I once heard of an eating disorder recovery group called “Say It or Stuff It.” So many people who have issues with food also have difficulty communicating what their needs are, and they’re not speaking up for themselves.
The trouble likely stems from what we were taught as children – spoken or unspoken messages such as, “Don’t speak out of turn,” “Children should never talk back to adults” or “We don’t discuss such things [as our feelings] in this family.” But this pattern doesn’t serve us well as adults, and some people end up hurting themselves with food because of resentments that build from not speaking up.
I notice in my own relationships that I may start to let things go, innocently enough, because something doesn’t seem like a big deal. Then before I know it, things have built up to the point where I am angry that people are not responding to my “telepathic messages!”
And isn’t that what so many of us do? Expect others – especially those closest to us – to read our minds? In psychological terms we call this a cognitive distortion; we imagine that we can accurately read other people’s minds, and that they are reading ours and therefore should know exactly what we want. And if they should know and they’re not delivering, then they have failed a test that they didn’t even know they taking.
Before you can speak up about what you want and need, you must tune in to your mind, body and soul and listen to what they tell you. These moments of mindfulness will bring more self-awareness that result in amazing and mutually supportive relationships.
When you are clearly communicating your needs, you don’t need to use food to punish yourself or others for not recognizing those needs. You will experience more peace of mind, and you will be actively participating in more meaningful relationships. You can feel confident and empowered that you’re nobody’s victim – you’re taking care of yourself.