If I were featured on the Dr. Phil show, this is how my story would go:
I have an abusive boyfriend. His name is Gym. The thing is, Gym never used to be abusive. In fact he used to be quite good to me. He made me beam with pride and accomplishment when I could run my cross country races without stopping once to walk. He cheered me on when I challenged myself to go beyond my limits and succeeded! He was always there to lift me up and made me feel good about myself when I was having a rough day.
But somewhere along the lines, Gym’s attitude changed. It all started when he teamed up with one of his best buddies, Anorexia.
Anorexia is a real bitch.
She completely warped my relationship with Gym. Suddenly Gym started getting really nasty. He would constantly hound me, telling me that I was never good enough, and that I could never be good enough. He said that I was fat and ugly, lazy and completely worthless. Desperate to stop his relentless tormenting, I tried to appease him by spending even more time with him. But it was never enough. A half hour turned into a full hour, and then two hours, and then three hours. Yet he still demanded more. In just a few months time I quickly found out that it was no longer any fun spending time with Gym but I still couldn’t break off the relationship.
There were a few times I considered escaping, but Gym immediately swooped in reminding me in a low, crooning voice that he owned me and without him I would never survive. Deep down, I knew that he was right and reluctantly ran back into his embrace every time. Sometimes when Gym was feeling particularly mean and upset he would invite Anorexia over to further harrass me. Anorexia told me that I was fat, that I didn’t have any muscle tone, and that I didn’t deserve to eat that day because I hadn’t spent enough time with Gym. They would hold me down and scream profanities and names in my face until at last, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was forced to obey. Those were the most painful moments of my life.
I’m sure you’re familiar with my boyfriend. You’ve probably seen him yanking me along like a chained slave. Day after day he forces me to spend time with him, never at once listening to my urgent pleas for rest. There are some days when I don’t mind being around him at all though. He can still be really sweet and encouraging, especially when he sees the progress that I have made in my fitness goals. Those are the characteristics that I like about him the best. However, other times he is a grueling army sargeant and demands that I continue to stay with him even though my knee is crying out in pain from being injured. I hate that side of him. No, I loathe that side of him.
I must warn you that even though Gym does have a lot of good qualities, he is still very sly and cunning. He can turn the simplest thing into a huge issue or completely warp the truth. He is also an expert shape-shifter.
Sometimes he looks like this:
Other times he looks like this:
Most days he appears in this form:
Unfortunately, right now he’s looking a lot like this:
He can be really ugly at this stage so I know I need to be careful.
The hard thing about our relationship is that most people approve. I cannot tell you how many strangers have applauded me and told me how great it is that I am spending time with him. I kind of want to strangle them because last year Gym almost did this to me:
No, I’m not kidding. I told you he was scary.
Only my family and my friends truly know just how dangerous Gym can be. They continually discourage me from going to him and just can’t understand why I won’t leave. I wish they could understand…
These days Gym and I have ammended our relationship a bit, although he is still slightly controlling. He is a lot kinder to me and has allowed me to cut back on the amount of time that we spend hanging out. He understands that my body just cannot endure that kind of stress and abuse any longer and knows that I need to treat myself and my body with respect. I’m glad that I have finally understood this about myself and can slowly begin to develop a more healthy mindset.
Eventually I would like to break up with Gym altogether because I don’t think he will ever change. He can still be very hurtful and critical, especially when he sees other girls who look a lot leaner and fitter than myself. But you know what? I truly don’t think I will miss him that much. In fact I’ve actually had my eye on another hottie for a while. His name is Fitness. He’s quite attractive too.
Disclaimer: this is not to criticize any of you who adore working out. I myself LOVE it! I love the way it makes me feel and how strong I am getting. But unfortunately my eating disorder has made my relationship with the gym very unhealthy. This story is an example of that.