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Feelings of Inadequacy

I am 43 years old. I have had an eating disorder for 27 years. I don’t remember exactly when it started. I didn’t have a happy childhood. I wasn’t abused, just sad. I didn’t have a soap opera life. I wasn’t molested. I just was always less than. Kids made fun of me in grade school. I didn’t have any friends, not really. Then we moved, my new classmates didn’t make fun of me. In fact, I wasn’t considered ugly or unattractive. It wasn’t a big school, and by all rights there weren’t a lot of girls to choose from. I was active in extracurricular activities, but I wasn’t really good at anything. I would try, but too uncoordinated to achieve. I spent a lot of time with my horse and dog. I helped out on the farm, but it was never enough. Every message in my life seems to scream, “You were/are a disappointment.” My mom has always had a huge issue with weight. She is morbidly obese. I didn’t want this to be me, so I began dieting. I remember watching a show on eating disorders in class. Hate to say I think this is when the idea ignited. I thought it would be a temporary fix. I would restrict and binge/purge. I did this until I graduated.
After high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. As soon as I left the farm, my parents gave my brother and my sister partial ownership of the farm. It was like I never existed. I went to cosmetology school. My disorder progressed. I confided in my mom. She had me committed to a psych unit. I felt so embarrassed, ashamed, and pathetic. I hated it. I left AMA, only to return after admitting self defeat. While I was there, I tried to do everything they wanted me to. I am a people pleaser. I wanted them to be happy with their treatment. As long as I was there I did not binge/purge… but the day I left… It was like I never spent a day trying to recover.. And the guilt from spending all that time and money to fix me.. Unending and overwhelming…. So that was 23 years ago--- how can I still be battling this every day?
After cosmetology school, a met a man and fell madly in love/lust. He swept me off my feet. He always told me I was beautiful and he made my heart flutter. He was a loner. He didn’t work. He was the same age as me. He was from a big city and he was exciting to be around. He didn’t think about things—he just did it. I had never been with anyone like him. Our relationship was fire and ice. I hid my secret from him. We drank too much and did too many drugs. We got married. Three years later, he left me. I was in bad shape when he left. He left because he thought he had killed me. We had a big fight and I was knocked out—the doctor said I had a concussion. I had cigarette burns, a broken arm from a previous fight, and some bruises. He had only taken the car and the dog. He was on the run. I have not seen him since. I Googled him last year. I was curious to see if he was still alive or what. According to the web, he has only been married once—to his present wife. He is married with 2 boys of his own. This didn’t make me happy for him. It only reinforces my feelings of inadequacy.
I have since been through inpatient treatment one more time. I have stopped drinking and drugs, but I still have such a problem with eating. My life is a mess. I have no control over my inside and now have lost control over appearance. None of my jeans fit comfortably anymore. Really, it’s no wonder. I pig out all the time, indulging my secret gross daily habit. Eat, throw up, eat, throw up, eat, throw up…disgusting cycle. My face is puffy. My teeth are short and thin. My memory is deficient. It doesn’t logically make any sense--I waste so much—money, time, energy? If anyone really knew me, they would not like me. The only one that seems to know me and still seem to care about me is my dog. That sounds pathetic. Guess in all reality—it is.
I have been married to a wonderful man for the past 17 years. He tells me he loves me, and he is gentle. He gives me whatever items I want, yet he does not act like he desires me or is physically attracted to me. We have not been intimate in 5 years. Previous to that, lovemaking was rare. I believe this is part of the reason we have no children. Admittedly, I am resentful, hurt, and depressed about this. I know that is selfish. I should be thankful that no child was brought into this mess. Other than that our marriage is probably as normal as could be expected. He supports us financially. He makes “fat” jokes a lot. He says he thinks I am too skinny, but I weigh just a few pounds more than when we met. I am 5’4 and X lbs. He is overweight, probably because of the diet I feed him. We have a lot of high calorie food in our house. We also have some “healthy” fruits, veggies, and low carb meals for when I want to get on the right track and become fit. My husband doesn’t pay enough attention to know that I have a disorder. He says he thinks I have a really high metabolism… I think I did tell him.. he wouldn’t really care anyway… he would just be like, well if you don’t like being a glutton—stop—
I know that this has a lot more to do with feelings than food… but I don’t even know if I know how to consume anything anymore without letting my emotions play into it…. even a regular meal makes me feel guilty…. I question whether I am really hungry or just bored… then I feel guilty… regardless of what I ate… I know the feelings that I have before I overindulge. And the binge usually is planned although not always… I am feeling—inadequate, undesirable, overwhelmed, fearful and alone. I just have a problem making the feelings stop. I have not admitted that I have this problem to anyone close to me… The thought of letting anyone know that I do this is dreadful to me….. I know it is only me that can stop this behavior and I don’t understand why I continue… I try to figure out what it is that keeps me behaving this way, because this hasn’t proven to be the best coping method….

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program