A while ago I was watching someone on television explain why leaving an abusive relationship is more complex than we might think.
I think it was an interview with someone on the news, and the interviewee explained that although there are so many concrete reasons to leave an abusive relationship, (mental health, physical health, etc) there is already an emotional attachment formed between the abused and the abuser. Therefore the logical reasons for leaving an abusive relationship like those above aren’t persuasive enough to leave, because the emotional reasons for staying outweigh the logical reasons.
As someone who’s shied away from relationships because of my issues, I’ve been able to watch other people’s behaviour in relationships. Often I’ve thought she treats him like shit, why doesn’t he just dump her and move on? And if she treats him so badly, why is she staying with him when he obviously pisses her off?!
It’s easy to say that as soon as a relationship becomes abusive, either physically or emotionally, we would leave. But if your reasoning is shrouded in emotion, then it wouldn’t be so straight forward.
After all, logically speaking, I am unhappy with my weight, I should stop bingeing and overeating and increase my activity levels to lose weight, right? I’ve heard the saying if you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever you need to succeed. I’ve always gotten angry and frustrated with my need to binge and overeat, criticising my mind for not getting with the weight-loss programme. I mean, it’s straightforward. Something is making me unhappy, if I work hard to illuminate the cause of the unhappiness, then I become happy.
I’m so unhappy because of my weight, the logical answer is to lose the weight. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. And there are so many ways of achieving this: Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, Slimming World, I could go for round 3 with Lighterlife, Rosemary Connelly, the GI diet, the Paleo diet, the caveman diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Cambridge diet. I could go vegetarian, vegan, I could substitute meals with soups, shakes. There’s slimfast, calorie counting, I could have an apple before every meal, go on the grapefruit diet, I could go on a juice fast. The list goes on and on… and on.
My reasons for bingeing and overeating aren’t so straightforward, though. It would be great if they were, but to most people who become obese, poor food choices aren’t the sole reason for such a substantial weight gain, and therefore when these poor food choices are irradiated, the emotional issues with food are still prevalent.
I have an emotional attachment with food. Eating a chocolate bar does not just mean eating a chocolate bar to me. Before eating the chocolate bar there are the inevitable cravings. I crave the chocolate bar, and then I try to hush up my cravings. I have a cup of tea, a glass of juice. I check to see if I’m physically hungry. I wait. I obsess about the chocolate bar. The chocolate bar then becomes a chocolate bar and a bag of M&Ms. I obsess some more.
I want that. I need it.
But if you have it you’re giving in to everything you hate about yourself.
But you have a disorder.
But you’re fighting it. Food does not rule your life.
Food does rule your life. Accept it.
Look at your bum, how big is your bum?! You want it to shrink, not grow it!
You do have a big bum, so what’s the point in trying to avoid bingeing? All you want is a chocolate bar, a bag of M&Ms and some popcorn. What’s the harm in that?
Umm, what’s the harm in a binge? Really, you want a list?! Ok, there’s weight gain-
Honey, you’ve gained all the weight back, plus some. You might as well give yourself the binge. It’s all you’re good at.
What THE FUCK did you just do?
Why THE FUCK did you do that?
What THE FUCK is wrong with you?
You want to lose weight, right?! You’re not working hard enough, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re a failure. You should starve yourself. Or continue to eat. Either one, it doesn’t matter. You’ve failed already.
The emotional reasons are stronger than logical reasons. That’s why I’m in therapy, so I can find out what was making me so unhappy to make me binge and overeat in the first place, so I can take steps to work on my unhappiness, to change my behaviours and lead a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight on a crash diet would work, but I know myself, and I know I’d be back to square one by Christmas. The way I’m working, taking baby steps to success, is my way of ensuring that by Christmas I feel different and I’m not going to lie, I am desperate to look different as well.
And it is not easy, trying to shut the voice out that screams at me to binge and overeat, but I’m becoming more aware as the days go by, and I’m working towards a healthy life. Because of this voice, because I’m trying, it doesn’t mean anything when people attempt to apply logical to an Eating Disorder.
I’ve said many times that Eating Disorders aren’t logical. Saying things like just lose weight or just eat a sandwich or don’t throw up after you eat don’t mean anything to us, because we’re not basing our reasons for destructive behaviours on common sense. It’s emotional, and often we’re trying not to feel emotional so we eat or starve or binge/purge to hide it all.
Just like it is so difficult for an abused wife to leave her husband, it’s very difficult for the disordered to leave their disorders.
Do you think I’m way off on this one? Do you think this can be applied to any addiction?