Posted by fxckfeelings on May 1, 2014
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Unlike most pay-cable drama series, old relationships can often be best judged by how they end; bad relationships tend to leave you with lingering attachment and confusion, and good relationships can leave you feeling so free, you might even wonder whether you cared enough in the first place. Of course, what matters most is not whether a relationship leaves you feeling fettered or free, but what you did with it and how you carry it forward into the future. You might never get over how your relationship/Dexter ended, but if you look at your relationships in terms of effort, value, and achievement, instead of feelings alone, you will have no trouble finding positive meaning in what happens next.
I’m scared about trusting again. I met my now ex through a friend last year and the attraction was instant. When we met he was up front that he would be going traveling six months later for an indefinite period, but this was fine with me as I understand the need to travel. It was the easiest relationship either of us had been in, it just worked. At first, he changed his trip to come back every couple of months for some weddings, so we thought we would try long distance to see if it could work. Then, unexpectedly, he breaks up with me because he said he doesn’t love me and feels he should be madly in love with me by now. He also says he’s never been in love before (the butterflies in the stomach kind which I tried to explain wasn’t love but initial lust) even after being in long term relationships. I went through his phone and turns out he met someone while volunteering. the fact that he has left me for someone else and could replace me so quickly has crushed me. I feel betrayed but mostly feel so insignificant. My thoughts have become obsessive over it. My goal is to stop how feeling so horrible about myself.
When the one thing you and your beloved have in common is a belief in the power of close chemistry, you know you’re in trouble; that’s like having a relationship based on the fact that you’re currently sharing an elevator or a common cold. Don’t start planning your jubilee anniversary just yet.
Unfortunately, getting along quickly, easily, and intimately with a lover is never a good guarantee of anything other than that he’s someone with real sales potential.
The fact he intended to travel for a long, unlimited period of time and isn’t in his early 20s (I assume) also tells you that he values excitement over commitment, and the most exciting things in most long-term relationships is figuring out what to have for dinner.
Ask yourself how thoroughly you completed a due diligence character review before deciding he was a wonderful partner. You should have checked out his prior relationships and how they ended, as well as what he wanted to do with himself when he came home and whether he wanted a partner to do it with. It would be interesting to know how big a nest-egg he was using and how he planned to replenish it. These questions may not build romance or make good love songs, but they sure predict how things will turn out.
You were right to suspect that the value he places on good company might allow him to replace you pretty quickly, and probably before you knew you were history. Since friendship is all about having a good time together, there wouldn’t be much point in his continuing the relationship since you, clearly, were no longer having a good time or likely to be good company.
You’re absolutely right, you deserve someone who believes that you, and a relationship with you, is important. What you must screen out are people who feel that you’re important as long as you’re pretty, charming, and/or fun, and not for deeper reasons. You didn’t get dumped because you’re insignificant but because you didn’t make this distinction and protect yourself properly.
Let your pain teach you a good lesson, namely that it’s important to put a higher value on your definition of a serious relationship, and not to give your heart to someone who doesn’t take relationships as seriously as you do.
Hopefully, they’ll also be fun, at least some of the time, and enjoy traveling, but whether they are or not, you may someday find yourself thanking your ex, the wandering schmuck, for helping you learn what’s important to look for and hopefully for finding the real, not-temporary thing.
“I feel like I’m disposable to someone who seemed to think I was wonderful, but I know I did nothing wrong to lose his love. I may feel like shit, but I’ll accept my lesson in how to make better choices.”
I grew up with my wife, so we knew each other for most of our lives. We got married right after high school and were especially close when she died last year, so it seems very strange when a day goes by and I actually find myself having a good time. The kids give me a funny look when they see me smile, as if they can’t understand why I’m happy. Of course I miss her and often talk to her, but she was dying for two years and, now that it’s over, I can feel life getting easier and simpler. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m avoiding grief, or if I cared as much as I thought I did. My goal is to respect and value the most important relationship I had.
One thing you understand better than your kids is that a relationship is better defined by actions than feelings. It’s not that you didn’t have loving feelings for your late wife, but you’re also proud of the way you cared for her during her illness while also raising kids together. Without that actual achievement, loving feelings wouldn’t have meant nearly as much.
