Wednesday, 28 September 2011



I spent my last session with my therapist, J, discussing the incident in my previous post.

After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that, regardless of the incident, I blame myself for everything.


She asked me at the time what would be different if I stopped blaming myself. And I came up with:
- I would feel more equal to others. I wouldn't feel so small all the time, and
- I would feel more confident to have my own opinions.

To follow on from this J gave me some writing prompts to work on between then and our next session - and I've been thinking very hard about these. I really think this is something that could help move me forward.

How does thinking you are to blame serve you?
This has been a learned behaviour for me. A protective behaviour. I learned a long time ago that I could draw his anger and criticism away from my siblings. I was strong enough to take it, so I would. If I took the blame then he was satisfied and we could all just move on.
I also use it to avoid confrontation with friends and colleagues. I'm terrible at confrontation. And I know will lose in the end and give-in, so it's just quicker and saves my humiliation if I just apologise at the outset of an altercation.

Am I getting anything that brings positivity to me by blaming myself?
Avoiding confrontation is helpful in that I am not left in a heap, but I would like to be stronger in myself to be able to standup for myself better. So I'm going to have to go with no. It is a cop out at best, and really just delaying the inevitable.

When are the times in your life when you genuinely did not feel to blame?
I really struggled with this one. But I did manage to come up with one example: I rang Lifeline back in April. I had not eaten for quite some time and was genuinely scared for my safety, but couldn't see anyway out. It was late at night and I was alone - so I rang the helpline. The guy on the other end was clearly disappointed to get an hysterical girlie who didn't really have anything sensible wrong with her. "well how much do you weigh?" was one of his first questions... followed soon after with "well if you like food why don't you just eat?". I ended the conversation by informing him that he was not being helpful to which he replied something along the line of "whatever", but I had stopped listening.
None of this stupid lack of empathy was my fault. I don't even care if he didn't understand he could at least have been thoughtful or kind. His only role at Lifeline is to help people who feel their lives might be in danger and he did not even try to help me. He clearly thought I was wasting his time - and that was his fault not mine.
The only other time I have rung them the lady stayed on the phone with me for 45 mins until I was able to eat a mandarin. I was so relieved after this phone call and have actually been much better since and have had no other extended periods of restriction. She helped. He did not. And it was his fault not mine.

What are some ways to think about learning to let go of this blaming feeling and behavior?
Um... this one will require more thought...

any suggestions?? Do you tend to blame yourself? Or have you been able to overcome this?


Snippet said...

PJ - you have just described me. I blame myself for everything. Even after 3 months in the hospital, where they were teaching me how to change the thinking process, I'm still blaming myself and my self-confidence is shot. Sorry I can't help turn this around, but at least you know you're not alone. Call me if you want to talk. xxB

chloe said...

I have found that I struggle with punishing myself more than blame... and guilt goes right into the punishment category. I think they are all interlaced at some level though. When I first began recovery, I was OVERCOME with guilt and shame over what I had done to my body, I was blaming myself for everything instead of looking forward and reminding myself I was taking steps in the right direction, it's not saying that every decision will be the best... but the overall direction is positive. I hope you find comfort in knowing rarely anything you do right now is your "fault", the ED has a manipulative power over your brain, it's not entirely "you".... YOU are seeking truth, healing, and power beyond blame.... that is nothing to blame yourself for! I wish you all the best and enjoy reading your genuine wisdom!

Jennifer said...

PJ, Thank you again for being completely honest in your posts and for speaking about issues that plague the majority of us with eating disorders.
Blaming myself for basically everything that I have remotely anything to do with has been a lifelong behaviour for me. Even before the anorexia manifested at 11, I was taking the blame for everything at home - when my little brother got into trouble I would take the blame for him; it was somehow my fault that my father wasn't "happy" and I shouldered that always, and perhaps still do, although I am working on it a great deal...
In relationships and even friendships nowadays, I still find it utterly foreign to think that I am not the cause of anything negative that comes about...
I think to some extent it serves the purpose of easing the battle in my mind - I mean, the anorexic mindset is constantly telling me how dreadful I am and making sure it screams my shortcomings with abandon, so if I take on board the blame and guilt of most scenarios, it kind of negates the need to fight what it tells me...if I try to go against the mindset and show that I am not this dreadful creature, then perhaps I am not the one to blame for "everything"...but then it just seems "easier" to agree and think that I AM that bad and I AM to blame...hope this made some sense??
I am trying desperately to fight this mindset as logically I know the onus is not with me concerning everything...its just a long, hard battle.xxoo