PART 2 if you didn't already read it.
"After waiting all our lives for tenderness and beauty to arrive in the form of being thin or being in love, it can be devastating to discover that neither one can be found in either one. Not when the expectation is that we will lose ourselves. Or find ourselves."
"We begin eating compulsively because of reasons that have to do with the kind and amount of love that is in our lives or that is missing from our lives. If we haven't been loved well, recognized, understood, we arrange ourselves to fit the shape of our situations. We lower our expectations. We stop asking for what we need. We stop showing the places that hurt or need comfort. We stop expecting our needs to be met. And we begin to rely on ourselves and only ourselves to provide sustenance, comfort, and pleasure."
"...she eats to assuage the loneliness. She focuses on how fat she is and how much weight she should lose and the clothes she will buy when she is thin. She transfers the pain of waiting to the pain of being fat."
"Love and compulsion cannot coexist.
Love is the willingness and ability to be affected by another human being and to allow that effect to make a difference in what you do, say, become.
Compulsion is the act of wrapping ourselves around an activity, a substance, or a person to survive, to tolerate and numb our experience of the moment.
Love is a state of connectedness, one that includes vulnerability, surrender, self-valuing, steadiness, and a willingness to face, rather than run from, the worst of ourselves.
Compulsion is a state of isolation, one that includes self-absorption, invulnerability, low self-esteem, unpredictability, and fear that if we faced our pain, it would destroy us.
Love expands; compulsion diminishes.
Compulsion leaves no room for love--which is, in fact, why many people started eating: because when there was room for love, the people around us were not loving. The very purpose of compulsion is to protect ourselves from the pain associated with love.
It is my belief that we become compulsive because of wounds from our past and the decisions we made at that time about our self-worth--decisions about our capacity to love and whether, in fact, we deserve to be loved. Our mother goes away and we decide that we are unlovable. Our father is emotionally distant and we decide that we need too much. Someone we are close to dies and we decide that there is no reason to love anyone because it hurts too much at the end. We make decisions based on our pain and the limited choices we had at that time. We make decisions based on how we made sense of the wounds and what we did to protect ourselves from being more wounded in that environment. At the age of six or eleven or fifteen, we decide that love hurts and that we are unworthy or unlovable or too demanding, and we live the rest of our lives protecting ourselves from being hurt again. And there is no better protection than wrapping ourselves around a compulsion.
In any of my workshops, there are participants whose parents were alcoholic; there are participants whose parents died or left during childhood without a warning; there are participants who were beaten or raped; and there are participants whose losses, abandonments, and betrayals were subtler and had to do with any combination of unavailable fathers, possessive mothers, and families in which uncomfortable feelings were denied and repressed.
As children we have no resources, no power to make choices about our situations. We need our families for food, shelter, and love or else we will die. If we feel that the pain around us is too intense and we cannot leave or change it, we will shut it off. We will--and do--switch our pain to something less threatening: a compulsion.
As adults, it becomes our task to examine the decisions we made long ago about our self-worth, our capacity to love, and our willingness to be loved, for it is from these decisions that many of our beliefs about compulsion and love take root.
It is not possible to be obsessed with food or anything else and to be truly intimate with ourselves or another human being; there is simply not enough room. Yet all of us want intimacy. We all want to love and be loved.
Once we had no choice; now we do.
The decision to be intimate, like the decision to break free from compulsive eating, is not something that is given to you. Intimacy is not something that just happens between two people; it is a way of being alive. At every moment, we are choosing either to reveal ourselves or to protect ourselves, to value ourselves or to diminish ourselves, to tell the truth or to hide. To dive into life or to avoid it. Intimacy is making the choice to be connected to, rather than isolated from, our deepest truth at that moment."