Category: NLD

Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–July 1994, Part 3

Phil and I got into a routine of sleeping in Sunday morning, having Sunday lunch at home (sometimes warmed up if we slept too late), going to the evening service, then going to get dinner for ourselves from a fast food place, because Mom never made dinner Sunday evening.

In my family, our traditional Sunday dinner was at lunchtime, then we’d have ice cream (sometimes cake or brownies a la mode, too) in the mid- to late-afternoon, and popcorn after the evening service (or around 7:00, if we didn’t go to the evening service).

But this didn’t satisfy me anymore and often made me feel a little sick, so I welcomed going to get dinner with Phil.

We used to go to the morning service, and people complimented Phil’s bass singing, but we decided we’d rather sleep and go to the evening service.

But one evening, the people at the church service divided up into little classes in the Sunday School classrooms.  I’m not sure why; it was not normally done, but the pastor wanted to do something different that night.

I was excited about it and wanted to go to one, but Phil refused to go with me.  I said I didn’t want to go alone.  He said he didn’t want to go, maybe for the same reasons he didn’t want to go to Sunday School–avoiding indoctrination or confrontation?

(Like that would’ve happened!  We as a church were very laid-back, and wouldn’t do this sort of thing.)

He said we should either leave, or he’d wait in the van for me as I went to a class.  I said people would wonder why he wasn’t with me.  He didn’t care.

I got frustrated, and really wanted to go to a class, but I refused to let him be an object of my embarrassment by sitting outside in the van.  I said we might as well leave.

****

I got into practice of being a good little housewife: Just as I kept up with cleaning my dorm room and laundry, I cleaned our upstairs rooms: dusting and vacuuming our two bedrooms, cleaning the half-bath each week, doing laundry for both of us, folding his clothes and hanging up his shirts and jeans and putting them all away, then putting one or two fabric sheets in his underwear drawer to keep the underwear nice and fresh.  (My mom taught me this trick.)

But I kept finding the fabric sheets in the wastebasket.  It was kind of insulting, almost like he thought I was leaving them there accidentally or something, or like he didn’t care about my little gesture.  I put them there every time and set them nice and neatly over his underwear. It seemed hard to mistake that for an accident.

I went to a lot of trouble to clean his underwear, learning how to bleach and trying to figure out how to remove the stubborn stains guys leave behind.  I tried and tried and tried, but could not get them out.

I also washed and bleached the white sheets on my bed, which we both used, but the grease from his arms after working at the factory did not come out of the sheets.

(Later that year, I’d put the stained parts at the foot of the bed, so I couldn’t see them and remember sex with him.  In 1997, I decided to just get rid of them, since there was no way I was using them again.  Now I just wanted to burn them.)

He acted like I was a nag for asking him to clean up with the Lava soap I put in the upstairs bathroom for that purpose.  But he just didn’t seem to realize what he was doing to the sheets by not washing up every night.

He couldn’t take a shower at night because the full bath was in my parents’ bedroom, so that’s why I brought in the Lava soap.  But he didn’t get up early enough to take a shower the next morning, when my parents were gone–and for goodness’ sake, he had to clean up sometime!

Trying to wash the T-shirts and jeans he wore to work was almost impossible.  They got clean, but except for one red T-shirt that resisted the grease stains, they were badly stained and fit for nothing else but such work.

I kept trying and trying to get the stains out, but it just didn’t work.  Phil wore the same pair of jeans to work each day so the other ones wouldn’t get ruined.

Phil never bathed much, even now that he was working in a factory, and even when he showered, he didn’t always use soap.

He didn’t like showering because of some near-drowning incident when he was a child; he said he’d rather just use shampoo in the shower, and soap up while taking a bath, since the water wasn’t pouring down all over him.

Yet I don’t think he took a bath more than once or twice the whole time I was with him.  If he did, I didn’t know about it.

He also didn’t brush his teeth.  I begged him to shower and brush his teeth, but he said, “This way you won’t have to worry about any other women coming on to me!”  But hey–what about being more attractive to me?  When he did shower, I begged him to use soap.

Once, he told me he washed his hands but didn’t use soap because he didn’t see any.  I said there was a softsoap bottle sitting right there on the sink!  (Duh!)  He said he doesn’t use soap if he can’t tell it is soap.

But, come on, that softsoap stuff had been on the market and advertised ever since we were little kids, and most public bathrooms used softsoap, so he should have known by now what it was.  And it probably said “soap” or “softsoap” right on the bottle!

****

One early afternoon, Phil infuriated me.  I did nothing wrong, and wished he would apologize for treating me so badly.

We went over to the nearest branch of the library to get a book, you see; I used to walk there all the time in high school.  I thought it would only take a moment because I knew exactly what I was looking for: a particular Gothic novel for my studies.  This was all for my senior thesis, Gothic novels and how they’ve changed over time.

Instead I found a collection of Gothic stories.  While I looked that over, and over what other Gothic books they had there, I lost track of time.  But Phil apparently did, too, or else he knew what time it was and didn’t tell me.

Anyway, it got late, and he had to go to work.  I thought it was still early, because I was so engrossed that time went quickly.  I thought it took fifteen minutes at the very most, and I don’t know what took up so much time.  He didn’t tell me until it was already late that we needed to get going.

Then on the way back, instead of walking along holding hands cheerfully and lovingly, like we did on the way there, he started walking and running fast.

He got mad at me because I couldn’t keep up with him, though I was physically unable to go faster.  I told him I couldn’t walk or run so fast.  He yelled at me and then, when we got back, he left in a huff.

I have always had trouble keeping up with others who walk or run fast, especially guys.  In a walking test in gym class in maybe sixth grade, I finished the track long after everyone else in the class was done.  I have long legs, but still can’t keep up.  For years, I’ve considered this an NVLD-related thing.  So Phil yelled at me for something I can’t help, something related to my nonverbal learning disability.

Dad was home so I tried to hide my tears, but I sniffled while doing the dishes.  Dad may have noticed, but I don’t remember for sure.  (I know my parents did notice some days that I was unhappy.)  I was still pretty ticked at Phil because he should’ve been more understanding at my lack of athletic ability.

Phil did say when he got home from work that maybe he shouldn’t have gotten so mad at me, and he did apologize.

But he had complained about me at the factory during a break.  So not only was he trying to break me with psychological warfare, but he smeared me to his co-workers as well.

****
Jake’s wedding was on July 30 at Pam’s mother’s house.  We of Jake’s family, even Phil, were included in the informal pictures.  (A few months later, Mom didn’t like to see him in the pictures.)

I loved the punch, which had ice cream in it.  And no, it had no alcohol.  Why should punch be spiked?  It’s delicious the way it is.  And whatever happened to punch at parties and weddings?

Anyway, the reception was at a restaurant, probably Old Country Buffet.  My youngest brother, Mom, Dad, Grandma McCanmore, Phil and I all sat together at the same table.

My youngest brother liked to make snide comments about me all the time.  He said I was stubborn and wouldn’t do anything I didn’t want to.

Phil said proudly, “She does whatever I ask her to.”

Grandma said to me, “Don’t let him think that!”

I did jokingly call him “master” sometimes, like the girl in Pamela, or like a genie with  bowed head and hands pressed together, because I didn’t mind giving over the decision making to someone else.  However, this was a grave mistake because he took it to heart, liked it way too much, took it way too seriously.

The 700 Club taught a better form of submission, a wife willingly submitting and a husband willingly loving and protecting (mutual submission), rather than a subservient wife forced to obey her husband.

Phil wanted obedience; I wanted mutual submission.

It wasn’t until later–when I researched for American Lit and changed my senior thesis to Victorian women who tried to break free from male domination, and probably with the sting of bitter memories–that I began to hate the very idea of one head of the household.

But I always resisted being controlled and obedient, as if I were a child and Phil my father.

But if Phil wanted something I didn’t want or could not give, such as anal sex, he began demanding it, scolding me and saying, “You always get your way!” or “Fine, have your way, you always do.”

This from the guy who kept refusing to do things I asked for and treated me like a nag for wanting them, such as: taking me to look for PH paper for his required natural family planning, doing little things once in a while that I asked for because they were sweet and reminded me of our early days together, or going to a park on the weekend instead of just sitting around the house doing nothing except watch him play computer games.

This also contradicted his assertion at my brother’s wedding that I did whatever he wanted me to. 

Years later, I also heard from a friend that he held me up to his new wife as some kind of saint, obedient and perfect, so that she idolized me and tried to be like me.  It was bizarre.

But back to July 1994.  If I stuck up for myself during one of his tirades, he screamed, “You always have to be right!”

Never mind that he kept demanding I give up something important to me (such as Sunday School), do something disgusting or demeaning or perverted or painful, allow him to get his way or win the argument when he was being unreasonable or cruel or ridiculing me, or read his mind.

As I described above, he even threatened to withhold natural marital relations if I refused to agree to the perverted and excruciatingly painful (no lube) thing he wanted to do.

I knew that Phil used pornography before we started dating.  He told me he got rid of the Hustler magazines in his room.  But studies have shown that use of porn can distort a young man’s expectations of his wife/girlfriend.

I believe this is exactly what happened with Phil, that he expected me to act like a porn star.  (Also see here.)  I knew he watched a certain porn movie all the time, and Hustler is hardcore, not like Playboy.

Sure it’s difficult to put these details on the Web, but stories of abuse need to be told, for the sake of those who have been and are being abused.  Maybe some woman (or man) will recognize herself (himself) in these pages and get the help she (he) needs.

 

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:

 

Sweeet: Fellow NLDers who like my NVLD page

I found this awesome little post via my stats the other day:

A reblog of my NVLD page

Here is a link to an excellent piece of writing on NLD. It is the author’s personal experiences living with the disorder and the ways it has affected her everyday life.

The article is very long because the author is extremely thorough. Therefore, I recommend you click ‘Download article as PDF’ so you can read it in several sittings.

This article gave me many ‘aha!’ moments because I experience so many things in common with the author.

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s very long.  That’s why I put the PDF button there.  😉  I wrote it over many months, just putting in something new whenever I thought of it.  I had no idea how long it got to.

And had no idea people would actually be READING it (up to well over 2,500 hits by now).  Another NVLD blogger picked up on it recently, as well.

Which means I’ve found some more like-minded people across the Web, not just the ones on my Yahoo and Facebook groups.

This is my NVLD page.

Phil’s Mr. Hyde comes out: controlling, manipulative, verbally and emotionally abusive–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–June 1994, Part 6

There were two distinct parts to the day: One part was my family and me, and not Phil.  The other part was Phil and me alone, because of his second-shift work schedule.  I kept going back and forth between them.  During the day, if things went wrong or were boring, I longed to be with Phil alone.

As the summer wore on, at times I preferred to be either alone or with my family, not with him.  He was just too hard to deal with after a while, and it was harder and harder to have any peace with him around.

I loved sitting in my chair, alone with All in the Family and Undine in my room upstairs, though I’d wait and often look forward to Phil coming home at 11:30.

By that time, I had spent hours translating a page of Undine.  I also spent hours writing the latest draft of Jerisland (a major rewrite, and my desert island novel which I’d worked on since high school) for my Senior Writing Project, and reading Gothic novels for my Senior Honors Project.

(The topic: how Gothic novels have changed from pre-Gothics, basically Clarissa from 1748, and Castle of Otranto, the first and supposedly a bad Gothic novel, to modern ones, such as Anne Rice’s vampire books.)

****

Some traits which came to light about Phil over that summer, though infatuation blinded me to them: stubborn, manipulative, controlling, emotionally abusive, used his acting talent to play tricks on me, picked fights.

He yelled at me and tore me down for not wanting to do things his way, then accused me of always having to get my way.

But we had made solemn promises before God to each other which I was determined to keep, so rather than telling him to go back to Wisconsin, I tried to work things out instead.

I found this book Mom had–something from the seventies about being a good Christian wife who pleases her husband so much he doesn’t want affairs or to leave.  It was written by a woman who discovered for herself what works.

It said not to nag about things like taking out the garbage, because the guy isn’t a child who won’t do these things without reminding.

But though I tried to hold to this, as the summer went on, it got harder and harder, because Phil didn’t do these things whether you nagged him or not.  I mean important, basic things which adult men should know to do on their own, without anybody’s reminder, such as:

He wouldn’t brush his teeth, wouldn’t shower.

