Getting to the Heart of the Matter on my Bingeing
“In matters of the the heart, nothing is true except the improbable.” – Madame de Stael
As I’ve posted before, I am a binger. Okay, not a world-class binger or anything, I mean, I don’t purge, and I don’t do it everyday…I just do it enough that it is harmful to my psyche and body. So, eating disorder treatment is one of the reasons I’m going to counseling.
I got to meet with Jim (my therapist) this morning for the first time in about 2 months (his schedule didn’t permit, then mine didn’t, and well…you get the picture). It had been a long time coming, clearly, because I had a lot of junk built up in there. Perhaps that was a good thing, because I was able to identify (what I believe is) a pattern and it brought the source of my binges to the fore.
From what I’ve been able to deduce apparently, I want to binge when:
- I feel that I have been grossly misunderstood
- I feel that I am being accused of not handling a situation well
- I feel that my character is being assassinated
- I feel that I’m not getting credit for doing the “right thing”
I started each thought with “I feel” because that is the crux of it. I FEEL that these things are happening, when in reality, they probably are not (and perception is reality, right?) But, let me explain a little more.
I am pretty intuitive, and as a result, I tend to “pick up” a lot of stuff from people –– stuff that they aren’t even aware of. Now, in my past, this has served me well, because I’ve been able to help people, or diffuse difficult situations. I have generally always considered my ability to emotionally “intuit” as a mostly positive thing, with only a little negative stuff attached.
As an example, if I walk into a large gathering of people — especially a party — I tend to feel like a magnet for people’s insecurities, unhappiness, worries, discomfort, even joy and happiness. It all comes at me like little blow darts, and I feel like a voodoo doll. I used to think I hated parties because I was fat, but now that I am thin, I realize it is because of how I viewed my role at the party. I guess I thought it was up to me to make others feel comfortable, and that is why I would “allow myself” to be the recipient of their emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Ahhhh, but here’s the thing about that plan of attack: I have no way of knowing what others are feeling or thinking. Sometimes, THEY don’t even know what they are thinking or feeling, so how could I?
So, here is what I need to work on:
- I cannot know what others think or feel.
- I cannot know others’ motivation or intentions behind actions or words.
- I cannot allow others’ to judge me.
That last one is tricky sounding, I mean, I judge people all the time, and I know they judge me, so how do I stop them from judging me? The easiest answer is, I don’t. What I mean by that is — and these are Jim’s words that I must internalize: I have to stop assigning malicious attributes to people’s words and actions. My job is to believe that most people have a benevolent (at best) and benign (at most) reason behind what they do and say. Then, even if someone is judging me, I don’t have to accept it as truth, or acknowledge it as any more than a point of fact. In other words, there should be no emotion behind the thought. No judgment.
Here’s how it looks when I ALLOW people’s words to become judgments about me:
Someone can say something to me that I immediately want to interpret as mean. The next thing I typically do is take the comment and run down the road with it:
- Why are they so mean? (I judged them as if I know their motivation behind their words).
- What did I do to make them mad? (I immediately determined that they were mad, and that it was something I had done.)
- I didn’t do anything wrong. (I get defensive and start to find ways to correct their indiscretion.)
All of that happens in the blink of an eye.
Now, if it happens enough times at a particular event, then I can create the most fantastic mountain out of the most innocuous series of mole hills. Each of the shovels of dirt I add to my mountain are “justifiable” and make “perfect sense.” After all, I have to defend my position. I have to stop letting them get to me. I have to look for someone to make me feel better about myself to prove that the other person is wrong.
Anyway, there is much, much more to it than that, but I think you have the heart of the matter.
Moving forward, my job is to stop jumping to conclusions. Stop pretending I am so important that other people live for the sole purpose of making me happy, or making me look or feel bad. We are all selfish creatures, and virtually everything (if not absolutely everything) we do comes from that place of ego; that self. How will it make ME feel? That’s just human nature.
BUT, it’s what you do with it that matters most.
My goal is to begin assigning benign attributions to people’s actions — even if they SEEM blatantly or overtly malicious. That’s my first order of business. Once I do that, then I will move to the next step, which is to stop allowing others’ statements to become judgments that I automatically accept as true — meaning that I “think” I have to defend myself against them. The third thing is to stop looking at myself as if I am a target. I’m not a voodoo doll, and I’m not entering a sniper zone without a bullet proof vest. People in this world are not out to get me (I don’t mean that in a panicky, paranoid sort of way) — they are as wrapped up in their worlds as I am in mine.
So, that’s my therapy for the day. I’m going to work on it this weekend. Maybe I’ll make little flash cards for practice (LOL). I don’t know if anyone else can identify with this, but I’m just working stuff out here…