Sexual Abuse, Bulimia and Eating Disorders

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Body Image, Eating Disorder, Bulimia
Darlene at 21

There was another specific outcome to being sexually assaulted when I was barely fourteen that had a very big impact on my belief system and was part of the results I realized as I took the memory apart. As I have already written about, my mother taught me that my importance and value was sexual so looks and weight were very important. Being attractive to men was very important and I believed that was my only true value or power, so I was very aware of my looks. At the same time I had a deep belief that it was my looks and body that caused the man to come into my bedroom and sexually assault me so I had this polar opposite belief system about sexuality and body image. I had been raised to believe that my looks and sexuality would get me through life; it was all good, all powerful and all important that I be attractive and sexually appealing to men. I had a killer body and long beautiful naturally curly hair. But I hated my body and was afraid of it at the same time. It was never good enough and it was always too good. I agonized between needing to be safe by being appealing and dressing in a sexual attractive way, and being terrified that I was going to be hurt ~assaulted, sexually abused, raped or ignored and rejected because of my looks. I was equally afraid of NOT being attractive as I was of being attractive. I had a bi polar belief system going on when it came to my physical appearance and I was never comfortable either way. For me, physical attraction was love. Physical attraction was also dangerous and hurtful.

I had to be attractive to men, I had to be perfect. As I got older I wore provocative clothing which made me feel both good and bad. I had to be noticed, I had to appeal to men, lots of men, ALL men. That is where I got my validation. BUT at the same time, I was terrified to be attractive.

 After my mother’s boyfriend came into my room that night and sexually assaulted me, I gained 30 pounds in about three months. I was so terrified of the weight gain that I was suicidal over it. (and remember that I became obsessed with suicidal thoughts after I was sexually abused and while I was gaining this weight, so there is a chance that the root of the suicidal thoughts was actually about having been sexually abused but I ate the food and I gained the weight so I was responsible for being fat) When I was fifteen I went to weight watchers and lost 33 lbs. I was the star, being the youngest in the class, and I loved that too because now I had a little attention and approval.  I was so scared to gain the weight back however that as soon as I started the maintenance program, I also started bingeing and purging out of fear. I had never even heard the word bulimic or of the disease bulimia when I was doing this but somehow I found out about it.

 The bingeing was about the belief that I would be safer if I was heavier ~ falsely believing that NO ONE would ever want me (or touch me) if I was “fat”. The purging was about the fear of being nothing and no one without my looks and body and that without my perfect body I would be invalidated and unlovable. Bulimia was the answer for me; I could eat all I wanted and then just throw it up. This was an absolutely 50/50 polar opposite belief system which tore me in two directions until very recently, but there are still a few leftover beliefs and fears that I still work on.

I discovered and started using amphetamines to take my appetite when I was 16. The only time I didn’t binge and purge and live a bulimic lifestyle at that age was when I was using these illegal drugs to control my desire to eat.  I was addicted to amphetamines until I was 23 years old at which time I sought help for my addictions. 

This behavior took me down a new path with my belief system. Now I had chosen to use both drugs and alcohol as a coping method, and this was more proof to myself of how “bad” that I was. I stopped looking at the fact that I had been devalued, mistreated and unprotected most of my life, and used this new behavior to reinforce the already deep belief that I was unlovable, unworthy and undeserving of love. Now I was participating in something really bad. I knew I should know better. I didn’t consciously think about why I was doing it.  I remember feeling so guilty and ashamed of using drugs and sneaking alcohol. I also remember sticking my finger down my throat and eventually choking and looking in the mirror, bloodshot eyes and vomit on my chin and feeling like the lowest of the lowest and using the drugs to suppress my appetite was somehow better than that. It was a lesser shame. I stopped considering what anyone else had or had not done to me or for me.

When I was fully over my alcohol and drug addictions and after all the dynamics that pregnancy has on someone with body issues, I sought help for food addictions, compulsive overeating and eating disorders ~ I learned all kinds of useful tools and sayings. I learned and eventually believed that it wasn’t about the food, and while it was a huge relief to learn that, until I took this whole memory apart I never understood what it really WAS about.

And remember ~ bulimia, drugs, alcohol and suicidal thoughts and plans, were just a few of the things that resulted from the impact that sexual assault had on me. This was just one thread that I followed in order to take apart a memory and get a glimpse into how my belief system formed.

Please feel free to share about anything to do with your own discoveries because this blog isn’t about the symptoms as much as it is about the pathway to freedom from those symptoms.

Hugs, Darlene Ouimet

58 response to "Sexual Abuse, Bulimia and Eating Disorders"

  1. By: sahitha Posted: 31st July 2013

    I also remember my mum placing too much emphasis on physical attractiveness and looks. She is a bit different to yours in that she told me I was unattractive even though people commented that I had beautiful hair and an attractive face.

    She kept putting me down that I would find it difficult getting married because I was not good looking. So I too placed too much value in my physical attractiveness and discrediting my other achievements. Of course, it was very well reinforced by other people when growing up that regardless of whatever a girl does or achieve in her life, it ultimately comes down to her looks.

    And of course, because my mother told me I was unattractive, I strived to become attractive and was constantly obsessed with looking good. I then came to a stage in my mid-twenties when people started complimenting me on my looks and I began to believe them but deep in my mind, I was still not beautiful.

  2. By: sahitha Posted: 31st July 2013

    Hi Darlene

    Just reading through the first few lines of your post made me wonder if many women feel that their value is in their looks and being attractive to the opposite sex. Of course, I am not discounting the effect your mother’s behaviour had on your own belief system. Iguess it’s a combination of both your mother’s behaviour and general attitudes of society that made you think your value is in sexually attracting men.

    What I am saying is even if a girl was raised in a non-abusive family (I am not saying healthy family here), I think most girls do end up feeling that their worth is in their sexual attractiveness. I think the reason for this is that our world is a very macho world and men are made to strive for outer success and women are made to think that their biggest achievement is in finding a guy who has “made it”.

    I am not saying this whole attitude is not changing but we have to admit the truth that the world today is what is. So when young boys and girls grow up in this kind of society, they tend to have their worth and value misplaced on the wrong things. I do not think any particular country is exempt from this phenomenon.

    The reason I say this is because I see girls brought up in relatively non-abusive families also equating their worth with their physical attractiveness. Of course, when someone is brought up in an abusive family, I think it is far worse.

    Also the collective sub-conscious of women all over is that their survival and reason for thriving is based on attracting a successful/wealthy partner and hence they place a disproportionately high value on looks.

    I am not saying there are no women who defy this and also not saying women cannot be independent human beings who have individual talents to offer but the vast majority still have it in their sub-conscious that they have to have a man in their lives to survive/thrive.

    Let me know what you think of this.
    Thank you.

  3. By: Wendy Posted: 16th January 2013

    I had been bulimic from 20 to 30 years old. Finally, with the support of my fiancé I have been purge free for the past year and a half. Only recently I have realized the connection to the 4 separate sexual abuse incidents in my past. I am scared to face the feelings that are connected to these memories. One happened when I was so young that I have little memory of the event. The other three occurred in my teens and twenties and are vivid but completely numb in my memory now. I know that I still purge because of the pain of these events and the shame and self hatred I feel because of them, but at the same time I fear facing them head on. Does anyone have any advice for where to turn to male peace with your past.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th January 2013

      Hi Wendy
      Welcome to EFB
      This whole website is about how I found peace with my past, as you put it. I hope you will keep reading. I overcame all the self hatred, the depressions, dissociation and eating disorders. There is hope!!
      Hugs Darlene

  4. By: Michelle Posted: 15th July 2012

    I was bulimic all my teens and into my 20s, stopped when I was around 23-24. This was in 1970s & 80s. I read about it for the first time in a woman’s magazine when I was in my early 20s. Up until that time, I thought I was crazy, that I was the only one in the world with this problem. Now I know that it was related to sexual abuse. Thank goodness things have changed. I saw a psychiatrist for it when I was around 17 and his treatment was to put me on a calorie restricted diet!!! He didn’t want to hear about how I had been molested. He was a Freudian psychiatrist and believed that my stories of having been sexually abused were subconscious desires on my part and that I was manic-depressive because I was “overly sexual”. Almost laughable.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th July 2012

      Hi Michelle
      Welcome to emerging from broken.
      One of the things that I have learned is that people with degrees don’t always know anything about what is best or even what is helpful! ugg. Being told that you were overly sexual would make everything so much worse, and his answer was to put you on a diet!
      Glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: J Posted: 3rd June 2012

    Thank you for this article, I can relate to so much of what you went through and believed. I even look similar to the picture above except have green eyes 😉 Will be digesting this tidbit for awhile so know it’s a good one for me.

    Thank you <3

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th June 2012

      Hi J.
      Welcome and thank you for sharing. I am glad my article resonated with you.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Roshani Posted: 24th September 2011

    CIAO… beloved FRIENDS!! But How many we are in the world heiding and pretending that Nothing has never happened to us…according to what they have asked us to do !!!! But now here we can shear everything and we can feel SAVE …it is not Fantastic!!! THANKS Darlene for this precious OPPORTUNITY that you have given to yourself and to all of US!!!DO you know??!!! Usually i am a person full of all kind of FEARS but since when I began to communicate with all of you , I have less FEAR also to stay by myself !!! So I try to enjoi all my SMALL BABY STEPS!!!Me too I have gone trought my HELL with The FOOD and it has been a long TUNNEL for almost 15 years of my life …..fighting allways By Myself with the food all the day long….I had no other thought in my head than that concerning the FOOD!!!The biggest challange against myself was to see every day who win inside me ….the part who wants to eat all kinds of bad food( biscuits, bread , acecream in such a quantity completely out of my control ) or the part who wants to deprive myself of food, of nurishment ….of LOVE!!!So when the need of overeating was winning, than I was trying to go free of this provoching vomit ….but I never managed , so I was closing in the bathroom and I was taking pils laxative …and saying to myself that this would have been the last time and that tomorrow I would have eaten regular!!! But was not the TRUTH ….postponing from one day to another I have gone on for a lot of years…..too many years..and as a consequence of this , I began to loose my teeth and now i have only remained with ten of mine!!!IT IS SO SAD!!! I never had overweght because I have used my DISCIPLINE of MARTIAL ARTS to train myself extrimely also when I had just had a BULIMIC CRISIS , to punish myself because i had lost the controll of the situation with the food and usually I was overeating IN THE NIGHT , when no one could see me !!!! Usually after a BULIMIC attack I had to manage with my strict discipline,not to eat nothing at all for two or three days, and on top i was also training myself phisically very extreem,untill sometimes I was COLLAPSING!!!And so these has been my life every day in and out for a lot of years ….and now I realize that this it was not LIFE!! I was so desperate inside myself but I never linked nothing of my inner state with what has happened to me as a CHILD ….at the end also i have forgotten what was happened to me!!! I believed all my FAMILY!!!IN this way i have allways managed to give to the others the image that I was totally FIT ,That I was fine and I don’t need help but i was mainly there only ready to help the others ….and all this I had to do in order to be sure that no one knows about what has happened to me in my chilhood!!! In all this HELL of my life ( i have choosen to become a tacher of PHYSICAL EDUCATION!!!) in order to be sure to manage with my STRATEGY OF SURVIVAL, with all the ENDORPHINE that i was producing with the iper activity, I have given unconsciously to myself the possibility to manage in this LIFE TIME! without taking drug or alcool…..so now if i look the situation from this point of view,in mine missfortune ….i have been relatively lucky!!!Now I am tired to move my body and what really i wish and enjoi to do , it is what i am doing right now ..shearing with you my PAST !!!I I am also began to write a book about my story of INCEST ,but since when I have found all of you , my priority is to do this….it is a wish of my BROKEN HEART …and i follow my heart NOW!!! The book will come later …can wait a little bit!!! THANK you to be!!! LOVE!! Roshani

  7. By: Angela Contreras Posted: 24th December 2010

    Hi Darlene I agree with what you are saying I am working on acceptance it has been a long process for me. I am seeing that it is a life time process I will always be working on myself on accepting myself as I am. I always thought it was the out side but I have found it is all in the inside going within learning that I am who I am and I do not know what that is but I am me that is all I can be. If people don’t like me as me then who wants a friend like that. I found out I am a child of God and that God does not make junk. So in that case I am not junk I am made out of love. We all are made out of love. Thanks for what you write Darlene. I needed to be reminded thanks again for your post reminding me I am exactly where I am supposed to be at any given moment.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th December 2010

      Angela,
      I am happy to give you those reminders… I need them too and sometimes when I read these comments I go “OH YEAH” I forgot. LOL Sometimes I need to write to you, what I need to remember myself. That seems to be just the way it is.
      So glad that you are here and that you realize how much progress you are making too!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Angela Contreras Posted: 23rd December 2010

    Amira I relate to what you are sharing. I know it is not easy to share. Be proud of yourself. It took me years to share about how I felt and years to get naked in front of someone. I would not have sex with the lights on. I had to be covered up. When I was a kid in school in PE I would not take shower at school cause I did not want to be seen naked. I got dressed in the bathroom stall with the doors shut. I hated PE I ended up flunking it by not showing up because I did not want to have to change and dress in front of people. I used to cut myself from childhood up into my 30s. I hated my body and eat things I knew that were not good for me. Did drugs and alcohol for years did anything to destroy myself. I got into abusive relationship because I thought they could kill me I was still to chicken to kill myself. Sounds sick it is sick but that is what happens to many people who were abused I did not get help until I was 30 years old. I am better now but I still have issues that bother me. Sex is one I work on because I love my husband and I know it is out of love but the act of sex still is not easy for me. So I relate to what your going through. If you want someone to talk to, to listen to you feel free to contact me in email by licking above near my name. I am glad we have each other all those who post here know what it is like and so we are not alone. I found that I have to love myself but first I have to like myself and today some days I love myself some days I still look in the mirror and hate what I see. I am over 100 pounds over weight so don’t feel bad many people are over weight some people are under weight and think they are fat. We all have problems we are working on. At least we are not alone some times it feels like I am alone but I am thankful for people like you on here to share with. Hugs to you. ~Angela~

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th December 2010

      Hi Amira,
      I hate to tell you this, but this is another part of the process, and for me it came later. In fact I am still dealing with some of this stuff. I tend to think of body issues as the final frontier. I carefully controlled my weight all my life until I really began to recover and then suddenly I allowed myself to relax. It terrified me. When I started speaking in mental health seminars I gained a few pounds. I kept telling myself that it was okay and that I had to learn to accept myself however I was. And that was/is true. I am not my weight. I am not the appearance of my body. I kept going forward.
      When I started this blog just over a year ago, I began to gain a little more weight. Now in the past I would have let that deter me from sharing. It is the sharing and the transparency with which I share my life that makes me feel unsafe, which makes me tend to use food to escape sometimes. BUT what I am doing now is that I am trying to be me; accept me and love me for the inside of me. My mother never accepted me the way that I was. (including my body) so I have to do it now. If that means that I learn to love myself the exact way that I am today, then that is very healthy. I don’t like my weight but I love myself. AND I have faith that when I am ready to stop using extra food, that I will. I am also dealing with Menopause issues which have effected my weight too, but none of that matters. What matters is self acceptance. Just like in so many other areas, I tend to want to accept myself according to my old belief system about what was acceptable to others. I do not put other people through that grid, so why do I put my self acceptance through it?
      I have made huge changes in this area this past few years. I do not stress about my body the way that I used to. I don’t binge and or purge the way that I used to, EVER. I don’t even have big binges anymore, I just eat too much on occasion. I have to acknowledge improvement.
      BUT I had a breakthrough a few weeks ago; I posted a video of myself saying hello from Mexico on the facebook page for Emerging from broken and have been using current pictures too. This is HUGE growth for me.
      I hope this helps a bit. Again, this is such a huge area.
      Love Darlene

      Hi Angela,
      Thank you for your lovely and encourageing comments too.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Amira Posted: 23rd December 2010

    This is such a big issue…and really plays a HUGE role in my marriage, much bigger than I probably let on to him or anyone else. I cant stand being naked, like I really wish I could shower with clothes on even, and most certainly dont want to take my clothes off for sex….so even something so seemingly “normal” as wearing lingerie or sex during the day is a HUGE issue and I have to force myself not to dissociate from it and stay present, and its HARD, but people that havent been there dont realize just how hard that it is….and I have no idea how to explain it, and maybe its ok that I cant, but it makes me feel screwed up and defective. I “know” intellectually that its not true, that Im “normal” but that doesnt stop me from feeling bad and hating myself and my body and ignoring my needs on a daily basis.

    I purposefully do things to hurt my body, to distance myself from it…I really dont have any connection to it, and Im not even sure how to have one, or get one. Im allergic to a lot of foods, and I eat them anyways, and feel sick, and keep eating them, and I think to myself “why do you eat things that make you sick?” and I have no idea why I do something so “stupid” and although I havent done it, I used to cut myself all the time, and I carved the word “fat” into my arm one day, just because I had such a huge amount of hatred for my body. The only time I have ever done anything good for myself in terms of really FOLLOWING the nutrition advice I was given exactly how I was given it, or exercising reasonably or not intentionally doing something negative to my body, was during pregnancy, because then the thought of hurting my child was more important than anything having to do with me or what I thought/felt/wanted….so I know I can do what I need to in order to be healthy and take care of myself, because I have done it, I just have to love me as much as I love my children, and that seems impossible, especially in this body with this fat and these scars and this hair and blah blah blah….I dont look like Angelina Jolie after having two kids, or some other person with a gorgeous body…so Im not “good enough” to be loved, even by me, because I dont “do enough” to deserve that kind of treatment (meaning I eat the wrong foods, dont lose enough weight each week, exercise too little etc.). No matter how loose my pants are, and how much I have lost or why I gained it in the first place…it doesnt matter, what matters is that when I look in the mirror I dont see what I want to see, or what I “should” see, and that makes me unloveable, to myself.

    I “know” that this is all sick thinking and its not accurate and all the other “therapist talk” and exactly what is supposed to fix it and why and how and have read every book I can find, and now I know inside and out how/what/when/why/where it came from and where it can go…but someone left out the middle steps in the process…but I guess thats because healing from trauma is an individual journey or whatever, and I “know” that its a process and takes time and all that stuff, but I dont “feel’ it, and I dont “believe” it, I dont ever want to eat again, I am paying $30 a week for someone to tell me how to eat, and what and when and where and I dont do it. I wake up and say “you are a fat cow and dont need to eat another bite because you ate cheese (or a soda, cookie, chicken, whatever) yesterday” and so I make my coffee and dont eat, until my husband comes home and says “are you going to eat dinner?” and makes a huge deal out of it if I say no and I dont want to make him upset, so I eat and pretend its “ok” and Im not saying to myself “you fat weak pig” with every bite and then we go see a movie and I spend the entire time thinking how horrendous I look compared to the actress in the movie.

    How do I make that permanent step away from hating me and turn it into caring about me, and me being important enough to love the body I have and work toward making it better in a loving, compassionate, healthy way? I dont know, and I am afraid of what it might look like and how I might feel or what I might do if I dont know what the end looks like before I start.

  10. By: Angela Contreras Posted: 23rd December 2010

    Thank you Darlene.. The more people I get to know through the years I see that their are many mothers who are like that. So sad. I am adopted and I found my birth mom in 2005 I was 40 when I found her the last time she saw me was when I was 5 months old. She felt bad when she found out the way I was raised with abuse. Now I have a good relationship with my birth mom. We are friends more then mother and daughter.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd December 2010

      Hi Angela,
      I think that is really cool that you are friends with your birth mom.
      It is very sad that so many mothers have such disregard for daughters… I don’t know if I will ever understand it.
      Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Angela Contreras Posted: 22nd December 2010

    Hi everyone I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Reading all the posts you all wrote reminds me of my mom who all thought that the body was what we are. Meaning what I look like on the outside was important. She would put me on diets weigh me as she was a ballet teacher I danced and was always told I am 5 pounds to fat no matter what. I was not fat until my late 20s but I always thought I was fat. Now I acheved being fat lol hard to loose weight now. I drank and drugged and used food to run from my self for years. I wished I was a hooker cause I had sex with anyone and everyone for free. I think back of how much money I could of made lol any way now my life is changed I stopped drinking and using drugs in 1995 I stopped being in abusive relationship’s with men. Now I am married to a wonderful man. My life has changed thank you God. I still use food it is hard cause we cannot just stop eating like we can with other addictions just stop drinking. I am heavy lost 15 pounds in the last 3 months so I am happy about that but I still have over 100 pounds to go. I am happy though I have a lot less stress in my life now. I let go of my mom who abused me and the man who abused me I let go of a long time ago. I think it died. Any way thank you everyone for sharing your story we are not alone we can have a good life no matter where we came from.. I wrote my story in book form on line it is free all on line you can visit me just click on my name it will take you to my story. I call it “Thank you God One Lady’s journey Within. I would love to hear from you any input would be helpful.

    Hugs Angela

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd December 2010

      Angela,
      I can relate! My mother was really something else when it came to body stuff, but she didn’t “say” much about it, it was all the subtle things, the importance she placed on sexual attraction. (as though without that I had nothing) and it was all so covert.
      Thank you for sharing that you have written your story and the link to it. I will have to check that out!
      Hugs and thank you so much for being here.
      Darlene

  12. By: Amira Posted: 22nd December 2010

    Nightwishfan,

    Im so sorry you went through that. I remember feeling the same way you did when I was a teen, that I had to “look” sexy and “be” sexy, but inside I wanted to die…and I thought I was the problem with that, not the mother who told me that my worth was entirely sexual or my father who never told me anything, or the myriad of men who used and abused me because I was there for the taking and thought it was ok.

    I remember being somewhere around 15 or so, and I was dating this boy and we had sex and he told me “wow you look like a porn star” and that to me was the best compliment I had ever heard from anyone. I finally acheived perfection in my own mind, so he must have loved me…right? no. It took me 20 years and being a prostitute and several suicide attempts and a zillion other things and totally distancing myself from my family and gaining 100 lbs, and my husband not leaving me after that, to realize that those things were NOT true about me, and that my worth is much more than my body(I still struggle with that a great deal, and refuse to look at myself naked)

    That is one of the best things about online support networks and blogs and whatnot, that you cant “see” the other person. I have no idea what you, or Darlene, or any other person that I “know” online, looks like and yet every one of you is a gorgeous, strong, beautiful, capable, talented, creative, fantastic person deserving of the very best life has to offer you, and it has NOTHING to do with your weight or body or sex appeal or anything other than the words on the page and your heart that shows from that….and knowing that I feel that way about other people, and having them express those same feelings to me, has helped me tremendously to see that I do have something more valuable to the world than my body…and that has allowed me to let go of some of this negative image, although not much of it yet, but its coming along.

    Im so glad you all are here and that Darlene has the courage to start posts like this.

    Oh and in case you were wondering, since I started seeing the nutritionist I mentioned before, I have lost 12 lbs and worn sexy lingerie for my husband TWICE (I was horrified and disgusted and felt terrible and cried like a baby both times…but his positive reaction made it totally worth doing and made me feel so much better afterwards) and I still dont have full length mirrors in my house, and wont for probably a very long time…but Im slowly getting better one step at a time.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd December 2010

      Hello Nightwishfan,
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
      Ya… I had a sick mom too… if you read the other posts under the mother daughter category button, you will see more about where all my body issues came from too. I was totally taught that my looks were all I had, and that sexuality was all that mattered to my future. UGG
      Glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Amira
      Oh my gosh this reminded me of the time that I got mistaken for a hooker in a high end hotel bar. I thought it was a major compliment too! I was thrilled for days! I never forgot that night. I considered for a few years after that that maybe I should be a hooker, I could afford more drugs then… oh my mind went such sick places. I had (and still have many leftovers) many body issues and body beliefs too. Such a huge area!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Nightwishfan Posted: 21st December 2010

    Wow, thank goodness for this blog entry! I can completely relate. While I dressed provocatively as a teenager, I secretly hated my body. I had to present myself as very seductive on the outside, but I was bombarded by torturous obsessions over how I looked. I felt HIDEOUS and worthless without the seductive clothing and makeup.

    When I was molested, my step-dad told me he wanted me to look like the women in porn magazines. My mom told me that nobody would like me if I didn’t dress the way how she wanted me to. She also emphasized the value on how I looked. She even wanted me to wear makeup and dress nicely for my step-dad! She loved it when older men at parties would compliment me, as if I was a toy to show off. She would get anxiety over how I looked, but she didn’t understand why I developed Body Dysmorphic Disorder. She told my appearance obsessions were stupid, BUT it was okay for her and my step-dad to worry about how I look.

    When I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, my parents had no idea where it comes from. Gee, I know why!

  14. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 3rd November 2010

    Hi Amira

    I can so relate to the potato sacks. Sometimes when sat next to other people on public transport I feel like I am wearing potato sacks!!

  15. By: Amira Posted: 3rd November 2010

    Fi, I can relate a lot to what you shared too. When I first started talking about my sexual abuse, luckily, I was in a daily post hospitalization therapy group and the therapist had issues with anorexia and body image stemming from sexual abuse, so I was really able to tackle some of that head on right away…and I wish I could go back to her now, but she only sees patients attending the groups, so that wont work.

    Anyways, my point was that while talking to her, I realized that our weight didnt matter, what mattered was that we were hiding our bodies from others, from ourselves even. I am (and always have been) so disconnected from my own body, that I dont understand what it needs, what it wants, what is good for it, what is bad for it and I dont want to know, I dont want to connect to my own body, and I dont know why. But what caught my attention is that you said you wear baggy clothes to hide your body from people, and that therapist and I talked about how we would have loved to have been able to wear potato sacks out in public, and how nice it would be to feel “normal” in a potato sack, vs clothes….and I can imagine from your comments that you would relate to that feeling.

    I can also relate to the exercise thing, and you mentioned hating sweating…that is my BIGGEST issue with exercise, I hate to sweat, because then I stink and that makes me feel even more gross. although I am somewhat of the opposite in the fact that I love to go to the gym and look at all the skinny people exercising and work myself to death trying to become them rather than accepting me the way I am and working at a comfortable safe pace for my body.

    I would rather die of a heart attack from working myself to death in the gym, and feel like a success than actually do what it takes to be “normal” and eat 3 meals and 2 snacks or breakfast and all that jazz, and I know thats screwed up, and Im working on changing it, because intellectually I know I need to, but inside, I dont want to change anything, I want to starve and over-exercise and never get in touch with my body…and I dont want to deal with whatever I might find when I do connect with myself I guess. Its hard, and it takes a lot of work, and I dont know that I want to do it….but I know I need to do it. So Im trying anyways and hoping somewhere down the line it will sink into my psyche.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th November 2010

      Amira,
      You said a pretty big mouthfull when you said “but inside, I dont want to change anything, I want to starve and over-exercise and never get in touch with my body…and I dont want to deal with whatever I might find when I do connect with myself I guess.” That is / was the bottom line for me ~ I was afraid of getting to know me. Understanding that was fear was a great revelation for me though! I realized that my biggest fear was that “they” might be right about me and as long as I lived in denial I didn’t have to face that. (but of course they were NOT right!!) Hugs, Darlene

      Really great post comments from everyone! Wish I could answer all of them!!
      Hugs, Darlene

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