definitely not

xkcd

I had relatively good news from Dr. G&P yesterday. My a1c was up slightly but I only gained 4 pounds. Considering how badly I was eating earlier this spring, that’s a good thing. All my other numbers were good. LDLs were way down! Yay me.

I had a shrink visit too, which was interesting. We’ve talked many times about the dad voice in my head. It’s clear and obvious and boils down to how much I suck and how I’ll never been good enough. I told the shrink last time to remind me to talk to him about the mom voice, which is far more subtle. Mom was never malicious, but the messages I got from her are equally toxic.

Mom often told me, directly or indirectly, that people were constantly judging me. If my room was a mess, she told me she hoped none of my friends came by because they wouldn’t like me if I had a messy room. I was supposed to be perfect, act perfect, or people wouldn’t like me. And she told me stories from her own life, stories of how she was overweight and no one liked her. Stories of how she didn’t have the same clothes as the other girls, so no one liked her. I’ve seen high school pictures of her and she wasn’t fat. But she had me on diets from about age 10 and I was sure I was fat – I’ve got pictures of me from then and I wasn’t. I think that she wanted to protect me but she left me believing that everyone watched and judged – and you know, you’re going to get a certain amount of confirmation of those ideas. We all have someone who has made fun of us for something.

I don’t know how much other people experience this kind of internal voice. I know at least some do, it’s not uncommon. But apparently it’s also not everyone. Affirmations work, apparently, for a bunch of people. People are able to challenge the negative voices. I’ve tried those things, many times. I can challenge the you suck voices. But it’s the other one, the one that knows that affirmations aren’t true, they’re just things I say to try and fool myself. That voice, I can’t seem to challenge. It knows that people won’t like me if my house isn’t perfectly clean – and it’s not. It knows that it’s not okay to be fat – and I am. It knows that I don’t, can’t wear the cool clothes. The best I’ve ever been able to do is to tell myself that other people tell me that the things I think are not true. That’s not a really effective challenge.

But perhaps we will find a way of getting past or ignoring those stupid voices. It seems so dumb to me that these voices, these pieces of childhood, can still have so much power over me this late in my life. I ought to be able to just say to hell with them and be who I am and happy with it. That’s all I want. Just to be happy being me.

One of the things I’m doing toward that goal is to eat. I mentioned it in a comment a while ago, I’m cooking. I’m trying not to be afraid of food and I’m eating a better balance of food, healthier food. I’m not eating a bunch of junk and I’m feeling much less like bingeing on junk food because I’m making real food. And I like that about me. I like to cook and be creative. I’m even baking again. And the novelty of having homemade bread around is wearing off, I’m eating less. And I hope eventually to be in better balance and cut portions gradually so I can lose weight in a healthy manner. And I don’t expect the impossible. I just want to be me. Happy with who I am – and a bit healthier than I am now. That doesn’t seem crazy to me.

One side effect of gabapentine, by the way, is blurred vision. It makes proofreading hard. So if I find mistakes tomorrow I will correct the typos then.

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17 thoughts on “definitely not”

  1. I got toxic messages from both my parents too, from one in much more obvious ways than from the other. I think it’s difficult to leave it behind because, when you are told something, over and over, from a very early age, it becomes part of your DNA almost. For example, you are told that trees are green, you look for evidence of it, and you find yes, trees are green and it becomes a fundamental belief. If you were now told that trees were pink with purple spots, you’d find it hard to believe. You’d look for evidence and find none. Similarly, if you are told something destructive about yourself, you believe it because your parents know everything, correct? And these things seem to have something of the self fulfilling prophecy about them, so you look for evidence and you find it, right enough. So it becomes a fundamental belief. And people can tell you that these things are not true, but they are woven in at such a fundamental level, it would be like removing the deepest layer of skin, leaving the rest intact. That’s what I think, anyway. I also think there has to be a way past that. But the beliefs are so intrinsic, it’s so hard to do that, almost to the point of impossibility, maybe.

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    1. Of course you find evidence for this stuff. I mean, you’re told you’re a failure and sometimes you fail. But instead of learning that sometimes you fail and it’s okay, you learn that you are a failure. And you can re-learn later and understand that you aren’t a failure, you just failed at something but, you’re right, there’s an inner layer, a fundamental belief as you say. And from my experience that doesn’t go away no matter how logical I am about it. I don’t want to think it’s impossible to get past, but maybe it’s something you have to learn to live with like diabetes. I do my best to believe that those fundamental beliefs aren’t true and to remind myself of the logical reasons it’s not true. And I sometimes wonder what’s different about those of us who internalize and keep those messages and other people who seem, even as children, to say “that’s bullshit” and go on to be healthy adults.

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      1. What a worthwhile social psychology THAT study would be! I like your idea of finding a way to live with it, like diabetes. As they say, the best revenge is to live well. I’ve always tried to strive for that and it sounds like you have, too.

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  2. [Just left a comment that was eaten by either bloglovin’ or your system. If this is a repeat, please delete one.]

    Interesting conversation and observations. I have no experience with what you’re dealing with so the best that I can think to say is: you go girl.
    Which it seems like you are.

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    1. I’m trying Ally. I figure, at least being aware of the crap going on in my head I can choose not to listen to it.

      And you tweaked your email slightly so WP thought you were someone new. 🙂

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  3. I had one of those judgmental mom – took me a while to realize she had the problem, not me. Gave up trying to please her.
    Sounds simple. But it’s not…and there’s always a shadow. But you just have to reprogram and walk away from it. It is not easy. It is not quickly done. But you can manage to distance – one inch at a time…that’s sufficient.
    (I found affirmations stupid. Sunshine works better for me)

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    1. I think distancing is what I’m trying to do at this time – if I can’t trust what I think, then I try to trust what other people tell me. And they tell me those negative thoughts aren’t true. It’s the best I can do for now.

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    2. Sunshine is a good answer, Phil. Never thought about it, but you’re on to something there. Get outside and away from it all. Just my 2¢.

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  4. I feel so fortunate to have had the parents I have. My mom went the other way though and was an ENABLER. That can be bad too. I treat my two girls differently–tell the perfectionist that good enough is fine and being happy is more important while I push my younger daughter to work to her potential since she tends to slack off and then not be proud of what she’s done. A tricky balance and complex.

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    1. A tricky balance indeed, Margaret, but I’m glad you try to do it. Have you ever talked to your daughters about it? Do they understand? We certainly had equal – if negative – treatment from my dad but I’m not sure my brothers got the same messages from my mom. It took me a long time to understand them.

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  5. Good news on the doctor visit! That’s great!

    You know, I’ve always appreciated how open you are about the mental stuff you wrestle with. I know it’s hard, and I think it’s really good of you to share so much of it with us.

    ((hugs))

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    1. I was really quite pleased with the endo visit. Either the spring was not as bad as I remember (lol) or the last month or so of more balance and cooking for myself has helped more than I anticipated. Hoping for even better next October.

      Writing about the internal stuff helps me to view it from a different angle. And once in a while, I meet someone who is fighting or has fought the same battle. I hope sometimes it helps other people but I know it helps me to confirm that I am not the only one dealing with this.

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  6. I spent ten long years in intense therapy trying to overcome all the crap from my parents and finally realized that they were doing what was basically done to them. My intellectual self and my emotional self were never in sync and once I got both to be as near the same as possible I was able to let go of the crap and forgive my parents and say I don’t want to be sick like you are so I won’t be sick like you are and I have flourished in the sense that I love myself and who I am and could care less what anybody else thinks. Of course I now have the advantage of both my parents no longer being around which sounds awful but in the end was as therapeutic as all the time I spent in therapy. Now all I have to deal with are two sisters who are still lost in that jungle of self doubt and self loathing and have very little to do with them. They are making the choice to remain sick and not trying to do anything about it. As noted by others it is hard to do but I can tell you it can be done. The one part that is never correctable is what could or would you have done or become if your parents gave you tons of encouragement and unconditional love that you could tell was unconditional. Be well Sweets, the best is yet to come. Oh and by the way what or who the heck is Dr. G&P? The only thing I can come up with is gynecologist and proctologist but I don’t think either of those is correct. Ha!

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    1. Dr. G&P is my endo, who I named after the Great and Powerful Oz. When I first started seeing him my diabetes was out of control and I was looking for magic. He’s done a really nice job of working with me and encouraging me over the years.

      It’s always nice to hear of one who has come through the battle Tom. I may only be able to actively not listen to the voices now, but perhaps I will kill them off completely eventually.

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