This post has some strong references to ED behaviors. Please don't read ahead if you are not in the mind to do to.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
I stared at this blank page for HOURS last night trying to decide how to start this blog and honestly debating on if I even wanted to post it. Time was fleeting, and I was struggling. It seemed as though all of my efforts to try to collect my thoughts were in vain because simply put – this is hard to write about.
I tried to find another topic to write about today – I really did. But there was nothing going on that was worthy and being written down and this has been pressing on the forefront of my mind the past several days. I guess that’s my mind’s way of saying it’s time to deal with this and get it out in the open. It’s a funny little thing called emotional abuse.
I know I spoke about emotional abuse in my last blog, but I didn’t really delve into everything that goes on in my household that constitutes as emotional abuse. I talked about how I have dealt with emotional abuse from my mother, but not so much what came from my father. My mother had more of an emotional neglect sort of abuse. My father… well, I’ll tell you about his.
I’d like to say I’m very resilient and that words don’t affect me, but I’d be lying. Words hurt me more than physical abuse ever has. It has taken me a very long time to call this emotional abuse. My T has tried to explain emotional abuse to me several times, but I always deny that that is, indeed, what this is. I guess part of me bringing this up this week is because I’m finally admitting to myself what this is.
I’ve always had a fear of talking about this – especially here. It’s hard to look at my situation and believe it has the same damaging effects as some of the trauma that people here have gone through. I was told growing up that I wasn’t allowed to be sad or upset because my biological parents are married. Because for some reason, that meant my life was perfect. So how could I possibly call this abuse when my life was so perfect all the time???
I developed an eating disorder when I was 15 years old. I was formally diagnosed with bulimia when I was 19. Part of me wants to blame this on my father, but part of me knows that he may not be the sole cause for my eating disorder. I know that I have other issues that factor into this, but I can’t help but think he planted a seed somewhere along the way.
My mother and father both exercise regularly and eat healthy. I don’t. Not as consistently as they do. So, for that, there’s always a bit of shame around me for being heavier than them and for eating more fast food than they do. And any time I eat out, I get an ear full about it. About how I need to stop doing it because I’m wasting money mostly, but there’s also the underlying reason of ‘because you’re fat’. My dad wasn’t always the fit man he is now though. My dad was a lot heavier at one point in his life. One day he buckled down to lose weight, and he did. And ever since then, it’s been a lecture to me about being fit. But not only does he “encourage” (I use that term loosely) me to live a healthier lifestyle, he also makes unnecessary comments that drive me to a state of starvation and purging.
One of my favorites is when I’ve not eaten all day and it’s 4 o’clock on the afternoon. I wander into the kitchen looking for some sort of sack or meal and I get welcomed with a, “Hey, little piggy. Coming to belly up to the trough?” To which I respond with a polite ‘no,’ and walk away hungry. He uses that one a lot. There was a time not too long ago that I had dropped a lot of weight. It was the smallest I had been in YEARS. But I was hardly eating. I was on an exercise program, but I was never hungry and furthermore, I wanted to be small. It was easier to not eat. So I would come in from a workout and grab something small so my parents would see me eating. But then it became, “Are you just eating that now so you can go eat in your closet later?” followed by an eruption of laughter from both him, and my mother. That comment lead into several jokes about eating in secret and purging. They thought it was hilarious. They had no idea that I was already hardly ever keeping any food down.
There are more, but I’m sure you get the idea. Anything about food results in me being called fat in some way, shape, or form, or it leads to a string of jokes about bulimia. I can’t eat a proper meal without being judged. But my father gets mad if I talk about being nervous to eat in front of people. How does he not know that HE instilled this fear in me?
The other half of his “jokes” aren’t any better. They’re more about how I also wasn’t the smart kid. His favorite line used to be “you’re a fat, stupid, loser,” but he hasn’t said that one in a while. Sometimes he just calls me ‘stupid.’ There was one day I was laying in bed, had just woken up but had my bedroom door open. He walked into my bedroom called me a ‘piece of garbage’ and walked away. All I did was exist. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed yet.
While I realize these are all minor instances, when it goes on for years, it’s hard to “brush it off” and move on. To know that my dad feels so ashamed of me for being overweight and to know he thinks so little of my self-worth that he could actually tell me I would never amount to anything, hurts. I was never physically abused by my father. He’s never laid a hand on me. But his words have hurt me.
So, in closing, I guess I should say that I don’t forgive him. Not yet. I’m still trying to fix the pieces of what HE messed up. The parts of me that he shattered with his words and his shame. I am trying to learn that I’m still valuable in some way or that I have some worth and hopefully one of these days, I will see that. Until then, I’m going to eat my pizza, and I’m not sharing.
Hope you’re all doing well and thank you for taking the time to read. Hopefully next week I’ll have something a bit more exciting to write about!
Sending happy thoughts,