If only you could actually hear the big sigh that I just let out. I had another "aha" moment today. I connected the dots again to find I'm not crazy about the picture they draw. BUT at least I know what the picture is and can finally work with it. So if you have followed me from the beginning, you know that my struggle began when I was 14. At that point in time it was a body image, want to be what someone else wants me to be, supreme insecurity issue. I was 17 when things got really bad. There was something significant going on in my life then, something that triggered me. I was being sexually molested by my boss at work. He would follow me into the freezer and talk dirty and fondle me. He was disgusting but because he was my boss I didn't know how to make it stop and I was scared. The only way out that I could see was to leave my job and I did.
I know I have shared some of this in an early blog but for the sake of new readers, I'm going to condense it and tell it again. The day I came in to pick up my last check, this manager was there. He followed me out to the parking lot and started making lewd comments. I kept walking. He forced me to turn around, violently kissed me and then slammed me against the car. As my mind was racing looking for a way out, he started to grope me again. When I started to cry, he informed me that I shouldn't be crying because I obviously liked his attention because my body physically responded to him. I was so incredibly furious with my body and felt like it had betrayed me. How could my mind so forcefully reject what he was doing but my body still react to his touch? I was disgusted with my own body.
Now fast forward a bunch of years later to me as a grown woman sitting in a mental hospital. While in the hospital, I was required to speak with a therapist. The therapist who I happened to be paired with was a very right vs. wrong, abrupt, older man. He was actually quite a jerk, to be honest. I answered his questions. I told him my history. I told him about this situation. And being a dumbass, he asked me what I meant by my body responded. Really? He's older, he wore a wedding ring, and yet doesn't know in what ways a woman's body could respond to a man's touch??????? So in my most annoyed and sarcastic tone, I bluntly looked at him and crudely informed him of what had happened. The response infuriated me. He informed me that I should not have felt guilty for that response. It is an "autonomic response" that I had no control over so therefore I should not feel shame or guilt for having such a response. What kind of therapist tells their patient that their feelings weren't valid? Who tells you how you should feel?
Ok, another rabbit trail to lead to my "aha moment". About a year ago, I realized (rather suddenly and surprisingly) that I had allowed some of my intimate moments with my husband to be highly influenced by this intense need to be in control of my body. So, at that point I wasn't acting out with my eating disorder but I was still acting out and needing an obsessive amount of control over my own body.
Today I saw my chiropractor. He does acupuncture as well as adjustments. When he was about to start the acupuncture, I asked him if his little magic needles could cure anything. I asked if there were points that would stimulate appetite. He originally said he would do a few to help with food cravings. No, no, no, I don't need to get rid of cravings, I need to gain a few! He told me that was quite a bit more difficult because the body's automatic response is to desire food especially when under stress. It is what my body should naturally do for itself.
Have you connected the dots? All three of those stories have to do with automatic physical responses. I was so traumatized by my body responding against my will all those years ago that I have fought it since to maintain a high level of control that my body "cannot" (be allowed to) have an automatic/autonomic response. If my body acts on its own, I lose control and it could hurt me again. I fight tooth and nail against anything my body may want to do that doesn't first have my permission. Being hungry is just one more thing that I don't allow until it is on my terms. Somewhere deep inside I think I am wondering, "But what happens if my body betrays me again?"