Survivor Aftereffects List #6

6. Eating disorders, drug/alcohol abuse (or total abstinence); other addictions; compulsive behaviors (including compulsive busyness).

Yes and frankly I don’t see how survivors can survive and not be dealing with these issues. I have always thought that I have much less issues than some other survivors, but that is only in the degree that I have acted on these issues, rather than their impact in my life and how much they have affected me and cost me in coping and combatting the urges to act on them.

I don’t have an eating disorder. Though I do believe that I have always had what is now called “disordered eating.”

I heard recently by experts on The Today Show that more people have disordered eating issues than anorexia and bulimia combined and perhaps in the future it will be classified as an eating disorder.

I am not sure how I have avoided having an eating disorder. I think a large part of that is that my mother’s abuses of me when I was a pre-schooler and later would be classified as an eating disorder.

My female parent used food as a weapon to coerce my cooperation in her sexual abuse of me. She was particularly sadistic in her sexual abuse of me, making my cooperation highly unlikely. I can confidently say that what she did to me was forced starvation.

She would let me eat breakfast with my other siblings. After they went to school she would often try to sexually abuse me. If I was uncooperative or managed to stop what she was doing, then I paid the price.

She would often get enraged at me and forcefully cause me to vomit up breakfast. I would get no lunch. I would have supper in the evening and that was often my only meal, for a pre-schooler.

My mother did not believe in giving children snacks during the day, not even something healthy, saying it would ruin the child’s appetite. Seriously, nothing in heaven or earth could have ruined my appetite.

So I can say that I was abused in a manner that replicated an eating disorder, except I was not the person whose actions were in control of my body. Though I suppose to say that any survivor who acts out an eating disorder can truly be the cause of their eating disorder, but rather the aftermath of the abuse.

I have never used drugs. As a teenager and older I was always concerned about the health consequences and so have never considered doing drugs. It is easy for me to say no to that. 

I have only rarely drank alcohol, mostly in a context of social interactions with co-workers after a shift and when going out dancing. I haven’t had a drink in over ten years and that was only one night. I would say that the last time I drank before that was about twenty years ago.

My father was an alcholic. The thought of the smell of stale beer in leftover bottles the next day is something that still sickens me. I have never liked alcohol, the taste, or how it feels in my stomach or body. It is easy for me to say no to that.

So I guess I definitely fall on the side of abstinence when it comes to drugs and alcohol use. I feel fortunate in that respect. As I have heard many survivors have used them to push down the pain and to numb themselves out. Another obstacle that I have not had to overcome on the path to healing. 

I think that my rigidity in this respect is also just a reaction to the abuse rather than a true life choice that I made, just as I think my celibacy is a reaction to the abuse rather than a true life choice.

Compulsive behaviors and thoughts, including OCD features seems something so many survivors deal with. Me too. I think I am getting worse in that respect rather than better. But perhaps that is because more inners share more “out” time and sharing what they are dealing with and so I am absorbing and feeling their issues. I am working on coping with that. It is a very hard and intractible issue.

Recently some inners have shared a marked difficulty with the number 13. I am really trying to address that while trying not to make the issue worse. We have a lot of anxiety and sometimes it is just better to try to alleviate the anxiety by honoring their limitations than addressing the issue head on. It is an ongoing project.

As in all survivor issues I see how far I have come. It is a huge amount. I have dealt with so many memories in these categories and come out the winner, due to healing. I know and believe in healing. I believe in hope.

8 thoughts on “Survivor Aftereffects List #6

  1. Kate, I’m saddened to hear about all the heinous things that were inflicted on you as a child. My heart goes out to you. But I am also inspired by the healing you have achieved, it’s amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story – I too suffer many of these aftereffects. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, and that real healing is possible. May all your good and healing thoughts to me come back to you a thousand fold. Kerro.

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    • Hi Kerro,

      Thank you.

      Yes it is comforting to know that others understand.

      It is very healing for me to have other survivors involved in my life. So thank you for helping me to heal. It is very special.

      Kate

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  2. I share your feeling fortunate not to have ever seen drugs or alcohol as an option. It wasn’t something I struggled with … but I was very clear, from a very early age, that choosing to lose control of my mind with substances would only make my life even harder than it already was. Additionally, growing up with an alcoholic father, I had a very deep-seated contempt for people who were visibly altered by alcohol, and I never wanted to be that person.

    As I learn more about how unusual this is, I am profoundly grateful for that little quirk of my wiring that saved me from having even more problems. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

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    • Hi David,

      I understand the aversion after having an alcoholic parent. I have met a lot of adult children of alcoholics who went the other way.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  3. I was not sexually abused by my mother or father, nor was I physically abused by them, but… my mother made me eat everything on my plate. She was fanatical about it. I suffered a great deal because she filled my plate too full and I think she loved to watch me cry and suffer.

    It’s interesting that so many mothers (or caregivers) use food as the abuse stick of choice!

    So sorry about what happened to you. Like the others said, you have really come a long way. I’m so glad for that.

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  4. Hi Kate!

    Thank you for sharing that… I am so sorry that you had to go through that! I had some of these… For you to be able to write these things are very inspiring to me.. I hope to one day share these things as well!

    My dad was also an alcoholic so I totally understand that -almost fear of the smell of alcohol! I get very anxious when people drink around me.. Drugs.. hmmm. I am ashamed to say that I did use drugs.. I did a lot of things…

    Compulsive business – yes- I burn out quickly. This is partly because I have a hard time saying no.. and well, it keeps my mind busy! But we as survivors need to look after ourselves and realize that it’s ok to do nothing!
    And Yes- I believe there is hope!!

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    • Hi Identity,

      Thank you. Thanks for saying it was inspiring to you.

      Alcohol, yeah, I can so relate to that. It wasn’t until I was out of my mid-twenties that I was able to be around drinking without bursting into tears.

      Yeah, I can’t say no either. Still working on that. And it is hard when others won’t respect that I am trying to say my limitations and boundaries. They really don’t want to hear me standing up for myself. You are right, it is okay to do nothing.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

      Like

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