Posted by: Judy | May 5, 2014

Willpower versus Worth

I remember the fight with willpower to eat more healthily. I’ve mentioned on other occasions that my drug of choice is food. Choosing unhealthy foods or simply unhealthy amounts is a lifelong pattern.

Where is my willpower? I must be one of the most weak willed people on the planet.

Jog the memory.

I needed to lose 10 lb more to reach my “ideal” weight. People were starting to express concern about my weight loss. Mind you, the ideal weight was what the charts dictated. I was 5’6″ and the charts said I should weigh between 138-143. NEWSFLASH: The charts were not healthy weights, based on women looking like a boy not a woman.

I regulated every bite of food. I exercised before work, at lunch, and after work. I drank a lot of water. Despite all that, I couldn’t lose those last 10 lb. I read an article about how wolves only eat every other day and are healthier because of it. Yes. I shifted my eating to every other day.

What was that about me not being disciplined?

Willpower is not the problem. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out. I knew it in my head, but I couldn’t dump it because I didn’t have anything to replace it.

On Friday, NM decided to clean part of the kitchen during the time I usually make my dinner. This is actually a pretty common occurrence. She takes every opportunity to remind me she is accommodating. For example, I used the microwave for 1.5 minutes, and she asked if I’d be through soon so she could mop the floor. NM needs to remind me the kitchen is hers, without actually saying so, and she’s allowed to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. It’s true. I don’t always handle the reminder with grace. I’m hurt, angry, hungry.

To punish myself for not being smart enough to figure out how to escape this place, I ate a bunch of cookies.

On Saturday, NM played a repeat performance of covering every space. She blamed it on EF at breakfast and then she needed the space to make lunch.

I finished off more than a half a bag of cookies for my stupidity.

Saturday night, God did what He does. He nudged the thought into my brain that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I needed to change.


As I drifted off to sleep, I struggled with my dilemma. If it isn’t a matter of willpower, which I’ve proven is not the problem, then what is the problem?

My own sense of self-worth.

I know, because NM has told me along with the rest of the world, that if you eat badly and too much you will die. I’ve been taught I’m a burden. I’m in the way. Who wants to live feeling like that?

My sense of self-worth was meticulously and systematically destroyed from the time I was a baby. It continues on, to this day. Little niggling digs. Reminders I’m not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, clever enough, pretty enough…

I can’t change my past.

How do I create a healthy sense of self-worth while I live in a toxic dump?

No one can give me a sense of self-worth. It’s something I must fight for myself.

And no, I haven’t figured out how to do this.

However, I’m going to start with two things:

1. Develop a sense of gratitude for every good thing in my life. I need to be grateful for everything that goes right, everything beautiful, every blessing. It’s a start. Maybe take a minute every hour, top of the hour, I’m awake to think about what I’m grateful for.

2. I need to develop 2 menus for each day, one for access to the kitchen and one for without access. I’ve done this in the past, but not on a consistent basis. I’m going to make this part of my weekly planning, which I haven’t been particularly consistent about doing. I’ve done it, but sometimes without thought.


  1. I feel the same way. The way you describe how our self-worth has been stripped away with niggling digs. That is what it feels like for me, it has been chiseled away since I was born and the little left, was enough to start recovery. I find it hard to get back to my self-worth when dealing with a toxic environment. True, no one can give it to us. I find that one trusted person can help bring me back to it. ((Judy)) xxTR

    What your mother does with creating scenarios to show she is accommodating is really annoying.

    • You’re right. Though rebuilding my sense of self-worth is my responsibility, I couldn’t do it if I were truly alone. I’m not. I have friends, online and off, who see the good in me and remind me it’s there. ((TR)) 🙂

  2. Ugh. I struggle with self-worthlessness too and I don’t even live in your situation.

    My mom is/was weird about food and the kitchen too. Feeding oneself is a life necessity and a parent deliberately getting in the way of that is just gross. When my husband and I went to visit my parents after a 12 trip, my mother would only have applesauce in the house (no exaggeration). One time, my husband went out early in the morning and walked 2 miles (my parents would insist we not rent a car because we could use theirs. Um, no because my mother would get all bitchy about if we did use it even if she had no plans to go anywhere, but I was dumb and didn’t rent a car) to a local bagel shop and brought home bagels and cream cheese for everyone.

    Not long after, he asked me, “what he heck is wrong with your mother and why is she looking at me like that?”

    I told him that he was not supposed to get food and she was not pleased. He still does not understand his at all.

    A few years ago when I was still in contact with my parents and we went to visit, we snuck food and drinks into our bedroom. My grandmother had died and my mother-in-law sent an Edible Arrangment. Good thing she did because it was literally the only other thing to eat in my parents’ house.

    There is something deeply wrong with this and your scenario. And it’s not you or me!

    • I like that your husband doesn’t understand because it isn’t really something anyone should understand. It’s insane. You’re right, and it’s good to read that it isn’t you or me! 🙂

      • When I first started revealing to my husband the strangeness that is my mother, he thought I was exaggerating. But later he told me that he should have realized I seldom exaggerate about anything, so why would I about her, and also that she was way weirder than I’d even described.

        It really isn’t you. Is it ok that I kind of want to punch your mother in the face?

        • That says a lot about your husband, because people still think I’m the one who’s lying, not NM, even when it’s been proven NM lies. “Well, that was different.”

          LOL! I don’t allow myself to walk down stairs behind my NM because the temptation crosses my mind. I’d never in a million years do it. She isn’t worth it.

          • Re: walking behind your mother. It reminds me of part of why I don’t associate with mine anymore: she brings out the worst in me. I don’t like who I become around her. You’re so right: she’s not worth it.

            • Exactly. ❤

  3. ^^That should read 12 hour trip.

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