30/30, Self-doubt, Gaslighting

Never say never, but I think this will be my last Whole30 for quite some time.  The first time around I got so much out of it.  I really became aware of how certain foods affect me, and that makes it so much easier to make good food choices.  I think it’s hard to refuse the burger and fries just because they are unhealthy.  Not so hard to refuse when it is going to wreck you digestively for 24 hours.  Y’all know I’ve hemmed and hawed over this 2nd round.  I’m proud that I’ve finished, but I’m glad to be finished.

Suspect I’ve lost some more weight, and I wrote about the bit of anxiety it was causing.  Yesterday in therapy I made an amazing discovery that really this just comes down to not trusting my own body.  As long as I am responding to my hunger and fullness, making the best choices for my body and keeping a conscious eye on my emotional eating, my body is going to find it’s right place.  Maybe it’s less weight, maybe it’s more.  Today I’m open to whatever comes.

Many of us are so used to relying on external cues to tell us we are okay.  Corporations trying to sell us shit have told us what our bodies are supposed to look like.  We become fixated on numbers on the scale, dress sizes, body fat percentages, etc. as an indicator of whether we are good and normal.  I’m suddenly aware that it is impossible to love your own body if you’re looking at someone else’s as the ideal.  A wise friend of mine offers the reminder, “Eyes on your own paper.”

One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that just like my alcoholism is a symptom of a spiritual disease, trying to change my body from the outside in is a symptom of not trusting myself.

I came across this article the other day.  I can’t tell you how much I love it.  From an early age I was told that I was dramatic, sensitive and prone to overreacting.  Looking back, I was just expressing normal emotions and the people around me were so emotionally repressed that they didn’t know how to deal with it.  When I suffered a trauma in my teens, I was told to, “Pull it together,” because my behavior was embarrassing.  I don’t fault my mom for that; she didn’t have the whole story.

When everyone around you is telling you that your emotions aren’t right, eventually you start to believe it.  Eventually you stop trusting yourself.  Eventually you become so out of touch with your feelings, that you’re hard-pressed to label them when asked.  I used to get upset and have no idea why.  Many times I’d find myself in an argument with my husband and just be making a best logical guess at why I was agitated.  I felt totally separate from my feelings.

I want to make some kind of poignant wrap-up, but must to return to the land of diapers and dishes.  You get the gist, right?  If I can’t trust my emotional feelings and myself, how on earth can I expect to trust my physical feelings and my body.  Have you ever been gaslighted?

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12 thoughts on “30/30, Self-doubt, Gaslighting

  1. Very cool. The article was great as well. I do like what you said about looking towards the external to make ourselves feel validated. That was something that I did throughout my drinking career, even early into my sobriety. If it wasn’t alcohol, it was being a people pleaser, it was in the way I consumed, it was reflected in how I related to women (or lack thereof)…I was seeking something that was out *there* that all I long I had in me. One other thing that I did throughout my drinking career was gaslighting. I never was on the receiving end…I was too busy dishing it out. I had never heard of it, didn’t even know it had a name (other than “manipulation”), but I was a card-carrying member. I would convince my wife and others that black was white, up was down, and that I was ok, and they weren’t. It was subtle. It was quiet. But just as powerful. The thought of being like that now makes me a little ill, but that was another tool in the alcoholic arsenal. I couldn’t manage my own emotions and perceptions , so might as well rearrange everyone else’s to make it match my own. How insane is *that*? What a wicked web we weave…

    Great post…now get back to those dishes, they won’t wash themselves…lol.

    Cheers 🙂

    Paul

  2. The gaslighting article you reference disturbs me. Not because it is bad or wrong, I tend to agree with the author. For me it is not a gender issue, although I see how that could be the case. I have always been told I am over-sensitive, too defensive, etc, I have always believed it to some degree. I feel gaslighted by my spouse and to be fair I gaslight her as well. My disturbance comes from the fact that as a person in recovery, I am taught that when I am uncomfortable I need to look at myself and that I cannot control others. This article pushes me towards that place of validating that I am being mistreated and dismissed, and that is a place that has never served me very well. Just thinking out loud here, thanks for the thought provoking info.

    • Sometimes I am mistreated and dismissed. Actually, I’ve put up with some crappy people over the years because I wasn’t even aware they were mistreating and dismissing me. Recently a “friend” gaslighted me. I’m aware enough now that when it happened, it totally stung. I don’t resent her for being her or feeling that way. I don’t want to change her, but I have removed myself from the friendship. I 10th stepped it, prayed a lot and talked to my sponsor and others about it. I always have to look at myself (I’m not innocent in this situation, either) but I also don’t have to put up people who don’t respect me.

      • True, and you did the right thing. In my case the people are too close to easily remove. I was just saying that for me, the article touches the thing that has been MOST difficult for me in my recovery: the line between finding my part and being a doormat. I am finding that very difficult.

  3. Great post, and I loved the article.
    My son does that to me…my husband did in the past and I have always called it “gaslighting” (loved that movie!). I love how you write about body issues…so knowledgeable and so clearly. Thank you for that.

  4. Congrats on making it through the entire Whole 30–it’s a really tough program. I wasn’t even doing the full deal (I allowed myself some dairy and gluten free oats), but I still cracked on Day 21 after a very stressful event. Even if you don’t continue it or ever do it again, at least you know you did and you can. (Kind of like how I look at running a marathon. I may never do another one, but I’ll always know that I did and I can.)

    I hope you are doing well, Christy

    • Thank you, Christy. I read about your furbaby this morning and am so sorry. The chocolate is okay. I ate some today just cause I was tired and wanted it. That’s okay. I’m sure you learned a lot no matter where you left off. Even if it made you extra aware that you were eating the candy with intent to numb. That’s good awareness. The one thing I want to do perfectly is not drink today. Sending love your way. I’m glad to have you in my blogosphere.

      • Oh amen to THAT sister! As long as we don’t drink today, I think we’re doing pretty dang good.

        Thanks for the sweet thoughts, I’m really happy to have you in my world too. xoxo

  5. “Yesterday in therapy I made an amazing discovery that really this just comes down to not trusting my own body.”

    Gee whiz. You hit the nail on the head. I think there’s so much power in that statement. So much of how we live our lives depends upon trust. We have to trust in our higher power, trust that our choices and decisions are for the best, even little things like trust that we’re not going to gain weight because we ate fat or didn’t exercise today. And it’s even harder when you DO feel like you’re crazy–when people judge your decisions, chip away at the trust, and suggest that, in the end, you were the one with the problem, even though it’s their own insecurities and lack of trust that drove them to make the comment in the first place…

    Anyway, I think you’re making a good decision to leave behind the diet mentality for a while, even if it is a “healthier” diet mentality. (Hell, the Whole30 I did at the beginning of my journey was the reason I was able to get to this point too…but the second Whole30 I did was all about not trusting my body or my mind enough to make the right food decisions–and I still wanted to lose weight, even though I had dropped down to 118 lbs. I had to force myself to give it up a few days in. I realized that I can eat bacon, live around 120 lbs, and not have to restrict myself…I put my scale away at that point. One less voice of judgement!)

    Keep on keepin’ on, sister. 🙂

  6. “Eyes on your own paper.” I have been thinking about this often since reading this post. Wow, what a simple yet profound and freeing idea. You’re doing great work, both in your life and sharing with us here.

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