Saturday, November 17, 2012

Out of control?


“I was totally out of control with ice cream last week.”
“I didn’t eat anything all day and felt completely in control.”
“I hate getting mad because I feel so out of control.”

If you are struggling with disordered eating, the very thing you are trying to control (food, weight, and so forth) is actually controlling you.

Often, controlling food is a response to feelings of powerlessness in other areas of your life.   It’s easier to focus on your intake of food or your weight than to deal with an unpredictable boss, teacher, significant other or friend.  The wish to manage a person or situation morphs into a wish to control your food.  You can’t control a person but you can ostensibly control yourself, turning a relational struggle into an internal conflict.

Control is also a way of protecting yourself from feelings of vulnerability. Being vulnerable is often experienced as being unprotected from potential (or probable) emotional pain.   Taking control feels active and is a solution to the passivity of vulnerability.

Conflicts with food may symbolize conflicts about wanting or needing “more” in life.  Controlling your portions can be a way of denying your needs and wants for more.  Bingeing and purging may be a way of expressing your conflict over a wish for more.

Food for thought:

What parts of your life make you feel powerless?  Powerful?

Who is (or was) the most controlling person in your life?

What do you associate with weakness?

What are you afraid will happen if you lose control of your emotions?

Have you ever “lost it” emotionally?  What were the consequences? 

What are your fears about opening up to other people?

Where did you learn to be guarded?

What do you want more of in your life?

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Legal Disclaimer:  The content on this site is for educational and informational purposes only.  It is not intended as psychotherapy or as a substitute for psychotherapy advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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