I visited my mother. Damn is it stressful. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to but me and my family are literally all she has in life, she's 80, and I am trying to remain patient so she doesn't have to live out the rest of her years completely alone.
She knows I am trying to lose weight and change my lifestyle. She compliments me that I am looking good.
Then she proceeds to offer me soda, cake and hero sandwiches. She proceeds to give me cupcakes, lollypops and other stuff that she thinks I'll take home with me to keep in my fridge. Why the hell does she buy this stuff if she doesn't eat it and she almost never has visitors and she knows I don't eat it?
My mother has tried to sabbotage me and screw me up with weight and food since I was a kid, and I just don't get her motivation behind it.
I know that sounds horribly paranoid-- but wait. Pour yourself a beverage, settle down and read this. I garauntee you will be shaking your head:
First thing you have to know about her is she is a stick. She is 5' 2" and about 90 pounds. When she was younger she was up to 130, and she almost killed herself drinking vinegar to lose it and has been a rail ever since. She has an eating disorder-- she barely eats. When she does, she eats a little bit and walks away. She lives on coffee, drinks almost a pot per day. This eating disorder has never been diagnosed and she would never believe it of herself.
I was adopted, I don't have her genes. She had a number of miscarriages; I'm willing to bet her undiagnosed eating disorder has something to do with it, but the point is, I don't share her genes. So my shape, size & body type are different, as well as how food effects me.
This goes a lot deeper than my mother having no concept of what is healthy and what is crap to eat. When I was young, far back as I remember, she just fed me crap. Constantly offered me crap and if I wanted more crap she gave it to me. If I wanted cookies or cake for breakfast, I got it.
She bought me sugary cereals, gave me 2 or 3 bowls if I wanted. Every night she believed in a "midnight snack" before bed, and would give me big portions of things like cake or oreos. I remember by the time I was about 6 or 7 I could eat a whole sleeve of Oreos in one sitting-- what's that, like 20 cookies? By the time I was 8 or 9, I could eat two of them. Or an entire box of Grahm Cracker cookies. And I was allowed to do this... every day... for a meal replacement or just as a snack.
In the house, I drank soda... all day. Or sugary iced tea powdered mixes. Or chocolate milk. When I ate, plates were piled on, mostly carbs and protien laden with butter or breaded & fried. I was encouraged to finish it all. I was encouraged to have 2nds. If there was a serving or less of food left on the table, I was encouraged to eat it because "why bother saving it"?
Believe it or not... I was a thin child... until puberty. I started putting on curves. I wasn't even really fat, but definitely getting curvy.
Then the insults began. She called me fat. She said I was getting huge. I could walk in a room and my mother would be like, "Oh my God you are getting so big." I'd get dressed to go out with friends and come out of my room to be greeted with a comment like, "you're going to wear that? Makes you look heavy."
She would tell me that people were always talking about my weight. Come home and say things like, "Oh, I saw John, our old neighbor today. He told me he ran into you last week at the grocery store. He said he couldn't believe how big you got. He said you were always such a pretty girl, it's such a shame." She'd feed me and make fun of me while I was eating. My self esteem, already fragile, just chipped away to nothing.
I remember how mad she would get at me when I went up a size, even though I was still growing. I hated shopping with her because she picked things out. I hated when she brought stuff home for me to try on... because if it didn't fit, if it was tight, I'd get the looks and the comments... the ones that implied I was becoming a total house. I remember when I was about 16, I was 5'8" tall, and she dragged me shopping and sent me in the dressing room with a bunch of size 10 jeans and I was panicking because I couldn't zipper them. I was hysterical in that little dressing room because I just didn't want to hear what she was going to say if I came out and size 10 didn't fit me. I was not abnormal weight... I might have stood to lose about 10 or 15 pounds, but I was very curvy and fairly tall, certainly nothing to have fussed about so much... but she had me believing I was completely abnormal, totally disgusting, as if I was going to come out of that dressing room and everyone in the store would be looking at me shaking their heads in dismay and disgust. I tried so long and so hard and broke the zipper
By the time I was about 14 or 15, she'd startedwith the diets. Trying to get me on diets that her friends had been on or that she heard of. One friend gave her this "formula diet" that she told me to follow, and of course I was eager to lose weight so I jumped on it. You had to eat certain things to the letter for 3 days (beets, tuna no mayo, black coffee, etc.) and this perfectly balanced "formula" was supposed to help you burn fat (it's bull, of course). Then the rest of the week I was just supposed to eat a sensible meal-- but of course, in my house, we had no idea of what a sensible meal was. I couldn't get down the beets or black coffee, so I was seen as not caring about myself at all.
Then "diet food" was celery, carrots, and baked chicken with just a little salt sprinkled on it, and a glass of water. And if you couldn't commit to three meager, boring meals like that every day, well you just weren't trying. I was labeled pathetic.
She applauded me when I would tell her I didn't eat... there was something noble to her about suffering and resisting food. The woman honestly believes things like eating and sleeping are vices and likes to pretend she doesn't really need to do either of them. So if I told her I went all day without eating, she'd say, "good."
Then her friend started selling Herba-Life supplements. I was about 16 and my mother bought hundreds of dollars worth of supplements. Basically, the diet is this: practically don't eat. You take vitamins and drink meal replacement shakes all day, and have that sensible baked chicken dinner at night. I did this for a while... but eventually I couldn't stand it any more. I started eating. I started binging.... and I was deemed a total failure by my very angry mother who was out about $500 and still had a fat daughter.
"The thing is," she would tell me, in all the wisdom she thought she possessed, "you just have to make up your mind." When someone lost weight, she'd tell me they just finally "made up their mind." I could not figure out what the heck was wrong with me... I knew how badly I wanted to lose weight. I thought I was huge compared to my friends (now looking back at old photos, I was actually thinner than some of them). I thought everyone was just amazed and disgusted by me, from disappointed family members to strangers on the street. I had made up my mind... so why couldn't I do it?
There are not a lot of photos of me as a teen... partially because of basement floods and moves with some old boxes getting lost, but also because during those ages I was ashamed of my body so much I avoided photos.
Most of them are buried in my closet and I have to go through them, but I dug out a couple.
This is me at age 13 (left) and at age 17 (right)... this is what I looked like when I thought I was morbidly obese. This is what I looked like when my mother encouraged me to believe that I was "getting as big as a house":
I shit you not..... her reactions to me at these ages convinced me I was alarmingly overweight.
Now-- here is where it gets ***really*** twisted--
By the time I was a teen, my dad had split. She was working and didn't bother to come home and cook anymore. I started working at 14 and was mostly fending for myself. She barely ate so she didn't usually care about what kind of food was in the house anymore unless company was coming.
But whenever I would diet, she would bring food into the house.
Ice cream. Cake. Soda. Cookies. All the things she pretty much didn't eat.
And I would tell her how tempting they are, and she'd tell me about "you just have to make up your mind." And I would cry. Eventually I would usually cave and binge or start to pick until it was gone, and she would go bullistic about how I ate all her food and "glommed it all up" and how unbelievable I was, I was a a hog and how she knew I couldn't do it.
And I would beg and plead and cry with her, telling her how that stuff just tempts me and is too hard to live with. And she'd tell me I just didn't "make up my mind."
"Why do you always bring home so much of this stuff when I am on a diet?" I asked once.
"Because you can't hog it all up so I can have it in the house," she said.
So it was some kind of game in her warped mind... she didn't really want me to lose weight; she wanted me to be in a perpetual state of suffering-- either skinny or deprived or fat and humiliated. She's always been like this with me-- trying to prove some crazy notion to me about suffering and grinning and bearing it that I still haven't figured out.
But the thing is, if I managed to stay strong and resist it, she would offer it to me and tell me to eat it before it went bad or something!!! She'd say, "Just have some-- it's not going to kill you. Just eat a normal amount."
My mother was fucked up. Literally. Now she had me believing my dad left because he couldn't stand me and my drama anymore. She had me believing everyone would talk to her about me and agree with her that I was a spoiled, selifsh, stupid, horrible person... as if everyone just sympathized with this poor woman and the job she took on in raising me. She had me convinced that I was basically too stupid and pathetic to live and that without her I would never make it in life. She had me believe that because I didn't like to do things her way, I was totally wrong and just rebellious. I remember when I was really little, a couple of times, to punish me, she'd play dead. Everything that was wrong withour lives and our house and the world was somehow directly my fault-- if she sent me to the store to buy her a pack of cigarettes and they didn't have her brand, it was my fault.
When I was about 7 and confided that an older female cousin had been doing sexual things to me when she babysat, she said she would take care of it but did nothing. When I told her again, she said "not to do that." When I had an older male cousin who was molesting me, I didn't tell her because I was afraid she would tell me it was my fault. When I was 12, her brother, who lived near by, got drunk when she was out one night. He came in our house and attacked me when I was in the shower (he had a key). I was hysterical. I got away, but I told her and she told me flat out I was lying (she idolized her brother; but I personally think, with her family's completely unhealthy attitudes about sex, I suspect molestation was a dirty family secret that was pretty common). But yes, she was totally fucked up.
And once I left school and got out into the world on my own and was no longer living in the sick and distorted world that she had created for me, and could see life straight, and made real friends and I discovered Wicca and with strength in my faith I learned that it was she who was so fucked up, not me, a lot of things in my life got back on track.
Except food. For some reason, my relationship and issues with food just continued to spin and spiral out of control until this year.
I can't blame her for the mistakes and choices I made after I was 20 and going out on my own. She felt vindicated of course, in her world it proved her "right about me all along" but leaving her and going on my own, my weight practically skyrocketed.
So after I left there yesterday, upset, even wanting to eat, I realized just how much pain remains from growing up with my mother... how many scars there are... and how I have managed to heal almost all of those wounds except for the food. Maybe because the food issues played directly into my self image and how the world percieved me. I don't know why it has been the hardest thing to get over.
So the magical workings for this moon phase.... healing. Closing wounds. Healing scars. Putting the past behind me.
I feel a little shakey, like I have just vomited words and feelings that have been sitting badly in my stomach for decades.