My “biggest” legacy

Probably the biggest legacy, pun intended, of my child sexual abuse is my weight.  I am very obese.  I don’t think this is unusual for survivors – without over-generalizing I believe that many people find the extra weight to be a protective barrier – a way to keep people and unwanted touch at bay.

For my part, my mother used to yell and scream at me that if I got any fatter nobody would want me.  “Good,” I would think to myself, “I hope that includes you.”

The weight didn’t keep everyone away, but it filtered out the noise.  I stopped feeling sexual.  I could find intimacy when I wanted it, for the most part, but I didn’t have to fend people off.  I could isolate – something I love until I hate it.  Unfortunately I became a binge over-eater in much the same way my mother was an alcoholic.  Now that I want it to stop I can’t quite get it under control.

Something trips my panic button when I start to lose weight.  I start to feel vulnerable. Today someone remarked on how pretty my eyes looked and I wanted to vomit.  And yet I am married, and we have a mostly functional sex life.  At least he does.

It’s all so very tricky, sorting this stuff out.  I want to stop living like a victim and start living like a survivor.  My mother’s got a choke hold on me from the grave and I know it doesn’t have to be that way.

I still can’t fathom the perversity that caused her to act out her sick fantasies on me, and I still feel tremendous guilt and shame for the fact that at some point I gave in and started going along with it.  I know that’s a survivor trait…it was me finding a way to live through it.  But it still screws with my head.

I’m knew to this healing thing, so trying not to be too hard on myself.  I’m looking forward to the other side.

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2 thoughts on “My “biggest” legacy

  1. Hi,

    I’m sorry that you carry shame and guilt. It is easy to look at it from a distance and say that is cooperating, going along. It wasn’t. You didn’t have a lot of choices or power. You probably don’t have all your memories of abuse and so you are concluding something with only a few of the facts.

    They were our mothers. We needed them to love us, care for us, and protect us. We were little children and not capable of saying yes, not legally, not morally, not ethically, not in any way.

    If we cannot say no and be safe from sexual assault, any yes, even an unspoken one, is not consent. In no way are you to blame or at fault for what happened. No child is capable of not being colonized in the mind to the point that they comply, at times, and that is not consent, that is psychological and emotional damage from being sexually assaulted.

    I too have weight issues, it is a big part of being a mdsa survivor to me. I have had interactions with my mdsa survivors who had huge weight issues. I too get very triggered when losing weight. I am really getting to the bottom of that issue for me. For me it is about being thin and being vulnerable and weak to being sexually abused again. I find even the sight of a thin woman deeply scary and disturbing because she looks like she is starving and going to be attacked. Since I am able to see the cause of the issue from my mother, her obesity and obsession with food, etc, I have found that I can look at someone and feel that way and can finally start talking myself out of those beliefs, though I think this issue will take me some time. I also know that it is possible to heal this.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

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