karen header 3

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]

When Parents Want More Than Children Can Give

Many parents are not emotionally healthy enough to have children but do anyway, which puts their progeny at serious disadvantage. If you are one of those children whose parents were not emotionally mature when they raised you (and may still not be!), you may have low self-esteem because you couldn’t meet your parents’ excessive, irrational needs—and therefore turned to food mindlessly or compulsively for comfort. You may still feel you don’t measure up today and food seek for the wrong reasons.

Here’s what happens. Some parents yearn for your love or attention; what they are actually looking for is to be mothered by you. But you’re only three or seven or twelve and require and deserve mothering yourself. Or they feel insecure but may not show it and look to you to be a reflection of all that is good or perfect so they can feel like stellar parents. Or their self-esteem is so low, they need to keep you from outshining them.

Here’s a passage from Khaled Hosseni’s And the Mountains Echoed (page 221) of a woman speaking to her mother in absentia, which describes what I’m talking about. “What was I, Maman? What was I supposed to be? A seed of hope? A ticket purchased to ferry you from the dark? A patch for that hole you carried in your heart? If so, then I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t nearly enough. I was no balm to your pain, only another dead end, another burden, and you must have seen that early on. You must have realized it. But what could you do? You couldn’t go down to the pawnshop and sell me.”

Adulthood is a time to view your parents objectively, not as you wish or wished them to be. Were/are they like children in adult bodies, always longing for and seeking love, appreciation, praise, attention, glory, or success? If so, it’s likely that they looked to you, their child (among others), to give them these things when they should have been giving them to you. Mustering detachment, recognize that you couldn’t conceivably give them what they wanted and needed. If they missed that boat in childhood, their job in adulthood was to figure out other ways to feel good about themselves, not to use their children to try to make that happen. Continuing with the boat analogy, their job was to launch you into the world and help you sail off into the sunset.

But—and it’s a most important but—now that you’re an adult, you can disregard your parents’ inappropriate emotional needs without compromising yourself, as well as find people who are totally unlike them and will empathize with you and joyfully take care of you. And when your emotional needs are better met, you’ll reduce your mindless eating.

Book Review – Power Snuggles: Your Path to Vibrant...
Theory Challenged on Why People Get Fat

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

shelf new

EBProfessionalBadgeLarge

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.  Privacy Policy