I had been trying the past couple of days to get to Career Services, but they were closed each time I could make it. The problem was finding a time when they were open that fit with my schedule.
I was thinking of finding a job in S– so I could stay around there, which I used to think I would do anyway, unless Phil and I went to live with my parents after the wedding.
Anyway, since this was right after the split and it still seemed possible that he would cool off and call off the divorce, it made sense to make sure I could stay in the area until then.
And it was also to stay near my friends. I didn’t have many left in South Bend that I was still in touch with, but I had a bunch around S–. I mention this for a reason that will soon become clear.
Wednesday evening I went to the library to take care of some class business, and Dirk was there, working. He said he had a few things to discuss with me, if I wanted to talk to him. I agreed.
He asked another student worker to cover for him while he took me into the adjoining room, the one with reference books and oversized books. We sat on one of the couches by the oversized books, and talked. This spot seemed too public, so I hoped our voices were low enough to not be overheard.
We talked about all sorts of things. I could tell that Phil fed him all sorts of untrue things about me. He gave me advice I did not need; told me to do things I was already doing, chewed me out for things I supposedly did or didn’t do.
He knew everything about relationships, me, and Phil. He knew the real reason for the secret marriage (which he didn’t tell me). He knew Phil was upset about particular things, and why, though I did not. He knew how I could get Phil back.
He would tell Phil if I responded appropriately to this lecture. Red flag warning!
He knew how a girl should act to get men (apparently, my dressing in attractive but modest clothes wasn’t enough to “dress to impress,” even though a Christian woman should not be “showing her wares,” so to speak). He knew that I–Well, let’s just quote him:
“You’re the only girl I’ve ever thought I needed to tell this to,” he said, “but here goes: You’ll probably end up an old maid.” (Yeah, tell that to my husband and child.)
He knew everything about the Bible and what it really said about sex; if he were wrong, he’d be struck down for the things he’d done.
He knew that I should convert to Catholicism if I wanted to marry Phil–even though I would have ended up one of those reluctant, “bad” Catholics who don’t really believe it.
He apparently didn’t know that there are ways for Catholics to marry non-Catholics so that even the Catholic church recognizes it, even without a Catholic ceremony or Mass.
Such weddings can be blessed by a priest, even if not officiated by one. It sounds like Phil did not even bother looking into these alternatives, which is a shame, because they could have settled everything to the satisfaction of him and me.
Note how Dirk tried to shame me into abandoning my own beliefs and switching to Catholicism. Red flag warning!
Unfortunately, Dirk was just like Shawn, and could talk you into believing anything he said. Then later on, after talking to friends or contemplating, you’d realize, “He doesn’t know anything about me/the situation/reality!”
For one thing, it’s impossible to be an old maid when you’ve already been married. For another, without adopting any of his suggestions of how to get men, but by being myself, I got three more boyfriends that year, and married one of them.
He told me that Phil thought my friends wouldn’t let him sit down when we were watching My So-Called Life, just because they gave him the only seat left, a cushioned milk crate we often sat on.
But that wasn’t all. The time he came over after playing D&D with Dirk and his new girlfriend, and we were playing Spoons, Phil said he didn’t feel welcome, and no one let him sit down. Both times, I didn’t defend him.
Well, I said, I didn’t know I needed to–I saw no such thing! (Shows how much Phil communicated with me!) So now Dirk thought I was horrible, over something that didn’t even actually happen, that wasn’t even true.
And if Phil was so offended by something I had no clue about, why didn’t he speak up about it to my friends, instead of putting it all on my shoulders? Am I his attack dog now, too?
Dirk chewed me out for telling Phil about my crush on Mike. Apparently, Phil didn’t tell Dirk his rule that we confide in each other about attractions to others, or that Phil found it totally appropriate to tell me every girl he lusted after.
Apparently, what was good for the gander was verboten for the goose. How dare I be attracted to a sweet, non-abusive guy after a summer of abuse, and how dare I mention it after my husband’s been repeatedly telling me I’m not enough for him.
Dirk also seemed to think I didn’t know what love is or what it means, and said I needed to learn that. He asked, did I ever do anything romantic, like a candlelight dinner?–
While I thought, wait a minute, why in the heck is he telling me these things???? Why should he ask such a thing?
I stay faithful despite everything, and Phil leaves me without trying to work things out, yet Dirk says I don’t know the meaning of love? If that were the case, then why did I stick by men until they left me, instead of leaving them first?
And who ever said I was not romantic? I loved romance, and I liked special moments to be special however they could be.
I didn’t do candlelight dinners because I didn’t cook and I didn’t have any candles, and it wasn’t like we ever had the chance to anyway. There was no place in the dorms, where they were verboten, and we lived with our parents.
That didn’t mean I didn’t make up for it in other ways. Candlelight dinners are not the only romantic thing you can do.
I am a romantic soul, the one who writes about passionate love between aliens and time-travelers and such, and between humans and vampires. I fell in love so easily with the people I dated, and longed for romance. I didn’t/don’t know where Dirk even got the idea that I might be lacking in love or romance.
Phil abuses me in various ways all summer, fights everything I need or want, cuts me down constantly, even sexually assaults me because he refuses to respect my wishes that sex not involve excruciating pain, but I don’t know anything about what love is or what it means?
I don’t know what Phil had been telling him, but obviously it was a whole pack of lies. Phil had his brain so screwed over that Dirk thought he knew everything about me and what happened, but he knew absolutely nothing.
I could tell Phil didn’t listen to me, but Dirk listened to him. Dirk was a pawn in Phil’s Control by Proxy. Nowadays, he’d be called a Flying Monkey or a sycophant. I never had a thing to do with him after September.
For example, when Phil broke up with me, he kept saying, “You say you want to be a housewife,” as if that were a fault, as if I refused to ever work outside the home.
I’d tell him that’s not what I said, but he kept harping on it. Over the summer, I told him again and again that I wanted to be a housewife so I could have time for my writing, because I saw writing as my life, not any other career.
But I said again and again that after we got publicly married and moved out on our own, I’d do my share to bring in money until he got his acting break–even work in a factory if I had to.
But my wish was to one day retire from this and write full-time–once we could afford it. I also felt it was best to stay at home with our future children.
I never said I’d refuse to work no matter what. I just said I preferred a traditional role so I would have time to work on my writing career.
Now, Dirk started harping on my wanting to be a housewife. Phil must have ignored everything I ever said on the subject, and told Dirk I was not willing to contribute financially. Here’s the gist of what Dirk said:
“You should have plans for something to do with your life. You’re smart. You can do something, make something of yourself. Look at Margaret Thatcher–she’s a prime minister! Just because you’re a woman don’t think you can’t do anything important. Find a career goal.”
What I wish I would’ve said to Dirk: “I do have a career goal: I want to publish novels, as I told Phil many times. It takes brains to do that, and it’s important.
“And what the heck ever gave you the idea that I thought women could do nothing important? Do you think I could be born in the 1970s and grow up in the 1980s thinking that women were fit only to look pretty in the drawing room?
“And what’s so unimportant about raising children and running a household? Just tell a stay-at-home mother of three kids that she’s lazy, she’s not contributing and her work is meaningless–and see what happens.
“Once upon a time, women were expected to be housewives; now that the pendulum has swung the other way, women are often expected to go out and get a job along with taking care of the house, and derided if they want a traditional role.”
I have to wonder if Dirk knew that Phil treated me like a disobedient servant, not a wife, a throwback to the days when men thought women couldn’t handle intellectual pursuits.
Just so you know I meant what I told Phil:
After college, I got a full-time job in insurance. I worked for a couple of years, became a homemaker for a year after being downsized, then worked again part-time for four years to pay off some debts. Then I became a stay-at-home mother.
Just what I said I would do, and all perfectly acceptable. Despite how he and Dirk both scorned it, I’m living the dream, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
This article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, an Orthodox woman who used to be a feminist Episcopalian, describes how feminism–while certainly making good changes, such as the vote for women and more natural standards of beauty–also made some very bad changes. One was the idea that women should find careers more important than staying at home, that “staying home and raising kids was mindless drudgery,” that “housewives were dumb.”
There’s nothing wrong with mothers working. But the choice of a housewife should be respected, not derided. Housewives with children are very busy, and have to use their brains all day long; calling them lazy is ludicrous, as is saying that a housewife is wasting her brain. These jobs would have to be done by somebody, even if the wife didn’t do them.
And I certainly don’t waste my brain when I do finances, make out a menu, or act as the tech support for my household, since I understand computers much better than my engineer husband does.
But back to September 1994. Though ticked and confused, instead of what I should have said, I said, “Tomorrow I’ll go to Career Services.” (You’ll note I’d been trying to go there already anyway.) He said that was good, and he would tell Phil that.
I should have told him off. Of course, I don’t remember what else I said. I might have set him straight, or tried to.
Right after I said I’d go to Career Services, I said that the next day I would also talk to Pearl about what he said about InterVarsity. He was pleased with that as well, and said he’d tell Phil about that.
So you see, he got me under a bit of a spell, controlling my mind, getting me to think he was right even when his words made no sense and had no connection to reality.
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