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My emptiness layer is really reverberating this afternoon. I've just been shutting it up with some lovely Nutella (chocolate spread), and then I came to my email and found the weekly round-up email from this group and the link back to here. Talk about timing...
I guess there's a lot for me to feel empty about lately (both my parents are either significantly or terminally ill; I'm single and have been for a looong time; good friends have moved out of the country...). I'm trying to process the underlying reasons for my comfort eating habits, but the emptiness comes and gets me quite frequently.
In Overeater's Anonymous they say to watch out about overeating when you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely or too Tired (H.A.L.T.). I'm getting better at recognising the H, A and T (though may still reach for the food all the same), but I find it harder to recognise the L, Loneliness. I wonder why that's harder than the others... Perhaps less socially acceptable? Perhaps because I'm an introvert anyway, so like time alone, but then I over-compensate and isolate myself? It's a tricky one...
Time is not infinite, time is now.
This chapter didn't just speak to me.. it SCREAMED to me. I actually just 'graduated' from the online program, but I really felt that I glossed over some really important bits, so I went back to reading the book. It is a little out of sync with the online and I was getting confused, so I had set it aside.
The search for unconditional love did speak to me, particularly as I've been remembering more about my childhood and really processing that -- this statement, "Unconditional love is a rare and short-lived experience usually found only briefly and intermittently, in the parent-child relationship. When relationships fail to provide us with that feeling, the we go looking for it somewhere else. For some its alcohol, for others it's in sex, and for you .. its probably in food." This really confirmed what I have been discovering all along - that this over-reliance on food for soothing is no different that it is for those who are 'recovering' from alcohol abuse, over-shopping, gambling, etc. The crutch may be different, the feelings and the process of recovery are the same. I KNOW this has been one of the sore spots for me.
The surprise for me was the section about 'expectancy beyond food.' Gould says that emptiness is a conclusion that I have come to, that I can't trust anyone to really be there for me, so I can't let anybody really fill you up with the warmth of a human relationship and I keep myself empty by pulling back due to a fear of rejection. When offered real nurturing, I perceive it as temporary, or a manipulation, so I shove it away and the powerlessness causes me to reach for food. OHMYGOODNESS! This is so dead on that I almost was dizzy when I read it. It isn't just love that I push away either -- its good luck, it's unanticipated kindnesses... almost any really 'good' thing, I feel I have to pay for or else it will turn into something bad, or damage me in some way. When I got my small inheritance from my parents, I had to sock a chunk away where I couldn't touch it, or I would have immediately pushed it all away .. given it all away ... Oh my.
I'm staggered by how much childhood fears are still leaking over into my adult life. I've always considered myself very mature and well-adjusted and now I am seeing I have a lot of 'growing up' and myth dispelling still to do.
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us
are looking at the stars"
I do think the emptiness is partly from the other layers. Each layer seems to dig the hole a little deeper, making me feel more empty.
I also think I've fallen for the Cinderella syndrome, looking for that unconditional love from a man. It is one reason why I've stayed single for so long. I keep holding out for that perfect soul-mate who will totally, completely understand me, support me, etc. etc.
"We insist on getting from somewhere or someone the unconditional love we've certainly entitled to have. The problem is that the sense of entitlement and reality clash. We're left in a stubborn and self-defeating position of insisting, waiting, and always being disappointed. In this area of our life, we live in denial." pg 128
Please use this thread to discuss Chapter 8 of Shrink Yourself
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