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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


I suggest that much trouble gets perpetuated when a person has been abused because they couldn't escape the abuse.  Then, when they can escape the abuse they don't know they are free. They don’t know how to think and respond as a free person.

If they were abused by a parent they often surrender power and authority to that parent because of the title, i.e. mother, father, grandmother, grandfather. They may allow their children to be exposed to and even be controlled by abusive people because of titles. 

My therapist and I are working on just this topic in therapy right now. The above sentences could have come directly out of my therapists mouth. We started the conversation because I have been having difficulty understanding why my parents allowed me to be around my gf for so long...I ask, how could they not have known? I guess I mostly blame my mother because she was home all the time. My dad worked a lot to support a large family and had other things on his mind.

I also think I blame her because I think she was also abused by him....so in my fragile thinking I ask, why would she put me in the same situation? But my therapist tells me what you have written. My mom was so wounded by his abuse that she could not think and respond as a free person once she grew older and had her own daughters.

I, on the other hand, am hyper alert to anyone who may pose a danger to my children. I tend to trust people less than the average bear. I catch myself thinking people are perverts and child abusers just by how they appear to me. It's like an instinct. They are strangers. I don't know anything about them. But I feel it - that creepy, not so right feeling - and I listen to it.

My gf is long dead. But those 7 years of sexual abuse - and the residual affects remain. I am on massive clean-up duty now.

As far as my mom's issues are concerned, she still has no ability to look inward and evaluate her actions or take responsibility, much less link them to her abuse. I like to think I should be proud of my brave decision to deal with this in therapy.  I certainly don't want to perpetuate my symptoms of my abuse onto my children. But I do. I model insecurity, irritability, a short fuse at times, sadness and the list goes on.  Part of why I am in therapy is to get healing so that I can be the best mom I can be.

My mom and I are still on "break". It began the Thursday before Mother's Day, of all times. I have mentioned the details of this unfortunate situation. I am lucky that I have had very few of these types of incidents in the past few years. Again, the reason I have stepped away is because she made statements to me about my children that were false, just to hurt me. It was a purposeful, hateful utterance very spiteful in nature. There is also a lot of yelling and fighting in my parents home. My children listen to my mom bully my dad, calling him names to include curse words. They witness my dad being very passive and not defending himself.

There have been a few times that my kids have asked me not to take them back over there because they got "scared" by the yelling the time before. But that is always short lived as grandparents get a lot of leeway for the good things they do. And my parents are, most often, very good to my girls.  So my situation is periodic. I know when to step away and for how long. I don't go on break to spite my mom. I don't do it to hurt her, although I am usually very angry. I do it to protect myself and to protect my kids. I know that when she gets me feeling like I did when I was a kid, my recovery is in much jeopardy. I struggle enough when we are doing fine - I don't need the extra push.

But you get it. This is a painful area for me. I wish my mom could see and understand, and work on, the issues that make her lash out in such painful ways. All I can do is work on me.


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