Feeling bones, my body thinner, scared, a few pounds easily were put back on. Feeling safer, it is easier to control my eating. Becoming smaller comes with threats of success and a great urge to numb out with food.
Of course there is a link, but I haven’t figured it out yet, or all the way through. The urge to eat when not hungry, a typical day for me since age 8, fades when a softer, kinder voice is heard and felt.
Though happening for periods of time creating success with weight loss as a secondary plus, sustaining kind thoughts of myself takes primary focus. That is the goal, food and weight are symptoms of the self-hate developing in childhood falling in-line only when kindness to self steps in.
The voice whispers positive things about myself that are allowed into me. That is challenging to sustain after living most of my life otherwise. Much of that grew as I grew pleasing the origin family, living by implied rules if wanting to remain a part of it… toxic as it was and still is- what’s left of it.
What grew with the ugliness of repeated sexual attacks by supposed loving brothers with nowhere to talk about it, and no one to help or stop it, was a life of unprocessed trauma, chronic, embedded, PTSD, with a critic inside me louder than anything else—a life of punishing myself for having been abused.
Hate myself, blame myself, eat, eat, eat, both to numb out the hate and to comfort myself from the internal nasty word beatings, that voice in my head that came from ‘family’, but became mine. No, it was not spoken aloud, but the messages were imprinted into my soul because no one talked of the tragedies that befell me, nor stopped it. The imposed silence, and the implications of blame I felt entombed me.
A miracle occurs when a more honest view of myself is heard, one that can look at mistakes and flaws kindlier, but much harder, and more importantly, looks at the positive qualities, feels them, believes them, and taking them in as my own.
When that miracle happens, the overpowering urge to eat when not hungry dissipates because my soul is being filled, finally filled.
Learning to love myself with all my spots and beauty also means moving away from another loved and close to in order to protect my being. Interactions that felt loving are feeling more harmful than helpful or loving.
It may be no fault to either parties, but just is.
It is imperative to protect my internal peace and when there is upset due to certain interactions that are necessary but can be limited if by choice, then I must choose limiting the interactions.
This step forward advocating for my own needs feels like foreign territory, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Me? Take care of me? Even if it means closing down some interactions that till now occurred daily?
Is that really the right choice, or is it one more irrational choice that seems right but is oh so wrong? The lack of confidence in running my own life causes anxiety to erupt. Will you run it for me?
Control the beast. The beast takes many forms; doubt, fear, insecurity, ungroundedness, an inability to trust or love, and the roots of self-criticism grown in childhood tangled so deeply it cannot be cut out only confronted daily.
Is it that simple, that all this time the adult just needed to take the reins not allowing the troubled willful child to have her will? But no, each path has many signs leading to the wrong places, maybe because fully feeling how wrong something is one learns what is right.
I won’t live long enough to get it all right. But the biggest secret hidden from myself all this time is that when others have said through the years, ‘you’re too hard on yourself,’ that it is a truth unrevealed to me. My head heard it, thought about it, but the critic kept on banging.
But when taking hold of the beasts causing worry, disruption, and chaos- choking them not by asphyxiation but with love, gentleness, kindness, and warmth… a soft place inside, an oasis opens inviting me in. The gnarly roots of self-criticism disintegrate making room for new growth of another kind.
‘I never promised you a rose garden,’ going through my head to help cope with a day and tiredness from a PTSD night when worries carried my being away from me.
Having read that book decades ago, the only memory was that there are hard, bad days. No matter what you do, it happens. No amount of meditating, exercising, or anything else can prevent it.
Part of my learning is a need to break away from worries that tend to consume me about others who are loved. You cannot save others. Isn’t it enough to save yourself?
We each have our paths. Trying to solve thickets in other people’s path, or staying up all night as if that helps, need weeding out. Hack on that urge as if working at a gnarly stump inhibiting the growth of your garden.
It is enough to concentrate on my own needs, cultivating myself. Others will gain from that, sprinkled on from the overflow. But first plant seeds and care for them.
As winter drudges on, some excitement please! Yet each moment offers that just by breathing, coming into my body fully, and enjoying the sensation instead of the flying off onto a perch somewhere. Traumas early on make this especially hard. Some don’t make it, dying by their own hand intentionally, or by doing harmful things to oneself to escape. My escape since age 8 has been food. Take that away and the anxiety beast grows eating me alive.
Exercise, meditation, full-spectrum lights… aren’t enough to tame the anxiety beast, the beast that dwarfs all special character traits with shame, feelings of badness to the core, and hiding. To eat when hungry comes with much soul searching, learning about respect for, wait for it, here it come, me. And that is excruciatingly challenging because to respect myself is causal.
Approaching such a miracle 60 years after the first attack when the core of my being became buried, coming out to the sunshine, also demands others to do the same. That part of it feels unnatural, yet it is what most others do without much thought or effort. For me it takes herculean effort.
That means loved ones are no longer allowed to tramp on me burying me further, which has been the status quo. Even those that profess love and loyalty will take if allowed. And when feeling so less than, please take to make up for my badness. But in the process of becoming comes much pain, shedding the ugly finding beauty.
Like most issues, to speak up about my own beliefs, opinions, or feelings is gruelingly difficult. Taught to keep mum about atrocities against me, even little issues tend to stay inside me.
A friend who is religious, Christian like the other four in our women’s group, is overly so. The Lord this, the Lord that. I respect her beliefs and do not scorn them, in fact am sometimes a bit envious of the strength it seems to provide her and others.
It doesn’t for me. At a very young age that collapsed and as with most things shame about that eroded me even more. Now in my sixties the right to claim my own spirituality slowly rises. If it were to have a face it would be feminine.
Yet it is more a belief that we are all connected throughout the planet no matter what we believe. In writing back to her as she once again speaks of god as HE, my response gently outlines my views.
In this life what is there if we cannot be who we are? If it is sometimes a ball of worries and anxiety, then that is me at that time. If my beliefs encompass something different that yours, can you respect them as I do you yours?
In this life, before it’s over, the craving and wholeness comes from owning who I am. It feels risky, scary, and often impossible, but is worth the exploration and effort.
Like a monkey swinging tree to tree, so are my emotions when sleep evades me, and this past week has been so very tough. Do I do things purposely to upset myself, unable to allow peace and happiness? That sounds absurd, yet why then invite Don and his wife for New Years Day dinner after all those pie reminders… having the gall to serve grape instead of apple.
And then adding to my email to Don that I’d make the promised apple pie if he let me know soon enough. Well, no answer from either of them despite two email invites. Nothing.
The reasoning in my head isn’t about them, it’s about my being a jerk, and not enough of a person for someone to bother to answer me. That is what has been keeping me up unable to sleep.
Is it wintertime causing this upheaval in reasoning and lack of control over keeping to healthy relationships, and healthy people? Is it my continuing hope to relate to the origin group because it is my doing or undoing that makes it a success or failure, and at my death bed I’d have regrets for not joining in? (yes)
But I know the answers. I know it is unhealthy. And it is also unhealthy to beat myself up over it. Start fresh. Start again. Find long periods of peaceful living without this part of me upsetting all that is gratifying. Be assertive. SAY NO, that thought a wonderous revelation. Can I really?
Practically begging others to help guide me or make decisions for much of my life because my insides were so broken, has evolved in to relying on myself.
How would anyone know what is right for me but me? But me, where or where was she? Broken, shattered right down to my core, all the pieces biting and tearing at each other.
Hate for self was all there was. It did take shoring up by therapists to succeed at just about anything. Once believing in even a scrap of self-worth, great achievements occurred.
Finishing that last course so long ago to receive an Associates degree. Completing a Chemistry course in adulthood that was failed miserably in high school. Then moving on to nursing school, and with nurse’s cap and gown handed a diploma as a Registered nurse.
Jobs offered and stuck with. But then a therapist would leave the state, or become completely caught up in their own life problems- there, left on my own when my insides were still so cold to myself, failure occurred.
Without a therapist to boost me up, job interviews were as iffy as my ragged self-esteem. Finally after too many let-downs, I stopped interviewing accepting that so much damage was done that I’d need more therapy if I wanted to work.
I didn’t want either. My being still reacted as if on hot coals needing this or that to take me from myself. But over time, with patience, meditation, and traveling deep within my core, (only the intrepid might try) growth occurred, that of knowing myself, accepting myself, and accepting real feelings and letting them travel through and out.
Daring to dive deep comes with rewards, it isn’t all painful… peace, safety and self-reliance softly soothed the bloodied corners of my soul.
Settling into my being each morning. Just stay and see what’s there. It’s OK.