Friday, December 26, 2014

New Eyes

Today I stress-ate myself through my 10 and 11-and-a-half year old boys being home alone the entire day while my husband and I worked.  It was the first time my younger son was alone that long and he was worried and so was I.  They got through it just fine, but I ended up trying to calm the stress with food, and making myself physically uncomfortable in the process.  I still ate pizza for dinner despite not being hungry, and now I'm still more full than I want to be, hours later.  If overeating makes me feel so aweful, why does my brain keep telling me to eat?!
I discovered Goodwillbooks.com a few weeks ago and got two used books I'd been looking for for 99 cents a piece, score!  They are both Geneen Roth books.  One is a workbook called Why Weight, and the other is one I've read before called When Food is Love.  I've been working on the exercises in the workbook on occasion, so I decided to read the other tonight and I'm really glad I did.  I really absorbed the words tonight instead of simply reading lifeless words on a page.  She writes so hauntingly knowingly, like she has the keys to your secrets.  
This passage struck me hard.  This is me.  I learned early in life to tiptoe around others, to be helpful or to get out of the way. I learned to lower my expectations so as not to be so disappointed.  I learned to put my efforts in making my mother happy and avoiding what made her angry because I never knew which side of her I'd get, and I wanted to feel like if I was good, she'd be the warm, loving mom and shower me with affection and praise.  When nothing I'd do seemed good enough I turned to food    for comfort.   
Another passage that grabbed my attention is this:
Yes.  I couldn't control my mom's moods or how ignored I felt, how needy I felt for her love and attention, but at an early age I could control the food I ate, and I could put my focus on my weight so I wouldn't have to think about how desperately I'd failed at being a good enough girl who'd make my mom find me lovable and a treasure.  What I didn't realize is that, all along, is that it was never about me.  I thought I could make her love me more by being better-behaved, by being obedient and helpful, by being invisible when the situation called for it.  I lowered my expectations and took what I could get instead of asking for what I wanted.  
Another passage:
She goes on to say that we begin to feel that only the in-control person is lovable, and if this is so, then who we really are when no one is looking, is not lovable.  
There is a part where she says her mother, when she was angry, told her she was selfish, and that equated to being bad.  Being bad, in a kids mind (especially a fragile kid) means being unlovable.  So if being selfish means you think of your needs above others, and if being selfish means you are bad, and if being bad means you are unlovable, then putting your needs above others makes you unlovable.  This put a huge lump in my throat.  Her mom was my mom in so many ways.  I totally get this philosophy and I have lived it for so so many years.  
I am full of emotion, but it is joyful breakthrough-type emotion, as if I have just discovered a secret that is bittersweet, but liberating all the same.
I am looking forward to re-reading this book with new eyes.  It really has hit the vital nerve, and I think this is exactly where I need to be right now.

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