"After an abusive childhood I turned to eating - now I'm overweight and afraid"
Hi; My life is in a downward spiral. Coming from an abusive childhood I developed the habit of turning to food for comfort and survival. All through my life and now as an adult, I continue this negative form of comfort. I have never been able to control my eating, eating in binges to ease the loneliness and pain. I am grossly overweight, suffered a mild heart attack last year, diabetic, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. My abuser, a parent passed away about a year ago and I was his caretaker for many years. I have always tried to meet his expectations and even in later life aimed to please and gain acceptance. This is so mixed up in my mind. The binge eating, heart attack and failing health seem to have escalated since the death of my father. In the past one and a half years I have done the following:
Sold our home (I'm married). My father passed away in January 2002. My husband retired from his job right after my father's passing. We moved into my father's home, broke it down, sold his belongings and prepared to move out of state. We moved the same year in July to another state. My husband was most adamant about this move and I feel I did not have enough time to grieve. We made a three day trip out of state and bought a house on the run before returning home. We were in that house for about six months before selling it (losing money to the Realtors) and buying a new home. We have been in the new home for a few months now. I am not content and find at times that I want to run away. I cry easily and feel helpless, out of control. I have no one to talk to or open my heart to who understands. My bingeing continues. My cholesterol is elevated and I am afraid. Please advise.
Most sincerely, thank you.
Hi - what is first showing up for you is a need to feel your anger toward your father for the abuse. What seems so often to happen, instead of a person feeling their anger, is that they try to please the person who abused them, to finally "get their love". They become passive and lose their sense of self. It's almost as if they become addicted to needing the love of that person, thinking if they'd only get it, all would be ok. It's like being addicted to what you hate, and they spend their whole lives adhered to what they hate, instead of finding their own love for themselves. You have to break that addiction. Abuse and love do NOT go together. You can't get love from someone who doesn't know how to give it, and trying to please another at the expense of your own sense of self, or sense of who you are - at the expense of doing what makes you feel good about yourself - never works. That's being self destructive, which is what the eating pattern is all about. That's remaining the wounded child instead of evolving into the strong, mature adult who has learned how to heal and to take care of herself. As you mentioned, you ended up taking care of your father, perhaps still trying to "earn" his love, but it doesn't sound to me that you have taken care of yourself. That's what's all mixed up.
People who are abused so often feel guilty - they make a false assumption that they did something wrong to cause the person to be abusive. They can stay stuck in that belief all their lives, that they deserve to be abused. In a sense, you are still abusing yourself by eating so much, right? So that belief is probably still operating for you. You felt punished by your father and the abuse, but you continue to punish yourself, since that's all you know how to do. You need to change any belief that you have that you deserve to be punished, and transform any feelings you have of being addicted to being punished. People who have been abused believe that they have been rejected, are not worth anything, and that is why they were treated abusively. That is not true. What is true is that you probably came into this life not believing that you were worth anything, which is a false belief, and that created your being abused in this life. All of this is about issues of self worth. We do not have to compromise or prostitute who we are to get love, in order to be taken care of - but many, many people falsely think that that is what they have to do. The whole issue, often the entire lesson of one's life can center around finding one's own power, finding out how to take care of yourself, to know that you CAN take care of yourself, and love yourself, and that you do NOT need to turn your life or your body over to anyone else in order to be "safe" or loved - you can do that for yourself. You can safely take care of yourself. Now, the point is, you have to believe that.
You are needing to develop your own ability to say "NO!" - you are needing to develop your own vigorous life force and will power that takes care of you. It sounds as if you do not yet tune into or state what you need and then go get it. If you are feeling out of control, I think it is because you have turned control of your life over to others. You have given your power away. It sounds as if you did not want to move so fast, but you gave into what your husband thought, perhaps to your detriment. Now, nothing is working out right because these choices are not what YOU want or are in harmony with. It's time for you to stand up for yourself and what you need, and claim your life for yourself. That is what has to take the place of eating. It is a better form of self nurturing to feel powerful and clear and honest and strong, and be able to state your truth exactly when you need to. That can be scary, but you see what comes of it when you don't. Which do you want?
I invite you to read about how we create our own reality. There is an article listed at the end of the home page on that. Also, very important, read the Laws of the Universe found on the home page until you really get it, and work with the formula for changing core beliefs in there.
A good intention to state, 4 times a day for the next 2 months is the following:
Know that we are all meant to shine. We are not meant to hide our light or our strength under a bushel.
It is part of the deal that you have to face your fears in order to develop this inner strength. It may be scary to stand up and speak your truth, but that is exactly what you must begin doing, any time something does not feel right or good to you. And then you back yourself up. No one can force you to do something against your will. You can say "NO, I am not comfortable with that." Even if their energy seems bigger or more frightening to you, it's only energy. If worse came to worse, and your husband, say, or anyone else got physical with you, then you go to the police and get a restraining order, and you get some support to go somewhere safe or leave the situation. There are always options and ways to take care of yourself. There is always someone to ask for some support if one needs to make a life change, whether inner or outer. A child doesn't know how to do that, or where to go, or what resources are available to get this support, but an adult does. A child wants to run away, but an adult goes toward what is healthy instead, and takes steps to develop what strengths they need to in order to change their life. An adult can say: "This is not right" and then find the means to get to a better place. You are asking for help, and that is an important thing to do. That is a form of beginning to take care of yourself.
It is time to let go of self pity. You have lived in that for a long time. It's too easy to say there's no one to talk to. There ARE people to talk to, but you must be willing to let go of the self pity to find that and take a new turn with your life. It's easy to eat, but it takes more strength to face what you need to. It's up to you what you want more: to feel self pity, and whatever you get out of that - for instance, not having to take charge of your life and remaining stuck as a victim - or letting go of the self pity and feeling good about yourself. It's up to you, dear one. What do you choose?