A Spiritual Crisis
"I don't know how to pull myself out of this train wreck of a person that I've become," she says. "It's a little bit saddening to see just how far I've fallen."
"Letting ourselves speak the truth out loud," psychologist Dr. Robin Smith says, "that's part of the beginning of healing. … Everybody is in search of who they really are. Not who you were, because that person is not there anymore. Something better and improved is possible."
According to an Oprah.com poll, about 90 percent of you admit that you've let yourself go!
"My friends," Oprah says, "that's going to end today. We're going to help you begin to launch your own comeback ."
Life changed for Andrea when her fiancé met another woman online. He proposed to this new woman…in the house he and Andrea had bought together!
Andrea and her son immediately left the house, but, she says, the embarrassment was difficult to deal with, and she proceeded to pack on 40 pounds. "Food is my drug of choice," she says. "I eat and eat and eat until I'm sick. I felt like I lost about 80 percent of myself in that relationship."
Now, Andrea says, "When I look in the mirror, I see a fat, unhappy woman that nobody would look twice at. I see a woman who is embarrassed to be in her body. I see regret."
Kathleen says she didn't know how deeply her friend was hurting. She had tried to contact Andrea multiple times, but Andrea never returned her calls. "I just figured she needed time and she kind of put me on hold," Kathleen says. "But I always knew that we'd eventually connect."
"You're swallowing poison every time you say that [you were humiliated]. You're still thinking that somehow you did something," Dr. Robin says. "It's one thing to say, 'I'm sorry that I forgot how much you loved me. I'm sorry that I forgot how much I loved you. I'm sorry that I let a liar get between us.' But that's so different than saying, 'I'm the loser.' Because it's not you, it's the lie and him and other parts of your story that got between the two of you."
Dr. Robin continues, "I'd rather you say to her something like, 'I'm sorry that I forgot how special our union was and that I let anybody—but particularly that loser—get in the way.'"
Then she recently went from 138 pounds to about 205 pounds. One of the reasons for this weight gain, Nathalie says, is that she has tended to attract the wrong type of men in relationships, stemming from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.
Her extra weight has become an emotional barrier. "I have such fear of being hurt again that I have gained this weight," she says. "It is my protective wall. I now can go out and be social and not have the fear of attracting dates or men. It has been my protector."
"You talked about being made to do sexual things that were degrading and horrible and made you feel like an object, like you weren't really a person," Dr. Robin says to Nathalie. "So guess what we do? When we don't feel like a person, we start treating ourselves like an object: shoving food in our mouths, smoking, drinking, neglecting ourselves."
Therefore, if you are harming yourself because of past abuse, it's incredibly important to understand what is going on and to put a stop to it. "You've got to get rid of that old tape—that lie—that says you are not valuable because somebody else rejected, harmed, cheated you," Dr. Robin says.
It all came crashing when Karen was laid off and gained weight. Now, she says, "I feel like a train wreck. I've just given up on everything. I just totally, emotionally let myself go. It was an emotional meltdown. I lay on the couch eating snacks and sleeping all day and watching sad movies and crying all day. It [started as] a pity party for six months. I don't even try to look good anymore. I have no reason to get up in the morning to get dressed. Having a 3-year-old and feeling old is just very difficult. I'm out of shape and I can't keep up with her anymore."
Dr. Robin also says that Karen's situation also points to the problem of self-abuse."If I get fired, does that make me the loser?" she asks. "Does that mean that my intrinsic worth and value is gone? And the answer all too often for most of us is, 'yes.'"
Karen says that this was exactly her reason for letting herself go. "I had a certain identity," she says, "and then when that identity's taken away, you don't even know where to go."
"Not only to be heard, but it's saying that you have the right to a beautiful, prosperous life just because you were born," Oprah says. "That is your human right. Not because some man said, or because your mother said, or society said, or your children need…but because you were born."