You want to, but you can’t. Isn’t that often the case when
it comes to losing a lot of weight?
What’s involved in “you want to, but you can’t”?
For Robin, there were a lot of things she couldn’t do. This was
set against the backdrop of a very talented woman, who could do lots of things.
She had been frustrated for such a long time about all the things she couldn’t
do. Robin couldn’t keep her desk organized. She jumped from one task to
another. She waited too long to return phone calls. She procrastinated on
paying her bills. And she couldn’t lose weight.
You might not think that Robin would feel so frustrated with
herself about these matters, these little matters, when she had so much going
for her. She was a whip at her job, where she was an administrator of a
medium-sized hospital. Everyone could count on her there. That was what was so
frustrating for Robin. She knew she was reliable, good at her job, but in her
private life she was sloppy and careless and she procrastinated something awful.
She was acutely self-conscious about her weight too, often suffering from her
own harsh criticisms of herself, like seeing her inabilities as character flaws.
It turned out that her dissatisfactions with herself were
echoes from her past, from her childhood, and right through until her mother
died. Robin had no inkling that this was the root of her inability to lose
weight and the cause for her frustrating character flaws. Her mother had been
her tormenter, insisting that Robin do everything by the book. Only the book
belonged to her mother, and it was a very unreasonable, narcissistic,
tyrannical book. Robin endured punishments and humiliation that no child, no
adolescent, no adult should have experienced.
All of this came out in Robin’s psychotherapy. As Robin put
together these pieces from her past, a past which she was sure she had left
behind, she became able to do all the little things in her life that had been
so frustrating for her, and she lost weight.
You could speculate that Robin’s weight loss came after she
realized what a heavy burden life with her mother had been. The weight Robin
was carrying, the never-ending frustrations with herself, these were telltales,
signs that something was wrong. Robin couldn’t just say what was wrong. She
knew how awful her mother had been, but she thought she had developed lots of
strengths, which she did, and had gotten away from her mother’s grip on her. But
that’s not the way it worked.