While trying to understand my obsession with food, I’ve been able to come across some pretty great resources and references to help me see through the label, “binge eater”.
I’m not one to use the words “I am __(a binge eater)__” if it does not serve me in an empowering way. For example, I had considered going to a Binge Eating Anonymous meeting, however, it occurred to me that there might have been the potential of the meeting starting off like a typical AA meeting that you see from the movies, whereby you introduce yourself by saying, “hello. My name is Cassandra, and I’m a binge eater.”
That to me terrified me because I KNOW how powerful those two words are, “I am” and I made a decision that I am not going to attach any unempowering title to myself: “I am clinically depressed, I am a binge eater, I am an alcoholic” etc.
So, I decided to pass on the meeting and see what else was out there for me; which lead me to this book which is mentioned below.
The entire book feels like I’m in a movie. Typically I read personal development books such as Rachel Hollis, Tony Robbins, David Goggins, you get the idea. However, this time I decided to treat myself to something different.
This book is full of storytelling of real-life events and experiences of women who have attended a Binge Eating retreat as well as it tells the story of the author’s journey with the subject matter.
While reading, I came across the most powerful paragraph, one of which I thought could be perfect to share with you. It said,
“Young children, especially infants, mediate the pain of loss or abandonment or abuse through the body; there is no difference between physical and emotional pain. If the pain is too intense and the defences are too weak, a child will become psychotic/die. It is lifesaving for a child to develop defences that allow her to leave a situation she can’t physically leave by shutting down her feelings or turning to something that soothes her. Obsessions [binge eating, drinking, depression, isolation, video games, sex, addiction to social media/TV/cell phone, OCD, working out, etc.] are ways we leave before we are left because we believe that the pain of staying would kill us.”
(Women Food And God, Geneen Roth)
I had to re-read it a few times to really grasp what was said, so If you need to do the same, have compassion for yourself and do what’s needed; re-read it!
Here is a list of points that resonated with me from that paragraph. Additionally, if it resonates with you also, I invite you to ask yourself why. Stop, reflect, and acknowledge what comes up for you.
Here’s what stood out to me.
- No difference between physical and emotional pain
- When the pain is too intense
- When she cannot physically leave the situation, she turns to something to soothe her & obsessions become the way in which we can “leave”
- Are ways we leave before we are left
- The pain of staying would kill us. Thus, the obsession becomes our way of survival
All of these points make so much sense (to me) and hopefully, you’re able to dissect the paragraph in a way that makes sense and resonates with you too.
Growing up, my childhood was not exactly typical (for most). My dad had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. It was very difficult for everyone. We didn’t have all that much stability and even when we did, I never knew when he was going to leave again. Whether he was in jail, rehab, or (unfortunately) too drunk to take us, I felt left behind, unwanted, and abandoned.
I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t just upset by the fact that he suffered from this addiction, but also to the fact that I never knew when/if we were going to get the call that dad was gone forever (whether it be in jail, ran away, or dead).
It chokes me up still to this day (clearly, I haven’t fully dealt with those wounds) however I realize now that none of that was my fault.
Needless to say, after reading that passage in the book, I realized that my way of survival was to turn to food. WOW!
Something you guys may not know is that I was also addicted to alcohol.
Pretty much everything I did- I binged. Relationships, alcohol, food, obsessive negative self-talk, spending money, etc.
I still remember always turning to food. I would store buckets of candy in my bedroom and I was sitting in there by myself, listening to my CD’s (yes, CD’s lol) while stuffing my face until it hurt.
Something I’m realizing, which is also mentioned in the book, is that this was my old way of surviving. I am no longer dependant on someone to take care of me, to hold me and to love me as a way of survival. Thus, its old memories, patterns and behaviours which I have brought in to my adult life.
When I would binge, that was my way of “leaving” without actually leaving. Now, in order to destroy that old pattern, is to be aware of any time I have a desire to leave, and to cut off from the action of doing so.
The desire to “leave” could happen anytime you’re feeling:
- Uncertain, confused, overwhelmed
- Angry, upset, frustrated
- Mistreated, abused, hurt
- Stressed, anxious, depressed
- Lonely, helpless, not seen or appreciated, fear of being neglected/rejected/abandoned
- Bored, awkward, without direction
As I stop to listen within, whenever I have an urge to binge, I ask myself “what are you feeling right now?”
More often than not, I’m feeling overwhelmed, uncertainty, or fear of being abandoned/neglected/ left behind. I must then remind myself that no matter what, I will be okay by myself and I am strong alone. Additionally, anything I am uncertain about has the potential for clarity. Patience and trust darling.
I’m ecstatic to say that I’ve freed myself from all of the above obsessions (pat on the back!), except the binge eating. However, as I continue to discover who I am, what my triggers are, the stories in my head and tools to help me through helps me to realize that I am closer than I thought to break through my old patterns and freeing myself from this one as well.
And hey, firstly I want to thank you for being a part of my journey! Also, I’d love to hear how this story resonated with you. Simply hit reply to this e-mail and let me know!
Don’t forget to come hang out with me on social media (click follow to stay in the look!) and share it with someone you know you think might benefit from it.
Love & Gratitude,