It’s perfectly natural to want sympathy for your own personal struggles and because each of us feels our struggles so intensely, we want others to understand. “It’s hard to be me.” Eventually, we need to step away from our self-pity. We need some “tough-love” from someone willing to tell us to…
“Look, I can hold your hand, share a good cry, commiserate, tell you that I know life is not fair, that you got dealt a crummy hand, that you’ve been cheated by things outside your control, that the ill which has befallen you is not your fault. I can say with conviction that I understand and sympathize with the fact that we cannot prevent all of the disappointments, losses, and tragedies that occur in our lives, and I realize that we are not born with equal abilities. We agree, life can sting.” The Confidence Course, Walter Anderson.
How do you take responsibility for something you don’t understand? In childhood, we adopt our parent’s unhealthy coping mechanisms and carry them with us through our adulthood until the consequences result in self destructive, often criminal behaviors that cause damaged relationships.
I believed I deserved to be abused. I deserve to suffer because I’m not perfect. I should be perfect. Sure, no one is perfect, but I have to be.
“Why? Why do you have to be perfect but no one else has to be perfect?”
When the secret is discovered, “How can you make yourself throw-up? That is so disgusting!” They don’t understand what it’s like. The carnal hunger chips-away at my willpower, with the song of the growling stomach. I can be stronger than the craving; I will restrict what goes in because my body can’t be trusted not to turn every satisfying morsel into fat. I eventually weaken as though the call of hunger is stealing my strength becoming stronger until I am too weak to resist. My mind blacks out running on what feels like pure instinct and I feel numb. I slowly regain mental consciousness. It’s too late, I’ve lost control, my stomach is aching full and I’m surrounded by empty containers and wrappers. The feeling of shame floods over me. How could I be so weak? I’m overwhelmed with guilt for betraying my body. I must resort to emptying my stomach of all of that evil, nasty, fat-making food and bask in the somewhat orgasmic relief it provides.
I worked out for months and never seemed to gain any muscle definition. What was the point? I eventually gave-up. I assumed I just wasn’t capable of building muscles. No matter how hard I try, my stomach is always protruding out. All of these years, sacrificing and here I am depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts. What has it gotten me? I’ve been self-destructive for years because I was unwilling to face my biggest fears. I didn’t want to be alone because I was fat and ugly and here I am 20 years later still struggling with these feelings when they aren’t even relevant anymore. It’s easy to say on the surface, “I don’t care what people think of me.” Though pushing the stinging feeling of truth deep down inside is not so easy, I needed people to convince me that I am worthy of even existing.
I thought about what was holding me back from getting the help I knew that I needed.
My parents discouraged me from seeking professional help using words such as “Shrink,” “head doctor,” “quack,” implying that they are shysters. “No one in their right mind needs help.” “Mental illness is means that you are weak and crazy.”
The people around me are tired of hearing it.
“Why are you telling me your problems?”
“There is nothing I can do about it.”
It is a common misconception learned in childhood. If a child cries, typically a parent holds her to sooth her pain, while re-assuring her that “everything is going to be okay.” When we are adults, there is often no one who is willing to empathize with our struggle. Some people lash-out, some withdrawal, but everyone distracts from discomfort.