Fat Girl Wearing Thin has started a Hate Loss Challenge and had this in her post. It brought up some thoughts about my own childhood.
My therapist wrote a few things down in her notebook and then began pointing things out to me that deep down, I was already aware of: when you’re young and impressionable, it’s very easy to believe the things you’re told. If you don’t have anyone telling you good things about yourself then you just continue to accept those untruths as fact.
I do remember as a child not hearing much encouragement from my parents. My dad was the disciplinarian. I really don't remember much of a positive nature from him. He never read us a story, put us to bed, and we never sat on his lap. I think I really became indifferent to him because I never felt like he cared for me. He was ashamed of my obesity and I knew it. School brought more names and not so many friends. Kids internalize those things especially if there is nothing counteracting it at home. I don't remember Mom being openly affectionate as a child but I don't remember her being hateful. Dad had a mean temper and a hateful mouth so we just dealt with it.
I think many parents have no clue about how much damage words can do. In anger, words are used to hurt, to correct, to belittle. It's no mystery to me how food became my drug of choice - when I was eating I wasn't feeling. My two brothers learned that hateful mouth as well. My sister and I are not like Dad was. We are more like Mom. She kept things in too I am sure. Women want to keep their homes together (this is a general statement, I know there are exceptions). After we are adults we must work through those things and try to figure it out. Once our personalities are shaped they are very difficult to change. I read that a child's personality is developed by 2 years old; children learn more before they start school than they do the rest of their lives. How to give and receive love; language; how to express anger; fears are learned; stress or lack thereof (vibes) are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head.
Once there is a neural pathway in the brain for responses, it is difficult though not impossible to create another pathway. The pathway from stress to eating is a pretty well-worn path. It's hard as a rock and nothing can grow there. We have to quit using that path and make another one. It will involve catching it before we get lost in the woods on that path. Stress needs to lead us to something constructive not destructive. Stress should lead us to some relaxing techniques - warm bath, working out, or talking to a friend.
We hold our feelings in to the point of explosion. We have learned to keep it all inside because we might make someone angry, hurt someone's feelings, or face their reaction and things could escalate. That's why we need to deal with little problems before they become big ones. It helps if you can get the other person on your side first. Start out by saying, "This is really hard for me to say but I need to talk to you about something," or "There is something on my mind and I have been avoiding talking about it because I am afraid you will get mad". Children don't talk back to parents (in my house anyway - Dad was not a religious man but disrespect and dishonesty were two things he could not abide); children didn't talk back to teachers (that has also changed a lot); the world did not revolve around the kids back then as in so many homes now. Our little egos and our self-esteem were not a concern of Dad. We have come full circle haven't we? Now kids graduate thinking everything they do is wonderful. They are taught that mediocre performance is great. I wonder if people are heavy for different reasons nowadays. Probably not - there are just more reasons maybe. Younger people seem to think if they want it they should have it. They often have this "in your face" attitude. I really think my Dad's methods were preferable to some of what I see today. Parents now come to school to defend their child - "you can't touch my kid" is the attitude. There are still lots of good kids. We just don't hear much about them. We sure do see the obesity in our youth however. We would face Dad if we got in trouble at school. We would face Dad if we were disrespectful to Mom. We minded Mom (mostly) because we were afraid of Dad. He wasn't all bad, I don't want to paint too negative a picture of him - he provided and was a very hard worker. He demanded respect, honesty, and that we finish school - those were not discussable topics at our house. If he said "because I said so" that was the end of the conversation because he would start getting mad. He just did not express affection and when angry he could turn the air blue with his swearing.
Anyway - I think through my home, at school, and even at work I learned to hold things in and food helped to numb that. A different reason for the younger generation might be self-discipline has not been an expectation and as an adult it is hard to develop. If we want the food, we should have it. If we want the tattoo or the piercing, never mind that we don't have a job and are barely getting by. People are running up credit cards because they want it and they think they should have it.
Whatever our reasons, we all have to do the same things to get the weight off and keep it off. It would be nice if we could nail down the reasons for our weight but we still all have to do the same things to get the weight off. We will just have to work it out, choosing a different path instead of the ones that are hard as a rock from so much travel, and reach our goals.