Anger, fear, shame, and guilt, which are debilitating emotions, get in the way of being able to experience forgiveness. These emotions have been your companions until now. They will not want to be left behind.
As you come to acknowledge the truth about the pain you’ve been feeling, you will re-experience the anger you’ve been suppressing through your eating disorder and disordered eating. This anger is familiar, but without the familiar confines of your relationship with food, it may seem overwhelming. The danger is to want to remain angry, wallowing in placing blame, which only leads to more anger. It takes great courage to confront those who hurt you, to acknowledge the power they have to cause you pain, and to make a conscious choice, for your health and well-being, to forgive them and move on.
Resentment at finally understanding what happened to you may foster an intense desire to retaliate against those who caused your pain. You must fight against remaining in a blaming mode. Instead, you need to move beyond blame and toward forgiveness. Forgiveness is the balm that allows your soul to heal and you to grow beyond your pain and anger.
It is also possible that you have an unnatural fear of conflict in any form. You may fear being rejected again by the person who hurt you. It may be easier to continue to take out your resentment on yourself rather than to express the truth to that person openly. Your well-established pattern toward food can seem much more comfortable and safe than the unknown consequences of dealing with the person who hurt you and extending that person forgiveness.
Acknowledging your truth and laying blame where it belongs will surely cause conflict between you and the person who has hurt you. Expressing forgiveness, however, allows for a safer avenue of communication. When you can approach them from an attitude of forgiveness, you provide them with a buffer to cushion the blow of old images shattered and the realization of their own mistakes and responsibility.
Remember, though, that you cannot control anyone’s response but your own. Whether or not the people in your life accept your forgiveness, you need to be sure in your own mind that there is something to forgive. Trust yourself and your memories.
Showing forgiveness, even to the person who admits no need for it, allows you to show a healing example of what love and acceptance are all about. Forgiveness means letting go and getting on with life. It leads to restored relationships with those you love. Even if such a relationship is not yet possible, you have done your part.
The road to forgiveness can lead to many joys. Forgiveness allows you to:
- Reclaim your personal happiness and find release from bondage to debilitating emotions.
- Seek out appropriate forms of comfort.
- Truly throw out those harmful emotions instead of storing and recycling them.
- Reclaim intimacy in your relationships by giving you closure over the painful ones so you can truly enjoy the healing ones.
Your eating disorder is a response to your pain and anger. If you can understand what happened, get past the anger, and forgive the pain, the reason for your behavior will no longer exist. When the reason no longer exists, and the health-related complications of your behavior are addressed, true healing becomes a reality.