Trauma Bonding with TV: Why I stopped Watching “My 600-lb Life”

“Don’t cling so tightly to your hurt, that you don’t make room for your healing”

Lisa Olivera

I spend so much time at the grocery store that I’ve made friends with the lady who works in the bakery. At least twice a week we talk about intermittent fasting, dating and relationships, skin care tips and our favorite; the latest episode of My 600lb Life. She told me the new season had started and I had to check it out. I assured her I would, and we would discuss the next time.

As promised, on my next free afternoon, I got my snacks and started watching the season premiere of My 600lb Life. I watched until the first commercial break and I turned the TV off. I didn’t want to watch… I couldn’t watch.  Which was strange.  I had watched every season of My 600lb life for the past 5 years faithfully. I’ve never missed an episode. I knew Dr. Now’s spiel by heart. I could tell who would stick to the program, get the surgery and who would fail and ultimately blame Dr. Now. I reveled in the success stories, cheering, and clapping from the couch while genuinely hoping that those who didn’t make it would find the courage to give it one more try after the cameras left.

Now, all of a sudden this was the most incredibly depressing and sad thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t bare to sit and watch this train wreck for 2 hours. How did I watch this week after week, year after year? Hearing the same sad, pitiful sob stories of abuse, rape, neglect, and abandonment, and then watching them eat themselves into oblivion. They couldn’t move, go out, work, or make love. They were imprisoned in their bodies and homes. Day after day they relived an existence that centered around self-destructive and self-sabotaging behavior. How did it watch every week? Well, because watching them was like looking in a mirror. I bonded with each and every person on my 600lb Life because I was them. I could relate to each and every feeling and mood of sadness, depression, and hopelessness.  Every week I waited for the part of the episode where they show the picture of them as a child. A happy, smiling child full of life and promise. And then the trauma story begins. This was my favorite part. Yes, lets listen to how we were ruined as children, how we never really had a chance, and how our lives were ended in so many ways before it even began. And how what you currently see is the result of all the wrongs, blows, and curses we’ve endured.

You see, I related with the people of My 600lb life due to our shared trauma experience. I was attracted to the pain, the hurt, the self-loathing, the weakness, the fear, and desperation. I bonded with these people over unhealed, exposed wounds. We had been dealt the suckiest of hands and each week we get to see whose hand sucked more.

“She once believed that the damage to her mind and heart was permanent, until she met wisdom, who taught her that no pain or wound is eternal, that all can be healed, and that love can grow even in the toughest parts of her being”

Yung Pueblo

But something happened to me between the season finale and the new season premiere. I tended to some old, but still gaping wounds. And when I watched that first episode I could no longer relate. They were no longer my reflection. That trauma bond had been severed. I had healed. I had elevated. I had changed my vibration. I no longer wanted to listen to the ways in which we had been ruined. I was no longer interested in reliving the past and childhood trauma. I don’t watch My 600lb life anymore. But my heart still goes out to every person who is on that show. When I saw my friend at the store, I broke the news too her, “I just can’t watch it. It’s too sad”.  I remember what its like and I’ll never forget.  I just can’t live there anymore. It’s better over here, on the other side of pain.

“No one will protect you from your suffering…It’s just there and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”

Cheryl Strayed

Kathleen is a Published Author, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Vaginal Steam Practitioner, Yin Yoga Instructor, Intermittent Fasting and Self-Healing Specialist, Herbalist, and Death and Mourning Doula  

4 responses to “Trauma Bonding with TV: Why I stopped Watching “My 600-lb Life””

  1. This was sooo deep. I strayed away from watching this show and would randomly watch parts and following could never finish. I just couldn’t deal with it mentally. This blog genuinely gave me an entire different look on it. Thank you for this blog Kathleen.

    1. My pleasure! Thank you for reading!

  2. Powerful!! I can’t watch it either. It’s a beautiful thing to be happy and free!!!

    1. Indeed! Thank you for reading!

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