This is one personal story I didn’t want to share. When a silly conversation led to serious consequences, I couldn’t help but write about it. One of my favorite topics to read and write is recovery. In fact, I’m presently editing my eating disorder recovery memoir.
One thing I learned the hard way about recovery is that it’s a lifelong process. We never arrive. We’re always learning—always recovering. This isn’t a bad thing unless we’re in denial of it and don’t respect our need to stay alert to triggers.
Silly conversations aren’t unusual at our family’s dinner table. We all have a great sense of humor—especially my husband. He can turn a serious situation into a silly conversation with one sentence. And that’s what happened in this story.
My problem was that I didn’t tune into the conversation until he said something that I took the wrong way. I must have been daydreaming just before he joined in the conversation our two sons were having. I must have had what my husband calls the thousand-word-stare writers get when we’re composing sentences for a project we’re working on. Anyways, let’s get back to the story:
The aroma of a freshly baked lentil casserole wrapped our kitchen in its delicious fragrance of cheese, dill, garlic, onion, and oregano as I placed a baked potato on my plate. I was pleased with the five things I had lovingly made for supper. I asked one of my sons to pass me the sour cream. As I dipped a serving spoon into it, the guys chatted in the background while I thought about the editing I had done just before the oven timer went off.
My husband joined their conversation as I dropped a tablespoon of sour cream on my potato. “Is that skim-sour-cream?” He asked.
The moment I heard my husband’s words, my stomach tightened and my back stiffened. Why did he say that? Doesn’t he remember I’m a recovering calorie-counting-addict?
I had been having what I call a “fat day.” There’s no way I’m chubby, let alone obese. And even if I was, I understand it’s a small thing to concern oneself with compared to the weight of holy or unholy in our hearts. God looks at the heart. And, so should we.
But I am almost sixty. I am a grandmother. I am not as lean as I was in my younger days. Some of my clothes fit snugger now. The pants that were baggy before aren’t anymore. My tummy no longer feels flat. It curves and strains against the waistband of my smaller fitting jeans. My concern had driven me to use my exercise equipment more often, and for longer sessions, in an attempt to keep the bulge at bay.
My middle is—for lack of a better phrase—middle-aged.
I took a bite of the potato and found it repulsive. And that’s when I realized the words my husband said had triggered fear in me. If there’s anyone’s opinion about my weight and size that matters most, it’s my husband’s. But in that moment, it wasn’t concern I felt, I was angry and afraid.
I sat my fork down and said, “There are two things during dinner you must never say to a person who has recovered from eating disorders: I am full. Or the number of calories a food item has. ‘Once an addict always an addict’ pertains to those who have had eating disorders too.”
My words silenced the room. No one replied. Everyone continued eating. And then, one by one they thanked me for the meal and left the table.
Everyone. Quietly. Exited.
I sat there alone with my half-eaten supper. I lost my appetite. The meal I was pleased with no longer pleased me. Guilt for ruining the family’s peaceful dinner emptied my heart of peace and filled my stomach with lead. My dinner tasted like cardboard.
I rose from my spot and tossed the remainder of it into the garbage.
This is rare for me. I don’t snack in the evenings. My supper plate is the last food of the day for me. I cleaned up the kitchen and drank a glass of water. There was no way I was planning on having my customary after dinner decaf coffee. I wanted to avoid any more calories for the day. Maybe I wouldn’t have my after-dinner coffees anymore—at all—ever.
I knew I was running to the wrong rock. I knew even a smidgen of eating disorder behavior was dangerous. To walk in its lies is to stand on sinking sand. But I was overwhelmed by the weight of my husband’s words. I was confused how he could draw attention to the fact sour cream was once a forbidden food for me. When I suffered with anorexia and bulimia, I restricted fattening foods from my diet. Or purged them if I did indulge.
As I wiped the counters beside the sink, one of my sons entered the kitchen looking solemn. He stepped up to me and said, “I’m sorry for mentioning calories at the table. I didn’t mean to cause you discomfort.”
I’m sure my jaw dropped. I was shocked by his words. I hadn’t heard him say anything about calories. In fact, I didn’t hear him say anything about the sour cream. Only my husband’s words had registered in my brain, which I sadly assumed were directed at me and my middle. Not that my husband has ever, ever made a negative reference to my weight. That’s why I was so distressed when I thought he had.
I set the cloth down. “I didn’t hear you say anything about calories. I thought Papa had said that.”
Then he went on to explain that one son had commented that sour cream is pure fat and then the other son had said, “Are you concerned about calories?”
I hadn’t heard either of my sons because my ears didn’t perk to attention until my husband said, “Is this skim-sour-cream?”
My husband’s words had nothing to do with me. He was simply adding some humor to a silly conversation. Skim-sour-cream was a paradox intended to make light of the topic—not to make me paranoid (Pun intended).
And so, I scurried about our home and apologized that a silly conversation led to serious consequences. The blame for the outfall fell to my tendency to tune in and out of the present—not because of their words. Once the dishwasher was filled and running, my husband made our usual coffees and I sipped and savored it knowing all was well in my heart and with my waistline.Be gone, Satan, God’s got this gal in His strong and loving arms. #recovery #memoir Click To Tweet
The next morning, I chose Psalm 62: 11-12 NIV as my verse of the day:
One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Psalm 62:11-12 NIV
And now I’d like to close with a poem:
When we are faint with fear
We must remember God is love
And bow our heads in prayer
And lift our thoughts above
When we are weak with worry
We must remember God is strong
And lift our hearts in prayer
And raise our voices in song.
I’m nosy-to-know if you have a story about misunderstanding a silly conversation?
Believe the best blessings ~ Wendy Mac
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30 thoughts on “A Silly Conversation & its Serious Consequences”
Oh Wendy, my heart hurts reading this and also gives praise to God for His great compassion toward us both. This was so important for me to read and remember:
“One thing I learned the hard way about recovery is that it’s a lifelong process. We never arrive. We’re always learning—always recovering. This isn’t a bad thing unless we’re in denial of it and don’t respect our need to stay alert to triggers.”
Oh how I see myself in your reaction to this trigger: although in my case it’s not an eating disorder I am recovering from, but CPTSD. Recently, my husband got really angry at something I did. I couldn’t see it, but he was angry because I was clinging to something that had been so destructive to me. I didn’t see it, but that anger was his anger at the injustice I had walked through. But when God helped me to see why he was angry, I cried and cried and at first felt so ashamed and so stupid.
But it’s then my husband wrapped his arms around me and said to me something like: “Anna, it’s okay that you are still healing. What you went through was not okay.”
Thank you, dear Anna.
Your husband sounds like a kind and godly man.
It was my husband’s private anger towards one of my old abusers that first alerted me of my need to distant myself from the narcissist.
God’s hands of compassion often touch and heal us through the tender words and hugs of family and friends.
Yes, what happened to us wasn’t okay. And it wasn’t our fault.
Blessings & love for 2021.
Wendy: I am so very sorry you went through abuse and more than once. Praise God for the truth speaking through our husbands. Blessings and love to you too for 2021.
Thank you, dear Anna. I am sorry for what you suffered too. Hugs & blessings for 2021. <3
This touches my heart.
xo Thank you.
Thanks for sharing Wendy. I have had way too many silly conversations that I took too seriously and had to follow up with apologies. The road to recovery in any area is long and scattered with many rocks, thorns and thistles.
Thank you, dear Carolyn. May God grant us thick soles, wise hearts, and lovingkindness as we walk through 2021.
Two things come to mind: how we assume we are omniscient and do not check whether what we think we saw or heard was what really was said or seen; and second how we, as sinners through and through, live like we are above sin and not be alert, like the addict or OCD or whatever, who has to be diligent for an entire lifetime until rescued permanently by the loving Saviour. I thank you for letting God bring this second insight into mind, having never thought of sinfulness as an addiction, yet how powerful we could live if we adopted the mindset the Bible calls us to, “be alert”.
Amen. We’re not fully alive to joy, peace, and love unless we’re alive in Christ and alert to the adversary’s darts.
Yesterday I reminded myself our happy ending doesn’t come to complete fruition until Heaven.
Blessings for 2021.
Yes, and may 2021 be another year for the Christ.
Indeed. 🙂 May His loving will be done.
Thank you, Wendy, for these wise words. I do not know how many times my SOP has been to “open mouth, insert foot.” Thank you, again. And enjoy your coffee.
Thank you, dear Clarence. Blessings for 2021. Last night I enjoyed a bit of chocolate with my coffee. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this Wendy. I believe you have role modeled life-applicable lessons all of us can use, eating disorders or not. One can have emotional triggers for many different reasons. The enemy of souls loves to trip Christians up and usher in disunity. You demonstrated how reconciliation crushes the ultimate adversary and invites the Prince of Peace into the midst – where healing ultimately begins. Blessings as you continue touching others with true Peace, the person of Jesus Christ.
Thank you, dear Manette. The best role models I had were friends whose walk was older and wiser than mine. I watched and learned. I’m a huge fan of grace. Witnessing it in action always catches my attention. The world is in need of more grace givers. I know I need a ton of it. Daily. 🙂
Thanks for sharing this, Wendy. The Christmas season is not an easy time for many, including me. You are not alone to reacting to a misunderstanding. Have a wonderful new year. 😊
Thank you, dear Irene. Blessings on you and your family for 2021 and beyond. 🙂
Wendy, this is a beautiful story, for its honesty, and raw emotions laid bare. I can so relate to these misunderstandings. And how easy it is to fall under a raincloud afterwards. I couldn’t help but think that if your son hadn’t apologized, you wouldn’t have known the truth of the situation. You must have raised him right, if he could do that. And with a little love and understanding you were able to get back to your coffee after meals in less than a day. How beautiful is that. It’s what we all need. Love and understanding. What a wonderful reminder for the new year.
Thank you, dear Linda. <3
Years ago I hung a quote on my fridge while I was pregnant with my firstborn. It said that empathy was the most important quality a parent needed to have. We didn't have a lot of money. But I made sure we showed our offspring empathy. When I didn't hit the mark, I apologized. I don't regret paying close attention to Dr. James Dobson's words.
We never outgrow our need for empathy.
Blessings for 2021. 🙂
I didn’t know that you have a memoir in progress. I want to read it. I, too, suffered from an eating disorder and food addiction for 40 years. Age has thickened my waist and settled weight differently in my arms, legs, and has changed my appearance dramatically. It’s been seven years since by the grace of God I have been delivered from the eating disorder and addiction. But for years I was on the edge constantly about calories and people trying to feed me, especially my husband. Your serious consequences are so familiar to me. I am already looking forward to reading your memoir. I know I will identify with it, as will thousands of women.
Thank you so much, dear Jane, for your always encouraging words.
One good thing about the way weight changes as we age is it settles into the wrinkles and crow’s feet and makes them less noticeable. This thought motivates me not to strive to be as lean as I used to be. 🙂
Also, I don’t miss being skinny shamed. I suspect you understand this well.
Blessings for 2021.
Oh, dear Wendy. I read this and thought how easy it is for this to happen. Once again, you touched a chord with this personal and honest story. And you completed it in such a gracious and healthy way that inspires others. Well done. Thank you.
Thank you, dear Cynthia.
My favorite misunderstandings are the ones that make everyone laugh so hard they cry. There’s a lot more of them happening around here. 🙂
Blessings for 2021.
I can SO identify, Wendy, as I think you know from my recent post “Accidental Fast, Spiritual Feast.” You’re right, deliverance from obsessions is a life-long journey.
Thank you, dear Ann. I’m grateful the deliverance God gave us from condemnation is eternal. Blessings for 2021.
As I read your post and how others respond Wendy, you have certainly encouraged, inspired and given them hope… keep writing and sharing. ✍ 😃May He continue to bless you in your creativity and this gift to inspire others. Wishing you, Wendy, a Happy and Blessed 2021! Much love and prayers ❤
Thank you, dear Iris. 🙂 To share the hope I’ve been given brings me joy.
Blessings as you continue to shine God’s love and beauty through your lovely poetry. <3
Thank you Wendy, God’s Love is our example. ❤