So as I’m sure most of you know by now, I’m going to a weight loss support group on Monday Nights. It goes through a local non profit counseling center. We’re using a book called “The Solution” by Laurel Mellin. If you’re interested in weight loss I highly recommend it! (ISBN: 0-06098724-3). It runs through some things with you about the emotional reasons behind how you take care of yourself. Why do you choose the cookie/cake/candy/chips/etc over the carrots/salad/peanuts/etc.
Anyway, with each section there’s a couple writing assignments. There’s journals to write, and then after that “feelings letters” (Yes, that sounds so fucking cheesy) regarding the journal. They can be written to anyone from yourself, your mom, sally from the 4th grade who teased you, or even to Hershey’s Kisses, or Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips. You don’t have to give them to the person (unless you want to) but writing through the feelings you get and saying what you need from that person or yourself can help you work though more of the emotions.
Basically, the book and the “exercises” are aimed to help you work through your emotions and issues so that you can get to a point where you choose the healthy foods because you respect yourself and honor your body. Not because you’re restricting and depriving yourself. But, it also allows for rewards so sometimes you can still have some of the yummy chips and dip. My weakness.
Anyway, the first journal is your weight history. So, for all of the world wide web to read, here is my history of weight problems.
Well, I’ve been “heavy” pretty much so long as I have memory. From talking to family and such I believe I started putting on weight in the 1st grade. I know that’s when I started not being good enough for my father, who’s no longer in my life. For a couple years after that I was in karate, which I really loved. I got to be active and all that, but then my mom pulled me out ‘cuz she thought I’d have too much homework so I couldn’t put any effort any place else. Yea, I was pretty upset.
After 1st grade we moved into a house and that’s when I really started putting on the pounds. Food became my comfort, that non judgmental friend that’s always there, no matter what. As I grew up, the situation in my home deteriorated, with my stepfather becoming emotionally and verbally abusive. I was constantly living on egg shells, afraid to say or do anything. I was actually afraid of the verbal violence escalating into physical violence. Part of me wanted it to, because as the years went on, I found out how to deal with my emotions (Well, not really. More on that in a bit.) The bruises would heal and such, the words … those stay in your mind. They never go away.
At a younger age, I had quite the fight in me, and I would forever fight back, standing up for myself against my stepfather, however as I got older the constant emotional beating down I received I fought back less and less, eventually to not fight back at all. I learned how to become a doormat, just stand and take it. It was through all that that I learned that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t worth putting forth the effort to be healthy. Who cared? I wasn’t good enough for my father, my stepfather was abusive, and my mom didn’t do anything. So what was it worth, ya know? I wasn’t worth it.
Over the next several years I was also taught that it was bad for me to express my emotions. So, I learned very quick, and very well, how to repress my emotions and thus to not express them. I would silently cry in the shower, but somehow he would hear me and tell me I was a baby. That I didn’t need to cry, I shouldn’t. As such I never actually dealt with anything I felt. I just pushed it all down inside and left it there, a lot of the times forgetting it was there. Much to my detriment as now I do not really know how to deal with my emotions. When something happens I need to fix it, right now, otherwise I don’t know what to do with my feelings.
Anyway, my mother doesn’t handle things, at all. It’s not that she doesn’t handle things poorly or anything, she just doesn’t deal at all. So despite what was happening I think she just choose not to see it. When I did bring things up, he was just making a joke, not meaning to harm, things of that nature. The only thing she took seriously and put a stop to was when I told her he would come in my bedroom at night to plug in the phone line for the internet. He would use the regular line during the day, when they would need it. He would change it to mine at night, when they didn’t need the main line. It always confused me. Just this last year however, I discovered why. My stepfather is sexually attracted to me and I slept naked, even then. So he did it to see me naked. He would also come into the bathroom to pee while I was in the shower. We had two bathrooms.
Anyway. All of this together caused food to be my coping mechanism. I was physically active and a few times would loose some weight, but with the emotional issues behind it, it would never last. Thus, it would be discouraging and begin the never ending cycle of eat because you’re unhappy and being unhappy because you’re eating.
I’ve tried over the years to find other outlets, find other coping mechanisms. When I got married I specifically and directly asked for help from my husband. I would specifically say “I need help, please help me with this.” And things like that, to which he would promise to help. To which he never did, not once. It’s not that he would start and peter off. He just didn’t, period. It certainly reinforced the fact that I’m not worth it.
So, since I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions, I was taught not to. It was bad of me to act them out, etc etc I would eat. I was also punished if I didn’t finish the food on my plate, I was not allowed to have left overs, so even to this day it’s very difficult for me to not finish something. So, even if I was on my own, with no one around I would still be afraid someone would find out I didn’t finish whatever I was eating and I would get in trouble.
One thing I also learned early on was how to hide the eating. A few times my stepdad had gone through my bedroom, searched even my panties and sock drawers for things. The one time that sticks out in my mind was when the upstairs tv remote went missing. Somehow it might have found it’s way into my panty drawer so he looked there. He also read my *locked* journal once. Picked the lock and read it, then made fun of me for what I’d written in it. I think I was 10 at the time. Loosing that sense of…self, that sense of privacy I think still affects me till this day.
I think for me, the worst part of it all is that I have this feeling that most of this happened so long ago. I’m an adult and I should have it handled by now. It shouldn’t affect me any more. But I know it does. Intellectually I know better, but we are so very ruled by our emotions. It’s frustrating and perhaps that’s the worst part of all. I know better, and I’m doing better, but I know I can do even better. However, my emotions just don’t agree. Perhaps the Vulcan’s have it right, after all.