Category: grief

Repost of “Losing Your Best Friend?–Or, Narcissistic Webs (Original Version)”

Excerpts from this post:

[Originally a Facebook note, meant to explain to my friends (including mutual ones with my abusers) why it was so hard for me to just forget Richard and move on.  It turned into a much larger blog post when I began adding more and more to the note.  At that time, my blog did not have the details of my story publicly posted, as it does now.  Written Tuesday, December 27, 2011.]

Some friends just drift in and out of your life.  Some hurt when they drift away, but you deal with it and move on.  Some may anger you so much that losing them doesn’t bother you.  Losing a friend is not easy in any case, but it’s far more difficult when it was that one extra-special friend, the kind that’s so rare.

All my life I had wanted the elusive bosom friend that Anne Shirley spoke of.  The friend who sticks with you for life, not a romance, not sex or marriage, which I already have, but a platonic friend.  Frodo/Sam.

….

It just seems impossible to replace him.  These were elements of our friendship which I found especially valuable and important, especially appealing, and these were the reasons I was so attached to his friendship…..

Where else am I to find someone like this?  I try to remind myself of all the violence, the self-seeking, the betrayal, yet I’m left with this gaping hole that it’s impossible to fill with anyone else, as if he were a car or a computer that can just be exchanged for something new and better.

And that, more than anything, is why I just have not been able to get over our friendship.

That’s why I still haven’t let go of the hope that one day, somehow, some way, he will repent and come back to my husband and me, ready to abandon the violence and arrogance that pushed Jeff and me away, ready to start anew.

That’s why I’m filled anew with grief every time I see him at church, he says not a word to me, and I feel I must avoid him, push him away, because of his violence and betrayal, because I can’t trust him.

….

And the most tragic thing is, I have no clue what happened.  The winter of 2009-2010, everything was fine between us all.  I don’t recall much bullying of me going on at that time, I was led to believe that the wife had long since stopped holding her inexplicable and irrational grudges against me, and everything was fine. 

But somehow, over the spring of 2010, for no reason I ever knew, they just both started being mean to me.

But as for him–I don’t know that I’ll ever get over what he did, unless he stops justifying his behavior and comes to me, and repents.  Forgive perhaps, eventually, but lose the hurt feelings?  Stop feeling betrayed by my best friend?  Stop wishing that he would do the right thing?  Probably never…..

Continue Reading: Losing Your Best Friend? Or, Narcissistic Webs (Original Version)

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The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–January 1995, Part 3

On the night of the 17th, I wrote in my diary:

God, help me
God, be with me
The whirlpool of depression and despair
Has sucked me down.

I know with my head
That You’ll bring me out–
That You’re all-powerful,
Almighty God
Able to do miracles,
Anything You please–

But my heart just
Doesn’t believe it–
Heart, don’t be so stubborn!
Help me out here!

God, pull me out!
Pull me out!
Reach down with Your mighty hand
And pull me from
These murky, watery depths
Up to the air of freedom

I need You
More than I’ve ever needed anyone
‘Cause I’m drowning
Under here

I wrote the following early in 1998: Ever since the whole problem with Peter and how it devastated me, I was determined never to go through that again.  Of course, that meant a difference in how I dealt with the Phil-situation.

I tried not to dwell on it as much as I did on the Peter-situation, tried to get my mind on other things.  I dealt with the situation so well that the counselor told me, “You’re dealing with this a lot better than most people do.”

I forced myself early on to face what Phil really was: an abusive, cruel jerk, not the wonderful, loving husband I’d thought he was.

With Peter, it took much longer to face that he was not the wonderful, loving boyfriend I thought he was.  It took what, a year or less to get over Peter, but only a few months with Phil.  Aside from one relapse during January (see below), I was over him by Winterim, and ready to meet Cugan and a few other guys.

I made sure I could get on with life sooner.  I cried sometimes, but not as much as I did with Peter, and tried to avoid sadness whenever I could.

Some may say I wasn’t dealing with the pain properly, not allowing myself to grieve, that I kept pushing the pain away.  But I still remember how bad my grief over Peter made me feel, and how my friends got tired of hearing about it.

I remember moving on to a destructive relationship with Shawn instead of looking around for guys to go out and just have fun with.  I could have asked out James, for example; I did have a crush on him.  I did ask him to Pearl’s party junior year, but I could have actively pursued him sophomore year instead.

But I was too drawn to Shawn at the time to pursue James the way I should have.  I look at all that, and think that my manner of dealing with the Phil-situation was the best I could have done at that time.

Or if not the best, then the best I knew how to do.  It’s hard to say.

I decided not to date another actor, because they were used to pretending in front of an audience and could easily pretend in front of me.  If a man was a good actor I wouldn’t know the difference.

Phil was so good an actor that I never could tell he wasn’t always sincere.  He fooled me with his “subconscious,” and in late September he had fooled me into thinking he wanted to be with me.  I didn’t want to go through this again with anyone else.

****

Pearl and I watched My So-Called Life every Thursday, but the network was now threatening cancellation because of low ratings.  It hadn’t even had a chance to build up a following yet, but they were already cancelling it.

I liked that the actress for Angela (Claire Danes) was the same age as her character, fifteen.  You don’t see that often.

I sent e-mail over Thanksgiving or Christmas Break to the TV Guide‘s “Save Our Show” campaign, and voted for this show.  Pearl’s sister liked it too, and was proud of me for voting.

But the campaign failed, and the show still got canceled.  Network execs keep canceling the good shows before they have a chance to build up a following, and keeping the mediocre shows!

Several years later, Freaks and Geeks got the knife, while Popular got renewed. (Typical: the popular kids beating the geeks.)

My roommies all loved ER, and watched it every Thursday night at 9.  They said it “er,” not “E.R.,” just as Jay Leno did.  I was so-so about it.  It was gross, especially in the opening scene, and that was the same time I usually had my evening snack.

Some of it was interesting, though, like some of the relationships.  Once I graduated, I never watched it again.

The library workers began processing new books for the library, along with books for RC-Japan, a branch of Roanoke.  One of the RC-Japan books was Anne of Ingleside.  (I thought it was the last book in the Anne of Green Gables series, though actually it’s only sixth out of eight.)

I borrowed it to read, since this was okay, and then talked about it with Sharon in one of our many library discussions that year.  She’d also read it, and we both agreed that it was disappointing: too much of Anne’s kids and too little of Anne herself!  It shows you that a series can go on for too long.

This is true, not exaggerated: Everywhere we went in the S– area, with few exceptions, Mike knew somebody, and waved and yelled “Hi!” to them.  Was there anyone he did not know?  Catherine said that everyone in the world was destined to meet him eventually.

I found a review for a new movie called PCU.  PCU was a spoof, written by young people, of college campuses that are too politically correct, have too much activism, and are too unreal.  I was glad I hadn’t gone to a college like that: I wasn’t into all that stuff.

Mike told us, probably in the first part of senior year, about his recent trip to Milwaukee.  He was stopped at a stoplight when a man came up to his window and said,

“Do you want some drugs?  Are you a college student?  Here, you can sell this at your college.”

Mike kept saying no, he doesn’t want any drugs, yes he’s a college student but no he doesn’t want to sell any drugs, no, no, no!  This shook him up.  Finally, the light changed and he could drive on.

Each of us had small bottles of milk, rather than one big bottle in common.  There was always at least one bottle of sour milk in the refrigerator.  Once, one of us finally cleaned them all out, when many of them sat in there just taking up space.

****

We were told at the beginning of the year that we could get no stains on the carpet at all, or else the whole carpet would be pulled up and replaced, and everyone in the apartment would get charged for it.

That was to keep the apartments in good condition for years to come, but one little stain would not ruin the beauty of a whole apartment.  Out in the real world, apartment complexes allow normal wear and tear, and don’t pull up the whole carpet just for one stain.

Needless to say, we were paranoid about stains that year.  We’d rush to clean up the tiniest spills with the bottle of Resolve Carpet Cleaner provided by the school.

One day, Pearl and I were alone in the apartment, me on the couch and her in the kitchen making lunch.  Pearl tried to be independent as much as possible, so if she needed help, she’d ask for it.

I learned from her that the disabled don’t like to be seen as helpless, and are quite capable of figuring out how to do things.

Later on, I met a man with no eyes or hands, but he led me from his apartment to the parking garage.  He appreciated that I did not assume he was helpless, but waited to be asked for help: It was a relief from what people often did.

There is a key movement in the disability community for the right to self-determination, which means that we have the power to freely choose how and when we act or are acted upon, without having the will of nondisabled people forced upon us.

Or, in the simplest possible terms: disabled DOES NOT mean helpless. I cannot stress this enough.

Being a good person is a great thing, but please don’t do it at the expense of allowing me to determine my own needs. It’s time for able-bodied people to differentiate between politeness and infringing upon my independence. –Emily Ladau, Thanks for the help, I guess, but I’m not helpless!

