Stress trigger

My boyfriend Dad's funeral is this weekend. My partner is all I should be worried about although he really disliked his father and is not suffering the loss the same as a person from a close family. But of course it is very sad and difficult. The funeral is stressful for me because I feel panic attacks in churches and remembering the stresses of my own Father's funeral. My Dad had a girlfriend we found about only on his death bed and my mother absolutely did not want her showing up to my Dad's funeral. And it was my job to watch the door and ask her to leave when she came. Anyways... I do stress about whom may show up at this funeral too. But my partner is very supportive and gives me no reason not to be confident in our relationship.

However now I am triggered to want to loose weight. Since all this happened all I can do is think about going to work to weigh myself - because I had to get rid of all the scales in my home because of how consuming it was to always want to weigh in. I am less than a 100 pounds at 5'f5" tall. For some unknown reason I want to be at least 95 pounds by the weekend. All the doctors say about seeking control and coping with stress in a harmful way is true. But really even with my medications and support groups in place - this time I feel no other way around it. This is my boyfriend's time to need support not mine. I did tell him I was having nightmares about it and he said everything will be okay and that I will be there for him. And of course I will be.

4 Replies

  • Hi. As a therapist, I read your post and felt a great deal of sadness for you as you go through this experience with your boyfriend. The loss of anyone such as a father is painful and complicated, but perhaps especially if the relationship with him was not straightforward. This is what it sounds like your partner's relationship was like with his father.

    But it is you who are writing the post, not your boyfriend. It seems this situation has strongly reminded you of the loss of your own father, and the complicated situation that emerged as he was dying. Add to this the responsibility you were given to keep this woman out of the funeral, I think you have all the ingredients of a very traumatic event! Remember, you were not just grieving the actual loss of your father, you were grieving the loss of the father you thought you had (someone who was in a monogamous relationship with your mother). That is a heavy responsibility whatever age you were (I got the impression you were young, but perhaps not)!

    I think the pull back into trying to lose weight is a way to try and numb the feelings that are bring triggered by this stressful and difficult event on Saturday. Please, please try to resist the urge to lose more weight. As someone who has worked with people with eating disorders I know the basics - your weight at your current height is very low (at a level that is diagnostic of anorexia nervosa), and any further weight loss could tip you into a very bad place both physically and emotionally.

    Are you in therapy or treatment for your eating problems? if not, I would really encourage you to seek help, as you sound like you have a lot to manage at the moment. You deserve support and help!

    Good luck for your partner's father's funeral this weekend!

  • Wow thank-you Helen. You put things in a different perspective for me. I have three older brothers and only one knew. My Dad had apparently begged my mother not to tell me- so she did. My brother was told by my Dad because he wanted my brother to tell the other woman to go away as his heal was fading fast coming near the end. But my brother was not successful and then my poor mother found receipts for expense gifts he bought her out of the money she intended to use to secure her retirement, etc. I am surprised I don't have severe trust issues because of this. When my boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer I did feel abnormal fear of his long-time ex-girlfriends reappearing in all the drama- because that is what happened with my own father. But I never showed any of my own insercurites at the time because true focus had to be on my boyfriend but I certainly had sleepiness nights worrying about this on my own. My boyfriend mentioned how hard it must be on me because of my experiences with my Dad's cancer and death. I really trust him because he makes time to go to my doctor's appointments and seems to genuinely care about my feelings. Thank-you for your kind words about us attending the funeral on Saturday. Yesterday my boyfriend said all I have to do is be there for him - and not worry about anything else. I sincerely appeciate your insight, advice and kindness. Thank-you!

  • Glad to hear my thoughts were helpful to you Aspen2015. You certainly sound like you have had more than your fair share of difficulties during your life, and that (perhaps not surprisingly) they still have an impact on you to this day. If you are not already, I would really encourage you to engage in some sort of therapeutic process where you can get some space to work through all of these things, so that they can stay in the past, where they belong.

    Good luck!

  • Thank-you kindly, Helen.

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