Friday, January 18, 2013

Why Control?

It's a very simple concept. (Heh. "Simple.")

It all comes down to control.

Eating disorders (or in my case, simply disordered eating, though I would say binge eating disorder is probable) find their roots in a lot of different things, and I'd never go so far as to assume they all start out the same way. But I would posit that the common thread throughout many of their manifestations is control. Wanting it, needing it, hating it, fearing it. It's not all about how you want to look or how delicious food is or your lack of willpower or body dysmorphia or laziness---though those things are certainly part of it.

It's about control. Feeling like your life is unbalanced, and wanting to have power over something. Or, the opposite, feeling like everything in your life is so structured that you need to break free and let go and do...whatever. Or feeling so lost and hopeless you don't even feel like you have a choice.

I definitely have control issues, and always have. When I had group projects in school, dating back to when I was a wee one, most of the time I'd end up doing 99% of the work because I didn't trust anyone else to do it the way I thought it should be done. I get frustrated when I'm not involved with the planning of events and feel like I'm just subject to the whims of others. I hate when schedules are not solidified and I don't know when or where I'm supposed to be somewhere---even if it's days away. I really, really, really don't like feeling like I have no say in the things that affect my existence.

But I also don't like being totally in charge. I'm a contradiction that way. I don't like the responsibility or the pressure, or the fear of disappointing other people, or myself. I don't like knowing success or failure is entirely dependent on me. I keep saying I want a real job where what I do matters, but in actuality the truth of it terrifies me, the idea of actually being responsible for anything significant is paralyzing. Honestly, most of my life I feel like I've sort of coasted along, without ever making any really big decisions, just letting things happen to me, 'cause I hate having power.

My eating issues are a hot mess of control hang-ups. When I'm happy, I can be healthy, and make the right choices for my life. I feel fulfilled by doing what I know is good for me. But when things start to shift off balance in my universe, when I'm faced with high expectations or crushing disappointment or excessive stress or hey, a particularly cranky Tuesday, when I feel like things just aren't going my way and I want to stamp my feet like a petulant five year old, I just...lose it. I suddenly feel so powerless in my life that I abuse my body in a way I can control. I then try to control my binge tendencies which makes them worse. That lack of control over my own actions infuriates me and it all spirals from there. Whatever fragile thread I have as a leash on my wild control beast breaks, and I go on this weird autopilot. I can consciously consider my decisions and talk myself out of them and think of all my goals and motivations and the "why not" but the part of my brain that controls my body doesn't listen, and then I' know.

A crazy person.

I haven't worked out yet how I'm supposed to fix all this bullshit in my head and heart, but isn't acknowledging it the first and most important step? Pretty sure I read that somewhere, you know, on the Internet where I do all my important research. All I can do for now is observe myself and where I go wrong, try to reign it in and find what thoughts and emotions are triggers for me, and do my best to keep myself under wraps. And keep going to therapy. And accept that this is going to continue to be a rough and long process, and not rush myself. And just...let go.


  1. Hi...started checking in on your blog after a random Facebook "debate" on kitten heels. Weird, but I've been worried about you lately in kind of a psycho, don't know this person sort of way. But, I've had three glasses of wine and read this post. I feel where you're coming from and give you props on the amount of reflection you've done thus far. Hang in there...25 to 29 can be a real fucking bitch (in ways you never expected, because hey, aren't you supposed to start having it way more together??) but it gets better. Promise.

    kitten heels

    1. Haha, I remember that! I have such strong feelings about footwear. Thanks for the support, Julia! Glad to know it's not just me. :)

  2. Not Facebook, weight watchers. Three glasses of wine. Bam.