Let me start by saying that I used to detest 'battered' women-those who stayed too long all the while being abused. I thought they were weak, or stupid, or both. That was until I became one myself.
And yes, yes, I KNOW that ultimately we all put the food into our OWN mouths. And I know that dieting is 80% food, 10% exercise, and 10% mental, but I would argue that STAYING thin or not getting fat to begin with is 80% mental.
So last night I am laying in bed with hubby and somehow I get onto talking about my ex-fiance-I think it started with bitching about P90X and building muscle.
You see, my ex Jack* (*names have been changed to protect the douchey) was a professional athlete. I was still an athlete at that time, we met at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and it was a fast and furious love. Everything was wonderful, and after a year and some months we got engaged.
He was funny and confident, and made me feel sexy yet smart. When we lived together and moved off the Olympic complex, things were good. For a few years things were good. Then he started pushing me to set a wedding date, and I kept changing the subject. In my head, I was not sure why I did this-now I look back and am SO glad I did.
After about 3 years together, little things started to annoy me. He ate alot, he had to since he burned at least 10K calories a day working out, but he NEVER did his dishes yet ate ALOT of meals. And he never cleaned the bathroom, or straigtened up, or even mowed the yard. Come to think of it, he NEVER helped around the house, and when I asked he got defensive and somehow managed to turn it into an argument and back around on me. That I was lazy and messy...
Did I mention I owned our house, and paid all the bills myself? Yeah, no shit.
Then I noticed him making inside jokes aside to certain girls he knew, or emailing certain girls casually. I asked about them and wanted to be in on the jokes. Maybe my tone ended up being accusatory, but that was months after asking about them calmly and in a round about way. Even when I asked casually, he got defensive, turned it around and into a huge argument, and it always ended up with me being 'crazy and paranoid'.
I realize now that this was about the time I started to eat. When I was home by myself stewing, when he would storm out the door because I had 'accused' him. And I would eat when he would get so angry that he would push me around (dude was huge and crazy strong), and I would eat some more when I was begging him not to leave me after he would flip an argument into being my fault. And I would eat when I would see random numbers calling him, or him taking his phone into the bathroom with him, or him walking out of the room when these girls would call.
When he dumped me and moved out, I begged him to stay-I offered him everything I had (if you get my drift), I begged to keep some connection with him. And I ate some more. I gained 15 pounds after we broke up in the two weeks prior to my best friends wedding in which I was to be a bridesmaid-yes this can happen if you try really hard apparently. I was a cow those pictures, had to alter the dress emergently, and was a mess on my BF's big day. I will never forgive myself. I was with him for 5 years, I let myself be treated like shit for at least 2 years of those 5, and I cried myself to sleep(as quietly as I could because he would get mad) more times than I could count.
What's more, after I realized he had been cheating, after we broke up, after seeing the PI's photos (yes I hired one), I snapped out of it. I stopped taking his calls, opening his emails, rebuked his efforts to get back together. I freed myself from the battered syndrome, because I was not crazy and paranoid afterall, and I was certainly not lucky to have him. I took a year off from men completely, and lost 70 pounds.
I swore I would not go for the athlete again, not be attracted to the stigma, and would find someone who had a career and could support himself. So I started dating another guy, Steve*-not very good looking, but worked alot and had money. I had nothing to fear, right?? Then I watched him OPENLY flirt with other girls right in front of me, followed him and another girl in a parking lot from a party we were at and caught him right before he tried to kiss her. I made him a nice cross stitched pic, very masculine, and it was all I could afford after I started grad school, and he LAUGHED at it. When I got upset because he mocked it after I had worked on it for MONTHS, he stormed out. It was happening again. This time, I knew he was cheating on me, I saw the emails, and I was looking pretty closely this time. But I still gained 40 pounds as I saw him fall all over girls that I could never become-over and over and over. We broke up, he wanted to still be best friends, I said hell no, I cut the cord quick and that was that.
I let myself get treated like shit AGAIN-and though Steve did not yell at me the way Jack did, he still trounced my soul and crushed my confidence. And I let him do it, and that is my fault. But their being assholes was NOT my fault. Them pounding my confidence was NOT my fault-what they did to me mentally, how they treated me, was not my fault. Eating to feel better, yes that was me. But being paralyzed inside, no matter how I tried to suppress or stuff those feelings, was 80% of the battle while getting fat.
So I guess my lessons were:
1. Don't let anyone treat you in a way that you would be embarrassed to tell your friends or family about
2. Relationships that are not close to 50-50 in effort won't last long
3. When instinct tells me he is cheating, it's true almost ALL of the time (actually my private investigator told me that)
4. Don't ever let anyone or anything have so much control over you that you actually HARM yourself
5. NO ONE is worth crying yourself to sleep over
6. Stuffing your feelings with food doesn't make them go away, it just makes you fat
7. There are nice guys around, even if you have to go to Iowa to find them ;-)
Sorry for the long post!