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Resentment

Some folks readily do what’s advised to help them recover (from anything) without much flak and fuss. They feel cared for rather than lectured to when a doctor suggests they exercise, enlightened rather than annoyed reading an article on the dangers of fried foods, grateful rather than coerced when a therapist recommends that they join an emotional eating support group. Lacking a negative reaction, they take advantage of new ideas and at least try what’s advised. Do you? Or do you feel resentful?

Chronic resentment is a serious road block to “normal” eating and emotional health. Are you someone who resents the hard work you have to do to reach your eating goals? Do you act as if tried-and-true suggestions offered by professionals are for everyone but you? Do you ignore or try to find a way around them? If so, you’re bound to stay stuck in your eating problems until you change your attitude. In my practice, I run into clients (not to mention friends and family members) who are truly annoyed that they have to go out of their way to become uncomfortable in order to reach their eating or weight goals. Some feel put upon that success won’t happen while they’re sleeping. Others believe they can sit back and wait for recovery to stumble upon them.

I’m not making fun of you. I’m trying to help you see how resentment gets in your way. Perhaps you have it in your head that there’s no way you’re ever going to deal with feelings about your awful childhood, that you’re definitely not the type to join a group, that a great eating disorders therapist is too far away for you to drive to see her every week, or that you shouldn’t have to deny yourself any pleasures of eating. In a nutshell, what you believe is that you shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable to change…and you resent the fact that you might have to be.

Maybe you grew up entitled, with parents doing things for you that you should have done yourself or, conversely, maybe they let you flounder until you despaired and gave up and now you’re easily overwhelmed and pain aversive. Perhaps you’re stuck in magical thinking that you need not suffer to change and can’t get your head around the fact that suffering is precisely what you have to do to reach your goals. Think about the things you resent having to do regarding food and your body and how that resentment drives you to act in ways that stop you from growing healthier. Start noticing that hidden anger when you contemplate making difficult changes and note your attitude that what you have to do is unfair and that you shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable. Try to understand what you really resent and work on letting go of irrational thoughts and self-destructive feelings.