trauma

Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 14

Intro to Psych was fascinating: It taught me a lot about such things as projecting your faults onto others, which I saw Phil doing.

The only problem was, it was an Intro class.  Like Intro to Christianity, I took it just to get credits.  For Christianity, I needed credits of any type so I’d have enough to graduate; for Psych, I needed Social Science credits.

But because it was an Intro, the class was full of immature freshmen.  Only a few people weren’t, like Astrid’s roommate Chloe and me.

Intro to Christianity, which I attended with Mike and Randy, taught how Christian doctrine developed and split over time.  The teacher, a preacher with the United Church of Christ, taught that Christ freed women, and Paul bound them up again.

We were also taught that the writers of the Bible saw a difference between Truth and Fact, which explains why, for example, the gospels have different versions of the same story, yet are still considered True.  The Truth is that Christ arose; the Facts are how many angels were at the tomb.

Unfortunately, we skipped over the section on Eastern Orthodox theology, so I knew very little about it until 2005, though I knew about the Great Schism.

Probably on Thursday, I went to lunch, went through the deli line, and spoke with the cafeteria lady who was at one of the food stalls.  (This may have been where the fries, or some other side dish, were.)

Sandy happened to be nearby as I told this woman I was engaged, and smiled and gushed about it.  Sandy didn’t say a word.

Amazing how, both times I got dumped, I had just been gushing about my engagement to someone the same day, and Dirk or his girlfriend Sandy happened to be standing nearby, silent–as if they knew something I didn’t.

Thursday, September 29, Phil took a nap in my apartment, after agreeing to go to the IV Bible study in the lounge that evening.  When it was almost time for the prayer group, I woke him up so he wouldn’t miss it.

Nothing at all unusual about that.  It’s polite, it’s kind, it’s helpful.

But he said, “I thought you said you wouldn’t tell me when to wake up and when to go to sleep.”

Can you imagine such an irrational comment?  I said this wasn’t the same thing.  I wanted him to join us because it was important to me, and he also said he wanted to come.

But he was so–weird about it, and acted like a jerk, like I had no right to wake him up for anything, no matter how important it was.

You see I couldn’t even be a normal human being around him.  Normal human beings wake up other normal human beings for things they want to go to.  I felt helpless, like the tiniest slipup and I could lose him.  (To me now, that doesn’t make him sound very loving!)

He finally got up, leaving some textbooks and pencils (some of the books were Dave’s) in my room.

(Just to clarify, since I’ve discovered that back in the ’70s, “jerk” often meant “stupid person”: I use the modern meaning of “jerk,” or someone who’s mean and nasty.)

We had a fun meeting with lots of people sitting on chairs arranged in a ring around and inside the TV nook.

After the meeting, Phil talked with someone; I believe it was the guy who came to InterVarsity once junior year, and wondered if Jews and Muslims, as People of the Book, would be saved.  Somehow, they got to the topic of how many kids a woman could potentially have.

Phil came up with a hundred, and I said from the couch on the other end of the room, “I don’t want a hundred kids!”  It was all playful and fun.

Later on, after the meeting ended it was just Charles, Pearl, Phil and me.  Phil and I cuddled together.

Phil and Charles got into a political argument.  I thought Charles was right and Phil was wrong, but said nothing at all about it.

Finally, the argument seemed to have ended.  Phil later complained that I didn’t support him in the argument, but how could I when I didn’t even agree?

Wasn’t I allowed my own political opinions?  And was I expected to back him up no matter what he said or how much I disagreed with it?

Soon, I quietly asked Phil to drive me to the store to buy milk and orange juice, but he said, “I’m not your taxicab.”  So I’m not even allowed to ask for a ride now? 

He then asked Charles and Pearl,

“Do you think a guy has to take his fiancée to the store if she asks?”

Charles and Pearl both said, “Yes, of course!”  Charles said yes if they’re going out and serious, and especially if they’re engaged.

I felt vindicated, and very upset with Phil for trying to humiliate me like that, though I still said nothing.

There may have been a few more words said between them, but I don’t remember.  He complained to me about people who don’t listen–though I thought the stubborn person here was him, not them.

I whispered to him, trying to be very calm and loving in my tone,

“Sometimes–I feel–you do the same.”

He said to me, “Thank you for being so supportive.”

Supportive?  After he’d just slammed and embarrassed me in front of my friends?  He treats me this way and expects me to support him?  My friends have just vindicated me and he says I should support him?

He got up and left the apartment.  I hurried after him, but couldn’t catch up with him, and he wouldn’t stop.  Then I did something that to this day I’m very glad I did: I yelled down the sidewalk to him,

“So you’re just going to run away?”  I used a tone that showed how cowardly I thought he was at that moment.

I went back inside and sat down on the armchair.

Charles had some choice words to say about Phil and his behavior that night.  Pearl was mad at him, too, and she showed it.  

They both thought his question about a fiancée was unfair to me, and that he was trying to embarrass me.  One of them, or I, said he seemed to be taking out his frustrations in the political argument on me.

A few minutes later, he called me up and said, “You’re more than free. Good-bye.”  Then he just hung up.

I tried to find him by calling Dirk’s apartment.  Dirk’s roommate Carl answered the phone, and promised to have Dirk call if Phil came there.  Unlike Dirk, he was very supportive of me.  Later Dirk called or I called him, and when I told him what happened, he said, “It sounds like you two have broken up.”

I think Dirk was very kind to me despite the lateness of the hour (probably after 11), and didn’t want to see us broken up, but felt powerless to stop it–even though he had done severe damage to my attempts to work things out.

Phil’s behavior all week long, especially including this, is well described in the “Disproportional Reactions” section here:

One of the favourite tools of manipulation in the abuser’s arsenal is the disproportionality of his reactions.

He reacts with supreme rage to the slightest slight. Or, he would punish severely for what he perceives to be an offence against him, no matter how minor. Or, he would throw a temper tantrum over any discord or disagreement, however gently and considerately expressed.

Or, he would act inordinately attentive, charming and tempting (even over-sexed, if need be).

This ever-shifting code of conduct and the unusually harsh and arbitrarily applied penalties are premeditated. The victims are kept in the dark.

Neediness and dependence on the source of “justice” meted and judgment passed – on the abuser – are thus guaranteed.

I believe this was indeed premeditated, that he wanted nothing but a subservient puppet with no mind or will of her own, and as soon as I expressed my own desires, my own opinions, that would be “the last straw” and he would leave. 

And somehow, it would be “my fault” even though the unvarnished truth is that he was an A$$HOLE and I did NOTHING wrong.

I talked to Phil on the phone the next day and asked him to come meet me and talk with me.  At least he gave me that much.  However, he insisted it be in the Pub, though it was public and often noisy.  We set the time for 3 p.m., after I left work.

During these weeks, I read books–a book on the Psychology of Love, which I’d bought sophomore year, when it was used by a Winterim class I didn’t take, “Love and Hate.”  I also started reading a book Helene lent me, on how to let go when you get divorced.

Both were very helpful to me.  I read them while there was still hope, and read them after the second breakup.  The first one I read when Phil and I first got back together.  I read it in just a few days to learn how to deal with our arguments.  The second one I read as I needed to.

I tried to set up rules to keep our discussion civil, probably using things I’d learned in these books.  The rules were to keep me in check as well as him:

  1. Issues will be honestly dealt with–not turned into arguments or “clamming up.”
  2. Each will listen to the other–not interrupt or get angry–and really think about what the other is saying.
  3. No getting up in a huff and stalking off–issues will be brought to a resolution.
  4. Each will be calm–no yelling, hitting, raising voices, or the like.
  5. Honesty–but not cruelty (including jokes).
  6. If someone violates the “rules,” the other one will calmly tell them– the talk is not over yet.
  7. Any and all apologies will be accepted.
  8. No accusations–use words like “I feel” or “It seems to me.”

I showed these to Pearl, and she thought they were fair.  I wrote them not only to protect me, but to protect Phil, because I could see myself breaking any of these rules quite easily.

Anna stopped at the library and gave me a pep talk about the meeting.  I prayed hard that it would go all right.  I think I even started to feel a peace about it.

3:00 came, and I headed over to the Pub with my books.  Phil was alone there.  I think I didn’t want to go there because I expected to find too many people, but only one person came in the whole time.

I showed him the House Rules, the pact I wanted to make with him.  But he refused to go by them, so I ended up not going by them, either.  What was the point, after all, if he wouldn’t play by any rules, to stick to any myself?

He was so pig-headed he wouldn’t even entertain the notion that I might have some good ideas about how to keep the talk at a reasonable, productive level.

Instead of sitting down and talking quietly with me, Phil played pool.  It seemed he didn’t want to talk with me, didn’t want to listen to a word I had to say.  He just walked around the pool table, shooting the balls.

It was frustrating.  It was done to show me that what I had to say was unimportant because it disagreed with His Majesty.

I tried to work out some problems, and it didn’t work.  He was so unwilling to listen to anything or even try to talk things over that we got into an argument.  I said he didn’t know the meaning of love; he said, “You’re right.”  Okay, for once we agreed on something!

Phil said cruel things; one thing was, he made me sound undutiful or uncaring because I didn’t confess to Mike that I had a little crush on him (and it was little–it had only just budded a couple of weeks before).

He yelled at me for never talking to Mike like he kept telling me to do, in those two weeks after the first breakup, and yelled that if I’d done so, I’d know it wasn’t returned.  He’d talked to Mike, and learned that “he does not“(that’s how Phil said it) return my feelings.

Not only did he overstep his bounds by scolding me for not broaching a subject with a friend without feeling right about it–

but now he made me feel like crap by not only saying Mike doesn’t return my feelings–

but saying it in such a way that made me feel presumptuous to even think that somebody else would like me. 

So now I was left with nobody at all, as he kicked me in the emotional side and made me feel like there was something wrong with having a tiny crush on somebody who didn’t return it.

But it hadn’t been right for me to talk to Mike, not while I was with Phil, and not so soon after the breakup.

There was also no sense risking Mike’s friendship over something that was so insignificant at the time.

But Phil had gone ahead and done that for me, a shocking betrayal, overstepping his bounds.

It was a blatant disregard and disrespect of me and my feelings on the issue.  It also could have jeopardized my friendship with Mike.

He also said at one point, “I’ll probably do things with other people,” meaning have sex.  I don’t know why he told me this, except to make me feel like crap.

I became furious, lost patience with his disregard for civility, and began saying what I felt.  Phil kept saying, “You’re right.”  This infuriated me even before, because it was an angry tone, and he’d once told me he did this to deliberately upset people during an argument.

All of a sudden, while I still had things left to say, Phil abruptly walked out of the Pub into the Campus Center lounge.  I almost followed, but when I got to the door and looked around he was already out of sight.

Rather than waste my time looking for him, I picked up my bookbag and left.  Sharon later said it was good I didn’t follow him.

I believe I said what I should have said, though it didn’t go very well.  I’m not at all ashamed of the chewing-out I gave him, either then or in later letters–I’m quite proud of standing up for myself, of refusing to sit back and be the victim of his abuse.

Because Phil was a classic abusive monster, even without hitting me, and I was well rid of him.  He was a narcissist, a sociopath. 

He broke things off with me because I dared to have my own mind, my own thoughts, my own opinions, my own needs. 

He was an old-fashioned chauvinist pig.  He broke things off with me because I was not a subservient, submissive slave who never does anything but what the Master wants, even if he doesn’t tell me what he wants.

My anger was fierce because I knew I’d been mistreated and abused.  I hated him.

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 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:

 

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:

 

Phil cuts off contact–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 8

That night was awful.  I tried to talk to Phil about what the counselor said.  I didn’t yell or scold or anything.

But he stonewalled, suddenly abandoned me for a time to talk to Dirk, treated me like a stupid witch who had nothing worthwhile to say, then treated me like I had no right to wonder when we were going to get back to our conversation.  These are abuse tactics.

They sat in the foyer of the library, while I was inside the library, on the other side of the wall/windows and glass door.

So Dirk, who knew absolutely nothing about marriage, became Phil’s choice of marriage counselor.  So Dirk became privy to who knew what, while I was given no chance whatsoever to tell Dirk my own side of things, and was left out of the conversation about me.

Dirk basically was put in the middle of everything, and probably fed Phil all sorts of bullcrap.

But I wasn’t even supposed to wonder how long this conversation was going to keep us from our own conversation, because when I went to the windows/door and looked at them, he made a gesture toward me as if to say to Dirk, “See what I mean?”

What on earth he meant by that, I had no clue, because I’d been left waiting by myself for quite a long time already, and this was extremely rude of Phil.

Earlier, he had given me every reason to believe that reconciliation was possible.  But now, after talking with Dirk, he suddenly said we couldn’t even be friends.  It is interference like this that led to me loathing Dirk, so much so that 20 years later, I still won’t even friend him on Facebook.

This stunned me.  I can’t remember why he said this.  I doubt that I knew then what changed the course of the conversation, because he only communicated through yelling and stonewalling.

But now as I look back over this, I’m certain it was Dirk’s doing.  I don’t know why on earth Dirk was so determined to split us up, since he did not want me for himself.  Unless, of course, Dirk was actually Phil’s pawn, manipulated into believing that I was the abuser instead of Phil.

I have every reason to believe this is why.  Abusers recruit others to help with the abuse, by making them believe that the victim is the abuser.  This is called control by proxy.

When I first made notes of this argument a couple of years later for my memoir, I wrote that Phil probably either overreacted–or was only acting.  He’d done a lot of acting those few days, as he told me a few days after this event–and as I realized when I contrasted his words to his actions.

All I could do was leave him and not talk to him again.

I didn’t realize yet that his actions proved he had never loved me, no matter what he told me before or his insistence that he still loved me.  When you truly love someone, you don’t treat her this way.

In 1996 or 1997, as I worked with Cugan’s friend Laura on ideas for my wedding dress, she told me she knew Phil.  He used to come into the gaming shop where she was a clerk, and buy dice and other Dungeons and Dragons items.  She knew that Phil had to marry his girlfriend.  And that shop was in M–, not S–!  Small state, eh?

He used to go there with his high school friends, with whom he kept in touch after high school.  Laura told me they were upset with him over something, and that he’d been ostracized for it, but she didn’t know what the thing was.  I always wondered if they finally saw how he treated his women.

Laura used to think he was a nice guy, but she had been an abused wife herself, and stopped liking him as soon as I told her he was “borderline abusive.”

I’ll say this as well, in case any of you finds yourself in a similar situation.  I have heard and read other stories of emotional abuse.  In one, the guy made a date with another woman while lying in bed with his girlfriend, and then told his girlfriend she deserved that.

Many times, an abuser will hit his wife because she did something he thought she shouldn’t have done.  She will then start to believe she deserved what she got.  Don’t let yourself get into this trap.

In the following months, my friend Helene said, “It sounds like he’s trying to control you even after the relationship is over.”

Did he break up with me because he couldn’t control me?  (Sort of like in the song “Control” by Puddle of Mudd: “I can’t control you/ You’re not the one for me, no.”  Or in “Special” by Garbage: “I have run you down into the ground/ Spread disease about you over town/ I used to adore you/ I couldn’t control you.”

Also, in a letter to the editor in the 9/28/98 edition of US News and World Report, speaking of the Clinton/Lewinsky/Starr scandal and Hillary’s insistence on standing by her adulterous husband, a reader wrote, “Even women battered and bloodied will defend their abusers.”  A typical response of an abused woman is, “He was right and I was wrong.  I deserved what I got.”

In one way I was typical, in that I didn’t see the abuse for what it was.  In another I wasn’t, in that I refused to say I deserved what I got and that Phil was right to treat me the way he did.  This refusal to be a victim, to just sit back and take it, to act like a victim, may be a subconscious reason why Phil left me–which was actually a mercy.

Of course, some people might say I did sit back and take it like a victim, because I didn’t just tell him to leave.  But it’s common for abused women to say, as I did, that I loved him and didn’t want to leave.  After all the trouble I had finding a Christian man at a Christian college, and one who actually wanted to be with me, where else would I find one, especially one I had so much in common with?

Also, during the summer, even when I felt like telling Phil, “Go back to Wisconsin,” I didn’t because we were married.  I saw marriage as a lifelong commitment that was not to be broken lightly.

This may be why he married the new girl, who had been abused by a boyfriend before.  (We see the common trend of a woman subconsciously seeking out abusers, and finding them.  Cindy said she probably thought Phil wasn’t abusive because he didn’t seem as bad as the previous abuser.)

Years later, April 9 and 10, 1998, what can I say?  That he treated me like the bad guy when, all along, he was the bad guy.  He was emotionally abusive, and didn’t listen to a word I said, didn’t treat my feelings or ideas or words like they were worth his attention or care.

He’d said he’d be my husband, said we were meant for each other, even said he was my husband–yet had no respect for his commitment, or for me.  All he cared about was himself.  Just before the breakup, he told his friends that he still loved me–but he didn’t show it.

He also didn’t talk to me about whether or not a breakup was necessary, or even try to work out the misunderstanding of the night before the breakup, but to other people.  And then told me after he had already decided, all by himself.

(When did he talk to them?  There wasn’t much time in between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.  And how long did he take to process the things they said?  Did he even give himself enough time?)

He talked with my parents on the phone, at their request, but didn’t listen to them; he didn’t even want to go to a counselor for help.  It was all what he wanted, and he didn’t listen to any of my suggestions for what we could do to fix things.

He seemed to think I was the problem, but was too blind to see that very similar things would happen all over again with other girlfriends.  He refused to see his own failings, while I was willing to see mine.

But when you look at why I did them–because he was so hard to deal with and I didn’t know how else to get through to him, and he was so irresponsible that I was forced to nag at him for things–you can easily see they were tiny compared to his own failings.  (It’s called catching fleas from your abuser.)

Being forced to act like a mother and make a guy get up in time to go to his own job, being forced to nag at him until he gets his brakes fixed because this is the last day he’ll have a chance (before you go on a long road trip back to campus) and he just wants to be a slugabed–

These are nothing compared to the sin of emotional abuse, sexual abuse by forcing someone to do unnatural acts, and the threat of physical abuse if he finally decided to carry out his threats to hit.

He threatened me once or twice with physical violence (I have described at least one such instance to you), and really did slap Persephone while they were together.  (She slapped him right back, and he never did it to her again.)

And my second husband, Cugan, considers some of the sexual abuse to be physical as well, because after all, it took physical force to do the things he did.

Phil said he was a better person when not around me–a convenient phrase taken from Mrs. Doubtfire–but this was not true.  He was no better with Persephone, as I describe later.

Sharon said in 1996 or 1997, that watching him and his new girlfriend was like watching him and me all over again, only worse because she would lie about where she was when she missed Phi-Delt meetings for him.

Cindy heard him yelling at her the way he used to yell at me, and she was not happy with him at all.  When the new girlfriend got pregnant, Pearl tried to warn her not to marry him; she didn’t listen.  And in 2007, they divorced.

At a Christmas party at Sharon’s house in 1997, my friends, not me, brought up the subject of Phil, soon after somebody said they saw Dave working at Dunham’s Sporting Goods.  Pearl said with a laugh that Phil and his new wife’s kid should be taken away by the SPCC, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

My friends told me he treated me like a child, and that’s one reason why they no longer liked him soon after we started dating–besides the fact that they considered him annoying.

But back to September 1994.  When you’ve been married to and living with someone all summer and they suddenly cut off all contact with you, even though they’ve been abusing you, you feel like a part of you is lost.

Wednesday, September 14.  On one of these early days of the week, Helene came to the library and saw me.  That’s probably when I told her about the breakup, while updating the card catalog.

She said she had been engaged three times since her husband died in a plane crash, and each engagement had been broken.  She was numb for the first few days afterward.

I felt similar, and could barely get through my shifts at the library.  Time was molasses, so slow I could hardly bear it.  Everything I did at the library, including updating the card catalog, made me restless.

I confided in Helene, called her on the phone once, and often sat with her at lunch during the next several months.  I talked about my feelings and got her advice; we discussed a book she lent me about dealing with a divorce.

For both of us, a favorite part of the book described a counselor’s experience in his support group for divorcees.  One woman saw her ex-husband having a picnic with a new girlfriend.  She ran her vehicle over them.  The people in the group said, “Ooh!  Did she back up and run over them again?”

While I confided in Helene, Phil confided in her best friend Kay.  He seemed to think of her as a sister.

I think it was Helene, or maybe Anna, who first said Phil seemed like good marriage material, but needed to grow up.  But later on, Helene said his turning to Persephone confirmed her worst fears about him, that he would go on to somebody else right away rather than trying to work out problems.

I told her how Phil treated me during the marriage; she liked him less every time I talked to her about him.

I spent most of my time with my friends or working or in class or eating or alone in the apartment, trying to do homework and deal with things and get on with life.

As much as possible, I wanted to go on with my daily life without grief interfering.  I lost very little, if any, sleep, and kept eating properly.  I dealt with things much better than when Peter broke up with me.

And after what Phil said on Tuesday night, I kept my distance from him.  No, I was never the stalker-type; if somebody told me to stop talking to them, I stopped.

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:

 

My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 2

Here is the inspiration for a couple of scenes in my novel Tojet.

Sunday, September 4.  Phil wanted to do nothing but play with Dave’s new sci-fi football game on the Nintendo.  It was a weird, funny and interesting game, but I didn’t want to sit around all day watching Phil play it.

I had nothing else to do, not with everything still packed and in the van.  My projects Undine and Jerisland and probably all my books were still in the van.

As for the game, it had all these different types of alien creatures, from which you chose for your team.  I believe the field was in the air, and the sides were either fire pits or nothing but air.  When you called up a picture of a player, some alien announcer spoke in gibberish, saying, “Bleh-BLAHH!  Bleh-bleh-BLAHH!”

Then Dave and his Pearl asked if we wanted to go to the S– County Fair.

Soon after we got to the fair, Phil and I walked by a booth with posters you could win.  Phil kept saying he wanted me to win him one of the babe-posters.  Fed up by this and his ogling of girls all summer, I pointed to a beefcake poster and said, “I want you to win me that.”

He, of course, said no, and shooed me away, good-naturedly.  Finally!  I found a way to get back at him instead of just getting mad at him.

I thought the fair would be fun, and bought enough tickets for twenty rides.  The first ride was Phil’s favorite, some sort of box that spins around as the big wheel goes around.

Sometime during the ride, not only did the stuff in my pockets fly out into the box, but the side of the box hit my forehead.  Or my forehead hit the side of the box.  I had no way of knowing what happened or how it happened.  I’m almost certain I had my hands on the bar at the time.

The box moved so fast that the G-force and the speed kept me from crying out.  I hated the ride and couldn’t wait for it to stop.  Endlessly, the box kept spinning and moving around.  Finally, it ended.  I picked up the things that fell out of my pockets, and stepped out.

Phil saw the bruise on my forehead, and said a bump was rising.

Though I felt okay at first, a few minutes later my head started aching worse and worse.  I turned lightheaded and queasy.  Phil got me a cup of water from a vendor, and sat me down at a picnic table under the vendor’s big awning.  At first, he seemed attentive and sweet.

I said I needed to rest for a while.

“Should we go home?” Phil said.

“I want to wait a while before deciding that, to see if I feel better,” I said.

Dave and Pearl soon knew about my injury.

I kept feeling worse and worse–more painful headache, more powerful nausea.  Finally, I said I wanted to go home.  I had to get away from the fairgrounds and into some quiet, comfortable place where I could be tended to.

On the way out, we passed a parked ambulance.  I asked to go there, but we didn’t.  Phil even smiled and said,

“Are you sure you need to go to an ambulance?”

I wanted to find a first-aid station, but all I saw was the ambulance.  Phil and the others thought there was no need for either.

If I’d known just how serious a concussion can be, I probably would’ve insisted they take me more seriously and get help or take me to a doctor.  Of course, a person with a concussion is in no condition to be forceful.  Just check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.

This page recommends emergency medical attention if the bump results in a worsening headache and other symptoms I experienced.

According to a doctor I consulted by e-mail in 1999, I had the symptoms of a Grade II concussion!  Cugan also said it sounded like a secondary concussion.

My headache got worse and lasted at least until the next day, possibly longer; I should have been closely watched and, because of my severe headache, taken to a doctor immediately.  But none of the people with me took me seriously, not even Phil, my own husband!  They actually called me a party pooper:

We left the park and went to Dairy Queen for dinner.

During dinner, Phil told them about Undine, that I had been translating it, and how big it was and how difficult.  Dave said, “You’re nuts!”  Contrast that to a person from a German-speaking country who said to me in 1998, “I tip my hat to you.”  Apparently Dave didn’t understand the value of taking on a difficult project just to challenge yourself.

They began to talk about going dancing that night, and asked if we wanted to go.  I said I’d better stay home: I thought I had a concussion.  Phil said he would go.

What?  Here I was, injured with a Grade II concussion, needing someone to watch over me and take me to a doctor, and he wanted to go dancing?  Not only did he refuse to take me to a doctor, but he showed no sign of concern for my condition!

Through my pain, I was upset.  I turned very quiet.  Phil tried to say something to me once, but got no response.

Back at his house, I confronted him about this, but he insisted he wanted to go out dancing.

“My parents will be here, and you can lie on my couch, watch cable on my TV, and relax.”

I don’t think anyone told his parents about my concussion, because they never came into the room to check up on me.  With my nausea and overpowering headache, I was in no condition to go walking around telling people I was hurt; Phil should have told them himself.

Phil went on, “You can find things to do, as you always do.”

Yeah, like I could do anything but sleep or watch TV with my head pounding.  But that wasn’t the point.

I would’ve gone dancing, if I were feeling better.  It sounded like fun.  I hadn’t gone to a dance in a long time.  We later planned to go to the Friday dance at Roanoke so I could finally see Phil’s dancing.

It was such a major and odd part of Phil’s personality that Pearl, on the way to the fair, said she was surprised I hadn’t seen him dance yet.  She said you have to see him dance to really know him.  I hadn’t had the chance because the junior year dances had no good music.

Phil whined, “Other people always say, ‘Oh, you go ahead and have your fun.  Don’t mind me.'”

Oh, yeah, I wanted him home with me because I was a selfish twit.

I was miserable.  Phil was my husband: He wasn’t supposed to go out and enjoy himself while I lay on his couch, suffering from an untreated injury.  He was supposed to take me to a doctor!

His parents had just gotten two new puppies, little black and white ones, and kept them in a cage when they were inside.  I sat beside them.  Their names were something-Dave and something-Phil.  They loved the attention and wanted my petting.  I tried to comfort myself with them, and tried to hide my tears.

After Phil left, I watched some true-life TV movie about sharks attacking servicemen whose plane went down in the ocean.  In one scene, a man seemed to be asleep while floating in the water in a life preserver; it turned out his lower half had been bitten off.  The whole movie horrified me, especially since it really happened.  Watching this all alone sure didn’t help.  I tried to rest, but couldn’t with my awful headache.

This movie was probably Mission of the Shark, about the USS Indianapolis in WWII.

Phil later told me that Dave and Pearl thought I was a party pooper for wanting to leave the fair early!  They didn’t know how I could have gotten hurt.  They blamed me for getting hurt!

But it was a traveling fair, getting taken down and put up all the time, and people do get hurt on amusement park rides, especially in traveling fairs.  This fact was given on an episode of the Sally Jessy Raphael show in 1998.

Also, the September 13, 1999 edition of US News and World Report stated on page 59, “[G]etting banged on fingers or head by a safety bar are common.”  The article Fatal Attractions described the risk of injury at amusement parks, especially at traveling carnivals, which “are constantly dismantled and reassembled” (p. 58).

A few weeks after the incident, my friend Pearl said their remarks were uncalled for.  She and my other friends would have respected that I was injured.

I did ask that Phil not drink while dancing, at least.  If he came back with alcohol on his breath, that would finish me.  I was already upset enough.  I didn’t want him getting drunk while I ached both inside and out.  Besides, as I’d joked before with him and Dave, he was still underage.

He recently told me that he drank or smoked whatever people passed around at parties (never mind his health or if it was illegal).  I would never do that.  He called me a pooper.  I lost more respect for him.

After Phil came back from dancing, I told him I needed to talk.  But instead of staying with me in his room, he left again and disappeared for a long time.  I finally went looking for him, and found him talking alone with Pearl in the computer room.  I asked if he’d come back soon so I could finish talking with him.  Then I turned and left.

He soon came back, a smile on his face, and said, “Jealous?  She’s a nice person, but Dave’s fiancée.”

I knew he liked her back before he dated me, but I thought this was over now.  Still, seeing him there with her made me uneasy.  Besides, how is it “jealousy” to want to finish a discussion about how he’d been treating me?

That night or maybe the next day, Phil said, “I would love to be allowed to have three wives instead of just one.  You’d be one, Dave’s Pearl would be another, and that high schooler who likes me and keeps calling me at the wrong time–she’d be the third.”

