just got back from a cribbage tournament run by one of our friends here in town.  Fun, fun, even though I don’t know how to play, and just spectate.  But it’s social interaction, gets me out of the house.  Because yes, even introverts need to do that, though not as often as for extroverts.  😉

The trouble is, Hubby keeps fearing that our friend is a narcissist, and believes he sees the same patterns as with Richard and me, only now Hubby is the target.  But I knew this guy years ago, before we reconnected through Facebook several years ago; I don’t think he’s a narc.  I think that Hubby is just nervous of it all happening again.

But it shows how abusive friendships can scar you.  Even though Hubby wasn’t the target of the abuse, he still is jumpy, fearing that it’s happening all over again with somebody new.

Meanwhile, I keep looking for signs that it is NOT like that at all, because this is one of the people I opened up to about the Richard/Tracy drama, giving him their names, and I want to be able to trust this is a good, kind person.

I want to relax and enjoy the friendship, not keep this wall around myself that I built up back when everything blew up in July 2010.

Another bit of news: In my Richard/Tracy saga, you will find occasional references to the online “Forum” where we met, run by Todd.

This is not the real name of the forum, of course.  This forum has somehow been connected to some of the most significant events of this past decade for me:

I met Richard and Tracy there, I met Todd there, I posted my religious questions there, Richard led me to Orthodoxy, Richard moved his family to my town, then Tracy abused me and Richard betrayed me, leading to a spiritual emptiness and depression.

So yeah, that’s some big stuff there–and it all goes back to the Forum, because that’s where I met Richard.

Anyway, the Forum has been up since 2002, has gone through several incarnations (one of which Richard screwed up as vengeance to Todd), and yet it’s still around.

There aren’t that many people left there, but we’re this core group that just doesn’t want to let go of each other or the Forum.  Todd was going to shut it down, but discovered that it means too much to us, so it’s staying up.

Awwwwww, how sweet….

 

Phil cuts off contact–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 8

That night was awful.  I tried to talk to Phil about what the counselor said.  I didn’t yell or scold or anything.

But he stonewalled, suddenly abandoned me for a time to talk to Dirk, treated me like a stupid witch who had nothing worthwhile to say, then treated me like I had no right to wonder when we were going to get back to our conversation.  These are abuse tactics.

They sat in the foyer of the library, while I was inside the library, on the other side of the wall/windows and glass door.

So Dirk, who knew absolutely nothing about marriage, became Phil’s choice of marriage counselor.  So Dirk became privy to who knew what, while I was given no chance whatsoever to tell Dirk my own side of things, and was left out of the conversation about me.

Dirk basically was put in the middle of everything, and probably fed Phil all sorts of bullcrap.

But I wasn’t even supposed to wonder how long this conversation was going to keep us from our own conversation, because when I went to the windows/door and looked at them, he made a gesture toward me as if to say to Dirk, “See what I mean?”

What on earth he meant by that, I had no clue, because I’d been left waiting by myself for quite a long time already, and this was extremely rude of Phil.

Earlier, he had given me every reason to believe that reconciliation was possible.  But now, after talking with Dirk, he suddenly said we couldn’t even be friends.  It is interference like this that led to me loathing Dirk, so much so that 20 years later, I still won’t even friend him on Facebook.

This stunned me.  I can’t remember why he said this.  I doubt that I knew then what changed the course of the conversation, because he only communicated through yelling and stonewalling.

But now as I look back over this, I’m certain it was Dirk’s doing.  I don’t know why on earth Dirk was so determined to split us up, since he did not want me for himself.  Unless, of course, Dirk was actually Phil’s pawn, manipulated into believing that I was the abuser instead of Phil.

I have every reason to believe this is why.  Abusers recruit others to help with the abuse, by making them believe that the victim is the abuser.  This is called control by proxy.

When I first made notes of this argument a couple of years later for my memoir, I wrote that Phil probably either overreacted–or was only acting.  He’d done a lot of acting those few days, as he told me a few days after this event–and as I realized when I contrasted his words to his actions.

All I could do was leave him and not talk to him again.

I didn’t realize yet that his actions proved he had never loved me, no matter what he told me before or his insistence that he still loved me.  When you truly love someone, you don’t treat her this way.

In 1996 or 1997, as I worked with Cugan’s friend Laura on ideas for my wedding dress, she told me she knew Phil.  He used to come into the gaming shop where she was a clerk, and buy dice and other Dungeons and Dragons items.  She knew that Phil had to marry his girlfriend.  And that shop was in M–, not S–!  Small state, eh?

He used to go there with his high school friends, with whom he kept in touch after high school.  Laura told me they were upset with him over something, and that he’d been ostracized for it, but she didn’t know what the thing was.  I always wondered if they finally saw how he treated his women.

Laura used to think he was a nice guy, but she had been an abused wife herself, and stopped liking him as soon as I told her he was “borderline abusive.”

I’ll say this as well, in case any of you finds yourself in a similar situation.  I have heard and read other stories of emotional abuse.  In one, the guy made a date with another woman while lying in bed with his girlfriend, and then told his girlfriend she deserved that.

Many times, an abuser will hit his wife because she did something he thought she shouldn’t have done.  She will then start to believe she deserved what she got.  Don’t let yourself get into this trap.

In the following months, my friend Helene said, “It sounds like he’s trying to control you even after the relationship is over.”

Did he break up with me because he couldn’t control me?  (Sort of like in the song “Control” by Puddle of Mudd: “I can’t control you/ You’re not the one for me, no.”  Or in “Special” by Garbage: “I have run you down into the ground/ Spread disease about you over town/ I used to adore you/ I couldn’t control you.”

Also, in a letter to the editor in the 9/28/98 edition of US News and World Report, speaking of the Clinton/Lewinsky/Starr scandal and Hillary’s insistence on standing by her adulterous husband, a reader wrote, “Even women battered and bloodied will defend their abusers.”  A typical response of an abused woman is, “He was right and I was wrong.  I deserved what I got.”

In one way I was typical, in that I didn’t see the abuse for what it was.  In another I wasn’t, in that I refused to say I deserved what I got and that Phil was right to treat me the way he did.  This refusal to be a victim, to just sit back and take it, to act like a victim, may be a subconscious reason why Phil left me–which was actually a mercy.

Of course, some people might say I did sit back and take it like a victim, because I didn’t just tell him to leave.  But it’s common for abused women to say, as I did, that I loved him and didn’t want to leave.  After all the trouble I had finding a Christian man at a Christian college, and one who actually wanted to be with me, where else would I find one, especially one I had so much in common with?

Also, during the summer, even when I felt like telling Phil, “Go back to Wisconsin,” I didn’t because we were married.  I saw marriage as a lifelong commitment that was not to be broken lightly.

This may be why he married the new girl, who had been abused by a boyfriend before.  (We see the common trend of a woman subconsciously seeking out abusers, and finding them.  Cindy said she probably thought Phil wasn’t abusive because he didn’t seem as bad as the previous abuser.)

Years later, April 9 and 10, 1998, what can I say?  That he treated me like the bad guy when, all along, he was the bad guy.  He was emotionally abusive, and didn’t listen to a word I said, didn’t treat my feelings or ideas or words like they were worth his attention or care.

He’d said he’d be my husband, said we were meant for each other, even said he was my husband–yet had no respect for his commitment, or for me.  All he cared about was himself.  Just before the breakup, he told his friends that he still loved me–but he didn’t show it.

He also didn’t talk to me about whether or not a breakup was necessary, or even try to work out the misunderstanding of the night before the breakup, but to other people.  And then told me after he had already decided, all by himself.

(When did he talk to them?  There wasn’t much time in between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.  And how long did he take to process the things they said?  Did he even give himself enough time?)

He talked with my parents on the phone, at their request, but didn’t listen to them; he didn’t even want to go to a counselor for help.  It was all what he wanted, and he didn’t listen to any of my suggestions for what we could do to fix things.