When he worked at the factory, he set his clock for 1pm but slept until 2 or so.  I begged him to get up so he could have time to shower and eat a proper breakfast, but he yelled at me, later accused me of lowering his self esteem by “telling him when to get up” (what a load of BS) just for trying to get him up on time, rolled over, and deliberately slept so late that he could only throw on his work clothes and scarf down a Little Debbie snack.

Which meant he rarely showered.

When he came home, he didn’t wash off the soot.  Sure the full bathroom was in my parents’ bedroom, but he could at least wash his hands and arms.  The soot permanently stained the sheets, so I eventually had to throw them away.  I asked him to please clean up when he came home; he did it, but complained about it.

He neglected his worn-out brakes, until I finally had to beg him and drag him out of bed–on the last possible day before he drove me back to school–to get them fixed so we wouldn’t get killed on the long drive through Chicago and Milwaukee.

Though I asked him for reasonable things, he treated me like a nag.

(By the way, now-hubby Cugan constantly praises me to me, his father and others for not being a nag.  He says that even if I do nag occasionally, I do it nicely.  Of course, hubby is also a grown adult who knows to shower and brush his teeth daily, and get up on time to do all these things before work.  Nobody needs to remind him, which was such a relief that it was a big part of me falling for him!)

On November 13, 1998, a young woman on Montel told her ex she hated him because he physically abused her and cheated on her.  She said something chillingly familiar: that she got called many names–slut, whore, f-word, b-word, “and that was just to wake you up every day so you could go to work!”

Phil rarely used profanity, but his yelling and put-downs were just as bad when I woke him up for work.  It was another element of verbal abuse and control.

I wanted us to go to Sunday School together.  He refused–no room for discussion–because he feared they’d try to “convert” him from Catholicism.  I just wanted to go to Sunday School with my husband, and highly doubted they would try to “convert” him.  Sunday School was usually a time for studying issues and socializing.

Since I went to church with him now rather than with my parents, this meant, no Sunday School.  And I loved Sunday School.

(This was the last chance I had to go to Sunday School, because other churches I later went to when I moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, did not have adult Sunday School.  This was always strange to me, to have only the Sunday morning service, and no adult Sunday School, no evening service, and no Wednesday service.  Yet whatever denomination I went to in Fond du Lac, none of them had these things!  If they had more than one service, it was just a copy of the Sunday morning service, maybe changing the music to fit “contemporary” or “traditional.”)

One Sunday evening, the congregation (usually smaller for evening services) divided up into little classes in the Sunday School classrooms (I forget why–we had never done this before).

I was excited about it and wanted to go to one, but Phil refused to go with me.  I didn’t want to go alone.  He said he didn’t want to go, maybe for the same reasons he didn’t want to go to Sunday School–avoiding indoctrination or confrontation?  So paranoid!  If Catholic adults did Sunday School, I would have gone with him to his!

He said we should either leave, or he’d wait in the van for me as I went to a class.  I said people would wonder why he wasn’t with me.  He didn’t care.

I got frustrated, and really wanted to go to a class, but I refused to let him make a scene and embarrass me by sitting outside in the van, and said we might as well leave.

This was spiritual abuse, using verbal abuse and the threat of embarrassment to keep me from practicing my religion.  (Also see here, here, here and here.)

Christians believe that mixed skinny dipping is immoral, because you’re not supposed to disrobe in front of the opposite sex unless you’re married.  Yet Phil, the one who was once going to be a priest, told me that he skinny-dipped in mixed company in the campus lake once.

I think it was in the summer after his senior year of high school, which would make it the summer after my freshman year of college, when I was getting over Peter.  (He wasn’t even a student here, and neither were the people with him.)

I was not happy about this.  The thought of him skinny dipping with female classmates–seeing their naked bodies–them seeing his naked body–it horrified me, but he didn’t understand why.  He said they didn’t touch each other, didn’t do anything.

But that made no difference: It was still sinful, and he should’ve known that.  The thought of my own husband, with whom I was one flesh, thinking it was okay to skinny-dip in mixed company–I began to lose respect for him as a man and as a husband.  I thought he had more morals than that.

I told him a Roanoke student died in that lake one year.  I don’t know when it was, but it was during a picnic the college held for the students and faculty.  Counselor Dude rode in a boat, while this boy swam.

The currents took him under, and he drowned.  C.D. was distraught; this had been his favorite student.  Soon after this, the “No Lifeguard on Duty–Swim at Your Own Risk” sign was put up at the lake.  I think it was long before I came to Roanoke.  Phil said, “And I was skinny-dipping in that lake!”

He also said once that porn was not wrong/sinful.  Christians believe porn is also sinful for the same reason–disrobing in mixed company–and because it encourages lust, not love and respect for your sister in Christ or fellow human being made in God’s image.

The kind of man I had always expected to marry, wouldn’t just call himself a Christian, but actually live it, following Christian moral standards.

In September, he complained about us going to get lunch or dinner “just because you’re hungry.”  If I recall correctly, we got meals at a normal time or late.  If I don’t eat in a timely manner, I get migraines, and feel lightheaded and nauseated.  So he even wanted to control when I ate, no matter how hungry or sick I felt?

Once, when I pulled out a heating pad for menstrual cramps or a sore muscle, Phil said, “I hope you’re not going to end up like my mom, always sitting on a heating pad.”

So even using a heating pad for cramps is wrong somehow, and I have to be guilted into not doing it?  So I’m supposed to be in pain because you don’t want me using a heating pad?

By the way, his mom had health problems which caused her pain in that area, making his remarks not just knee-jerk (emphasis on the “jerk”) for me using a heating pad one night for cramps, but extremely insensitive to his mother.  Even if she didn’t have constant pain, if she wants to sit on a heating pad all the time, so what?

I eventually wondered why I kept ending up with the wrong kinds of guys, when I specifically looked for the right kinds.  I’d only date Christians, whom I expected to be godly men, but even the Christians turned away from the faith and/or mistreated me in some way.  I looked for nice, sweet, romantic guys; I ended up with guys who seemed that way at first, but turned mean.

I didn’t grow up in an abusive home, so why did I keep dating mean guys?  I thought I couldn’t trust my own judgment, that if I found another guy I wanted to get serious about, I’d have to ask my friends what they thought of him first:

Because of my nonverbal learning disorder, I was an easy target for these guys, and easily fooled with my trusting nature.  So they acted like what I wanted until I fell for them, then showed their true colors as time wore on.

My friends and family disliked the guys early on, but said nothing.  After the breakup, they gave their opinions, and I realized they were right, that I’d been blind.

 

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 down whatever is special to me (Bits of Abuse Here and There)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–June 1994, Part 5

Soon after quitting his job selling vacuum cleaners, probably late June or early July, Phil found a job at a Mishawaka factory, second shift.  Second shift in Wisconsin, he said, usually meant two to ten p.m., but in South Bend it meant three to eleven.  (I think those were the times, but my memory could be a little off.)

Since he now missed Picket Fences on Friday nights, he had me tape it for him.  Whenever he wanted to see it he said, “Ficket Pences?”

June 22, my 21st birthday.  It wasn’t celebrated some mundanely typical way, like my friends taking me out to get smashed.  No, it was quieter and what I wished.  I said if I got any special drink for my birthday, it would be sparkling grape juice.  I didn’t get that, but I don’t think I cared.

I did get a pleasant dinner at a restaurant with my parents.  To my surprise, Phil gave me nothing, despite having a job, but gave no apology or explanation.  I just let it go, but it seemed odd to just dismiss your wife’s 21st birthday.

****

I loved Q101.  U93, and every other Chicago and South Bend station which played pop, played Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” every hour or two.  Even good songs can get on your nerves if they’re played too much.  But Q101 played it maybe once, if at all, each afternoon.

My favorite song that summer: “Shine” by Collective Soul.  I didn’t care how much it got overplayed on U93.  I told my parents about the line “Heaven, let your light shine down” to impress them with its spiritual content, since they hated rock music.

Other good songs from Q101: “Millennium” by Killing Joke, “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails (though I didn’t like the lyrics), “Emperor’s New Clothes” by Sinead O’Connor, “Possession” by Sarah McLachlan, “Everybody’s 1” by God’s Child, “It’s Over Now” by Cause and Effect, “Burn” by the Cure, “Insanity” by (Oingo) Boingo, “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem” by Offspring.

****

Once, Phil and I took an IQ test on the computer, which claimed to be the fairest and most accurate you could find.  It wasn’t: It was biased in favor of mathematical brains like Phil’s, not NVLD brains like mine.  The questions I missed were all math questions, and Phil got the same ones right.

He bragged that he scored around 140 while I scored only around 130, but I said it wasn’t a true test of my abilities.  A year or two later, Cugan and I would take another IQ test.  This time, I scored around 150, and Cugan scored around 130.

****

My old jam box’s CD player had been broken for quite some time, since just before I got the newest Alice in Chains CD, Jar of Flies, in the spring, so I hadn’t heard it yet.

I had that box with me since my junior year of high school; sophomore year I had to spend a few months without it because my dad kept it at home and had the radio and antenna fixed at Radio Shack.  (That’s when I got into MTV and a Walkman.)

I really missed playing my CD’s, since some of my best music was on them, such as my other Alice in Chains CD’s.  I’d been waiting and waiting for the new jam box my parents got me for my birthday.  It had everything I asked for: CD player, tape player and recorder, radio.

I was desperate to listen to my new CD, and I guess I didn’t get a chance until late that night or the next, when Phil was home and we were about to play D&D.  I’d waited for months and I just couldn’t wait any longer.

But Phil hated Alice in Chains and kept saying, “If you play it, I’ll go somewhere else.”

I kept trying to make him understand how important it was to me to listen to it, and I wanted him in the room because I hadn’t seen him all day and because I wanted to play D&D.  I finally did get to play it, despite what he said, and I think he gamed with me at least part of the time, though he may have left the room for part of it.

It was strangely mellow all the way through.  He protested so much and it wasn’t even the hard “made in hell” stuff he protested.

But note the way he tried to withhold from me something I very much wanted.  He also hated my music, something that was important to me, and criticized it.

He even said that, had one of his friends not introduced him to some of the harder music and gotten him used to it, like hard rock and heavy metal, he’d break up with me just because I listened to it!

He said in the spring that in time he might learn to like alternative, because of me.  But he didn’t like it much.  However, once he said it was the popular trend in music.  I smiled in surprise and said, “Really?”

He said the alternative songs crossing over into Top-40 were the best ones on the radio these days, because regular pop music had become so dull.  But as a whole, he didn’t like it.

(Note that the following spring, when I was out of the picture, and alternative was popular with everybody now, he claimed alternative was his “favorite” music.)

I told him why I liked Alice in Chains, that the music took me to another place.  He said it was a place he didn’t want to go.  But I thought/think of it as a good place, a place in the mind or another part of consciousness, which only in-the-pit music can reach.  That place was special to me, but all he did was cut it down.

He also told me that the only good Christian music was a tape he owned by Michael W. Smith.  Obviously he had never heard much of the genre.

I had been listening to Christian contemporary, rock and pop for 8 years; there was far more, and once you sifted out the wheat from the chaff, real talent began to come through:

Mastedon, Undercover, Guardian, Whiteheart, Holy Soldier, Matthew Ward, Charlie Peacock, Steve Taylor/Chagall Guevara, Mike-E, The Choir, etc. etc.–bands which I bet he never even heard of.

But of course, he had to be right–and cut down whatever meant something to me.  Just as he cut down my friends, or my religion, or my Sunday School, or the church I liked best in S–, or even said my beloved childhood diary was “boring” because it talked about 9-year-old things like spiders walking across the ground.

It wasn’t just my perception: His next girlfriend, Persephone, went through the same thing, him always cutting down her participation in the campus newspaper, which meant a lot to her.

As Dad suggested, Phil said he was going to read the Bible so we could talk about it on an even level.  But he started and didn’t follow through on that promise.

Yet he wouldn’t even let me quote verses to him or tell him anything about the Bible, because then he wouldn’t see much point in reading it if he already knew what it said.

How could that even be likely, considering how much is in there and how little of it I could/can actually quote, in comparison?

Dad told him devotions can be just prayer, but of course, Phil used that as an excuse–that, since it doesn’t matter if you don’t read as long as you still pray, he didn’t have to read the Bible.

I don’t think Dad meant it that way.  It is important to read it, and Dad did so every morning; he suggested Phil read it so he and I would be on the same level of knowledge about the faith.

Phil’s flippant disregard of this advice, while also forbidding me to talk about the Bible, showed how little he cared about resolving our religious differences in a healthy, equal manner.

Phil even took issue with my use of the word “current,” though I checked the dictionary and found nothing to say it was wrong.  Phil said you can only use the word in the present tense, and can never say a song “was current in the past.”

But when you say a song “was current in the summer of 1992,” I see nothing wrong with the usage.  Songs are current, then they’re old and not current anymore, but at one time they were current.  I’ve never seen anything that said I can’t say “current” in the past tense in this context.

Phil’s objection sounded pedantic and nitpicky.

A quick Google search shows that people use it my way all the time.  On 3/11/14, I found it used my way in Green Suede Shoes by Larry Kirwan, page 217: “To my surprise, I already knew them all, for they [19th-century songs] had still been current in the Wexford of my boyhood…”  HA!

Trivializing and undermining: abusive behavior which makes light of your work, your efforts, your interests, or your concerns. —The Verbally Abusive Relationship

 

Verbal abuse can include:

  • yelling or shouting at you
  • being sarcastic or mocking about or criticising your interests, opinions or beliefs —Emotional Abuse

****

I read The Thorn Birds that summer and found, to my surprise, that I wasn’t alone: Meggie, on page 329, had a similar experience to my own–a horrifically painful first time, plus terrible pain that she felt every time she had sex with her husband.  Mine went away eventually.

****

On the 25th, I wrote to a friend that

Phil’s been spending a lot of time at the computer, beating my brother L–‘s scores at one-player and two-player games.  My smug brother has finally met his match, and he’s not happy about it….

Phil beat him at computer Risk, so L–stayed up late one night with his friend D–, trying to win before the night was over.

…My little Hazel [cat] has been glad to have me around, but I don’t know what she thinks of Phil.  I think she likes him, but not always.

The other day Phil, who was asleep, started petting me and calling me Hazel.  I said something, which surprised him.

He talks in his sleep too, and said, “Hazel, I didn’t know you could talk!  Why do you hate me, Hazel?” and I said, “I don’t hate you.  I just don’t like it when you tease me.”

We kept trying to contact a natural family planning clinic here, but nobody ever answered.

It was beginning to look hopeless, like I’d be forced to go by that rhythm method that doesn’t have a good rep, and end up the stereotypical Catholic wife with a brood of children.  But then I found the information I needed in a book right in the house!

 

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:

 

 

NVLD: I just don’t understand people

Sometimes I have to cut out advice columnists for a while, just as in the 90s I had to cut out talk shows (such as Montel), because they can be triggering.  (I had bad experiences in college which these talk shows occasionally reminded me of.)

However, this is almost impossible because my newspaper runs an advice column, and you can’t help but read it with the comics.  Because the advice column often has bad advice, I feel forced to go elsewhere–usually Carolyn Hax–for some sanity again.

So until newspapers stop running these things, or I stop reading newspapers, I guess I’ll keep getting triggered now and then.  Just as bullies and abusers in my life tried to tell me I deserved their abuse, I’ll read what seems to say, “You deserved to be abused!”

This is why I had to drop a forum back in 2008, because people who knew nothing about the situation made it sound like I deserved to be bullied and abused.

I’ll read somebody else’s letter in an advice column and the responses, and it feels like over again, somebody is telling me, “You deserved to be abused!”  Even though it’s somebody else, and usually the situation is very different, I get shaky and distressed, like it’s all happening to me all over again.

With NVLD (nonverbal learning disorder), which is sort of like Asperger’s (though not the same thing), I just don’t understand people.

I was reminded of this again last night while reading a recent Carolyn Hax column and the responses from readers:

I read the letter writer’s complaint at face value.  When she said it was “perfectly natural” to discuss work with a co-worker, I thought, yes, of course it is.

I could agree with her that the girlfriend seems possessive and insecure to get all upset over work conversations between her boyfriend and the letter writer.

So when Carolyn and even the many commenters, on Facebook and on the Washington Post page, started ripping into the letter writer, I was shocked.

I just plain don’t get it.  I get excluded from conversations ALL THE TIME.

Nobody does it on purpose; it’s just that I’m an introvert with NVLD, and most people are extroverts without NVLD.  So they’ll be going on and on about something I don’t know a thing about, or that bores me, or somebody else makes my comment before I have a chance to.

I don’t whine about it; I only notice because often somebody turns to me and says, “You’re so quiet!”  That annoys me.  If you want to include me in the conversation, ask me a question; don’t criticize me and make me feel like a freak.

It happens in cars, just like with the letter writer and her two friends.  The other two will be in the front seats and I’ll be in the back, which automatically excludes you from conversation.

They’ll chatter on and on and I can barely hear them; if I can hear them, either I have nothing to contribute, or nobody hears me when I do.

Richard and Tracy used to do this all the time, too, when they’d drive me someplace, and they’d be up front talking on and on about their right-wing politics or some other thing, and I’d be quiet in the back seat.

Or we’d be in my house or their house, and they’d start going on about things I wasn’t interested in, or politics I did not agree with, or people I didn’t know, or make comments I found appalling, so I’d just sit quietly and wait for the conversation to change.

(Which is why her complaints of feeling “snubbed” have always baffled me.  Nobody was snubbing anybody, and if it’s “snubbing” to talk about things she doesn’t know about, then she “snubbed” me all the time. 

(It was just the normal, natural progression of conversation, and if, when other people were around, I got a chance to talk to Richard about something I actually knew about and was interested in, it was so rare and wonderful that I was darn well going to take it.  Everybody else did it to me all the time in their house; it was my turn, dang it. 

(This is also why I preferred one-on-one conversations with him, because we had a rapport and interests that could keep us talking for hours, which is highly unusual for me except with a few people. 

(Because it is so unusual for me, I see it as a rare treat, a delicacy, the caviar of friendships and social interaction.  While extroverts apparently see it as Tuesday. 

(But unfortunately, Tracy had such strict control that it was hard to see him without her, except on occasion, so when we got together, I wanted some of that rapport again for 10 or 20 minutes.  The rest of the time, we usually all socialized together, playing a game or something.)

But back to the main point.  It happens when more than two people are sitting at a table and the others inevitably steer the conversation toward subjects I cannot contribute to, or maybe I could but I can’t get a word in edgewise before the topic changes.

Or they talk about something I have no interest in, or about people they know but I don’t.

That’s why I prefer one-to-one conversations, because I can finally get a word in edgewise and talk about things I can contribute to, by helping to steer the conversation, instead of other people doing it.

Or sometimes I prefer the larger conversations because I don’t know what to say, and this takes the pressure off me to contribute.

Especially if I make a friend who I can actually talk to easily, I like the chance to just sit and chat with this person.

Introverts are like this: We don’t do well in group conversations, and just end up watching and listening.  But one-to-one, we can do a lot better.  Well, can.  I don’t always.  Often with one person, I still just sit there not knowing what to say.

But sometimes “magic” happens that I can’t explain, and I can chat easily with this person, probably because of similar interests and temperaments.

As for getting excluded–I get excluded when sitting at a meal with a group of people.  Happened all through school.  My college friends would go on and on every day about choir or their sorority, neither of which I was in.

Happened in the SCA, especially if they went on and on about something like sewing or SCA stuff (I was a newbie) or some bit of medieval knowledge that I know nothing about.

Happens every time I go to a social event and people chatter about things I don’t know about.

Happens at church every week, especially since I go to a Greek church and the people my age often talk in Greek with their relatives and older friends.  If I go to the English-speaking table, they’re mostly 30 or 40 years older than me and I can’t relate to the conversation.

And you know what?  That’s just frickin’ LIFE. 

I know people don’t do it on purpose.  You just frickin’ deal with it and don’t tell people what they can or can’t talk about, unless it’s something harmful, like making fun of someone or bringing up topics that are painful to you.  That’s being controlling and self-centered. 

(Heck, the one time I asked Richard not to talk around me about some guys who sexually harassed me, he said no.)

I think that people generally expect you to fend for yourself in conversations.  If you don’t, you just sort of disappear.

The only thing that annoys me is when people turn to me and complain that I’m so QUIET.

So I’m baffled by the Carolyn Hax column, why people have so jumped on the letter writer and accused her of all sorts of horrible things for doing the SAME THING THAT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WOULD DO TO ME WITHOUT THOUGHT IF WE WERE ALL SITTING AROUND A TABLE TOGETHER.

I just don’t understand people.  This is why I “hermit” so easily.  Why I “hermited” so much as a kid, but actually enjoyed going up into my bedroom when the house was full of relatives, or being alone all day at home during summer break.

Because people don’t make sense to me.  Oftentimes I had/have to deal with bullies, too.

Just when I think I have people figured out, they confuse me again.  Cats are easy: Pet them and give them a warm lap, and they’ll be devoted to you for life.

The researchers found that the brains of children with nonverbal learning disability responded differently to the social interactions than the brains of children with high functioning autism, or HFA, suggesting the neural pathways that underlie those behaviors may be different. —New light shed on learning disorders

UPDATE 2:02PM:

Going through the comments some more, I am greatly relieved to see at least two people who DO get it and don’t understand why the letter writer is being vilified.  They are introverts and social misfits to whom exclusion in conversation is perfectly normal and just something you tolerate.

One extrovert scolded that they may not want to participate in the conversation, but extroverts do, so it hurts them.

Er…Excuse me, introverts WANT to participate, same as extroverts.  We just get naturally shut out, which is frustrating. 

But we do not rage about this or treat them as if they did it deliberately, because everybody does this to us.  Our circles are small enough without chasing away all the extroverts we know.

One introvert, justaguy22, even sees the girlfriend as possibly abusive, possibly trying to control her boyfriend’s friendships and conversations, especially if she won’t let her BF see the LW without her, where they could talk shop!  That’s how I might see it, too–especially if the boyfriend uses the “we must pacify her” tone.

In my case, I got a lot of “Tracy’s jealous,” “She screams at the kids,” “She has to approve my friends,” “She’s emotionally abusive to me,” so seeing her reaction as controlling and possessive came from that.

I saw it myself when we were roommates for six weeks, and saw her become very hostile toward me as well, just out of nowhere.  I had no clue why.

And I was given a whole litany of things I did “wrong” around her that I could not even remember.

I said I needed help, such as her using words so I’d know when she wanted to converse with me, because I could not recognize it.

But no changes or help came from their side to help me change on my side, so I was continuously in the dark.  She continued to be displeased with my behavior, but without telling me at the time what I had done, so I had no clue.

I did not monopolize the conversation when she was in the room, mostly letting them carry it; if he and I sat next to each other, I might chat with him for a while, but usually my husband was there for her to talk to, or she was on the computer or doing some other thing.

She did not start conversations with me.  She did not even try with me, but instead expected me to come up with conversation when I have trouble with this in the best of social situations.

Most of the time there was something else going on in the room, or she was talking to everyone or to somebody else or screaming at a kid, so I didn’t see it as a time for starting conversation with her.

She criticized everything I did.  She refused to accept that I was a shy, quiet introvert with probable NVLD, who had always been that way and always would be, that making conversation with her–especially with someone who bullied me and whom I had maybe just witnessed verbally abusing her husband, kids or somebody else–was practically impossible for me until she stopped the abuse and accepted me for who I was.

Feeling pressured actually closes my throat and cuts off my thoughts.

Even then, I needed to be accepted as a quiet person who will not say much most of the time, even among my best friends.

I tried to explain all of this to Richard, hoping that he would explain it to her and they would help make it easier for me to relax around her.  But nothing ever changed, while I got blamed for everything and continuously punished for not being extroverted.

Also, after we broke things off with her, I had symptoms similar to PTSD.  As I wrote in one of my webpages on the situation, I was afraid to make new friends, constantly felt on-edge, like people were judging me harshly for being quiet.

It was always a huge relief to be among people who did not even mention my quietness, did not call me horrible for it, did not keep their husbands from being friends with me for it.

Reading this column was like, after all that, people were saying to me, “You deserved the abuse!  You deserved PTSD!  You deserve to be lonely and sad!”

I don’t know, maybe it’s just that the Carolyn Hax column is an entirely different situation from mine, and far simpler than what I dealt with, so the letter writer’s actions get a different response from the public.

I know that my husband–who is allowed to disagree with me and give the other person’s side–saw Tracy as controlling, too.

Maybe this letter writer is monopolizing the conversation, while I generally sit quiet in a corner.

I’m not sure it’s so hard to talk about something other than work, but maybe it’s the only thing she can think of at the time.  We don’t really know from one letter what all’s going on, and every letter that gets written to an advice column can get completely misinterpreted.

It happens, as we discover when somebody writes in with the “rest of the story,” whether from the original writer or from somebody else.

I believe I will now edit the full story of Richard/Tracy some more.  Apparently readers need to be more educated on introversion and NVLD, and told up front that I did try to do what I could to not “snub” her but I’m a timid person who was very intimidated by her aggressive manner.

Otherwise, people will just assume you are well-versed in social rules, an extrovert, can read subtle cues, etc. etc., and judge you unfairly.

One of the commenters on the advice column, who is used to being around geeks, complained about this, because of how people remarked on the letter writer.

Someone may have suggested Asperger’s; if she honestly cannot think of anything else to talk about, that is a possibility.  Aspies can easily fall into talking about their obsession even when you’ve already told them not to, but it’s not meant to hurt you.

Maybe I should incorporate this post into the introduction.  This is what people all over are dealing with in social situations, not just me.  All we ask for is understanding instead of vilification and writing us off.

 

Phil’s fake dreams lead to a terrible fight (Gaslighting, Bits of Abuse Here and There)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–June 1994, Part 3

A letter from Pearl on the 13th spoke of an infection, and that she could have died from it.   (She has rheumatoid arthritis and kept having problems throughout college.)  But a hurting hip led her to go to her doctor, so that’s how he discovered it, and in time.

She had to deal with a tube in her neck and weeks of intravenous antibiotics, then oral antibiotics, and this meant no knee surgery that summer–so she’d still need crutches.  But at least she was alive!  (Still is, in fact.  🙂  )

Another letter I wrote to somebody said she was at Roanoke a bit during the summer, finishing up exams; this must have been why.  She was also supposed to do her writing and honors projects senior year, and wanted to work on them, just as I was.

****

Phil often acted out his dreams while sleeping, and spoke coherently, as I’ve described before.  One night while he worked at the Kirby job, he told me he wanted a little “wedded bliss” before he went to sleep.  So after he went to bed, I went over and nudged him to give him what he wanted.

I don’t want to recount this incident in full detail because it is still too disturbing; I don’t have to relive everything.  But he kept his eyes closed the whole time, which always told me he was asleep and acting out his dreams.

I kept saying I didn’t want his subconscious, but his real, awake self, yet he kept his eyes closed all the while, which showed me he was still dreaming.  His sleeping self got mean and childish, even sleepwalked.

I kept expecting him to wake up and start acting kind, except that his subconscious was forcing him to stay under, refusing to let the real, kind, awake Phil take over again.

I was frightened by and angry at his subconscious, telling him to go away so the real Phil could come back.

Then finally he opened his eyes.  In relief I said, “Oh, now you’re awake.  I thought you never would wake up!”  His rational self was back, not that jerk of a subconscious!

But then he said, “I was awake.”

Huh?

“I was awake the whole time.”

I was confused, upset.  How could he have been awake and behaved in such a fashion?  How could he be awake and keep his eyes closed the entire time, even while walking?

But he said he wanted me to come to him!

Why didn’t he open his eyes and show me he was awake?  He was always talking in his sleep and acting out his dreams–How was I to know any different?

I felt cruelly tricked, set up by this evil charade.  All he had to do was open his eyes as soon as I nudged him, to show me he was awake!

I had directly called him Phil’s subconscious repeatedly, and repeatedly said I wanted the real, conscious Phil back.

He knew very well that keeping his eyes closed had always been a signal to me that he was talking in his sleep and acting out his dreams.

He knew very well that he had trained me to disregard anything he said while asleep, as being his subconscious and not the real him.

He knew very well that opening his eyes signaled to me that the dream was over and he was awake.

Then there’s all he said and did and yet kept his eyes closed the entire time (even going downstairs and making a huge amount of racket, so I feared he’d wake my parents).

So I do still firmly believe he kept his eyes closed on purpose to keep me thinking he was asleep, talking in his sleep, walking in his sleep, and his subconscious was doing it all, an episode of crazy-making me with something he knew quite well would fool me.

Especially since, a couple of months later, he finally admitted that he was awake every single time he acted out his dreams and talked in his sleep, that it was all an act!

As I’ve described in earlier chapters, he started doing this in February, and kept doing this until August.  (I describe these “dreams” all through these chapters.)

So he had me firmly convinced these were dreams, and in June, I was still under this gaslighting illusion, because he had not yet admitted the truth.

So to not open his eyes and show me he was truly awake, was diabolical, deliberately setting me up to act crazy and give him something to constantly remind me of–ie, gaslighting me.  This is a common tactic of abusers and narcissists, so they can deflect attention off what they’re doing to you, and call you the abuser.

I didn’t know all that, but I did want to tell him to go back to Wisconsin, that I was done with him.

After much anger, we finally got to talking and decided it was a misunderstanding, with him seeing how he contributed.  He saw he’d been a jerk about the whole thing, and that it wasn’t my fault; I believe he even apologized.

But for days or weeks after, he kept bringing up that night, as if he thought it was all my fault.  I never would have said or done what I did if I knew he was awake and I was dealing with his real self, not the subconscious; I would have known he was awake if he never pretended to talk/act things out in his sleep.  The narcissist had me fully in his talons.

As for your partner’s assertion, yes – you may have sent angry emails or yelled or slammed doors or called names. So your abuser claims YOU were abusing him/her.

But it’s more likely you were REACTING to being abused by your partner. What can make it even more difficult for you to see and understand at this point is that some of their abuse may be subtle and covert rather than obvious and overt.

This causes further difficulty for you in identifying the abuse – and makes it easier for your abuser to convince you that it’s all your fault, or the problem is really with YOU – that you’re “crazy”, or “imagining things”.

They’ll abuse you, and when you react to that abuse, they accuse YOU of abusing THEM and they play the victim role. They don’t call it “crazymaking” for nothing! —Let’s Talk About Reactive Abuse

 

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victims an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment.

The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operatives, law enforcement and other forces for decades.

The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way.

Gaslighting involves the abuser to frequently and systematically withhold factual information from the victim, and replace it with false information.

Because of its subtlety, this cunning Machiavellian behavior is a deeply insidious set of manipulations that is difficult for anybody to work out, and with time it finally undermines the mental stability of the victim. That is why it is such a dangerous form of abuse.

The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. When they are exposed to it for long enough, they begin to lose their sense of their own self.

Unable to trust their own judgments, they start to question the reality of everything in their life. They begin to find themselves second-guessing themselves, and this makes them become very insecure around their decision making, even around the smallest of choices.

The victim becomes depressed and withdrawn, they become totally dependent on the abuser for their sense of reality. In effect the gaslighting turns the victim’s reality on its head. —What is gaslighting? by Christine

People talking and even walking in their sleep, or acting out dreams, is a real phenomenon.  I even witnessed it in my pets, and would influence my dog’s dreams or my cat’s dreams by petting, barking, or whatever.  Using real phenomena is the best way to fool someone.

And I was already susceptible because my ex Peter talked in his sleep and acted out his dreams, and had convinced me of various telepathic abilities.  He said we had a psychic link, and that because of his ninja training, he went on time-traveling dream trips, was telepathic, could see things happening far away, and hoped to learn telekinesis.  (See here and here, where all these things are described.)

Because I believed Peter, I also believed Phil, making me perfect to gaslight with these fake “dreams.”  Also, my NVLD made me more susceptible to this, because it’s much harder for people with NVLD to notice when someone is lying.

 

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:

 

Our Flight: forced into deception–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–May 1994, Part 2

Probably late in the week of May 15, when we had finals, it was time for Clarissa and me to part as roommates.  I would now be Sharon’s roommate in the apartments, and Clarissa wouldn’t have another roommate, at least not the following year.

Clarissa took a moment to be solemn, and said to me, “You’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”  I don’t remember much of what we said that day, but I do remember that, and that it was sad to part.

I looked forward to rooming with Sharon, but my college life had included Clarissa as my roommate for so long that it was hard to imagine not living with her anymore.

Another sad thought: Muskie Pat was finally graduating after several years of taking more than one major.  You always knew he’d cook your burger up right, and you couldn’t be sure of this with anyone else.  Senior year, my Muskie burgers never did seem quite right.

He ended up marrying a girl in my class.

Dave soon graduated, and I remember his Pearl fussing over him and his cap and gown and everything on the day, and talking so proudly of him.  I believe she graduated the year before.  He ended up working in the sporting goods section of a home improvement store in S–.

I think it was just before the beginning of summer vacation when Phil and I went with Dirk to see a movie.  They asked me what I wanted to see; it was a “guy” movie, with action and a bit of gore, so they were surprised (and pleased) when I picked it out.

But it was a good movie, a science fiction one with prisoners held on a tropical island in the future.  The name was No Escape.

I don’t think the movie was very popular, because it was just the three of us in the theater with a big tub of buttery popcorn, free to talk or put our feet on the chairs in front of us.  That was a good time.

****

Phil and I drove to my home on Sunday, May 22, 1994.  The circumstances surrounding it were really trying.

It started when my mom suggested that Phil bring me home and then stay the summer.  There were lots of places looking to hire, and he’d have much better luck finding a job in South Bend than in S–.  It would also help them a lot to not have to come pick me up, or pay for tolls in Illinois and Indiana.

Phil liked the idea.  I had to tell Mom by Friday the 13th who would be taking me home, him or them.

Since they supported his driving me home for Easter Break, Phil thought his parents would support him driving me home and maybe even working in South Bend, so he mentioned it to his dad.  His dad didn’t mind, but said to ask his mom.

Phil did, but she was against it.  She said things like, he should be looking for a job now, we needed to spend time apart and not be together all the time, etc.

(Actually, it’s good that I spent so much time with him, because it taught me things about his character that I needed to know.  And he was going to get a job in South Bend: That was the whole point, because the job market was better there!)

Just as she and his dad often said about me staying over all the time: “She doesn’t live here.”  To this complaint, and to his mom saying not to take me home, he said to me, “You are my wife!”

Since she was against it, Phil’s dad joined with her.  But his sister said, “You’re over eighteen.  You don’t need their permission.  If you want to do it, just do it.”

My mom didn’t want him disowned over it, and I told him so, but he said,

“Call your parents and tell them I’m taking you home for sure.”

He didn’t tell his own parents or brother about this, though.  Instead of being an adult and not being ruled by his parents, he behaved like a child.  He let them believe my parents would come up on Sunday to take me home, and that I’d stay at Phil’s house till then.

I hated the deception, especially when his mom started going on and on about cleaning up the house for my parents’ arrival, and how I could help.  There was even talk of a little party.

I told Phil I hated this deception and secrecy, and that I’d rather he just told them, come what may.  I wanted a way to tell his mom without causing a problem.  But he still didn’t.  (It was his job, not mine, since they were his parents.)

His brother or mom would ask one of us a question; he would answer somehow, and I would evade the question so I wouldn’t have to lie.

The day before we left, we were supposed to help clean up.  I cleaned up Phil’s room while he was off somewhere else, vacuuming and possibly dusting it, and it looked better than it had the whole time I’d been with him.

I was proud of how it looked.  I wasn’t going to sit around on my butt while everybody else cleaned, even though my parents weren’t really coming.

We filled up the van.  It was partially packed already with things that I didn’t need at Phil’s house, on the pretext that we’d unpack them from his van into my parents’ vehicle.

Phil said nothing to his family (only his sister knew the truth), and had me take my stuff to the van and get inside.  Then his dad came out and called to him.  Phil went to him, and he asked what was going on.  I didn’t watch or listen, but his dad didn’t yell or anything, just let him go.  Phil went to his mom, kissed her, and said,

“There’s been a change of plan.  I’m taking her home.”

She was too stunned to put up a fuss.

He couldn’t believe we kept the secret so long.  I hated the whole thing.  It made me feel terrible, but Phil wouldn’t have it any other way.

Doing what he wanted to do, while still living in his mom’s house, seems to have been hard for him.  If he had more gumption to stand up to them and say he was an adult now, he would have said he was going to South Bend (no sneaking around), and we would have planned to get married probably before the end of the year.

Would there have been a secret marriage?  Probably not, because we wouldn’t need to do anything secretly.  And I wouldn’t have been forced to lie to my parents, either.  The whole thing made me sick.

I probably expected to get a taste of what it would be like to be publicly married to Phil, but I had no idea how bad that taste would be.

Then Phil took the van to Firestone in S–, to get the oil changed and such.  They told him the right outboard brake pad was 100% worn.  100%!

The brakes needed other repairs as well to make them work properly and safely again, but none of this was done on this day.  More about this in the September chapter.  We didn’t get to leave S– as soon as we planned, but we finally got home that evening.

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: