Just got back from the movies with Cliffy. We saw, "The Last Exorcism."
It is a very bad sin that i went to the movies on the holiest Jewish Holiday of the year, Yom Kippur, but the film so super struck me so hard, that i'll admit to the bad behavior, and tell you that i honestly believe it was a "supposed to be" thing that i saw it tonight. Hopefully God can forgive me. (I think He knows how i've been struggling.) He makes everything happen, and puts every desire in our heart. No wonder I wanted to see this movie. He knew this film would speak to me. (He has a sense of humor...a Christian film about exorcism on a Jewish Holiday!)
I SO related to the main female character of the film, Nell.
Here's how it all fit together for me.
I wrote to Doug Graham tonight saying that i was afraid to go back on 811 because i failed the first time, and that i had really tried, etc...
And the character in the film, Nell, says almost the same thing, and expresses the same fear of 'trying again' after her first exorcism didn't hold. "It didn't work before," she says. "And I tried. I really wanted it. I couldn't have wanted it anymore than i did. And it didn't work." It was like i was listening to myself. You know, when a movie speaks to you?
And Nell feels so terribly about these out of control behaviors she is doing. "It's like i can't control it. It just happens. It's not in my control." Nell would go out into the barn at night and kill chickens and killed the cat. She slashed her brother with a knife, and killed some other farm animals, too. No.........I'm not killing animals, but i FEEL just as badly as Nell. I really related to doing something horrible, and feeling filled with guilt, and not knowing why you do it, and so wanting to stop, but not being able to. No one wants to feel "out of control" of themselves...if you're eating 20 cheeseburgers or killing 20 hens. You just don't want to feel out of control.
Curious that i was watching about exorcism tonight, too, because i was just writing to Dr. D that i felt like I was possessed.
Dear Dr. D....There is something killing me in charge of me. The thing grows stronger the more stress i'm under. I think it must want to kill me, or i must want to kill myself, because that's what i'm doing with my eating. I yearn to be led from my OWN inner knowing and turn from 'experts' and say, "What the hell do You know about me? I'm in charge!," but, where is my inner knowing? I can't find it. The only thing inside me is something that wants to kill me and cause me weight gain and reflux and squash everything good that's in me, and kill my singing voice. I'm so scared to go back on 811 because i'll just fail again and i don't want to give up every food i love. "It's not for me," i say. Yet what IS for me? I can't keep doing this. This is what i did 4 years ago when i weighed 425. This is how i lived. I'm heading back there quickly. I'm in denial. i can't see the forrest through the trees. Continuing with you may be radical and crazy and i may fail again, but it would rip me out of this suicidal binge mission i am on. I keep telling myself that some kind of eating disorder therapist or someone behavioral or psychological or even religious/spiritual could help me better, explain to me why i do this.
The movie also has a familiar running debate about exactly what kind of help Nell needs. Psychiatric? Spiritual? Medical? I've been going through the same kind of questioning with myself. What the hell do i need and what the hell is going to help me????
The big "Ah-ha" for Nell's case came near the end of the movie, when Reverend Cotton tells Nell's father that she's not possessed by a demon, no, not at all. The poor girl, he explains, is filled.....with shame.
He explains...She's either been molested, raped or impregnated by a friend, and Nell is acting out her tremendous feelings of SHAME....for being pregnant. Nell is only 16. She's suppossed to be a Christian, suppossed to be GOOD and PURE, and she feels she is NOT any of those things. She's "acting out" her shame.
Well, did THAT ever hit home. So am i, I suppose, I'm acting out, too. Binge eating...is "acting out." And i have a history of abuse. And something about shame is really touching a HUGE nerve.
The word, the concept....struck me hard.
I'm obviously filled with shame. I feel SO ashamed, for one.
So, I ask myself, 'What are you so ashamed of?'
The answer comes back a resounding yes. Forefront in my mind is the High School reunion that is coming up in less than a month. I think about high school and I don't have happy feelings. I was made fun of for being fat. Alex Chokas called me "Load" whenever i walked down the hallway. Talk about shaming me. I peered out from behind hallway corners to see if he was there. That stress would drive anyone to eat.
Also, I was thin at the last reunion I went to 20 years ago. I weighed 150 lbs. after being on OA HOW and i was stunning. It was "the new me!" The new me didn't last very long.
Yet, still, they will remember. How can I go now with how i look? With what I've gained...
Alex Chokas passed away, but I'm still ashamed of me and how i look.
Trying to dig deeper, i tell myself, "wait a minute!" I've weighed what i weigh today MANY, MANY times before, after LOSING weight, and felt like a SUCCESS. I weighed this weight when i was at the raw retreat, for one. And when i woke up at the raw retreat and weighed this weight, I felt WONDERFUL PRIDE about myself. I had lost 100 lbs. Wow! And i walked miles at this weight, and radiated love, and, pride, and sexy energy. I was in a GREAT place. I believed in raw, I was doing what i needed to do for myself, and I felt wonderful!
It's not just the weight.
It's more. I'm the same weight as I was once before at the raw retreat, yet, now i don't feel so good. I don't feel so happy. Now, it all comes tumbling out.
I'm in debt and spending money like water on food i don't need. I'm suffering physically, my back, my knees. Yet I keep treating myself like i don't matter. Stuffing myself. Making myself sick and bloated and tired and worn out. I don't feel pride today. I feel disgusted. I feel nausious. I feel sick. I feel hopeless. I have pains, again. I've failed constantly at controlling my weight and my eating. My house is a mess! And it's old. I have no money. We have no money. I'm not even married...yet. I'm still engaged after 2 years. I have no children. I don't feel responsible enough to take care of them, yet i cry when i see children on TV or out in the street. I yearn for a daughter. I haven't seen my mom in a few days because i have no energy from gaining weight and binge eating. I smell again, eating cooked food. I have a hard time walking again. I'm gassy. I feel gross and disgusting. I buy huge amounts of food and pretend to be normal, then i get in the car and eat and food drops all over me and people are probably watching me, disgusted by me, yet i don't care. I'd rather eat.
Who would want to go to a reunion with all of THAT inside of them...no matter what they weighed?
I've been filled with shame. Like the character, Nell.
With every binge, i've fallen into a deeper and deeper shame-based depression. The more I talk about it, the worse it gets. Now everyone HERE knows and thinks disgusting things about me.
In regular life, I just want to hide. But i can't. And every time i go out in public, who will i see? Someone who knows i'm supposed to be the raw success story? Feelings of failure have plagued me at every turn. In the market, at work, out walking. So much heavier, so uncomfortable. I can't move like I used to. My clothes are so tight. My bras and panties are cutting into me again.
I feel bad on so many levels, and i stuff it all. Food! Food! Pleasure! Stuff! Eat! I can't stop because i haven't been willing to look at it, at all of it, really examine it. Geneen Roth's book says our lives are right there on our plates. What the HELL did she mean???? I need to really LOOK at the binge eating, to look at how i feel, what i do, analyze the behavior, the feelings before and the feelings after....and ask why? I've just been like a freight train...that has lost it's brakes....eating, eating, stuffing, stuffing it all down.
No, it's so apparent now. It's not JUST the eating or the weight I'm ashamed about. It's deeper, much deeper. It's ME. It's how I feel about ME. It's my life. It's my lack of a real career. It's my house. It's all of the disgustingly humongous potential i have and that i do barely anything with it, while so many others with LESS talent do so much more.
I've not been believing in me. I've not been working towards getting what i want out of life like i should to really "get" somewhere.
Feelings of failure have been constant. "I'm no good. I'm a failure. I'm hopeless." These words reverberate in my head non stop. It's been so all-encompassing, so impossible to rip myself from these feelings and thoughts.
I didn't really recognize it until i saw this movie.
I've been drowning in SHAME.
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This is what Wikipedia says on it. Click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shame
Apparently, the word shame is derived from a word meaning, "to cover."
What does fat do? It covers.
I feel terrific inadequacy often. Whenever I sing poorly, or when i can't stay on my diet, feelings of inadequacy flood me.
What does shame do? It covers how i feel.
What does fat do? It covers.
What is it covering?
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The experience of shame, wikipedia says, is different than guilt. Shame is "directly about the self, guilt is directed at an action."
Shame is self-blame and self-contempt. It is different than feeling guilty about 'something.' You feel miserable about being YOU.
You enter into something that feeds and feeds on itself. It is called the "SHAME SPIRAL."
I can SURE relate.
Dr. John Bradshaw, remember him from his days on PBS?, wrote books on "Toxic shame." Wikipedia says, "Toxic shame is...false, pathological shame. Bradshaw states that toxic shame is induced, inside children, by all forms of child abuse. Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe toxic shame. Toxic shame often induces what is known as complex trauma in children who cannot cope with toxic shaming as it occurs and who dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with."
Further, Wikipedia states, "The individual experiencing shame may feel totally despicable, worthless and feel that there is no redemption.... In addition, shame is often seen in victims of child neglect, child abuse and a host of other crimes against children."
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I've been having toxic shame. I fit the pattern. That's ME.
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After I left the movie, I understood what's been driving me.
And I realized it was time to forgive. Time to move through the shame.
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Thanks "Max" for your perceptive insights into forgiveness, and to Glenda, my soul sista, who so gets me, we're so alike, and to so many of you who reached out with loving words to help me pull myself out of it. "Max," I think you hit the nail on the head, talking about lacking personal power and forgiveness. Cosmic, and Julie, and Pat, thank you so much for caring and for all of your insights. Mega-bytes, thanks for the swift kick in the pants. Thank you, Karifanka, and Sunny65 for your constant support and encouragement.
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My new goal is to focus on GRATITUDE, FORGIVENESS, SELF-LOVE, and POSITIVE SELF PARENTING...
The food getting clean...will follow.
It seems so simple when it hits you, and makes sense.
"Ah-ha..." I understand it all now...
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[Oh! In case you're wondering, Nell, in the movie, wasn't suffering from shame at all! She did give birth to the devil's child, which was red and bloody. The Pastor was also a Satanic Cult Leader, and the Pastor's wife, who delivered the baby, threw it into the fire and the baby exploded. Kablooey! KaPow! Snap, Crackle, Pop! ]
Let's do the same thing with SHAME. Throw it AWAY! Get thee away, Satan! Let's throw it in the fire...and be rid of it. "Buh bye!"
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I'd like to dedicate some NEW THOUGHTS and NEW BELIEFS and new AFFIRMATIONS to myself at this moment.
I hear from many of you who are suffering still, too, so I hope these insights might help you as well. They feel really RIGHT to me, as if i've hit upon the REAL driving force of it all..... Maybe it makes sense to you, too?
Feel free to add to this ever growing list of AFFIRMATIONS with comments.
What new beliefs/thoughts/affirmations do you have for yourself? Any you think i've missed?
- I am a beautiful child of God. I deserve kind words and treatment from myself and others. I do not deserve to be "beat up" even when i do bad things, or perform badly. I deserve comforting words. I deserve kindness, sympathy, compassion, a gentle touch, and love.
- I deserve to feel my less than comfortable feelings and let them move through me, rather than stuffing them down with food. Stuffing my feelings with food is self-abuse and self-shaming. There is always alot of beating up going on then, too. Allowing myself to FEEL is natural and normal. Feeling BADLY is natural and normal. REACTING in the stress of the moment when i feel something negative (dissappointment in how my singing practice went, or dissappointment that i am less than perfect, etc...) with self-hatred, blame, self-shaming is abusive. I give up this way of dealing with mistakes and imperfections. It always leads to binge eating anyway.
- I accept myself as imperfect. Learning is a journey. I am allowed not to know. I am allowed not to understand. I trust all will be revealed.
- Binge eating is shame based and a "cover" up to what is really going on. I give myself permission to just BE. To just FEEL the pain of being imperfect.
- "Covering" up with binge eating and shaming is reliving my abusive past in some kind of food psycho-drama. It's time to be a GOOD, LOVING parent to myself, and not an abusive one. It's as if i talk to my inner-child like this, "You hurting, kid? You're worthless anyway. Here, here's some cookies. Now, just eat and shut up." Temporarily the kid is happy eating the cookies. Only the child is left feeling worthless and unable to learn how to SELF SOOTHE. The child learns the soothing is in the cookies, not within themself.
- Feeling my hurt is hard, but I can do it. I am a loving and SELF SOOTHING parent to myself.
- I am not worthless. I am worthy. I am so worthy!
- I am beautiful and loveable, no matter what i weigh. I forgive myself for gaining weight and for the binge eating that caused it. It was a faulty way to cope. I don't need to do it anymore. It doesn't work and doesn't make me feel good. But i didn't understand it until now.
- I am lovable no matter how badly i feel, how badly i do, or how badly I eat. I will re-parent myself and offer love, soothing comfort, a soft place to fall and only words of encouragement to myself from now on.
- I completely and totally RELEASE SHAME from my life. My inner parent never uses shame ever again.
- I forgive all abuse done to me. I forgive the abuse I've done to myself. They didn't, and i didn't know any better.
- I have a spectaculor voice that God has blessed. I have the potential to sing like an angel and have perfect control over my voice. I am dedicated to continuing to work on my singing in a new, non-abusive way. I don't shame myself when i don't get "it" right away. I am patient and loving with myself. I don't eat to make myself feel better. It doesn't work. It makes me feel worse and gives me reflux. Binge eating is self-abuse.
- I focus on my potential today. I focus on what i WANT. I want to sing beautifully. I want to sing as well as I possibly can. I want to enjoy life. I do the best I can for today. I leave the rest up to God.
- I trust that things will get better. I trust in goodness and that God will provide for me, help me to understand and improve. Trusting in food is a false god. Binge eating is self-abuse. It only gives me reflux. It's beating myself up. It hurts me and causes me pain.
- I clear the channels internally to let love and energy and singing flow. Love is the answer.
- I have an enormous appetite for LIFE, instead of for food. I open myself to life, to experiences, to the day. I enjoy the weather, my family, my house, my garden, my neighborhood, my chores, my responsibilities. I have gratitude to be alive! I cherish every moment!
- My inner child and I are happy to be together and spend our time together. I wrap my arms around her all day and tell her how marvelous she is and how i enjoy being with her and loving her. We are blissful together and do lots of fun things together.
- Food does not comfort the inner child anymore. I comfort her with positivity, encouragement, love, soothing talk, kind actions. Food plays no part in comfort anymore.
- I fill her - the inner child - with beautiful thoughts, beautiful dreams, beautiful desires, beautiful plans. I no longer stuff her with food or beat her up and tell her she's no good and a failure.
- I congratulate myself that I am taking back control. I congratulate my inner parent for stopping the abuse. I am not an abuser. I am a loving parent to myself.
- I forgive myself for keeping a messy house. My inner parent has let the inner child run out of control. I take control back. I reign her in and say, "Now, now, Honey. Pick that up. That's a good girl!" I give my inner child lots of praise and encouragement for anything she does to help clean up.
- I release the shame of being dirty and messy and having a dirty messy house. My inner child was acting out. I am a good self-parent today.
- I acknowledge tha i have lost 100 lbs. I am a huge success! I don't look any longer at the weight i've gained. I focus on the positive. I encourage my inner child, instead of shaming and discouraging her.
- I am grateful "we" have legs and arms that work! Exercise makes us feel marvelous and free! "We" love to move! "We" exercise no matter WHAT the inner child eats or how much "we" weigh or how bloated "we" are. Exercise always makes us feel good. "We" have fun together! "We" forgive ourselves. "We" love to swim! "We" love to play! There is no more shame around here! There is only LOVE with parent and child!
- "We" show up for life no matter what "we" weigh. My inner parent is PROUD of the inner child. She is doing the best she can. We enjoy feeling proud. We enjoy feeling good. There is no more abuse anymore. We love each other.
- Stopping binge eating makes the body and mind and spirit feel better and it benefits the voice. Stopping binge eating is possible when my non-abusive self-parent is in charge. She is a good parent and takes care of her inner child.
- If we make a mistake and go overboard, we forgive ourselves right away and renew our committment and get back on track. Binge eating meant there was no loving parent in charge, only an out of control kid screaming for love and attention. "I hear you, today, honey. I'm here for you and i love you." I know you were out of control because you were acting out. My answer now is to love you. I'll never abuse you again.
- Child and parent are integrated. I forgive myself when i fall short. I offer love, not abuse.
- I can do this! I can do anything. I am released from the shame cycle. I am released from a life of needing to binge eat in order to cope with life. I treat myself well. I encourage myself. I love myself.
- I no longer fear seeing people. They may recognize that i've gained weight, but that carries ZERO SHAME AND GUILT for me any longer. I tell myself over and over, "I AM PROUD OF ME AND DOING THE BEST I CAN WITH MY WEIGHT AND MY LIFE. I LOVE ME NO MATTER HOW MUCH I'VE STRUGGLED, OR GAINED, AND I ACCEPT MYSELF FOR EXACTLY WHO I AM TODAY, AND WHERE I AM AT WITH MY WEIGHT AND LIFE TODAY. I AM EXACTLY WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE TODAY."
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Clearing out the shame, recognizing what an abusive parent i've been to myself, dedicating myself to changing my abusive ways...filling myself with love and light, instead, ....and making way, allowing, opening the door to the good stuff in my life.....a cleaner diet, a cleaner house, a cleaner psyche, a cleaner heart, a clearer mind....is setting me back on track, I feel it.
It was so what i needed.
I feel refreshed and cleaned.
I've been exorcised of all of the shame.
Now i need to work on this daily. Incorporate this new way of thinking and being and feeling so fully into who I am that the exorcism will hold.
I already bought bananas and plan on getting back on track.
I am grateful to God, and grateful to you, my friends. Thank you for hanging in there with me. I know that this will all be for the greater good.
xoxo michelle joy