So Pearl, on her own, stuck Teddy-O’s (a kind of Spaghetti-O’s) in the microwave (I think the microwave belonged to one of us), and heated them up.

They were in a covered Tupperware bowl.  She took them out again, got a good hold on the bowl and her crutches, and began to carry them out of the kitchen.  She probably meant to take them to the table.  Everything seemed normal, uneventful.  And normally, nothing would happen.

Next thing I knew, she tripped and/or dropped the bowl, and the Teddy-O’s flew, spilling all over the kitchen floor and the carpet next to it.

We both laughed and joked about it, but of course, we had to clean it up, for fear we’d get charged for new carpeting.  Pearl couldn’t do it herself, so I grabbed the Resolve and some paper towels and did it myself.  I don’t remember if any stains were left behind, but we were not charged.

****

One evening, probably during Winterim, my friends and I went to the opening night of Wayne’s World II.  The lines to the movie were so long they stretched outside the doors.  I was used to a very short line, if any.  Across the street, a digital bank clock showed how cold it was: below zero, I believe.

We loved the movie.  We laughed at the kung-fu moves (which reminded me of Peter’s ninjitsu); the weird, naked Indian; the parody of the 70s/80s Calgon commercials; the naked Indian crying about the litter on the landscape, just like in the old 70s/80s anti-litter commercials.

The group of middle-school kids right behind us didn’t get the commercial parodies at all.  They scoffed at how much we laughed.  They also kept talking–not whispering, talking–through the whole movie.  Argh!

****

That semester, I worked on two writing projects in addition to my schoolwork: a novel based on Roanoke, and a novel about my seventh-grade dream about ancient Egypt.

I wrote many pages for the Roanoke novel before wondering just how long the thing would take.  Those pages have become my memoir’s introduction to Roanoke, the chapters “Meet the Suite” through “Tales of the Campus.”

In 1996, when I resumed the writing of these memoirs, and wasn’t sure whether to make them into a novel or an autobiography (though I knew I had to at least write down the true story before making it into a novel), I incorporated these chapters.

Besides the interesting bits of my own life, I wanted to put my friends in the book because they were so much fun themselves.  The whole group of us had been through many things together.

Pearl said one day that “Someone should write a book about us,” so I said I was already doing that.  She and my other roommies got excited and told me what names I should give them.  Yes, “Pearl” was one of those names.

By Friday, January 13, I had written about thirty pages of my Roanoke book, and made a note to include Penisman Christopher’s poems in the novel.  Unfortunately, I later realized I couldn’t, since I had no idea how to contact him for permission.

I actually started making notes for such a book during junior year, and began to write it senior year.  Of course, very little of it was fictionalized; I decided to write everything as it happened and then fictionalize it later.  Its current form is all truth, no fiction.

I later decided to write my memoirs but not make them into fiction, because that, in a weird way, could set me up for libel–while if I wrote an autobiography I couldn’t be sued for libel because it would all be true.

Eventually I abandoned the idea of publication, since I was afraid my family would disapprove of certain things.  Instead, I started using the memoirs as inspiration for novels, which I’ve read that most authors do.

Then in 2001, after friends requested to see the memoirs, I put them into e-mails, removing whatever seemed too boring or personal for other readers.  Those e-mails have now been adapted into this current form.

****

Around mid-January, the senior class hosted a Hunk and Honey contest, which elected the best couple.  You voted with pennies in a big, plastic jar set by the name and picture of your favorite couple.

Penny drives like this popped up now and then to raise money for something (and to get rid of spare pennies).  We had another one that year, in which the classes (junior, senior, etc.) competed to see who could put in the most pennies.

To my shock and dismay, someone nominated Phil and Persephone.  One day in the week of the 16th, probably Tuesday or later between 11:30 and 12:30, I walked past James and my co-worker Megan as they sat at the Hunk & Honey contest voting table.  It was on the south side of Bossard and near the bathrooms.

James said to me, “I nominated Phil and Persephone because they deserve each other.”  He hated both of them.  He said, “Persephone is the most negative person I’ve ever met.”  Then he put a bunch of pennies in the big, plastic jar.

Megan agreed with him, and said she voted for them, too.  They probably thought it would cheer me up and show they supported me, but it depressed me.

(By the way, I’ve reconnected with Persephone on Facebook.  In a recent status update about those days, she said she eventually realized why she had so much trouble making real friends at Roanoke–and made changes in herself.)

I worked at the senior table with Sharon from 4:30 to 6:00 on Monday, June 16.  I looked at Phil and Persephone’s container.  It was filling up with pennies!

I probably thought, “Please tell me people are voting for them because they deserve each other, not because they make a great couple!–which they don’t.”  I kept thinking, “It should say Phil and Nyssa, not Phil and Persephone!” Ugh, stupid residual pain.

Then Persephone came along and saw how full it was.  She said, “Oh, wow, look at that.”  She chuckled.  “I think I know who nominated us.  I’m going to have to get after him for that.”

This depressed me even more.  I thought I was finally getting over Phil, especially after my wonderful Christmas Break–but this threw me into a relapse.

I told Helene all this as she drove me back to my apartment in her minivan on a cold day.  There in the apartment parking lot, as usual, sat Phil’s minivan, close by my bedroom window.

I hated coming out of my apartment in the morning and finding it still there.  Just like John Cusack’s character in the movie High Fidelity, all sorts of horrible images popped into my head of Phil having sex with Persephone all night long.  I hoped he stayed in Dirk’s room, not hers.

(She later told me they never had sex, though he essentially lived with her and her roommate because his home life had grown intolerable.)

Anyway, I pointed out Phil’s Dodge Caravan to Helene.  She charged at it with her minivan.  She’d speed toward it, then slow down, turn around, and speed toward it again.  We giggled.

I don’t remember who won Hunk and Honey, but I do know it wasn’t Phil and Persephone.  I don’t think I even knew the couple.

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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Pregnancy Scare–for real this time–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–November 1994, Part 6

Along with Mike, I liked Peter’s former friend Randy, and wondered if he liked me.  As for Phil–I didn’t like him all that much.  I hated him, in fact.  It would take a lot for him to get me back, if he were to try.

I couldn’t wait to go home for Thanksgiving Break and get away from all this, all these problems.

I had the same comfort as during the Peter-situation long ago–that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

On the 18th, Dad was to pick me up to take me home.  He wasn’t supposed to arrive until about 6pm, so I asked Mike to study with me for Intro to Christianity.  Can you believe we had a test on the 28th, the first day of class after Thanksgiving Break?

When Mike showed up, he brought a high school friend, Brent.  He was all excited because he finally had a male friend again, not just us girls.  (I guess Phil no longer counted as his friend, after the way Phil treated me.)

I think Dad arrived more than ten minutes after Mike did.  Mike cried, “Hello, Nyssa’s dad!”  He amused my dad with his usual silliness.

Catherine later said that everyone in the world was destined to meet Mike, since he seemed to know everybody we ran into out and about.

I hoped to finally type up much of my novel/Senior Writing Project on the computer while at home for Thanksgiving.  I planned to do some major typing then and over Christmas.

I couldn’t get enough chapters to Counselor Dude because I forgot my Jerisland discs (3 1/2 discs, which the young people call old-fashioned, but we called newfangled).  I couldn’t type up the files for the first few weeks.  I was also still writing the novel.

Counselor Dude understood; he said we’d get the project done a little late, especially since he still would have to read it and it was big, but I would get a grade.

Writing the last chapters during the fall semester was burdensome and melancholy at times, but at the same time, a way to get away from the Phil-situation.  I could escape to the island.

While reading shelves with Sharon, not only did I find some interesting books on marriage and Egyptian hieroglyphics, but also Darwin’s book on coral atolls.  This was the book referenced by Collier’s Encyclopedia in the article “Atoll,” which I mentioned in the February 1994 chapter.

I also used my Botany books to find the identities of the trees and plants, which the article only called by their scientific names, and which were in no other books I could find.

And now, as of 2007, I can just plug any of these names in Google and find out what they are!  I love the Internet!

Benny was now brought home and put in my younger brother’s old room, where he eventually became my niece’s toy.  For several years, looking at this stuffed rabbit made me sad, even after moving on, and even though Peter’s presents no longer bothered me.  That’s how bad an impression Phil made on me.

Some songs from the time: “Vaseline” by Stone Temple Pilots; “Verse Chorus Verse” by Nirvana; “Love is Deeper Than Touch,” a Christian song from the summer by Andy Landis; “Over You” by David Meece; Gary Chapman’s “Heal Me,” which I could identify with.  (Check out these lyrics.  And that was long before the well-publicized divorce from Amy Grant!)

On the 20th, I spent many fun hours with my high school friend Becky.  It was good to enjoy myself and get away from the problems at school.  She’d had guy problems lately, and said I was better company than a guy.

Over Break I read Clotel: Or The President’s Daughter by William Wells Brown, the first novel written by an African-American black person, for American Lit.  The cover said it was “written and published by an escaped slave in 1853.”  Clotel was part black, the child of Thomas Jefferson.

She had a spiritual marriage with a white man.  This was the only way she could marry a white man, or marry anyone for that matter, since even slave marriages weren’t legally recognized.

The novelist considered her spiritual marriage a true marriage, and when the man left her to marry a rich white woman, he called him an adulterer.

I looked at this and saw my own situation: deserted by a man who said he was my husband.

I also considered Phil to be an adulterer if he ever slept with or married another.  This has since changed, of course, though I still consider him my first husband.

Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving.  I was so looking forward to Thanksgiving week, to being home and away from all the crap going on at school.  But since I got home, I kept remembering Phil being there, living with my parents and me.  This saddened me.

I kept wondering if I was pregnant, looking in Dad’s CD-Rom encyclopedia for definitions of “common-law marriage,” how I could tell if I was pregnant and what the baby would look like now if I was pregnant, reading medical journals, and wondering if it would harm the baby to sit in front of the computer too much.  This all saddened me.

And on Thanksgiving I saw my brother and his wife–still together, of course, having gotten married that summer while Phil and I were engaged.  Even seeing their happiness while I was so sad, saddened me.  I wondered if I’d ever be in their place.

This sucked.  Now I just wanted to go back to school, and was glad I soon would.

My period started on day fifty-three!!! of my cycle, the latest I’d been in the past calendar year.  My usual cycle was about thirty-five days long, so you can see why this made me so anxious.  It turned out to be a normal, five-day period.

No, I didn’t try to get pregnant.  I would never have done such a thing just to keep Phil in my life.  And I’d had a period since the last time I was with him.

But you can imagine that skipping a period makes you anxious, makes you wonder if you had twin eggs and only one came out as a period, makes you wonder if it’s possible to have a period while pregnant.  And, well, it has been known to happen, especially in the first trimester….

And, well, fraternal twins with different fathers also happen for real.  And I heard twins were in my family, and knew nothing about hormonal imbalances.

So it was within the realm of possibility for me to have had two eggs, one which was fertilized, the other not.  Or for me to still have a period while pregnant.  My fear was justified.

On the 21st, I wrote in my diary:

I think I might be pregnant…this is the 15th day–two weeks–since my period was supposed to start.

And, according to Becky, it is possible to have at least one more period while you’re pregnant, and she knows people who’ve had several.

It’s usually due to birth control pills, but her mom had gone off the Pill and still had several periods before she knew she was five months pregnant with Becky.

Pregnant with the child of the husband who deserted me.  What am I supposed to do now, if I am?  I don’t want to miscarry–I hope I don’t.  Unwanted pregnancy or not, a miscarriage is so sad.  And I certainly wouldn’t abort it.

On the 25th, I wrote:

My period finally started about ten minutes ago.  I did a bunch of research into the subject this week [ online and on the computer ], trying to see if pregnancy was possible or not, and could only come to the conclusion that maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t.

If I was, it was a twin; if I wasn’t, psychological stress pushed off ovulation.  [ I didn’t yet know about the hormonal imbalance which actually has caused me many period problems over the years. ]

On Sunday, November 27, my parents and I returned to Roanoke.  On my way out the door, I stopped at the top of the basement stairs and looked down to my little kitty Hazel, who sat and stared at me from the foot of the stairs.

(We now used the door there as a main door instead of the back door, because my parents put a new carpet in the family room and didn’t want it to get dirty.)

I felt I’d never see her again.  Was I going to die from sadness or in a car crash that day?

Back at school, I mentioned the feeling to Sharon; she said maybe Hazel was going to die.  As it turned out, Hazel and I both lived to see each other on Christmas Break, but after that, I never saw her again.

She died of an undetermined illness which made her bald and skinny, possibly diabetes.  (She did love those Twinkies, after all.)

Who did my parents and I see at Marc’s Restaurant in S–?  Persephone and her parents!  (They also would have been returning from Indiana.)  The wait staff seated us just a table or two apart.  Persephone and I looked at each other and laughed.

So now my parents knew what she looked like.  At least she was just with her parents, and not with Phil.  However, the sight of her reminded me of the pain I was going back to.  By the way, this Marc’s soon became Annie’s Restaurant.  I don’t know what it is now.

