FATHERS AND EATING DISORDERS……DYING FOR MY DADDY
There is however one thing I very seldom talk about, and I don’t know whether it’s because I am numb to it, or because every time I think about it, it causes me to sit in dark places and sparse spaces.
It’s about my Father.
If I were to see my father on the street, I wouldn’t recognize him, but if he were to come up to me and start talking, I would recognize his voice, and when I looked into his eyes, I would see my eyes…because I have the same ones.
I have not spoken with my father in 7 years, by his choice. If you were to ask me why, I don’t really have a clear answer. All I know is that he hates me. why do I think he hates me..he told me to my face, and that’s a horrible feeling to carry around.
Since I was a little girl, I carried around a feeling of loss and abandonment that he wasn’t in my life growing up. I remember thinking perhaps it was because I had done something wrong, or because I wasn’t pretty enough, or because I was a girl, and he wanted a boy.
My dad was never really what you would call “father of the year”. He left my little sisters and I when we were very young, and completely left the picture until I was a senior in highschool. Once in awhile he would pop up, but then vanish. My memories before that were of complete chaos. Him and my mother getting into horrible fights, throwing objects at each other, holding a knife up to her pregnant stomach, him coming home completely stoned, …passing out on the bathroom floor. I have memories of pulling giant bags of cocaine that had been hidden in our stereo speakers, and watching my mother flush them down the toilet.
I have memories of my mother getting my sisters and me out of bed in the middle of the night, bundling us up in the back of the station wagon, and driving around town trying to find him.
There was once a high speed chase, after my mother saw him with another woman, and you would think that for somebody my age that would have been a little traumatic, but it was just another ordinary day for my less than functional family. That other woman ended up being the woman he left my mother for after he got her pregnant. She had a boy, and I always wondered why he would be a dad to that little boy, but not to me.
There have been a lot of connections to fathers who jump ship, and daughters who get Eating Disorders. There is a very popular book called Father Hunger which describes “Father Hunger” as the emptiness experienced by women whose fathers are/were emotionally absent, a void that leads to unrealistic body image, yo-yo dieting, food fears and disordered eating patterns.
Do I think my dad gave me Anorexia? That I was starving myself for his attention…I don’t know??..,and I am done wasting my time trying to figure it out. I don’t believe any one person is solely responsible for pulling the trigger, but I do believe that they can help load the gun. I know his absence did leave me with a sense of emptiness. Having only a mother as a parent, a mother who controlled how I ate, how I prayed, how I looked, that’s what really made me mad. I always felt that maybe if I had had a father, some of that could have been prevented.
When I was starting to get really sick, my mother contacted my father and asked if he would come see me. I think that was one of her last ditch efforts to try to prevent me from getting sicker. Perhaps she thought that if he just popped up at the door one day I would get my appetite back and stop seeing my thighs as fat….ya.
Well I know she meant well, but it was quite awkward at the age of 17 to be sitting in a room with a man I didn’t know. Making small talk, picking at my nails, and starring at a little brother I had never met.
After that, he was in and out of my life. He tried to make an effort, especially after I really got sick.
He was the one who actually brought me to my first treatment center. My dad never ever talked to me about his own addictions to drugs. He seemed better to me, but he never said anything like..”I can relate to this”, or “I went through the same thing.”
After many failed treatment centers he like the rest of my family started to just throw their hands up and give up.
Let me tell you, my Eating Disorder didn’t just destroy me, it destroyed my family. My fathers drug problem did the same. I put him through hell, and he put me through hell, and that combo wasn’t pretty.
I think that because of who it caused me to be, and the way it caused me to act shredded any hope of getting my father back in my life. Some bridges are burned so bad, that the chance of rebuilding them are not likely.
So what made my father tell me he hated me and never wanted to speak to me again..to not speak one word to me for seven years unless it was to curse the day I was born….to be continued.
PAPER MOON—(1973)-car scene
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