Joyce on “My 600 Pound Life” was another train wreck, but this disaster contains some unusually interesting components: namely her mother.
At 758 lbs. and age 44, Joyce is the product of a tumultuous childhood (no surprise; nobody gets to 750+ pounds without a lot of childhood psychological trauma).
Many people carry crosses from a terrible childhood. But in some cases, those crosses are visible: an eating disorder.
Imagine you’re around four years old and Mama doesn’t want you living with her anymore because she prefers her new husband’s kids. So she sends you to live with Grandma.
This packs a horrendous wallop; a preschooler is old enough to really feel the bite here.
Grandma overfed the little girl. Joyce’s mother (also named Joyce) was pissed that her mother allowed the girl to become fat.
Did any viewers of this “600 Pound Life” episode realize that had Mama visited her daughter on a regular basis during this time, Mama wouldn’t have been so “shocked” at the weight gain, and perhaps could have nipped some of it in the bud?
Shame on the mother for being so disconnected from her daughter for all that time.
The older Joyce’s second husband had a few sons. I was thinking, “Okay, there’s got to be some sexual abuse in here somewhere, either from a stepbrother or the stepfather.” But at this point in “600 Pound Life,” nothing of the sort was mentioned.
Instead, Joyce recounts the difficult relationship she had with her mother, all the while her weight ballooning.
In her 20s, upon dating a man, Joyce began having nightmares of sexual abuse by a stepbrother when she was around eight: apparently some repressed memories.
Any faithful viewer of “My 600 Pound Life” knows that childhood molestation is a recurring factor in the background of these super morbidly obese patients.
Most victims of childhood sexual abuse do not become morbidly obese, but all have a lifelong mighty heavy cross to bear.
As mentioned, the cross is usually invisible to outsiders, as psychological trauma can manifest in so many ways, such as through a drinking or drug problem, continuous battles with depression or difficulties forming close relationships.
It’s logical to assume that Joyce’s weight gain accelerated once the sex abuse started.
After all, the massive weight gain over the ensuing adolescent and teen years may have been a subconscious attempt to create a physical barrier to further sexual abuse.
How Much Is Joyce’s Mother to Blame?
The younger Joyce explains how she was afraid to reveal the abuse to her mother at the time it was happening, but eventually disclosed it in her 20s.
Some Fair Questions
#1 If the younger Joyce had been – as a young child – encouraged and coached by her mother to immediately report to her any incidents of “bad touching,” would the girl have reported the stepbrother’s abuse very early on?
#2 If Mama Joyce had educated herself in how to recognize changes in a child’s behavior that suggest possible sexual abuse, would she have spotted these signs in her daughter and hence, intercepted?
It would take a superhuman child to conceal the signs of ongoing sexual abuse from a stepbrother.
How many viewers believe that the girl was (either deliberately or subconsciously) showing signs of sexual assault – that were missed by her mother?
#3 During a therapy session with Lola Clay, Mama Joyce explains that her own childhood was full of violence. I then wondered, “Well why the f*ck did you send her off to live with your mother if, by your own admission, your mother was part of that violence?”
We actually don’t know if Grandma delivered any abuse, or if Grandma was a frightened and passive wife of an abusive man.
But at a minimum, we DO know that Grandma allowed Joyce’s mother to grow up in a “violent” household.
#4 Did anyone catch the part where the mother expresses how livid her daughter’s eating habits make her?
Yet literally in the next scene, she is serving her daughter what appears to be 3,500 calories worth of food. Go figure.
In this episode of “My 600 Pound Life,” factors clearly point to Mama as the root cause of Joyce’s chosen addiction.
However, once someone reaches the age of accountability, it’s up to them to start digging themselves out of that hole before they get too deep.
There are many success stories out of “My 600 Pound Life”: people who had horrible childhoods but ultimately lost massive amounts of weight.
But for some reason, a minority fail, and often come up with crazy excuses, such as:
“Dr. Now is too harsh.”
“Dr. Now doesn’t understand.”
“The scale malfunctioned.”
“I gained 60 pounds of water.”
By the end of the show, Joyce’s weight was in the 620s, after having lost over 200 pounds while in the hospital for two months.
Once discharged, she kept regaining weight — and kept making excuses and exhibiting delusional thinking.
There is speculation by some viewers that she made up the childhood sex abuse claims. Though Joyce lied about her eating habits and faked a heart attack (though it seemed as though she KNEW that Dr. Now wouldn’t fall for it), there was no reason for her to lie — all throughout the episode — about being molested by her stepbrother.
Her mother admitted to growing up in a violent home and having anger management problems.
It’s very believable that such a damaged individual would marry a man whose parenting turned his son into a child molester.