About Johanna


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November 23, 2009


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I think a lot of times I perceive that people expect me to be perfect in x or y way... but, really, when I think about it, I'm coming to realize in therapy that no one ever said that - I just heard that. So it's not really an issue of my environment... it's an issue of how I misperceived my environment. (Just a small example: When I did sports growing up and through college, people always said "wow, I can't believe you've never been injured." My mind took that to mean: It's good that I've never been injured, that impresses people, and if I were to ever get injured or feel sick and need to miss a practice, I would never ever tell anyone. however, no one ever said "and you better not get injured or sick." I just added that part to it in my own mind. that's just one example and, as I continue to go to therapy, I am finding more and more examples that illustrate the same phenomenon.


Laura, I think just like you. I understand exactly what you are saying.


I totally relate to Laura. In my family no words were ever spoken necessarily about how i was supposed to be or act. It was very clear though to me that i was to be the perfect, pretty, joyful,happy girl. I knew that if i stepped outside of these parameters or had any ideas of my own that i would be disappointing or even abandoned. I would be replaced for someone better than me. My worst fear. I am just now realizing as well with therapy that i can be JUST ME. Its still challenging and I'm not good at it alot of the time but when i can not panic i so enjoy just being myself without bad things happen. That's pretty cool i have to say.


I remember after entering therapy that I stated my opinion about about petty trivial things to practice using my voice after my mom made a comment. For example, my mom stated she did not like a lady on TV. I simply and quietly said I did. She got up, yelled at me about the lady and then stormed out of the room...my kids who were in their teens turned to me and said, "What was that all about?" She at times accused me of leaving my roots, because I decorated my home differently than she did. I loved her house...it reflected her and never understood why she had such a hard time letting me be me...except maybe she wasn't all that comfortable or maybe confident being her. My sister on the other hand seemed to be able to have her own opinions. One of the differences is I chose to go to church on my own...they viewed every choice I made about anything after that as a negative influence on me. Any opinion I stated or any boundary I put in place was considered a judgment of them. Even boundaries I put down for safety sake were considered that. For example, not wanting to be in the car when someone was driving after drinking. Sadly some of my kids think they can't have their own opinion, etc. Johanna, could some of this be a process of individuation...I know I really felt guilty at first when I realized I wasn't just like mom and dad?


Yeah, no one ever told me that I was perfect, oh wait, now that I think about it, people have told me that, but not my family. I always think "If only you knew how NOT perfect I am." It's always funny to hear "you have a perfect body" too. Geez, to an ED person you say that? Well, I guess they don't know.

But yeah, no one ever told me that I needed to be perfect but I always think that people think I am because I don't drink, smoke, do drugs...and because of that, I think people perceive me to be the perfect person for some reason.


All of this perfect talk has gotten me thinking. I struggle a lot with accepting people's compliments. Like today a friend of mine told me that I am a good teacher and I couldn't accept the compliment. I just laughed and said "alright". I need a list for ways to work on accepting the things I do well with out having a big head and another list for ways to work on accepting the things I don't do so well, and being able to say AND that's okay!

I want to share my goal for this week, since its Thanksgiving and I could use the accountability. My T and I decided that I really need to work on not coping by avoiding. So, this week and especially Thanksgiving day, I am to try my best to not avoid and instead actually deal/bear whatever situation I would normally avoid. Whether its the entire day, a conversation, food, whatever it is I need to deal with it instead of avoiding. Because the only thing avoiding does is gives Ed a firmer grip on me than what he has previously.

I also wanted to share that I almost blew my soon to be 10 weeks today. I was really close to skipping lunch. But, I took some time and asked myself why I didn't want to eat. I found out that I was really frustrated because I didn't want to be at school any longer and the video I was working on was taking forever. The entire situation I was in was frustrating/irritating me. So, instead of eating lunch I was wanting to avoid dealing with my crappy mood by focusing on not eating. It took me a couple hours to work through all of this, but in the end I took a time out to get a small meal in me before my workout (or what was to be my workout). And then I was able to eat dinner a few hours later. Anyways, I am excited that I was able to work through my worked up emotions and continue on with my no skipping meals streak :)


Good job Ann! One of the first steps we took in our support groups for learning to accept compliments, was to reply by saying something like, "Thank you, I appreciate your compliment." I at times think I need to get rid of the "buts" I hear in my head. If a close understanding friend compliments you and knows ahead of time, if you say but, to just quietly repeat the compliment...for example, if someone were to compliment you on a lesson you taught and you said, but if you only knew____________. She repeats the compliment....and you keep going until you run out of buts and can simply say thank you...it might be a good exercise for a group or an individual session or with a close friend who understands and is patient. Another idea I read and plan to do is make a "coat of arms" on poster board and on it put boxes or shapes and in each one put different things like the things I do well, the things I don't, my strengths, my weaknesses, etc. so that I can get a better grasp and embrace my humaness. I am so excited that you worked through feelings and did not skip your meal...I am aiming for a decent day for tomorrow! :)

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Wow, thats a great topic. I'm sure many of us learned something and great ideas from it.

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