Eating disorders and more than likely, all compulsive behavior disorders, emerge from attachment wounds. What do I mean by that? We come into this world needing attachment to survive emotionally and physically. We are powerless and vulnerable. We require another person to meet all of our needs and teach us how to meet our own needs as we are able to do so. Any disruption in our sense of physical or emotional safety creates an attachment wound. Any behavior on the part of our parents that also creates fear, feelings of abandonment or lack of trust without repair creates attachment wounds.
Unfortunately, our parents come with their own attachment wounds and without appropriate insight and healing, those injuries get passed down from one generation to the next. In an ideal world, all of our parents would have gone through years of therapy before our conception. Like I said, in an ideal world! I don’t believe they are bad people. I believe that most parents are doing the best they can. The sad reality is that even with the best intentions, their actions can cause disruption in our sense of safety and impair our ability to function well into adulthood.
How does food play into this? Food becomes a pseudo connection and soothes what we feel (and not usually consciously identify) is missing. Food becomes a way we can start to meet our own needs. After my son was born, my mom told me that I couldn’t seem to get enough food when I was a baby. She chuckled as she said it and it seemed so sad to me. Knowing how chaotic and disconnected I felt growing up, I am certain that was my experience as a baby and eating was the only way I knew how to cope. It was probably the only time I felt safe. It works for a while, but at some point, it starts causing more problems than it solves.
By healing these attachment disruptions and sources of pain, you can and will change your relationship with food. If you have felt disconnected for the majority of your life and didn’t know why, you probably have an attachment wound. If you feel empty and struggle to connect with others, you probably have an attachment wound. If food has been your main coping mechanism to fill a void you can’t quite name, contact me to learn more about how I can help.