Sunday, August 15, 2010

Independence vs. Dependence

While thinking about the differences between independence and dependence, memories of feelings (can you have memories of feelings? I think so...) while growing up come to mind.
My desire to be independent was always diluted with feelings of obligation to conform to what was expected of me. This was not so much about not wanting to grow up, but more about not wanting to grow up and fit into the mold that was being prepared for me. That 'mold' never felt like it fit. Maybe losing weight was an attempt to make it fit? I don't know. But it didn't work. I know that I did want to grow up and become independent of those expectations, but at the same time, the guilt I felt associated with disappointing others or doing something 'wrong' was stronger.
Looking back now, I can see that as I attempted, in the only ways I knew how, to become independent and to take control of my life, I ended up being more dependent on others to guide me and take care of me due to the eating disorder. In reality, the eating disorder did not grant me greater control, but actually less. And as time went on, and I became weaker and more enmeshed in the psychological traps of the eating disorder, I depended on others to take care of me. I couldn't see it at the time, but it was that dichotomy that I have written about before. The push/pull dynamic....I was screaming for others to help me, while always pushing them away.
Not only was this an unhealthy way to be in relationship with others, it fueled the confusion caused by the eating disorder. I never learned how to be in an honest mutual relationship, and the concept was impossible for me to grasp.
While I believed and claimed that I wanted and needed to be left alone, the thought of being independent and self-sufficient terrified me. I had no trust in my ability or strength to take care of myself. Historically, the eating disorder had made that impossible. Hence, I became dependent on others for many things, but in a very unhealthy way. This also made it very easy for some of those people in my life to enable me, out of their own lack of knowledge of the disorder and the situation.
Independence means responsibility. I felt unable to handle the responsibilities that life hands us as we move forward. The terror kept pushing me back. Like so many other fears, I found that the ONLY way to get past is was to walk right through it.
Surrendering to recovery made me stronger, not weaker, and more confident to face new challenges.
I found myself at age 47, totally responsible for myself, for the first time in my life! I had to keep going and trust that I could do it with the healthy advice and support from others. I did, and I have....and I am now confident and afraid of very few things in life.
Asking for help and accepting help from others is completely different from dumping everything in someone else's lap to 'fix'. It feels a lot better too!!
Independence for me means I am my own person, which allows me to be in true, loving and honest relationship with others, without feeling compromised or diminished.
Without apology...♥

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