So don’t measure your love by how passionately distraught you are now that she’s gone; rely on your own experience and wisdom to define what’s meaningful about your love. It sounds like you could rely on one another and that you shared a dedication to the kids and one another’s lives and concerns for years. The way she lives in your heart is more important than the depth of your sorrow. Help the kids value what they shared with her, rather than dwelling on what they missed out on. Pain causes us to think about what we could or should have done or what might have made things better, so instead, lead them to think about the difference she made in their lives and the ways they helped her get through her illness.
If you feel more vulnerable and in need of support, be careful to find the right kind. Find a positive therapist or hang out with friends who are good at reminding you that your strength did not depend on your wife, and that you can find ways to keep your family life steady and manage loneliness as a surviving, single spouse without requiring an immediate partner.
A good marriage doesn’t leave a void that has to be filled or a grief that is more unbearable. It leaves you, in this case, with a strong family and confidence in your ability to keep it running the way you and your wife believed it should be. You know the advice she’d probably give you; to not make up criticism you don’t deserve while you get on with life and see how well you can manage the family on your own.
“I feel like the world should never be the same after the loss of my wife, and it isn’t, but we worked to build a world together, so if it seems, in some way, to continue on unchanged, that’s partly our doing and what I’ll continue to do until something better comes along.”
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 17, 2014
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Timing isn’t just a crucial factor in comedy and decent microwaved popcorn, but also in finding relationships, especially when you’re reentering the dating scene after a long absence. Some people decide they shouldn’t try again because they got hurt, and some that they should just to relieve loneliness. In truth, however, some hurt people have good reasons to keep dating and some lonely people are likely to get into trouble if they try it. So don’t let feelings guide your dating decisions. The most important thing to consider when timing your return is whether dating is worth doing and whether you have the skills to manage the risks. Then, whether it works out or not, you’ll know you made the right decision, and you’ll know when the time is right.
I’m in my early 50s, and newly widowed after my husband’s extended illness. I’ve been lonely for a long time, he had Alzheimer’s and was like a child for many years. Recently, I joined a dating site and met a number of men. In the last three months, I’ve had eight sexual partners. I decided to get testing done for STDs and found out that I have hepatitis B. I ‘m not really sure whom I contracted it from, and not sure if that matters. I have advised all of my partners of my diagnosis. My question is, how do I go on from here? I’m scared of what this diagnosis means, and embarrassed to be in this situation. I can’t tell my family or friends because they would be appalled that I was having casual sex, and a couple of my partners have been nasty and threatening. I had hoped to eventually pursue a healthy long-term relationship, but now I feel dirty and like damaged goods.
To endure a husband’s suffering and early death from Alzheimer’s is a major achievement, at least to anyone who knows how hard it is to watch someone slip away bit by bit and not be able to mourn him or move on because he’s not yet gone. It’s a harrowing experience that would leave anyone struggling to find her footing.
Whatever other feelings your brain may throw your way, or however you explore your post-married life, you deserve to feel pride. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on August 29, 2013
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Whether you believe in a particular psychotherapy or find the very prospect of head-shrinkery scary, don’t let the emotions that draw you towards or away from the therapist’s couch drive your treatment decisions. Develop your own fact-based procedures for deciding whether you’re fucked-up enough to need therapy and, if so, whether there’s a treatment that isn’t too risky and has a good enough track record. Maybe we’d all like the experts to figure that out and make such decisions for us, but we’re better off picking the brains of experts and then making treatment decisions, pro or con, for ourselves.
Please note: We’re taking next week off for a long-deserved summer vacation, but look forward to hearing about your back-to-school/work misery when we return.
How long is too long to be in therapy? I have been in therapy for four years now, and it has helped enormously. I went into therapy initially because of a trauma situation, but I don’t want to stop, even though I’ve long worked through that trauma, because I still think I can benefit. Still, now that I reached the four-year mark, I’m wondering, how long is too long?
If you’ve read this blog, you’re probably aware of our belief that the most important goal of mental health treatment is seldom to relieve all your pain; that’s usually an impossible pursuit, or one that just shifts the pain from your head to your wallet and your friends, who are sick of hearing about what you learned in therapy.
The better goal of therapy is to use it to figure out how to prevent that pain from interfering with the way you think about, and lead, your life, and lucky for you (and us), your question reflects this healthy priority. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on May 23, 2013
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As we often say, approaching dating as a “search for love” is like trying to keep people safe by starting a “war on terror;” since you can’t date love and you can’t kill hate, your quest is likely to be frustrating. Sometimes people doing a mate-search have a good idea about what to look for but don’t have the good work habits they need for the job. Others with fine work habits get staggered when the carefully chosen prince or princess they kiss turns out to be a frog. Remember, unless you’re very lucky, any search requires both a disciplined method and an acceptance of the fact that good matches are hard to find. The less romantic you are in your methods, the more romantic you can let yourself feel later on, but at the outset, figure out exactly who, not what, you’re looking for, in order to have good—or any—results.
I’ve struggled with depression several times in the past (that I’ve gotten out of through exercise, counseling and little cognitive therapy workbooks), so sad feelings are hardly new to me. But the sudden way they come about lately has me really freaked out. I actually like my job. If I let my work pay for more schooling, and I stick with it, I could make a really good life for myself. These mood swings seem to mostly exaggerate sad feelings I already have about not getting any and might be related to PMS, although I’ve never had period-related mood swings like this before in my life. Despite being an attractive, young girl that likes to go out and be social, I’ve never had a long-term boyfriend. I’m so frustrated that I can’t find a guy that I’m both attracted to and think is a good person, and that likes me back. (Habits like spending money on expensive clothes instead of student loans, and drinking lots on the weekends don’t help.) I eventually want babies (I think I would be a great mom), a partner, a garden, and to be a good person so my goal is to somehow control these mood swings, and maybe take online dating a little more seriously. I just want your opinion first.
From what you’ve said, my opinion isn’t far from your own; your values and goals are good, but your habits and mood swings aren’t. You’ve found a job you care about and want to get better at, but between dips of depression, drinking, and being distracted by the wrong guys, you’re stuck.
It’s not unusual for depression to push people into bad habits, like drinking and other feel-better-now-sorry-later activities, just in case the disease alone isn’t doing enough to make you feel like a pathetic loser who can’t get work done or have normal social relationships.
As you’re well aware, it takes time, lots of practice, and even worksheets to keep your perspective and hold your ground against an invasion of negative depressive thoughts. If you want my opinion on that specifically, I think it sucks, but there’s no way around it, and drinking only makes them worse. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on May 13, 2013
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While it’s said that you only hurt the ones you love, it would be more honest to say that you only hurt the ones who love you. What’s worse, that hurt usually comes from pushing them away when they’re trying too hard to help. Trying to redeem or heal someone, or yourself, through caring and communication usually does less rescuing and more repulsing. After all, if one or both people can’t consistently manage their own responsibilities, honest talk and helpfulness does little but make excuses and turn love into prolonged anguish. Develop a reasonable set of standards about what a person should do to take care of him/herself, before you offer or ask for help. Otherwise, you’ll earn all too well how true the “help until it hurts” saying is.
My friend and I have feelings for each other, which are no secret to either of us—we had kissed and had even gotten close to having sex but when it came down to being completely honest about our feelings we couldn’t do it. I knew this was unhealthy but I was scared because not only are we both guys but we both had a lot of issues when it came to love. He would say things like, “I don’t know what I want,” and “Don’t fall in love with me.” It was confusing because before that he would be asking me to “make love to him” and had even said, “I love you” twice. I know that part of it was fear of being with another guy. Then, two months ago, I got into a car accident because I was drunk. He was there but, luckily, no one was hurt. Now he says he’s forgiven me, but he has also picked up a girlfriend, which was a shock to me and it hurt. In the beginning we had great chemistry but then we lost that when we stopped being honest with each other. I believe it happened when feelings started getting intense. I want for us to stop hurting each other and start being honest. I’m not sure how to do this and it is breaking my heart. I wouldn’t mind being his friend if he would just stop playing games or whatever this is with me. Is he just confused or being cruel? I can’t make up my mind.
Hollywood wisdom is that women don’t like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but given how far-fetched your average romantic comedy is, that’s simply untrue. A movie about two people with great chemistry overcoming impossible circumstances by having a heart-to-heart and ending up happily ever after is built on a reality so false, it makes The Hobbit look plausible.
While that good, honest talk solves all romantic problems in TV/movie fantasyland, frustration like what you’re experiencing in real life is more often due to the other things that you’ve mentioned troubling you and your friend: confusion, fear, and uncertainty about who each of you wants to be with and who you want to be. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on May 9, 2013
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For parents of kids in high school, it often seems like your goal is to get your kid through school, and your kids’ goal is to find every way possible to get distracted. Some of those distractions, like video games or music, are harmless, while others, like drugs or serious relationships, can go from a diversion to totally destructive. Sometimes when a kid seems over-interested in romantic relationships, it’s because the relationship with school needs work, but other kids would chose relationships over the best school in the world, just because of how they’re wired. In any case, parents, it’s important for you not to show anger or fear, regardless of how you really feel. Instead, if you can, sell the kid on school, sell the school on working with your kid, and if that doesn’t work, it’s time to homeschool your kid in managing intense sexual relationships. As long as you avoid guilt and blame, you can be a great teacher, no matter what curriculum you’re forced to use.
I’m 14 this year and in my second year of high school, and in my area there are a couple schools that I could’ve gone to. Unfortunately, there was only one co-ed school, and it had a “bad reputation.” My parents forced me to go to the other school, an elite girls school, instead. I didn’t like it even before I started going there, but I never knew it would be this bad. It’s really strict and I actually hate not having boys around. I’ve never been boy crazy but now I feel like I can’t stand it. And this year, I discovered this good co-ed school that I originally thought was far away but is actually closer than the school I go to now. I can’t rest until I get to move schools, but how do I convince my parents to let me move without telling them that I want boys in my life? They’re not the incredibly unreasonable strict type, so they wouldn’t have forced me to go to a single sex school if there wasn’t a choice. Still, I can’t say that I hate it because it’s a girls school! They’d never let me move because of that. It may sound silly but I’ve gotten really depressed recently. The school also has lots of other different problems, mainly the strict part. I hate strictness. It kills me, and I just want to be free. I feel like I’m suffocating and I can’t escape.
We rarely get letters from readers in their teens, probably because, when you’re fourteen, developing an independent view of the world and living under your parents’ absolute authority, feelings are one of the few things under your own control. It seems natural that your average adolescent’s response to a site called fxckfeelings.com would be “fuck you dot org.”
That said, we’re glad to hear from someone young, and it’s important during this stage to seek knowledgeable outside opinions, especially because so much of your time is spent with the same group of teachers and other kids your age. School can feel a lot like jail, except you learn things way more valuable than how to make wine in a toilet. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 15, 2013
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Like a pain threshold, need to buy a Hank Williams record, and Jesus, a true appreciation of what’s important only seems to become clear when our lives seem most meaningless or most precious. When everything seems to be going wrong for yourself, or a loved one is going through his or her last days, you can feel like a helpless, frustrated loser, at least at first. Once you realize, however, that you’re just a human being who doesn’t have much control over the really bad things in life, you can stop feeling like a loser and start gaining perspective about what’s really important, like doing good and being good, with or without country music.
I am 40 years old and have gone from a size 4 to a size 14 in very little time. Basically, I love food and drink, but I also take spin classes three times a week. I feel like no one will ever love me for who I am “on the inside” now that I’ve gotten this big, especially because I didn’t have a boyfriend until I got skinny in college. I had been seeing a therapist for four years, but my limited funds have gotten in the way. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think that to be loved meant to be thin. I want to convince myself that, like so many before me, being big doesn’t mean being unlovable, and to be ok with my weight, because I am beautiful with it (right?). How do I put my self-confidence out there again? I have a bunch of Percocets from a recent surgery, and while body image is not the only thing I struggle with, I think about those pills all the time. To date, they have been my medal of honor. They are here, and I am strong enough to leave them there, so far. Help.
It’s hard not to be lonely, dateless, and getting nowhere with diet and exercise, without feeling bad about your life. You feel ugly inside and out, in an ugly, unfair world, often from the vantage point of on an ugly, un-fun fake bike.
You want to empower yourself and you’re willing to work hard, but when nothing’s going your way, the confidence often just doesn’t come and the weight won’t go away. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re a failure, or even that the world is quite as ugly as it seems.
It means you’re not lucky, at least not yet, even though you’re doing lots of good things to make your life better. You’re doing right by yourself, but as much as we all like to get inspired by stories of self-empowerment, the truth is, it has its limits. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on April 1, 2013
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Since we now live in a mostly-online world where everything is a loss/”fail” or victory/”for the win,” it’s normal to regard death as the ultimate fail since we’d give almost anything to prevent it from happening to ourselves and those we love (although if it happens to our worst enemies, it’s a win situation, even if most of us wouldn’t even admit that in Youtube comments). In reality, we disrespect our humanity by considering ourselves defeatable by something we don’t control, and what we do with ourselves and our family and friends when someone is dying or otherwise afflicted is what makes us great/gives us p0wnage of mortality, at least for a little while.
After 15 years of homelessness, prison, jails, rehabs, psych meds, medication management, horrific poly substance abuse, and occasional hopeful stints of sobriety, our son overdosed two months ago. He was 30 years old.
All the years of fear, guilt and depravity notwithstanding, his father and I miss him terribly. I won’t go into the efforts (financial, emotional, time) to get/keep him sober that consumed our entire family for the last decade. Lets just say our son’s use of his drug of choice, heroin, has been the 24/7 of our lives. I could write a book about police cars in the driveway, family sessions I’ve sat through with green rehab “counselors” who appeared to be clinging tenuously to not using themselves, and the finer points of being frisked by zealous prison guards.
Some days, like today, all I can remember is what a horrible slog it’s been. Other days I remember my son’s big, kind heart when he was himself, his ability to read a room, and the way he only talked when he had something to say.
I’ve examined our family life over and over, and I had pretty much come to grips with the past, and the present. The future was plainly jails, institutions, or death. I knew all this, and had many sleepless nights to steel myself for the inevitable.
Of course when the inevitable arrives, it is a total sledgehammer to the heart and mind. The worst part is this: his father and I had kicked him out of our home (again) where he was living (again) because he was shooting Xanax. He actually got the Rx for Xanax from the same doctor that prescribed his Suboxone (why heroin addicts should not be prescribed Benzodiazopines is another post). Later that night he died of an overdose from a lethal mix of Xanax and heroin.
So, he is dead, after we pushed him out in an argument. No goodbyes, no “I love you,” just unkind and hurtful words.
In a way I feel this was our son’s final selfish act, leaving me a lifetime of guilt and replaying that night he left over and over in my mind. I feel I’ll go crazy if it doesn’t stop. I don’t want to live this way for the rest of my natural life.
[Please note: We usually edit submissions for length and clarity, but we felt this was so well-written that it should be left almost entirely intact. If the author ever follows through on her threat to write a book, we would read it.]
The usual way we judge ourselves as parents is by the way we help our kids survive and grow, even if we can’t make them happy. That standard is usually fair, unless your child suffers from a disease that nobody and nothing control, from doctors and medication, to the child or the parents who feel responsibility for his/her survival.
The toughest thing in the world then is to judge yourself properly when you still can’t stop your son from dying, unhappily, in the midst of drug abuse and conflict. It’s a mix of every kind of hell, because you feel you’ve failed, that he failed, and that the universe has failed everyone involved.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where nice kids get addicted to horrible drugs, nice parents can’t save them, and part of the illness of addiction is that the kids fuck up again and again, and you can’t keep them at home when they do. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on January 17, 2013
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It’s often been said that if you want to make god laugh, make a plan, but this is not the case for people dealing with mental illness, mostly because of all the pain you have to accept before you even get to the plan-making stage. If you ignore that pain, you’re a dumb ostrich who will make an avoidant plan, but if you focus too much on it, you develop a ruminative plan and become your problem. So brace yourself for unavoidable pain, prepare to do two things at once, and plan away. Then your choices will take you as close as possible to where you want to be, and your plan, or at least your ability to make one, will make any higher power proud.
I have a big problem getting myself to study. I do things late and then don’t get good grades, or I don’t get anything done, or I stop somewhere in the middle. I guess I have a problem with concentration and also with laziness. I’ve also done this thing since I was a little child where I turn on music, I sit on a couch or my bed and rock myself, hitting my back towards the backrest of the couch, sometimes it takes hours, sometimes it’s quite quick, like half an hour. I also have quite low self-esteem, not sure what is the reason…I am trying to overcome it somehow but it always gets to me again and I have to deal with it and then I have these days like I do not want to get up—I can’t think of a reason to, and I do not want to go anywhere and I am scared of everything. Sometimes I feel like people are watching me and criticizing me and I don’t want to go to the market because I don’t want to deal with anyone. Sometimes I eat a lot because I am in that crazy mood and I feel bad about it, not because I’ll gain weight (maybe a little bit) but especially because of my health… I criticize myself a lot. I write something or say something and in a while I hate it even if the first impression about it was really good. So… I might be a little bit screwed up I guess… I would be thankful for some opinion or advice what to do with all this.
You’ve certainly got a ton of problems, including trouble concentrating, studying, getting up in the morning, keeping your weight under control, dealing with paranoid thoughts, etc. (but hopefully not memory, because I’d have to think there are even more issues you forgot and left out).
The big question to ask yourself, however, is not what’s wrong with you and to count all the ways, but what you’ve done with your life in spite of these problems. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »
Posted by fxckfeelings on December 13, 2012
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Given how little we control our own urges, it’s not surprising that we also have trouble controlling our reactions to them, but it is odd how often those reactions are totally wrong. Brains have a pretty good track record with instincts; get thirsty when hot, get sleep when tired, get away when near snakes, etc. When people get urges that are humiliating, however, even when they’re doing a good job of controlling them, they wrongly blame themselves, but when they get controlled by noble urges, even when they’re causing terrible harm, they give themselves a pass. So, however much you love or hate your urges, don’t give yourself a hard time about stigma or anti-stigma. Instead, remember your own moral priorities and ask yourself whether you’re doing the right thing with whatever urges, pretty or ugly, that you got, and to avoid snakes.
I have yo yo’d with my weight for ever—I was 8 years old when I remember going on my first diet, and I had binged by lunch time. I have seen a psychologist regularly in the past and a psychiatrist more recently, and been diagnosed with a binge eating disorder as well as melancholic depression. I also have a history of being sexually abused when I was a child and required hospitalization once for an attempted suicide (prior to diagnosis) and have been on various anti-depressants. Last year I decided to press charges against my abuser and the investigation is still taking place. This was very big for me as previously I couldn’t speak about or put into words to anybody what had happened to me, but with the professional help over years, could make a police statement. I have managed to get into a healthy weight range many times in the past, but only when on a program like Jenny Craig or weight watchers, and I resent having to do these programs and can’t commit to them after I have done them once, but I can’t seem to stay in this healthy way of life on my own. I am either losing weight or putting weight on– my thought are always around food, what when and where I can eat next. I hide most of my eating from everyone including my husband. I feel like a drug addict and don’t know how to take control of my eating. I do really well in my career and other areas of my life, I just can’t flip this switch that turns me into a zombie when I want to eat. I read everything I can about these disorders, I talk about strategies with my mental health professional, but when the urge to eat takes over I go into a zone that I can’t switch myself out of. How can I stop this pattern?
Having an eating disorder is rough, but it’s even worse if you give yourself a disorder about your disorder, giving yourself a hard time for having a hard time. It’s especially unnecessary given the fact that it’s harder to find someone with complete control over unhealthy food impulses than it is to find a unicorn.
Almost everyone has trouble controlling eating habits, as evidenced, not just by the multi-billion dollar industry devoted to weight management (which, as you’ve discovered, is no silver bullet), but by the fact that very few people get permanent weight control without surgery. In reality, of course, as much as we try to control our weight, more often, it controls us. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »