Posted by mmorand on January 20, 2012
The anxiety that we feel is borne out of harmful all-or-nothing stories that I call “learned helplessness.”
Those of us who use food to cope, or drugs, alcohol, shopping, procrastination, isolation, busywork, and even more socially-sanctioned strategies like over-exercise, co-dependency and workaholism, use those strategies in an attempt to distance ourselves from the constant sense of anxiety we feel within.
The learned helplessness stories sound something like this:
- I can’t
- It’s too big
- It’s too much
- I’m not capable
- I won’t be able to do it
- I’m not allowed
And, those learned helplessness, all-or-nothing stories (that trigger our anxiety and our use of harmful coping strategies) are triggered by a naturally and appropriately occurring sensation in our bodies that I call “the niggle.”
The niggle arises when we have needs that aren’t being met.
If you used food to cope as a child (or any other of the strategies listed above), it is extremely likely that when you felt that little niggle inside that let you know you needed something and you tried to get that need met through your words or actions, you were unsuccessful, or perhaps even berated or shamed or physically harmed.
Tags: acceptance, all-or-nothing thinking, anxiety, critisism, drill sergeant, eating disorder treatment, eating disorders, forgiveness, healing, insecurity, learned helplessness, making mistakes, self care, self confidence, self esteem, self worth, self-judgement, shame, triggers, unmet needs
Posted in: 2012, All-or-Nothing Thinking, Relationship with Self