Eventually, Phil and I got into a rhythm of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and Dairy Queen on Wednesdays. We stopped at the S– KFC, which had no drive-through, and got one chicken dinner, which we divided between us. Then we got Peanut Buster Parfaits in the Dairy Queen closest to his house, which may also have not had a drive-through.
This Dairy Queen closed an hour earlier than it claimed on the sign. One night when we went to see if it was open, Phil thought the workers inside were laughing at him.
Whenever I ate a meal with him, which was a lot because I spent weekends with him, we went to a fast food place such as Burger King. Nobody seemed to cook all that much around his house.
Sometimes people would make something, but there was no dinnertime. They didn’t eat together; they made their own separate meals and sometimes other people shared them.
This was incredibly strange to me. Instead of eating together at the dining table, they used it for laundry folding, homework, and other things: It was always covered.
I knew very little about cooking, while Phil was so incredibly picky that he only ate a few different kinds of food–mostly mac and cheese, fast food and frozen pizzas.
He wouldn’t make much else besides mac and cheese, which basically forced me to eat fast food more often than I wanted. I gained about five pounds before I went home that summer (in just a few months), which was unusual for me: I was usually 120 when I went home, not 125!
One thing they did have in the house was pop, and several different kinds of it, often cheaper, generic brands. So at night I didn’t have to go thirsty.
Phil’s parents slept on the living room chairs and couches with the TV on all night, rather than actually going to bed.
I don’t remember why, but I was told Mrs. O. started it, and Mr. O. would sleep out there to be with her. She may have moved out there because of health problems that made it hard to lie down.
What with the TV and arguments, it was a very noisy house.
Mr. O’Hara, who was almost 60, had already raised a whole family to adulthood with a previous wife, who died. Then he raised a second family to adulthood with a new wife. (He must have started having kids around 20 years old!)
I don’t know what the home life was like for the first brood, but for the second, it was awful. There were always loud, yelling arguments–or the little nephew/grandson Taylor having a temper tantrum.
Any time of day, arguments among any members of the family were common. (Daughter Maura didn’t live at home anymore.) I used to think it was funny, but eventually it annoyed me.
Phil’s mom told him she only stayed with his dad because of Phil and Dave, who still lived in the house.
She didn’t like the things that went on; I’ve always assumed that she saw Mr. O’Hara as verbally abusive, and I think I based this on the reasons she gave. I don’t remember what the reasons were, but this is probably pretty close.
I saw some romantic board game sitting on the tiny, junk-covered kitchen table, yet Phil didn’t think they loved each other anymore.
Phil assured me, “I’ve spent my whole life trying not to be like my parents.” This statement gave me a false sense of security: I didn’t realize yet that Phil knew no other way than to be just like his argumentative parents.
One good thing was that they did seem to put a big emphasis on the family.
Phil’s mom used to be Baptist, but converted for Mr. O’Hara. According to Phil, who wanted me to convert for him, she threw herself into the conversion, trying to mean it. Her influence and effort, in turn, got Phil to take it seriously. He wasn’t just baptized in the faith: He really believed in it.
But Mr. O’Hara no longer went to church, and Mrs. O’Hara told me she always felt fake in the Catholic church. She was thinking about going back to a Baptist church.
Phil and his mom were the most religious ones left in the family, yet they didn’t even go to church. It made me wonder what use it was to convert for a spouse, if you just felt fake anyway.
Phil and Dave argued all the time. According to Phil, Dave could not reason well, using circular arguments. I heard Dave argue about things that made no sense, but act like Phil was being the stupid one. Phil joked that Dave was like that because their mom smoked while pregnant with him.
Phil thought that Dave’s Pearl was the best thing to ever happen to him, that she helped him be a better person. Yet later on that semester, they argued quite a bit.
For example, Pearl would want to do something, yet Dave would sleep late instead of doing it with her. She’d get upset, of course, but he would treat her like a nag. (This sounds a lot like the arguments Phil and I had in the summer.)
Phil noted in the fall of 1995 that they were starting to get like his parents. I didn’t know it until late 1995, but they eventually broke up. So much for being engaged, for her being the best thing to ever happen to Dave.
I didn’t know who she was back then, of course, but daughter Maura had been in my Persuasive class. I remembered her red hair, slanted eyes, and gorgeous face.
Mrs. O’Hara had also been in a class with me. When she heard about Phil’s dilemma between Tracy and me, she said I was a beautiful girl. When Phil chose Tracy, she said “Phil!” in a scolding tone for this reason.
When he broke up with Tracy and chose me, she said, “Phil! Don’t choose based on looks.” So she could be inconsistent.
Mrs. O. and Dave both had Botany class with me. Mrs. O. answered and asked a lot of questions, and sat right in the front row with a non-trad friend.
Dave sat behind Pearl and me and griped all through class about it, saying how he didn’t need to know any of the material after he graduated and he just needed the credits. Tests were deliberate inconveniences for him.
During labs, Mrs. O. wanted him and me to work in her group. (This was weird for me, being in a lab with the mother and brother of my boyfriend, but at least I knew she liked me.) Pearl was in the other lab class.
Dave would complain to the other person in our group that his mother slowed us all down–all the other labs would be finished and we’d only be half done–and often complained about her behind her back about various things.
Mrs. O., in the meantime, worked hard to try to understand things and do them right–and still be cheerful.
Phil sometimes came into the labs to be with me, but not too often, probably because I had too much work to do and couldn’t chat with him.
Soon, Mrs. O. didn’t like Tracy anymore: Tracy told her that Phil had treated her badly. Phil couldn’t figure out why she’d say this, since he still opened doors for her and such.
Neither of us could figure it out, or why Tracy would go from accepting the breakup to being so angry about it. Upset, we could understand, and we probably tried to not get too lovey with each other when she was in the cafeteria.
But angry? Saying he treated her badly? Rather than a warning sign, I took it as sour grapes.
Oh, by the way, Tracy was quite busy at this time with various projects related to Band and her theater major. I think she was even directing a play at a local high school.
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