Survival Methods and Eating Disorders ~ Part OneBy
To introduce this series, here is a brief history of my belief system when it came to my body and my weight; I had conflicting beliefs about weight that turned out to be bi-polar opposites; I believed that being underweight or the perfect weight would keep me safe from disapproval, and I believed that being overweight would keep me safe from men and from sexual assault. For many years I lived in strict control of my body and weight, yet at the same time fighting both conflicting sides and pretty much staying a normal weight, except that I was obsessed with my body and my weight and never felt like it was “right”. I developed eating disorders. I was addicted to drugs by the time I was 16, all to do with eating disorders. I had a very big problem with bulimia, which was one of the many ways that I was able to live in both those worlds; eating to gain weight and therefore feel safe, purging to not gain weight and therefore feel safe, and every other eating disorder coping method in between. Forever.
I am going to write a series of posts on this whole issue of eating disorders, weight gain, body obsession, weight control and how our belief systems get in the way without our realizing that those thoughts and beliefs are even in there. I would like you to read this first article keeping in mind that I am in direct dialogue with my own belief system and how my thoughts and beliefs are revealed to me during that process. You can use this same system to pick apart any other belief system you have hiding inside your head. Look for the little clues and how they pop into my mind.
My daughter and my husband came home the other night and told me that they had seen an old friend of mine. The first question that popped into my mind was “is she fat?” And even as a part of me was realizing that my thought wasn’t very nice, I also knew that I secretly hoped that she was. I hoped that she had at the very least gained more weight than I had since I had seen her in the 10 years that had passed. I had to ask them… I blurted it out “is she fat?” and they confirmed that she had indeed gained a lot of weight. And I was secretly trying to hide my grin. Several things were going on in my mind all at once but I was aware of this nagging question about why I thinking about her in this way.
When something like this pops into my head, I have simultaneous thoughts and in the past they served to pull me in lots of different directions most likely for the purpose of making sure that I did not figure out the roots of any of it. The way that my survival mode has always worked for me is by trying to protect me from reality because when I was a kid reality was horrible. I am not talking just about events here; I am talking about accepting that I really wasn’t valued or worthy and what would happen if I was thrown away like the garbage I believed I was. My mind developed coping methods to protect itself from accepting that and other realities and I developed a warped belief system and accepted false truths. I have come to realize that my coping methods developed to help me survive, but also that when I no longer needed them my subconscious was SO sure that they were the answer that if fought like crazy to KEEP those often self destructive survival methods in place. If I let one go, I grabbed another one like the life preserver that I believed it was. I was in a battle against myself. To make it even more complicated, the only way out of the maze is through exposing my belief system by picking apart each of the beliefs at the roots of the coping method ~ but again, since my subconscious really believes that the safer way is to avoid facing reality, (as it was when I was a child) and I am fighting to emerge from the cocoon of my survival methods and discover and live in the truth about all things because I KNOW that is the way to freedom, once again we have a disagreement going on inside.
And we wonder why finding the ‘beginning’ seems nearly impossible. We wonder why we so often say that we don’t know where to even start. The answer for me was that there were MANY beginnings and all of them had their own start.
The thoughts and roots that I expose in this series about food addiction, eating disorders, compulsive overeating, bulimia, body obsession and weight obsession and the discoveries I will highlight in this series can be applied to any other coping method or belief system that you are trying to unravel. To get to the bottom of one string, I follow the clues. In this case one clue was in my thought process of why I wished my old friend had gained a lot of weight since I last saw her. The key was in processing what that meant to me and to listen to all the other thoughts that pop up to get me off the track, because each of them has a related yet different root attached to it. Separating each thought, and examining them on their own, and then later looking at them in relation to each other is like a treasure hunt. In time I cracked open the huge vault that was my complicated belief system, survival methods and escape modes and discovered the keys to freedom and truth.
Stay tuned for part two, where I will share the process that I went through and the questions that I looked at to realize that I think “fat” is a punishment and how I relate that to myself along with a few other beliefs that I had hiding in my head. (click here for part 2)
Please share your thoughts about this huge subject of weight, food and body issues.
Exposing depth; one snapshot at a time
Darlene Ouimet ~ Emerging from Broken
Related Posts ~ Sexual Abuse, Bulimia, and Eating Disorders