He seemed to think I was the problem, but was too blind to see that very similar things would happen all over again with other girlfriends.  He refused to see his own failings, while I was willing to see mine.

But when you look at why I did them–because he was so hard to deal with and I didn’t know how else to get through to him, and he was so irresponsible that I was forced to nag at him for things–you can easily see they were tiny compared to his own failings.  (It’s called catching fleas from your abuser.)

Being forced to act like a mother and make a guy get up in time to go to his own job, being forced to nag at him until he gets his brakes fixed because this is the last day he’ll have a chance (before you go on a long road trip back to campus) and he just wants to be a slugabed–

These are nothing compared to the sin of emotional abuse, sexual abuse by forcing someone to do unnatural acts, and the threat of physical abuse if he finally decided to carry out his threats to hit.

He threatened me once or twice with physical violence (I have described at least one such instance to you), and really did slap Persephone while they were together.  (She slapped him right back, and he never did it to her again.)

And my second husband, Cugan, considers some of the sexual abuse to be physical as well, because after all, it took physical force to do the things he did.

Phil said he was a better person when not around me–a convenient phrase taken from Mrs. Doubtfire–but this was not true.  He was no better with Persephone, as I describe later.

Sharon said in 1996 or 1997, that watching him and his new girlfriend was like watching him and me all over again, only worse because she would lie about where she was when she missed Phi-Delt meetings for him.

Cindy heard him yelling at her the way he used to yell at me, and she was not happy with him at all.  When the new girlfriend got pregnant, Pearl tried to warn her not to marry him; she didn’t listen.  And in 2007, they divorced.

At a Christmas party at Sharon’s house in 1997, my friends, not me, brought up the subject of Phil, soon after somebody said they saw Dave working at Dunham’s Sporting Goods.  Pearl said with a laugh that Phil and his new wife’s kid should be taken away by the SPCC, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

My friends told me he treated me like a child, and that’s one reason why they no longer liked him soon after we started dating–besides the fact that they considered him annoying.

But back to September 1994.  When you’ve been married to and living with someone all summer and they suddenly cut off all contact with you, even though they’ve been abusing you, you feel like a part of you is lost.

Wednesday, September 14.  On one of these early days of the week, Helene came to the library and saw me.  That’s probably when I told her about the breakup, while updating the card catalog.

She said she had been engaged three times since her husband died in a plane crash, and each engagement had been broken.  She was numb for the first few days afterward.

I felt similar, and could barely get through my shifts at the library.  Time was molasses, so slow I could hardly bear it.  Everything I did at the library, including updating the card catalog, made me restless.

I confided in Helene, called her on the phone once, and often sat with her at lunch during the next several months.  I talked about my feelings and got her advice; we discussed a book she lent me about dealing with a divorce.

For both of us, a favorite part of the book described a counselor’s experience in his support group for divorcees.  One woman saw her ex-husband having a picnic with a new girlfriend.  She ran her vehicle over them.  The people in the group said, “Ooh!  Did she back up and run over them again?”

While I confided in Helene, Phil confided in her best friend Kay.  He seemed to think of her as a sister.

I think it was Helene, or maybe Anna, who first said Phil seemed like good marriage material, but needed to grow up.  But later on, Helene said his turning to Persephone confirmed her worst fears about him, that he would go on to somebody else right away rather than trying to work out problems.

I told her how Phil treated me during the marriage; she liked him less every time I talked to her about him.

I spent most of my time with my friends or working or in class or eating or alone in the apartment, trying to do homework and deal with things and get on with life.

As much as possible, I wanted to go on with my daily life without grief interfering.  I lost very little, if any, sleep, and kept eating properly.  I dealt with things much better than when Peter broke up with me.

And after what Phil said on Tuesday night, I kept my distance from him.  No, I was never the stalker-type; if somebody told me to stop talking to them, I stopped.

Index 
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:

 

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