Counseling sessions are not the only time that I receive valuable insights from the Guides; just sitting and talking with a friend can produce astounding revelations. It happened this week when chatting with a friend of mine named Sherry. We were discussing her past struggles with bulimia, an eating disorder in which a person binges and then purges.
The reasons for bulimia are many, but underneath them all is a feeling of being out of control and powerless to stop or prevent some sort of pain. With bulimia, controlling one’s weight is a way to regain control while at the same time, offering a distraction from the pain.
Sometimes the bulimia is triggered by being out of control of one area of one’s life rather than all of one’s life. Such was the case with Sherry. Sherry’s bulimia was triggered by an unwarranted feeling of responsibility towards Madison, the young daughter of her former boyfriend Chad along with the pain of emotional and psychological abuse. Madison was a motherless child being raised by a dad that could not fill that role. Sherry, mindful of her own lack of mothering, decided to take on that role thus becoming Madison’s surrogate mother.
Sherry’s relationship with Brad was anything but peaceful. Brad, a product of alcoholic parents, was a wounded man who grew up to be an alcoholic narcissist.* Despite the mental and emotional abuse Sherry stayed with Chad because she needed to protect his daughter from her father’s abuse. As Sherry stated, she was terrified of what would happen to Madison if she left. This fear, along with the guilt of being responsible for anything bad happening to Madison, became Sherry’s controller.
It wasn’t long before the consequences manifested. Anxiety and depression led to smoking, drinking, and binge eating. The bulimia was Sherry’s way of both trying to prevent the pain she felt over Chad’s hurtful remarks about her getting fat, and a way to feel in control.
From the higher perspective, overeating, as well as any type of obsessive compulsive behavior, is an inner child’s desperate attempt to distract us from the pain of being out of control in some area of our life. It is a method, a means, to cover up pain the inner child sees no way to release.
Being out of control is being powerless and we all know how that feels. It is one of the most frightening and terrifying things we can experience: no way to be safe-we literally feel like we are going to die. This makes sense because wherever we are powerless, we are also unable to protect ourselves from death.
From the inner child’s perspective when we put him/ her in this position, we leave them no choice but to develop some way to regain a sense of control.
An inner child behaves no differently than a 5 year-old child thrown into the streets of New York to survive. If strong, he/she will learn to lie, cheat and steal in order to survive. It is normal for the inner child, when faced with a situation that causes him/her to feel out of control, due to a parent who is “out to lunch” to do what ever it takes to regain that control.
Additionally, because the inner child still desperately wants to feel loved and protected, he/she will use the compulsive disorder as a distraction method from the pain so we don’t feel it. In other words, pain management is not just for the inner child, but for the parent as well.
So what is the solution? It’s that old saying, “When you get sick and tired of being sick and tired, that is when you will change. In Sherry’s case it was finally getting to the point where the pain was so great it overrode the fear of potential guilt and blame. Fear of the guilt was no longer stronger than her need to protect and love herself.
Once Sherry made the decision to leave the universe (and her Guides) stepped in and opened all the right doors. Along with discovering just how many people where there to support her, in just two short weeks, Sherry had landed a new job, and found a new place to live. Most importantly, the bulimia that had become so destructive simply stopped.
During our conversation, Sherry asked why the bulimia had simply stopped. The answer was that her inner child was at peace because “Mom” had stopped the abuse by ending the relationship. Now feeling safe Sherry’s inner child no longer felt the need for a distracting behavior that also served the need to feel in control of at least one area of life.
The last question was why she had felt so drawn to be in a relationship with Chad and Madison? Chad’s abusive behavior towards Sherry mirrored back to her how Sherry was treating her own inner child.
Madison mirrored to Sherry how Sherry’s inner child felt about the lack of protection, as well as, having a mother who was so obsessed with being responsible for others that she ignored her own inner girl. The degree to which Madison was being abused by her father was the same as Sherry’s abuse her own inner child.
In closing, it is my understanding that self-love is what we are here on Earth to develop. It is also my understanding that self-love is experienced, and expressed, through our relationship with our inner child.
When we spend lifetime after lifetime repeating the same dysfunctional and self-abusive behavior, we will choose to create relationships in the next life that will help us recognize that behavior, and change. Such was the case with Sherry, Brad, and Madison. Each was a mirror to the others of how they treated themselves, yes, even little Madison.
It is my hope that this story will provide some sort of guidance for those suffering through the pain and shame of an eating disorder.