Finishing up with “Food: The Good Girl’s Drug” and I can honestly say, this has been the best book I’ve read this far to bring light to disordered eating (of all kinds). I’ve learned numerous ways to cope with failure/anxiety/anger/sadness outside of food. “Willpower” is no-longer needed since I have the tools.
The final step to beating binge eating is to write a disengaging letter to the person/event to which the disorder began… and that would be my Dad. It allows me to separate myself from the event and person, removing any blame I placed on myself for things that happened in my life to begin the disorder. The point is to get as raw and as real as you can, to let it all go so you can move on. I didn’t know if I’d have the strength or ability to write out this letter, but here it goes.
Dear Past Disappointment,
I hate what you did to our family. You felt as if being a “good” father meant to provide for us monetarily and went to extremes to do just that. What about my needs emotionally and being there for support? What about all of the soccer games, dance and piano recitals you missed, because you had a “buisness trip?” What happened to taking a regular job and being there for your family, for me? What happened to family dinners?
I grew up learning not to speak up for myself, not to talk out of turn… basically, not to talk at all. I didn’t want the screaming to begin again. M (my brother) was blamed for absolutely everything that went wrong in our house. It was miserable to be there and I would lock myself in my room, praying that the screaming would stop soon. You were out of control. Suddenly, you were so obsessed with having everything in order in the house and even after Mom would spend the whole afternoon cleaning, you’d rearrange things “your” way. I always felt like I was in the way. All I wanted was for Mom to take us away to Grandpa’s house, where we would be safe.
I grew up feeling like I’d never be enough, no matter how hard I tried. A- would never be good in your eyes. This fear has caused me to bow out of so many amazing opportunities; I feared trying almost anything I dreamed of doing because I always thought I’d fail.
For all of the damage your did and emptiness you left, I tried to fill those needs with another bowl of food. I felt like a bottomless, depressed pit. There were many occassions I felt I should just commit suicide, but you know how afraid I am of blood and of needles. It just seemed like that was the only option.
We could care less about all the fancy things you could provide for us with the new money. It didn’t replace the type of father I wanted to have. I would’ve easily given all of that back just to have the Dad you once were. Where did that guy go? When you started your new business, you left that caring, funny guy behind: the one who used to surprise me with flowers after ballet, the one I could count on to come home every night just before dinner time; the one who’d read stories to me and take our family on fun (not extravagant) vacations. I would stand on your shoes with my tiny feet and you’d twirl me around the kitchen. Where’s that guy? He was so calm, so at ease, so patient.
I’m not able to have any real conversations with you; I don’t want to be criticised for any decisions I make or how I choose to live my own life. Small talk is the very best I can do; it’s all I feel comfortable with.
I feel like I’d never be able to live up to the expections you have for my brothers and I. I don’t know where all of this chaos began. I do hope that in time, you’ll be able to have a change of heart and realize what you lost when you replaced your family with employees. I hope we can have a real father-daughter relationship one day.
Everyday that I wake up, work out and choose to eat right, I’m paving the way for a healthy life for myself. I’m deciding how I want my future to be. I won’t spend any more time, wallowing in the past. I won’t spend time stuffing my feeling and thoughts with junk food. I do have talent, I am capable and I will thrive.