Sunday, February 12, 2017
Narcissistic Family on My 600lb Life?
The times I watch My 600lb life are rare. I don't believe in weight loss surgery. I know too many who have died of it, or had their few "good" years and then regained it all back. My year puking my guts out in 2013 from kidney problems is one reason, I have no interest. When the digestion goes, life is hell, and I prayed for death a few times that year hunched over puke pails, so no weight loss surgery for me! It seems many of these patients have lymphedema problems that are massively ignored as well.
This week, I kept watching this show about Erica after channel surfing, more intrigued by the family dynamics rather then the pursuit of the WLS. It probably was a mistake, the show was very triggering for me. I should have shut it off, but figured I'd watch it to the end, and then write about it on here.
Erica did have some faults, ones I didn't like. I hate how My 600lb Life, makes every supersized person out to be a food addicted person. I know they are out there, but there's a reason TV never puts low metabolism or medical cases on there. I never had junk food hidden in my bedroom. The way she talked to this nutritionist bugged me but then what good is a nutritionist who comes in your house and throws away all the bad food and replaces it with nothing?
No one will change my mind that obesity in America is a malnutrition problem via bad food and the expenses of good food. Finding and obtaining good food is harder and harder. Erica's personality is very closed down and very muted. She makes Aspie me look animated, she is so closed down. I wonder if something is wrong with her because her voice is so monotone and she is so shut down, but this will happen to CPTSD people undergoing more severe traumas and those with other mental health issues. That's beyond my knowing, but you can tell she has gone through a lot. She talks about being sexually assaulted by several men at the behest of a betraying "boyfriend" and also about severe abuse from a father who calls her "Godzilla".
Her family was as mean as rattlesnakes. They were cruel people and chances are, several were narcissists. They hated her, you could tell and she even admitted they never came to visit her, and ignored her more and more. Her weight disgusted them, though a few of them were mildly obese. Erica took things to the extreme in asking her brother to take months off work to go with her to Houston and that was some extreme boundary breaking but her sister and brother were both very nasty people who you could tell were absolutely sick of her. When Erica said to her brother in trying to get him to help, that she would be dead soon, it was manipulative and showed some of her mental health problems. I wanted to yell at the TV, "he doesn't care about you!".
They saw her as a "nothing" and a "failure" and I believe this worsened her problems. Take the father into account with his calling her "Godzilla" and this being acceptable in a family and the sickening detail the family did not pursue justice on her behalf when it came to a gang-rape and you know Erica was the scapegoat and dealing with some major narcissists and sociopaths. With my family, I was seen the same way. A lot of my going no contact, came about from my discovery of my Lipedema and being vindicated from all these years of ill health and abuse. I tried to seek answers via my adoption search they refused to answer, I knew I no longer stick around people who saw me as nothing. Sure I had my times of wishing I had been able to "get thin" or become rich to "earn their love" but as I healed, I knew I deserved better. Narcissistic families teach scapegoats to suck up the crumbs.
Even Erica's keeping her sexual assault secret from her father resonated with me. I had two attempted rapes where I successfully fought off my attackers before rape happened, but I kept those secret too including the one when I was 13 and when the young man stalked me at high school. I knew I would not be believed and may even be blamed. Erica's trauma was far worse but the family dynamics are quite similar. Not one relative ever learned about my attempted rapes.
The father did not appear on the show though some of his abuse was talked about, and Erica's mother had died. Erica had failed weight loss surgery at the age of 16 and I get the feeling it was something she was "forced" into by a family who used her like a trash can. This surgery failed, so I think it's even worse she got another surgery, and what will keep this one from failing too?
One reason I never wanted weight loss surgery is it does not fix inner metabolic problems. For food addicts it is just a lock box and for people like me it would not work, except for maybe a mild amount of weight in the short term. I sometimes wish a researcher would do studies on abuse as related to cortisol and severe obesity. It would make an interesting study, as probably daily grinding abuse and PTSD set people up for either addiction or inner damage to the pituitary-adrenal-thyroid axis.
Erica's family was so nasty and her sister and brother full of utter derision, it shocked me they didn't even tone things down for national TV and the sake of appearances. This show brought back memories for me of the endless derision I got from my family. In my case, while I got some help with cars and car repairs in my 30s, mostly to keep husband able to go to his too low paid work, I never asked my family to let me move in after the age of 21, or help with any caretaking or the daily duties of life. I knew they never were there for me. There was one time my mother even yelled at me, "Don't you dare move back to my town, you embarrass me!" I sucked it up and took the bus or went to the social workers or went without. Even at near 700lbs and I don't know how I did it then, but I was young, I was still taking the bus and able to walk. Thankfully my time at that high of a weight was short, but then I've been stuck in the mid to high 400s to 500s for a long time bouncing around always worrying about gaining.
Erica needed a lot more help from her family and one could see the major resentment and hatred for her. Some may say well they were practicing "tough love" for all her food addiction, but I didn't see that, I saw disgusted narcissistic people who had no forgiveness for a sister who was struggling. Even if Erica could be demanding, and probably the terrible dynamics set that up, the way they treated her stunk. I wish I could write her a letter and say "Go no contact with your family, they are toxic to you". Keep the niece she has some love but even there be careful she is not manipulated. The way her family treated her was very familiar.
While I never was dependent on my family or asking them to take me to Houston or haul me out of the tub, the gestures, looks, cruel words and rest all resonated with me. It was like watching my own life be rerun. I didn't cry or anything, I sat there in shock. My husband was busy transcribing while I was watching this show, and later I would have to go talk to him about what I saw on the TV. I exclaimed, "Thank God I went no contact, now I can have some dignity!" and he agreed, that going no contact was the best thing I ever did.
Back to Erica, I believe that the special circumstances of being severely obese and an ACON/scapegoat at the same time can be among the worse things a human being can suffer. It is a life I would not wish on my worse enemy. I have known very fat people loved by their families, I know two in town, one is an Aspie man and the other was a lady in the 400lb range who served as my Stephan's Minister some years back. It makes for a whole other mind set to be loved despite your physical failings. I found love in marriage which probably rescued me too and kept me from utter destruction but to have a hateful family and being fat at the same time in this society is a very bad mixture. For those who face physical, sexual and other abuse on top of it, with high ACE scores, researchers have already deemed a life of ruined health and more chances of serious addiction.
Her sister's meanness towards her points to narcissism, such as the time Erica is happy she has lost 30lbs and the sister responds, "it should have been more". Another instance Erica is in a hotel room after grueling travel and is sitting there, and the sister is angry at her being upset about her bed. For supersized people not having a proper bed can mean falls or being trapped and not being able to get up. Her sister throws her, a bagged dinner and walks out. The lack of empathy showed itself multiple times. Erica's sister even says at one point "Erica is an embarrassment." Society is always so hard on us, and if you match that up with a family who hates you and rejects you and tells you that you are not good enough over your weight for years and years, that is very hard for a person to survive.
Some close down like Erica, her emotions were so shut down to "survive". I know I had my slumbering and comatose years though I had my "fight back" times and my finally "run like hell" and "I am done with you people for good" time. If she hopes to regain her health, getting away from toxic people is an important part of this. It will be her only hope.
We Don't Love You Because You are Fat