Karen's Blogs

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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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