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“The Unknown, Remembered Gate”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Or… Rehearsing My State of the Union Distress: Conversations With My Mirror

I'm not sure how to get through to loved ones (including myself) that I am literally dying of my relationship to food, that it is SERIOUS, and that I am determined to change that relationship – and that "you, my dear one, my truest true love, are and have been my enabler and co-dependent in this relationship."

If I am suffering humiliating looks of disgust from someone who really, really does love me, when I ask that trigger foods be not purchased, or be eaten outside of the home, or, if necessary, be purchased in secret and hidden when brought home... if having to actually say this stuff to my loved one embarrasses me... then perhaps I’ve got some s'plaining to do.

I urge you, (myself) to let the conversations begin.

Yes, I am responsible for what I eat, but there are long-term, well-established behavioral problems at work and I need an ally.

I have spent my life not buying or preparing certain foods because a loved one was allergic to them, or had ethical dietary restrictions, or simply did not care for them... (beets, broccoli, fish, salad, cooked greens, unsalted food, whole grain breads... whatever.) One of the ways I express my love of others is with my cooking. As a woman, that is in part a learned behavior.

I am also a woman who has learned to self-medicate with food, using it as a security blanket and a substitute for certain kinds of love, comfort, stress relief, etc. Many of those behaviors were established when I was quite young.

My experience is:
men are also loaded with learned behaviors that backfire;
there is no free lunch and there are no baggage-free adults;
this is not a case of "I'm so sick and you're so well."

As far as I can tell, people (couples in particular) tend to dovetail their respective problems and strengths - this is part of what constitutes attraction. But more often than not, respective problems and "weaknesses" (behaviors that are no longer serving us well) live and grow in dark places - unexamined, undisclosed, and undiscussed until they reach critical mass. They become taboo - engorged with fears, secrets, threats to self-esteem, and the stuff of false pride. Hello??? My issues have reached critical mass.

My request, "Please hide them (the candy, cookies, Triscuits, Les Bombes aux Trois Chocolats, etc. - things that are trigger foods for me that you simply cannot do without... or feel that you should not have to be denied simply because of my lack of self control) in your study" is preferable to me saying something like "Don't make me call my lawyer"... or "Then, we need to go coffin shopping."

Ahem. I got a little pissy there for a minute. It happens.

Learning honest communication skills this late in life ("this late" = roughly 16 years old and beyond, in my opinion) is wicked difficult. Not only that, these difficult Mouth & Mind-related “learnings” will have to be repeated every bit as often as the behaviors that they want to replace were repeated over the years.

And that, Gentle Reader, is the straight skinny.

I am 64, this is my only life, I am not as yet coughing up blood and there is unfinished business afoot.

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate…”
Little Gidding V, T.S. Eliot
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can relate. Thank you for this blog.
    1916 days ago
    this blog and f the responses could be the start of a great great book of experiences of the intertwining experiences of women and their relationships to food (solace, reward, self-worth, guilt etc) and people (partners/children/mothers)....
    1916 days ago
    Yes, it is excellent stuff. And I have a lot in common with you, I believe. I met my own DH as the computer boards would have it 43 years ago today and off we fox-trotted on the dance of deception, denial, partial truths, untrue truths, true lies, fake lies, and the various other ways that couples find to mediate their universes through the sympathetically vibrating lens of another.

    I am addicted to food. And while I have seen a lot of improvements, it is just one bad moment, or one glance in the wrong direction at the wrong time, or one betraying fault that could lead me into the "food as coping mechanism" I lived in for so long.

    I understand why but this insight does not necessarily have real world applications.

    Best of best wishes!
    1917 days ago
  • BRENDA_G50
    I think most women can see themselves in this blog. We seem to put everyone else's needs, wants, desires, dreams ahead of our own. We have been trained from early on that our feeling, thoughts and desires are not as important as those that we marry or raise are. From that training, we learn to stuff our feelings, hid behind a smile and do as we were trained to do without giving a second thought about what it's doing to us on the inside. Some women use shopping, while some of us use food to console ourselves.

    I finally figured out that I was playing the victim and in order to conquer that feeling, instead of him doing ALL the grocery shopping (he always said I spent too much on food), I started shopping for myself. Now I let my husband buy/cook whatever he wants and I buy/cook whatever I want to eat. If he likes what I'm fixing, he's more than welcome to eat some. He continues to eat things in front of me that he knows are my trigger and I have FINALLY came to terms with that. After all, if he wants to have all that junk inside of him, it doesn't mean that I have to. I CHOOSE to eat healthier!!! Therefore, I have taken a stand and am finally doing something to change from being the victim to victor!!!

    Wishing you the best,
    1917 days ago
    Excellent sentiment, beautifully written.
    1917 days ago
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