Sexual Abuse, Bulimia and Eating Disorders

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



Thanks for sharing this Darlene, it is amazing how similar the belief patterns are among us. i to suffer from body image issues, and I know that gaining weight was a false way of trying to stay safe. Sometime i find that just thinking back at how one issue created another issue makes me so tired. Slowly over time I am able to do that and when I hear just get over it, let it go, I so wish it was that simple. for me is it like a tangled fishing net that must betaken apart slowly and carefully to avoid broken strands and more work.
Again thank you for sharing your walk to recovery with me. I am finding that I am not nuts..:) and I have been going the right way for a while now.


Wow! What similarities! Here is an excerpt from Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story to illustrate how often victims’ relationship with food changes. ***I repressed feelings or was it that they were stuffed deep down inside? I substituted the need for emotional nourishment with food and went on a feeding frenzy. While watching TV, I ate ice cream. While doing homework, I ate cookies. While standing in the kitchen, I ate chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate chip cookies. Before school, I ate the single serving boxed breakfast cereals two or three at time, with extra sugar. After school, I ate frozen chocolate éclairs, frozen. I squirted whipped cream directly into my mouth, letting the sweet
cream tease my tongue with solace. But I was never fully satisfied. After inhaling the whole enchilada, my finger would slide down my throat, forcing vomit until I was fully disgusted.
I watched the needle on the scale stall at higher numbers: 120, 130, 140. It was an out-of- body experience to see 156 pounds. Dragging myself around like the carcass of a dead cow, I wallowed in self-pity and waddled to the bus stop. I hid my obsession with food by buying snacks at school and hiding Twinkies in my pockets. I hid my body by wearing brown baggy pants with a loose flannel shirt.


Hi Darlene,

You continue to amaze me with the clarity you speak with on these type of issues — it is so evident that you have done the work to pull it all apart and look at the pieces on the floor before you.

I know that in my own case, all of the coping mechanisms were responses to the abuse and simply ways to avoid having to deal with any of the crap. When a “friend” first gave me some drug (and I don’t even know what it was, which I think that says something in itself), my line of thinking was (a) it will make me feel better than the crappy way I feel about myself, and (b) it will make me appear better to others, since they won’t think I’m such a dork. So it was helping me run away from things and also feeding my self doubts about myself which were monumental. This was after the last creep sexual abuser was done with me, so I was at this point pretty hollow inside mentally and didn’t care what was done to my body. I guess I had gotten to a point of disregard for my body, since I didn’t like what others had used it for. My body became something I’d probably almost wanted to have distanced myself from if I could have somehow floated out of my body and existed apart from it.


hi darlene,
my story is almost polar oppposite, i stopped eating and faded into the background. i had issues with wieght from birth,couldnt or wouldnt feed or thrive. i got worse when a new broher arrived when i was 11mths old. my whole diet seems to hinge on phases, i’d eat 1 type of food almost exclusively then one just stop eating it, and often i still dont eat them to this day. then as a kid i was told i would look like my nan. a lovely person but short n fat with a duck tray for a behind. no way i was gona grow into that shape, ever. weight was what shocked me into stopping drinking the amounts i was consuming in my early 20’s and i found people who held out hands and guidence to me. i was lucky in so many ways. i still struggle with food, preparing as well as eating, but i know that i have to sort this out as my body is starting to give up as it has gone too long on minimal amounts of enegry but still live at a full pace.


Hi Pamela,
I like your tangled fishing net analogy. I have used a similar one myself (even in my minds eye) but I never thought about taking it apart slowly in order not to create more work.. that is so true. In my mind I always do untangle slowly, but I didn’t realize why!
The process is very tiring, but so was survival and fighting depression and living in the lie.. Here is the good news though; at the end of my process ~ not that I am 100% done or anything ~ just that one day a few years ago now I knew that I would never go back to struggle again; and since that day I have never been as exhausted as I used to be almost all the time. I don’t think I am ever going to be that tired again. It is a great feeling!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Eddie,
Thank you for the compliment. I like your analogy too, to look at all the pieces on the floor before me.. yes. The fear of facing them was far worse then actually facing them. I think that we learned certain escape behaviors in order to survive. When we were kids we had no choice. We had to just survive. When we got older we did use coping methods to avoid dealing with stuff but we had already been disabled when it came to dealing with stuff… so that was in a way a learned behavior too. In my case when I started to learn about “learned behavior” I didn’t go back far enough, so I blamed my coping methods (when they got worse like drugs and alcohol) on my unwillingness to face “MY STUFF” When I took it all apart I even had to learn to use different words. Okay I have really strayed from answering your comment now.. LOL
Eddie what you have written back to me is exactly what I wanted to get across.
Thank you ~ I love the this addition to the post!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol,
YES there are many manifestation of this whole thing. Eating, not eating, and no food or body issues at all ~ just other ones. I would love for all of them to be represented here eventually. I used to wish that I had no appetite or that I could be anorexic until I knew women and men who struggled with that. I wished that I was anything but me. And you bring up a good point ~ it catches up in the end. Our bodies and our minds both grow weary of coping methods and long to thrive and live fully. They long for rest, peace and freedom. And they should have it; we should have it; we deserve it. It is possible.
Hugs, Darlene



I could have written this post word for word, except throw in the polar opposite of starving myself from time to time to lose weight, or have some sense of control over something, anything, going on in my life. I didnt even ever think about my weight and body image issues consciously (in terms of thinking that there was something wrong with them…I felt like I was better than other people because I wasnt fat and was attractive and didnt have weight problems) until after I married my husband and began to copy his eating patterns to look “normal” because he thought it was strange that I didnt eat 3 meals a day, or didnt really eat meals at all, and just kind of ate a bite here and a bite there, or ate nothing….and he has health problems that require him to eat at regular intervals, so food was always something to be discussed. He likes to eat and he likes to cook and he likes to shop for food…and I tried that too, to get him to like me, and not think I was weird, which I never thought about until I saw that he was different, but I thought he was “normal” and I was “wrong” automatically…there was not even a thought that maybe his way wasnt perfect. So long story short, I started to gain weight, got suicidal and depressed, got on meds for depression and bipolar disorder (which turns out is PTSD from repeated sexual abuse…hmm go figure) gained more weight, got more depressed, got more suicidal…knew I was worthless because I was fat and knew that it was only a matter of time before he left me, but the medicine made me feel like I was starving, and I was too depressed to cook, so I ate whatever junk was around…and somehow got it in my head that if I ate enough, my stomach would explode and I would die of internal injuries….so I ate to try and kill myself.

I was cutting and just totally self destructing all because of my weight (still not even connecting any of the abuse issues to it, just the fact that I was fat and therefore “worthless”) and then because my marriage was at the brink of divorce, my husband gave me the ultimate death sentence (in my mind anyways) he said “Im not physically attracted to you because of your weight” which to my mind (because of my past..and Im sure you can relate Darlene) meant I had zero value as a human being, and to hear that from the one person who you have in your life that you believed, until that point values you, is extremely devastating obviously, because if I wasnt sexually attractive to my own husband, he had no reason to stay with me, no reason to help me financially, no reason to love me, no reason for me to even exist to him…and I couldnt survive on my own in that state of mind, so I just dissolved emotionally. I was hospitalized for two separate instances of suicidal ideations that year, because of these same weight issues and my husbands lack of interest in me, which I thought was solely because of my weight…I had no idea that it was really a zillion other things, and that was just ONE part of the problem.

And still I didnt connect the weight problems to the abuse, never even mentioned the abuse to the myriad of therapists or doctors, just said I was depressed because I was fat and that I hated the meds because they made me eat and made me feel sick. Not until extremely recently (within the last 8 months or so) did I realize that my body image issues and weight issues started wayyyyyy back when I was very young and my mother told me the only way to get and keep a man was to make him happy in bed and if you dont he will leave you. So dont get fat or you will be alone forever….and so I was so afraid of being fat, and underneath all that was the fear of being attractive sexually to a man(which I didnt even realize I had till I gained 100 lbs and enjoyed the fact that I had no sex life…and couldnt figure out how that was connected to anything else) and since I started learning about sexual abuse and the effects of it and how it relates to body image and weight issues and eating disorders and all that, I connected the dots and realized that I have a problem in that area.

So now I realize that my weight problems will go away when I am “healed” emotionally from the trauma of my past, not just the sexual abuse, but the emotional and physical and mental abuse from my parents and family and bad relationships. My weight is not the problem, its a symptom of the bigger problem underneath. When I started talking about the past, and the abuse, in therapy and with my husband, our relationship changed…and its very difficult to deal with in some ways. He understands my issues now, and loves me regardless and my weight is no longer an issue to him, because it wasnt really ever the issue to begin with….and I still cant wrap my head around how he can love me and want to have intimate moments with me when I am so fat and hideous (I hate that I think that way of myself, but I wanted to be honest) and now I have to deal with the fact that I am afraid of sex and of him, and of intimacy and all those other things that are coming up that were hiding underneath the weight issues.

I have managed to lose 30 lbs this year, and am trying to eat healthy, balanced meals 3 times a day and I bought a book called “the Rules of Normal Eating” in the hopes that I can stop copying other people’s ideas of how to eat, and learn what “normal eating” really is. I still have days where I eat nothing, or just have coffee, but I dont binge anymore….and I really try to eat a balanced diet, because I know that balance is the answer. Just vegetables and water is not ok, just cookies and soda is not ok, just grilled chicken is not ok….but I still have the feeling of being “good” when I dont eat anything but vegetables for an entire day….and its very hard to change that mindset, but its happening a little at a time.

One day I hope to be able to say I am mentally, physically and emotionally healthy and that I eat “normally” and then I will finally feel like I am ok. Thank you for this post Darlene, Im sorry you struggled for so long too. It sucks, but we are able to overcome any obstacle it seems like…and you are proof of that….and a great inspiration to me in my healing journey.

Thank you


I agree I have gained weight to feel safer..but also because of the abuse my mother put me through. She was in competition with me so she would ridicule my body in front of people and tell everyone I was deformed and my body was underdeveloped…unlike her when she was my age she had the perfect body and every man wanted her…I was so embarrassed by my body and still have issues with it. I hated myself for being abused by my father thinking my body was too good and hated myself for being abused by my mother thinking my body would never be good enough for anyone…I wore big ugly bulky clothes to hide my body and to turn men away. Then I gained weight to turn men away. its a horrible cycle. thanks for your blog Darlene it is very eye opening as to how many areas the abuse affects us.


Hi Amira,
I left out the part about starving myself; I just didn’t have room to fit it all in… LOL
Thanks for sharing this amazing story of self discovery with us. This totally expands and illustrates what I am talking about in my post. The crazy thinking that we develop ~ never connecting it to the abuse. It makes it very hard to even get help when we think the problem is actually about the weight, or the nasty job, or whatever. I agree with you, the weight goes away when we begin to heal from the damage caused from abuse. In my case, I think because of my two separate problems which is how I managed to never be that much overweight, I healed first from the fear of being heavy which enabled me to relax a bit about the control I have always exerted over food~ and I am the highest weight I have ever been in my life. (35 or 40 pounds overweight) But it is okay because I am not my weight and I know that what I am healing from now is the other end of that fear ~ the one about being afraid of being the right weight.

I really related to your post here Amira, thank you again for sharing your journey with us. It is great to read of your victories too, your progression on the road to better physical and emotional health! That is what living is all about.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nicole,
It is a horrible cycle. This whole body issues thing for me is like the final frontier. I think that because I was first taught that my body was for the purpose of attraction/sex and that equals love ~ and there was abuse thrown in ~ which is exactly what you have written here too ~ that it is kind of the last thing I am dealing with. Like I said to Amira above… I have overcome half the equation so far.. BUT I am okay with it because I am living my life, I am very happy and emotionally healthy, ~but Rome wasn’t built in a day ~ I wasn’t broken in a day either. I am really thrilled to have come this far and be this whole… I don’t mind at all still having a few leftovers to deal with.
Hugs and thanks for your heartfelt and honest comment.


You said so much thank you I like how you explain everything.
I used food and drugs and alcohol to run from myself I hated myself.
As a child I remember cutting myself infront of my mom and she just laughed at me. I was put on diets all the time my mom taught ballet and I danced ballet and had to be a certain weight so she weighed me daily. I used food to make her mad if I eat over what she wanted me to eat she would get upset. I thought at least it would get her attention. bad attention was better then none at all. I thought as a child and teen even on into my 20s I thought that way. I am an over eater I like food and it was like drugs and alcohol my best friends. I felt at the time. Then when I got help and stopped drinking and drugging the food addiction took over. I was not fat until I was about 28 and in my 30s it got worse with the food. Now in my 40s I am still having problems I lost 90 pounds last year and gained almost 70 of it back so now I am back to loosing weight. I try to eat healthy and smaller portions I have been on every diet and it works only if I stick to it. The meds I am on make me hungry but I cannot use it as anexcuse of why I am over weight. I had to do a lot of work on this. I came to see I eat because it was my safty net I felt safe fat because then no man would look at me. I did not know what to do with the attention I got. Even though I know why I do it and today I feel good about myself just no about my weight. I do not want to kill myself any more cause I worked alot on myself using therapists and 12 step program. I dont cut myself any more that was a huge problem too. I was a mess for so many years I just wanted to die and not be me. Today it is totally different I love who I am becomming. I look forward to living life I just want to get to a healthy weight. I dont want to die because I eat to much. Sounds funny lol but it is the truth I dont want to let the food addiction to take power over me. I am loosing weight now and I feel so much better when I eat the healthy things. Sorry for going on and on. I thank you for sharing all that you do I needed to read this. Thanks again.


Hi Angela,
I am so glad you are enjoying the info that you are finding here. This whole food body thing is like the “bottom line” for me. I have come such a long way and like you I am not as hung up about my weight and body anymore, I just want to be healthy and I love who I have become and who I am becoming. The end goal is about increased physical spiritual and emotional health, and I seem to be able to keep that in mind more all the time.
Oh and one other thing Angela; please don’t ever be sorry for going “on and on” I want everyone to share what they want to share, and need to share, so it is all good! All of this makes a difference to all of us, myself and the other readers. It is all appreciated.
Thank you for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


I relate to a lot of what is said here. On one hand I am saddened by the similar thread of body issues and eating disorders. On the other hand I am grateful for survivors who are willing to risk their vulnerability and post comments so that we all know we are not alone. What Nicole said about bulky clothes… I went from sewing my own clothes to show originality and flair, to wearing baggy $8.00 thrift store jeans meant for men and flannel shirts. In the late 1960s, as a young teen, how (why) does a girl go from wearing mini-skirts to donning men’s work shirts? It’s another snap-shot of before and after… abuse. I’m glad to say that in my fifties I have restored my interest in fashion. Put me in something like a rock star, with sequins and doo-dads and glitter. Being abused has nothing to do with a short skirt. It’s about the perpetrator.


I write from a different place. My daughter has developed an eating disorder. A year ago, she was excelling in sports, school and life, as far as I could tell. Today, I drive her between nutritionist and therapist appointments and wonder how much more I need to do to help her through her anorexia to health and well being.

I have doubts about my quality time with her and I question my parenting. How much of her eating disorder is related to me not being present in so many ways while I was building my career, getting more education and degrees, and exploring and creating new fields of study? Then, in 2002, I began dealing with my own affliction and my attention for her was no doubt affected. My affection for her probably changed when she was around 13, the age I was when I was abused.

I believe it is never too late to begin to try to heal the pain we have caused for our children. I imagine I have modeled noble non-self care, and how to bury emotions and people please. I imagine some of my own past traumas, abuse and neglect has shown up in her in a secondary, second-generation kind of way. And I am becoming the father she never had, to help her work with her through her own recovery journey to be the young woman that the world needs her to be.


Thank you Darlene,
You make this a safe place…

Jamie it is never to late I made my own mistakes with raising my son. As I was still running and using drugs and alcohol we all make mistakes but if your willing to change that is what counts. Sending positive thoughts out to you.
Hugs Angela


Hi Lynn,
It would be so wonderful if everyone could understand what you are saying here. So many survivors somehow turn the blame inward and try to hide our bodies, thinking that we have done something to “attract” the assault. During my therapy process I had this purple scoop neck t shirt that I had never worn. I owned it for a year and I was afraid to wear it. I thought it was revealing.. but the truth was that is only showed my collar bones! I remember talking to the therapist about the whole thought process of “my fault” and learning to stop taking responsibility for what was in other peoples minds. SUCH a huge process to undo all that damage!
Thanks for sharing Lynn.. I am wearing much more attractive clothing these days too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jamie,
I agree with you on all these points. There are many reasons and causes that one develops an eating disorder. I also agree that it is never too late to begin to heal the pain we have caused our children. My husband and I have 3 children all teenagers, 2 still minors. We realized in our marriage recovery that we had passed down this faulty belief system to them along with the false definitions of love etc. My husband was a workaholic, and the list goes on. But this past 6 years or so we have also seen some major improvements and growth in our children as well as in our family relationships. I am encouraged and really grateful that we pursue real loving and supportive relationships with them. None of us are perfect parents, but “trying” makes a huge difference.
Thank you for your comments and for shedding light on a different aspect of this problem.


I thought of another aspect of what everyone here is talking about. It’s not only about disguising our bodies because we think they betrayed us, or covering them up to hide our vulnerabilities, or eating to make ourselves insulated. Here’s something I learned from my counselor. I never felt like I was good enough, or like I could give or receive enough love. I felt a void so enormous it seemed impossible to fill. I traded my fixation for my father’s love, or lack of, for other equally intangible entities (like drugs, alcohol, food, lack of food to obsess about the number on the scale, etc. The obsessions ate me up alive, wasted me, spit me out. My counselor said: “Constantly craving more is a set up for an addictive personality.” Good thing to learn that there are healthier ways to fill the void. Just adding… to a provocative conversation here.


Hi Lynn,
More great points!
I had that enormous void too.. and I also had/have an addictive personality that I have to constantly be aware of.. never enough was not only my belief system, but my mother constantly affirmed it to me, she always said “nothing is ever enough for you”

But the big gold nugget that you left in your comment today is where you said “there are healthier ways to fill the void”. THAT is the absoloute truth and that is what I try to remember every day!
Hugs, Darlene


After reading this post the first time and commenting, I told my therapist about it all, and she recommended that I go and see a nutritionist, which I did today. Her number one recommendation to me was to tell my husband that his words about my weight hurt and affect me negatively. My therapist said the same thing…and we roleplayed a little bit about it, she pretended to be my husband and I was playing me, and she said something along the lines of “you are overweight and need to work out and eat better’ and I was supposed to say “That hurt my feelings” and I couldnt even say it. Not even to her, pretending to be him. How am I going to say it to ever be able to say that to him?

So basically my therapist and nutritionist both realized that my husband negatively impacts my issues with food and keeps me in unhealthy thinking in terms of my body and my weight, and I dont think he is trying to be malicious in his comments, I think he honestly just wants me to be happy and healthy and knows that exercise and weight loss will improve my quality of life….but the problem is, that instead of it encouraging me to eat better and exercise, it encourages me to eat nothing at all and be moody and angry.

So I dont know, I mean, the fear is so strong. I am so afraid of him rejecting me again, and again, and again….because every time I bring up issues with food, he doesnt understand….and so he just blows it off as me being irrational…but to me its extremely serious, but Im afraid to tell him that because really, its not his issue in the first place and he has enough to deal with. So I feel like I am on my own.

My nutritionist asked me if my family would be supportive in helping me to eat more often and more healthy, and I laughed….because they have their own problems to worry about, and I have so much to deal with and so many different things, between the sexual, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual abuse and the food issues and the anxiety and PTSD that resulted from all that, and constantly being retriggered and fighting like hell not to shut down completely on a daily basis…that its just not possible for them to help me any more than they already do. I doubt they even realize Im not eating normally. I do eat dinner most nights, and I eat a bite or two of breakfast because if I dont the kids tell me how breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I need to eat something, and I dont want them to think that I dont care about my health, so I eat something to show them Im eating….but when no one is around, or paying attention, I dont eat anything. Which I know is not going to help me lose weight, its going to do the opposite because my body will store everything as fat and yadda, yadda, yadda….but try telling that to my screwed up psyche.

Ugh. So I dont know. Im going to keep a food diary and see her every two weeks, and I have to start by drinking water and eating foods with fiber in them for the next two weeks and replacing soda with green tea as often as I can. I dont know, this makes me feel so weird and crazy and stupid and that no one takes me seriously because how can you be 100 lbs overweight when you dont eat but one meal a day, or none for days at a time? I just want to feel normal, and have normall emotions, and normal thoughts, and normal feelings….and not feel like I am on the verge of breaking down every single minute of the day.

I told my husband the other day, that he didnt have to worry about me trying to kill myself because the only way I would do it, is if I know that I would succeed…because I dont want to go back to the hospital ever again…because it does no good. I want to get better, but I am tired of dealing with myself, and trying to talk myself out of negative self defeating bullsh*t every single minute of every single day. I want to laugh, and joke, and run, and play and smile and not feel like Im going to snap, all the time. They say its a process…well Im damn good and ready for it to be over.


I hear everything you are saying and believe me I understand. You have 700 things going through your mind all at once about all of this. I had to learn to slow down because when I was in a spin like this, I couldn’t think about any one thing and therefore got nowhere. It sounds like you are being asked to re-train your body to eat properly. That is a good thing.

About your last couple of sentences… You said; “I want to get better, but I am tired of dealing with myself, and trying to talk myself out of negative self defeating bullsh*t every single minute of every single day. I want to laugh, and joke, and run, and play and smile and not feel like I’m going to snap, all the time. They say its a process…well I’m damn good and ready for it to be over.”

I smiled when I read that. I totally relate to that. I wanted it to be over too. Unfortunately the only way over is through. The happiness you describe here is possible, it certainly has been for me, but I had to engage in the process. I had to travel that road to wholeness. I had to do that work and realize that it was my work to do. That was the key for me. I had to make up my mind.
I know that in itself is not at all easy but the fact that you are here, and that you are sharing, and that you are going to therapy and now to a nutritionist means that you are on that road! You want it and that is fantastic!
Keep sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I needed to post something here. I have struggled with eating issues since I was a teenager, or maybe even before, though I cannot remember. (I am 40 now.) I would eat huge amounts of food, then just feel sick to my stomach. I did not use laxatives or purging. I would alternate between overeating, and then dieting and exercising to keep from gaining too much weight. It worked relatively well, except that I have stretch marks from the “yoyo” weight issues, sigh. Now I despise my stretch marks and hope to find something, someday, that will at least help reduce the appearance of them.

Though I don’t do this pattern nearly as much now, or to the extreme that I did when I was younger, I still struggle with times of overeating when distressed. So I do have some extra weight that has creeped up on me, mostly around my stomach, and have tried unsuccessfully to control my eating and to stick with some exercise program. My husband and I have been doing the P90X program since the beginning of the summer, and I did fairly well cutting down sweets and eating more salads, etc. But then when he kept losing weight and I wasn’t losing much, after about 2 months or so, I became discouraged and pretty much gave up the better eating part. Still exercising, but not nearly as motivated with that either.

My husband is trying to “encourage” me to get back to eating better, eat three meals and two snacks, and no more, etc. Which I found myself feeling rather resistant to, wanting to tell him, “You don’t understand!!” Ughh. I know that my eating is still so controlled by my emotional issues, which ties to my past issues that are still unresolved and undealt with. I felt like he sees the issue so simply, “Just stop eating at nite and eating sweets, eat three meals…yada, yada.” Am I making this whole losing weight thing more complicated than it needs to be? 🙁


It is easy to just eat three meals a day and two snacks… I mean logically it is easy ~ I tell myself this all the time. Just do it. But it isn’t about logic it is about emotion. For me it is a coping method thing. When I am taking care of my self, (emotionally) the food stuff isn’t an issue. I don’t think much about it at all. I think that it is one of those coping method things I think. For me the food/weight issues have been the last coping method to fall away (like I talk about in my post ~ (see Solutions and recovery from depression and trauma) This last couple of years I have been using this coping method less and less and I think I can see the end in sight! One thing I know for sure Tonya, “spinning about it” just made me want to eat more. (because I needed to “cope” more, and wanted more comfort)
This is a complicated issue ~ but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel!
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, it is more emotional for me too. I know it is one of my main coping methods; it is what I turn to most when I am upset in any way–depressed, sad, angry, ashamed, etc. I just wish my husband could understand this! Maybe if i can find a good article that sums it up fairly well. He tries to talk about how he loves food and it is emotional for him too, but somehow, I just don’t think he really understands it to the extent that I struggle with it. I know I need to find better ways of coping with my feelings and deal with my past pain, but rather difficult when I have 4 young children, and 3 are homeschooled. It doesn’t give me much down time. But I know “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, right? I’m real good at playing the “victim role”, though the lady that came to minister to me said it wasn’t the victim mentality, but fear of failure, which frankly left me confused.


Hi Tonya,
I don’t know about playing a victim role, and I don’t know about fear of failure either ~ I don’t think that is what it was for me at all, it’s more like I didn’t know HOW to make a different choice. If eating and using food the wrong way is a coping method, then it makes sense to find out what you are “coping” with. That is what worked for me anyway, and food/weight and body image issues are like the final frontier for me. I have made huge progress however, so I am happy with that today. I had to kind of wipe the slate clear and just start at the beginning, with the reasons that I needed so many coping methods, and in resolving the root of the problem, all the coping methods began to fall away.
I hope this makes sense Tonya. This is a tough and HUGE issue. Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I don’t know where to begin. Today i was ready to start a new diet- injections of HGH, because my lap band has failed and the diet pills arent working again and i am starting to gain the weight and i have really been binging since the diet pills quit working- and I am just so tired. I stopped and prayed and thought this cant be about a new diet when I realized if I dont address the real reason for this food addiction I am not ever going to have peace. I want peace, but not as an obese person. I feel like I have to keep fighting but I am losing the battle. I am wondering if my compulsive eating problem was actually my first coping mechanism. I dont remember much about my childhood, but I remember craming cookies in my mouth at a young age- i can see it so clearly-cramming oreos into my mouth, looking out of my bedroom window and feeling extremely sad. Blazing saddles- if therapy is the only answer I am screwed-already 53 years old and can t imagine going thru a long term therapy process..I have made an appt with a therapist-in two weeks. and wonder if this is just another fad to try a cope. I have alot of the classic symptoms of child sexual abuse-but no memories. I dont know if this is the end or the beginning, but therapy is about the only thing I havent tried. Can you give me some hope? Thanks for your blog site(is this a blog?)
Regards, Liz
ps -recovering alcoholic- coming on 6 years and unrecovered (and extremely dedicated) shopaholic and binge eater


Hi Liz
Welcome to this blog, I am gald that you are here. Therapy really helped me a lot; my therapist liked to dig down to the roots of the problems and I learned to go back over my life and find out what happened to me, the things I learned about myself and believed about myself as a result of those things, and all the lies that I adopted because of it too. AND I learned how to replace those false beliefs with the truth. That process (not a quick fix but a process of digging) really set me free and set me on the journey to wholenss. I no longer have depression and for the most part I don’t use copeing methods. I am alive and I live fully. =) I hope you read more of this blog. I write it for the purpose of inspiring hope! In my view there is hope for everyone ~ Hugs, Darlene


Hi Liz,
I am also a recovering alcoholic Turned 15 years clean and sober last August. I am also an over eater. It has been real hard for me harder then stopping alcohol and drugs.

I have been up and down in weight trying to work the 12 steps to help but it has been the hardest thing for me to do. I am once again loosing Trying to not think of it as a diet. I know the abuse from childhood is what keeps me not losing I feel safe being heavy but I do not want to die because I am not able to get the weight off. I have been to therapists and counseling for years, the best help I recieved was one alcoholic helping another so for the first time I joined OA and hoping the it will help me share with one over eater to another. I am more willing now to do something with my food addiction. Time will only show. I do believe we have hope every day we wake up breathing we have hope. It just really is about how willing am I to do the work I ask myself and for today I am willing I lost 7 pounds so far so I know it will be a slow process. Hang in there we don’t have to do this alone.


Good morning everyone 🙂

I just wanted to post here because I recently read a book that was helpful to me in a lot of ways, although by this time in my journey a lot of it was already stuff I knew and I just need to implement, which is obviously the hardest part of any sort of helping ourselves.

Anyways…the book is called “Women, Food and God” and its by Geneen Roth, and its not really a spiritually based book, its more about finding our spirituality through observing our relationship with food and what it tells us about our beliefs about “God” (or whatever higher power you choose really, she just uses God because its an obvious comparison that everyone can understand)

One point that really struck home for me is that she said you can tell everything you believe, not what you say, or what you feel, or how you THINK you believe, but what you truly believe deep down in your soul, by the food you put on your plate. I realized I hate food, I hate the thought of food, I hate the idea of food, I hate the smell, the sight, the sound, even food that tastes good and smells good and looks good (ie. brownies) I still hate them, because I see them as something to be feared and hated and loathed because thats what I had to do to keep me thin for all those years….and I have such a disconnect between my body and the food I eat and the feelings and emotions around the whole experience that its just another form of dissociation for me.

I also read another great book called “Living with ED” by Jenni Schaefer (a former anorexic) and she goes into great detail about her mental self talk around food (ED is her name for her anorexia…the “voice” in her head) and it really helped me see where I was going wrong with food, although I am having a very hard time changing all that.

For me also, its even harder because my husband is the exact opposite with food, to him it means love and happiness and joy and you use it to show those things, and I had to force myself to realize that when he brought me a plate of nachos, it wasnt that he didnt love me and wanted me to be fat and miserable and was trying to sabotage my life and it wasnt a form of passive hatred, it was a gesture of love, that I never understood or even realized and when I finally admitted all these things to him (about a couple of weeks ago) he had no idea and still has no clue what its like and doesnt understand, but now when he makes me something to eat…a plate of nachos, or popcorn or anything at all, he says “Im not making you this to make you fat, I love you” and then asks me if I want it…and that feels so great, but so horrible at the same time because I start to beat myself up for being so screwed up that I cant even see love as love and I twist everything as a negative experience rather than a positive expression of love like it was meant to be.

But Im working on it. Eventually I will get there. I ate a healthy breakfast twice this week (thats what my dietician and I have been working on…getting me to eat breakfast everyday) and I usually just eat a bite of something to take my meds, and I had an egg one day and a smoothie this morning…so its progress, small steps still take you down the big road right?


Oh, does this hit home to me in so many ways!!!!!!!!! I nearly died from anorexia. I started with binging and purging then found it easier to just starve myself. I LOVED having that control…it was the only thing I felt like I had control over. I have to be honest…I trick myself in believing I have fully recovered from my eating disorder but to this day…that is a lie. I very much struggle with it. I now have better tools in coping with it..but when dealing with the intense feelings of my sexual abuse starving myself is always the easiest route for me. This cycle seems like it WILL NEVER BREAK! I hate it!


I have struggled with this topic since birth I think…the biggest struggle has been of two issues 1 – everyone telling me what I should look like and what I should eat and how what I was eating was in some way causing something about my appearance that was bad – food was always an issue and 2 – my desire to appeal to every member of the opposite sex…EVERY ONE OF THEM. They were conflicting. I still can’t talk about the whole topic much…it is much too affecting for me still. Eating disorders are so much more complicated than the outside world things…it’s not just, or even in some cases at all, about weight…it is about control and belief in your own self and how your appearance relates to that…and it was fed or withheld, literally, to me by those who LOVED me. I still struggle with the feeling that I don’t feel like eating, and the false belief which then becomes reality, that eating will make me sick. I do, however, realize that my body needs to eat and I try to pay attention to my body’s notices to me that I’m hungry…but I still have to watch the scale to notice how I’m doing…as in make sure I’m not getting too low in weight, but now it’s for reasons of self-care and not for reasons related to others…in order to live, I know I have to eat. Sorry, not very insightful on this one…it’s so tough and so intertwined…



You are absolutely right that eating disorders is NOT ABOUT the weight! I still struggle with this myself, but I finally know that the root behind the action is your emotions. I get the feeling of being numb and want to use something else to put my focus and energy towards and that just so happens to be food. I can control, consume my every thought it in. Count every little portion of food and calories and how long I have to exercise to burn those caloris. It’s a vicious cycle and extremely hard to break. I was in a in-patient facility for 13 months. It was miserable…but I got through it and have never gotten that sick ever again nor will I! When I find myself leaning towards my eating disorder I have to break it down and figure out why? Why do I need this right now? What is the real issue that I’m avoiding? These are just the basic steps that I have learned in treatment. Is it easy, NO, but the more you practice it the more you gain that control in your life that helps you rather then enabling you. Easier said then done right? Trust me, I still struggle with this. You are not alone at all in this!


I just commented on what I needed to tell myself today. WOW! That’s never happened. I sill struggle with everything that has to do with eating disorders but what I am trying today this very day is to carfully work through my abuse without the need of anerxia or binging and purging or obsseive exercise, laxative, ect. I have to address this every week in therapy because it’s so easy for me to fall off the wagon and want the desire to go numb. All that does though is full the fire even more and set you that further back into a hole to dig out (this is for me anyways)

I have never talked about my eating disorder publically before so I’m really taking a leap of faith. But if there is one topic I know more about then anything, that is eating disorders. I’ve read all the books, and found that these books were in fact making my situation worse…they are self help books, but my crazy mind went to, okay I need to have all the symptoms of anorexia so I can consider myself anorexic. The problem with that was I kept getting more and more sick, weak, emaciated and I could not see it myself at all when I looked in the mirror. Much less did my parents even care…they watched me get so thin right before there eye’s and NEVER intervened of recongized that I needed help. They allowed me to lay in ICU have a heart attach, get feeding tube after feeding tube placed in me and NOT one time did they come visit me in the hospital…my mother wanted me to die! That’s just wrong!


Thank you Darlene for tackling this issue.

Throughout my life it’s been a huge issue. I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember, even as a child I was overweight. I’ve never been anywhere near what should have been the right weight for me. There are many reasons for this, some only my abusers know and some I know about.

I’ve never been one for exercise. It’s not because I’m lazy or like being fat. In fact I hate being fat and overweight and always have done. I hate the way my body looks. I hate getting sweaty and having to dress in special clothes to do PE at school or exercise at classes or gyms. I hate the idea of someone being able to see my body, see me sweat and so on – huge triggers for me – so exercising is a whole difficult area for me.

I hate the way my body looks because I was told by my abusers that my body was horrible and no one would want to know someone who had such a horrible body. My body was just a piece of meat to them. A piece of meat they could do whatever they chose to. My body was a piece of meat that had no rights to privacy. It was a piece of meat that was poked and prodded and used for anything and everything. Being told I was just fat and horrible and no one would want to know me because of it meant that my body image has always been pretty awful.

Being overweight has its compensations – for me it means it’s less likely that someone’s going to be sexually attracted to you – which for me is a real biggie.

I went the opposite way of wanting to be unattractive to the opposite sex because I was scared of them and didn’t want anyone touching me or getting anywhere near me. I wanted to claim my body back but didn’t do it in the right way, just the only way I knew how and that was through the whole chaotic eating thing. So I’d hide my horrible body underneath baggy clothes.

My abusers deliberately starved me and then force fed me, as punishments but also as a means of humiliating me too.

I had no sense of food being something that could sustain you or being a good thing.

Food was always in the context of bad things happening. I had no idea what a healthy diet was. I had no idea how to cook.

Food was just something which had really bad connotations.

Throughout my adult life I’ve kept up the starving/binging processes. I never even realised that it was an eating disorder until a few months ago I read a leaflet about eating disorders and saw binging mentioned as a specific disorder.

I use and misuse food in the same way I was used and misused I guess.

I use food as a comfort but that has a double edge to it because then I start feeling guilty about stuffing myself and making myself fatter and so I starve myself to get rid of the guilt. But it never really goes away.

I’ve always been deeply ashamed about myself, my body shape and size and my chaotic relationship with food.

Over the years Doctors and nutritionalists have tried to get me to diet or eat more healthily but to no avail. None of it worked because the root cause of my weight problems goes far deeper than not just eating the right kind of food. And of course adding in exercise was never going to work for me either for reasons already mentioned.

I was always too ashamed to admit to the truth – that I binge a lot – but I also starve myself too – that I don’t know the first thing about what healthy eating or even a healthy relationship to food is about.

Thank you for giving me space and permission to talk about it. I so wish I could be different but I don’t know how to find a way out of such a mess!! Yes it’s not about weight, weight is a symptom! The real truth goes far deeper into my entire belief system about myself, about food, about my body, about what the sexual abuse did to me deep inside, about so many things!!!

I wish I could stop feeling so ashamed and embarrassed. I suppose going public like this is my first step towards thinking maybe there is a way out the other side of all this stuff.


Wow everyone, I want to jump in here too, but I have to run out for a few hours… (life sometimes gets in the way.. LOL) but don’t stop sharing, I will catch up on the new comments as soon as I get back! Hugs, Darlene


Fi, I can so relate to you! Binge eating has the exact same effect on one as anorexia or bulimia. They are all eating disorders and used to hide something so deep within us. I wear baggy clothes all the time so I don’t feel embarrassed or stared at. I want to hide my body from the damage I’ve done to it. Same as being overweight. We feel so ashamed of who we are we try to stay numb and hide it. This is what I call stinkin thinkin! Like you I was always afraid of the opposite sex until I reached my anorexic goal and thought I finally fit the catargory and started stripping. I thought my body was the only thing that was important to people and if other’s can hurt it so badly then why shouldn’t I. Keep talking…this is a safe place and you have my support! Hugs!


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.


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!!


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


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!



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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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~


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


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.


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


[…] Related Posts ~ Sexual Abuse, Bulimia, and Eating Disorders […]


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… 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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.

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