Monday, March 5, 2012

Chest Pains & Epiphany

I just freaked out on my grandma and I feel like a dick.

She saw me eating trail mix I made (almonds/craisins) and said, “Are you munching?” I replied, “yeah…” And she tilted her head forward, raised her eyebrows, and said, “is it healthy?” And I FLIPPED. I didn’t yell, but I started crying. Even in “recovery” if someone tries to exercise control over me in that area I LOSE MY COOL. I even said, “I can eat whatever the hell I want!” “it doesn’t MATTER if it’s healthy. It’s MY body.” She always responds with something trying to diffuse the situation but that doesn’t make sense like, “Well I just want to make sure you’re getting enough to eat…you know there’s cookies in the kitchen.” What the hell? She sounds more confused than I am now! I also feel like a dick because all of this happened on the same day that my grandma had chest pains earlier. If I make that worse or if she has a heart attack today, I will NEVER forgive myself.

I just hate having to walk on eggshells around my mom and grandma with eating. They are honestly two of the most neurotic people I have ever seen interact with food. It must have passed down to my mom and then to me. I have to be sure to break the cycle. I don’t want my daughter or son to have to go through this shit. If I’m eating something in the kitchen or living room, my mom will often peek over or ask, “whatcha got there?” or “whatcha eating?” with this look on her face I can’t describe. When I watch movies or see people interact with others in real life I see the same face in specific situations: ones where someone is eating chocolate or wine or some decadent dessert that they either “shouldn’t” be eating or as if they are indulging in a guilty secret. It’s a look with eyebrows drawn up and sometimes biting their lip. My mom and grandma do that with REGULAR food and ALL food. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen my mom make that face with me eating and I doubt she has any idea. As a matter of fact, if I brought this up, she would definitely deny it. But that’s because it’s not a conscious behavior, I think she has learned through societal messages, her mother, her environment, her life events, whatever, that food = guilt or the enemy or something that has to be restricted to avoid overdoing it and gaining weight. But it’s disturbing because that look is not only reserved for a specific, decadent, rare food item. It’s used for the ACT of EATING, which is unhealthy. Very, very unhealthy. And unconscious. I truly believe she does not recognize it. And to be honest, it’s been bugging me for YEARS. I’ve tried to pin down just WHAT it WAS that was driving me nuts about it, and I’ve finally realized it.

Now, what does this MEAN?
It means, it removes blame from the equation. There's a reason for her behavior, just like there's a reason for her mom's behavior. Trying to point this out to her would likely only result in either 1. denial/dismissal 2. agreement but no change 3. agreement and acknowledgement that change may be health for her and me, but any change will not be lasting. These three possibilities are not products of the cognitive distortion "mind-reading," but rather actual reactions I have had from her over the years in relation to the eating disorder and other behavior of hers and mine.

It also means I can't necessarily change the way she acts, but I can change the way I react to her. But how? And I'm so tired of being the one to have to change. That sounded whiny. OH WELL. Adapt to my disordered behavior!

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