I spent quite a few years of my life in an emotionally abusive relationship, and I let it happen. I was weak, needy, and had so little self-esteem and self-worth that I let the relationship consume, define and ultimately destroy me. Ending a relationship comes with learning, growth and pain. Something inside me snapped, and brought me to a point where I finally realized it was time to take “me” back. I took a good hard look at who I had become and I hated myself. Hate is a strong word, and no one should reach the point where they simply hate everything about who they are, but that is where I had found myself. It is one thing to learn to love yourself, but erasing self-hatred is much much harder.
This relationship, like all relationships had its ups and downs. One thing is certain though, the ups were short-lived and the downs kept increasing in number, duration and intensity. This is when I began to put on all the weight. I gained roughly 110+ pounds over the course of four years. Protection I suppose from the pain, and from the hideous individual I believed I was. Being told I was a horrible parent, a whore, lazy, a terrible employee and on and on. Being bipolar, I spiraled out of control through severe episodes of depression and mania that paralyzed and hospitalized me.
Two hundred eighty-six, the number that for whatever inconceivable reason, changed my life. I don’t know why that number did it, but it did. The 28 part of the number 286 has had a very lengthy history for me and may be that is why the 280’s were my wake-up call. I do not know. But it certainly was my turning point. It was at that moment on the scale with that number glaring at me that I vowed to lose the weight, get in shape and be healthy, physically and emotionally. First for me, and then hopefully in an attempt to mend or end the relationship. At this point in time I did not know one way or another if it was worth saving.
So while I embarked on my journey I was told that I was doing so for selfish reasons, not for our relationship, but because I liked the compliments. Still living in self-hate and doubt, I kept asking myself “Am I being selfish?” I was so deep into the belittlement I had no idea my ego was so shot it couldn’t even recognize the stupidity of this. Somehow I plugged on every day. Somewhere deep inside that 286 pound body I knew being healthy physically, mentally and emotionally was the right answer, selfish or not.
I needed someone to push me out the door on the mornings I did not want to go to the gym, or get up and exercise. But I didn’t have that particular kind of support. I was occasionally given compliments on how well I was doing but I had to rely on myself to get er’ done. This was one of the best gifts I received from this relationship – self-reliance and perseverance. I highly recommend it.
One day I was at the gym on an elliptical machine and staring at me, (as it had been for months now) was there branding. It was right there on the wall in front of me for months, and I had barely noticed it. The word PERSEVERE. It was another ah-ha moment. I had to persevere, there was no choice – hence my most recent tattoo. I took pictures of the scale as I dropped the weight as motivation. Unfortunately, I was too humiliated to take one the day I saw 286. But I certainly have photos to prove where I started.
After I dropped below the 200 mark I decided to throw myself a party – no one else was going to do it. Friends and family came to help me celebrate. I had both healthy and non-healthy food choices out for my guests, and we sang karaoke and everyone had a blast. I was going to have another one when I reached my goal weight. I thought maybe when I reached that goal one might get thrown for me instead of by me, but when I reached my goal that party never happened.
At the gym there was a coach who helped me learn the proper machines to use and the proper form to get the most out of my resistance training. I set a goal weight of 145. She told me that it was probably unrealistic because I was not only losing weight but gaining muscle so I should look at 150-155 as my target. I was fine with that. After nine months I had gone from a 3X down to a size 6 and lost 140 pounds. I looked good and I felt good. I was eating healthy, adopted a gluten free lifestyle after hearing that doing so could eliminate IBS (this worked wonders for me).
I have managed to keep all the weight off, for almost a year now and know in my heart I will never go back there again.
After both trying to rebuild the very broken relationship I realized I was doing us both a disservice by remaining in it. Some people have babies thinking that will “fix” the problems in their relationship. After all our years together I thought “getting engaged” would be our “fix”. Once it happened I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. There was still too much broken, too much I was afraid would never mend or heal, and boy was I right. The interpersonal relationship is over, and so is my piss poor relationship with myself. Slowly I am building my self-esteem, taking back my life, bettering my relationships with my children, and growing stronger and healthier each day.
This has been one of the most difficult journeys I have ever embarked on, but the growth alone has been it worth it. “Learning to love yourself – is the greatest love of all.” Thank you Whitney.