One of the most common symptoms of sexual abuse for women is having a negative body image. I remember weight was an issue for girls at school, but I don’t think I really knew what an eating disorder was. I felt uncomfortable about my body, but because I was so disconnected from how I felt and lived so much in my head, I didn’t really talk about this with anybody. Weight only became an issue for me around the age of 19, and in retrospect I think this had to do with starting to become a woman. The more ‘womanly’ I was becoming, the more I think I was freaking out internally. It struck me the other day however, that perhaps this issue is also connected with my dissociation. Sometimes I just feel bigger than I actually am, I feel ‘fat’ or think I am ‘fat’, when in reality I am clearly not. For the record, I am 5’10 and weigh about 58kg, I train at the gym four times a week, am vegetarian and eat very healthily. It would make sense that when my child parts get stirred they would feel awkward in my body and I would be bigger than they imagined – therefore making me feel like I have put on weight.
This whole thing could be just a twisted (or mild – depending on who I was comparing myself to), version of an eating disorder. Indeed, I used to starve myself from about 19 – 21 years of age, eating only one meal a day and getting down to 52kg at one stage. Thankfully, I now am conscious of my food intake, but I just work at eating well and exercising to control my weight. I imagine a large part of the starvation period was to do with negative control (feeling powerless otherwise and using food or lack thereof to reclaim a sense of lost power). I just wonder whether it is also connected to my child parts. It must feel weird for a dissociative part when they get light of day to be inside a big, adult human body. Does anyone else feel this way? Do you think your weight issues have to do with control or do you think it could be linked to dissociation too?