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]

Thawing Your Feelings

Emotions are meant to be felt and valued. When they’re not encouraged, validated, supported and understood, we think they’re bad and that we’re bad/wrong to have them.
We learn to conform to the family value: don’t think it, don’t say it, don’t feel it. If your parents or primary caretakers frequently demeaned, ignored, humiliated, invalidated, teased, or in any way squashed your feelings, you adapted by numbing out emotionally. Witnessing others suffer as a child can also induce a deadening reaction.

Emotionally overwhelmed and lacking the internal resources to manage your pain, you tried not to feel hurt, pretended not to care, and covered your feelings so well that no one knew you had them (even you!). Eventually those feelings became stuck or frozen in time and you adapted to feeling as little as possible. Emotional numbness may have been a conscious goal, but more likely it was a state that simply evolved over time as a protection against experiencing or witnessing ongoing emotional wounding.

If you can’t feel very much or avoid uncomfortable emotions, understand that you chose this path because you’re trying to stay sane and functional. Although there are now people in your life and the world who will be sensitive and respectful of your feelings, you’re not sure who or how much to trust anyone. It’s too scary to think about prying open the lid of your feelings box and letting them out. You may not even be sure you want to feel very deeply. After all, connecting to emotions only brought you pain in the past: what happens if you open up and go under! So between lack faith in yourself and not trusting others, you stay frozen and seek numbness in focusing on food and weight.

If you take it slowly, you will heal. You did what you needed to do back then and now you need to do something different. If you want to defrost, recovery from food problems, and learn to feel again, start with baby steps. Unless you suffered severe (often repressed) trauma, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll start to connect to feelings, then crack open. You might fear falling apart, but people rarely do. You are not Humpty Dumpty! This time, you’ll have your internal resources (better judgment, understanding of your history, self-parenting capacities) and trustworthy people to help you bear the pain. So slowly, test the waters with yourself and others. Share your fears of feeling, become a little vulnerable, tell your truth, your story, allow yourself to get comfort. You might think that when you unfreeze, all that will be left is a puddle, but nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, most of the hurt will evaporate and leave all the rest of your wonderful, stronger self.

Males and Eating Disorders
What Are You Waiting For?

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.