child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Saturday, May 1, 2010

parental influence

I have come to realize my biggest discomfort in blogging about my journey is that I have to face the fact head on that there is a possibility that someday my parents will read this.  That honestly makes me squirm more than any of the sharing I have done.  They don't know that anorexia was ever an issue at all for me much less a consuming issue for a time.  Well, I should say that if they knew, they never let on to me that they did.  There is a lot that I have typed or will type that they have previously been unaware of.  Another reason it makes me uncomfortable is that I don't want them (or you my reader for that matter) to ever feel like I am blaming them for my decisions or even saying that they weren't good parents.

My parents were good parents.  They did the best they could and they introduced me to Jesus and prayed for me daily.  They had the best of intentions and never intended for any of their actions to hurt me.  I would, however, be covering up a pretty significant portion of my journey if I did not include how my home life and family affected my life and decisions.  It is very very difficult to do, again simply because I don't want to make my family sound like they were calloused or uncaring or bad parents.

There were several factors that had to do with my home life that played roles, some large, some small, in my choice to not eat.  One factor that was a fairly recent realization to me is the overbearing fearful way that my parents reared me.  I was always told how to think and what I should feel about things.  I have recently realized that my parents strictness with me, especially as I got older, actually fueled my intense desire to have one area of my life that I was absolutely in control of.  In my parents deep desire to shelter me from all things bad (rephrased, all things they perceived to be bad) they actually made those things seem even more appealing.  I could never make my own choices and decisions so when the time came that I physically could make my own decisions, I didn't know how to make wise decisions.

I have already mentioned the refusal to help me get help in another entry.  By the time my parents did help me get help, the bulk of the damage had already been done and I had an awful lot of baggage.  Not to say I didn't start with baggage, but years of poor choices from food to boys to life in general only greatly added to my counseling needs.  I grew up in a family where Christianity and God's Word should be enough for you.  Physical conditions such as depression, stress, thyroid issues, and post-tramatic stress disorder should easily be treated by more Bible time and more faith.

 Now some of this is my fault that I didn't get help, I never shared with my parents the trauma that I did indeed go through.  They didn't find most of it out until I graduated from high school.  And even then it came about because I confided in my sister-in-law during an angry venting session and she was worried and told my brother.  My brother didn't know what to do with the information and was also worried and thought that telling my parents about my past would get me the help I so desperately needed.  There is quite a bit though that they still to this day do not know. (Well, I guess that's one thing.  If they do ever end up reading this, they will instantly know way more about me than I think they may ever want to know!)

During the height of my depression, my parents could not understand chemical imbalances and would ask what I had to be depressed about.  I didn't even  fully realize what I had to be depressed about for a couple of years.  The abuse had stopped so I didn't view that as a current and valid reason to be depressed.  Add all of that to the INSANE hormones of puberty and I was a walking, breathing, emotional basket case!  I think I may have been one of the most needy people on the planet at that time.  God bless those who loved me anyway, I'm not sure how they did unless it was just simply for the grace of God.

Pretending that root issues are not there is not the way to heal, in case you didn't know that.  Hurt and depression were not ok emotions to feel in our home, so I felt them in the solitude of my bedroom instead of sharing my burdens with my family.  It was ok to be happy and angry was ok too.  None of us knew how to deal with other emotions.

I think that for today that is enough of my parents involvement.  I'm really not comfortable having an entire gripe fest about what my parents did or did not do.  They tried, they just didn't understand what I was going through.  Hey, I didn't understand what I was going through, it's hard to expect others to if you yourself don't.  I love my parents dearly and I am so very grateful for the fact that they did give me the greatest gift ever, they introduced me to Jesus and taught me to love the Word.

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