How are CSA and Eating Disorders Linked?
Someone once told me, “Control is an illusion.” I’m not sure that I really understood that when I first heard it. When our bodies are robbed, and manipulated, and abused, we cling to the things that tend to feel “stable.” We cling to comfort and the things that make us feel in control when everything else feels utterly chaotic.
I think everything in life is linked. Imagine for a second that you grow up in a house of rigid perfectionism. Do you really think you will live your life completely unaffected? Or, you are in a military combat environment and witness traumatic events. The linkage is there! It’s the absolute same with CSA and eating disorders.
For me personally, at the height of my eating disorder everything was about avoidance. I didn’t want to think about the abuse or even talk about it for that matter. I still to this day have a very difficult time wanting to be open about it. I lived in isolation and secrets. My internal chaos was calmed by starving followed by repeated cycles of bingeing and purging. I never felt comfortable letting anyone into my world. Who could possibly understand? Who would believe me? And so my body became my “force.” My body became my weapon. My body became my control.
It’s humiliating, really. To stand in front of the mirror. To look at the reflection of the body that was once yours but stolen away so long ago. The shame. The guilt. The embarrassment. Your wounded soul filled up with food, or the lack of, just to feel contentment. Wondering. Wondering if the pain will ever go away.
As much as my eating disorder has been about control, it has also been a way to punish myself. “Why me?” “Why didn’t I tell anyone?” All of these questions run around in my mind still to this day, even almost 29 years later. I can’t help but play the what-if game with myself. What if I had run away? What if I had screamed? What if I had told someone? And because I was a child and did none of those things, my adult mind wants to punish my adult body.
The struggle is real! Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. But, I am grateful. I am grateful to be a survivor. I am grateful for the hope that is granted to me with each new day. I am grateful that that which has not killed me has only made me stronger. I am grateful to love and be loved.
“Grace is everything for those who deserve nothing”
My name is Alison Morrett and I live in Lexington, South Carolina. I am a registered nurse and spent 6 years in the United States Air Force. Aside from writing, I am absolutely in love with animals, reading, and painting. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for 25+ years and am a grateful survivor of childhood sexual trauma.