Many who face issues like self-injury or eating disorders say they decided to try it because they felt like life was out of control. Cutting or self-imposed food rules sound like ways to exert control that people hope will eventually allow them to regain it in other aspects of life.
I find this line of reasoning very interesting. And I say this as someone who dabbled with anorexic tendencies as a teen. This is the precisely the path my mind took when I decided to limit my calories down to a specific weight goal.
The behavior honestly did make me feel like I had more control over my life – initially. While I had limited choices about certain things as a teen (which is typical in a normal family where parents are in charge like they ought to be), in my mind I was too restricted, too watched, too controlled. I was somewhat rebellious, angry. And there were likely things happening at school and socially, too, that contributed to this mindset (but not big enough things that I remember them now).
Harnessing my body to my whims and desires meant that I could decide what to eat, when, and how much. I could decide how I wanted it to look.
I know others who describe their thought process about these behaviors in much the same way.
Eventually, though, it dawns upon the consciousness that this pursuit of control through self-destructive habits has slowly, methodically and insipidly gained a hold on one’s mind, heart and daily life. It begins to feel an awful lot like the thoughts, motives, and behaviors have, ahem, taken CONTROL!
Yeah. That must be why these things are often called “life-controlling” issues, huh?
So the moral of this story is slow down and be careful when you start to feel like life is out of control. Reach out to someone you trust who can look at your situation objectively. Ask them if they think things are as bad as you feel they are. Maybe they are. If they are, I’m so sorry. Please don’t try to carry your burdens alone. Reach out and get the help that you need to get through this. You can get through it.
Maybe, though, life really isn’t as bad as it feels. Maybe talking about it and looking at it from fresh eyes will push a reset button within you that will refresh your mind. Even better, ask someone to pray with you.
The best time to stop a life-controlling behavior is before it starts. Scars, possible health issues, emotional upheaval, relationship difficulties, and social awkwardness can all be part of the package. Think it through. There are better ways of coping, believe me. Avoid the regret.
As hard as it may seem right now, your life is actually much more under control than it will be if you start cutting or stop eating.
Don’t let the pursuit of control take control of you. You are worth too much.