In 2009 I wrote a blog, Stages of Relationship Health, that I often refer to when discussing abuse. I suggest that you read it before reading this one. The blog describes three stages people move through to get out of an abusive relationship: 1) passivity and compliance, 2) anger, and 3) leaving the relationship. Talking with a client about anger at her narcissistic, abusive daughter and son-in-law, we established that she was moving from stage…

Read More Standng Up to Abuse

We have long known that a correlation between trauma and eating disorders exists, and now the picture is becoming clearer and clearer according to “The Power of Treating Eating Disorders and Trauma Simultaneously” by Megan Ross, Director of Program Development and Trauma Awareness at Timberline Knolls Treatment Center (Eating Disorder Hope’s March 2015 Professional Newsletter). There are two types of trauma: big “T” and little “t.” The former includes catastrophic events such as physical abuse…

Read More More on Trauma and Eating Disorders

We’ve all had “bad” things happen to us and some of you have had “terrible” things or many “terrible” things befall you—neglect, rape, bullying, sexual/verbal/physical abuse, poverty, accidents, and other events which were out of your control. Does that mean you must experience pain and suffering due to these events? You likely believe that pain and suffering are inevitable by-products of such happenings and cannot be separated from the distress you (or anyone) will experience…

Read More Choose the Meaning of Events, Even Traumatic Ones

After 30+ years of reading books on psychology and self-help, it’s unusual for me to come across a book that absolutely knocks my socks off. But that’s just what Anneli Rufus did in Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself (Penguin Group, NY, 2014). Truly, this is a life-changing book. First, it tells it like it is—like it really is—for people who suffer from self-hatred, through the words of an author who has been there and…

Read More Book Review: Unworthy–How to Stop Hating Yourself

If you’re being emotionally, verbally, physically or sexually abused by your partner, you’ll likely have difficulty becoming a “normal” eater because of what you accept as “normal” in your domestic life. Several points about such misperceived normalcy were made in Time magazine (9/22/14) after the release of the video of NFL player Ray Rice beating up his then fiancé Janay Palmer and speak to the plight of the victims of abuse. One of the take…

Read More What’s Your Normal?

Many disregulated eaters never learned to regulate affect. Knowing what happens to the nervous system due to major trauma or chronic family dysfunction may help you understand why you now turn to food when you’re upset and can teach you effective ways of re-regulating. Let’s start off by accepting that humans have very fragile and finely tuned nervous systems whose goal is to keep us out of harm’s way. When the system is triggered, we…

Read More Trauma, the Body and Eating