Body issues/Eating to fill emptiness - may trigger if you have eating disorder

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Oscen

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I noticed a few months ago that I use food as a way of self-soothing. Often, I tell myself I'm hungry, but really I want that moment of stimulus to take my mind off feeling a bit unhappy or uncomfortable in myself. Often, I'm thirsty or tired or bored, too. I've been improving my body awareness and self-care, so that's a positive step.

It's not that I am overweight or underweight - I've got a healthy BMI and look and feel healthy too. The issue is not the food itself but my feelings towards eating and my body. My M only ever praised people with very tall, slim, modelesque figure types, which is not me or any of my sisters, and she often commented on what our "collective" body type was like - apparently not good - so I got the idea that being shorter and curvy but a little solidly built is not good; it's unattractive and just lesser, according to the messages I got from her.

When I say "collective" body type, what I mean is, I have 3 sisters so there's 4 daughters total in my family and M often spoke about all 4 of us at the same time... I got very little individual attention; she never really noticed me as an individual or commented on what my personality was like or my preferences or anything like that. She would say "you girls are like this" etc... I was so hungry to be noticed but just got this BS all the time. It was definitely unhealthy and I think a tool of control, as feeling less of an individual made me feel less worthy and I demanded and expected less. I also knew myself less.

M put herself down based on her weight - nothing drastic, but she was overweight and hated it about herself and often expressed annoyance at herself. I think she felt "less than" in herself because of her weight. She can be quite horribly critical of the two sisters of mine who are overweight, though I am shielded from that. My other sister who isn't overweight sometimes says weird things that make me feel uncomfortable, like she praised Kate Middleton for being to tall and slim, saying "she's just born to be a princess", like somehow her looks make her better than other people? I don't know why, but I sensed some weird subtext there. I felt like, because she was praising someone tall and thin, it was a criticism of me - I look fine, but I'm not tall and I'm not thin. I think this sister may have NPD too, like M; I often had weird feelings of being criticised in conversation with her, often feeling like, "why am I being so sensitive? Am I the one with the problem?", just couldn't put my finger on what was going on.

Even more horribly, my M even sometimes praised anorexics for looking good, and tried to make out that perhaps anorexia was not a disease but a new evolution, so that humans would need less food. Very odd. All through my teens, I wished I could develop anorexia, but just felt like I had absolutely no control over anything, least of all myself and my appetite, probably following on from seeing my M feel like she had no control of her eating either. Of course, I'm incredibly grateful that I do not have anorexia or bulimia and know that they are terrible. terrible conditions to live with. I am so sorry for anyone here with these conditions; please understand I am not endorsing them, just trying to understand the weird feelings and thoughts that have been programmed into me. Even now, I can detect something in the back of my mind telling me it would be worth it just to be incredibly thin... then I could be worthwhile! Ugh. Yet for years, I ate beyond satiety at meals, because that feeling of "fullness" was the closest thing I got to feeling satisfied.

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Boatsetsailrose

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Hi oscen thank you for sharing..
Yes our m attitudes to body can so effect our own attitudes. I have now a year abstinence from using the food and am so grateful.
You sound like u have a lot of awareness and can see the ideas are not yours...
For me the weight has always been an illusion for control... Now I'm where I am I can see its not about the weight but developing the sense of control over my emotional and mental world.
Do u work with a therapist around this stuff?

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Rainstorm11

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I think that dynamic is totally dysfunctional and cruel. It's visiting the negativity of the parent on the children. I am sorry you went through that and feel bad when your sister perpetuates it. Body shapes and types are fine and individual. Like not collective where women can be lumped together. I am glad too that you haven't had eating disorders. They are difficult. Family criticism and trauma certainly contributed to mine. I was given so many mixed messages.
That being said maybe finding a variety of ways to self-sooth and self-talk that dispels family negativity.
I wish you all the best!