Went to see my therapist yesterday. We spoke of body shaming after I shared with her how disappointed I have been with my body as of late. I think I even used the word “disgusted”. Disgusted mostly because I work so hard on my workouts for periods of time. I can go 6 months truly dedicated and then just stop completely and every time, my body changes and makes it harder to get back on track.
I get so upset, I shared with her, that when I look back at all my workout journals and many before and after pictures, (I’ve been doing this since I was 18, I am now 36) I hate that I didn’t “enjoy” or was “happy” with my body then. Every picture, every journal with weight and measurements, I could remember that time in my life and how I wasn’t happy and was striving to achieve even more with my workouts and body image. I often regret not being happy with my body. In many pictures I often wish I could “go back to looking like that.”
My therapist asked, “where did you learn that?”
Me: “Learned what?”
My therapist: “where did you learn to not like your body?”
Me: “I don’t know. The 1st memory that pops into my head was when I was 16 and I was high off of acid and I looked in the mirror. I was wearing a tight shirt that exposed my flat belly and loose fitting jeans and I felt disgusted with myself. I felt like a whore.”
Therapist: “It goes further back than that, you had already learned to be ashamed of your body and not like it by then.”
Me: “I remember my uncle getting mad at me when I was only 11 and was at the pool and I was taking off my clothes so that I could get in the water. I had my swimsuit underneath. I did try to be “sexy” about it because the boy I liked was there watching me. I felt ashamed because I was caught in my disgrace.”
Therapist: “who’s shame was that?”
Me: confused, puzzled, ?????
Therapist: “who’s shame was that, that wasn’t yours to carry?”
Me: “my dad’s?”
Therapist: “yes, and all those who sexually abused you and it was your mom’s shame as well when she faulted you for ‘asking for it’.”
I then remembered as a little girl kind of asking myself “why me?” The sexual abuse didn’t start nor stop with my father you see. Many family members both male and female from both maternal and paternal side were my perpetrators. Even as I got older, even as a mom, I knew I could get attention with my body and immediately hated men for looking. I liked my body and also hated it very much.
Could some of my extreme workout/diet behaviors followed by self sabotage be due to body shaming? yes, I think so
My assignment is to work on being grateful for my body and everything it allows me to do. Having 2 boys wishing they could walk, will make this assignment much easier (I have visual reminders). Instead of doing my workouts and eating to achieve some kind of ideal body, I will work on doing it to be good to myself and preserve it’s strength and health.
After being in therapy for over a year and wasting all that time being drunk, I am grateful to be sober and moving beyond the booze and can now deal with the real shit that was hiding behind the drink.
Good night. Tomorrow morning is spin class with my lovely aunt.