Phil picks fights and avoids responsibilities to make me feel like a shrew–College Memoirs: Life at Roanoke–The Long, Dark Painful Tunnel, Part 1

The following quote from Psychopath Free explains everything that happened during this month and the following months, changing “online” to “on a college campus,” where I saw Phil and Perspehone constantly–especially when they both sat right there with my friends and me at lunch–getting all cuddly and cute with each other.

It explains Phil’s behavior, refusing to accept any of my complaints as valid or anything but a shrew who has to cut him down.

While I was supposed to accept everything he wanted or complained about as gospel truth or my wifely duty, no matter how cutting, no matter how painful, no matter how it slandered my character.

The friend he talked to, was Dirk, whom he manipulated into thinking I was an abusive shrew, and who then became Phil’s tool of controlling me by proxy.

Now for the quote:

The final triangulation happens when they make the decision to abandon you. This is when they’ll begin freely talking about how much this relationship is hurting them, and how they don’t know if they can deal with your behavior anymore.

They will usually mention talking to a close friend about your relationship, going into details about how they both agreed that your relationship wasn’t healthy.

In the meantime, they’ve been blatantly ignoring frantic messages from you. You’ll be sitting there wondering why they aren’t chatting with you about these concerns, considering it’s your relationship.

Well, the reason is that they’ve already made the decision to dump you—now they’re just torturing you. They only seek advice from people they know will agree with them. That “friend” they’re talking to is probably their next target.

After the breakup, they will openly brag about how happy they are with their new partner [Persephone, whom he dated immediately after the breakup], where most normal people would feel very embarrassed and secretive about entering a new relationship so quickly.

And even more surprising, they fully expect you to be happy for them. Otherwise you are bitter and jealous.

During this period, they make a post-dump assessment. If you grovel or beg, they are likely to find some value in your energy. They will be both disgusted and delighted by your behavior.

If you lash out and begin uncovering their lies, they will do everything in their power to drive you to suicide.

Even if you come back to them later with an apology, they will permanently despise any target who once dared talk back to them. You’ve seen too much—the predator behind the mask.

This is why they constantly wave their new partner in your face, posting pictures and declaring their happiness online. Proving how happy and perfect they are.

It’s a final attempt to drive you insane with triangulation. To make you blame the new target, instead of the true abuser.  —Torture by Triangulation


Probably on a Thursday night while my parents were at the store, and probably on September 1, 1994, I saw the first episode of My So-Called Life.  Since no one else was home, I was free to watch it in privacy in the living room and have my own opinions about it.

I loved it.  Angela, Claire Dane’s character, reminded me so much of myself at 15: insecure, feeling out of place at a party, all that stuff.  They sure dressed weird, though–and Ray-Ann’s hair!  Where did she get those ideas?


Phil’s brakes needed to be fixed.  Back in May, he had them inspected, and they needed new pads.  We went to Firestone together to have them checked.  The service man gave him a paper with everything listed that was wrong with the brakes.  It wasn’t just the pads, but that would help at present.

It was understood that Phil needed to have the brakes fully fixed before we went back to Roanoke.  That was a 4 ½ hour drive, including Chicago and Milwaukee interstate traffic, and we sure didn’t need the brakes going out somewhere along the way.

Phil installed the brake pads himself with the help of Dad and my brother Jake.  Jake said proudly, “I knew he could do it!”

But in September, he still hadn’t gotten the brakes fully fixed, yet I had such trouble with him!  I believe that on Friday, September 2, he still hadn’t told his employer he was quitting, no two weeks’ notice, and he had to go in to work that day and tell them.  We were to return to S– that weekend.

So on Friday he would have only a few hours, if he got up early enough, to get the brakes fixed.  Doing it on Saturday was probably out of the question: Shops tended to close on Saturdays.

Phil wouldn’t take me anywhere without me begging.  He wouldn’t take responsibility for himself and get up in time to take a shower before work, even though he set my old clock radio for 1 p.m. each night.

So even though he had plenty of time to get the brakes fixed, he slept through every chance to do it.

Then on what was most likely Friday, September 2, was his last chance to take care of the brakes before we went back to school.

Yet what did he do?  He insisted on sleeping late, despite my trying to get him up, and snapped at me for trying to wake him!

But if he didn’t take care of the brakes that day, the brakes could give out while we were on the road, and we both could die!  I didn’t know about him, but I wanted to live a while longer.

But finally I got him to get up, and he FINALLY got his brakes fixed.  I could not believe him sometimes!

On probably September 3, we left in the afternoon.  Finally, I got to sleep in, rather than waking up in the wee hours of the morning to go back to Roanoke, like usual when my parents took me.

On the way, Phil said, “This has been the best summer of my life because I spent it with you.”

Though I didn’t say so, for me it had been one of the worst.  For quite some time, I cried every day because of Phil’s words or actions.

For the past week or so, we had been in another honeymoon period, which I hoped would continue.

But as September wore on, Phil kept doing and saying things which showed he no longer cared for me or my well-being, even though he kept saying he loved me.  Even his family seemed to turn against me.

I also found myself having feelings for other guys, one I knew (Mike) and one I met during the first week of the school year (Charles).  I couldn’t imagine breaking up with Phil, but these guys seemed sweet and decent, especially Mike.

Considering the summer I just endured, it’s no mystery that my heart latched onto a nice guy so quickly after we returned to school and out of the bubble of home.  Mike gained my respect, which Phil had lost.

But back to September 3.  When we got to Chicago, we had an argument.  I don’t remember now what it was about.  All I know is it had something to do with Phil having me look at the map to figure out where we were.

(Keep in mind that I have NVLD, which makes map-reading more difficult, especially when rushed.  We didn’t have Google Maps to make it easy with specific routes, street views, and text directions.)

We must have gotten off track somehow.  He got mad at me for something, maybe for not finding things fast enough or for not finding a certain street.  I got upset with him for getting upset with me over something like that, which I couldn’t help.  We may have made up later on during the drive, if we ever really did.

When we got back and unpacked what we needed for overnight, his mom threw some sheets at the bed.

He never used sheets before while I was with him, just blankets, while we slept directly on the bare mattress.

Sesame seeds (from fast food) and dirt got on it all the time.  Since he never put sheets on, it never got cleaned off except with a swipe of the hand.

Before, I was so much in love that I barely noticed.  But now, after spending the summer on sheets I washed weekly, I couldn’t stand getting on that icky mattress again without sheets.

Yet he even made that into an argument.  He looked at me like I was ridiculous and a shrew for wanting sheets on the bed.  He said if I wanted them, I could put them on.

Why on earth was he so petulant over putting sheets on his bed?  He obviously wanted to pick fights on purpose, somehow finding a way to make me the one to blame, even though I did nothing wrong.

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: