Emotional Eating that mimics Self-Harm

I have pretty good success right now with the weight loss plan I am following.

But I have had a few times that after having an emotionally charged conflict with different family members, I am triggered into self-hatred and shame.

These are very intense episodes that lead me to feeling worthless and like I am not getting better in any area of recovery....codependence, enabling an addict, eating sugar and eating in a way that resembles self-harm like cutting. I don't cut, but I understand how a person feels the pain of worthlessness that they could do that to relieve the pain. I do it for that reason.

It's a totally different reason for binging than just craving some sugar. It is done to prove to myself that I am bad...a disappointment to everyone, that I can't do anything right, and that I actually want to get out of everyone's way. Thoughts of suicide go through my brain it is so strong. I will never act on that.....but the shame opens up my brain to let those thoughts in.

I am not like one person who mentioned eating a candy bar around 30 minutes after just having one. I will buy 6 candy bars, and eat them all very fast, and all at once. I actually measured yesterday, and I was finishing one by the time I had driven from stoplight to stoplight for a mile in town. Then I would get another one immediately. I ate all 6 by the time I got home.

Does anyone else do this? I even wish I could throw up, but I don't even like to do that when I'm sick. And I know to be grateful I don't have that eating disorder. I am not shaming anyone who battles that....I feel the same self-hatred with this.

I hate myself so severely at times that I punish myself this way to prove to myself how worthless and pathetic I am. Please help with responses if you identify with me.

Emotions can trigger many different behaviors! One good thing is that you are aware of it. Maybe saying out loud (when you know your emotions might dictate a binge) ' I'm feeling . . . I will not eat foods that r not good for me because of it' try n treat yourself to . Something else like a hot bath or do your nails (can't eat with wet nails lol!) Be kind to yourself . You deserve it! Good luck!

Thank you hopealways! I had never thought about not being able to eat with wet nails. :)

I just don't understand this. I have a son who is an addict, and I feel like what I did with candy would be no different than a relapse for him.

The core issue I'm trying to get to is: what makes the eating to hurt myself, to prove how worthless I am, to undo my "good" eating days different from simply craving something sweet?

How can I have so many successful days, and then plunge into the darkness of being out of control, and failing again? It hurts more now that my son battles such a life stealing, degrading addiction. But what is the difference? I do too.

I feel really bad.

Yes I can see the similarities! I struggle with my own food issues also. Sometimes I think that I get scared of actually succeeding! It's a bit of self sabotage for me! Stay strong! Best of luck!

Thank you. I'm just glad to have a place to express the fear and frustration. Thank you for the good wishes. P. S. There will be a good day soon when the pain I'm feeling today subsides. It's good to know people are here for the hard days. Thank you.

Well, I've found at least one answer to my own question. I realize the thing that makes me "hurt myself" with binging is like someone who cuts for relief, or does drugs to escape their feelings. The difference in simply craving sweets, or eating to prove to myself how worthless and disgusting I am, is whether I have guilt, or whether I have shame.

I learned this week that when a person is experiencing guilt, they make a mistake and say, "I made a mistake, and I'm sorry."

A person experiencing shame says to themselves, "I am bad."

This may not make sense to those who didn't hear the lecture by Dr. Brene' Brown, but I got to hear it and it helped to finally understand what is happening with me.

I go into the the "I am bad" thinking, and in doing that, I open my mind to criticize myself, thinking I am worthless, and actually hating myself. Then I use food......mainly sweets......to binge upon to prove to myself that I don't have any control to take good care of myself. I do the very thing that makes me feel unhappy, unsuccessful, and ashamed of how I look. I sabotage the success I've had on a healthy food plan that is resulting in weight loss that I never thought was possible for me. In other words, I treat myself horribly. I am not good to myself.

This really opened my eyes to the difference between just thinking about how good something sweet would taste, and the drive to HAVE
to get that food and use it to hurt myself, or prove to myself what a failure in life I am...how worthless I am....what a disappointment I am to everyone in my life. It's very different from "sneaking some food on a diet".

Hopefully this will help me when it is happening again. Hopefully I can use learning about this to stop before I self harm again.

I hope this helps even just one person! Look up Dr. Brene' Brown, and listen to her lectures on You Tube. I pray it will help someone as it helped me.

When I read this post it sounded like my own words you have described exactly how I feel.
But I don't see a permanent way out I go through phases or doing ok then it all explodes again.
Lindy x

I understand. It is an emotional reaction that seems to well up inside of me, and I am so over taken by it that I can't function. It doesn't just effect my eating....it stops me from wanting to be with people....it stops me from being able to function for my daily tasks, and I don't even want to talk on the phone. It makes my voice weak, so that people who know me know that I am not doing well. And, then I am further ashamed of that!

Please see if you can pull up Dr. Brene' Brown on You Tube, or read any article she has written. I know she has a blog that I found this weekend. She has also published books that I intend to buy.

I don't know how to stop the overwhelming reaction I have when this happens either....but it helps a little bit to at least know what it is. And, it helps me to stop feeling I am crazy or weak, or not like other people. I am sorry you suffer this, too.....but it does give me comfort that I am not alone, and this is a very real thing that happens to us. Thank you for writing.

I find it so surprising and amazing to know that someone else has an issue with weak voice in correlation to eating like me. I’ve recently believed that they were completely unrelated and perhaps I have some other issues although everything i do stems from my weight issues. I don’t really talk out loud often (only online). When I do, sometimes people have to ask me to speak up because i’m either mumbling or talking too low. Add to that, that I have a slight accent makes it so much worse. It’s come to a point where I get anxiety about speaking in public especially to people I don’t know in fear that they won’t understand me or ask me to speak louder. When i speak “louder” i feel like i’m yelling although people say i’m not. I don’t know. My hearing is just fine so it’s not that. Do you think there is something else underlining why I feel like I can’t “use” my voice properly? Thanks for hearing me out.

I'm so glad you wrote. It is amazing how much we all have in common, isn't it?

I feel like my voice is constricted and changes tone and strength of delivery because of the tension I am feeling when I'm in the "shame attack" I was trying to describe.

My heart is broken, I feel helpless and hopeless, and don't have the inner strength....I have stress and a brokenness that effects my energy, my voice, and my whole way of dealing with the day.

I went to my weight watchers meeting, and had my first "no weigh" day....I think we get one a month.....since I began. 4 of my other friends had one too. It's like we all had a real meltdown this last week. We all vowed to start over, and to come back next week with a good attitude and result. I have already ruined myself because of emotionally eating over dealing with my son who is addicted to drugs. I am grabbing candy in bulk, and it is no different than if he went to the streets and shot up. More shame....more self hatred.....and the beat goes on.

I am still going to hope that I can have more successful days than not. I feel this is something that I will have to confront every day of my life, but I am going to believe that God can give me His strength and His power to help me recover. And that doesn't mean being perfect!

I wish you more good days than bad, too.