Do You Have a Done-Me-Wrong Collection?
While reading an article about “the victim mentality,” I had to smile when I came upon the term wrongs collecting when the author compared it to people collecting stamps or autographs. Actually, I thought, more like trophies. My smile was in self-recognition, as I’ve occasionally indulged in this particular vice myself.
Be honest, do you collect wrongs done to you? If so, does this pursuit trigger unwanted eating? It can go something like this. You feel hurt, so you blame someone, the unfairness of life, the dark cloud hanging over your head, your dysfunctional childhood, some ongoing misery, or your ineptness at managing life well. Focusing on your hurt triggers a cascade of similar memories: the party you weren’t invited to, the job you were perfect for but didn’t get, the way your sister seems to have only good things happen to her, the fact that no matter how hard you try, you can’t keep weight off.
One negative recollection triggers another and they—and you—are off and running. This is actually what occurs in the brain when you think about grievances, that is, one memory awakens another until you have a downward spiral that seems to have a life of its own. And, as you feel worse and worse with each remembrance, you reach for food to soothe your upset and lift your spirits. This dynamic is common in people who often feel sorry for themselves, a perfect storm for mindless eating.
The truth is that many troubled eaters had dysfunctional or traumatic childhoods in which events or interactions occurred that never, ever should have befallen a child. And others have had subsequent trauma in their adulthood through no fault of their own. These occurrences can easily dysregulate the nervous system and make you think you need food to reregulate it. Other people recognize that the past hasn’t been so great, but they don’t make the present equally awful by focusing on what’s wrong in their lives.
The truth is there is plenty that could be viewed as wrong in everyone’s life. But wise people don’t focus on those things. They don’t feel warmed by perceiving that they’ve been wronged. Tallying their hurts doesn’t give them a secret kind of pleasure or smack of a special status, as in, “There, you see. Everything bad does happens to me.” If you’ve been amassing a wrongs collection over the years, it’s time to gather it up and toss it out with the trash. And to stop collecting any more instances of been done wrong. It happens to all of us. That’s life. Instead, focus on what’s positive in your life and you’ll have less reason to turn to food as a way to soothe disappointment and upset.