Finding Balance

Discusses eating and sexuality issues of survivors.

I used to have a survivor friend. She taught me a lot. Knowing her was like reading a healing book, over and over. She was always saying very validating and healing things.

I have been thinking about her lately. One of her old quotes has been coming back to me a lot lately. One that seemed a bit beyond me, at the time.

She told me that survivors need to find out what ‘too much’ is. She said survivors don’t know what too much is in their life and so long as you learn from your actions, it is okay to try to find out what too much is by doing things.

Her examples were that one friend of hers ate a whole bag of peanut M & Ms and got sick, it was too much for her. She realized that eating a whole bag in future was not something she wanted to do again. She learned a valuable lesson on what was too much.

I could always sort of relate to that story. I had an issue with binge eating then. I realize now that a part of that was related to being gluten intolerant and how I had almost uncontrollable urges as a consequence of that. Another part is related to being a child sexual abuse survivor and my mother starving me and withholding food to coerce my cooperation, which I did not know about when we were friends.  Another part was related to being a survivor, aftereffects, and the aftermath of abuse.

I am doing much better on figuring out what too much is when it comes too food. I feel much more empowering and accepting of my issues. I eat much more healthy foods and much less of the foods that I am not supposed to be eating, accidental gluten exposures.

Her second example was that another friend of hers had had sex with three men in one day and she discovered that that was ‘too much’ for her. Okay. I could not relate to that. And I still can’t. 

Okay, three men in one decade is probably too much for me. I am way on the other side of the sexual expression scale here. So for me, I guess, ‘too little’ is an issue that I need to be figuring out.  Even if it is just for me. Even if I never am with someone. Even if I only do it for myself and only share my sexuality in a space where I am alone. I deserve to figure out what too little is.

8 thoughts on “Finding Balance

  1. I was reading along thinking how on time this entry is for me when I got to the end where you talked about 3 men per decade. I literally laughed out loud. I guess I wasn’t expecting it.

    When it comes to food I know what’s too much but sometimes I go ahead and eat too much simply because I have the choice. Like you I was starved or worked my butt off for a plate of reward. Food is a huge trigger for me, especially left overs and restaurant food.

    What’s too much in therapy or too much stimulation in daily activities? I’ve got a decent understanding of those too and try my best to keep to it but sometimes… well, recently I purposely overloaded myself with activities I knew would jack me up. But when not in the throws of self destruction I’m better able to balance myself. Being able to do so keeps my wobbly legs moving forward.

    When it comes to sex I can’t touch myself at all. Too much, can’t do it, won’t do it. I almost envy those who can cause maybe if I could I wouldn’t be so frustrated all the time. LOL
    For me 3 different people a year would seem like a lot. Give me the same girl forever and I’ll be a happy camper. For me that’s not so much sexual expression as it is the need for companionship and love.

    Overall the question for me is, why do I do too much when I know it’s going to hurt me? Why do I know my limits yet insist upon surpassing them?

    Self destruction seems almost as addictive as drugs.


    • Hi Faith,

      I just thought food and sex, maybe not the best two items to pair together. But I didn’t. My friend had and I mostly avoided the second part of what she was trying to say to me. I too have had more progress in the food area, well you have to eat to survive, you don’t have to have sex or be sexual in order to survive, thank God!

      I can relate so much with the difficulties of finding balance and the pull of self destructive behaviors. I do think that most survivors of childhood abuse have had to battle against self destructive behaviors. And most other people as well. Not sure why that is so, but I do see it as being so incredibly common to being human, not sure what can be done, except to try to be more loving to yourself in many areas of life.

      I do think that self destruction is largely caused by personal self-hatred and self-loathing. And that self destruction can be an addiction. With all the difficult emotions swirling inside, it is so easy to want to push those down, so they are under the surface of awareness and unfelt, and addictions do that bigtime.

      I know that I go beyond my limits because I don’t know how to stop. I am not sure if that is purposely self destructive or just a lacking of skills. One thing that I did learn recently is to break skills down into doable things and that is helping me to do more for myself, so that I am aware, in advance, what too much is.

      Too little, that is still way beyond me. Thanks so much for sharing and for being willing to talk about sexuality here. I think that is tremendously brave of you. Just talking about sex and sexuality is too much for me, but I will keep talking.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.



  2. Too much work, sex, alcohol, drugs, shopping, exercise, food. And not enough. I’ve done them all. I still do them. The question for me is also why I do it when I know it’s going to hurt me? I also don’t know how to stop and, like you Kate, I don’t know if that’s purposely self-destructive or just a lack of skills.

    I think the big trick for survivors – and the hardest – is learning what too much actually feels like.

    I’m sorry to bang on about sex, Kate, but I learnt this year what too much feels like in a sexual context. I learnt that the person I call the Evil Huntress comes out and I’m left flopping about on the floor feeling about as disgusting as anyone can feel. That was a good lesson. I know not to do that anymore, sort of, though I’ve skated close to the edge and tested the boundaries a couple of times.

    Trouble is, and perhaps this is the key to learning when to stop, is that at the time, in the moment, the too much feels GREAT. It’s not until afterwards that we pay the price.

    Great post, Kate – really interesting topic! Thank you for sharing.


    • Hi Kerro,

      Thank you for sharing.

      I can relate to the too much issue about eating. I don’t really do the other stuff. My issues with my sexuality has been frozen in one place and I am just hoping to get to kissing someone in the next year. I want to move on, but this is going to be really tough. I wrote another post on this and it will be posted soon.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.



  3. I like the idea of finding out what too little is — I think it’s a very useful concept for survivors, since I think each survivor has both “too much” and “too little” issues with different facets of their lives … areas where behavior is compulsive/destructive, and areas where behavior is self-protectively avoidant. The concepts can be used for all kinds of things … work, social contacts, exercise, self-care time, different types of internal nurturing.


    • Hi David,

      Yeah, self-protective avoidant, that is me on this topic. Because too much has always been on my radar, the too little issues are something I am working on lately, too little bliss, too little interactions with others, too little friend time and putting myself out there.

      Dude you are so wise. Thanks. Good and healing thoughts to you.



  4. Hi Kate,

    Great post… Thank you for raising such a difficult, but common problem for survivors.

    I struggle with the ideas of too much and too little constantly. It’s, as you describe, a balancing and learning thing… one I’m constantly trying to understand and tweak. I think so much of it does go back to those early experiences where our every action was controlled. So now, we’re sort of like the teen who is going to college for the first time, away from a strict upbringing. We don’t know appropriate boundaries and limits, because we haven’t had that safe place to learn and experiment. It’s like having to learn all of those experiences, but with a huge amount of baggage on top of it all.

    I like your concept of breaking down the skills into doable things… this is one of the things I teach my students, but often forget for myself.

    Take care,


    • Hi CG,

      Thanks. I think it is about the early experiences as well. I think that I am really starting to understand the massive impact these experiences of abuse were all pervasive and malignant in my life, even now. I am trying to let go of the shame and blame about that, as I did not heal faster. I think we heal as we are able, but for me there is a judgment about that as well, that gets in the way of accepting and healing.

      Thanks so much for your comments and participation here.



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