Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Toxic Relationship...

So, this weekend was great! I went backpacking with my dad at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We did a 12 mile total hike (6 miles in, 6 miles out) and camped overnight in the woods. This wasn't your "girly" camping trip w/ a campsite and restrooms and little grills. This is a 2,000 foot drop on our 6 miles in, and 2,000 feet uphill on the way out. This was peeing in the woods, making freeze-dried food and oatmeal via a fire, and basically "living off the land". It was also very physically strenuous carrying a pack while hiking!

HOWEVER, I am NOT complaining. Because it was AMAZING. I bonded with my dad SO much, and really opened up to him about my struggles. And he took the time to listen. We sat in the tent playing cards and just...talking. And sleeping out in the wild made me really appreciate nature to its fullest. It was beautiful. It was also such a nice feeling of camaraderie among hikers. Also, backpacking is a great lesson on moderation. You only pack the food, clothing, and supplies you NEED--nothing more, nothing less. So, it was a really great experience and I'm STILL sore!


Now, on to the title of this post....

Last night, my mom and I got into a fight. Not just a little tiff, but literally an EPIC BATTLE. We both said some hurtful things. I won't go into detail, but basically I am starting to realize that my relationship with my mother is making recovery more difficult. It is harsh but true. Does anyone else have this problem?

There is a lack of TRUST. There is a lack of COMMUNICATION. There is a lack of UNDERSTANDING. And even my dad was angry at her. I'm realizing that the reason I'm such a perfectionist by nature is because growing up, I was always--and still am--trying to please her. No matter what I did/do, it just never quite measured up. For example, here's a typical conversation we'd have about school:

Me: "Mom, I got a B on my Biopsych test! I'm so excited!" (Biopsych is the hardest class I've taken in college)
Mom: "Oh, that's good I guess...but couldn't you have gotten an A?"

whereas my dad would say that as long as I truly studied hard and did my absolute best, that's great. And the sad thing is, even with ED full-force last semester, I got a 3.9 GPA. I got all A's and ONE A-. And yes, my parents are proud, but I feel like I never measure up to my mom. She always brags about Ryan (my older brother) and how he went to the Naval Academy and now he's a Marine Officer and he's going to flight school and blah blah. And Colleen, oh yeah...she goes to college. 

I'm not blaming my brother, and I'm not even trying to place blame on my mom for my disorder. HOWEVER, I have realized that she beats me down, even about little things, and that's where yesterday's fight began. My mom had a rough childhood with an alcoholic, abusive mother, and I think she never learned to stand up for herself. And my mom certainly is not abusive, and I love her dearly, and she is wonderful in many ways.

But when it comes to my ED, she doesn't listen. She doesn't trust me or believe in me. She already told me she doesn't think I'll make it through the semester. She thinks I'll fall back into my old ways. She thinks I will never get over this. But yet, she gets mad at me when I try to tell her I'm struggling. When I'm honest about the demons I am facing, she pushes me away. I don't think she wants to deal with my ED because it's inconvenient for HER.

I know in my heart that she isn't intentional when she says certain things, and that it's probably been incredibly difficult for her after all these months. However, I am realizing (and even my dad told me this) that now, at this point in my life, it is absolutely imperative that I be as selfish as possible. I need to focus on me. I need to stand up to my ED and stand up for ME. And if that means standing up to my mother, so be it.

It's going to be rough, but I really want my mom and I to work on our relationship so we can both be at peace with each other. I love her more than words can describe, but when it comes to my eating disorder, sometimes I'm afraid she'll never treat me the same or trust me EVER AGAIN. How can I have faith in my own recovery when she doubts me?

Does anyone else have issues like these? Sorry for the long rant. Most of you probably didn't read the whole thing anyway lol.


OK, well, off to Yoga at 6. Hopefully it'll relax me. Then we're supposed to watch a movie together, all 3 of us, tonight. (Revolutionary Road, I think...mom just started her free trial of Netflix and it came in the mail today.)


  1. I know exactly how you are with your mum. I am exactly the same with my dad and I have cut him off until I get to a better place cos he always says horrible triggering things (even when you tell him not to!) You definitly dont need that kinda shit right now and yes, it is all about YOU at the moment :)

    I love that kinda camping!! Planning a tip like that myself at some point this summer. Woop

  2. Your camping trip sounded a lot of fun, way to go with all that hiking to! I like those types of camping trips where you really do go properly and rough it for a while :-).

    I know how you feel about the situation with your mum, my ED has caused some major friction in my family at times. At the minute though my parents stay back and out of it and let me be for the most part mainly because I think they realise its my problem and are letting me deal with it in my way. So that does help things a bit.

    I know Ive always felt I was never good enough or never as good as my sisters and I compare myself to much to them. I think people with EDs do this a lot, compare themselves and feel as though they arent good enough, so your not alone there.
    One thing you dont need is your mum making comments like that though. Maybe deep down she just doesnt know how to deal with you having an ED, like shes disappointed for you because of the way its affect you and she can maybe see how its hindering you from getting on with life properly and so she ends up taking her frustration for the illness out on you in the wrong way?
    Ok sorry for the rambling, I dont know if any of that made sense or helped but just wanted you to know your not alone.


  3. You've made me want to go camping so much now!
    I love being out in nature at night, the amazing number of stars you can see is amazing!
    I totally have these issues, sometimes people get upset with me because they know how much my ED hurts them so they think every time I struggle I'm just launching a personal attack on them, which of course I'm totally not!
    It can be so hard living with people who just don't seem to fully understand!
    xx Katie.


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