The Connection Between Not Having a Voice or Not Being Heard and Emotional Eating
Do you often feel the need to defend your point of view before you receive a response? Is it easier to remain quiet rather than speaking up for yourself? Do you soothe the frustration and insecurity of not being heard with food? What if I told you that you don’t have to feel this way anymore?
Several of my clients have come to me believing that their voice doesn’t matter or that no one truly listens or cares to understand and believe them when they speak. The fact is, these clients may have developed this belief as early as childhood. They hold tight to this belief for years into adulthood because they never learned or had an opportunity to process their emotions from the event(s) that shaped this idea.
Past Traumas Leave Lasting Impressions
After being shut down and treated like you don’t have a voice, you genuinely begin to believe that you don’t have one. A female client of mine felt this way her entire childhood and adolescence. She was able to point back to one specific incident as a child. Her brother had blamed her for something he did wrong, and although she explained to her father that it wasn’t true, my client was punished for it. The dismissal from my client’s father implanted the notion in her mind that she didn’t have a voice that people valued enough to believe.
Similarly, as a child, another client of mine was dismissed when he reported sexual abuse by his local priest. His mother not only thought he was lying, but she was also horrified by the thought of her son saying such an awful thing about the trusted priest. Additionally, the priest denied the allegations and, in turn, made false rumors about this young boy. My client received punishment for something he didn’t do, and he witnessed his abuser get away with the assault. This person spent his whole life believing he didn’t matter and that if he did speak up, he wouldn’t even be heard.
Maybe you didn’t have a bad experience similar to these examples but you grew up in a household where emotions were never dealt with. Instead you learned that negative emotions were swept under the rug because it was unclear how to manage all the emotions. In situations like these, you are trained to avoid talking about how you feel, and you never actually gain the knowledge of how to process unwanted, negative emotions in a healthy way.
Perhaps you can understand this helpless feeling of not being heard. If you find yourself reaching for food or you have developed bad food habits because you don’t feel safe speaking up for yourself, I can help.
In my experience working with emotional eaters, I found that once we clear the negative emotions around not having a voice and remove the negative beliefs that their voice doesn’t matter, there is a positive shift. Their need for emotional eating significantly decreases.