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Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Misinterpretations That Drive Unwanted Eating

Too many disregulated eaters have low regard for themselves and, therefore, don’t take care of themselves as if they’re deserving of high-quality self care. For those of you who think you’re defective and aren’t worth eating healthfully, here’s another take on the subject and how you might have mistakenly come to think about things incorrectly.

Take this scenario. As a young child, let’s say your mother or father or both frequently criticized you, raged at you out of the blue over petty concerns, and treated you as if your needs were wrong or didn’t matter. In your child’s limited brain, you assumed they were treating you poorly because there was something wrong with you. The equation goes like this: they treat me as if there’s something bad about me, so there must be.

Now, let’s move away from you personally and take a look at three situations, all anecdotes from my life. After reading each one, say aloud your reaction to who was in the wrong. In fact say it twice, so you know definitely who belongs in a negative light.
I was in a Boston post office where a young boy knocked over a stanchion holding
a rope to keep people in line. No one got hurt and the deed was clearly accidental. His mother screamed at him, “What is wrong with you?,” whacked his head with a bunch of magazines, and yanked his arm fiercely. Who was in the wrong—the mom or the boy?
I was visiting a new acquaintance, a man who had just gotten a new puppy. He’d call
it sweetly to him and it would rush over wagging its tail. The man would then yell at the dog until it cowered and slunk away. Then the whole dynamic would be repeated. Who was “bad”—the man or the dog? scream
I was in a department store when a father started yelling at his shrieking, crying
toddler in a stroller. The more he yelled, the louder the little girl wailed until her cries could be heard throughout the entire store. Who was at fault—the father or the toddler?

I bet you said that the mother, father, or my (short-lived) acquaintance was in the wrong. Why did you pick them? Didn’t the post office boy and department store toddler do something bad to cause the parent to be upset? Maybe the dog was annoying the man. Were your emotional reactions different than your cognitive ones? It’s easy to see how the boy, girl and dog would think they were bad when there was nothing wrong with them at all. They wouldn’t recognize that the person responsible for them had neurons misfiring and couldn’t stop their improper behavior. You can see how a child, not understanding this truth, might grow into an adult who had difficulty shaking the mistaken idea that he or she was defective. Now, aren’t you glad we cleared that up?

How to Tolerate Emotional Discomfort
Wisdom and Weight

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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy