Disordered eating can be an expression of an internal conflict about needs. We all have basic human needs for love, attention, comfort, and so forth. If those needs are not met, or not consistently met, people feel humiliated about having needs. That’s when “needs” are seen as “neediness” and experienced as something negative, to be avoided.
Those struggling with anorexia resolve this conflict by restricting food, and often relationships. The unconscious thought is: “I don’t need anything, not food and not friends.”
Men and women dealing with binge eating resolve this conflict by attaching all their needs to food. They unconsciously believe: “People can’t be trusted to meet my needs consistently so I will have a relationship with food, which is always available, always consistent and fills up my internal emptiness.”
People struggling with bulimia combine the two strategies by expressing their needs by binging, and then purging their perceived neediness. Their unconscious thought: “I need so much, so I will binge. But I hate that I have needs, so I will purge!”
What do you need more of in your life?
In what areas of your life do you feel deprive?
What’s it like to think about your own needs and wants?
When you change your relationship to yourself, your relationship to food will change, too!
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