Stuffed With Emptiness: “I’ve Tried To Love You But I Just Can’t”

Posted: October 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I feel strongly about bringing more awareness to the struggles of binge eating. The “Stuffed With Emptiness” series delves into details and thoughts of significant moments of my past journey. If this topic could be triggering to your own thoughts and experience in any way, please read with caution or wait to visit FFF later.

Catch Up With Previous Stuffed With Emptiness Posts:

“I’ve Tried To Love You But I Just Can’t”

It had now been a couple of months since my first and second binges. Over that time I had acquainted myself more with the practice. Funny word, but that is what it felt like. I paid close attention to my habits and perfected my ways to hide my new habit.

I knew the hours to sneak out to the store so I could easily bring my bags of candy and cookies up to my room without anyone knowing. I knew how to quickly and quietly hide the bags in the back of my closet, then lock my door as I devoured them. First over the course of a week, then merely over the course of a day or two.

Binging had clawed its way through to me, wrapped it’s cold, unyielding arms around me, and whispered sweet nothings in my ear – “You are nothing. You need me. Let me soothe you. And then show you just how nothing you truly are to not resist me”. My relationship with binging felt familiar. It felt like the relationship I had with my dad.

Ever since I was twelve, I had felt my father slipping through my fingers. One day, I was playing “tickle monster” with him on the floor, and the next I sat wondering why he hated our family so much to never want to see us.

Why the only communication he shared immediately showed harbored resentment – not keeping the house clean enough or costing him money or not wanting to follow in his footsteps in his business.

Living together again brought our clashing personalities and each of our own issues into a power struggle that only hurt the two of us. The food consoled me. It kept me company. In the momentary surge that came from eating, I no longer felt the surge of hatred pulsing through the house. An underlying energy that others may not have noticed, but that completely controlled both of us.

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Then, we got stuck in one room together over the course of a weekend for a wedding. I didn’t sleep well. I was tired. I was irritable. I mentioned my fatigue. My dad made some snide remark, so I pushed buttons back. I let him know that his snoring had kept me up most of the night.

I can’t remember how or what particular arguments ensued, but it quickly escalated. Yet, he kept his voice low…solely because family resided just outside our doors and on the other side of our walls. We couldn’t possibly break the perfect image of himself down. I pointed that out.

He looked at me smugly. Then uttered the words that to this day, despite my forgiveness of him, make me ache with an empty hole:

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I grabbed my bags. My sister ran after me. We waited for the ferry to take us off the island of the wedding. It probably would have been safer for my 14 year old sister to drive us the six hours home, as I could not see for the tears shielding my eyes.

I don’t remember what I binged on that night. I simply remember it was one of the only two times I ever ate enough to have my body physically reject the amount of food I put in it. I could never make myself throw up, though I tried, so the fact I got sick without trying makes me know I ate. And I ate a lot.

Perhaps I was trying to heave the bile of those words into the toilet, not the food. Perhaps I hoped to flush them down and away, so they couldn’t stay with me and define me for the years that followed. The words won. For a long time.

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Pease note that I have forgiven and mended my relationship with my father. This is simply a reflection on my past, so please show respect. We are both changed people today. Don’t send hate out into the world. Red heart

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60 Comments to “Stuffed With Emptiness: “I’ve Tried To Love You But I Just Can’t””
  1. Khushboo says:

    Wow these posts really give me goosebumps! You are such a strong woman with an inspiring, positive mindset! Thank you for this daily reminder of how powerful forgiveness can be!

  2. This post hit me on a very personal level, as somebody who was (formerly) very close to me regularly said something similar to me, smug look and all. The superiority and triumph of making me miserable still makes me ill.

    I can’t even rethink the details now, and I am so sorry you went through something similar, but it is a relief to know that I’m not alone.

  3. Kelly says:

    I am glad that you and your father have sense reconciled but no doubt those were painful words to hear by a parent. I am so sorry that you had to experience that. I am also glad that today you are a confident and changed person.

  4. Tina, this post made me tear up! I love that you are so strong and so able to forgive. I think it’s so amazing how open and honest you are about your experiences :)

  5. Excellent post girl! I loved reading this :)

  6. jobo says:

    Wow, that is such a sad, hurtful thing to have had to hear and experience from your father. I am glad that you have mended your relationship – my own relationship with my father was rocky for so long, but now, is in a pretty good place, so I totally ‘get’ that – but what a moment, a turning point for you, perhaps in your previous battles? At any rate, you battled on and you won. And that’s what matters, the triumph. XOXO.

  7. Diana says:

    My heart broke for you in this post – I am so, so glad that you have repaired your relationship with your father. No one should have to hear those words from their parent, but I am also acutely aware that parents are human too, and not infallible.

    That you have come out the brighter end of this struggle is so very encouraging – I am consistently impressed with your strength!

  8. lindsay says:

    Once again I am blown away by your honesty and ability to put into words things I have felt but been unable to express. I have struggled on and off with binge eating and have had a lot of trouble pin pointing exactly WHY but reading this has me reflecting big time. I am beyond impressed with your ability to forgive, move on and change your life for the better.

  9. You are so brave, Tina. And forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

  10. Carly says:

    Tina – you are so brave to be able to relive those moments and share them with the world. My heart broke while I read that story. But, I am so proud to know that you have made it through all of that (and more) and have come out stronger, healthier, and happier in the end. I am also happy to hear that you have reconciled your relationship with your father. I’m not sure which would be harder – having an unhealthy relationship or no relationship at all. I’m glad the two of you have both grown up enough to confront old demons :)

  11. These take a lot of courage to write, Tina, and thank you for them.
    I’m sorry that you had to go through so much hurt to get to where you are today, but it also shows how strong you are.
    It’s great that you’ve made up with your dad. He must have been in a lot of pain himself to say such hurtful words to his child. Love your strength.

  12. you are so, so loved, tina. i’m so glad you know that now. :)

  13. This post really impacted me, mostly because I can relate to a lot of it. You are such a strong woman and so admirable!

  14. Lisa says:

    Wow, what an awful, heartbreaking thing to say. I am so sorry. At least you figured out the root of your emotional eating and dealt with it/resolved the issues and repaired the relationship.

    Of course I had some emotional issues that caused me to gain over 100 pounds. I chose not to face them but to eat instead. Losing the weight I still ignored them. Losing 100 pounds was my #1 focus and I didn’t address the original issues. It took time after I lost the weight to realize I needed to do that.

  15. Lynne says:

    Wow, what a powerful post. Thank you for sharing this. Your blog is so inspiring.

  16. What an amazing post, as usual, Tina. So open and honest. I am sure that it was difficult to write and to bring up those memories. I think you are incredibly strong for being able to move past that and forgive your father. I tend to struggle with forgiveness…especially of myself. You are truly an inspiration.

  17. Literally crying over here. I can’t really put what I’m feeling into words, but please know that I love you. You are loved. you are loved.

    • Guia says:

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  18. Wow, Tina, thank you for sharing. I can’t even begin to imagine how that must have felt to hear those words. I’m so happy to hear that you have mended your relationship with you father. Please know, that even though I barely know you, I have come to love you and your blog. It is so inspiring and uplifting that you are able to express your love for others and that it is easy to feel when reading your posts!

  19. Amanda says:

    I don’t think I can thank you enough for this post. When I was 16 my father and I got into a fight that even now, 13 years later, I can still remember words he said to me on how no one would ever love me and I would always be alone that still make me sad. I, too, have forgiven him, and we now have an alright relationship. Reading this post has brought to light ideas about how my relationship with food and my body have been ever since then; about how I need to still work on the fact that I am good enough and, in the end, love myself and realize I am good enough for myself now. Thank you. And please always remember you are loved, including by a blog reader who eagerly looks forward to your posts each day.

  20. wow tina. just … wow. i could relate to SO much of this post, and it broke my heart. the first quote you put up made me tear up, as today is one that is emotionally quite hard for me. i’ve heard a lot of interesting talks on eating disorders and dads. have you heard of the book father hunger? it’s supposed to be incredible. you’re so amazingly brave for doing this series on your eating disorder- i know how hard it is to be open about ED, and how tempting it is to hide that piece of us and put on the happy, recovering, healthy front. but it does so much good to so many people to learn the truth. you’re such an inspiration to me Tina!

  21. I’m impressed that you and your father managed to reestablish a relationship. And I’m so sorry that he hurt you. But this is proof of how strong a woman you are! And I’m so glad that you no longer have to deal with the binges and hate.

    Food is such a good and legal numbing substance. You can eat and eat and eat and try to fill the emptiness. You don’t have to think, you don’t have to remember, you just have to eat. Food can love and comfort you but that eating brings up more issues and only temporarily bandaids the problem.

    Great post Tina! Thank you for sharing all your struggles. I’m so glad that you are in a better place now.

  22. katie says:

    Hey love,

    I am so glad that your relationship is now mended, but Im sure those were horrible times to go through, I can’t imagine.

    Its weird, I was going to do a post on my dad this week, but its one where I don’t have dad memories to share, no good or bad, my dad has nothing to do with me, and it has been that way all my life except for a time period once of about 6 months. I think I might post about it, but sometimes I just get upset about it, and I try not to think about it, you inspired me to maybe do it though now.

    Love ya!

  23. Wow, this is so powerful. I’m so glad I found your blog, I love your writing and posts like these are so moving and have such an impact. From someone who has also binged before (to the point where I was dry-heaving and nearly fainted), and someone who has had a slow but painful declining relationship with a family member, believe me when I say I hear you. What you have to say matters, and know that though I may not know you personally (who knows though? The universe has a funny way of playing these out), I would love to talk to you and provide support in any way you might need, ever. :)

  24. Lori Lynn says:

    Wow- I can’t imagine going through something like that with a parent. I had my own issues growing up with my mom, and I can so relate to the feelings and to the binge eating. I’m glad that you have a better relationship too.

  25. Tina, reading this brought tears to my eyes. I really admire your honesty in sharing this, and am so happy that you feel like now you are in a good enough place to do so.
    I have never had an ED, but I could still relate to this. I just feel like some people do not have the capacity to be able to look beyond themselves and love properly (and my dad is also one of those people, though he has never said anything quite so hurtful).
    So glad you have been able to move past this and learned to be a better person because of it!

  26. Jess says:

    Wow. Those words uttered by your father? You are a better person than me – I don’t know that I could forgive that. Though, I have forgiven an awful lot of my father’s “wrongs” over the years, so maybe I’m more forgiving than I give myself credit for. Either way, this is an amazing series, and goes to show, yet again, how far you’ve come, and how much you can teach all of us through these personal experiences.

  27. You are an amazing and inspirational woman. Simply amazing.

  28. Errign says:

    I cannot believe the courage you should in sharing these posts and the compassion you have for others who may be are feeling the things you were feeling then. You are amazing, Tina.

  29. You are amazing. Girl, I read this twice and felt sad, then I felt strong the second time through because I can feel your strength. It is interesting the last comment you made at the bottom of the post that you have forgiven and this is in the past…the beautiful thing about this is you have learned to shower love now because of this! This reflection is amazing, sad, yet amazing and everything in life is an opportunity! Love you girl!!

    You are beautiful!

    xxoo

  30. *hugs* I’m holding back tears. I can’t even imagine what you went through. I’m happy that there is forgiveness there now, though I know it must be extremely difficult to live with those words to this day.

  31. [...] again for your continued support of the Stuffed With Emptiness series. It’s a tough one to write (especially today’s), but it always feels so worth it once it’s out there and I hear your response. Thank [...]

  32. wow Tina…you have really come such a long way <3 As always…thank you for sharing your story. It's such an inspiration…your struggles were really not in vain. :)

  33. Lauren says:

    Wow. I simply can not imagine how hurtful that must have been. I can definitely relate to feeling so much pain from a loved one.. My grandmother used to consistently tell me that I was doomed to be fat. When I was a little girl, I was short and stubby. She took that as a way to pour her emotional issues into my innocent mind. Later in life, I developed such an unhealthy control over my relationship with food because I was trying to prove her wrong. I hate to blame everything on her and I don’t but I can see where so much of my past actions stemmed from. Thanks for sharing this Tina. So brave of you!

    • Tina says:

      I feel you. Even though you may not place blame on the person, you still know the impact they had. Thankfully we both have learned and been able to move on.

  34. Hilary says:

    Whoa. This is deep. Tough stuff. Thanks for sharing…you are so brave!

  35. Thank you for sharing this Tina, such raw and honest emotions that brought tears to my eyes…you’ve come so far and it’s inspiring that you’ve mended your relationship with your dad. I know this story is touching many out there who have gone through the same thing and your act of forgiveness is very inspiring :)

  36. This is such a raw and emotional post. I can’t even imagine having a conversation like that iwth one of my parents. TO have worked through that and to have forgiven him shows so much grace. You are a wonderful woman!

  37. Lee says:

    I’m glad you have worked things out with your father but I can’t imagine hearing those words from a parent.

  38. You are amazing to be the woman you are today after having to deal with the hurt and damage those words must have causes. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad to hear your dad has changed and your relationship is healed.

  39. People always say that old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt them”…my teachers preached this, but I NEVER ONCE believed it. Yes, words aren’t SUPPOSED to mean much, but no one can ignore them. Words are SO tremendously powerful, especially when they come from someone so important…Tina, you’re so brave and I really appreciate you sharing these stories in this series. I’m thankful you know you’re so, so loved now and you truly know how to love yourself, too.

  40. Ela says:

    Wow. That’s some powerful healing you’ve got going on here. I haven’t chosen to be reading your shares on this before now, afraid, I guess, but it’s incredible to feel your power and healing and progress through from this.

  41. Jen says:

    Wow…I am so sorry that you experienced that & equally amazed at the beautiful, inspirational woman that you’ve become…I have a feeling that you have touched and inspired more people than you will ever know. Thank you so much for sharing ALL of your stories – good and bad. I may not know you personally, but I absolutely DO love you!

  42. STUFT Mama says:

    Tina- I can’t imagine how hard it was to write this post. You have inspired so many lives. Your experiences and sharing of them are maing a difference in the world. I’m so glad things are better with your dad now. Cyber hugs to you!

  43. Céline says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to share all of this with us :)
    You’re message of forgiveness hit close to home for me -inspiring as always.
    You are loveable and loved.
    You make a difference in my life (just thought you should know :)

    • Tina says:

      Thank you, Celine. I feel so called to share my story so hearing positive feedback makes it even more of a blessing. Thank you.

  44. tania says:

    Tina you are such a strong and brilliant person, and i know that these types of situations shape all of us into who we are today, when we choose to forgive those that have hurt us, we take a burden off our own heart, we continue to live and mend ourselves by removing the hatred and allowing compassion to enter.

    Of course, things can never be forgotten, but holding onto resentment and hate never solves problem.

    god bless you!
    you are a fantastic blogger who is always so open and so honest!

    p.s. i have struggled with binge eating for years, from my teen years until recently, 15 yrs of my life was food. it wasnt fuel for me, it was the be all and end all- when i decided to truly love me, i realized that i was using food to sabotage my happiness. its a long struggle, but when you love yourself enough you just know that it has to stop.

    • Tina says:

      I love what you say about when you love yourself enough you know it has to stop. Definitely isn’t still easy, but feels like it’a a lot more worth the fight. ;)

      Thanks for your support and congrats on the changes in your life. :)

  45. LindseyAnn says:

    Tina, these posts are incredible. The writing is powerful, the stories (while sad and heartwrenching) are vivdly and beautifully told. I admire you for your courage to share this with us all. Thank you for sharing this.

  46. Elmina says:

    Hello,
    I am sure my comment will get lost in the sea of comments you have. I am really glad that you shared the story about your dad. I also had something similar in my life. My dad left our family when I was just turning 16. The next 7 years we were completely distant and he became someone I don’t even want to remember. And then he died. We never had it like a father and daughter should have and many things he did and said hurt me. I am not sure if this is part of my weight gain problem. I am struggling a lot with trying to lose weight and I have huge problems with binging. I had a good 6 months and now all I do is hit a brick wall. You are in an inspiration for me. Just thought I’d let you know.

    • Tina says:

      I read (and appreciate!) every single comment that comes across my blog. Thank you for your support and my heart aches to know the struggles you have had. Try to remember that it’s progression and not perfection. Focus on making the most of each day. You deserve it. Hugs,

      Tina

  47. Melodie says:

    I am so glad I read this today. I have no real relationship with my father, and I have tried numerous times. We talk on the phone for about 5 minutes once every 2 months. I have invited him to his grandson’s ball games, for holidays, for dinner… and it never works. It is very painful, but if anything, now, I ache for my 2 boys who really need good men in their life and could benefit from a grandfather. But, I really do not think my dad knows how to love his family. It tears me apart. I had a sales meeting at work last Friday morning and spent 2 hours listening to this sweet old man trying to talk me into buying his product for the company I work for. He spoke of his daughter (who is my age) with such love and his grandsons and all of the fun things he does with them, and the whole time he was talking I just kept thinking, “I wish you were my dad!”

    That hole still does lead to binge eating for me. I really do not have much hope that I can work past the emotional eating. I am trying, but as I get older and have my own children the pain just seems to grow deeper :(

    • Tina says:

      Melodie,

      I know what you mean about wanting that relationship there for your kids. That is actually one of the biggest motivators in having my father in my life. I wish your dad was more open to being there for you and his grandchildren and I also wish I could do something to take away that pain for you as well.

      Emotional eating is still one of my biggest challenges. I just try to take it day by day and find other ways to disrtact myself when I find the lure of food drawing me in . I’m here for you if you ever need anything!

      tina

  48. [...] “I’ve Tried To Love You, But I Just Can’t” [...]

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