red flags of being used

Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 12

September 22.  Phil had once mentioned meeting Persephone, and sounded interested in her, which made me feel awful and jealous of her.

By this time she may have had a crush on James, which would have eased my fears a bit if I knew about it.  (Odd—he wasn’t especially handsome, yet without even knowing him, girls just seemed to keep falling for him–me included.)

One day, possibly anywhere between Monday and Thursday, I overheard Phil talking to Persephone at the table right behind mine at lunch.  I was all alone by then, and the cafeteria was almost empty.  He told her about the time he almost lost his legs during the summer, working at the Mishawaka factory.

When you’ve been married to and living with someone all summer, and he starts chasing another girl right in front of you, you feel like a part of you has been ripped out.

Next thing I knew, Phil came up to me, startling me, and started talking about Mike.  He asked if I talked to Mike about my crush yet, and I said no.  (I didn’t want to talk to Mike.)  Phil said if I didn’t, he would–which was a terrible intrusion he had no right to make.

But all the time he acted sweet and smiled.  I didn’t understand what was going on.  For me to be so surprised about it, it may very well have been Monday, when I still thought he hated me.

On the morning of September 22, I put out another fleece: that if Phil was meant for me, Mike would ask a question in class.  If not, the teacher would cancel class.  If no answer, both would happen, or neither.

I expected a no.  I went to class in the Chase basement, thinking it didn’t matter if I was late because we wouldn’t have class anyway.

To my surprise, there was still class that morning.  And Mike–well, he said one of those, “So you’re saying this is the case?” type of questions, more a clarification-question.

The teacher did let us out halfway through the class, so I thought maybe I got a “wait” answer, but then I thought, well, he didn’t exactly cancel class; he just let us go early.

So I sat in the chair in the little lounge under the steps there in the Chase building in the basement, and read the assignment for American Lit class.

I often went there that semester, when Intro to Christianity class let out early and I needed to kill time until Intro to Psych class the next period.  Sometimes I saw Phil pass by or heard his voice, because he had a class just above mine.

From October on, I tried to ignore him when he passed by, and pretend he didn’t bother me at all.  I liked my Lit books, and they, not he, would engross me.  Or so I wanted him to think.

Then I’d go upstairs to class, and sometimes I passed him on the way or got a drink at the water fountain when he was just down the hall.  Eventually, I ignored him and loathed the sight of him (you will soon see why).

I hated Phil in those days, sinning in my anger, and wanted nothing to do with him or his friends or his family (though I didn’t mind if his mom said hello and wanted to chat with me).  But it was impossible to keep a constant distance from him on that little campus.

On the 22nd, I went to lunch straight from a meeting with the counselor at 12:15.  Lunch closed at 1:30 each day that semester, since they expanded the hours on weekdays.  So I could get lunch, but I had to take whatever was left.

I sat in an almost empty cafeteria.  It was lonely, especially without my friends there, but I had to work not only with my schedule but with the counselor’s.

During the meeting, the counselor told me I was handling this much better than most people handle the breakup of an engagement.  I figured this owed to my past experience with Peter.

As painful as it was, the breakup with Peter taught me a lot.  When Peter broke up with me, I slept maybe two hours out of the first night–and that was part of my problem.  Fatigue makes depression much worse, much harder to deal with, and my inability to eat made me physically sick.

The counselor said my anger, as expressed in my diary the night before, was a good thing, a healthy thing, part of the healing process, and I should concentrate on that for a while.  I probably spent at least part of the meeting spewing out to her what I felt about Phil.

I still wondered, though, if I truly got an answer from God, or if I was misinterpreting it, or if it was just coincidence.  One more fleece that day, and that would be it.  I asked God to either open the door or to close it forever, whichever was in His good and perfect and wise will.

While I sat at lunch, probably thinking about the meeting and how enraged I was over how Phil had been treating me, the weirdest thing happened:

Phil came over to me, probably from the Muskie, and sat down across from me!  I believe he had already finished his lunch.

I didn’t know what he was doing there.  I didn’t want to see him.  I also no longer wanted him, no longer wanted the fleece to really be a “yes.”

He started saying some things to me, some nice, conversational things, while I sat there ripping on him in reply with witty and caustic remarks.  He didn’t seem to get it.

Then he said something insulting about me (I forget what), so I stood up abruptly and took my tray to the tray window.  He looked stunned.  I liked that.

However, I had to come back and get my stuff–my bag and, I believe, trusty duck umbrella.

I may have put on my light jacket, and was about to leave with my stuff, but he said something more to me, which got me to sit down again.  I don’t remember what he said, but it seems to have calmed me down for the moment.

But I didn’t stay for long.  I had to get to work soon, and I just didn’t want to be around him any more.  I wrote to a friend, “And then last Thursday, when I was mad at him and had been wanting him to stay away, he kept coming to talk to me wherever I was.”

My Thursday shift started at 2:30 and went until 4:30.  Phil came in the library while I worked.  He came and went, but I don’t think he said a word to me.

I had a sort-of-fleece, but without actually mentioning it to God, because I didn’t want it to be an official fleece, because I wasn’t sure I should be putting out any more.  But it was that he would come back down from the second floor, or wherever he went, in fifteen minutes or less, and that would be a “yes.”

He did so.

Near the end of my shift, Phil came up to the desk and started talking and joking with me.  This annoyed my co-worker Megan, who said,

“Why don’t you just go to dinner with her and talk to her there?”

Phil said, “Why would I want to have dinner with her?  I just broke up with her.”

He soon left, finally taking the hint.  I said to Megan, “He is so annoying.”

I went to dinner right away, hoping my friends were already there.  While I sat eating with them, Phil came over and took the empty seat across from me!  Pearl and I were both surprised.

He talked and joked with me, while I kept putting him down in witty ways.  After the others left, he still talked with me, even though I wanted him to go away.  He asked me to go to his house and see a movie that night.  I was like, Okay, whatever.  I also thought, Is this the open door I was asking for?

That night, I went with him to his house to watch Omen.  On the way, he asked, “Have you thought about my offer?  To have sex without commitment?”

I said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’ve decided that it wouldn’t be right.  Before, we thought we were married.  Now, we don’t.  We don’t have an excuse.  And I’ll need a piece of paper saying we’re married before I sleep with you again.”

We sneaked into his room and started watching the movie.  He hid me in his room, since he didn’t want the family to know I was there (why not?).  I stayed on a little chair in a corner for some time, while he looked for the movie and his mother talked to him.

Then he came back in and we sat down together on his sofa bed, which was pulled out.  He started to put his arm around me, and I cuddled up against him–all unexpected.  Then he started kissing me.  Then he wanted to make love to me.

I said, “Not without a piece of paper!”

He seemed so dejected, and so affectionate.  He said, “Don’t tell anyone we’re back together.”

I said, “I have to.  I’m not going to keep such a thing secret.  Are we engaged again?”

“Yes, I suppose we are.”

“And the spiritual marriage is back on?”

“Yes.  Everything is.”

“Well, I won’t do anything this time without a piece of paper.”

He got out a piece of paper and a pencil, and wrote words like this:

This is to show that Nyssa McCanmore and Phil O’Hara are married in the heart, the soul, and the body.  It is a real marriage, and this is binding for us, even if it isn’t a legal marriage.

So you see, I had a written contract expressing that we considered ourselves married.  We may have signed it; I have since forgotten.

I said, “Never do this to me again.”

“I’ve grown up a lot over the past couple of weeks, and I never want to lose you again,” he said.

I told him how I embarrassed myself with Peter and that I decided not to do that again.  I also told him about the fleeces, and some of the things people said about him, wanting to get those issues out in the open and out of the way.  I believe I also mentioned that they called him unstable.

I later wrote my high school friend Becky about all this.  He wanted me to keep the marriage secret from her over the summer, but now all our college friends knew about the spiritual marriage, and I told Becky about it as well, in an October letter.

So for the next week, we were openly married.  In some places, this would have made us legally married.

Laws aside, it was now a public covenant that we were married, which is more important in marriage than legal issues.

When Phil took me back to school the next morning, we walked arm in arm from the parking lot by the suites to my apartment.  We passed Kelly, InterVarsity’s chief nemesis during the play fiasco.

I figured Kelly must have known about the breakup by now, and this must have been such a sight for him!  I enjoyed it immensely.  Look at us now!  Back together and happy again!  I imagined Kelly telling the tale to others, seeing their shocked faces.

I went to my room to shower and change for my 9:15 class.  I saw on the message board: “It’s 8:30–Do you know where your roommies are?”  Referring to my “disappearance,” of course.  They were already gone, so I wrote a reply.

Blissful, I went to lunch.  My roommies sat behind the south Bossard partition (which was up), and I sat with Phil, Dirk and Sandy.  I saw Pearl come in the cafeteria; I smiled at her and said, “It’s on again!”  She rushed over and told the others.

Dirk said he and Sandy were happy for us, and, “We were rooting for you because you make such a great couple.”  (Heh, Dirk had such a way of showing this….)

I took the stuffed rabbit Benny down from the closet, and put Phil’s pictures and keepsakes back on my shelves and bookcases.

Phil soon told his family about us, but he didn’t think I should go over there again right away, because he wasn’t sure his parents would like it.  He said it was because we had broken up.

But he soon talked to his mother, and she said she didn’t mind.  He just wasn’t sure if his dad would mind.

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 the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 11

Sometime soon after the breakup, Phil told me he’d been bathing now–actually bathing, soap and everything–and brushing his teeth, so he could attract women.  He even shaved sometimes as well.

I don’t know why he told me this, but it was insulting.  So, he wouldn’t bathe more than once every two months for his own wife, but he’d bathe daily for complete strangers?

And he’d even been watching a dating network on S–’s Marcus Cable.  He just breaks up with me, and the bed’s not even cold before he starts looking around for another girlfriend!  Man, what a loser.

Before September 19, and probably around the 14th, Pearl told me about a journal that she and some others were going to start.  I asked to be a part of it.  It was going to pass from one hand to another, with each person writing a little something in it.  It would be me, Pearl, Sharon, Tara, Mike and Astrid.

While Carol was still at Roanoke, she and Pearl did this with each other.  When they wrote in it often, they got along just fine; when they neglected it, their relationship suffered.  We carried on this journal for maybe 16 years using group e-mails and a Yahoo group, before Facebook made it moot.

Friday, September 16.  It was odd to eat breakfast each morning at the dining table, because since late sophomore or early junior year, I didn’t get up for breakfast at all.

Junior year, my only breakfast was a handful of M&M’s from a big bag, which got me through the few hours before lunch.  Of course, after a while they seemed to do odd things to my stomach, so I figured they’d gone bad and stopped eating them.  I may have then started eating dry cereal from those little individual-serving boxes.

I loved eating breakfast from our own little kitchen on our own big dining table.  I also washed my dishes each late morning or early afternoon, depending on when I had free time, since I only had one set and needed to use it each morning.

However, as I did I felt restless, alone, like a part of me was gone and I was waiting impatiently for its return.  I think that usually, no one else would be in the apartment at that time.

At 11am on the 16th, I went to see Counselor Dude about my Senior Writing Project.  This project was required for Writing majors to graduate.  I told him I’d decided to work on Jerisland, the desert island novel I’d been writing and revising since 1988 (and periodically mention here), and I said,

“I’d better warn you that it’s a Christian novel!”–since, after all, his atheist beliefs were well-known.

“That’s OK,” he said, probably not too surprised–it was me, after all.  “I’ve read Christian novels before.”

****

On possibly Saturday the 17th or the previous Saturday, Anna invited me into her suite room after dinner.  It was homey to be in a suite again, if only for a few hours.  We had a long talk, and I discovered, in some amusing incident with a fly in the room, that I could joke and even belly-laugh.  We both noticed I was taking this much better than the time Peter broke up with me.

In fact, I might wake up in the middle of the night and feel despair and/or a restlessness, a sense that time was oppressive and I had too long to wait before Phil came back to me.  But it didn’t make me lie awake all night.  I could get a decent night’s sleep each night, even the Friday night after the breakup, instead of just lying there waiting for morning to come (as with the breakup with Peter).

Over the next few months as I read through the biblical book of Job, I felt the loss, the wondering why, practically everything Job went through.  Job asked for a trial, him against God; I wanted a trial against Phil that vindicated me against Phil’s actions, claims and complaints.  The ending of Job gave me some hope for the future, though I didn’t yet know what it would mean for me to be given back more than had been taken away.

****

Monday, September 19.  I wrote in my diary that I’d just had a long talk with Phil, and things weren’t as bad as Dirk made them seem.  He had the wrong idea about the situation.

Not only did Dirk have the wrong idea, Phil said he could act in front of Dirk and control what Dirk thought of things, what he thought was going on, how he thought Phil reacted and felt.

Even when Dirk said Phil was so depressed one night that he felt he had no friends, and everyone in Dirk’s apartment tried to tell him this wasn’t true–IT WAS AN ACT!  Phil said, “I’m that good of an actor.”

Why would he manipulate his own friend like that?  Unfortunately, this question did not come to mind.  I was so much in love and grieving that I missed this huge red flag, that Phil was playing us all like chess pieces: Dirk, Persephone, the people in Dirk’s apartment, even me.

But now, Phil revealed that he wasn’t nearly as angry as I had been led to believe.  Phil’s manipulation of Dirk caused Dirk to suggest he get a restraining order, but Phil said that was ridiculous.

Dirk, however, had been so controlled by Phil’s great act that he told me (probably as a scare tactic) that Phil was thinking of getting such an order (which Mom called the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard).  Phil reassured me now that he had no such intention.

So from Phil’s own lips, I got confirmation that Dirk was a pawn used for Phil’s Control by Proxy.  This explains why Dirk would get such a daffy idea as a restraining order on a harmless person who would never think of stalking or harming anyone.

This is a tactic used by abusers and narcissists, controlling their prey using third parties, as you can read if you click on the above link.

Not only that, but months before, Phil admitted he was spoiled like his nephew Taylor at about age four.  He recalled wanting a certain book, and manipulating his mother by throwing a tantrum until she got it for him.  So he started this behavior early.

In my diary entry, I mentioned Phil was in the fall play.  He got a part in Measure for Measure.  He said the theater director chose Shakespeare plays this year to avoid the controversy of the previous year.

He said a relationship with him right then would be hell anyway because he’d have no time for me: the play, work, school, pledging Zetas, etc.

(Though that didn’t stop him from starting one with Persephone a couple of weeks later.  That’s the second time a guy gave me the “I won’t have time for you” line.  It proves that if you want something, you’ll make time for it.)

My leaving him alone completely after he told me to, probably influenced what he said now (and made an RO especially ridiculous).

Phil agreed that we could be friends and write letters to each other, so one day I wrote him a nice, friendly letter.  He came to talk to me about it in the laundry room.

He said that even though we weren’t “engaged” (as he now called it, rather than “married”) anymore, I was still one of his potential “buyers,” and we could go on dates.

On Tuesday, he said we could only be acquaintances and I had no more chances; now, he reversed that, and began saying again, “Keep the faith.”  He said, “I’m tempted to kiss you, but I won’t because it wouldn’t be fair to you.”

The outcome of the laundry room conversation was so wonderful and comforting and encouraging that it made me happy for a time.  I felt Phil and I were now friends, despite everything, and told Dad about it.  I told Dad why Phil wouldn’t kiss me, and that it was so noble, honorable, of him.

So far, it seemed that this breakup was much better than the one with Peter, not just because of how I took it, but because of how Phil acted.

****

Sharon said if Phil never came to see me in the library again, the librarians wouldn’t be sad: When he hung around the circulation desk when I worked, not only did he make it hard for me to do my homework, but he scared people away from the desk and annoyed everyone.

