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I can barely begin to untangle the importance of ALL the messages in this chapter. This could have easily been 2 or more chapters, in my opinion.
This bit hit home with me, "The real danger of stepping out of a family role and reclaiming your self is the danger of being punished, ostracized, and envied. You fear being talked about, labeled, excommunicated from the clan." Wow. I always chafed against family strictures, as I came from a very traditional family. But the thing is, even with my parents dead and my brother hours away, that sense of having to 'break out' still creates a sensitivity in me. It also tickles my rebellion any time I feel that I'm being inhibited. This is one reason watching my diet has been such a challenge for me in the last ... well several decades. I started 'dieting' with my mom as a little kid and it always felt like an enforced punishment. The 'safety' I wanted was acceptance and it really led to years and years of refusing to even consider what I eat.
I understand the hiding from sexual attraction that so many have talked about. I am grateful to have had a pretty healthy and supportive sex life (safe a few bad dates). What created a sense of non-safety for me was my family's business. They owned a tavern and as a child and young teen, I would be called in to bring change, or supplies. The ogling, leering, comments (both flattering and not so flattering re: my weight) from these drunken men, coupled with my mother's obsessive worry about the safety of men (I think SHE was raped as a child, though never exactly admitted it), created a real desire in me to hide from strangers, and to avoid being in public any time I don't feel 'in charge' of my space. This chapter really opened this pain up for me to examine.
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us
are looking at the stars"
I am reading this chapter now. I don't like it. I guess it is the "spot it, got it"
"May you live everyday of your life." J. Swift
My former therapist said this to me awhile back (she didn't mean to be offensive, just to make a point)
"even fat girls get raped"
I was 20 yrs old when she said that to me. Now I'm 35. Maybe I wasn't mature enough then to understand the significance of what she said back then.
I have worked with victims of rape as a therapist who were assaulted by strangers. Each were quite overweight, possibly obese (I'm not a very good judge of when overweight becomes obese.) They were normal, middle aged mothers who did not strike me as attractive by the worlds standards-- not even quite what I thought "average" attractiveness would usually be thought of. It was a surprise to me to realize that their fat in no way protected them from rape-- if anything it made me wonder if they were perceived as less capable or less likely to fight back. I wonder if police officers see the same pattern or if my "sample" was just to small to draw conclusions from, but it definitely left me uncomfortable realizing that my fat wouldn't necessarily protect me either because they were very nearly as fat as I was.
SW 8/1/08 229.
I agree with Gould that fat is an avoidance mechanism. I know there are people who use fat to feel safe from rape. This is a very important insight. But I also think there's value in seeing how people use fat for safety against all the things in life - like the expectations of others, the aging process, confronting others, etc.
I thank Gould for talking about all this with such clarity.
Most importantly is his speech on Real vs Imagined safety. I'm not clear how I do this, but I do feel that fat safety is better than being assertive or taking self-defense courses. This is very irrational. And as Gould says, it's probably something to do with the self-doubt layer too.
I'm looking forward to working through this.
I really got a lot out of this chapter. It is amazing to see how (at least for me) that using being fat as a safety layer. This chapter really opened my eyes to how I was sabotaging myself, to keep my fat, because it made me feel safe. Not no more though, now I realize that it doesn't really make me feel safe. I have to learn to feel pain and refection and not run to the refrigerator!
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"You aren't an accident. You weren't mass-produced. You weren't an assembly line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth by the Master Craftsman" ~Max Lucado
Please use this thread to discuss Chapter 6 of Shrink Yourself
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