Monday, 9 June 2008

You have to look close to see what this disease has done to me...

Further to my last post about the double-mindedness of eating disorders...

Something that bothers me exceedingly at times is the fact that, as much as my husband expresses his love and desire for me on a daily basis in a multitude of ways, I don't always, or even often, or even really, believe in it.

You wouldn't know this about me just by looking; in fact, I'm not sure that my husband even knows it, because I have good enough manners not to reject anything he says or tell him that I don't believe him. I smile and say thank you and I love you too.

But, oh, there's always a little catch of protest inside me.

I suppose if I were a different kind of person, I would blame him for this, as though there was something extra he could be doing to prove that he loves me. There are people of both sexes whose self esteem, like mine, is so low they can't believe in others' love for them, and some of those people play their partners like fiddles, because there's just nothing another person can do to prove to someone that they are loveable when they deeply believe that they aren't. Really, both of us are lucky that I'm not one of those people, that somewhere I learned how to accept a compliment without outward protest, so that we don't have to wrangle over some imagined failure of his to bolster up my self esteem. And I'm glad of that, because there's no way in which he fails. He is frankly amazing at expressing his feelings for me, in all kinds of ways. All the failure here is mine, because part of me just looks askance at all of it, and then wonders what kind of person actually feels these things for me – for me, for heaven's sake.

There's just something in my brain that doesn't quite cope with it when he says certain things to me. I pretend I do, but there's a little tripwire in there that just doesn't believe a word of it. It's bizarre, because I completely believe in his sincerity, I just think he's, well, wrong. Isn't that stupid? I believe that my husband's love and desire for me, physically and mentally, is wrong, because I don't believe that I am loveable or desirable.

The notion of people being attracted to me has always been shocking to me, if not downright unbelievable, and there has always been something just a little…intolerable about it. There are certain looks I've caught in people's eyes at times, including my husband's, that I just can't bear. I have this immediate reaction of shying away, because how can I bear being the object of that feeling which I don't feel I deserve, because – and really only because – I'm so fat?

It's just sick, this whole thing, which I suppose is why it's a disease. It's sick that I think my husband is wrong to adore me. It's sick that I think anyone would be wrong to have feelings for me. It's sick that, if I'm not careful, I judge my husband, and anyone else who has ever told me that they cared for me in this way, as being lesser because of their feelings for me.

All that being said, I'm incredibly grateful that I have been so lucky, that I, almost accidentally, slid in to a relationship with an amazingly generous and loving man who never gives me reason to doubt him.

I just wish that my confidence in myself was sufficient that when he says how much he loves me, I had no reaction but joy and the return of love.


Anonymous said...

Hello there. I'm new and certainly hope you don't mind my comment.

I stumbled across your blog via Rachel's "EDDigest" and read through a number of your posts.

I am new to FA and have found it to be absolutely mind boggling and counter to everything I've been told and tell myself. I have a feeling reading some of the wonderful writing is doing me some good. I digress.

I just wanted to tell you that more than once, in your posts, you've said EXACTLY what I feel. What no other human being I've ever told my thoughts to has been able to understand. This post is definitely one of them. Every. Freaking. Word.

Sneaky Beast is another of them. I'm so on both sides of FA... I believe it... I believe I'm conditioned by society to want to diet and be thin (despite it being wildly converse to my genetic predisposition) yet I want to be thin anyway.

I just have to remind myself not to beat myself up even further with the idea that I'm just not quite there with FA yet... I beat myself up enough with everything else!

Cheers to you,
A new devoted reader

Maddie said...

Thank you, Charlee. I love comments - I don't get many! - and I really appreciate this one particularly.

Yeah, I've found FA to be really helpful on a number of levels, and a lot of the things I've read have helped me to look at things quite differently than I ever have before.

But the beast has not gone away yet, hence the blog, and I think that FA at large, amongst people who don't have eating disorders, doesn't quite grasp the difficulty inherent in this process. I mean, it's hard enough for a non-disordered person to say "no more dieting, I am as I am", given all the social pressure to be thin. For a disordered person, it's a struggle of truly epic proportions, because we're freaking obsessed with the whole matter, one way or the other. Even if we're able to see the divide, it doesn't make it go away. And it can be kind of lonely to be deeply appreciative of all the FA stuff, but still not able to get to the point where it resonates emotionally as well as intellectually. (And where we don't beat ourselves up for failing at FA as we did at losing weight, cuz, really, that's pretty much lose/lose/lose!)

But hopefully finding other people who really get it helps, eh?