I tried to keep him from drinking his Big Slam Mountain Dew bottles in the library, and Seymour complained about it to him.  He kept trying to get around this, drinking over by the chair under the window near the door to the lobby, saying it wasn’t actually “in” the library.  But I kept getting after him for it.

Pearl didn’t think Phil was a Christian, because he didn’t act much like one.  At least, not anymore.  I said, “I think he is; he’s just misguided.”  He was going astray and didn’t care.

“There are so many people,” Pearl said, “who claim to be Christians, but they don’t act like they’ve made God the Lord of their lives.”  This isn’t about whether you drink or dance, but about how you treat people.  And as an abuser, Phil gave Pearl plenty of reason to doubt his salvation.

I soon got to the point where I called my parents less and less often for advice on this.

My dad told me about fleeces, like in Gideon’s story in Judges, which I could put out to see what God wanted to tell me.  It’s not really “testing” God: That’s something different.

Dad said I could ask God to open or close a door (not literally, of course), and He would do this.  He also said that fleeces should be put out twice, as Gideon did his, to make sure that the answer was really from God and not just a coincidence.

What you do is, you either ask for your friends to do something a certain way, maybe something they often do, or you ask for something else specific to happen, and that will be a yes.  The answer can also come at a time when you least expect it: It pops into your head.

You can also do a series of things: ask for fleeces, then ask God to open and close doors for you.  (By the way, I am NOT recommending this, but telling you how it was explained to me, and how I used it.  The outcome will come later.  I also write about this here.)

On my dad’s advice, I prayed that God would open a door if Phil was meant for me, or close a door if he was not.

Dad also kept saying Phil was emotionally unstable, that he had better talk to a priest or a counselor soon because otherwise he was going to go over the edge.  He said Phil was a yo-yo, always going back and forth.

On the 21st, I put out my first fleece–for my roommie Sharon to make a certain sigh she often made–and she did so.

I wrote in the Journal around this time, “If God means for men and women to be together and married, then why the heck did he make it so hard for us to understand each other??”

But something must have clicked in my head on the night of the 21st, because after going to bed, I wrote a diary entry by the light of my clock, which was fluorescent and gave out a lot of light: I was very angry with Phil at the time, and wrote it all down.

I won’t reproduce the entry here, which was a vent session, but I will quote the most interesting parts:

Me shifting blame, eh?  I don’t think so.  Up till now I’ve accepted just about all the blame that’s been heaped upon me.  Well, I say, no more!…

If you don’t think I’m worthy of you, then screw you!  You’re not worthy of me.

…You told me [many times during our relationship] to go find somebody better because you weren’t worthy of me.  Well, you have your wish.  I see your unworthiness, so off I go to find someone who is worthy.

I wrote that I could no longer trust him because of the fake dream hoax (also here and here), and because he turned both my weaknesses and strengths against me, then said I treated him bad.

“I didn’t treat you bad,” I wrote.

At the end, I wrote, “You take my virginity away and then say we’re not really married.  What a scumball thing to do.  Good-bye forever.”

The next morning, I was still angry, though a part of me wanted to see things work out.

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:

 

Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk (Part 2)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 10

(Part 1)

Here’s what Dirk said about InterVarsity.  This is where it really got ridiculous–and threatening:

Dirk said that after the “stink” over the play last year, InterVarsity had really given itself a bad image on campus.

(Never mind the fact that we didn’t do it to ourselves.  It was forced on us by others and by public opinion and rumor.)

There were a few other things, too.  Supposedly new people did not feel welcome.  Supposedly we were cliquish, though I don’t know where that came from.

But this was lie and rumor started by I have no clue who: Almost nobody but us ever came to the meetings to begin with!  When somebody did show up once in a blue moon, they were lavished with welcome because we wanted the group to grow.  We were also friends outside of the group, same as any other group of friends on campus.

Plus there was the way IV people treated Phil, and since Phil was his friend–and he was a very loyal friend–he hated IV for that.  An enemy of Phil’s was an enemy of his as well.

He gave IV a month to shape up, or else he’d go to the school president and tell him what we were really like, and we’d be banned from the campus.  The president would be surprised because IV was his darling.

But Dirk said I was not to tell Pearl who told me this, or he’d be my enemy as well: He was a powerful foe, as well as a powerful friend.

He said I should distance myself from IV, one reason being that “our friends are reflections of ourselves.”

But how could I do such a thing?

They had not treated Phil badly at all; it was all Phil’s imagination–or deliberate lying.  What they objected to was how he treated me, which is a perfectly legitimate reason not to like someone.

They were my dear friends (and three were my roommies now), with me long before Phil ever was, and IV was my church when I couldn’t get into town.

I’d been called one of the “core” members, and I didn’t think IV or the people in it were bad at all.

They had been there for me and stuck up for me during the troubles with Peter and Shawn.

My friends supported me now and tried to help me out now that Phil had dissed me; why would I be ungrateful and walk away?

And how on earth were these good people a bad reflection on me?

Hmmm….What does it reflect on Phil to have a friend like Dirk?

I now see that this was actually Phil’s latest attempt, through Dirk his proxy, to separate me from my friends, fitting the question,

“Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or groups?…Or you may have been asked (or told) to reduce or stop contact with specific supportive people in your life (Lilac Lane, Symptoms of Emotional Abuse).

Phil’s actions since the separation/divorce, from unpredictability (one day he’d be nice, the next he’d be rude), to irrationality (suddenly telling me we couldn’t be friends), fit the “Unpredictability and Uncertainty” section here.

The depths of deception and lies coming from Dirk were staggering.  All that hate he carried toward innocent people, over things which never happened!  Where on earth did it even come from?

It must have been Phil, lying and manipulating his Flying Monkey into swooping in and manipulating me as well.

There were other things, too, which showed the black hole of manipulation into which Phil had put him: Ridiculous, baffling things with no anchor in reality whatsoever.  Insults to my character, overblown reactions, accusations that I did things that I never did, recommendations to Phil which were absolutely ridiculous.

Obviously Phil had painted me to Dirk as some kind of psycho abusive witch who deserved nothing but scolding, nastiness, even legal action.  Phil had put him into the rabbit-hole, and tried to use him as a pawn to get me down into the rabbit-hole, too.

It was a massive gaslighting scheme, meant to strike fear into me, and finally break me into a submissive puppet who would do anything Phil wanted. 

Who would let him screw me up the backside even if I screamed in pain and couldn’t go to the bathroom for weeks. 

Who would perform oral sex on him no matter how disgusted I was, and no matter if he had not bathed in two months. 

Who would say nothing to him but “yessir.” 

Who would let him go on and on about all the girls he wanted to screw, and say nothing in protest. 

Who would somehow see my friends dissing him even when they were not, stand up to them for something they weren’t even doing, and cut them out of my life–

–allowing in only people like Dirk, whom he approved because he listened to everything Phil said and could be used to control me.

Dirk decided he needed to lecture me, and give me pointers on how to get a man, or I’d end up an old maid:

1)    Learn to compromise.

(Which was odd, because I compromised as much as I could without endangering my principles.  I liked to keep peace.  Phil was the one who needed to learn to compromise, because he constantly refused to do anything I wanted or needed, while insisting that I do what he wanted no matter how degrading, disgusting or painful.  What a mindscrew Phil did on Dirk!)

2)    Dress to impress.  Wear red, since that’s Phil’s favorite color.  Wear great clothes.

(But then, I did that already, so I have no idea why he said I didn’t.  I mean, I wore nice clothes, vests, even clothes that showed off my figure when I was feeling particularly daring–like that black knit vest.  Two people complimented me on how nicely I always dressed, and Anna once said I looked dressed-up, a compliment to my sense of style.)

3)    Go to more parties.  Even frat parties.  The kind I hate because they’re full of weed and alcohol.  But he said guys wouldn’t find me unless I did this.

(I wouldn’t have liked those guys, anyway!  The guys I wanted, would go to church picnics, NOT cruise parties for easy lays or sit around smoking weed with the Zetas.)

I want to make an impression my last year, don’t I?  instead of being forgotten? Basically, go out with a bang instead of quietly passing, which he feared I would do.

(Though on afterthought, I’m not so sure I’m forgettable among the people who have known me, and I didn’t know or care much about the freshmen anyway.  What business was it of his if I was a serious student and introvert, and didn’t like stupid, noisy, wild parties?)

4) Positive outlook.  This one doesn’t need too much explanation.

(I’m not sure why he even said this.  It had nothing to do with me.)

Dirk asked me, “Don’t you ever look at a guy and wonder what he’s like in bed?”

“No,” I said.

“Come on–everybody does–it’s not a man or woman thing, it’s a human thing to look around and wonder this!”

But I insisted that no, I didn’t.  I was shocked at him.  I was a Christian, and not supposed to be looking around and lusting after the guys I saw.  So I didn’t.

Maybe what he said is a “human” thing is really a “young man” thing–or, rather, a worldly thing, and not fit for Christians to participate in, male or female.  So now he was trying to tell me my moral views were wrong.

One more thing: Dirk said he knew about the spiritual marriage.  I just wished he hadn’t said so in the library–there were other people in that room!

And he said I really didn’t know what was going on in Phil’s head when he agreed to it.  He said Phil did it because it was so important to me.

But one must ask the question: If it was all an act, as Dirk seemed to claim, wouldn’t that make it the cruelest joke Phil could ever play on me? 

That means he spent all summer telling me we were truly married whenever I doubted it, I bought into it, and lost my virginity to him under what were false pretenses!

Persephone later told me that at the time he thought he would marry me.

Though I don’t know who got the truth, and who got the lie, because Phil himself admitted to manipulating people during this time, letting them believe things that were not true.  More on this later.

After Dirk went back behind the circulation desk, he asked me if Phil was any “good.”  I didn’t want to tell him right there in the library, but he said I should be more open about such things.  So I smiled and nodded.

Actually, there’s no “should”: If I don’t feel comfortable talking about sex in public, that’s my right.  I should have remembered this and refused to answer his question.

Geez, Dirk was so frickin’ slimy, such a know-it-all, such a sycophant, such a tool. 

He’s probably a narcissist himself, because he was able to “hypnotize” me into this trance where I bought into the crap he spewed, but later my friends snapped me out of it again.  

After this I could not stand the guy, wanted nothing to do with him.

I heard he later married a nice girl, and that this disappointed Sandy, who dated him during this school year.

I could not understand why either one wanted him that much.  He was, after all, unattractive, nerdy, obnoxious and slimy.

I’m not a nerd-hater and don’t mind plain features, but personality plays a large part in whether I like somebody.

So in his case, it all added up to a big WHY?  What did the pretty girls see in him?  If he were nice and sweet, I would see it.  But no, he was obnoxious, a know-it-all, and probably a narcissist himself.

I see my old InterVarsity friends, friend him on Facebook, and I wonder WHY would they want to?  If he hated them so much, thought they were so awful, then why did he friend them?

I even got a friend request from Dave and accepted it, but when I see Dirk’s name, I feel a big, fat NO.  Dirk has not offered to friend me, but if he does, I might just block him in response.

But back to September 14.  Late that night or the next, I spoke with Pearl about IV, as I promised Dirk.  I didn’t tell her who said these things, but she guessed all by herself.

She was too shrewd not to, since she recognized his style.  But I didn’t tell her if she was right or not, because I didn’t want to get in trouble with Dirk.

His ludicrous threats struck fear into me, when I should have laughed them off.  I also told her what he said about Phil.

Dirk’s comments about IV angered her.  She said, “He’s never come to more than one or two meetings anyway, and we always invite him to things but he never comes, so who is he to call us unfriendly or cliquish?”

Besides, we were all friends anyway, so why shouldn’t we do things together as friends outside of IV?  We tried to welcome anyone who came to IV or wanted to sit with us at meals.

And, as I’ve seen in the years since, being considered “unwelcoming” is a problem common to all sorts of groups and churches, not just IV.

As for Phil, IV as a group was not ostracizing him. Certain people in the group just plain didn’t like him.  It had nothing to do with IV or him being Catholic or any of that, things which Phil told Dirk were the reason.  It was because of his annoying personality and the awful way he treated me.

Phil had tried more subtle means before of separating me from them–such as getting upset when I wanted to sit with my friends after dinner, and badmouthing them to me, telling me they hated him because he was Catholic–but now he was using Dirk to isolate me from them far more blatantly.

Dirk probably had no idea he was being used as Phil’s proxy, because Phil was feeding him all sorts of untruths about me, our relationship, and my friends/InterVarsity.

But I had friends not in InterVarsity who also hated him:

Why would Catherine hate him for being Catholic, for example?  Cindy was not in InterVarsity, was Catholic herself, and hated him.

And I had friends in InterVarsity who were not Evangelical or Fundamentalist.  Mike, Clarissa and Astrid were in the UCC, a very liberal church; why would they hate Phil for being Catholic?

Most of the people in InterVarsity, in fact, were not in churches which saw Catholics as somehow “not Christian” or the “enemy.”

Now Charles was both Catholic and in InterVarsity, and Persephone also, a Methodist and a liberal, had joined InterVarsity.  So it was not closed off to Catholics or full of Catholic-haters.

Religion had absolutely nothing to do with Catherine, Sharon, Pearl, probably Tara, probably Mike, and others hating Phil.  Tara was not even religious, though later she became Catholic.

It had everything to do with how he treated me, so that made them a threat, people he needed to isolate me from.  Meanwhile, I didn’t much like Dirk, but Phil would be perfectly fine with me being friends with him.

Dirk told me how depressed Phil was, how desolate he felt, that he came to Dirk’s apartment recently (probably the night of the 13th) and said he had no friends.  Everyone in the apartment tried to convince him otherwise.

So I pulled Mike into my room on what was probably the 15th and asked him to be a friend to Phil.  I still loved him, you see.  How could I just stop?  I didn’t like to hear that he was desolate.

However, he sure didn’t sound depressed or desolate when he controlled the conversation with me that night, telling me we couldn’t be friends.  And as I will describe later in the chapter, Phil told me this was actually a con he played on Dirk and the others.

I don’t think I told Mike a whole lot about what had happened, so I think he knew things from my roommates and from his own observations.  He said he would be Phil’s friend, and he also said,

“If Phil doesn’t like you the way you are, if he doesn’t think you’re good enough for him, you should just say, ‘Screw you.’  We like you, and you’re good enough for us.”

His support meant much to me, though I couldn’t (yet) imagine saying “screw you” to Phil.

During the day on Thursday, September 15, still under some of Dirk’s trance, I asked Sharon if she knew of any parties around campus.  She said she didn’t know and she didn’t care: She didn’t like the parties people had around there, nothing but drinking and drugs (marijuana) and loud music.

She shocked me back into reality, and then it hit me–Why did I even want to go to one, just because Dirk told me to?  Sharon and I had similar opinions about such parties: that they were worthless, and you could meet people and have fun in other ways.

I didn’t know how I could have listened to Dirk about this.  He was like Shawn, somehow weaving a web on me so I listened to whatever he said, but then I’d get away from him and with my own friends again, and realize he was full of crap.

My future “friend” Richard could do the same thing.  Why was I so susceptible?

Then I saw Clarissa, and told her Dirk was like Shawn: He could talk me into believing whatever he said, no matter how wrong it was.  I said, “I can’t believe I fell for it again!”

Clarissa also noticed that about Shawn.  He talked her into thinking she should pledge Phi-Delts to make friends.  She didn’t know why she’d listened to him, especially after seeing what happened to me when I pledged.

As for what Dirk said–Telling me to change myself.  To “learn to compromise” when Phil was the controlling one who never would be reasonable and absolutely refused whatever I wanted, while insisting I do whatever he wanted, no matter how painful, gross or degrading.

And all the other stuff Dirk said, a ventriloquist doll for Phil.  I had to keep a tighter rein on what I let myself listen to and believe.

By the way, all of these people are still my friends.  We chat on Facebook, meet up every now and then, and I have grown closer to them through e-mail than I even was before.  Before Facebook, we often shared group e-mails.

Mike has helped me through some difficult times, such as the trauma from abusive ex-friends Richard and Tracy, and opened my mind on religious and other issues.

He even advised me to report Richard and Tracy to CPS.  Sharon also advised me to report Richard and Tracy to CPS, when I did not know whether or not the state would consider them abusive. 

Pearl disappeared for a while, but has finally come back.  I see Catherine every now and then as well.  If I had done as Phil wanted, I would have missed out on all this.

My mom said Dirk’s opinions were bullsh**.  Gee, Mom, don’t hold back!  😉

Also, the support of my friends and family, and an hour-long prayer with Pearl the night before, caused me to write in my diary that the 17th was a good day, that I was cheerful and enjoyed the day.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

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

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk (Part 1)–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 9

I had been trying the past couple of days to get to Career Services, but they were closed each time I could make it.  The problem was finding a time when they were open that fit with my schedule.

I was thinking of finding a job in S– so I could stay around there, which I used to think I would do anyway, unless Phil and I went to live with my parents after the wedding.

Anyway, since this was right after the split and it still seemed possible that he would cool off and call off the divorce, it made sense to make sure I could stay in the area until then.

And it was also to stay near my friends.  I didn’t have many left in South Bend that I was still in touch with, but I had a bunch around S–.  I mention this for a reason that will soon become clear.

Wednesday evening I went to the library to take care of some class business, and Dirk was there, working.  He said he had a few things to discuss with me, if I wanted to talk to him.  I agreed.

He asked another student worker to cover for him while he took me into the adjoining room, the one with reference books and oversized books.  We sat on one of the couches by the oversized books, and talked.  This spot seemed too public, so I hoped our voices were low enough to not be overheard.

We talked about all sorts of things.  I could tell that Phil fed him all sorts of untrue things about me.  He gave me advice I did not need; told me to do things I was already doing, chewed me out for things I supposedly did or didn’t do.

He knew everything about relationships, me, and Phil.  He knew the real reason for the secret marriage (which he didn’t tell me).  He knew Phil was upset about particular things, and why, though I did not.  He knew how I could get Phil back.

He would tell Phil if I responded appropriately to this lecture.  Red flag warning!

He knew how a girl should act to get men (apparently, my dressing in attractive but modest clothes wasn’t enough to “dress to impress,” even though a Christian woman should not be “showing her wares,” so to speak).  He knew that I–Well, let’s just quote him:

“You’re the only girl I’ve ever thought I needed to tell this to,” he said, “but here goes: You’ll probably end up an old maid.”  (Yeah, tell that to my husband and child.)

He knew everything about the Bible and what it really said about sex; if he were wrong, he’d be struck down for the things he’d done.

He knew that I should convert to Catholicism if I wanted to marry Phil–even though I would have ended up one of those reluctant, “bad” Catholics who don’t really believe it.

He apparently didn’t know that there are ways for Catholics to marry non-Catholics so that even the Catholic church recognizes it, even without a Catholic ceremony or Mass.

Such weddings can be blessed by a priest, even if not officiated by one.  It sounds like Phil did not even bother looking into these alternatives, which is a shame, because they could have settled everything to the satisfaction of him and me.

Note how Dirk tried to shame me into abandoning my own beliefs and switching to Catholicism.  Red flag warning!

Unfortunately, Dirk was just like Shawn, and could talk you into believing anything he said.  Then later on, after talking to friends or contemplating, you’d realize, “He doesn’t know anything about me/the situation/reality!”

For one thing, it’s impossible to be an old maid when you’ve already been married.  For another, without adopting any of his suggestions of how to get men, but by being myself, I got three more boyfriends that year, and married one of them.

He told me that Phil thought my friends wouldn’t let him sit down when we were watching My So-Called Life, just because they gave him the only seat left, a cushioned milk crate we often sat on.

But that wasn’t all.  The time he came over after playing D&D with Dirk and his new girlfriend, and we were playing Spoons, Phil said he didn’t feel welcome, and no one let him sit down.  Both times, I didn’t defend him.

Well, I said, I didn’t know I needed to–I saw no such thing!   (Shows how much Phil communicated with me!)  So now Dirk thought I was horrible, over something that didn’t even actually happen, that wasn’t even true.  

And if Phil was so offended by something I had no clue about, why didn’t he speak up about it to my friends, instead of putting it all on my shoulders?  Am I his attack dog now, too?

Dirk chewed me out for telling Phil about my crush on Mike.  Apparently, Phil didn’t tell Dirk his rule that we confide in each other about attractions to others, or that Phil found it totally appropriate to tell me every girl he lusted after.

Apparently, what was good for the gander was verboten for the goose.  How dare I be attracted to a sweet, non-abusive guy after a summer of abuse, and how dare I mention it after my husband’s been repeatedly telling me I’m not enough for him.

