Monday, February 5, 2024

How I lost 100 pounds and guilt and shame by listening to the voices in my head

Hello friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. This month's Happy Heart February weight loss challenge, we're exploring ways to not only lose weight but also chronic guilt and toxic shame from childhood. Today,  I'm losing chronic guilt and toxic shame by listening to the voices in my head. Really. 

When I talk about the voices in my head, I mean the negative, shaming messages that were said and implied, when I was younger. They autoplay continually. In sleep, they cause horrible dreams and when I'm awake, they drive my chronic guilt and toxic shame. They cause me to second-guess myself, they undermine my good works, distort my sense of self and sabotage my self-esteem and peace of mind. 

I'm so used to hearing these subconscious messages that I expect them. I try to ignore, but I can't because they are so pervasive and insidious. They disturb and unsettle me. They haunt me and cause me to be constantly looking over my shoulder in fear. It feels like being pursued by invisible enemies that is trying to destroy me. As others can't see them, it probably looks to the outside, that I'm making it up or faking. Or just acting really weird.

I found myself doing this just this morning, which prompted this blog post. But for once instead of ignoring or trying to, I listened to those voices in my head. I had opted not to go into work earlier and instead work later and I'd also missed several calls. The voices were accusing me of laziness, of making the wrong choices, of letting people down, of failing, of not doing my part. 

All were greatly exaggerated, not remotely true and not even applicable the situation. I realized that these voices question every single decision I make and the verdict is I'm always wrong. I'm damned if I do or don't. The voices tell me that they  have to micromanage everything I do because I can't be trusted. I don't just fail I AM failure. 

And I realized that these aren't just imaginary voices but memories. I was expected, as a child, to do the parents' work. I was expected to think and act like an adult while the adults immature, spoiled and selfish. I was expected to do others' work, to raise siblings and to fix whatever was wrong with everyone. I was given no guidance or good example. Nothing I did was good enough. I was accused of selfish and ulterior motives. The worst was always expected of me, blame assigned and if there was an issue between me and a family member no one ever took my side. 

So this sounds, to myself and I fear to you,  exaggerated and lying. That I'm making it up or "showing off" (something I heard a LOT). I see now that this is part of how people were able to gaslight and manipulate me. They had an answer for everything and it was always me in the wrong. I could never get ahead. I just had to knuckle under and keep trying. Ironically, the harder I tried the worse I was told that I failed. I was shunted from place to place and at age 16 I was evicted from my parents' home. My crime was to come home an hour late. 

Notice I said parents home. Because that's how it was presented to me. I did not have a home. I was allowed, very transactionally, to live with them. But I had to earn my place and what I had to do, to do that kept changing and getting more difficult. Rules were arbitrary and applied only to me. 

I apologize, but I'm going to end this blog post here because I am just emotionally exhausted with the memories. I'll write more about what I'm learning from all this, later. I love you all dearly, and ask that if any of this resonates with you, PLEASE, don't wait as long as I have to get help. 

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