stockholm syndrome

Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 13

The night after Phil and I got back together, my suitemates threw a party for us “summer birthdays.”  Those of us with summer birthdays had to stay out of the apartment between five and seven, while the others got the place ready for us.

I thought Phil would show up during the party.  He had a date for the following night with the sixteen-year-old (I guess she was now seventeen) who kept calling him when he had a girlfriend.

He made the date while we were broken up; he said it would be platonic, and he would tell her we were back together again.  Because of this, I didn’t mind so much.

Possibly during the party, Charles saw my videotape collection (Dr. Who, Gone With the Wind, Monty Python, etc.), cried out, and wanted to know who owned it.  It impressed him.

He also admired my book collection, which included Dr. Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books.  (In October, he started reading my new copy of the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s series.  However, I don’t think he finished it.)

Phil was gone for an awfully long time.

We had a fun party.  We even went outside on the little porch with the nice railing, tied balloons on Tara’s hair, and took pictures of her.

The Director of Safety and Security came by and said this was an “unauthorized social gathering,” too many people and not cleared by Memadmin, so we’d better go back inside and break up the party.

So we went inside, and instead turned on an audiotape of the Roanoke choir singing “The Messiah.”  If he came back, we’d say we were rehearsing choir songs.

We later found out he thought there was alcohol, but there wasn’t.  We could have as many people as we liked, as long as there was no drinking.  Otherwise, it would have to be cleared with Memadmin.  We didn’t drink at our parties, so this was funny.

Now that we were twenty-one, there might be a wine cooler or a strawberry daiquiri or the new drinks with the risqué names Sex on the Beach or Sloe Screw, but that was it.  I only drank pop.

During this party, we also played Phantom of the Opera music.  Mike turned on a Barry White CD to demonstrate to non-choir people what Derek had done on the last choir tour: Mike turned on the song “Feels So Good” and played the first few notes–Duhduh-duhduh-duh–then Barry’s words “Feels so good.”  Then Mike pushed the reverse button, and did this over and over again, replaying that first part over and over.

Derek made a tape of himself doing this over and over and over again, and played the tape over and over on the spring choir tour.  This drove everyone crazy.  The choir people, Mike especially, adopted this as a catch phrase–or perhaps, catch tune.

There were other couples at this party–Jennifer with the same Jason whom Catherine and Cindy had dated, Charles with Trina.  I felt lonely and depressed, almost as if I had no one, even though I was now back together with my Phil.  I didn’t know why I felt that way.

When Phil finally came near the end of the party, he told me the date was not the next night but this night, so that was where he had been all this time–at a coffeehouse with that other girl.

The coffeehouse was her idea: Her generation seemed to like those old-fashioned beatnik turtleneck coffeehouses, which were now coming back in style.  He told her we were back together, and she said she wasn’t surprised.

He looked odd in the black turtleneck he put on to “fit in” at the coffeehouse.  He left soon after, and kept waving and waving to me from his van as he left the parking lot by the apartments, the kind of thing he used to do.  It was funny.

One evening in the Pub, there was some sort of party.  Phil and I were there, as were James and Persephone.  Persephone came over to me, and smiled and looked surprised when I told her Phil and I were engaged.  She also said she had a crush on James.

****

TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL FORCE DESCRIBED BELOW

At his house one day, Phil said he almost wished we’d never slept together (even though we were married), because now he wanted all the girls he saw, and there were way too many cute freshman girls this year.

The more he talked, the more it sounded like a sexual addiction, so I begged him to get help for it.  It’s one thing to enjoy sex with your wife; it’s quite another to barely be able to restrain yourself around women!

I didn’t understand such a desire, myself, because I only wanted to have sex with one man my entire life: Phil, my husband for life!  And how could I be sure he’d stay faithful to me?

I had a day or two of happiness, but then started to feel a wedge between Phil and me.  He was very demanding, very pushy–and his ideas, plans and opinions about various things seemed a lot different from what they were before.

For example, he said he wanted to go to Thailand for a couple of years after we got legally married, to study martial arts for movie roles.  Thailand?  I thought we were supposed to go to Texas!

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.

Once, as a girl on crutches started to pass us on the sidewalk, I quickly moved to cross in front of Phil and get out of the way, so she could safely pass.  But Phil put out his foot and tripped me, almost making me fall!  The girl smiled at him (or maybe said “thank you”), and he smiled at her.

!!!!

I didn’t understand what was going on.  I complained that he tripped me, but he said he was “moving me out of the way” with his foot!  He treated me like I was the rude one, like I wasn’t getting out of the way so he had to make up for it and move me!

He humiliated me in front of that girl.  I burned with the injustice of being falsely accused–and tripped.  I was furious with him, but he just laughed.

More gaslighting!  And according to this website, tripping is one form of physical abuse.

How much farther could he have gone?  How far has he gone in the 20 years since I last saw him?

Many of the emotional and verbal abuse traits in that website are also familiar, as you will see.  It also says,

While physical abuse might seem worse, the scars of verbal and emotional abuse are deep.  Studies show that verbal or nonverbal abuse can be much more emotionally damaging than physical abuse.

That explains why I had so much trouble getting over this, still struggling some 11 years later, when I finally wrote about it on my Myspace blog and got it out.

Once, either now or before we got back together, Phil told me his friends had been encouraging him to break up with me–something about keeping him down, not letting him do things, exaggerated junk like that.

None of which was actually true.  It sounded like they thought I was the tyrant, when it wasn’t me, it was Phil.

The reasons were stupid and it sounded like they had no idea what was really going on.  My dad told me on the phone that in these situations, “The worst thing you can do is listen to your friends.”

It’s also quite possible that Phil made this up, another common tactic used by abusers to make you think you’re the problem because everybody says so. 

Either that, or he smeared me to them, too, a common abusive tactic to discredit the victim.  I went into this earlier: It’s called torture by triangulation.

On the night of the 24th, Phil, Pearl and I hung out in the living room, watching Demolition Man, Three Weddings and a Funeral, and some other movie with Rutger Hauer, the guy who played the white-haired robot from Blade Runner, playing an escaped convict in the future.

At one point there was the Chicken Movie.  I don’t know what its real name was, but it was terrible, something about a plague brought on humans by crazed chickens.  We called it the Chicken Movie.  I don’t think we could watch the whole thing.

Phil brought a plastic bowl and a spoon from home for soup, which was his dinner, but he left them there in our sink, dirty.

After Pearl went to bed, he said I was free from my vows, that I could go off with someone else if I ever wanted to.

I refused to accept the freedom.  “It’s worse than any chains you could give me,” I said.

For some reason, he found this strange.

I wanted us to say our vows again, which we hadn’t done since getting back together, and I insisted so he did, but he left out the vow of “cherish” and the vow of fidelity.

He said he was having a hard time keeping to the vow to “cherish” all the time, that it might lead to infidelity, and if he was bound to those vows he might end up hating me.  He wanted to be sure of them before he said them again legally.

He couldn’t be in my bedroom, but wanted to have sex with me on the couch.  I didn’t want to because I thought the others would be disgusted if they ever found out.

But he laid on a guilt trip, when I was already afraid of losing him if I didn’t do as he commanded or agree with all his opinions: “That just means you don’t really want to sleep with me.  Everyone else who’s ever wanted me didn’t care where it was.”

So I slept with him there, to prove I did want him. 

You see how he manipulated me into going against my conscience, forcing me through guilt and intimidation (the ever-present threat of losing him again) to be inconsiderate of my roommates. 

Ever after, I sometimes sat on that couch and remembered what happened.  It made me shudder, so most of the time I blocked it out.

It was because of him staying over that my roommates decided we must all clear it before someone’s boyfriend or friend stayed overnight.  They didn’t like seeing him there on the couch in the morning, and hadn’t expected it.

One day, as I sat with my friends, Phil came over and needed some money for lunch, so I gave it to him.  He said with a smile as he sauntered off, “You’re a saint–sometimes.”  What is this “sometimes,” another criticism because I’m not subservient?

Another time, while we were on the sidewalk by Muehlmeier, he got down on his knees and begged me for five dollars.  I gave it to him–but never saw it again, and didn’t bother asking for it.  This may have been Wednesday or Thursday.

On Tuesday, September 27, I had a meeting scheduled with the counselor at one p.m.  I told Phil right before that I would go see her, but tell her it was the last meeting I needed, and it might be short or it might not.  I might cancel it.  I didn’t know how long it would be.  I made this very clear to him–so I thought.

I told the counselor Phil and I were back together, so I wouldn’t need any more meetings.  She didn’t let me go that quickly, though: She gave me tips on conflict resolution, and a name of a book: Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.  I had never heard of this book before.

Our discussion ended up taking the full hour.  Once, we heard a deep voice outside the door, but I didn’t think it was his.  The meeting ended and I left.

Phil came to me, furious.  He chewed me out for taking so long.  It was his voice outside the door.

I said, “I told you I might stay the whole time!”

“You took so long!  You said you’d just go for a few minutes and cancel.  I asked some people where the counselor’s office was, and they didn’t think anyone was in there because they didn’t see the light through the door.”

“I told you I might stay the whole time.  I said I didn’t know how long I’d be!”

It didn’t matter.  He stayed mad at me, and I didn’t deserve it.  For being so affectionate the first few days we were back together, he had turned so distant–and no matter what I did, it was wrong, even if I had little or no control over it (the length of the meeting).

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 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: