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Painful Childhoods: Do We Ever Recover?

Bullying and Dysfunctional Parenting...Are We Forever Traumatized?

I know everyone has potential issues from their childhood. Isn't that why they are called "growing pains?" I also know that some kids are worse off than others. I was the fat kid. I had tons of prospective blood-sucking bullies waiting for me to come to middle school every day of my life. The peak of puberty (which is devastating in itself) is usually when when the body image of a pre-teen girl is at it's most fragile. I woke up dreading school, got dressed, took the bus (public) with a friend and one or two girls would mand their post waiting at the entrance of the school for me. "Thunder thighs," the moos of a cow, "earthquake!" were all familiar slogans to my ears. Looking back at photos I don't think I was that fat. At least that's what friends and family say. I think I was definitely over weight, but not obese. Now, on the other hand, mentally I felt like a hippo. And...the screwed up body image begins.

It also didn't help that my mother was putting me on diets at home. I could feel her shame whenever she layed eyes on me. Her eyes didn't lie and the disappointment seeped through to my soul where it feels like it was tattooed for life. Then there was my father.....he was relentless. He laughed at what the other kids would say about me. He would also ask my mother "why are you feeding her that??" It was as if I was a toddler eating dirt. I can't really fault him too much though. He lived out his pre-teen years constantly harassing my favorite aunt, aka his younger sister. He gave her hell about her weight. He would constantly tease and berate her... and so that wrath continued with me, his only child.

Needless to say the combo of dysfunctional parenting and bullying at school made for a 'complex' of always feeling fat and never feeling like I was enough. I was at the prime age for developing my self-esteem and self image. I know what you are thinking...every girl feels this way. I think that's true in a sense. I also think that some, again, have it worse than others. I had the added perk of a mom who was the same way and a father who fed off of that insecurity.

It can develop into an eating disorder (which it did for me) or other type of addiction such as substance abuse or alcholism. Anything to keep the weight off. I will say that I refused to be a victim. I sought counseling and some kind of solace to my insanity. I knew something had to change. I had felt like my immediate family had lived in a sea of denial. There was a large pink elephant in the middle of the room that no one wanted to talk about. Ironically enough, I often felt like that the elephant was me. Therapy helped. It led me to a 12 step program which ultimately brought me back to my own issues that I had developed deep inside. I had to deal with my past. I also tried focusing on giving to others. When you have an addictive personality, it most likely means you are self absorbed. Well, I was anyway. Volunteering did wonders for me. Please, oh please, someone or something get me out of my own head. That's where the true danger was. I was my own worst enemy. I still am to this very day. But...it's better.

If there's one thing I will NEVER do it's pass this 'psychosis' onto my daughter. I vowed to get better or at least do the very best I can to make the necessary changes inside so that she will not learn from me as I did from my mother. However, I still struggle with the distorted image of myself to this very day. If I happen to gain a few pounds I feel like a failure. It's absolutely the worst thing that could happen. I feel like pond scum. So my question goes back to, does this ever go away? Does the painful past leave a forever engrained mark on one's mind and soul? Does it shape who we are forever?

I'm still in the process of trying to be best mother, wife, friend, and human I can possibly be. I'm also still trying to accept myself the way that I am, right now, at this very moment; no matter what the scale says or whatever that moron said when I was 12 years old. And, like everything else, it's a process.

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