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Addiction and Relationships: The Surprising Connection to Healthy Food (and Why That's Bad)

“Our discontent is evidenced in our excess.” -Unknown

Healthy food. It’s important of course, but you’re probably curious as to why I would talk about it here. Well let me tell you.

I have a habit of overcompensating for things. One part I believe is because I’m a people-pleaser, but the other part is because I’m making up for something.

Let me explain.

My daughter has never gone without. She has two parents who love her more than she could ever comprehend, and, branching out from that, an equally loving and happy family. She gets everything she needs, from the bare essentials to fun toys, days at Disneyland (when it was ok to be surrounded by thousands of people sans protective gear), and a variety of top notch vitamins and home cooked vegetable-filled foods. I’ve always budgeted to make sure she has the most we can get her, and she has never noticed any kind of lack, even when we were barely scraping by or only had my income when he was out of work for treatment.

But, is that a good thing?

It depends on how you look at it.

Obviously, no one wants a spoiled kid. And I feel that, despite everything we do for her, she isn’t one of those kids. Thankfully.

But I do struggle with some issues in this topic.

The first one is: the overcompensation.

I know of course that our daughter is loved. And I can see in how she behaves (and plus I get that confirmation from her therapist) that she knows this as well. But, that doesn’t stop me from getting myself to believe that she isn’t shown she is loved enough, or is missing out on something. Part of this has to do with the troubles we have gone through.

I wonder if she notices the differences, like how other kids’ dads don’t only visit on the weekends or that she doesn’t have her own room because we live with family. I wonder if she really does know how much she is loved (like if those times I'm tired and don't want to play really are a big deal to her), and if she will ever actually have a feeling of missing something in life.

Like I said, it’s pretty clear from observation that she’s fine, and her therapist confirms it, but that doesn’t stop me from overthinking it and trying my best to go above and beyond on other fronts. If I can’t control the outside I can control how I raise her, right?

Which means organic vitamins, vegetables in everything, expensive vegan top notch hair products, highly regulated screen time, living on a schedule, etc. etc. etc.

And while that’s not actually bad to have those things, I take it to the extreme. I feel incredibly guilty if she has a chicken nugget or if she managed to get someone to give her a sip of soda or an extra episode of an unregulated tv show.

I feel that I have to make things absolutely perfect to make up for things that I think she’s missing.

On the other end of things, I can get so into this that it ends up not being ok for her dad to do it. Everything that he does that I see as being negative, like extra candy or a toy that was bought without me knowing, becomes something that is bad for her, or that can spoil her. Or that we don’t have the money for, even if that’s a complete lie.

Additionally, I am the warden of down time.

"No, you absolutely cannot take time to yourself, you only see her on weekends and you need to be up and ready at any time. Especially if I need a break, which is never, because we don't take breaks here."

That’s what you call a hypocrite, right?

But I had to start realizing that this wasn’t healthy, and would in fact start causing more issues than I was trying to prevent. Sure, we can come to an agreement on certain things, but my overbearing tendencies on what is or isn’t ok for her isn’t the way to go about it. And plus, he’s working through his own stuff and trying to make up for lost time.

It’s just easy for me to have the mindset of “well I’m here with her 99% of the time so I know what’s best for her and have more of a say in things”. Not only is that not true, but it’s pretty mean. He’s doing what he can to mend things so I should give him the freedom to do that as he sees fit (within reason of course, because hey, that candy can wait until after dinner).

So, it’s easy to notice some things being different for our daughter, but at the end of the day I have to realize that she’s doing just fine despite everything, and is a very lively and happy kid.

And that’s also the point: she’s a kid. She deserves to be a kid, and if that means having chicken nuggets and an ice cream while with her dad then so be it. Her life will not fall down the toilet.

She is good to go, and as long as we are doing our best in the healthiest way possible,

that’s all that matters.

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