Posted by: Judy | October 24, 2011

More on Chapter 3…

Last week, my sister had a great post on counselors. We Are One There is a Reason…

Interestingly enough, I also found myself in an unexpected situation with one of the books I’m reading. I’ve been reading Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward, for five or six years. I mentioned in Chapter 1 how the first question in her questionnaire set me in a tailspin for six months. Since then, the most I’ve been able to read all at one time is a section or two. Sometimes those sections are only a half a page long. I read it, and then I have to process it.

The home stretch is in sight now. I thought I could read a little faster. I’ve worked through a lot of what she’s talking about now. Easy. Not.

As I read, I thought I handled it fine. Then she assigned applying it to myself. Still, I was okay. Then she gave the very specific example of one of her clients. As usual, I nodded, and seemed to be fine. Her client was dealing with an alcoholic father. I let that kind of stuff sort of float over me, until now.

No, there weren’t explosions over alcohol. The drug of choice in our house was food. So much revolved around food. The boys could have it whenever they wanted, because they were growing. The girls could not. Being fat was ridiculed. I remember reading a book a while ago and feeling like I’d hit a brick wall when the two teenagers in the house took a bag of potato chips and a carton of ice cream to eat in their rooms, because they wanted it, and their mom didn’t respond to it. It was considered normal to go to the fridge and take what you wanted if you were hungry. It was a foreign idea to me. We were punished for being late to dinner, for keeping our mother from eating on time, for not being appreciative enough, for not helping enough, for taking too much, for not taking enough, for eating leftovers, for letting food spoil, for not realizing that those leftovers were being saved, for stealing food from the fridge or the cupboards. That food belonged to the family, not to me. And I only this moment realize how incredibly insane that sounds.

For the first time, I removed the word alcohol and put in food. And I exploded inside. I struggle with food problems. My relationship with food is frighteningly unhealthy, but I’m working on it. This was an eye-opener. I haven’t yet figured out how to change things to help me be healthier, but I have a better perspective now.

And yes, the book is being put aside for a little while, again, so I can process. One step at a time.


  1. Wow. just WOW. I hadn’t thought of putting food in the place of alcohol in the family dynamics but you are so right about everything. I flipped and did the opposite. My kids were taught that food was always available. Of course, you can have a snack 5 minutes before dinner and eating is my responsibility and no one can keep me from choosing to eat. One son told me how much he appreciated my obsession with food and making sure my kids knew it was available. 🙂

    • Go you!! I love that you let me snack on what’s at your house when I visit, though I always ask and wonder if maybe it isn’t okay… even when I know it’s perfectly FINE! The old response is dying a long, slow, painful death. That being said, I remember when I was too afraid to even ask.

      The problem here is that you can live without alcohol. You can’t live without food, so there’s no going cold turkey. Working on it.

  2. Always glad to share. 😉

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