false Christianity

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:

 

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:

 

“The Rapture”: Left Behind Review, Part 1 (also goes into smacking kids upside the head)

by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, Tyndale House Publishers, ISBN 1414305818, available practically anywhere Christian books are sold:

A plot summary is here.

FINALLY, the last prequel.  So only one more book is left!  (I’ve been reading these books for more than five years now.  😛  Though that’s nothing compared to how long the Slacktivist has been doing this.  😛  )

It’s comforting, on pages 13 to 14, to see Irene’s new Christian friends and pastor counsel her to stop nagging Rayford into getting “saved.”

Another pleasant surprise comes on page 16, when their son Raymie asks, “Mom, is Dad going to hell?” and Irene answers, “Frankly, I can’t tell where your dad is on all this.  He claims to believe in God, and it’s not for us to say.”

Pages 17 and 18 inspired me to write this post on my blog, which I will copy for you here:

I’m currently reading the Left Behind book “The Rapture” for my series of Left Behind reviews.  My reviews and the Slacktivist describe the bad, ungodly behavior of the Christians in the books.  But what I read last night, really burns me up:

A good Christian woman, Lucinda Washington, middle-aged, who is not afraid to show her faith and is respected by all, is also Buck’s favorite colleague, a mentor of sorts.

After witnessing the dramatic, supernatural defeat of the air forces sent to decimate Israel, he comes to her office looking for answers.  He plops down in a chair with his feet on the desk and she says,

“If you were my son I’d whup you upside the head, sitting like that, tearing up your spine.”

“You don’t still smack Lionel, do you?” Buck said, peeking at the photo of the smooth-faced youngster [he’s 12].

“Can’t catch him anymore, but he knows I can still take him.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excuse me, this isn’t set in 1950, but in 21st-century America, some indeterminate time after the present, right before the Rapture–and the book was written in 2006.

This barbaric practice should be universally condemned as child abuse by the time this book takes place.  It’s already illegal in some places.  And even 100 years ago, people knew that smacking kids anywhere on the head is dangerous.  I go into this in great detail in these posts:

Child Abuse, Examples of Child Abuse, Hitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury, and  …Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE!

And this is the woman we are supposed to admire as a great woman of God?  A FRICKIN’ CHILD ABUSER????!!!!!

Here, I describe how two narcissistic “friends” turned out to be child abusers, whom I eventually reported to CPS because I could not get through to them, and who then threatened and began stalking me for calling them child abusers.  One of the things they did which most enraged me, was smacking their little kids in the head.

I also unfriended some old high school classmate a while back for advocating beating children on her Facebook status.  Then, a few months ago, unfriended (and eventually blocked) a girl in my social circles who said parents should beat their children.

Now, after all that, and enduring the stress and emotional anguish of being threatened and stalked for calling this child abuse, I’m supposed to read this “Christian” book and accept that a godly woman would abuse her child by smacking him upside the head?  I’m supposed to like this character after knowing this?  She’s just another hypocrite like the rest of the series’ Christians!

On page 26, Irene has turned into a Stepford Wife, even setting out Rayford’s clothes as if he were a child.  Since badgering him into converting doesn’t work, she’s taking the opposite tactic–still manipulative, but I guess she doesn’t see that.

But it drives him crazy, because he knows her various problems with him (church, his use of time, not spending enough time with their son) are still on her mind.  He’d rather argue than pretend they don’t exist.

On pages 63 to 66, Rayford explains to Raymie what many of us have realized over the years: that just because you don’t belong to a particular religion or sect, does not necessarily mean you’re going to Hell.  Raymie replies,

Wow.  You sound just like the people Pastor Billings talks about.  People who think they have it all figured out, but they don’t really believe in Jesus.

Say what?  Just because you have a different idea of who goes to Hell, you don’t really believe in Jesus?  Also, Raymie’s words have a distinct vibe of “Oh, you’re one of those people,” said with a curling lip.  ARGH!

And double-ARGH to the last few paragraphs on page 66:

Rayford…overheard the boy talking with Irene, who had asked how things went.

“Dad’s going to hell,” Raymie said.  “He doesn’t think he is.  He thinks he isn’t.  But he doesn’t believe in Jesus.  Not really.”

Meanwhile, back in Antichrist land, pages 71 to 74 depict a Mafia-style punishment of the family of a guy marked by Fortunato, Nicolae Carpathia’s right-hand man.  It’s full of evil and angst.

Where the heck was this kind of writing in the rest of the series?  If we see this along with Carpathia’s public image as a nice guy, we’ll know he’s evil.  No, all we get in the first books is that Carpathia wants world peace, which doesn’t sound so bad.

But if we got more of this behind-the-scenes evil instead of endless pages of traveling itineraries and phone conversations, the first books could have been awesome, instead of dull trudging wondering when this book will end.

To be continued.

Find all my Left Behind book reviews here.

 

 

My friends tell me that Phil is controlling and possessive; My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 6

My friends tell me that Phil is controlling and possessive

I kept the engagement bird up on the living room shelf because I had nowhere else to put it.  Phil told me to keep it.

Though tempted to break the bird into a million pieces, I dreamed that I did and began to sob over the poor bird.  It wasn’t its fault.  So I didn’t break or even chip it.

I later put the game Crack the Case, which Phil had put in my safekeeping, into a cupboard below the sink.

At some point, Phil told me on the phone about things people thought of me and the “advice” they gave.  I objected.  He said, “Are you saying that Dave doesn’t know you?  That Peter doesn’t know you?”

What?  Peter’s problems with me were old and very petty, and Peter said he treated me the way he did because it was hard to deal with his feelings.  He hadn’t seen me much at all since freshman year.

As for Dave, he barely knew me.  He hadn’t seen me all summer, and before that he only saw me for a few months and only every once in a while, when Phil and I weren’t alone together.

He saw me in Botany class and labs, but that’s schoolwork, and I believe I was more into the class or the lab than into being sociable with him.  I still don’t see why he said “we don’t get along” when he had only just met me and I thought we got along just fine.

Dave told all sorts of lies about me, while barely knowing me.

Anyway, Phil used his statement (“do they not know you?”) to justify what his friends said about me: party pooper, Bible beater.

(Peter said nothing to him about breaking up with me, though, because Peter only knew we broke up, not why.  I don’t know when he found out or how he heard.  I believe he said in late winter that he hadn’t spoken to Phil in quite a while after the way the family treated him in early 1994.)

I said these people didn’t know me so well.  Also, what they supposedly said didn’t fit me at all.  I didn’t go to parties with drugs, alcohol, or sex, but usually to parties with my own friends.  I had a great time, so who would call me a pooper?

What did “party pooping” have to do with our relationship or anything else, anyway?  Nothing!  Marriage is not about partying.  (For him to even think so, shows he was not ready for it.)

And he only just said that I wasn’t a Bible beater “like Pearl.”  Even if I was, so what?  I was a Christian, and that was what mattered.  My lifestyle had kept me out of tons of trouble, and eventually, my life would be very happy because of it.

Neither of these so-called “problems” were any reason to break up with a person, and there were many people who wouldn’t consider them “problems” at all.

Phil was probably talking to one of those boring partiers who just wanted to get drunk and do harmful things all the time.  I had no patience with such people, screwing up their brains instead of protecting and using them.

My response was, “Maybe you don’t know me so well after all.”

He said, “Do you really want to be with a guy who doesn’t know you?”  But this is faulty reasoning.  The point is to get to know a person over time, not necessarily to know them very well at the outset.  How can you?  It takes time.

Now I understand that this is triangulation, as I describe here, a tactic used to make you think you’re the problem and that everybody agrees.  But at the time, it just came out of left field.

Phil said on the way back to Roanoke that this was the best summer of his life because he’d been with me.  Then, a few days later, THE END.  How could I believe anything he said to me that week?

I went through almost two weeks of trying to fight away the misery and trying to figure out whether or not we were ever really married.

Phil now said we weren’t after all, that now he wasn’t sure he even believed in marriage anymore, that he no longer thought sex was wrong if the couple loved and were committed to each other, that he was getting desperate and thought it possible he’d sleep with someone in the heat of the moment–all things that crushed me.

****

I heard tell, and could see for myself, that the freshman class was about as big as the three other classes put together.  And now the lunch lines went all the way back to the opposite wall, then doubled up and went all the way back to the outside doors!

The line seemed to take different routes every year: Freshman year, the line would go into the Muskie.  I think at times it had even gone around the other Bossard walls.  I believe sometimes it would also double up over by the Muskie.

Anyway, you had to be careful what time you went to Bossard for lunch, or else you’d get stuck in this line, whatever way it went.  Sometimes we would just sit down and wait for it to get smaller, because it would, eventually.  And what were we waiting for?  School food!  Ugh!  (Though it was better than public school food by far.)

I loved goatees junior year, but senior year–I don’t know, I guess too many guys were wearing them now.

Sarah, Tara, etc. used to say, “PEO-ple! It’s PEO-ple!”  (That came from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, one with a tennis-shoed, orange-haired monster in a scientist’s castle.)  Now Tara got us all saying, “PEEP-hole!  We want a PEEP-hole!”

We wanted a peephole on our outside door for safety reasons.  The door didn’t have a window, and neither did that whole wall, so we couldn’t see who was out there before opening it.  When Mike came along and banged on it in his own peculiar way, we didn’t know if it was him or a crazed Zeta.

I loved the honks of the geese by the lagoon.  Though they would threaten me if I went near them, I considered them my friends: Their beautiful sounds consoled me.

Sharon said the choir director complimented her on never having “S– hair.”  S– hair, in those days, was big, curly hair.

****

Now my friends told me the many reasons why they didn’t like Phil.  I always thought they just found his jokes annoying.

I didn’t realize it was the way he treated me, that he treated me like a child, that he was too controlling and possessive.  A couple of years late, Cindy told me she witnessed him yelling at me, and later at the girl he married, and she hated that.

After the divorce, he said the drunk guys at the party called me possessive.  In reality, I only objected when he leered at–not just looked at–or made crass jokes about other women, and when he said he wanted two additional wives.

I never acted like he couldn’t be friends with other women.  It’s not “possessive” to be suspicious of someone who gives you good reason to suspect him.  Apparently, he was just projecting his own trait onto me.

My friends said nothing because they thought I could see it and was okay with it.  But I’d been too blinded by NVLD to notice the things my friends noticed.

I can tell you for sure that this was not just them comforting me after a breakup, like friends sometimes do, telling you all the bad things to get you over him faster.  As I describe later, one of my acquaintances–not one of my close friends–told a friend at dinner one day that she needed to “warn” Persephone about Phil.  I never talked to this person about Phil.

Even after I graduated and got engaged, and no longer cared who Phil dated, my friends saw a new girl date and marry Phil.  They saw him do the same things with her, hated him, even tried to warn her before she married him.

It wasn’t just our opinion, either.  Even Persephone later agreed that he treated his girlfriends like children.  “Sure,” she said, “he’ll be respectful to a girl when she’s just his friend, but as soon as they start dating, he treats her like a child!”  She said maybe it was because he considered his mother a child, and was disrespectful to her.

Dad said Phil was very unstable, and a yo-yo, always going back and forth.  In their talks together, Phil often seemed “stupid.”  Mom said he made too much noise at night, and that in all the time he spent with us, he never lifted a finger to help with the chores, or to pay them back for things they bought him for work.

My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues

One day, I sat in my room thinking, I’m so depressed and I think I’d like to go to church this Sunday.  The phone rang.  Out of the blue, Anna invited me to her church.  I thought maybe she did have a “direct line to God,” as Latosha used to tell her.

The most likely date we went to the church is September 11 (back when that day had nothing bad associated with it).

Anna’s church in S– was noisy, spiritual and full of activity.  I didn’t feel comfortable joining in with shouts or claps or any of that, being a Nazarene (though Dad told me once that Nazarene churches used to be a lot like that).  But a Pentecostal church is the perfect place to go when you’re upset.

Rather than the preacher leading them in prayer, for a time, the congregation was encouraged to pray privately–but out loud.  Anna knelt beside me and prayed in tongues.

I asked her later what the words meant, and repeated what I remembered.  She said she didn’t know, but she always looked them up afterwards in a special dictionary for people who speak in tongues.

I saw my old suitemate Tom there!  After the service, a man told me, “When he came to us, Tom was a messed-up Catholic!”  Then Anna brought him to her church, and there he was that day–a Pentecostal and (as they called it) full of the Spirit!  I couldn’t believe it.  He was so different from the partying suitemate I knew freshman year.

People found out I was a Nazarene (sort of a sister church), so they kept trying to convince me to turn Pentecostal, and that their doctrine on speaking in tongues is the correct one.  But they did this in a nice way, so I was more amused than annoyed.

I must admit, their stories were surprising–like young children speaking in tongues–and I was almost convinced.  But not quite.

Someone gave me a new King James Bible, the church’s usual gift for newcomers.

Anna and I went to school brunch together and talked about the breakup.  I asked what she thought of spiritual marriages, if they were real.  Her answer surprised me: She thought they can be more real than many “legal” marriages that are just a piece of paper.  But she also said we should follow the laws of the land.

Then we went down the Campus Center stairs and saw Phil in the foyer.  Anna left me with him, gushing about how wonderful it was that he was there and I could talk to him.

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:

 

Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–August 1994, Part 6

In Phil’s church, no one ever went up to the front to sing a song.  In my church, it was commonplace.  His way was strange to me, and mine was strange to him.

At the end of the summer, Phil wanted to sing a song in front of the church before we went back to school, so we went to the Family Bookstore for a background tape.  He picked out Amy Grant’s El Shaddai because he already knew it.

He practiced it nonstop.  Though I knew he needed to practice, it got on my nerves.

It reminded me of the summer of 1993, when the neighbor girl got a tape single of a popular rap song, Ditty by Paperboy.  She sat outside with her jam box one day and played the single over and over again.  It was all the same song, no B-sides.

Finally her mother yelled, “If you don’t stop playing that, I’ll take it away from you!”–to the possible applause of half the neighborhood.  I didn’t like the song much in the first place, and after that I could not listen to it anymore without gagging.

On the last Sunday morning we were in South Bend, August 28, Phil was to sing.  We had had a couple of good weeks.  As we got ready for church in my room, we talked about our last two weeks, how good they’d been and how we were improving.

I said we had all this time before our legal wedding to learn how to deal with married life.  Phil said that when the time came, we could know for sure if we wanted to legalize it or not.  I said that everyone else, not knowing of the common-law marriage, “will wonder how we do it.”  Phil smiled.

Though if we didn’t legalize it, I didn’t know how to reconcile that to the fact that we already were married in God’s eyes.  Wouldn’t it be adultery to split up?

One thing, though: I asked him to shave for the service, at least.  I said that even though I liked his beard, I wanted to see him clean-shaven again for at least a little while, and didn’t want him to look scruffy in front of the congregation.  (His beard always looked scruffy even when fully grown in, because it grew in patches.)  He just smiled at me, and didn’t shave it.

My pastor introduced Phil as “Nyssa’s friend.”  My mom said in a low voice, “Fiancé!”  I believe the same thing happened at the beginning of the summer, that the pastor announced I was back from college and had brought a “friend.”

The people loved Phil’s bass voice.  They also told my parents how well he sang hymns.  It made me proud.  Not only could he sing, but he could also serenade me, and he had done so at least twice.

Now, I look at this and what happened only a little more than a week later, and think, he went so far as to sing in front of the church as my fiancé–but then, a little more than a week later, broke up with me?

He sang a song about the glory of God’s many names, yet only a few weeks later, he got back with me only so he could satisfy his lusts, and left me again?

It’s people like him who give us Christians the name of “hypocrites”!

****

Phil and I finally went down to the South Bend Tribune building in August to pick up engagement announcement forms.  I kept asking him to take me, but he kept procrastinating.  We went in and picked up an engagement form–and he, with a smile, also picked up a wedding form and an anniversary form.  “We’ll be needing these,” he said.

I filled out my part, he filled out his, Mom answered a question or two–and it appeared in the paper on Sunday, August 28.  In the next few days, Mom’s coworkers brought their own copies of the engagement section to work and gave them to her.  She took them all home and folded them together.  It made her happy.  It did me, as well.

Later on, she wondered if the engagement announcement scared Phil instead of making him happy like it was supposed to.  She said that maybe he was scared to see in print just what was going to happen–maybe it didn’t hit him until then just what he was doing.

I believe it was that week I called my South Bend best friend, and got ahold of her for the first time all summer.  (She was always busy and hard to get ahold of.)  I asked if she saw our engagement announcement, but she said no.

I told her I was engaged, and asked if she’d be maid of honor.  She happily agreed.  She said South Bend guys were dogs, and asked if S– guys were.  I said mine wasn’t, so she said I was lucky.  You see how Stockholm Syndrome can do a number on your brain.

****

For once, I could take everything to school with me in the fall, instead of taking a little bit more every break, and going without stuffed animals or favorite books or winter clothes or a clothes basket for the first few months because they couldn’t fit into the Grand Am (or, freshman year, the Sunbird).  This excited me, and I made my packing plans accordingly.

Then Phil started acting strange.  In a petulant tone, he said my parents should take me back instead, while he spent extra weeks at his factory job before going back to S–!

But my parents were looking forward to not having to drive me all the way up there once again and pay tolls.  It had already been agreed and understood that he would take me with him when he went back to Wisconsin.

Since we came to Indiana together and had school at the same time, there was no sense in doing it any other way.  My parents hated the drive, which, to them, was twice as long, because after they dropped me off they had to go all the way back.

I sure didn’t appreciate him even suggesting he wouldn’t fulfill his part of the agreement.  If I told my parents, they sure wouldn’t, either.  I finally got him to do what we had planned all summer to do.

I doubt my parents would have let him stay with them without me those extra weeks.  I believe they would have been irate.

After he neglected fixing his faulty brakes all summer, how dare I insist he finally get them fixed when it was the last possible day to do it before he drove us back to school, so we wouldn’t get killed.

If he saw a big-breasted, pretty girl in the drive-through, and told me how much he wanted to take her in the back of his minivan, how dare I get upset instead of laughing and taking it.

A friend of Phil’s called up one day and said, “Your dad says you two are perfect for each other.”

Phil said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

I was, of course, upset at this.  Phil made some excuse, like, “perfect” is a strong word and nobody’s absolutely perfect for each other.  Now, I believe this was a lie.

****

By the way, I found this article inspiring: “Spilling Secrets,” August 2006 issue of Writer’s Digest.  Synopsis: “Revealing dark, personal secrets can be cathartic for an author and inspiring for readers, as these authors have proved.”

Because of this article, I have new determination to keep going in these memoirs, and reassurance that it is good to get out these “dirty little secrets” in nonfiction rather than just cloaking them in fiction.

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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