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Thread: Confused

  1. #1

    Confused

    OK, I'm aware that eating disorders are expressions of inner anxiety. I also know that it's very likely that people who suffer from an ed have had some sort of traumatic experience happen in their lives, or were made to feel that they couldn't express themselves properly. Or, were made to feel that their emotions were invalid.
    OK, so what on earth is wrong with me? I suffered from anorexia and I still suffer the effects of it. But, I had a good childhood. I trusted my parents and family members, I wasn't sexually abused. I've tried so hard to remember experiences that made me feel uncomfortable, and tried to think if something really bad happened that I blocked out. But, honestly I think everything has happened as I remember it. The uncomfortable situations that I do remember were either not that bad or resolved fairly quickly. And certainly not as bad as many people experience in their lives.
    I remember when I was a child, there were a few instances when I felt extremely guilty about something I had done (that was really minor) - but I cried and cried about these things, scaring my parents who thought something horrible was done to me. They would have to sit with me for maybe two hours and pry what happened out of me and I just felt like I couldn't speak. Finally they would get it out of me, and it would be something like - I talked in line at school today and I had to stand against the wall for the first time ever, or my friend and I went behind his mom's back and mixed juice with milk.
    I've always had a hard time telling my parents what I did or how I felt, despite the fact that they made it known to me that they would never think I was bad and that they would always love me. It really frustrated them, because they WANTED me to talk to them.
    My brother would come home from highschool and just lay everything out on the table about his day and what happened and how he was feeling. I would say "Hi" and go to my room. My parents didn't want that. I hated the question "How was school today?" I thought it was stupid. "Well, let's see, I went to Math class, then I went to English class.."
    In highschool, it was like I was part of the popular group, but in the back ground at the same time. My friends were popular, but I felt I wasn't. I felt very average and it made me feel not special. When I liked a boy, I didn't know how to express it. For the first time, I couldn't just get an A or B in every class by simply showing up for class.
    My confidence got higher in my last year of highschool. I lost a bit of weight and got a boyfriend who just thought I was amazing. University, lost more weight and had more confidence in myself physically. Then...I don't think I need to say more.
    But, I guess what I'm trying to figure out is what made me have a hard time expressing myself. What made me feel guilty so easily? What made me listen to other people so much and let them define who I am? Especially since I grew up in a loving and stable home. I know there is never one answer - so many variables - nature, nurture, experiences inside and outside the home. I know, anyone will say that's what therapy is for, to understand better what is happening in your mind...But, does anyone have any insight on this?

  2. #2

    Confused

    You know what, you have no idea how many times I have and still do wonder about exactly the same thing: WHAT could have possibly have happened to make me feel this way, to make me do these things to myself, right? I feel as though there has to be a reason and I can't come up w/ enough "bad" things to justify all of this. Which in a way makes this whole situation worse b/c I feel like I'm not even justified to have an ed, to "cause" my family so much pain if they'd ever find out... not that I think in any way that there's something that "justifies" having an ed, but for myself I do wonder abut they "why's" as well... there wasn't a "trauma" so to say. But I guess this shows that it's defnitely not as clear cut as ed's are made out to be... and as you said, there' a whole underlying mix and interchange of things, it's usually not just one event or factor per say. For example, many people get teased about their weight, but they don't develop an ed. Many people are unable to express their emotions or have had some trauma happen to them, but just by virtue of these things they're not bound to have an ed. Maybe if we can't remember specific triggers or a trauma, then I wonder how much personality affects all of this... you were talking about the way you reacted to "simple" things like being scolded by the teacher and how upset you were, more so than anyone else would have been. Maybe we have our ways of coping with things and those ways are the things that aren't quite right... maybe we tend to think of the failures first, strive for the best possible we can be and beyond that (perfectionistic attitude), maybe we lack some resiliency factor.... Maybe it is specific situations that make you feel like you are not good enough, hence reinforcing a lower self- esteem to sink even lower...

    My parents, well my mom in particular, always asked the same thing, "how was school?" and I hate this question to this day. I have no problem telling them about something I have on my mind but this kind of question just seems pointless, more like a habit... as if there were something great or bad to report every day, 365 days/ yr.

    I don't think all of this comes from "nothing" though... as much as this is maybe a part of our ways of thinking about things, living our lives, striving for unattainable goals, I think certain situations must have influenced this.... as you said, why else would you have felt guilty so easily and unable to express yourself? I read that for children, even a "simple" situation in which they feel like they have failed or been scolded etc. can have a tremendous effect of their personality characteristics and internal model of how things work in the world... where as an adult mayb be resilient to these "simple" situations, a child can have a completely different experience in the same context.

    Another thing is, and I don't know this about your family, but just in general, some people will say they had the "best" childhood ever, b/c they don't realize that things weren't so normal, or they have legitmized them or pushed them out of their memories... in a certain type of attachment for ex. someone may say their parents were "perfect" where as the parenting style was actually quite rigid and strict and not loving or supportive.

    I guess there's a million and one answers to this and even more questions as a result.... don't know hun. It sounds like you're having a tough time w/ understanding the "why"... and I dont' know if you truly ever can, but I know it's frustrating.....

  3. #3

    Confused

    I've always felt it's kinda natural for kids to feel guilty. Heck, they live in a world of knees. Tall adults, towering over them, have control of their lives. They must do as those adults tell them to do, and feel they must think as those adults think. It's not necessary that the parent, or authority figure, be cruel and unyielding to bring about these feelings in a child.

    My parents were not cruel people. They were good parents, as parents go. Did they make mistakes? Sure, they did. They're only human, after all. Yet, they did the best they could with what they had. I appreciate that. Still, if mom said: "Clean your room.", I was expected to do so. I knew this. Whether I wanted to clean my room or not was not in question. It was what I was to do. If I didn't do it, there would be a price to pay. I knew that and, of course, I resented it in my child's mind. To me, this seems the normal way of things.

    That said, not all children are the same. Some are simply more sensitive than others, and more likely to take things more seriously, in various ways. They're individuals, just as adults are individuals. While one child is openly defiant and might say: "I ain't cleanin' that dern room!", another might clean the room, feel resentment for having to do so, and sublimate that resentment...only to have it rise up later as guilt for having defied authority. There are all manner of in-betweens.

    It's my opinion that those sensitive kids will carry those guilts and childhood rememberances for longer than, perhaps, a child who is less sensitive. Why are some more sensitive? Who knows? Maybe David does. To me, it's a matter of simple individuality. As adults, we who were sensitive children need to realize that that's who we were, and are. There are benefits to that sensitivity, just as there are drawbacks. We need to learn to accentuate the benefits and use them to our benefit, thereby lessening the effects of the negative aspects of that enhanced sensitivity.

    I don't know if that makes sense to anybody else, but it has helped me to accept myself for the person I am, without questioning why I am that person. I'd rather be the person who sees the beauty in a fallen leaf, or a frog's night-song, than someone who goes through life surrounded by greyness and lacking depth. Whatever the reason might be that I am a bit different than the gal next door, I'm glad for it. It would be a truly boring world if all of us were exactly alike. While our difficulties may seem insurmountable, at times, they are what makes us who we are. If we just keep trying to maximize the best parts of us and minimize those things we aren't that happy with, we're being the best possible person we can be...which is far more than just a person with an eating disorder, or depression, or whatever problem we might be trying to deal with. We are not our disorders. We are ourselves. :-)

  4. #4

    Confused

    Rock on, That Lady! And, thanks Eunioa for the response and the suppoort! Kay, definitely everyone is any individual. Eunioa, I know that you don't know anything about my parents, but I can promise you that they were loving and supportive and they continue to be to this day. That's why I have such a hard time trying to figure out what happened to me. I mean, I grew up in the kind of house where my Mom stayed home with me until I was in elementary school. And, even before that, the small kids in the neighbourhood would come into my yard to paint and colour on my pictic table, etc. I'm telling you, my parents are absolutely beautiful people. Of course they're not perfect - no one is - but I'm saying that there must have been something more to my problem - whether it was genetics or whatever.
    Thanks so much though. At the same time that we're thinking about this, my parents probably are too. They feel guilty too, I think.

  5. #5

    Confused

    Diana, I wasn't trying to imply that your parents aren't as "good" as you said they were and are... I just meant to say that sometimes people don't realize the bad as well as the good, b/c it's easier that way or they just never relate had the benefit of knowing that whatver they were going through was not okay... in a way you are glad that your parents are the way they are, b/c at least that's one less thing to get you down, right? but I do understand that it also makes this difficult, trying to find a reason or reasons for your ed... and as you said, they're probably as confused and lost trying to find answers..... sigh... I wonder if there are any clear cut answers. Can you ever really say it was due to events A & B and then a low self- esteem? Is that reason enough???? Not only am I wondering what got me to this point, but what would have made "the" difference...??? a better self-image? as far as I remember I was a happy go lucky child... better parenting? they were fine, more so then than now sometimes... more friends? I had plenty of friends... more success in school? I did well at school... I don't understand... sorry that I don't have any answers.

    That Lady- you've always amazed me w/ how well you know yourself and how your level of self-esteem seems to come from simply knowing that you are you and accepting that fact.... I've said this b/f but I don't know how you do it, but I'm sure you have helped a tremendous amount of people personally and professionally w/ your great insight & attitude... do you have children? they'd be lucky to have such a great mom. :o)

  6. #6

    Confused

    I have two children! My daughter is bipolar, and my son has had bouts of depression throughout his life. Yet, they're both remarkable people. I feel fortunate to know them, and to be able to say: "These, world, are my children!" I am the lucky one!

    I think we must realize that we can be no more, and no less, than who we are. Each of us has gifts to offer, and each of us has crosses to bear. The manner in which we learn to give those gifts and bear those crosses is the measure of who we are. We would not be as much, or have as much to give, if we had not suffered some. It gives insight, empathy and understanding which we can use to assist others along their individual paths.

    This forum is an excellent example of people reaching out to one another with loving hearts. What, I ask you, could be better than that?

  7. #7

    Confused

    That's really true. If people didn't experience at least some kind of suffering then they'd just think, "What on earth is wrong with him/her?" I guess we all experience some pain, and that enables us to empathize with others.
    I do realize that I have good traits about me. Sometimes some of those good things get lost when I start focusing too much on my physical image and not treating myself like I should be. But, I know that I can be a good person.

  8. #8

    Confused

    That Lady, I think you're both lucky, you & your kids. :o) But it sounds so refreshing to hear a parent say that they're lucky to know their kids.

    You're both so right in that every one of us has something to give, no matter how big or small... kinda like a quote that said that every calling is great when greatly pursued or something along those lines. Instead of focusing on the bad parts or the disorders, as you said, it makes so much more sense to take that knowledge and put it into something constructive. I've always thought that someone must have experienced some kind of suffering too or have known someone who has, and I still agree w/ this, but my mom was saying how certain people in my life are "superficial" and could never understand b/c they've only had "perfect" lives, now, she is unjustified in saying this in regards to these people, but I was thinking even if they had their "perfect lives" they wouldn't be any less compassionate or willing to at least listen... they're humans. most humans care on some level. I don't think a person can't ever understand just b/c they themselves haven't been there. But it does take a lot of empathy and compassion, b/c having been there has already opened a door to whichever problem you're dealing w/ so you're not starting from scratch w/ that person. don't know if this makes sense.

  9. #9

    Confused

    Yes, that makes sense. That's sort of what I was getting at. Some people have had great lives, and may have never suffered a "disorder", but they are human and therefore have the capacity to feel pain and therefore can empathize with someone. "Everybody hurts, sometimes." (REM)

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