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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Persephone confronts me about the letter–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–November 1994, Part 5

The following is adapted from a diary entry, which I copied and added many extra details to about two years later.  Those details were as accurate as I could still remember:

11/15/94–12:23 AM

Blackness again.  The letter is known to Persephone, but I’ve cleared things up with her, and she’s not mad at me anymore.

It still angers me that she even knows about that or the one before it.  She refused to see the first one–he offered to show it to her!  What a creep.

I thought, after the Tracy letter, which he didn’t show me out of respect for her, that he was more trustworthy than that.  But no, he is not to be trusted.

The spiritual marriage has entered the grapevine–probably through Dirk, Persephone says–and is known to people who have no business knowing.  She says, “Tell a world, tell a Dirk.”

She herself heard it not through Phil, but through a freshman girl in Muehlmeier who said to her, “I’m really not supposed to tell anyone this, BUT…”  I have no idea who all it’s spread to.

I feel weird and indignant at everyone, just when I’m walking around the cafeteria!  I feel like they’re all looking at me and judging me now.  This could even reflect on InterVarsity.

I don’t like these small-town grapevines.  People always have to know other people’s business.  Well, get your nose out of my affairs, you busybody!  I feel so humiliated.  I don’t even like to leave the apartment.

I’m beginning to think about pressing charges, even–breach of contract plus rape. Yes, there have been several times he’s raped me, and only once did I realize that’s what he did.  It took a speaker here at school the other week to help me realize that.

God, convict him!  That week we were back together, engaged, married even–he apparently wasn’t intending to honor the marriage contract–that’s rape because it was false pretenses!

Persephone pulled me aside after lunch on Sunday to talk to me, and to give me a letter she had written to me.

As I sat there reading it, I felt more and more indignant, and had plenty to say on it because it seemed written by someone who didn’t even know what my letter truly said.

It sounded more like Phil had totally distorted everything for her.

It talked about forgiveness as if it never even entered my mind!  I explained that the purpose of the letter, as clearly stated in the letter, was so I could forgive!

There were other things, too, which I’ll mention later, though I won’t necessarily say if they were in the letter or not.

I was mad that Phil had told her about it, but she said that some things should be told.  I don’t think this was one of those things, though.  I said that nowadays I do nothing without God’s okay, and this I felt had God’s okay.

Persephone thinks Dirk thinks he knows everything.  Considering the things he’s told Phil (who listens to him) and me (who doesn’t), I agree.  She doesn’t like him, and doesn’t like having to see him all the time because he’s Phil’s best friend.

There have also been things Phil did to me or that we went through that he told her about, without respect for me, thinking she would take his side.  Instead, she told him he’s an a–hole.  He also doesn’t like that she’s friends with me!  She thinks he’s afraid of something.

She says her dad … is very much like Phil.  Her mother wonders why she’d want to date someone so much like her father.

She said if I think what he did to me on certain occasions was rape, there are people I should talk to about it.  [I didn’t because I didn’t want my parents to find about the spiritual marriage/sex.]

I never told him I could sue him for breach of contract, and he didn’t realize I could until she told him, and that shocked him.  [I didn’t want to, but felt empowered simply because I could do it, but didn’t.]

She said it probably wouldn’t work anyway because, in this day and age, people break engagements all the time.  But I saw a promo for a news story recently that said people can sue for it, and my dad had brought it up in the first place.  I’d never heard of it myself until then.

Persephone said in her letter that, in the Old Testament, when the husband put the wife away, they were divorced.  I don’t know why she thought it necessary to say this.  I’ve never said, and I don’t believe, that Phil and I are still married.  It’s a divorce, and I admit it.

But, though I’m allowed to marry again, having been put away for no fault of my own, if Phil were to marry another, he’d be committing adultery.  [I was following Christian rules on divorce, which are different from legal ones.]

Persephone says she doesn’t intend to marry anyone because she knows she herself is grounds for divorce.  Phil doesn’t like this.  Apparently, so soon after throwing aside his wife, he’s talking about marriage with another woman.

She says Phil says he loves her and she says to that, “No, you don’t!”

She says she knows from her parents (actor-father, maybe?  I forget) what real comedy is, and that Phil doesn’t.  (Phil makes constant jokes and references that are often lost on others.)

After the Bible verses in my letters were mentioned, the things I said about sin and such, Persephone said, “One thing I’ve seen is that when a person starts using the Bible as a defense, they’ve lost the argument.”

