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. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

Speak Up, Don’t Eat Up

Unfortunately, disregulated eaters tend to think in extremes about more than food and exercise. In my experience, they view many aspects of life in polar opposition. Here’s an example of common, all-or-nothing thinking and behavior around communication and what you can do to improve it, your life, and your eating.

A former client had been coming to a slow boil over her marriage for years. She’d finally tired of her husband’s frequent put downs, attempts to undermine her self-confidence, and shaming her in front of other people. For decades, she’d suffered in silence from his sharp tongue, tantrums, and unwillingness to have a civil discussion about their relationship. No surprise that when she had felt hurt by his cruelty, she had held her tongue and generally turned to food to comfort herself. (I wonder how many of you will read this sentence and heave a sad sigh of recognition.)

As we worked together, she came to understand that being intimidated by his childish outbursts had less to do with him than with her fears. Using anger is how he managed to keep power in their relationship, how he’d manipulated her into remaining silent and obedient. Finally, she got mad, really mad, and began looking for a fight in which she could let out all the rage she’d suppressed for decades. She started yelling back at him and endless arguments followed. Though she felt better letting out her feelings, arguing upset her and she was exhausted after each fight, and turned to food for reregulation.

As you may know, neither extreme of silence nor screaming—nor stuffing anger down with food--are unusual for disregulated eaters. Both tactics are learned as children, but there are better ways to handle emotions as adults. When our parents upset us, we raged at them, stuck a thumb in our mouths and sat in the corner defiantly refusing to interact with anyone, headed for our rooms and sulked—or ate. Maybe our parents even modeled these kinds of behavior with us or with each other or our siblings.

Some better options: How about sharing your hurt, laying it all out even though it makes you feel vulnerable? When you open up your heart this way, you are truly reaching out to touch someone else’s heart so he or she can understand and feel your pain. What about calmly and firmly insisting (and meaning it!) that you will not allow yourself to be talked down to any more, not for one minute, not for one second? What about giving an ultimatum? There’s a long road between silence and screaming and many stops along the way that work better than either one. And all of them work better than eating.

Chasing Self-love
Food and Lack of Love

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/

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.