My Own Victim
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
By Megan Haskins. Megan has completed intensive programming at The Emily Program and is a wife and mommy to triplets.
When I look back at myself two years ago, five years ago, and even ten years ago, I see a beautiful image.
A size people died to be.
But a victim.
I was in an EXTREMELY toxic and abusive relationship, but you’d never know that by looking at a picture of me. You wouldn’t find a bruise on my body and you surely couldn’t see it in my smile. My smile radiated achievement and success.
That’s the funny thing about this relationship I was in; at the time I was on cloud nine. Some may call it the “honeymoon” phase, but for me that phase lasted 13 years! I was convinced it was my new lifestyle. I was in control.
I was the one in control of this relationship.
However, I was far from in control. I was in an abusive relationship and I had been brainwashed by my abuser to think it was a beautiful bond, but it was slowly killing me from the outside in.
I was told what to eat. I was told what not to eat. I was told when to exercise, how long and how far, and to stop when I felt faint. I was told to skip social events in order to spend more time at the gym. I was convinced I needed to lie because others just didn’t understand the “healthy” choices I was making. And if I didn’t play by my abuser’s rules, I paid for it. I reaped the consequences. I would have to run longer, harder, faster, and farther the following day. I would have to eat even less than I did previously to make up for the mistakes I had made. Despite this control though I still thought I had it all.
But, little did I know…
I was my own abuser. I was the one keeping myself in such a poisonous relationship. I was in an abusive relationship with the mirror—with myself.
Fast-forward a few years…
And there are still one or two chains attached to this relationship. But over the past two years, with the help of treatment, support, and dedication, I’ve been able to unshackle hundreds if not thousands. I am now able to separate myself from my abuser whose name is ED. He still thinks we are together, one, and a unit, but I can’t excuse this relationship anymore. No more alibis, explanations, and convincing others. If I chose to stay with him I will eventually die.
So now when I look back at myself two years ago, five years ago, and even ten years ago, I still see a beautiful image.
I wasn’t perfect and I NEVER will be.
Size doesn’t define inner beauty.
It is just a number.
I had given up all self-control to ED and was succumbed to his ways.
I was dying.
My body was deteriorating.
I exhibited false confidence.
I was beautifully naïve.
I am no longer a victim.
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