Uncovering Emotional Abuse through Addressing Emotional Eating

Obese, BMI 33, the author overcame emotional eating using an EMDR addiction protocol. Visualising where and when she wanted to eat her comfort food, bread, re-experiencing the physical sensations of consuming bread, anticipating the desired positive emotion of security, she desensitised using eye movements.emotional eating

Desire to Eat (DTE) score was 7, (0 no desire, 10 uncontrollable urge). After twelve sets of eye movements, DTE was zero, eating bread stopped giving her feelings of security. When she considered the role bread played in her childhood she saw how it had become a source of comfort.

She ate unconsciously. It was not until the third slice of bread she even noticed she was eating. Dissociation is part of emotional eating. Facing the pantry, no longer drawn to any comfort food she asked herself what had just happened and how was she feeling.

She had not recognized the emotional control, financial bullying and gas-lighting that were always there. Before marriage, he persuaded her not to buy anything without him but within weeks he purchased furniture she disliked, a pattern that continued. Other issues she had dismissed raising five children, working and studying, were so numerous it astounded her.

Aware how dissociative emotional eating is, the author addresses it by sharing her story. Denigrated always for being fat, BMI 51, desensitised on her desire to eat cake (9.5/10) Jodie recognized the abusiveness of her husband having total control of her money, allocating her car to an adult child leaving her housebound, removing her television and continual belittling. DTE cake 0, associated with feeling special as at grandma’s, she noticed her feelings of fear of abandonment and loneliness. Previous denials of relationship problems disappeared once she stopped emotional eating and was conscious of her feelings. In two months she dropped 10kgs. Like the author, she now made decisions based on reality.

The sad thing is the sense of entitlement that allows a child to accept her mother’s car without recognizing the abuse inherent in taking it.

See more in Bryanna Heartley’s  Body Blame, Balboa Press

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