Today in therapy I learned a few things about myself. As a child, I was never taught kindness, or how to love. I raised myself and my little brother. My mom was always sleeping, or couldn’t care less. The little she did for us, some cooking and laundry, she’d complain about, scream about it. She is a ticking time bomb we’d have to tiptoe around, avoiding the next explosion. As unpredictable as she is, it somehow was always my fault, she was never in the wrong. What could a 4 year old have done to have my mom scream at me every day before school? Not eat breakfast fast enough? Did that really deserve her daily shrieking? My dad pushed me to get good grades. I never did it to please him, never did it for his approval. Instead I did it because he threatened me if I dare get below a B. Oedipus complex, I realize, is undeniable. I’d been extremely jealous of my mom my entire life because she’d stomp around acting so fucking shitty to everyone, yet my dad was unconditionally kind to her, taking her stabs and admitting defeat when he’d done nothing wrong. Every little holiday he’d go out of his way to get her stuff, it’s always about mom. Even on a daily basis he’d go out of his way to buy her pizza for dinner after she came home from work at 10pm, yet barely help my brother and I figure out something to eat for dinner. I’d always felt unappreciated, unimportant, unaccepted, that positivity was a luxury. My trust issues and fear of getting hurt are worse than I thought, and that’s why the only person in the world who matters to me is Ali, my best friend. I can’t open myself up to people because as a child, I wasn’t nurtured properly. My parents didn’t want to be parents. Really, my mom didn’t want to be a mom. My dad worked, there was no choice in that, but my mom thought watching TV and sleeping was more important than raising children, so therefore my brother and I were shipped off to school by the time we were two. Kindergarten starts when you’re five years old, but because kids are so little, they only stay a half day. So I’d complete the morning session at my public school while being shipped to my afternoon kindergarten class elsewhere. Summers were no different, we went to day camp as long as I remembered. I’d cry saying I didn’t want to go. Quite frankly, I had no friends there and was really outcasted. I hated it there. When I was 10 and my brother was 8, we were then shipped to sleepaway camp where we’d be away 6-8 weeks at a time. I hated it there as well, never wanted to go. My brother, as I said, was extremely young and would get homesick. I’d laugh at him because I was never taught how to love, and because he was another competition for my parents’ attention. The fact I was never taught how to love contributes to my animosity and resentment towards myself. If I’m ever complimented, it goes right over my head, and is ignored. My therapist told me today repeatedly, “You matter, Samantha, you matter” and it made me so uncomfortable, because I’ve never been taught that, never felt I did. That’s also where binge eating comes in. I always thought my binge eating disorder was a twisted coping mechanism, when all along it’s been a form of self punishment. It started when I lost all my friends, post being anorexic and the worst thing I could do to myself was eat because, well, that’s how anorexia works. When I binge eat, I don’t eat foods I enjoy. That’s really why it’s a form of self punishment, because it makes me sick and cause me to attack myself even more. Now I’m stuck in this idea of perfectionism. I was never good enough no matter how hard I tried, so I hold myself to unrealistic ideals that absolutely consume me, whether it’s about body image, controlling my calorie count (always under 1200), school work, and every single other aspect of my life. And that, my dear, is exhausting.