Dirk also seemed to think I didn’t know what love is or what it means, and said I needed to learn that.  He asked, did I ever do anything romantic, like a candlelight dinner?–

While I thought, wait a minute, why in the heck is he telling me these things????  Why should he ask such a thing?

I stay faithful despite everything, and Phil leaves me without trying to work things out, yet Dirk says I don’t know the meaning of love?  If that were the case, then why did I stick by men until they left me, instead of leaving them first?

And who ever said I was not romantic?  I loved romance, and I liked special moments to be special however they could be.

I didn’t do candlelight dinners because I didn’t cook and I didn’t have any candles, and it wasn’t like we ever had the chance to anyway.  There was no place in the dorms, where they were verboten, and we lived with our parents.

That didn’t mean I didn’t make up for it in other ways.  Candlelight dinners are not the only romantic thing you can do.

I am a romantic soul, the one who writes about passionate love between aliens and time-travelers and such, and between humans and vampires.  I fell in love so easily with the people I dated, and longed for romance.  I didn’t/don’t know where Dirk even got the idea that I might be lacking in love or romance.

Phil abuses me in various ways all summer, fights everything I need or want, cuts me down constantly, even sexually assaults me because he refuses to respect my wishes that sex not involve excruciating pain, but I don’t know anything about what love is or what it means?

I don’t know what Phil had been telling him, but obviously it was a whole pack of lies.  Phil had his brain so screwed over that Dirk thought he knew everything about me and what happened, but he knew absolutely nothing.

I could tell Phil didn’t listen to me, but Dirk listened to him.  Dirk was a pawn in Phil’s Control by Proxy.  Nowadays, he’d be called a Flying Monkey or a sycophant.  I never had a thing to do with him after September.

For example, when Phil broke up with me, he kept saying, “You say you want to be a housewife,” as if that were a fault, as if I refused to ever work outside the home.

I’d tell him that’s not what I said, but he kept harping on it.  Over the summer, I told him again and again that I wanted to be a housewife so I could have time for my writing, because I saw writing as my life, not any other career.

But I said again and again that after we got publicly married and moved out on our own, I’d do my share to bring in money until he got his acting break–even work in a factory if I had to.

But my wish was to one day retire from this and write full-time–once we could afford it.  I also felt it was best to stay at home with our future children.

I never said I’d refuse to work no matter what.  I just said I preferred a traditional role so I would have time to work on my writing career.

Now, Dirk started harping on my wanting to be a housewife.  Phil must have ignored everything I ever said on the subject, and told Dirk I was not willing to contribute financially.  Here’s the gist of what Dirk said:

“You should have plans for something to do with your life.  You’re smart.  You can do something, make something of yourself.  Look at Margaret Thatcher–she’s a prime minister!  Just because you’re a woman don’t think you can’t do anything important.  Find a career goal.”

What I wish I would’ve said to Dirk: “I do have a career goal: I want to publish novels, as I told Phil many times.  It takes brains to do that, and it’s important. 

“And what the heck ever gave you the idea that I thought women could do nothing important?  Do you think I could be born in the 1970s and grow up in the 1980s thinking that women were fit only to look pretty in the drawing room?

And what’s so unimportant about raising children and running a household?  Just tell a stay-at-home mother of three kids that she’s lazy, she’s not contributing and her work is meaningless–and see what happens.

“Once upon a time, women were expected to be housewives; now that the pendulum has swung the other way, women are often expected to go out and get a job along with taking care of the house, and derided if they want a traditional role.”

I have to wonder if Dirk knew that Phil treated me like a disobedient servant, not a wife, a throwback to the days when men thought women couldn’t handle intellectual pursuits.

Just so you know I meant what I told Phil:

After college, I got a full-time job in insurance.  I worked for a couple of years, became a homemaker for a year after being downsized, then worked again part-time for four years to pay off some debts.  Then I became a stay-at-home mother.

All along, I have written; my books are now published (information here) and making a little bit of money.  I am also getting some success as a blogger.

Just what I said I would do, and all perfectly acceptable.  Despite how he and Dirk both scorned it, I’m living the dream, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

This article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Orthodox woman who used to be a feminist Episcopalian, describes how feminism–while certainly making good changes, such as the vote for women and more natural standards of beauty–also made some very bad changes.  One was the idea that women should find careers more important than staying at home, that “staying home and raising kids was mindless drudgery,” that “housewives were dumb.”

There’s nothing wrong with mothers working.  But the choice of a housewife should be respected, not derided.  Housewives with children are very busy, and have to use their brains all day long; calling them lazy is ludicrous, as is saying that a housewife is wasting her brain.  These jobs would have to be done by somebody, even if the wife didn’t do them.

And I certainly don’t waste my brain when I do finances, make out a menu, or act as the tech support for my household, since I understand computers much better than my engineer husband does.

But back to September 1994.  Though ticked and confused, instead of what I should have said, I said, “Tomorrow I’ll go to Career Services.”  (You’ll note I’d been trying to go there already anyway.)  He said that was good, and he would tell Phil that.

I should have told him off.  Of course, I don’t remember what else I said.  I might have set him straight, or tried to.

Right after I said I’d go to Career Services, I said that the next day I would also talk to Pearl about what he said about InterVarsity.  He was pleased with that as well, and said he’d tell Phil about that.

So you see, he got me under a bit of a spell, controlling my mind, getting me to think he was right even when his words made no sense and had no connection to reality.

Part 2

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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