Where My Eating Disorder Came From

love2eatinpa, 14 January 2010, 3 comments
Categories: Helpful Books, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Recently, a friend gave me a very interesting book to read called “Wasted, a Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia” by Marya Hornbacher. While I am neither anorexic or bullimic, it was so interesting to read the utter honesty of this author of how she went through both of these eating disorders over a span of 15 years, almost bringing her to a very young death.

There were two things she said in the book that especially resonated with me. I’m going to blather on about one today and the second one tomorrow.

The first quote is “A couple who cannot nurture each other cannot consistently nurture a child consisitently either.” Through therapy, I have learned, as is the case with most of us with eating disorders, that my disorder started in my childhood. For me, it was two parents that I know loved me, but did not give me the love that I needed in apparently the way that I needed it. So this feeling of helplessness and powerless had me turn to food for comfort, which gave me the feeling of power and control over something. The “sentence” of being a compulsive overeater with control issues has been going on ever since. In addition, though my parents had their little pet names for each other and I did see them hugging and laughing together, I heard an awful lot of yelling and stubborness, and in hindsight realize that they did not nurture and support one another. So this quote really resonated with me on a very personal level.

In talking to the therapist about it, something new popped into my mind. I have an older brother, who my father was quite unkind to for many years while my brother was young. For the first time I began to wonder what “vice” he turned to in order to cope with the mental abuse he endured from my father. I love my brother and parents, but am not close with any of them. We do not fight, there are no issues between us, I am just not close with them. Closeness was just not something that was fostered by my parents in my childhood home. I am not proud of it, it’s just a truth.

My brother was a very late bloomer in every sense you can imagine. I was fortunate to have been blessed with natural athletic coordination and skills, and the ability to do well in school. My brother struggled in both those areas, so in a way, I was the son my father never had, which I think is what spared me the mental abuse. Anyway, getting back to my point… This all made me start to wonder what my brother gripped onto as a defense mechanism, to feel control and power in his life. To the best of my knowledge, he never (and still doesn’t) drinks or takes drugs. He does not have any food or weight problems. To this day, he does feel close to my mom, so I wonder if she was his anchor through the storm of my father.

In closing this circle of where I started with this post, it was very interesting to read those words in the book. It had me reflecting on my childhood and made me realize, in my opinion, that my parents had their own personal issues, did not nurture each other, and therefore were incapable of nurturing me and perhaps my brother as well. While I can’t change any of that and do not have hard feelings towards my parents, I like the fact that I can put the reasons behind my eating disorder in a little compartment, grow and learn from the experience, and put it behind me. My therapist reminded me that these 30+ years of habits of mine of feeling helpless, needing to find control and power, can be changed, now that I have awareness of it. So I’m starting to take baby steps in trying to accomplish that. I remain, a work in progress.

I will talk about the second quote in the book tomorrow, as this post is already getting too long. Please stay tuned! 🙂

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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3 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. msplacedagain
    22 January 2010, 4:57 pm

    Hi. I have just found you and am really enjoying your writing.

    I appreciate your therapist’s advice that it took 30 years to develop the habits, feeling helpless and wanting to be in control. Be patient with yourself. I will think about that. My mom was anorexic (before that was a *thing*). So, parenting, dealing with stress and trying to lose weight has me thinking about my childhood too. As well as trying to be a good healthy role mode to my kids.



    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi and thanks! you are right, i do need to be patient with myself, but it is hard. i’m kinda a-type and want everything to happen right away. i need to learn patience with that and, quite frankly, in all aspects of my life and am trying to work on that. all of those things you mentioned are definitely on my mind as well and unfortunately, there is no handbook that tell us how to handle them all. i have found the disordered eating blogging community to be incredibly supportive, a great place where we can all learn from one another. thanks for stopping by!


  2. […] the amazing author of “Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia”, which I wrote about HERE and HERE to write a guest blog for me. Marya has recovered after over 15 years of battling both […]

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