I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to figure out the solution to my weight problem and the obsessive compulsive relationship I have with food.
I know, obviously, that I have some very deep seated emotional problems that have caused me to create control issues that tie directly to my low self esteem. At my age now, and with the knowledge that I have gained about myself over the past 6+ years, I am beginning to see that elevating my self esteem to 'healthy' levels is not going to be easy.
I have stopped hoarding. I am able to keep myself from over spending. I have raised 4 accomplished children. I have somehow managed to maintain a very long term relationship with my spouse, although we certainly have some very rough spells in our relationship. Despite all that, I still feel worthless deep down inside.
I don't want to have to pay for psychotherapy because I already know what's wrong with me. I have tried therapy twice but it is a long and expensive road and I just don't have that kind of money to indulge. Instead, I need to figure out what it is in life that makes me truly happy and I need to pursue it. I have never taken this route before in my life because I have always had to contend with constraints and limits: a bunch of kids to raise, a job to go to, a spouse to maintain, friends to maintain, extended family to maintain, and all the rest of it. The expectations of being a married woman with children.
Just as 'Hoarders' on A&E provided the sort of therapy I needed to SEE my problem and DEAL WITH IT, and just as shows like 'Big Spender' and 'Til Debt Do Us Part' made me realize the damage I was doing to my family financially, so I have been watching shows related to the psychology of overeating. I have been watching a lot of weight related documentaries and shows on YouTube and these shows are beginning to bring a lot of my buried emotions and feelings towards food, and myself in general, to the surface.
I know that I use food as a comfort and coping mechanism. I know that, as I abuse myself by overeating, I am continuing to punish myself as I was punished as a child. I am keeping that old dysfunctional familiarity going. I know that I use my weight to avoid social situations. I know that I use my weight as a means to continue to make myself feel useless and stupid. I know that I use my weight as an excuse not to face a LOT of things.
There is so much fear and anxiety tied up in compulsive overeating. The vicious cycle of 'eating to feel better' only ends in increased self loathing, immediately before having to open the fridge to indulge again in a fix to 'feel better'. It is breaking this cycle that's SO difficult.
I have to deal with panic, anxiety, the feeling of loss, boredom, resignation, fear of the unknown. The exact same feelings that I had to contend with when I decided to stop hoarding. I also know, however, that these feelings are GOOD. It means that I am finally right at that starting point of REALLY dealing with my compulsive overeating and so I know that, yes, I am at the turning point of truly ending my self destructive eating patterns. It has taken me years and years of false starts to arrive at this defining point of knowing that I have a serious problem with food and actually wanting to finally do something about it.
Largely, my current attitude has a lot to do with sitting in front of the computer and watching documentary after documentary, show after show, regarding other people's struggles with emotions, food and weight. I am seeing connections between their situations and my own. I have also realized that my weight has not yet reached that point of no return and, for that, I am extremely grateful. I don't know how it is that I don't weigh 600 pounds. Seriously. My eating has been out of control for years and years.
Another realization that I've had lately is that my weight has contributed to the break down of many of my personal relationships. Some of the relationships I actually wanted to keep, but it is too late now. My poor self esteem and self loathing, coupled with my excess body fat, eventually won out over my attempts at putting on a cheerful front ....... and took me over. Instead of making the effort to attend weddings, christenings, dinners, parties .... I made excuses not just on my behalf but on the behalf of my whole family. Many invitations were turned down or worse, unacknowledged. My spouse and my kids have missed out on many fun events just because of me and my fat ass. I just couldn't cope with the outward manifestations of my inner emotional turmoil. I felt as if everyone around me knew that, in spite of my smiling and jovial efforts at being good company, I was an emotional mess.
Well, I have been an emotional mess and I have some deep seated issues to deal with. I am ashamed to admit it but one of my biggest problems right now is jealousy. That evil, green eyed monster.
My jealousy creates bigger control issues than I can handle at times. I feel that I have so much inner work to do, that I can't be around anyone outside of my immediate family right now who is genuinely happy. I am absolutely fine with family members being happy, in fact I encourage it. My problem is with friends who seem to have it all: nice houses, living in lovely neighborhoods, made all the right choices, stuck with careers that are now beginning to pay off, paid their dues and are reaping the benefits. I didn't have the emotional stability and strength to maintain and so I folded. I am jealous of other people's abilities to stay the course when I couldn't and didn't.
I think that other people see me as the loser that I see myself as being. This is where my very low self esteem and self loathing really kicks in and I know that I have a mountain to climb if I am ever to move forward and evolve emotionally. Sometimes I even think that I would be better off alone, to divorce the spouse and let him live what's left of his life with an emotionally healthy woman as opposed to me, one who has been seriously emotionally damaged from babyhood. I think that the biggest reason for my marriage longevity is because both the spouse and I have both been emotionally damaged by our childhoods and that is our primary connection. It's not a healthy connection and it may be one that I will be taking a closer look at in the future. The spouse hurts me. I hurt the spouse. There is a deep well to draw from for both of us.
Getting back to my jealousy. I am jealous of people who never had to struggle, people who get it all handed to them no matter how much they f*ck up. People who are coddled by parents who have their own set of issues related to guilt and who indulge their adult offspring in ways that most of us cannot imagine. I am jealous of the beautiful 30 year old who has 3 kids by different men, who lives in a castle at the beach paid for by a guilty father and a guilty step mother who had to give up her own children when her spouse discovered her cheating with the 30 year old's father so many years ago. These people were once best friends of mine but now they are just 'half' friends. We were like family once, now we are like the red headed bastard children at the family reunion. I cannot stand to see how they coddle this overgrown adolescent girl/woman they call a daughter. It's none of my business but, whenever I hear about "Alicia" and her latest romantic conquest or "Alicia" and the latest business deal placed neatly in her lap by the coddling parents, I get jealous. I.AM JEALOUS!!
Why am I so jealous? Because I never had that. I never had parents who guided me to adulthood and so, as a result, I have remained emotionally stunted out of fear and anxiety. I was pushed to the age of 18 and shoved out the door. My parents couldn't afford me when I was born, let alone the years from birth to 18. It was always a rule that I needed to be out on my own by 18 at the latest, 16 if at all possible. As an 18 year old in the fast paced world of business, given my spartan and violent upbringing, I found it impossible to gain a foothold in the adult world of personal, financial and emotional decision making. I lived each day teetering on the edge, terrified of going over and failing. My emotional foundation was just as shaky as it could possibly be. As a result, to this day, I don't think I have ever truly found my footing. I have basically never recovered from the violence of childhood.
What has brought this on? Well, a couple of things. I am realizing that I have deep issues related to jealousy and control. I have denied it for years but it's time to admit to it, to really own up to it. I am also accepting that other people will be born with that silver spoon that I wish I could've been privy to. That's never gonna happen for me, ever. Everything I attain will be through hard work. Nothing will ever be handed to me. There will be no inheritances, no windfalls. It reminds me of the friend I once had, a man, who said to me, "I just want someone to take care of me for a change." And this was from somebody who seemed to me to absolutely have it all.
I am jealous of anyone who had a safe, happy, non violent childhood, people whose parents didn't need to have a shotgun wedding. Why? Because they are far more at ease in their skin than I will ever be and, frankly, I am sick of feeling so worthless and damaged.
I know now that I will always be a work-in-progress, right up until the day I die. I am always going to be a work in progress. I will take 3 steps forward, and 2 back, forever. I know that I need to create better life coping skills because life sure ain't gonna get any easier. Maybe that is the key that will unlock me from the chains that, for now, tie me to the fridge and pantry.
I also need to learn to stop being jealous, to free myself from the angst. Accept. Move on. There is still a lot of life to live and I want to find the courage to live it. I hope I can because, lately, I am seeing just how damaged I really am.
I am the ornament that was smashed and glued back together, with all the cracks showing.
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