In the months that I’ve worked with an ED specialist, I’ve had a really necessary but also slightly obnoxious revelation. And it’s this; my eating disorder, isn’t the result of being married to a vain, perfection-driven, narcotic abusing hunk of a man. Nor can I completely blame the sex addict who tossed me off the edge of the crazy. ex-wife cliff. That shit didn’t help, mind you. But I came to this blessed earth and grew into the delusional woman I am, already possessing all the makings for this disorder lying dormant beneath the layers of cosmetics and fashionable linens. I remember well the day that Dr. W informed me that another woman could have experienced two of the utterly delightful husbands that I had, and walked away staggering but not with her fingers down her throat. Like other addictions or disorders, I was predisposed to finding comfort and/or shelter in the world of self-punishment.
I’ve been a pleaser for as long as I can remember; wanting everyone around me, be he friend or foe, to love and accept me and find happiness at my expense, if necessary. Turns out that this attribute coupled with marrying a fitness extremist, topped with 5 years of a habitual cheater and you have like this really jacked up trifecta ideal for creating the perfect storm of body dysmorphia and disordered eating. There were simple statements and unintended comments made by my loving yet oblivious #2 that enabled my waiting mind to start down the path of psychosis.
Things like “I like your legs better in shorts” was translated by my mind as “your thighs are dreadful in jeans”.
I clearly remember the question “Why would you settle when you could be the best?”. I don’t know if everyone who’s ever been in a relationship with ED has the same talent for distorting comments like I do, but undoubtedly he was telling me that I was plain and had screwy eyebrows and that my legs were the size of Africa and he was embarrassed by my bum. Obviously. But seriously people, this is life with ED. In #2’s defense, he spoke so adoringly of me it was embarrassing. He fussed over me and waited on me. But the contradicting thoughts, already had taken root in my mind. His first wife did her part in helping me recognize my plethora of flaws, whether or not I would have come to the same unflattering conclusion about myself, I’ll never know.
So I became his designated gym partner anxiously soaking up his routine and rhetoric as the doctrine by which I’d spend the next few years living my life. I wanted to be equal to him and deserving of him. I needed him to feel proud of me and thankful that his life had taken *this* course guiding him to me. The more muscle that I gained and the more accustomed to his praise that I became, the more I wanted and the more determined I was to have, well more. More of all of it. Even if that meant less. Less calories, less free time, less sanity. For me, the more time I spent at the gym, the more aware I became of how very lacking I was. There was always someone better than me. Ok, so I recognize that this is pretty much common sense for y’all, but it was a rough realization for me. #2 had said it, and it stuck. Why not be the best?
Two years into my marriage to #2, I was aggressively engaged in disordered eating and was just on the doorstep of bulimia nervosa. I was obsessive in my gym time and freakish in my meal plan. I had gone from wishing I could purge the “forbidden” foods from my body to unsuccessfully attempting to do just that. Until I was no longer unsuccessful and had figured out the specific equation of steps that my body needed to accomplish this horrific task. It would be years before I considered this behavior to be an issue or symptom of a bigger problem. Because of the inconsistency in which I engaged in *this* behavior in the beginning, I accepted this as an absolutely normal way to partake in my formerly forbidden foods and still maintain my nutritional standards. Thankfully, the unrestrained eye rolling that I’m currently experiencing while typing such ridiculous rubbish, allows me to recognize that I *am* actually on the path to recovery.
But in those early days, binging and purging was just another method that I incorporated into my fat free lifestyle.