Trust seemed to be a problem as well. Up until I found out about the games you’d been playing with me, like you termed it I’d have trusted you until the ends of the earth; but for some reason, you seemed to have trouble trusting me. I don’t know why that was.
Like you thought that someone could steal me away from you even after we married, even though I told you how firmly I believe in the bonds of marriage. As the Bible, the Catholic church and the Nazarene church affirm, those bonds are not to be broken, and I was not going to break them.
It hurt me that you kept thinking the “perfect” person would steal me away or that you could never introduce me to your friend S–. (Really, we’d probably have gotten along well, but I loved you, and I’m not into sadomasochism!)
As a song by the Christian group 77’s says, “If you’re looking for a perfect man that you can worship, baby, He ain’t on this earth, baby, no more.” Couples can’t be clones of each other; they’ve got to be individuals. Your old-fashioned, non-feminist (usually) [as he said he wanted] girl was not going to run away to find somebody better!
That bit about “being a better person when not with you”–that was taken straight from “Mrs. Doubtfire,” wasn’t it? Well, I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now. It’s not a biblically sanctioned reason for divorce. If you don’t believe me, grab a concordance and a Bible and look up passages on the subject.
It also feels to the other person like they’re being blamed for how their partner acts. The person isn’t the problem, it’s how their partner relates with them. They just need to learn how to relate better.
As that very movie shows, divorce tears families and people apart. That’s why God hates it (Malachi 2:16 and surrounding verses; also see Matt. 5:31-32, Deut. 23:21-23; verses that may relate: Deut. 15:12-17).
(You may call me a holy roller, may even say I’m preaching, but if I know someone’s a Christian, I feel free to make references to what God says in the Bible. Not spouting off verses right and left, but mentioning or quoting things that apply when it seems appropriate.
(Usually, people seem to appreciate it because it reminds them of how God feels about something they’re struggling with, gives them a better understanding of things. If it convicts them of wrongdoing, they might not always like it so much, but that’s human nature.
(I don’t like to feel convicted of something wrong, either, but sometimes a person needs to hear it. You even tell me Bible verses at times.)
You say the counseling idea is “like beating a dead horse.” Well, I don’t agree. It was never given a chance to revive the horse.
Three “dead horses”–couples that were already divorced–saw those tapes I mentioned, and were brought back to life: they remarried their ex’s. According to Gary Smalley, good results because of the tapes have been reported without exception.
Love, happiness are increased; even the once-divorced couples report more affection for each other than they had even when they were first married. This would certainly include a restoration of cherishing, which means “to care for kindly” and “to hold dear.”
Maybe this sort of thing could even help your parents restore their first love–in fact, probably could. [His mother had told him the only reason she hadn’t divorced his dad was because Phil and Dave were still at home.] And keep things from breaking down again, as long as the principles continue to be applied.
Once again, one person could feel their life had been wasted until they met the other person. [Phil used to tell me that his life had been wasted until he met me.] If I didn’t think this sort of thing had a fighting chance, I wouldn’t bother with it, wouldn’t bother even mentioning it.
One of the principles, one example of how to break the communications barrier, is one Smalley learned from his wife: When a woman says “Don’t touch me,” what she really means is, “Hold me, talk to me, make me feel better.”
This is true. I can think of an instance in which you apparently didn’t know this, and it had consequences. It was after that horrible argument we had near the beginning of the summer, when you were getting overwhelmed by that second sales job.
[This was when I thought he was talking in his sleep as he often did, but he just had his eyes closed.] I finally got you to come upstairs and go to bed, my bed, but I was so angry and felt so betrayed that I said, “Don’t touch me.”
If I’d really meant that, I’d have told you to sleep in the guest room. I wanted you to hold me, to try to talk things out, to be so worried about my attitude that you’d make me let you hold me. Instead, you took me at my word, and turned over to go to sleep, leaving me feeling abandoned.
If you’d known what a woman really means when she tells her husband not to touch her, we could’ve resolved the problem better and more quickly. It isn’t that she’s lying, it’s just that she’s upset.
Another thing is the “space” issue. I see that as another example of poor communication. I’m not always a good reader of body language; I go by what people say.
When you’d say you just needed some space, that it wasn’t me but you needed to sleep in the guest room that night, I wouldn’t like it, but I’d understand and sleep alone that night without complaint.
When you just disappeared and I found you in there, I’d feel like you were deliberately snubbing me or running from some argument. I’d feel hurt, angry, abandoned.
To kindly say you need some time alone is much more effective than just getting mad or running off. I’ve done that sort of thing myself before (to Clarissa), and it didn’t work, just made me feel ashamed because I knew I was probably doing something wrong.
We used to be able to resolve things [in the beginning of the relationship, we prided ourselves on being able to resolve things using already established principles that we hadn’t even heard of until afterwards]; I think we’ve forgotten how.
And I think if we learned how again, plus more tips that we never knew before, we’d see that “first love” returning, remember why we wanted to be together in the first place, why we wanted to be married and knew we were each other’s ideal.
But even if we didn’t, we could learn principles that can be applied in other relationships. Either way, we’d both win.
We wouldn’t have to “get back together” before watching tapes or reading books or whatever; we could watch them, and then see if we’d want to give it another try or to just move on.
But there couldn’t be a “yo-yo effect” afterwards. If we decide to try it again, then we’ll have to both give it a good try, not keep changing our minds when problems don’t go away right away.
Maybe there wouldn’t even be any left by then; maybe they all would’ve been taken care of through time and through learning how to communicate more effectively. And I think God would be pleased by our efforts and bless us.
It seems we resolved things better until after we married. Perhaps what happened was, you unconsciously tried to make it into your parents’ relationship, which is familiar to you, and I unconsciously tried to make it into my parents’ relationship, which is familiar to me.
The two conflicted–unhappiness is incompatible with happiness, “light has no fellowship with darkness”–and everything broke down.
I hope you take this letter well, and in the kind spirit it was intended in. I wanted to tell you about the tapes and other possibilities, and to tell you some things that I feel you should know.
I don’t know if you’ll listen to me, but I couldn’t trust that these things would be said to you by anyone else, as much as some others want to say them to you. If some anger or bitterness still came through, well, I felt I needed to say what I did. [Reading it over, I don’t really see any.]
But forgiveness is divine. I don’t hate you. If I can never even be friends with you, it would kill me. I hope and pray you don’t turn into another Peter, because that would just finish me off, to see someone else I care for turn scuzzy.
But anyway. If Mom can get ahold of these tapes or something like them, I plan to watch them. But don’t tell me yet what you think of the idea, what you think of seeing them yourself.
Sometimes decisions made in haste are regretted later. Give it maybe a couple weeks or more, let it sink in, mull it over and put it on the back burner; then decide.
Don’t listen to friends who don’t know what they’re talking about, which would probably be most of them–“The worst thing you can do,” Dad says, “is talk to your friends.”
[Dad’s advice used to be so influential with Phil. He’d sit talking with him for hours–though Dad, at times, thought he was an idiot!]
Advice should be taken from the wise. Pray about it, pray for guidance; God, the wisest of them all, hears the prayers of His children, and won’t leave them all alone. That includes you.
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil