Foundation of Eating Disorders and Body Issues



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

    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

      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

    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……

  3. By: sahitha Posted: 30th July

    Oh yes! I can relate to this issue of not feeling safe when I am at optimal weight. I too got a lot of approval for my looks which I enjoyed but felt vulnerable at times because of external beauty. So tried to cover myself up behind glasses as a way of hiding from the world.

    It is only now I am learning to stand up for myself and let me be me.

  4. By: diane Posted: 10th May

    Darlene, I laughed out loud after I read the last sentence of your response to me! Other than being happy when I read your Mother’s Day article…(and it is so touching..and even more so when you consider that so many mothers only dream of having what you have now with your daughter and children!) ….anyway…I have had one of the most difficult days emotionally that I have had in a REALLY long time. I cried off and on yesterday while writing the above and afterward because it is tough to share that stuff. I dont mean to be gross, but it feels like I am vomiting out my feelings! I was so afraid after I wrote everything down and submitted it. I was also afraid what you would say because I am feeling like such a basketcase today. I have felt so “raw” all day and I have been hiding my tears. It has been a total see-saw of emotions, so yes, I am going to slow down just a bit. I hate remembering those things and admitting to how I really feel instead of pretending all the time that I am fine and strong and not hurting anymore. Thank you for understanding and it brings the tears on again because I feel so grateful for your helpful suggetions. Big hugs to you! I am going to go boo hoo my head off for awhile!

  5. By: diane Posted: 9th May

    I am beginning with yet another new topic to work on healing, and this may be one of the most painful for me. I have never admitted to anyone what I am going to write here. It has been too painful to admit, and the only reason I am going to open my soul is for the purpose of trying to overcome and heal. I hate my body. I remember as a tiny girl I didnt care what I looked like. I enjoyed being a tomboy outside and inside I was a girly girl with dolls and dress up and perfume..etc. I grew up with three brothers and was lumped in with them all of the time…not really treated too much differently except that my father wouldnt pound into me as hard as he did my older brother. How sensitive of him, right? I remember when it ALL changed and became like a nightmare I couldnt wake up from. I was six years old and had no concept of my looks except that I liked certain clothes at that age. Then I began to be sexually abused by two neighborhood boys and this went on everytime I went outside for two years…and they were around a lot since one of them was the boy next door. My “mom” used to lock me and my older brother out of the house… she and her sons could take their 2-3 hour “nap” every day. Two years later my dad asked me suddenly what was wrong and why didnt I go outside. I remember the shame and embarrassmet as I told him…one of the only times I dared to share. He became furious and told me that they would never bother me again. He went out the door and I literally never heard another word about any of it. Nothing from him or her or the boys. The boys disappeared like he promised, so that was such a relief! Right at that same time, my “mom” started punishments with me and my older brother. John always got it worse..he was treated like an absolute dog and I would be listening to him as he was being beaten year after year until he was a teen and there would be times when it was on a daily basis. It traumatized me because he was my only security blanket in that crazy world I lived in and I couldnt even help him. We started having to eat everything on our plates and if we couldnt because we hated it and it made us sick, we still would get no food and have to eat it for breakfast straight out of the fridge, ice cold. No food until that was completely gone. Her sons (my half brothers who I also loved dearly and realized that they werent to blame for the favoritism)didnt have to eat if they didnt want to. Also, when I asked for something to eat when or if I was hungry, I either had to wait until dinner or the meal or eat a piece of fruit. There is nothing wrong with that, but I was always hungry! The dabs of food sometimes werent enough at my meals and I didnt enjoy most of it. So I began also sneaking food at that age. I think back and believe that for whatever reason, my “mom” started thinking that 8 yrs old was old enough to handle greater responsibility and consequences. My chores increased, everything I said or did came under the radar and I had noone but my abused brother to talk to about any of it. I started hiding in my closet with a light and sneaking food. Food became my obsession from that point on. I also began hearing both of my parents criticize my looks. They would both tease me and my brother and make fun of certain things…the family joke was “Diane’s big butt”…and that went on until I was a teen. Even then I was always put down for my hair or my looks. It was so humiliating. And shameful. I hated how I looked then and I am only okay with accepting how I look today. I am not tearing down my looks when I say this, but the truth is that I have a few physical things that caused my body to not develop rightly…one leg is 3/4 inch shorter and my 5th lumbar is welded into my sacrum and I have scoliosis. Which none of these things was ever addressed as a child. My birth mother had cancer and diabetes while pregnant with me and the doctors said that is the medical reason for these things. I never would have even cared if I hadnt been mercilessly teased by my “parents”. I also dont have the facial beauty that some women have. I am an average woman in my looks like so many others. My hips are much wider than my narrow shoulders and I have small breasts…the perfect example of a “pear”. In my family, “mom” was the beauty…I think my dad married her for her looks sometimes. I didnt even notice until I was an adult because I thought she was so mean and hateful that I couldnt see any beauty in her, to be honest. I chose from an early age because of all of the torment I felt at home to never compare myself with others or ever put someone down because of something so beyond anyones control as looks are. I dont have an issue with beautiful women or men or any of that, but I still cannot look in the mirror with any kind of appreciation. I love my hair, and that is about it! I have had eating disorder issues since I was 8 yrs old and have overcome a lot, but now it is time to tear this lie apart and heal. I didnt ask to look like this….I didnt want to be teased and tormented for my looks by my family…and it hurt incredibly much and has scarred me to the point that now I am middle aged and I want to be healed, but there is also a part of me that closed down. It isnt that big of a thrill to buy clothing to be “sexy” for my husband…I dont have a sexy body. It isnt a thrill to dress up because clothing doesnt look that great on this body. So…there it all is. The root and the feelings and the hatred in a nutshell. Here is how warped I feel….I prayed that my daughter wouldnt be born with my figure! I did! And you know what? I thank God that she wasnt becaus she will never know pain in at least that area of her life.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th May

      Hi Diane

      Thank you for sharing this horrible and painful story of your life. There are SO many things in this comment that would have caused broken self esteem and all the other problems that manifest because of trauma. SO many traumas. The good news is that you will find some of the lies are connected, so you are not always working on a new area when it comes to the belief system.
      The eating disorder stuff was tough for me, but mostly because it was “food” and an acceptable coping method. It is in looking at “what I was coping with and what I was trying to escape from (no mattter what coping method you use) that I found some answers.
      When I would examine events (such as not being fed enough or being forced to eat what you couldn’t finish) I would search hardest for the messages that I got about me from those events. What did I think my part in it was. THAT is where the lies live.

      You are doing excellent work. Please be gentle with yourself; sometimes when people do this much processing all at once, it suddenly hits them hard!

      Hang in here!!! Hugs, Darlene

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th August

      Thanks Barbara,
      I have also found that abuse has a lot to do with eating disorders and totally agree.

  6. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th August

    Hi Kim,
    I am looking forward to your contribution to my blog too! I love your message Kim; I look forward to sharing your healing journey with the readers here too.
    Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Kim Vazquez Posted: 22nd August

    Lenora- I’d love to hear what your body had to say. Lately my body has indicated that it needs more rest than usual. When I tuned in to find out why, it makes complete sense. I’m adjusting to changes in life conditions and the body is affected energetically.

    Darlene- I’m honored that you’ve asked me to expand on this subject. I love your blog and the wonderful community.I enjoy reading the heartfelt stories and wisdom shared here. I’m excited to be a part of that. I also love the way you signed off your last comment: Be gentle with yourself. That’s what I’m talking about, sister! 🙂

  8. By: Tracy Posted: 21st August

    This has been an issue for me my whole life. My mother force-fed me as a kid, and like so many others here, what I didn’t eat for one meal was served again and again until I ate it. To this day there are specific foods I can’t smell without getting physically ill. The only difference for me was that if my dad found the food, he would throw it away – but then my mother would just give me more the next time.
    I’ve always been big – or overweight – however you want to say it, and was ridiculed constantly, especially by my mother who is anorexic. I tried my first diet at 8 years old.
    As I got older, my mother started to try to starve me, especially after my parents split up. I remember stealing money from her purse to buy lunch at school after not eating for days.
    I guess it’s no wonder I have an issue with food. I think this is the first time I’ve ever been totally honest to anyone about my food issues. I know that how I eat is unhealthy, but don’t know how to stop. Sometimes I try, but then my depression gets worse and then it all falls apart.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st August

      It always stuns me when I hear these stories. I just don’t know what these parents are thinking! Such curelty. Thank you for sharing your issues with food with us. I didn’t find much clarity about the whole food thing before I began to work on my belief system stuff. Once I realized what the root of it is, I was so much more aware of the why. I am untangeling the mess now and righting the false beliefs and learning to take care of myself. I am learning to accpet myself the way that I am.. not telling myself that I will be accpetable when I get to a certain point. (this isn’t just about body stuff, this is about process stuff)
      Sometimes it does get worse first, in fact lots of times it does for me; I think it is because it is so painful to face the things that happened and food can be such a buffer zone. It can help us stay in the fog… and the fog can be like a fuzzy cacoon, you know? comfortable. Little by little though we can give up the fuzzy cacoon in exchange for truth and freedom. Be gentle with yourself.
      Thanks so much for being here!
      Love Darlene

  9. By: Lenora Posted: 21st August

    Another excellent post, Darlene. Really important insights here–and not only with regard to food. I recently came down with some sort of nasty upper-respiratory crud that sounds similar to what you had, and I’ve had a terrible time healing from it… even pulled a muscle in my back from coughing so much, which made it still harder to move or sleep and ultimately get well. Even a month later, although I have genuinely tried to take proper care of myself–and I am much improved–I still don’t feel completely well.

    The last 6 months have been emotionally tumultuous for me, with much to sort through and deal with. I’ve learned a lot, but it has been–and continues to be–stressful on many levels. I suspect there is a connection between my recent lingering illness and this emotional time of learning and transition in my life. I find myself frustrated to be hindered (by my body?) from doing the very work that I believe will ultimately be the most healing for me (body, mind, and spirit). And frustration often leads to resistance and even less inner listening.

    I love Kim’s suggestion to get quiet and ask my body what it needs. In fact, I am headed upstairs to do that right now. Thank you, both.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st August

      I hope you come back and share with us what the results of that meditation are! (no pressure.. LOL)
      I know that there is a mind body connection for me; sometimes it scares me and I avoid looking at it. I have asked Kim to write a post in the future for us, expanding on some of the work she does and has done in this area. I am looking forward to sharing more of her insights with the readers here.
      Thanks for you comments Lenora!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Kim Vazquez Posted: 19th August

    Darlene, I’m so proud of you for getting in touch with the wisdom your body has to offer. What a wonderful conversation you have opened up. I’m quite passionate about this topic. You might say it’s one of my life missions. :)For years because I suffered from low self worth I had no idea how to be loving toward myself. My body paid the price. I was always ill because I never listened when it had a need. Instead I allowed my mind to push the body forward, even ending up in the hospital.

    Today I realize that I owe my body a lot of kindness. I want to honor my body. I will no longer take the attitude that “I don’t have time to be sick,” or “How dare my body have a need.” Now when I’m not well, I ask the body what it needs in order to heal and feel better. What a difference! I find that love inspires healing, not negative self talk. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. It’s worth the work to change though because I find that my body has my best interests at heart when my mind doesn’t!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th August

      Thanks for contributing to this post! In some ways this kind of body stuff, body awareness and honoring my body is a new beginning on a very old issue for me. I have done self care for years.. but with totally wrong motives and sometimes making it worse. Everything that you say here makes so much sense!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Jackie - aka UnEk_DiMoN Posted: 19th August

    I don’t “like” to eat. I know it sounds kind of stupid of me but at times my mother wouldn’t feed us when she was mad at us or if we were “bad” or if we were evil as she called us, we’d have to go to bed with no dinner. Wen we did get to eat, we had a set time limit on eatin and if we got done before that time, we got the crap knocked out of us and called a pig for eatin “to fast”, then another plate of food and timed yet again. If we didn’t finish within that time frame, we again got the crap knocked out of us for eatin so slow and another plate of food. I hate food! It kind of makes me feel fat if I eat so I try to starve myself so I won’t gain weight. I’m already huge as is but it’s like to me, food isn’t a necessity in my life so I try to avoid it when/if I can. I just don’t like food much b/c it wasn’t “good to eat” growin up so it’s not good to do it now.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

      Not liking to eat does not sound stupid to me at all. I have a whole range of “hate to eat” “love to eat” and “don’t care about food” depending on what is going on in my life at the time. This was a big part of my living with dissociative disorder too. What your mother did to you is so wrong and I am so sorry that this happened to you. She set you up to justify to herself that she could hit you etc. That was abuse all the way around. food is neccessary for survival, and parents should never use it to punish with, but they do and that is what sets up these problems with food. (sometimes it is the food we struggle with , sometimes it is the body stuff that we struggle with, often it is both but getting to the bottom of understanding it is where we can begin to set the lies we believe, straight. )
      Thanks so much for your comment Jackie
      Please feel free to share often.
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Anne Posted: 18th August

    Yes… reading all this made me think about how my mother was so focused on her own weight and me and my sisters. And we were always ‘fat’ and our mother was the perfect and unreachable ideal… When I was 12-years-old, and just had a little puppyfat – she bought diet-pills in another country and illegally smuggled them over the border, so that I could lose weight. I don’t remember that they did anything – but the whole commotion about it made me think that I must be really awful and terribly fat if she’ll go through all that to get me the pills. What I ate was always scrutinized and commented on.

    And I remember several times in my life when she said; don’t cut your hair – it’s all you’ve got! (The message: the rest of you is ugly.) It wasn’t till the last time she said it – some odd 10 years ago – that I actually had a healthy reaction and was brave enough to ask her straight: “What on earth do you mean by that?” It silenced her and she never said it again.

    But like most others here, I’ve had issues with food and eating my whole life. After lots of therapy and self-therapy, I am now having a much better relationship with both food and my body – not great, not as it should be, but much better.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 19th August

      Hi Anne,

      Even though this blog post I wrote is about food, body and weight issues, what you have told us here can be applied to all areas of what I talk about. This is a major factor in recovery ~ realizing when people are implying things and learning how to recognize it. When your mom said “don’t cut your hair it’s all you’ve got” that is the kind of stuff that is said to control and manipulate in every area of our lives. The way that we are devalued is so hard to put a finger on ~ when you put in brackets that she was implying ~”the rest of you is ugly” is something that so many people don’t realize consciously is the message. And we don’t even think of making the statement you made when you asked her what she meant by that. I had to learn to say those exact kind of statements, and it does silence people. Sometimes it is like throwing a cold bucket of water on them because they are shocked that you have then guts to stand up for yourself that way. I think deep down, people actually know when they are saying or implying mean things, but the do it because they can.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope that you share often!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Elisabeth Posted: 18th August

    Hi Darlene!

    I’m so glad that you found my LTMB website, and that it served to help you through the struggle that you were going through (even if it was in a round-about way)! =) I started the Letters To My Body website because writing periodic letters to my body while I was in treatment for bulimia actually helped me to learn how to deal with my body image issues in a less self-destructive way.

    I’m glad that you found the site, and I hope that you visit again–next time check out our user forums! =)


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th August

      How great to hear from you on this post! I cried when I found your site, the letters written by others are so beautiful. As a result of finding your website “letters to my body” I write a letter to my body about 5 mornings a week now as part of my daily self care. It has shed so much light on the way that I was thinking about my body and the beliefs that I had about my body that I didn’t know about. I am planning to make body issues a regular feature in this blog, and I am sure I will refer to your site again.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and I am sure that many of my readers will visit your site also!
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th August

    That is why this stuff is SO hard to get to the bottom of. So many conflicting beliefs, most of them wrong beliefs too. So many lies built on other lies and we were too young when it all began, to combat it in any way at all. So we went forward with all that stuff, and the confusion that it produced got bigger.
    I got so excited when I realized that I was sorting it out, because that was when I began to understand “IT” and how it happened. That is why I am so passionate about taking this message to the world. It isn’t just about weight or body issues or over eating or undereating… it is about depression, it is about ALL those issues, these are how all the confusion manifestes in our lives.

    Thanks for your comment and for being here.
    You inspired me again!
    Hugs Darlene

  15. By: Jennifer Stuck Posted: 18th August

    Darlene my favorite part of this is when you talked about how your beliefs confliced with each other. You wanted to be thin because…but you didn’t because…. That is how I feel about so many parts of my life. It’s hard to explain myself as a whole because so many of my beliefs and even parts of my personality conflic with each other. I’m so glad to hear that someone else feels (or has felt) that way too. Great post. Keep em’ coming.

  16. By: Amaryllis Posted: 18th August

    Darlene ~ So sorry I didn’t clarify, but that is what I meant! 🙂 … Thank you. In my experience, the food is a symptom or by-product of something else. I once read a quote that went something like this, “It isn’t the food you eat, its what’s eating you.” This is me … its the “what’s eating me” thing.

    Thanks again Darlene!

  17. By: Rebekah Posted: 18th August

    I can relate so much to this post. I was told my entire life that my only worth was in my sexuality, and that because I was handicapped (Im legally blind) that I needed a man to take care of me, and the only way to keep a man around was to do and be whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. So I rigidly watched my food intake all my life and when I overate, I over exercised and that went on through a marriage, divorce and two babies..then when the dam broke after I married my husband and I fell apart, I thought that if I ate enough, it would kill me, a kind of passive suicide…which obviously didnt work, I just gained 100 lbs. Then he told me I wasnt attractive physically anymore (which was the equivalent of stabbing me in the heart because it meant I was worthless to him in my mind) and then it just got worse and worse for me with regards to my body. I hated myself even more than I did before and thought that I was completely worthless and unloveable, because I was fat…until I realized that my relationship with food, and every other coping mechanism I had used, was just a symptom of the underlying trauma that I never acknowledged before…and that I wasnt crazy or addicted or anything else, I was dealing with my past in an unhealthy way, and that it was a NORMAL response to abuse and trauma and thats when things started to turn around. I have a long way to go but its coming along, and now my husband says I am beautiful (only 15 lbs lighter than I was when he said I wasnt attractive…which showed me its not my weight that was the issue to begin with) and I realized that having full length mirrors in my house were not beneficial to me. So I dont have them. I also eliminated the people who perpetuated the message that my worth was only in my body, so those negative messages are no longer coming from outside and are slowly going away on the inside of my mind too. Thank you Darlene for your neverending courage and sharing with us. You have helped me to change my life.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th August

      I can totally identify with your story. We are taught things as children, WRONG things, but we don’t know that ~ how could we?~ and they cause all these problems when we grow up.

      Thank you so much for this post Rebekah! This is such an encouragement to myself and all the other readers! This is when things started to turn around for me too.. when I began to accept that it was not me being not good enough or crazy or whatever, it was that I was taught those things and I believed them. Little by little I got stronger as my mind realized the lies and found the real truth. That I am valid, that I am loveable, that I did not cause all my problems. BUT that I can be the one who fixes them!

      Please keep sharing!
      Love Darlene

  18. By: Debbie Posted: 18th August

    Yeah…yippee!!! You ROCK Dar. I’m so glad you are going to make this a regular gig! I’m soooo far off base when it comes to eating and exercise and taking care of myself and I know it’s self sabatoge. And it all began when my mom died when I was 6. Then I gained some serious weight…dad remarried a child abuser and of course, she told me daily how fat I was, she starved me and my sister. Told us we couldn’t go on vacation (trip to hell) with her until we weighed X. Of course we wanted to please so she wouldn’t leave as this was dads third wife and I was 8 years old. She’s make us go a few days with little or no food or make us pack moldy bread and rotten fruit in our school lunches (how no one saw I’ll never know?) also….when she’d cook a big meal…sometimes she’d make us stuff ourselves so full we’d be physically ill, to the point of vomiting.

    Later….highschool…I gained a bunch more weight again and one particular ‘boy’ took delight in tormenting me…so I began eating and purging. That lasted til I was 22. From there on its been a rollercoaster. Now i’m heavy again and am sick about myself.

    Trying to get a handle on this. It has to do with loving myself enough to take care of myself, and will power. I know I’m this weight because I eat too much, plain and simple. Thing is, sometimes I care, sometimes I don’t.

    Anyway, all about childhood again. I’m also very careful with my children and the eating issue. I don’t insist they eat anything. I get them to taste something once, or at least try, then I leave it alone. Both children are a nice healthy weight.

    Here’s something funny. Thought crossed my mind the other day to eat when my one year old does. She’s a tiny little thing and I was thinking of how easy it is for her to say NO to something….even something YUMMY. So the thought crossed my mind to try and mimic her eatting habits. CRAZY….she’s ONE. ONE!!!

    So you see, I’m a little outta whack here!!! Any help or insight is appreciated.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th August

      Your story is really dramatic, I am so sorry that all that happened to you and your sister.. you were just little girls. I really believe that the path to freedom is through realizing the truth about what really did happen and exposing it. (like we are doing here) I had a lot of trouble accepting that I had even been invalidated; I kept wanting to believe that it was my fault, that I needed to TRY HARDER. That is a big part of the foundations of the trouble we have as adults. We can certainly agree that our food/body problems are indeed our fault.. we eat too much or we eat too little or we purge etc. The key for me was to realize WHY. Where did it come from.

  19. By: Nicole Posted: 18th August

    Wow carol, I was treated the same way. I was called Nicky picky and forced to sit at the table until i ate what was on my plate. Of course I never did. There was no way I was going to let my mother win. Eventually I would just get beat by my dad and the food was thrown away. I was 5 or 6 years old when my mother treated me this way. That is when all the verbal abuse about my body began.

  20. By: carol Posted: 18th August

    food and control ssem to hand in hand in a victims mind dont they? i have always had problems eating enough food. people say itr because i am lazy and dont want to perpare the food so i can eat but i have been this way since leaving home that i can eat plate full if someone else has cooked it but if i only cooking fo r me i dont do it. waste of time , gas, electric, energy on my part. having a child to cook for means i have gotten into a more regular eatin pattern but if i dont havre to do food for her i have tendency to to do anything for myself.
    i have alway had probs with my weight, like nicole i was always too skinny or small and the fact that the hospital after pokin n proddin me couldnt find out why it was put dwn to just me bein me. god i was a child but already i was in charge of my size, i thought size was genetically n environmentally determined for a child under the age of 5. not according to my family, i ws a fussy eater or picky or finincky all nasty names, then forced to sit at dinner table til i had eaten my food, sometimes sat there all sunday n got it for breakfast monday. then people wonder why i have issues with food.
    My maternal grandmothr made me sit for 6 hrs with 3 sprouts on my plate as i wouldnt eat them, i had even told her not to put em on my plate as i wouldnt eat em but as the adult she was in charge,mmmm
    no wonder i have such issues with eating, it all about conttrol and who gets to use it