Did he think I’d find this funny?  It only made me feel worse.  So he did still want Dave’s Pearl!  And I wasn’t enough for him!

Just like all summer long, he’d tell me he lusted after this or that girl, and when I got upset, say that other people’s girlfriends just laugh when their men do this.  He’d see a young woman and say he wouldn’t mind taking her in the back of his minivan.  A big-breasted and blonde high-school girl would hand him Dairy Queen sundaes through the drive-up window, and he’d tell me how much he loved the sight.  I’d say my breasts were big enough, and he’d say he saw bigger on previous girlfriends.

How dare I object?  As some drunken guys later told him, I was so “possessive”!

Phil also told me, “Dave and Pearl think you’re a party pooper for not wanting to go dancing tonight.  They think you’re a pooper because you never want to go dancing with me.  They remembered a time last semester when they asked us to go dancing, and you didn’t want to go!”

HUH?  What time was that?  I didn’t even remember it.  If it even happened, I probably just wanted to spend a quiet evening alone with Phil.  Or maybe I wasn’t feeling well or had a lot of homework.

Phil went on, “I used to go dancing every weekend, but I gave that up for you.”

This was news to me!   He never mentioned going dancing every weekend.  He never asked me more than once or twice–if at all–to go dancing on the weekend.  We went to Roanoke dances whenever possible, but they never had good music.

But then, abusers will make up things you’ve done or said that you never actually did or said, to make you the bad guy.  The gaslighting from this guy was unbelievable!  Did he really think I would fall for it when I knew it was a lie?

When I wrote the first draft of this account of the S– County Fair in 1995 or 1996, I showed it to my future husband Cugan and asked if I was being unreasonable.  He said,

“No.  Yes, people do often say, ‘Go ahead and have your fun,’ but they’re rarely taken at their word.  Usually they don’t really mean it.  Tell me something: What did you really see in this guy?  He didn’t seem to take this marriage seriously.”

Not only that, but I had a Grade II concussion and they were calling me a party pooper because I needed to go to a doctor, not dancing!

All during our relationship, Dave, obviously influenced by what Peter had told him about me, said nasty things about me to Phil.  When Phil said he wanted to date me, Dave said, “Don’t date her.  We don’t get along.”

Don’t get along?  But I didn’t even know the guy!  We’d never met before Pearl’s party, and got along quite well, flirting all evening!

Dave also kept telling tales about me to his parents.  This started way back in the spring.  His Pearl did it sometimes, too.

They accused me of all sorts of things: calling Indiana on the O’Hara dime (I always used a phone card), telling Phil not to take a one-day job (Phil decided not to and I supported his decision because of a major history test the next day), and probably other things I’ve forgotten now.

Dave’s parents seemed to listen to them far too much, because I began to get the feeling that they didn’t like me as much anymore.  For example, one day during the spring, as Pearl and I both sat in the living room, Maura called Pearl her favorite future daughter-in-law.  Was Maura trying to make me feel like dirt?

Phil thought Pearl was nice, but I considered her just as mean as Dave.  Not only did she go along with Dave’s smear campaign, but she did something else nasty as well:

I don’t remember when this was, May or September, but probably May.  It was a Saturday, no classes, nobody with work.  It was the middle of the afternoon, and long after I heard Dave take his shower.  I found a deserted bathroom, so I took a shower.  Because it was the middle of the afternoon and everyone else had already showered (including Dave), and because there were two bathrooms, I saw no reason to hurry.

I did the various things I always needed to do after a shower, such as shaving, moisturizing, putting cover-up on my face, combing my hair.  I didn’t dilly-dally around in the bathroom: I only took as long as I needed to do what I needed to do, and then I got out.  I was just about done.

All of a sudden, Pearl banged on the door and yelled meanly, “Hurry up and get out of there!  Dave needs to take a shower!”  No, she did not politely knock and ask if I could please hurry up.  She screamed as if I were deliberately holding up Dave.

How could I possibly have known that he needed to take another shower for soccer practice or whatever it was, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, when nobody else was around when I started my shower?

I’m so glad to be out of that family: too many nasty people with absolutely no respect or consideration for others.  And I was being bullied by everybody together, a mob bullying!

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: