Monday, June 24, 2019

Emotional Re-Activity

One thing I have noticed working with eating disorders is how much the emotional re-activity of someone affects their thoughts, actions and their body sensations.  The eating disorder behavior whether it be through restricting, purging, over exercising, or binging is usually an emotional reaction to a triggering event. I often hear stories of people or events that trigger someone emotionally.

The eating disorder behavior is a way for someone to act out their chaotic emotions. I often ask a client to reflect on their reactions ” You did this to get back or punish the person who did you wrong or caused you pain but in the end who is it hurting”

It often is reflected back to them, it hurts them and feeds into the cycle of self loathing and affirms the belief that they deserve to be punished. In attempting to punish someone else, the cycle ends up punishing them. One of the emotions that I hear come up is anger, anger is one of the most triggering emotions for someone who suffers from an eating disorder.

Anger, however, is a secondary emotion, there is always a bigger emotion almost like the elephant in the room lingering behind anger. Often times we don’t know to to contain or process anger, that is why many people have coping outlets to deal with anger, shame, frustration etc. It can be alcohol, drugs, or eating disorder behaviors.

Many times we respond in anger to the words or actions of someone in our life but not only are we responding to what they did or said but how we interpret the meaning of what was done or said. Your body takes on that energy and then inside you feel anger. Our body takes on our feelings and our emotions are what follows.

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