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:

 

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Phil rapes me anally–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–July 1994, Part 2

[And Richard, you made fun of Todd and tried to make me feel like a prude, when I’ve been traumatized by being forced and coerced into oral sex.  For some of us, it makes us sick to our stomachs, along with any and every webpage, forum post, or day-to-day comment in conversation, that women must do this to make guys happy (I’ve seen a few of these), or that anybody should or must do this, or that if you don’t like it then it’s not being done right (what you said).]

Trigger Warning: Rape Described

Phil kept wanting to do my backside.  I didn’t want him to.  I let him once or twice, but it was too painful–like my horrible first time all over again.  He had never heard of lubrication or the need to wear a condom, but was obsessed with anal sex.

I didn’t (still don’t) understand how anyone would like it, but Phil’s last girlfriend (number six) said it was the most pleasurable way for a woman.  (Say WHAT?)  But it was not–it was some of the most excruciating pain–so she must’ve been a masochist.

He knew it hurt me, but thought it was like vaginal, and would only hurt the first few times.  But the anus doesn’t have a hymen, and is not meant to be used that way.

Also, the pain was a gift that kept on giving: I felt it afterwards, and bowel movements also hurt.  It was even worse than getting a rectal exam from a doctor.  At least a doctor knows how to do his job safely.

I hated to hear Phil whisper in the middle of sex, “Please–give me your backside!”  No means no!

But one day, Phil said if I didn’t let him do that, he wouldn’t be able to have sex with me in any other way for several weeks: He wouldn’t be able to get excited enough.

He didn’t understand, but that hurt me emotionally just as bad as anal sex hurt me physically.  I still didn’t want to do it anally, despite what he said.

He was using emotional and sexual manipulation to get me to do this horrible, painful thing.  He even accused me of always having to get my way, because I refused to do this.

The next morning, I took my temperature and recorded it for Natural Family Planning, but then started crying, wanting to throw the notebook aside.  What was the use of watching my cycle if we weren’t going to have sex for a few weeks?

I cried at least once more that day.  I told Phil about it, probably that night, and he said, “Is it really that important to you?”–like he was surprised.

But why wouldn’t it be?  I had my own desires, for normal sex and not some aberration, but these were not being recognized, just constant pressure for something bizarre and painful.

He said maybe anal is the “natural” way in some cultures, but I really doubt that.  I had to explain to him that the Clan of the Cave Bear’s “back entry” scenes didn’t involve anal sex, but rather an animalistic version of vaginal sex.

Once, before our marriage, he said he could go without sex if I didn’t want it.  If he could abstain from sex in general, couldn’t he abstain from anal sex if I didn’t want it?

After I told him how I felt and we talked about it, everything seemed back to normal.

But one night, what a horror!  In the middle of things he said, “Give me your backside.”

I kept saying, “No, not that way!” but he kept pressuring.

Before we finished, while still on top of me, he withdrew and moved down to my anus, not actually in but trying to get in.

I pleaded with him to move.

I clearly said no, and I also struggled, trying to push him away.

But he didn’t listen and didn’t move, and he ejaculated like that.  It got all over, and I got mad at him for not respecting my wishes.

At one point, as he sat hunched over on the side of the bed in the darkness, I said that rape could be grounds for divorce.

He said in a trembling, petulant, upset voice, “So are you going to divorce me now?”

I said no, but our reconciliation was probably painful.  It felt like a rape.  I still think of it as one.  He did to me sexually what I didn’t want him to do, despite my pleas.  The trouble is, in a situation like this, how would you even prove it in court?

At least, that’s how I thought at the time.  Indiana law in 2013 would indeed consider it Criminal Deviate Conduct, Class B Felony.

However, it’s been almost 20 years and laws on all sorts of things have changed since then; I don’t know if this law was on the books back then:

  • Criminal Deviate Conduct, Class B felony: knowingly or intentionally causing another person to perform or submit to deviate sexual conduct* when:(1) the other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force; …

* Deviate sexual conduct, according to IC 35-41-1-9, is any act involving “(1) a sex organ of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; …”

[Update 9/17/14: The laws were changed just since I posted this in December 2013, thanks to the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  Now it is indeed called “rape,” rather than “criminal deviate conduct,” and the law reads,

“Sec. 1. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a person who knowingly or intentionally has sexual intercourse with another person or knowingly or intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to other sexual conduct (an act involving a sex organ of one (1) person and the mouth or anus of another person) when the other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force; commits rape, a Level 3 felony.”]

As you can see, this also applies to unwanted oral sex.  This was another point of contention: It was gross, no matter who did it to whom.  I didn’t want him to kiss me afterwards, but he would whine that none of his other girlfriends said that.

I didn’t want to do it to him, didn’t want to put anything like that in my mouth, did not like the taste, would not do it long enough to get him to ejaculate, because it was absolutely disgusting.

But he kept trying to get me to do it.  (His “subconscious” tried to ease me into it.  More on that later.)  But I got no pleasure from it, was grossed out by the whole thing.

I may have been traumatized by this and the constant coercion: When the cafeteria served okra that fall, I couldn’t eat it, because it was slimy and reminded me of oral sex.

Ever since then, I have never engaged in this disgusting practice again, and have been blessed with a husband who also finds it gross and wants nothing to do with it.

Late summer, during sex, Phil sometimes tried to turn me over to do my backside–with a petulant, angry, stern look on his face, like he wanted to control me and I’d better do what he wanted or else.  I would refuse and resist his hands, and push myself back down.

But what really got me was that he’d pick a fight with me practically every time right after we’d made love.  This is the time to bask in the glow, not pick at the person you’ve just been sexually intimate with!

I would lie there naked and vulnerable, all satisfied and happy, and he would yell at me for one thing or another.  It really, really hurt.  Instead of being most satisfied and happy with me and our marriage, my “loving” husband would turn on me.  Yet another trauma.

I’ll jump on ahead to September to include another incident of sexual coercion.  In September, he broke off the marriage and spent a couple of weeks psychologically abusing me.  Then he came back to me.  I thought he wanted to be married again, but he just wanted sex and a submissive puppet.

By now, my will was broken, and I was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.  

I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.  

He seemed like a different person.  After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants. 

He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not. 

I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t.

 

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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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:

 

 

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Hemorrhage and excruciating pain after first time: My Secret Marriage to Phil, Part 2–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–April 1994, Part 6

A bunch of us planned to go to a Choir (Christian alternative band) concert that evening.  I wanted to finally get my own copies of Pearl’s Choir CD’s.  My friends and I rode in a car to the place of the concert.  They were Pearl, Mike, probably Sharon, and probably Tara or Astrid.  They had no idea I was now a married woman.

The place was an hour and a half away.  When we got to the place, it was deserted: no concert, no sign that there ever was to be one!  We were confused, especially Pearl, who had read about the concert in her CCM magazine.  The others decided to go to a movie, rather than just coming out all that way for nothing.

I wasn’t entirely convinced that our marriage was real and not just playacting.  So in my heart I felt that if we were delayed that night, if I got back very, very late, it was a sign that God did not actually consider us married, that He was trying to keep us apart.

I believe I started to feel this way before we found out the concert wasn’t there.  Then I thought God most certainly did consider us married, because I would be back far sooner than I’d expected.

But then my friends decided to go to a movie.  All during the night I said nothing when they made plans, because I felt I should let the results of the test be whatever they were supposed to be, and not tamper with them.

I’d never heard of the movie The Paper and the movie poster didn’t interest me, but my friends wanted to see it.  I ended up loving it.  These are my impressions of it:

Yes, as they said in the beginning, the whole world can change in twenty-four hours.  After all, all of a sudden I was married!  I hadn’t expected that when I got up that morning.

I had no idea what the movie was about, especially when I saw the opening scene with two black teenagers finding horrors.  I feared it was one of those gross action films, but it was not.

I watched Henry and his wife Marty interact, and thought, They’re married, and now so am I!  And one day, we’ll be about to have a baby, too!

Alicia telling her extramarital lover that “This is the last time” reminded me of Shawn (see index below for his story), who said that often.

The movie was wonderfully loony, with “Let Marty talk to her husband,” Robin the green, fourteen-year-old photographer (I didn’t know that was legal), and “A bullet came out of the wall–why did the bullet come out of the wall?”  (Our group loved this and began reciting it.)

Pearl cried out in dismay and shock, which I also felt, when Marty found blood instead of water on the floor when she was near her time.  I wondered if Phil and I would ever be in that situation, with me nearly dying from hemorrhaging during a pregnancy, and how we would deal with it.

These thoughts and my own marriage made the movie both significant and special to me, yet Phil preferred to make light of it and pointed out a movie review that said it was bad.  We never did see it together.  But my friends and I all loved the movie.

On the way back to Roanoke, maybe an hour or two earlier than we’d originally expected, I sat on the right side of the car and watched the moon.  It was midnight blue behind the clouds.  It was so beautiful that night, the perfect end to a perfect day for a wedding.  I kept silent and thoughtful, thinking of my new, secret status as wife.

Rather than go directly to Roanoke, the others decided to go on to S– and have a snack at Country Kitchen.  I had something with hot fudge and ice cream, and maybe a Dew or Root Beer as well.

The others spoke of staying up all night and watching the sun come up.  I don’t remember if they actually did it, but I said I didn’t want to do that this time.  (I had a husband to get back to.)

It began to rain hard.  I don’t remember how long we stayed there, but we finished our snack and the time finally came for us to go back to Roanoke.

At Roanoke, I forget where exactly I found Phil, but he was standing outside–and soaked.  He was angry at me 1) for not coming home when I said I would, and 2) for not saying anything to the others to hurry them along.  But you can see my reasons for not doing that.

He was also mad at me for something that was his fault: that he’d been standing in the rain, waiting for me!  I couldn’t believe he had done this.

When I got back, I expected to find him warm and dry in either the Phi-Delt suite or Krueger.  If no one was in the Phi-Delt suite to let him in, he could have picked up the phone outside Krueger and called Clarissa to let him in.  He knew the number, and there was a directory by the phone in case he forgot.

Failing that, he could have waited in the minivan, maybe parking it near Krueger or the suites so he could see me get home.  By the time I got home Clarissa would certainly have been in the room, and she could hear the phone even when her hearing aid was out and she was in bed.  If she was in bed, she could have opened the door and had him sit in the lounge.

Or he could’ve gone in the suite laundry room, which had a door open to the outside 24/7, or stayed on the ground floor of the suite building, where the upper walkway made a huge frickin’ overhang.

But he did none of these things, and it’s hardly unusual for people to come home from a social event much later than planned, especially one with a long drive.  (Which seems odd now, because I noted above that we were way ahead of schedule.)

Yet he was mad at me as if it were my fault somehow!  Now I see it as yet more controlling behavior by an abuser, another red flag of abuse which I missed, an element of narcissism to blame you even for things that are beyond your control.

This was hardly the wedding night I had expected, or that I had always wanted.  Phil arguing with me when we had been married only several hours?  Once we got to his room, he also got mad about my test, saying I was “testing God.”

But “testing God” means to live a life of selfishness and sin and throw it up in His face.  I was just laying out a fleece, something my dad had taught me about, so I figured it was perfectly fine.  It was simply an indication of whether or not God considered us married.

It was late, and I wondered if that meant we weren’t really married, but Phil didn’t put any stock in that.  In fact, over the next several months, whenever I doubted our marriage was real in God’s eyes, he would tell me we were definitely truly married…only to change his tune completely in September when he wanted to break things off.

Looking back, the anger and the refusal to consider my concerns, were huge red flags that he wanted me in his control–listening to his guidance on whether or not we were truly married in God’s eyes, so that I would be his subservient wife and willing sex partner.

Somehow we got through the arguments, however, and got ready for bed….I don’t want to go into detail, but it was…awkward, didn’t go the way it was supposed to, because we didn’t know how (despite all his fancy sex-ed education).  I mean, we knew some basics, but neither of us knew the vagina was separate from the urethra, and no, I had never used a tampon…..

The morning after the wedding, Phil said to me as we lay in each other’s arms, “Good morning, Mrs. O’Hara” or “How does it feel to be Mrs. O’Hara?”  It felt wonderful.

The next night, we tried again, with a little more knowledge this time of how things were actually supposed to work.  But because we found the correct way, I was in intense pain the whole time, and couldn’t wait until he finished.  He felt bad about it, but nothing stopped the pain.

Some say that you only bleed a little bit, but when I went to the bathroom I found lots of blood.  I just got over my period on probably Sunday, yet had to wear pads again.

They say it only bleeds the first time and that you only have pain the first time, yet I bled and felt pain for days.  (I had just finished my period, so it wasn’t that.)

I could barely sit down, which made Advanced Writing the next morning particularly uncomfortable.  At least the seats there were cushioned!

After the pain went away a bit we tried again.  But for days or weeks afterward, sex hurt, and this was very scary.

But because the marriage was secret, and we didn’t want anyone to think we were having premarital sex, I had no one to talk to.  I really could have used a website like this, but we had no such thing back then.

Also, from what that site says, I should’ve seen a doctor for my excessive bleeding, but I don’t believe this ever occurred to us.  We didn’t know what was “normal.”

Ironically, months later at a party, the subject of first times was brought up; I asked, “What if after your first time you bleed for days?”  I didn’t tell them that was me.  Pearl laughed and said, “That sounds like hemorrhaging to me!”

****

After the marriage, I told Phil about a picture I once saw in a Bride magazine back when my brother married his first wife:

It was part of a black-and-white ad, and showed a newlywed couple lying in bed.  The husband had his arm around the wife, who nestled her head on his shoulder as they slept.

It was sweet; I waited years for that to be my future husband and me.  Phil did this to me, and nearly cried, since he was so happy to fulfill that dream for me.

Now, when he’d have arguments with his parents, probably over me sleeping over so much or him going home with me for the summer, he’d say to me, “You are my wife!”  He wanted to tell them I was his wife and didn’t deserve such remarks, but he couldn’t.

I’d look at the family pictures on the basement wall and think, “Now I’m a part of that family and married to him,” while looking at Phil’s childhood pictures.

I didn’t know until maybe a year or two later that Catherine wrote a poem one day when I came in late to class.  I believe she noticed me wearing the same clothes I had on the day before, or maybe it was just because I was late.  In the poem, she wondered what we had done the night before, and if we were just using each other.

I marked the date of the marriage and the date of the true consummation with hearts in my day planner.

****

I used the rhythm method for a while, not knowing much about natural family planning, and because Phil was Catholic and believed artificial birth control was a sin.  He did a paper in high school about natural family planning, and wrote that if done correctly, it’s about 99% effective.

I knew that a woman was supposed to be fertile around the 14th day of the month, but didn’t know that people with irregular periods, like mine, might be fertile on a different day.  But for the first month of our marriage, I didn’t get pregnant, so I must have been doing something right.

Starting in the second month, I knew about taking my temperature, so I avoided my fertile days and didn’t get pregnant.  Phil assured me once or twice that if I did get pregnant, we would push up the legal, public wedding.  However, I got very frustrated with the rhythm method, since I didn’t know what to do and had to abstain for five to ten days mid-cycle.

Probably around May 4, which I marked with a diamond (it was probably day 14), I got upset and told Phil I wanted to use birth control.  You would think he’d agree, since birth control is much safer than the rhythm method, but as a Catholic he said, “Then I wouldn’t be able to sleep with you.”

He said he would be too conscience-stricken, even if I used the Pill and was the only one using the birth control.  He would feel that he contributed to my sin–even though, as a Protestant, I didn’t believe birth control was a sin.

Eventually he said that he couldn’t force me not to use birth control, and that I could if I wanted.  I think he even said he would still sleep with me.  But I would have felt bad for putting his conscience in such a position, so I decided to stick with natural family planning.

****

Soon after the marriage, as we went through the Burger King drive-through (maybe getting French toast sticks for breakfast or something), I had misgivings: Is my money now his, too?  Have I lost my independence already?  Am I really ready to be married?  Yet it’s too late now to turn back: I already am married.

I told him not to call me “wifey,” like before he called me “fancy,” because somebody might overhear like before.  Phil wanted it kept secret from everyone, even my best friend back in Indiana.  He didn’t want somebody to tell our parents, and he feared she would tell mine.  He didn’t want our parents to find out and get angry, maybe even try to keep us apart.

I often doubted that we were really married in God’s eyes, but Phil would say that yes, I was his wife, and yes, we were married: He had no doubt of it, he said.

What we did was a type of marriage: We bound our hearts together and spoke the same vows legally married people speak.  Over the summer, we shared the same house and food.  Also, some people have secret, legal marriages and yet don’t live in the same house or share the same food, so that isn’t exactly a perfect way to tell whether or not two people are truly married.

One day, Phil asked if I wanted to do as the advice column advised and register our marriage at the courthouse.  It was tempting, but I finally said, “If we do, our parents might find out, and I don’t want mail for Nyssa O’Hara to be coming to our parents’ houses.”  I also may have feared problems on our official wedding day.

Basically, even though we would be legally married, we still wanted the marriage kept secret.  I don’t know if these were good reasons or not, but they were good enough to me at the time.

For one thing, I didn’t know that before you got mail addressed to your new name, you had to officially change your name with Social Security and many other places.  If I had known that, then maybe we would have actually gone to the courthouse and registered our marriage.

And maybe Phil would have taken the marriage as seriously in September as he did in April, and not divorced me.  And I would have been terribly unhappy as time revealed him to be a bad husband, an emotional and potentially physical abuser–and I would’ve had to go through the courts to divorce him.

****

The song “Don’t Turn Around” by Ace of Base came on around this time, and I’d listen to it as Phil and I sat at the computer at his house.  We often listened to WIXX while sitting at the computer and playing games or working on homework, and those were happy days.

Some of the lines were, “Don’t turn around–I don’t want you seeing me crying.”  It was about a woman whose boyfriend had just broken up with her, and though she was devastated, she didn’t want him to see what he’d done to her.

I’d hear this and their song “I Saw the Sign” (about a woman who finally realized her ex was not the one for her and she could find the one who was), and be glad that–since we were married before God–the song would never apply to me ever again as long as Phil and I both lived.

There was yet another Honors Convocation on Friday, April 29 at 6:30pm.  Phil and I were both honored in it because we were both in the Honors CORE program.  It was odd to be honored for something that basically amounted to being in one Studies class instead of another.

Tables were all set up and covered with cloths in Bossard, and our parents all came, taking this chance to meet each other.  Little Taylor came along as well.  We met them at the Campus Center at 5:50, and the banquet was at 6.

It was funny that our mothers had the same name.  Our parents seemed to get along really well.

And through it all, they didn’t know Phil and I were already married.  This must have been how Romeo and Juliet felt around their parents after their secret marriage.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

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