I have wrestled with writing this for a long time. I wanted to write something funny, something cute, something lighthearted. But the Holy Spirit has guided these hands to type these words; indeed, we could not rejoice in the Resurrection of Christ (as we celebrated this past weekend) without acknowledging the Passion that led to it.
I believe my mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and the things that she did were fueled by this illness, as well as her own pain and insecurities. Please read what I write through a lens of compassion and please pray for her.
The last time I spoke to my mother was when I was 19 years old. Now, almost a decade ago.
I had to let go to be healthy. The relationship was too toxic to maintain.
When I was 16 years old, I stood before a judge. My mother petitioned to have my step-dad become my guardian. Even though he and my mother divorced many years earlier, he was still my dad. My father was there to sign the documents; my mother never showed. I went home that day extremely relieved to be free from her. The last words she spoke to me were, “If I come near you, you are going to need an ambulance.”
The Pain of Abuse
My mother was downright cruel–abusive verbally, physically, and mentally. She suffered much in her own life and believed that having two girls was a curse instead of a blessing. She gave my sister away to my father when she was 13 and she gave me away when I was 16, only keeping my half-brother (from her marriage to my step-dad). Her belief that boys were better than girls was deeply ingrained. Sadly, her own father told her that if only she had been a boy, she would have been perfect.
My mom’s own, lifelong battle with her weight led to her bullying me over my own. Food symbolized affection in my younger years: gummies for losing teeth, ice cream cakes for being home sick from school. But once puberty hit, food became a weapon. I watched while my brother ate whatever he wanted. Yet, my plate was heavily guarded. A girl needs to be thin to be attractive. . . Boys don’t need to watch their weight, but girls do. Or, so my mother taught.
One of the most painful memories between my mother and me happened when I was just 15 years old. She stood me in front of a mirror and told me that I, “looked like I just had a baby. Who wants to look at that? What man wants that?”
What I ate became my mother’s obsession. Cookies were counted and pieces of cake meticulously measured.
My mother had always carried a lot of anger, but it reached a new level when I hit my teenage years. I became the target. I was slapped, choked, and knocked around. Once, my head was even slammed into a wall.
Bulimia and Control
I had no control over my life, so I found a way to control it–through food.
The first time I ever binged and vomited was on a pizza. I felt so smart: I could eat what I wanted and not gain weight. After a time, I realized this habit could be harmful, so I stopped. But the disordered eating pattern stayed. I would run to food, hoping to run away from the pain. Upset? Angry? Sad? Lonely? Depressed? Fill that void with food! Happiness is just a bite away!
When I confessed to my mother about my bulimia, she shamed me. She never considered it a cry for help. My mother was so lost in her own pain that there was no room for mine. My brother was her source of hope and she focused on their relationship. She often told me to go away, that she couldn’t stand the sight of me, that I was fat or ugly, or that she couldn’t stand to hear me breathe. Fellow churchgoers asked why I was so sad all the time, so she made me go to another church by myself.
I was rejected in every possible way by my mother, resulting in her giving me up.
Living with my step-dad, I ate whatever I wanted. Weight gain resulted in diet pills, fitness DVDs, and obsessive work out sessions. Every time I would lose weight, I would go back to eating whatever I wanted. Being thin meant being lovable–I had value and worth if I could just weigh a certain amount. But, food was comfort. Comfort that I needed. What vicious idols to be so attached to.
To this day, I struggle in these areas.
Choosing New Life
Recently, after another failed attempt to control myself with food, God revealed something to me: “You are already victorious. I have overcome.”
How could I have been so blind? I don’t have to fight or struggle. I am not powerless. All I need is be still and know that He is God… He has fought and won the battle (Psalms 46:10).
Because of Christ, I am victorious in this. If I look at food through this lens, it helps me to make the right choices. Food is nourishment, not meant for comfort. The void in my heart, the hunger in my soul, can only be filled by God.
And, if I fail, I know I can ask for forgiveness, be restored, and move forward.
Joyce Meyer likes to say that there are facts, and then there is truth. The fact is that I experienced abuse, an eating disorder, and a host of body images issues. My story could have continued there. However, the truth is that I am what God says I am: a new creature, redeemed through Christ. My past can stay in the past.
Though it’s difficult to share this story, I do so with the knowledge that generational curse stops here. My mother’s father passed a disease on to her, she could have passed it on to me. But, instead, I cling to the truth of Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death… oh that you would choose life that you and your descendants might live!” (NLT).
I choose to end it here. I choose life.
Watch this video to learn a little more about Kristin and what God is doing in her life, right now!
Kristin LeComte is a 28 year old woman who lives in Derry, New Hampshire, with her husband of six years, David. Learning is a passion of hers, one that sparked pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus to become all she can in Him. She looks forward to graduating in 2018 with her Master of Education and becoming a high school English teacher who helps others develop a love of learning. In her free time, she loves reading, writing, baking, working out, and playing with makeup. Read Kristin’s posts here.