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th August

      Hi Nicole and Carol
      Do you ever wonder why adults treated us this way? It is like this power thing, making kids eat and treating them like that. I have heard as many stories about kids that were picked on just as much about being chubby, sometimes when they were skinny. The whole thing is pretty crazy when you think about it. As Carol says “people wonder why I have issues with food”. And the bottom line is that we were not accepted the way that we were. We were not even allowed to decide what foods we liked and what foods we didn’t like or how much to eat. So much control. Eating disorders can be all the way from seriously overweight to seriously underweight, but the root of the problem always seems to be the same ~ the child was invalidated.
      Thanks so much for sharing your stories. This is such an important area for so many of us, and it is so great for everyone to hear as many examples as possible about how it shows itself in different people.
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Nicole Posted: 17th August

    I suppose my eating disorder is the opposite. I was extremely thin up until about 6 years ago. I was always made fun of at school for looking like a boy because I had no breasts. My mother constantly ridiculed my body. She was disappointed with me because I wasn’t developing as fast as she thought I should. She constantly embarrassed me and humiliated me in front of others. I was made to feel like being thin was a horrible thing. I always tried to put on weight thinking that if I did I would be accepted by my mother and others. I tried everything and ate constantly. I never gained the weight. It wasnt until I started having kids that the weight gain came. I noticed the more weight I put on the more approval I received from others. So I do everything I can to keep the weight on. This is just as bad as not eating. I am just abusing my body in another way. Unhealthy eating is dangerous. I am still struggling with this issue right now. It is so hard because I am starting to have some serious health issues because of my weight but I am afraid to lose it because of the fear of being abused again. Darlene this is a good post. I have a lot of body issues too. I would love read some further posts about this issue.

  22. By: Cassie Posted: 17th August

    I can relate so well to this blog. I remember thinking how foreign my body was to me, even as a young child. My body’s needs were dismissed when I was as little as 2. My body was showing signs of abuse that my mother decided to ignore (my guess). Later, I wasn’t taken to the doctor for infections or abrasions, again caused by the sexual abuse that my father subjected me to on so many nights. Then, by 11 or 12 when my body began to change, I had no idea what to expect. I am just now beginning to remember the conversations that my father would have with me about my body. I was beautiful, and he loved that I had no breasts.

    Around 13 or 14, I remember people saying that I wasn’t as skinny as I used to be. Of course, my body was developing, and I wasn’t a bean pole. I took it to mean that I was fat. Gradually, I began to lose weight. I remember that I was left alone with with my father after Thanksgiving. I made a conscious effort to eat less. It wasn’t until I had dropped 10 pounds that my mother began to be concerned. However, I just lost more. I went from 5 foot 7 inches and 110 pounds to 73 pounds. We never stayed with a therapist long because they began to pry about abuse. My response was vehemently negative – a HUGE clue that something was going on. Then, since my father (abuser) was a pastor, they took me to the counselling services at the large church where he was one of 6 pastors. This counselor came the closest to knowing. We moved states away within months.

    I still struggle with anorexia, but am better. Luckily, I found a teacher/mentor in high school who allowed me to find talents inside myself. Even 20 years later, my body image is very skewed. I step on the scale and absolutely freak out if the scale says anything more than 100. However, I try to keep it in check. I look at my reflection, wondering if anyone else can see how fat I see that I am?

    Thanks for your blog.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th August

      Hi Cassie,
      Yes, I totally understand all of what you have said. There are SO many clues, and eating disorders are one of the coping methods. Most eating disorders are self harming. I had bulimia for years. I could eat and then purge with no change to my weight. When I stopped purging (well after my second child was born) I did a kind of binge and then starve for a few days. I over exercised to compensate. This was really crazy and I don’t do that anymore either. I have so much to say on this topic, I could never write about it in one post, But I am going to keep sharing on this subject. I know that when we can make some of these discoveries, we can find freedom and healing.
      I am so glad that you are enjoying my blog.
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Amaryllis Posted: 17th August

    WOW! That is so interesting Darlene! I had always struggled with my weight and I have equated weight to how I saw myself. I was an overweight little kid until I got into a fight with a friend over an eraser and she told me I was fat – I was about 13 I think. I never saw myself that way, but when I went home and looked in the mirror, it was true. I started exercising like crazy and went nuts about minimal food intake. In no time at all, I was slim with a flat tummy! I stayed that way, fluctuating within a 5lb zone for years. Like Julie said above, at that age, it was one thing I could control – food intake and exercise … until we moved away from servants and back to Canada. (my blog:

    In the 7-8 years before omitting my mother from my life (so 17-18 yrs ago), weight started becoming an issue. I found the man who was going to be my husband – he was and is ‘a catch’ … and when I met him and with all our dating and eating out, I didn’t get to the gym as much. This guy was the guy that my mother said would never ever want me – so imagine my surprise when he actually proposed marriage. I don’t know if I ate then because I was afraid it wouldn’t work or what … but things also escalated without ceasing with my mother while we were dating. Spending time with this man seemed to really bug her – and he is a really GOOD man. Anyway, this is about the time the abuse came on harsher than ever. And especially when I got pregnant, food became my friend and I gained a lot of weight, I was so worried about being a mom and being so afraid of being my mother. After first baby, I lost 50 pounds with only 19 pounds to go when I got pregnant with baby number #2 – never lost the weight – baby #3 – didn’t lose, but didn’t gain … and then about two years ago I got down to my goal weight (lost 68 lbs) and now I’m right back where I started from, or at least pretty close. I think I might have allowed my weight to accummulate because maybe I feel it protects me, maybe its because I second-guess everything I do as a mom, maybe it’s because I still define myself by my mother’s standards which is insanely unhealthy.

    I think I’m like you Darlene in that weight and body image are a reflection in how I see myself – with me, I don’t think my body deserves to be pretty, why should it when on the inside I feel ugly – I feel the ugly my mother saw (which isn’t even real or true.) There’s always been this inkling of doubt in the back of my mind, “What if she is really right about me? Maybe I really am a terrible person.” And then what do I reach for?? Food. It’s been tumultuous for me in the area of food. This makes a lot of sense Darlene!

    I must say though that since the confrontation with my siblings about our mother a few weeks back – a huge burden was lifted and I feel as though I can overcome my unhealthy eating habits now. I have noticed that I haven’t been snacking as much and I haven’t been eating as much in a meal as I used to either. I hope this is the beginning of lasting change, especially now that I am working on evicting my perpetrator from my brain, from my thoughts. 🙂

    I get such a sense that God is using you to wake me up to all the crap I need to deal with – you truly are a blessing … keep it coming. By the way care to share the website where you found this info?? I’m quite interested.

  24. By: Julie - aka UnEk_DiMoN Posted: 17th August

    my body has always been sort of the only thing i can control because its just that, my body. i use to be very “ano” and am still struggling with it but in order for all others to survive, food must be considered on an intake level and besides if i won’t eat, others will so but i think my body is the only thing i can control as i couldn’t control the sexual abuse much more than any physical or verbal but i think i’m learning. i do enjoy reading your blogs because you inspire some of us within to reach for a higher goal than we set for ourselves an some times it’s a good thing 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th August

      Hi Julie,
      I am really glad that you find some inspiration here in the words that I write. Thanks so much for sharing. I think that there are many people who can relate to what you say here about having control over your body. That it is yours to control. Eating disorders is such a huge topic and there are so many different ways that these disorders manifest in each of us.
      Hugs, Darlene

      I am not sure what you are asking me when you ask me to share the websites that I got this info from. All the info I share is what I have learned in my process. If you are refering to the site “letters to my body” the titles are live linked, if you click on the words “letters to my body” in the body of the blog, you will be taken to the site. Also I have live linked to Kim Vazquez and her site. These linlked titles are in blue but some computers don’t show them very well. If this is not what you meant, please clarify for me what you did mean.
      I have used food for comfort too, but as the years go by I am not sure if it is about the food, or the weight. The weight makes me feel safe but then the weight makes me feel unsafe. I am going to write more posts about this and I am thinking about making it a weekly feature on the blog.

      Thank you so much for your comments.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hugs, Darlene

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