That’s a load of hooey when you’re dealing with Christians.  Christians are the ones who usually respect the Bible–who count it as the Official Guidebook, the Final Authority on anything.

When you use Bible verses taken in context, you use the strongest argument you could possibly use with another Christian.  That’s the thing that I have seen.

I remember Phil telling me at the beginning of the semester that he was starting to practice better hygiene so he’d be attractive to other women, but I guess he hasn’t kept that up.  Persephone keeps having to throw soap and a towel at him and tell him to clean up before she’ll let him in her room!  (In some ways, I do admire her spunk.)

He shaved his beard soon after we broke up the first time, I guess as another way to appear more attractive, but probably not until after he tried out for a part in the play and knew whether or not he’d need a beard for the part.

I think he looks silly without a beard and Anna agrees with me, but Persephone says she won’t let him grow one because he looks like a scuzzball and kind of scares her.

When I mentioned the time I snubbed him in Jubilee, she said she heard about that.  She thinks that the way to effectively ignore a guy is not to treat him differently from other guys–not snub him completely, because that makes him feel special, set apart from other guys.

I’m not so sure this is true.  Mom always tells me not to talk to the guy who’s done me wrong, but to ignore him–first Peter, now Phil.

And Dad thinks the effectiveness of the “snubbing” method you choose depends on the guy.  He doesn’t think anything else would get through to Phil but to snub him completely.

In the letter she says that instead of “marrying,” we should’ve just called it premarital sex and taken the responsibility and consequences “like adults”–an unfair judgment of something she wasn’t even a part of.

And Phil and I had agreed with each other that just being engaged doesn’t mean you can sleep together, so if we hadn’t been married, we would’ve been wracked with such guilt if we’d had sex!  This way, there was no guilt or shame, because it’s not a sin to have sex with your own spouse.

She tells me that the first time we got “married,” Phil really thought he’d marry me.  The second time, he was just horny! Isn’t that rape?–

–Oh, gosh, and I remember how pushy he was, too, that second time!  How he’d push me on the bed as soon as we got into my room and we were alone, without a “how’d you do,” and cover us with my afghan. 

Once or twice, when I was preparing for the usual position, he poked his thing in my face–and it was smelly this time, unlike before–for me to suck, and held onto my head so I had to do it.

I told Persephone how he’d also say last summer, when I didn’t want to do anything but vaginal sex, “Sure, have your way, you always get your way!”–Persephone said, “It’s your body!”

She and I both agree he lays on guilt trips all the time.  She also says he gets horny and says to her what he often said to me: “Don’t you want a beautiful baby?”–

But she doesn’t even want kids, she wants her tubes tied at a certain age (twenty-two or twenty-five, I believe), so whenever he tries anything with her, she hits him in the balls.  She says he’s “an idiot, sexually.”

I told her about the time Phil threw a tantrum and I thought it was his dream-self, not his real, conscious self.  I spoke of how awful it was, how awful he acted.  Persephone said something like, “Well, that’s over now,” and I should get over it.  Her words seemed callous.

[I thought we were sharing? Why did she say this about this particular incident, but not about the others?  That makes no sense at all!]

She spoke of Phil’s increasing troubles at home and called his mother a dragon.  (Later, she would tell me he practically lived with her in Muehlmeier for a while because of his bad homelife.  I remembered I didn’t allow him to stay overnight in my room in Krueger, for two reasons: 1) It was against the rules, and 2) Clarissa wouldn’t have liked it.)

She says even Tracy agreed to do something with him and Persephone recently.  It shocked us all–Persephone, me, probably Phil.  He ended up driving so erratically that Tracy (obviously when the minivan was stopped) got him to go down on his knees, and demanded his keys from him!

What’s really odd is that Persephone says she doesn’t even like Phil!  At least, not as a boyfriend.  She rips on him whenever he’s not around, and would have preferred dating James, whom she liked at the beginning of the year.

She said she’d just sent James a letter saying how she felt when Phil asked her out, and then James tried to talk to her but Phil came over.  She thought James was sullen after that because: “I think I was the first female to get through to him, and then he saw me with Phil, and he didn’t like that!”

I liked him once, too, and thought he liked me, and then finally ended up with Phil; I wonder if he ever knew I liked him?  I know I started dating Phil maybe a few months after I first tried to ask James out….

She thinks it’ll take me at least a year to forgive Phil.

She also says she was taught to believe in the Bible, but be wary of it because it was written by man.  I don’t agree, since I believe it was written by God through man….

She also thinks that she, the freshman, knows more about human nature than some of us in the group who are older, but I don’t really think that’s true.  She doesn’t even know some of the things I’ve gone through in the past, and I don’t think she should judge us so quickly.

Persephone says Phil had another nervous breakdown after he got my letter….Two breakdowns in seven months?!…Why doesn’t he get help?  He doesn’t need a girlfriend, he needs a psychiatrist!

Pearl says so, too; she says he totally doesn’t seem ready for a girlfriend.

Dad already thought he was psycho and on the edge, and he said the other night that he didn’t even know about the first breakdown!

Persephone didn’t even stick around to take care of him–she stuck her roommate Trina with him while she went to do something with the Mirror!  I thought it was so very un-loving of her.

I gave up a review for the Botany lab final to take care of him, a review in the woods that sounded like so much fun, and Mrs. Rev understood and said he was lucky to have me!–I held my tongue, though, when Persephone told me what she did.

At the end, she said that not only does she have no reason to be mad at me after all–she took away her letter, which no one else had seen, and started folding it up, like it wasn’t needed anymore–but she will also try to steer Phil away from me, out of respect for my feelings.

Also, I said that, as I told my friends, the breakup with Charles didn’t bother me at all.  I mentioned my crush on Mike, and she said he must be an acquired taste.  She said she’d like Jim Carrey, and I said, “He must be an acquired taste!”…

I find my observations on Phil are the same as Persephone’s on many counts.  She knows exactly what he’s like, things it took me months to find out.  For example, he rips on things important to her–i.e., the Mirror–like he did to me–i.e., InterVarsity [and my friends].

There are plenty of other things, too, but I really must go to bed.  First class is canceled tomorrow, but not my 10:30.–1:43 AM

I heard later on that, the next school year, Persephone chased Mike!  She must have acquired the taste.

So at first, I was the victim being blamed, the victim being told to shut up, the victim being told it’s wrong to confront my abuser. 

But by the end of the conversation, she realized there was nothing for which to be angry at me.  She took her letter back.

Also, on November 30, I saw in action how Phil ripped on the thing important to Persephone: He wrote a letter to the editor about how terrible The Mirror was, with inaccuracies, proofreading problems–and even accused the staff of lying about addressing student concerns, and only printing letters from staff members!

His letter was often confusing.  I wonder what Persephone thought of this baffling and flaming letter against her important thing.

As far as I’m concerned, though she kept telling him he was an a–hole, Persephone knew what Phil did to me, so every moment she stayed with him she was telling him through her actions that it was OK!

As for what she said about knowing more about human nature than my friends and I did–She was dating a guy she didn’t like, she didn’t even seem to like him much as a human being, and knew full well what he was and what he’d done to me, but stayed with him–and she said she knew more about human nature???

I certainly was reassured to hear she took pains to keep from sleeping with Phil.  I didn’t like to think of Phil sleeping with anyone else, not while my body still remembered what it was like to sleep with him and still longed for his touch, and physically hurt to think of him with any other woman in his bed.

Phil had argued that I should find someone with my own ideas of fun and partying, as if that somehow determined lifelong day-to-day happiness.  Well, he found someone who liked to party, but seemed to forget about the things he said were most important to him in a wife.

Phil refused to use birth control for religious reasons; Persephone did not want children and planned to get her tubes tied.  I had agreed to use natural family planning because it meant so much to him, but she would use a permanent form of birth control.

After he complained so much that I would not convert to Catholicism, I don’t know why he wanted to date someone who would have obviously refused conversion even more fervently than I (she was Methodist and later became Pagan, even using spells and seeing ghosts).

He didn’t want “one of those feminists” who didn’t want to obey her husband, but she was far more of a feminist than I was.

Phil followed the Catholic teaching on birth control, but no longer wanted to follow the Catholic teaching on premarital sex.  Those two things together are a recipe for trouble, as he learned the hard way eventually.  (He had to marry his next girlfriend.)  This is probably why Persephone called him “an idiot sexually.”

She hadn’t realized how soon after our breakup they started dating.  Apparently he lied to her.

So, just walking around the cafeteria, I felt like everybody knew about the secret marriage and was judging me.

Of course, now that my friends, Phil’s friends, and who knew who, knew about the secret marriage, you could say that we met another important criteria of marriage: common knowledge that we were married.

(There are those who say a marriage isn’t valid unless it’s public–discounting even a legal elopement or Romeo and Juliet’s marriage.)

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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