How’s yours?

I asked some friends the other day what their relationship with food was like when they were little. Specifically, I asked “Were any of you sent to bed without food if you were misbehaving?”

Some friends were absolutely shocked that it was even something that someone’s parent would do! Yes, my mother would often send me to bed without my dinner if I had been in any way misbehaving before the meal was served. We were dirtpoor, and I suppose it seemed like the best punishment to her, since then she could save the food for someone that was “more grateful”. Yeah. I know.

-warning: this next section has frank discussion about self-injuring and eating disordered behaviour –

When I moved to live with my Dad at 11 years old, I displayed symptoms of compulsive overeating right away. I wasn’t used to that much food being around and I suppose in my pre-adolescent mind, I had better eat ALL THE FOOD before it got taken away or it ran out.  That lasted about a month and instead of talking to me about it, my stepmom, in her infinite wisdom, decided to put a padlock on the cupboard with most of the food in it. I remember self-injuring because it was all I could do to take my mind off of eating. One day I took a hammer to the cupboard and binged on everything inside, including a 4 pack of Saltines. My parents weren’t impressed, and I can’t remember what happened after that, but my disordered behaviour settled after that.

I was watching “X-Weighted” a few nights ago, and it showed a parent doing the padlock thing on their Snack Cupboard and I was appalled. I could NOT imagine doing that to my three young stepdaughters and it hit me – I broke the cycle. A lot of the time, I find that the abused becomes the Abuser. For the first little while after becoming Stepmom, I was adamant that the girls finish what I had served them, and if they refused, I would tell them to go to their room until they ate it all. I did some soul-searching and decided that no good could come of that mindset other than messing up their relationship with food. Sure, I don’t let them eat pb&j exclusively, but now I’m way more relaxed.

So how about you?