When we went to school events, Charles put his arm around me and I didn’t mind, but I feared other guys would see this as a sign that I was “off-limits.” I wasn’t: We were both allowed to date anybody else we wanted.
That’s what we meant by not being serious, by taking it slowly, by being, as Charles told Pearl, “very casual.” And I wanted to date at least two other guys at the time, including Mike.
Helene and her best friend Kay became my friends junior year through Phil, who liked to sit with them at lunch. They met in Sophomore Honors and liked him then, but now they were my friends as well, and Helene didn’t like him so much.
Helene said, “Phil has been talking to Kay. I think he sees her as a sister.” That might explain why she got quiet when I said Phil was a jerk. What truth twisting did he tell her?
Helene said Catherine told her Phil and Persephone were dating. Helene’s thoughts:
“It shows he misses you….You shine compared to her….It confirms my worst fears about him. I really think little of a person who–like a person who gets a divorce and then goes out and finds someone else right away. They don’t want to work on the relationship they have, and they go out and find another one?…He’s going to regret it.”
(Pearl said that Persephone’s going to regret it–which turned out to be true, a year later.) I said Phil didn’t want a feminist; Helene noted that Persephone was extremely feminist.
Helene also said, “Last year, after you two got engaged, Phil came to us [her and Kay] once and said you had an argument but worked it out. But he complained that you wouldn’t just do whatever he wanted. We saw this as controlling, and hoped you would realize this before you married him.”
I remembered that argument. It was over whether or not I could listen to a rock station in the minivan, one which only came in outside the campus and played better songs than any other station. Remember, this was in the Stone Ages when college kids couldn’t just hook up to campus Internet and pull in a webstream whenever they wanted.
Imagine that an individual feels, perhaps beneath the level of conscious awareness, that he or she significantly lacks worth, is not lovable, is not a person who can inspire devotion for any sustained length of time.
Simultaneously, this individual desires love, pursues love, hopes and dreams to find love.
Let us suppose this person is a man. He finds a woman he cares for, she seems to care for him, they are happy, excited, and stimulated in each other’s presence–and for a time it seems that his dream is to be fulfilled.
But deep in his psyche a time bomb is ticking away–the belief that he is inherently unlovable.
This time bomb provokes him to destroy his relationship. He may do this in any number of ways. He may endlessly demand reassurance. He may become excessively possessive and jealous.
He may behave cruelly to ‘test’ the depth of her devotion to him. [Phil once told me this was why things had gotten so bad. It’s in my diary.]
He may make self-deprecating comments and wait for her to correct him. [Phil did this all the time.]
He may tell her he does not deserve her and tell her again and again and again. [Yep.]
He may tell her that no woman can be trusted and that all women are fickle. [He refused to let me meet his “vampire friend S–,” with the fear that I’d fall for S–. And he didn’t believe me when I said I would never leave him even if I found a “soul mate.”]
He may find endless excuses to criticize her, to reject her before she can reject him. He may attempt to control and manipulate her by making her feel guilty, thereby hoping to bind her to him. He may become silent, withdrawn, preoccupied, throwing up barriers she cannot penetrate. [This whole paragraph sounds like Phil over the course of our relationship.]
After a while, perhaps, she has had enough; she is exhausted; he has worn her out. She leaves him.
He feels desolate, depressed, crushed, devastated. It is wonderful. He has been proven right. The world is the way he always knew it was. ‘They’re writing songs of love, but not for me.’ But how satisfying it is to know that one understands the nature of reality!
Suppose that, despite his best efforts, he cannot drive her away. Perhaps she believes in him, sees his potential. [That was me.]
Or perhaps she has a masochistic streak that requires that she be involved with such a man. She clings to him; she keeps reassuring him. Her devotion grows stronger, no matter what he does.
She simply does not understand the nature of the universe as he perceives it. She does not grasp that no one can love him.
In continuing to love him, she presents him with a problem: She confounds his view of reality. He needs a solution. He needs a way out.
He finds it. He decides that he has fallen out of love with her. Or he tells himself that she bores him. Or he tells himself that he is now in love with someone else. Or he tells himself that love does not interest him.
The particular choice does not matter; the net effect is the same: in the end, he is alone again–the way he always ‘knew’ he would be.
Then, once more, he can dream of finding love–he can look for a new woman–so that he can play out the drama all over again.
It is not essential, of course, that his relationship end so conclusively. A literal separation may not be necessary. He may be willing to allow a relationship to continue, providing both he and his partner are unhappy. This is a compromise he can live with. It is as good as being alone and abandoned–almost. –p. 128-129
(According to the author website, this book is now out of print, but you can find it at the above Amazon link.)
Around this time, I saw Phil with his head on Persephone’s shoulder in the cafeteria. It made me sick. I was glad to have Charles around.
Charles and I were taking things very slow and casual, while Phil just seemed to jump from one serious relationship to another. The bed wasn’t even cold before he started dating her!
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
- Classmate a stand-in for “Rudy”; Jigging at College Dance
- Library Tales
- Happiness Returns
- Living with Friends in Krueger
- Funny Library Stories
- Shawn Calls
- Psycho Roommates and Bug Wars
- Return of Rick
- Adjusting to New Dorm
- Spitball-Throwing Teacher
- Rat-Obsessed Teacher and Doctor Zhivago
- A Teacher Dated a Student; InterVarsity Fun
- Charlie Peacock Concert
- Random Stories
- Letter to Shawn
- Erotic Vampire Dream (Inspiration for Alexander Boa)
- I Ask Out James
- Peter Calls!
- The Fateful First Meeting of Phil
- The Birth of Dolphin Philosophy
- Our Group of Friends Splits Apart
- Spring Classes
- Big Red Flag: Phil’s Dysfunctional Family Life
- The Drunken Stork (Phil’s Controlling Nature Manifests)
- Idealizing Phase and Early Sign of Control
- Phil Tries to Control my Friendships, Unfair Accusations from his Dad and Brother
- Phil Gaslights Me with Fake Dreams, Ridicule and Psychological Abuse
- Another Pre-Engagement
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
- The Abuse Worsens in the Summer of Hell
- Phil rapes me anally
- Phil tries to control me through refusing everything I want–even proper hygiene
- Phil’s cruel hoax on me: his “subconscious” coming out to be with me
- Phil’s “subconscious” explains why he’s coming out to talk to me
- The lies unravel as Phil admits to conning me; also, fright as my periods turn wacky
- How Phil’s behavior fit the signs of abuse
- Phil Mindscrews Me: changes history, blames me for things that were not my fault, treats me like an idiot during games
- Phil says if he abuses me, it takes two people to sign the divorce papers
- Pearl reveals that Phil is costing me social invitations
- Hints that Phil is checking out of the marriage
September 1994–Divorce: The Long, Dark, Painful Tunnel:
- Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew
- My husband Phil, Dave and Pearl call me a party pooper for getting a Grade II concussion
- I’m ecstatic to be back with my friends (the ones Phil hates); I meet Charles
- Phil vanishes without a word of why
- Phil wants a divorce
- My friends tells me that Phil is controlling and possessive
- My first Pentecostal church service: They speak in tongues
- Phil refuses to accept responsibility for the divorce
- Phil cuts off contact
- Attack of Phil’s Flying Monkey and Sycophant: Dirk
- Phil the narcissist admits to manipulating people and using them as pawns in his game with me
- Phil comes crawling back to me–and we put our marriage on paper
- Phil demands my complete submission and forces me into oral sex–and my will is broken, for fear he’ll divorce me again
- Phil walks away from me again–because I dare to have my own mind, opinions and needs–and because he’s a sociopath
- Fierce anger against Phil and PTSD from the abuse
- My friends tell me Phil is psychotic
- “Soul Ties”
- I return Phil’s things and he skewers me; consolation from friends
- My letter to Phil
- Phil shows my letter to his friends; I’m triggered by reminder of forced oral sex
- I start dating Charles
- Friends tell me Phil is controlling
- I feel stalked by Phil
- Poem about being stalked by Phil
- Fury at Phil stalking me and rubbing my face in his new relationship
- A Date with the Vampire
- Celtic Class: Knotwork, Tin Whistles, SCA–and Drinking from a Skull
- The Teddy-O Incident; Birth of These Memoirs
- We Hook Up to the Internet–and Shawn Fixates on My Sex Life
- New Guy Begging at My Feet
- Life on TCB
- Meeting Cugan (Hubby)
- Learning my ex Peter was a love-fraud; New Men
- Before Tracy, There Was the Avenger (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 1)
- Torn between three men as Catherine pushes me toward Cugan
- The Love Rectangle
- Torn between FIVE men! Me?
- Persephone’s Own Outrageous Stories of Phil’s Abuse
- College-style living
- Online Shenanigans
- Phil Finds TCB; Meeting a Hit Man
- Gypsy’s Party: Healed friendship with Peter
- The Avenger Starts a Flame War (Sociopathic Female Bullies Pt 2)
- Meeting the elusive Speaker
- First Date with Future Hubby Cugan
- On Breaking Up with Kindness
- Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles
- The Goddess of Pleasure and Salt
- A Conversation with Oscar Wilde
- My First SCA Event
- Cugan: a vast improvement over Phil
- Easter with Cugan’s family and SCA
- Cugan breaks up with me
- After breakup: Phil’s return and trolls
- Cugan comes back
- SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!
- Or should I move back in with my parents?
- Peace with Phil
- Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors
- Graduation: Trapped at school
- Epilogue and Apology from Phil