Foundation of Eating Disorders and Body Issues

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eating disorders and body issuesMy history with body issues and eating disorders goes way back to even before I was a teenager. My body issues, weight concerns, bulimia etc. have their roots in both sexual abuse and emotional abuse. I have told you about how my mother began to teach me at a very young age that my only power and value was in sexuality, which even as a young child I knew had something to do with my looks and my body. Over the years I realized that my fear of weight gain was equal to my fear of being “just the right weight” because both would result in abuse. With the belief system built on my value being in sexuality and body image, I was afraid that if I threw my image away, I would be rejected by everyone. I got a lot of approval because of my looks. At the same time I had this belief that it was my body and the fact that I was attractive, that attracted abusers. Even from a very young age I suspected that it was my body they wanted to do things to… it was my body that was being used. So I separated from my body. It seems logical when I put it that way. Eventually my body became the enemy.

What was harder to understand was that these two belief systems conflicted with each other. They were polar opposites. If I gained weight, I would be rejected, if I was the perfect weight, I would be used.

Several weeks ago I found a website called “letters to my body” and read a few of the letters that others had written there. The concept of writing a letter to my body and some of the things that other women were saying to their bodies made me realize that I too was angry at my body. I was angry as though my body did this to me. As though I didn’t ever realize that it wasn’t my body that caused the problem. These realizations are always powerful and usually can become the starting point for a new area of growth for me. This particular one was painful.

About a week after I found that website, I was sick with some kind of throat and chest thing and coughing virus for a couple weeks and was talking to transformation coach and author Kim Vazquez on facebook.  I told her I was sick. She told me that whenever she is sick she asks her body what it is trying to tell her. It was funny because having just discovered that website “letters to my body” I thought it was a very cool concept to ‘talk to my body”. So later that day I decided to get very quiet, and relax you know, kind of do a meditation and as Kim suggested, I asked my body what it was trying to tell me.

The response that I got was shocking. My body didn’t hesitate. My body said “You neglect me, you devalue me, you treat me with disrespect, you expect too much from me but you don’t take proper care of me and you break your promises to me. You mistreat me and invalidate me. I don’t trust you anymore. “

I was shocked. It was true. I have not been taking care of myself physically this past 2 years. I have gained weight. I am not eating as healthy as I used to. I am not getting regular physical exercise. And even prior to that, I had some odd ways of doing physical health. My body was telling me that I was an abuser. It was saying all the things that I say to identity abusive people. My body said that I am my own abuser. 

As a result of this insight, I took a good long look at my history and the way that I view my physical self and it has given me amazing insight into the relationship that I developed with myself as a result of mistreatment from others. There is so much to this whole topic when it comes to mental health recovery. Body issues and eating disorders seem to be connected to many abusive situations and events, so I have decided to make eating disorders and body issues a regular feature in this blog. I welcome your feedback, contributions and comments.

Exposing Truth… one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

41 response to "Foundation of Eating Disorders and Body Issues"

  1. By: Martha: Closer to Free Posted: 24th January 2014

    I was part of a family system where one parent was the narcissistic bully, and the other was the helpless alcoholic, and though I am “closer to free”, and will have some strength- and solution-based posts to contribute, I wondered if you or anyone have found solutions for the double-bind scenario where the bully parent forces you to under-value yourself and submit to his “authority”, and the crash-and-burn parent convinces you that she will die if you don’t take care of her. In a competitive household, where everyone’s survival seems to be based on manipulating everyone else, this is particularly hard, because it sets up a loyalty crisis: not only will you be abandoned if you don’t submit, but someone else will die, and their death will be on you. Interested in solution-focused thoughts and healthy ideas. Thanks!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th January 2014

      Hi Martha,
      Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, most of us have a combo of issues when it comes to our parents. And yes, it is always all about survival and coping as a child with all the crazy. This site is full of solution focused thoughts, hope you look around some more.
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  2. By: DXS Posted: 30th July 2013

    Wow. One of my fingers is stiff to the point where I cannot make a fist. Doctor tested me for Arthritis, negative. Wonder if this is a stress reaction….. It’s been stiff for 2 years. Two years ago, I had four stiff fingers, (two on each hand) but three of them improved.

    Trouble is, the remaining finger that is still stiff is the middle one……

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