An example of controlling spouse forbidding same-sex friendship:

Eventually he forbade me from seeing her unless our kids were present. I still would hang out with her alone as adults here and there; I’d just not tell him. I never told her my husband did not want me seeing her. Eventually, she found out and was furious. The next day, my husband looked her email up on the school contact list and sent a hate-filled email to her. He never told me and acted completely normal. She forwarded it to me and said we couldn’t be friends or even speak anymore.

Source: Help! My Husband Sabotaged My Best Friendship in Order to “Get Me Back.”

I was just editing my post on jealousy and marriage last night and glanced over the section on same-sex friendships.  And then today I read the above.  It’s yet another example showing that jealousy is about control more than keeping a spouse from falling in love with somebody else.  The above husband behaved as if his wife’s friendship with another woman somehow threatened their marriage.

I am against all sorts of jealousy and controlling the friendships of your spouse.  It doesn’t matter to me what sex the friend is–especially since, in some cases, you’re dealing with gay couples or bisexual spouses.  (Can they have no friends, then?)

I have been on both sides of this myself: I was the good friend that the spouse hated, until the spouse sent me a series of hate-filled e-mails.  I, too, said that we could no longer be friends, and that was that.  So I know what that’s like.

I’ve also been in the position of the letter-writer, with my ex.  This was in college; I had a whole group of friends which he objected to.  He kept trying to drive wedges between us, badmouthing them, getting mad at me for not “sticking up” for him even though I did not see any bad behavior on their part (or, in one case, they objected to his bad treatment of me).

When that didn’t work, he broke up with me, then his friend–a flying monkey–tried to scold me into breaking off these friendships.  These friendships were not just close and dear friends, but also my roommates!  They had seen me through other bad relationships, and stuck up for me.  How could I reject them?

It’s good to see advice columnists–such as Dear Prudence and Carolyn Hax–calling out such behavior for what it is.  Here, Prudence calls it “controlling, creepy, abusive, and cruel.”

 

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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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Struggling to move on despite the pain–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–November 1994, Part 1

At an Open Mike session one night, Dr. Nelson read a story, a long one with tons of pages, but very funny.  It was a conversation between two people.

He read quickly through each page–not too fast for comprehension, and apparently on purpose.  When he finished reading through a sheet, he tossed it on the floor.  That, as well as the story itself, was part of the hilarity and amusement of the story.

The Open Mike gatherings seemed to be quite popular that year.  I’m not sure how long they’d been around, but I believe they started in my underclassman days, when they were held in the Muskie.

They’d been well-attended in past years by students and teachers, but maybe even more now, probably because they were in the Pub where people liked to hang out day and night.

Many different people participated now, and it was no longer just a treat for writers: Singers and musicians were now welcome.  Two married teachers, who also had a band, played Celtic music one night, when the husband taught my Celtic class over Winterim.

One night, as my friends and I found seats, I caught a glimpse of Persephone sitting at the bar and Phil standing or sitting next to or behind her, his hand on her shoulder.  THAT was something I didn’t need to see!

I suppose I don’t even need to mention how incensed and upset and sick this made me.  But I just walked by them, ignoring them both, and went to a table with my friends and enjoyed the readings and performances.

I didn’t want Phil to think he could spoil my evening just by showing up with another girl.  I had to be stronger than that.

****

Most of my friends didn’t hang around with Peter much and didn’t know him very well, so didn’t often talk about him.  With Phil, however, things were very different.

My suitemates and possibly Astrid all went to town one day, Mike driving.  We stopped in a parking lot and Mike said before we got out,

“I’m mad at Phil O’Hara.  You know what he told me?  He said I shouldn’t wear my key chain necklace because it makes me look like a girl.”

This was the Roanoke Key Chain Necklace, a big blue thing, which was “high fashion” around campus.  You know, the sort of thing you see in any club or institution which gives out key cards.  Lots of people wore them, both male and female.

Pearl said, upset, “I wouldn’t trust anything Phil says about what’s manly.  What does he know about it?”

Another time, Charles said he didn’t like people forcing friendship on him.  He said Phil did this.  I believe he meant Phil always trying to talk with him when he didn’t want him to, or things like that, and people trying to be friends with him even though he sent out signals that he didn’t want to be.

****

We started giving Mike time-outs.  Whenever he got too weird and his jokes got way too weirdly dirty, someone called out, “Time out, Mike!” and he was supposed to settle down.  I didn’t do this myself, maybe because I have a high tolerance for oddballs–so much so that I married one.  🙂

A popular college myth, which we all believed, got exposed as a myth one day, probably senior year.  It was, if your roommate dies, you get straight A’s because of the emotional anguish.  It may have been the Mirror which revealed this wasn’t at all true.

I learned in 1998 that this is apparently a popular myth in colleges all over the country, because a comedy movie came out about a kid who tries to kill his roommate and make it look like a suicide so he can get straight A’s.

One Sunday evening, when snow covered the ground, Mike drove Pearl, Sharon or Astrid, and me to a church in S–.  We got lost.  Finally we found the church, but the service was already halfway done.

We found the congregation watching a movie (an actual projector-movie, not a VCR tape) about Dave Roever, who lost half his face in Vietnam but now uses this as a witness to how Christ helped him go on.

Since the lights were off, we could sneak in and hope nobody noticed us.  When the movie ended, people saw and greeted us and asked who we were.  They were excited to hear we were college students.  Did they know we came late?

Some guy called Mario became the target of cafeteria tray jokes.  I think he was in a frat.  I don’t know if he was a freshman pledge or what.  But people kept writing these awful, explicit jokes about him on the cafeteria trays.

My group tried to avoid the “Mario trays,” but it wasn’t always possible.  When we failed, we’d say, “Uh-oh, I’ve got a Mario tray.”

Our InterVarsity sweatshirts, ordered earlier in the year, now arrived.  They were dark blue with gold lettering.  The front said “InterVarsity Christian Fellowship” and had an alpha, cross and omega.

The back said, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.–Isaiah 9:2.”

They seemed to be a fashion statement for our group: One day I went to a meal and found everybody at the table wearing one, even Charles.

****

Apparently, a lot of things bugged me that semester.  I guess Phil put me into a bad mood that lasted until December: I could feel myself getting dark and maybe even turning into less of a nice and caring person than I was before.  I didn’t like it, but didn’t know what to do about it.

Phil kept sitting at our table at meals–surrounded by people who he knew disliked him–and getting cutesy with Persephone, rubbing his new relationship in my face.

Apparently his ex-wife was not worth what respect and sensitivity he once showed to his ex Tracy when he was with me.

I was mad at Phil and getting madder, a typical response to abuse of any type, and it seems this affected my attitude toward life in general.

It took time to pull out of this, and the help of a man who treated me much better, teaching me I didn’t have to be on the defensive all the time in case another guy turned out to be a Phil.

By 1999, I started to feel more like the type of person I was supposed to be.

****

As you may have noted with the story of the Halloween party in the last chapter, Pearl was finally back, but now she had to use the wheelchair again.

When she could use her scooter she was very independent, but this was the second time she had to depend on other people to get her around the campus.  Sometimes it was hard to correlate schedules to get someone to push her wheelchair.

We’d do it for her because she was our friend and we loved her, but it did make it harder for us and, I’m sure, for her.  I know I wouldn’t like having to be dependent on somebody else every time I wanted to go across campus or even to the next building.

She couldn’t go anywhere on her own because she just wasn’t physically capable of using her scooter until she got better.  (I believe this is the time they removed one of her hips, and later they gave her a replacement.)  And that wheelchair was heavy and hard to push!

I hated seeing her in this situation, and I’m sure everybody did.  We worried about her because she had to go through so much.

She was able to walk once, long ago, and she was supposedly going to be able to walk again by this year, but there were complications and it didn’t turn out that way.

(I believe her problem was rheumatoid arthritis in the legs, which caused her not only to need crutches and the scooter, but also kept her at a childlike height.)

****

It was sometimes painful to work on my novel Jerisland, but I had to because it was now my Senior Writing Project.

When I broke up with Peter, I couldn’t work on it because I had imagined the hero Stefan was like Peter.  Stefan and Jeri were supposed to be happy together forever.  Now, all summer I had imagined Stefan was like Phil.

Before, I put the breakup with Peter in Jerisland and made things happen the way I wished (at the time) that they would have happened.  Though Stefan did awful things to Jeri, he apologized and made up for them.

In this latest rewrite, Jeri became the dumper, not Stefan.  She listened to Stefan’s best friend, who tried to convince her she belonged with Stefan.

Since Stefan reminded me of Phil, and some of the things I wrote in the story came from my relationship with Phil, it was hard to write that Stefan and Jeri had a happy marriage that lasted forever.

But I had to because there was no way I wanted those two to break up.  It seemed I could never have a happy relationship that lasted for the rest of my life, but dang it, I wanted Jeri to have one with Stefan!

****

Apparently we were supposed to read shelves in the library.  I had never heard of this rule before, or that any of us had been assigned to certain shelves.  But Sharon and I started doing this together.

We basically scanned the Dewey decimal numbers to make sure the books were in order.

It could get boring quickly, but we talked about life, and the cool and old and weird and German-language books we’d find.

We even found one on Egyptian hieroglyphics.  We checked it out of the library.  We were supposed to draw up our own copy of the Egyptian alphabet, but never got around to that.  I loved working with Sharon.

I enjoyed re-shelving books.  Pulling or pushing along the book cart, going upstairs in the elevator (the only one on campus besides the one in the Wehr Center), going in among the stacks putting books away–it all made me feel so important: “I work here!”

We put the books in numerical order before taking the cart away from the circulation desk, to speed up re-shelving.

Re-shelving took me away from the desk and from life in general, sticking me in among the stacks, where I wanted to be.  I still had no clue where Tara and Sarah’s “haunted bookshelf” was.  (They said books would fall out of it.)

Sometimes I felt a little creeped out in the juvenile section, a tiny room at the very top of the building.  My friends told stories about it being haunted.

But I’d find the most wonderful and obscure books in the library, and often come back with books on the cart, to be checked out.  I loved checking my own book out rather than waiting for a clerk, writing my name on the card, putting it in the card box, and putting a date due card in the book.

Sometimes I felt light-headed and dizzy in this room.  Sometimes I wondered if I felt this way because I was pregnant.  At various times in my life, I’ve had these sudden bouts of dizziness, though they don’t last long, and I go years without feeling it again.

Of course, nowadays I am aware that my dizziness in that room could’ve been caused by elevation and an old structure.  This can also explain dizziness people sometimes feel in old houses, which they attribute to ghosts.

But it wasn’t as bad as when he first divorced me and I could barely get through my two hours (dazed or numb, Helene called it), trying to go through the card catalog doing a project we’d been given, and not go crazy with the pain, fear of losing my husband forever, and sadness.  The working day took forever in those days.

But in November, trying to get through the work day wasn’t quite so bad anymore.  Being in the stacks alone or with Sharon, though sometimes hard to handle when sad thoughts returned, was often a solace, reminding me that I belonged among books.  My purpose and calling was to read and write.

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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Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–October 1994, Part 11

I found devotional books and Bible readings, both for devotions and InterVarsity, to be soothing, a reminder that there was more to life than Phil.

I tried to get on with life and not spend too much time dwelling on the divorce.

Some say it’s bad to push your emotions down, that they come up later and don’t get better, but this was the only way I could deal with the intense pain.  I did spend at least some time trying to deal with my emotions, such as in my diary.  I tried not to talk about Phil too much.

But when I look back over how dark this time still was and how hard it was to control my hatred for Phil, I wonder if it would have been better if I’d let my grief come out freely for a time.

What made things even worse was that Phil wouldn’t leave me alone.  He’d try to talk to me, sit with me and my friends at meals even though only Persephone wanted him there, get all lovey with Persephone (holding hands, etc.) while I was sitting right there.

At the beginning of the year, I gave him my schedule; I wonder if he kept it and sometimes contrived to show up where I was.  We showed up in the same place an awful lot, not just between classes but in other parts of the school.  Once, he held the door open for me in the Campus Shop.  Sometimes I wonder if he was stalking me.

I didn’t let myself harm him or his car, didn’t threaten him or become a stalker or anything like that, since I knew it was wrong, but the struggle was so intense it frightened me.

According to Wikipedia (an earlier version of the page), being stalked can cause intense, even violent anger–just as being abused can do.  I’ve never felt this way before or since about anyone, thank God, though I came close when someone harassed my husband and our SCA group, back in 1999.

(This person–more on him here–repeatedly posted derogatory comments about the group and particular members on the group’s website, and has no qualms about using viruses to “punish” companies or corporations he feels has wronged him or someone he knows.  I suspect he even sent us an e-mail bomb, or a large amount of e-mails, all saying “karma.”  This is stalking behavior.)

[Update: This was written in probably 2006.  This guy who harassed my SCA group, was thrown in jail in 2009? for taking naughty pictures of a teenage girl.  Also, I did feel this anger again in 2010, after I was abused once again, this time by “friends,” over two and a half years.  I felt it again in 2012 when they, too, began stalking me, refused to admit wrongdoing, and threatened me.  The story begins here.]

When someone you’ve been married to and lived with all summer starts flaunting his new girlfriend to you, you feel like he’s ripped out your heart and served it back to you on a platter.  And that infuriates you.

****

Around this time, I started to distrust the stories The 700 Club ran each Halloween on the evils of rock music and heavy metal.  I once thought they found the truly bad lyrics and exposed only them.

But now that I had been listening to secular rock music again, I discovered these lyrics were subject to interpretation.  They showed part of the lyrics to the refrain of one of my favorite songs (“Man in a Box” by Alice in Chains), but took them out of context.

Some of my favorite bands were listed as “bad” when I didn’t think they were.  I complained about this to Tara as the Halloween episode aired.

Once during early fall, while Phil was gone and I was still hurting, I tried to feel better by doing good for humanity: I believe it was Circle K, James’ group, which put on a Hunger Banquet.  They had a spinner set up, and you’d spin it to see if you’d get a first, second, or third-world meal for dinner that night.  (I forget if any money went to charity or if it was just a hunger awareness thing.)

First-world got a regular cafeteria meal.  Second-world got rice and some other things.  Third-world, which I got, got only rice and water, and you had to eat it while sitting on the floor by one of walls.  I was disappointed to get this one, but it was a good experience.

****

On Halloween, I went to dinner with my roommates, preparing for another evening of InterVarsity’s annual praying for the buildings.

To my dismay, Phil sat with Persephone at our table, right across from me.  We didn’t want him there.  And Persephone seemed insensitive because she let him be there.

He started joking around, she said something, and he said to this, “She’s so demanding lately!”  It seemed suggestive.

Later on, as my friends and I got up and began leaving, I passed by the table and saw Phil and Persephone sitting across from each other.  They held hands and read from Measure for Measure playbooks, rehearsing Phil’s lines.

I believe the handholding was part of the script, but if they’d been at all sensitive, they would have done some other scene.  Instead, Phil seemed to be doing this just to make me miserable, since he didn’t even bother to wait until I left the cafeteria.

Didn’t Persephone think about how her own actions helped him to hurt me?

I felt like taking my key chain and smacking him with it, though I wouldn’t dream of actually doing that.  Even worse, I was supposed to be feeling all spiritual because it was time to pray for all the buildings.

Finally the IV group left, and I didn’t have to see him anymore.  I could just leave him in the dust.

He was obviously an insensitive lout who cared nothing for my feelings.  He must have known this would upset me.  And if that thought never crossed his mind, then he must have been very stupid.  He knew I was still hurting from the way he’d just dumped me, and he rubbed his new “love” in my face.

The dumped person has a right and almost a duty to show a dumper who’s also a jerk that they’ve moved on–that just because they were dumped, they’re not going to curl up and die, which the dumper might expect.

But the dumper has no right to hurt the dumpee with such a display.  The dumpee already is the one who hurts the most, and is going to hurt whether the dumper does or not.

Such displays only rub in more the fact that the dumpee has been rejected–basically, it’s deliberately pouring salt on a wound.

The InterVarsity group was Clarissa, Pearl, Charles, Astrid, a new member, and me.  Just in case you think this was something only Evangelicals would do, Charles was Catholic.  Pearl’s scooter did not run down this time, unlike last year, when it ran out right as we got to her dorm.

When we started out, I was still fuming about Phil’s obnoxious and jerky behavior at dinner, and didn’t feel very spiritual.  But after only two or three buildings this changed.  I felt much better by the time we finished.

Near the end, we went outside the Pub, which was dead, and sat on the benches to pray for the Campus Center.  As we did our “popcorn prayers,” basically anybody praying anything whenever, two girls–just a few yards from each other–yelled greetings to each other outside the Pub door and went inside.

Charles, who was praying, said, “I’d like to thank You that I still have my hearing.”

A few minutes later, those two girls started singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the tops of their voices.  Charles prayed for them, and we laughed that they praised God while trying to make fun of us.

I said, “If we’re being persecuted we must be doing something right.”

Astrid or Pearl said, “Thanks for the compliment, guys!”  We smiled and waved as we left.

Pearl noted that things didn’t seem so scary this time, and didn’t things change after the last time we prayed for the buildings?

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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