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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Secrets, Guilt, And Shame

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I'm struggling with what to write here, but if I could sum it up into three words, it would be: Secrets, Guilt, and Shame. Eating Disorders are all about secrets, shame, and feeling guilty. Guilt for taking care of my body, when deep down, I don't feel that I deserve it. I'm ashamed of the secrets that I still keep to hold on to this eating disorder. There are behaviors that I know I need to completely cease if I am to truly recover. Mainly those are the alcohol, and the purging. The alcohol is not something that I use on a daily basis, but when I do use it, it is usually for the wrong reasons, and it also triggers me to dissociate, which is never a good thing. The purging has become a replacement for the restricting, and I'm headed nowhere good with that, and it too, is very shameful and humiliating to admit.


I had a session with my nutritionist yesterday, and we talked about the purging because I have had a particularly hard time with it this week. I keep telling her how guilty I feel after I eat, and she asked me if there was anything else that made me feel guilty this week, and yes, there was. A friend of mine that I had been in treatment with called, and she wanted to get together for coffee. She called out of the blue, and it took me off guard. She sounded like she really needed to talk, and could use a friend. I wanted to be there for her, but I don't feel like I'm strong enough in my own recovery to help her right now. The last time we saw each other, we were both very sick, and I know that we would compare ourselves physically to how we were then, or at least, I know I would. I'm not ready to put myself through that. I wish that I didn't feel embarrassed over my weight gain, but honestly I do, so there is more shame. I told her that I would call her, but I know I can't, and that makes me feel guilty for not helping someone who is reaching out. I went and purged right after I got off of the phone with her. Talking with her touched a nerve, and I have felt emotional every time I think about it. My nutritionist praised me, calling it "setting boundaries", and "self preservation", but to me, it has just felt weak and cowardly, and I dont feel very good about it. I'm trying to take care of my own needs, but then it feels selfish. I hope that somewhere within myself, I can find a peaceful balance between my own needs, and the needs of others.

"While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person."~ Merle A. Fossum & Marilyn J. Mason, authors of Facing Shame: Families in Recovery. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. John C. Friel & Linda Friel (1988).

6 Comments:

Ann said...

Beautifully worded. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to put these feelings into words.

Miss Sara said...

Angie,

OK. I've been dealing w/ my own guilt and shame lately -- nothing to do w/ an eating disorder, but choices that I have made that allow me to slip back into old patterns...Negative patterns, in which are EASIER than just stepping out and confronting this FEAR of failure that I have...

When we don't forgive ourselves, we hold ourselves back.

Don't feel guilty. Forgive yourself. You have to. Or you're (we're) going to keep repeating this (these) patterns.

Love you!

Charity Joy Bell Childs said...

No guilt, no guilt. We live by Grace. Jesus died for us, so we may live by Grace. No guilt. :)

clean and crazy said...

awe honey, bless your heart, you know one thing that may help is step work. if you take the twelve steps and replace addiction or alcohol with the words eating disorder, you know step one 1. "we admitted we were powerless over addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable" to "we admitted we were powerless over our eating disorder... step work has really helped me and i just thought maybe looking at some of the questions in the step working guide might help you.i am in awe of your humility and candor and i just love your honest thoughts. you allow yourself to be vulnerable because you have a great willingness to change and that is strength most people in recovery lack a great deal of. take care of you and if you want to talk just drop me a line, you know where to find me.

sarah said...

I learned I had no right to exist. I believed it so much I refused to allow myself to eat and if I did consume even a small bite, I threw it up. I was killing myself. Then God touched me. I still couldn't stop. LIke you I felt I needed to be there for everyone but somehow I didn't count. I didn't get that piece for a long time. Hang in there ok. It does get better. Someone who totally gets it. Sarah

Susan said...

Ditto here, Sarah.

Angel - I get what you are saying in your posts. You express yourself beautifully. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey.