Posted by: Judy | October 25, 2012

Really difficult blogs…

Possibly triggering material ahead and definitely gross.

Over at Jonsi’s blog she talked about food:

Then Vanci blogged about food:


They both wrote great posts. I couldn’t comment on either one. In fact, I could only bring myself to skim them. If you’ll check the dates on these posts, you’ll realize how long this post has been sitting in the queue, waiting to see the light of day.

Then things happened and I knew I had to make some changes to my health program: REAL

Food is a huge stumbling block for me. I’ve mentioned in my book some of the reasons why. I’m reiterating them here because there is no around, only through.

My earliest memory is sharing the family dog’s food. I had IBS as a child. NM put me on the BRAT diet : Bananas Rice Applesauce Toast. I would improve. She would put me back on regular food, and I’d be sick again. Back on the BRAT diet I would go. I was three or four. (I’m stuffing ice cream while I write this.) I was on the BRAT diet for over a year. During that time, I would share the family dog’s food. I felt guilty for sometimes taking two kibble and only giving her one. This used to be one of NM’s favorite stories to tell, anyone who would listen. She thought it was so funny. I think one of my cousins told her, a few years ago, it wasn’t funny. At least I haven’t heard the story in a while. How did I end the BRAT diet? I lied. I told NM I wasn’t sick, even when I was.

One of my other early memories has to do with oatmeal. I remember it like it was last week. Breakfast was cooked oatmeal. I was served a large bowl. I was able to choke down about three spoonfuls and threw up in the bowl. It was dumped, and I was given a fresh bowl. I made it through one or two spoonfuls and threw up in the bowl. It was dumped, and I was given a fresh bowl. I threw up again. I don’t remember how many bowls I went through. It may have been only the three, or it may have been more. From there, I only remember the last bowl. I’d gone through the clean bowls, and NM used a mixing bowl. She sat down with me and fed me like a baby. Threatening me to open my mouth, chew, and swallow. I don’t know how many spoonfuls I made it through. I only know I finally threw up all over her, the floor, and the wall. I thought she would kill me. I expected her to yell at me some more. She smiled and said, “I guess you can’t eat it.” Looking back with what I know now, I think her reaction is more chilling than if she’d punished me. At the time, I was simply relieved she wasn’t going to spank me.

The food battle continued. When I came home from eating over at someone’s house chatting about how much I enjoyed eating, she stopped allowing me to eat at anyone’s house.

I knew I had a problem with whole grains. I didn’t understand it. I only knew when I had white rolls or bread at someone else’s house, I wasn’t sick like I was whenever I ate the whole wheat bread my NM made. When I explained I felt better eating white bread I was accused of trying to be a rich brat. No white bread for me, ever. NM even started making her pizza dough with whole wheat.

Breakfast was whole wheat mush. Lunch was a sandwich on whole wheat bread. Dinner used whole wheat noodles or bread or brown rice.

Last straw: I’ll use tuna casserole as the example for all the other meals. NM started changing the recipe. She would ask me if I liked it. I would say I did. She would change it and ask me if I liked it. If I said I liked it, she would change it. When I told her I didn’t like it, that was how she would make it from then on, claiming she never made it the same way. I finally realized she was deliberately making food I could not or would not eat.

To the rest of the world, NM tells people she is careful to not force her children to eat certain foods because she knows they have food allergies. She informed me I didn’t have to eat it. I could go hungry and frequently did.

NM would scold me for eating the leftovers in the fridge. My brothers were allowed to eat what they wanted when they wanted. One of them took sick pleasure in encouraging me to defy NM, knowing NM would tear a strip off me. He watched and smiled while she yelled at me. He then encouraged me to defy her again. I couldn’t believe he wanted to see me hurt. I didn’t understand that if NM was yelling at me, then she wasn’t yelling at him. He learned from EF. EF used to antagonize NM and then leave. Enrage NM needed to take it out on someone.

I was scolded for taking too much at dinner and scolded for not taking enough.

In my twenties, I started buying my own food. I started with white bread. I’ve been buying my own food ever since. I’ve discovered a number of food allergies and sensitivities. If I’m feeling out of sorts or feeling like I should be punished, I know exactly what foods to eat to maximize the pain and discomfort. I’m learning to not do that anymore.

Next step, learn to respect my body. This is on my Impossible list. I need to do the impossible.


  1. Food is such a struggle for so many. We need it, hate it, love it, crave it, and even use it to hurt ourselves, or drown our sorrows. You can do the impossible! Just 1 little step at a time.

    • Sometimes those little steps appear to be giant walls. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Exactly right about the love/hate. I actually love cooking, but NM is so territorial I frequently find myself eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I don’t have access to the kitchen. If she’s in the kitchen, cooking is a challenge as she covers all the surfaces with stuff or crowds me or makes comments… sigh… whole other post by itself.

      • I know. And sometimes we can’t even see the tiny steps because they are behind the clouds, or over the horizon. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t there, just because you can’t see them yet.

        • So true. Can’t give up.

  2. Hugs. I tears are in my eyes while I read this. You so did not deserve that crap she did to you.

    • Niether of us did.

      • ((((Judy and Ruth)))))

  3. Judy,
    Oh, honey. You absolutely did not deserve to be treated this way. It never ceases to amaze me that N’s will put so much effort out to hurt, so much effort to find the ‘thing’ that will hurt the most. We have to eat, right?
    I see you connecting dots and making so much progress, and I am so proud of you. Have you seen the movie, The King’s Speech? I was thinking of the part in which Prince Albert is explaining how he was mistreated and his speech teacher says that he(Albert) “doesn’t have to be scared anymore of the things you were when you were five.”

    This process of remembering and moving forward is the path, I think, that will get you there and keep you there.

    Much love,

    • Thanks ((Vanci))

      • The King’s Speech is a very empowering, moving, inspiring film. Prince Albert was most definitely abused by his father, the king. And the entire story is true.

  4. I need to process this before I respond. This post hit buttons for me too.

    I remember you saying you loathed the smell of oatmeal when you did that meme. I understand why now.


    • ((Pandora Viltis))

  5. This is just so sad. I’m thinking, if we let food issues win (if those are what NP’s used on us), then the NP’s are winning. I don’t know if that helps.

    Your folks clearly value male children more than female children. Interesting. Something cultural, something religious? We had a lot of physical abuse in home, but males and females were all (6 of us) valued (or punished) equally.
    My parents showed no favoritism whatsoever.

    I feel fortunate.

    Praying for daily strength for you, just one day at a time.

    • Good point about letting the food issues win… today is going to be different.

      I’m not sure I’ve ever asked why the boys were considered better… I know both NM and EF said that boys were easier. They’re both into making everything as easy as possible. I have friends with both and they’ve said that neither is easier or more expensive than the other. They were different. They had different needs.

      Now that you’ve asked, my personal opinion is EF had sisters who bossed him, and he hated that. His dad died when he was young, and his mom turned him over to his brother. NM adored her abusive father and considered her abusive mother the source of her problems, so it didn’t even start with my sister and me. It started long before. Sad all around.

      Yes, I’m able to empathize with EF and NM. So what’s the deal? They both chose not to change. They both not to seek counseling. They both chose to stay stuck in the insanity and blame my sister and I for it. They are blaming us for something that started long before we were born. If that isn’t insane, I don’t know what is.

  6. I’m still uncertain how to comment, but I feel like I want to.

    I grew up feeling hungry. We had meals on the table, but my mother detested cooking. She liked things plain and bland. But she also kept snacks for herself that she kept careful inventory of. These were not to be touched by us unless we were very very good and granted. But mostly, these were hers alone.

    I went through a very big ballet phase and fought food. It hardly felt like a sacrifice.

    I often found myself reading my mother’s Good Housekeeping magazine, enchanted by the recipes. My mom let me try out some recipes — anything for her to not have to cook. I spent an entire day figuring out how to make stuffed Cornish game hens, only to have my father look at the pretty little birds with disgust and pronouncing how he detested Cornish game hens and refusing to even try one (don’t remind me how I’ve seen him eat said birds many years later) and looking at my mother’s pleased face when I burst into tears.

    When I had my first serious boyfriend, his family ate all kinds of things I’d never tried, like Brunswick stew and Waldorf salad and homemade French fries. I cooked for him, and he loved most of what I experimented with. I got a little plump for the first time. When he and I divorced, I only ate microwave popcorn and peppermint patties for about a year.

    With my first job, I got to go to parties, eat out at fancy dinners. And I discovered bulimia. I learned my family was not normal, and I was starved for experiences and food.

    I’m going to stop now except to say that my mother always picks at her meals and yet is quite obese. I’ve not entirely conquered my food issues, but I’m flabbergasted by my mother’s size compared to what she shows as eating habits in public. I hate that I share any sort of traits with her, but obviously food has a weird place in her world too.

    • Seriously messed up.

      I’m a foodie. I watch cooking shows, and I love to experiment in cooking. I took a gourmet cooking class in college and loved it. Also, aced it. 🙂 I read cookbooks to relax, picking out recipes I want to try but rarely do.

      Part of my NC — and I’ve never thought of it this way before — has been to use all my own cooking pans, ingredients, utensils.

      Here’s to developing a healthy relationship with food and enjoying every bite!

      Reading about your family, it’s unnervingly familiar, and yet by reading yours, I’m able to see how messed up mine is, too. And how sad when food is such an amazing gift. I’m still allowing their food issues to influence mine… wonder how much I can change that living here? We’ll see.

  7. Judy,
    This thread makes me think of a great Martin Luther King Jr quote that I think applies: “Take the first step ín faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.”

    • I love that quote! Taking a step, this week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: