Some dysregulated eaters set themselves up for disappointment and heartbreak and turn to eating for comfort because they believe that everyone is as good, kind, nice, caring, trustworthy, reliable and honest as they are. This perception often leads to emotional eating. If this is an issue for you, it’s time to recognize and accept that there are malicious, callous, cruel people in the world who are very invested in staying that way. Here’s are some of the reasons you might not be able to see them clearly.
- Maybe you were raised to see only the good in people and told never to be judgmental. As a child, when you said something critical about someone, you were told that, “You need to be understanding” or “You shouldn’t say things like that.” In this way, you came to believe that you were wrong or bad if you acknowledged traits in people that were hurtful to you, others, or to themselves.
- Religion often teaches us to turn the other cheek. This means ignoring the hurt that someone does to you by trying to rise about condemnation and give them chance after chance. We set ourselves up for pain when we do this too often.
- You may have been taught that if you really love and care for someone you can change their behavior. While it’s true that being loved can do wonders for people’s self-esteem and self-worth, it’s no panacea. No amount of love on its own will change a narcissistically, sociopathically or psychopathically disordered person because these disorders begin in early childhood and even psychotherapy, more often than not, cannot eliminate them.
- You may recognize someone as deeply flawed, but view yourself as so defective that you think you deserve someone equally imperfect. I’m no angle, you might think, so why should he be? You might make excuses for someone’s meanness or neglect because you think of these behaviors as commensurate with your own faults. You may believe that once you improve your behavior, someone else will too.
- Once you’re deeply involved with this kind of person, as are my abused clients, it’s more difficult to acknowledge the truth. This dynamic is called sunk cost fallacy, feeling that you’re in so deep that you might as well stay because leaving is more difficult than staying and because it means you’ve misjudged the person all along. To remain, you struggle to focus on the good in someone and change the bad. Sadly, this doesn’t work.
When you meet people, it’s wise to view them as they are, not as you’d like them to be. What you see is what you get. Sure, people can change, but it’s easier to see how unhealthy someone is and not attach than to only realize it years or decades later and then try to extricate yourself from the relationship.