Friday, August 14, 2009

Unwrapping the Mummy

I don't know how many of you are on Facebook, but people write random things that are happening in their lives, or observations about their lives. Very seldom does anyone write anything profound. Many people seldom post but just read everything everyone else writes.

I have some people as friends whom I don't know well at all and a few who I'm not quite sure how I became "friends" with them in the first place. I have a lot of people who play the same games as I do and I keep them in a separate group and seldom look at their posts. But among those whose posts I check there are some who trouble me.

What troubles me is some blatent codependency that almost screams from some of their posts. Pain and anger, ongoing victimization, resentment, and no clue how to deal effectively with the people who anger them.

Like I've stated before, everyone is codependent. If we don't really want to please others or help them, we're most likely sociopaths. But for some people, this desire is over the top. It was for me. As someone from a highly religious family I was groomed to be codependent. It was the woman's role. As someone with ADHD, a disorganized dreamer who couldn't keep a house neat or follow a complex recipe, I frequently failed in the housewife/mother role that I was raised to do, or thought I failed. Especially with a highly critical husband who thought I should be making up for his ADHD.

But man I tried so hard--tried so hard to be organized, to keep a clean house, to cook good meals, to keep everyone on schedule. And so much of it was done to try to please my ex and control his behavior towards me, and eventually his drinking, and to please my children, who, as we all know, will take that kind of ball and run with it.

And I ate. I ate to control the ADHD, yes, but I also ate to comfort myself and compensate myself for trying to be someone I was not. I'm sure that, just as my Facebook acquaintances anger and sense of victimization comes out in their posts, so did mine. There was no Facebook yet, but I know that when I talked to my friends, it came out. Many of them came from similar situations and had similar gripes.

Thank God for Alanon and for counseling where I learned to ignore so much of my husband's criticism, and to go ahead and do what I wanted to do and what I needed to do without his approval. That may have partly led to the divorce, since I was no longer wrapped up in trying to please.

And that was a good thing. It was a horrible experience but ultimately good for me. I learned how to give tough love in the years before, during, and after the divorce; and that's partly why I'm so successful as a teacher.

Codependency and food addiction are very much intertwined. When you are a people-pleaser you give away your integrity. You're not held together at the center with a strong sense of who and whose you are; so you give pieces of yourself away to everyone. People-pleasing becomes your identity. What's amazing is that you think you're doing God's will. And you expect the people around you to appreciate you. Instead, you're damaging the people around you and they don't appreciate it at all. And you've lost the person God created you to be.

You insulate your emotions with food because if the anger and hurt and resentment ever came fully to the surface, you feel like you'd fragment into a thousand shards. You wrap the fat around yourself like a giant bandage as well as a cushion to hold yourself together and protect yourself from the assaults of those you love the most.

So, I'm finally ready to unwrap the mummy and remove those bandages. I've done it before, but in the past when I've gotten to the end of the bandages, I would just roll myself right back up in them. Maybe I just felt too raw and naked without their protection.

Since I am not currently medicating myself with food, it does not surprise me that my ADHD is having a heyday. But emotionally and spiritually, I actually feel strong. Exposing myself to a wide audience through this blog, deliberately making myself vulnerable, letting everyone know this is who I am, these are my foibles, these are my assets, this is what I struggle with, has given me armor.

This gives me integrity. This gives me that strong center of knowing who I am and whose I am. And I know that if God be for me, who can stand against me.