Feeling Safe is The Key to Eating Disorder Recovery
It is a fact that feeling safe is the key to eating disorder recovery. And the key to feeling safe is to have a way of trusting that you are thinking clearly, seeing the situation / person at hand clearly; that you have a set of values that are reasonable and principles that make sense that guide your actions towards yourself and others and which you see yourself turning to whenever you feel anxious or unsettled or have sensitive decisions to make.
If you don’t have that package of trust in your clear thinking and values that ground you you will continue to feel insecure and anxious in the world and in your relationships with others and you will continue to lean on coping strategies – confused stress management tools like eating disorders, binging, dieting, drinking, isolating and procrastination to try to numb and soothe yourself.
Invite yourself, if you feel up to it to ask yourself what you remember about your younger years (childhood, adolescence, young adulthood). Who were your primary role models for relationships? What kinds of things did they do and say to you, themselves, or others when they were angry or sad or scared or wanted you or someone else to do something for them?
How respectful, direct and clear were they?
And how did they respond to requests from you? Did they shame you, berate you, judge you? Or did they acknowledge your need and discuss the different ways that they would be willing to meet your need, in a respectful, calm manner?
Verbal and physical abuses are traumas.
Most everyone has experienced the humiliation and damaging effects of verbal abuse.
If our ego strength and our sense of esteem are solid when these events occur (ie. we are an adult, solid in ourselves; or a teen with very good support and these events are an extreme exception and not the norm), we can slough it off or work through it with some help.
If we are already feeling a lack of security and acceptance in our world, every experience of verbal abuse, for example: Judgements, name-calling, put-downs, and yelling will constitute a drama.
Physical abuse; slapping, hitting, spanking and outright beatings, or threats of the same, regardless of their purpose in the eyes of the punisher, are traumatic events.
Neglect is trauma. The act of having your needs and your Self ignored or devalued is traumatic.
So, don’t tell yourself that you were never abused or traumatized. Sexual assault or beatings are just the most extreme forms of trauma we experience as young and powerless people. There are many forms of behaviour that will not meet our needs for safety and respect and which will lead us to feel hurt and traumatized.
The more dependent on the person we are, the greater the experience of the trauma and the more our mind will seek to both self-blame (make it about us) and to numb ourselves from the situation (through the use of coping strategies like binging, dieting, eating disorders, drinking etc.).
If you’re stuck still, feeling a lack of confidence in yourself or in relationships that trigger you to feel unsafe or insecure, let me help you step free of that pattern of thinking that is keeping you stuck.
Change can be fast and simple when you have simple tools that work and a skilled guide.