Big thighs, scared boy & taking care of mom

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Transcript


Announcer:
You’re listening to The Dr. Nina Show with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, only on LA Talk Radio.

Dr. Nina:
Welcome to The Dr. Nina Show here on LA Talk Radio and Instagram and now Facebook. I’m your host, Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, and I am here to help you stop counting calories, carbs, and fat grams so you can easily get to a healthy weight and get on with your life. That is my goal for you. I want you to wake up and think about your day, not your diet. If you would like to call in and talk with me, the number is 323-203-0815. That’s 323-203-0815. I would love to hear what is on your mind, what is weighing on you because the real problem with stress eating, binge eating, any kind of emotional eating, the real problem is not food.

The real problem is what is eating at you. That is what we are here to talk about. I’m going to help you look at the roots to whatever is going on with the behavior, because food is not the problem. Food is the solution to the problem. If you are emotional eating, if you are stress eating, if you are binge eating, if you feel like you have no control, if you think you’re a food addict, think again. Food is not the problem. Food is the solution to the problem.

When you deal with the true underlying problem, guess what? You don’t need food to cope. So give me a call, 323-203-0815. In the meantime, I have some questions. Here’s one. I haven’t talked about this in a long time. But someone asked me about my own personal history. They said, “You’ve shared about your personal history. I read it in your book. Can you maybe share that with your audience?” they said, because they were a listener and they had no idea of my personal history until they read my book.

So here’s my history that I’m going to share with you. When I was five years old I suddenly and seemingly randomly, inexplicably looked down at my legs and thought that I was fat. I have pictures from that time. I was not fat. I was a perfectly normal-weight child, even a little skinny, but I was sure that I was too big and that somehow skinny legs would be the ticket to some kind of acceptability or happier life. That was the beginning of my descent into eating disorder hell. I was five years old when I started worrying about my size of my thighs.

By the time I was 11, 12, I had been dieting. I had kept a journal. Every page of every journal is numbers, calories, what I ate, what I didn’t eat, how many calories I burned. If I went out and went hiking with friends, I was not thinking, “Oh wow. This is a beautiful day. I’m hiking. I’m having a great time. This is fabulous.” No. I was thinking, “Okay. I’ve done this many miles. How many calories have I burned? Am I going to lose weight? Yes, I think I am.” This was what was going on in my mind my whole life. I went from restricting to then binging and purging to then just binging.

It was a cycle of eating disorders that I went on over and over and over and over and over again. Finally, in college, I went to therapy. But I went for anxiety, not for eating disorders because I was too embarrassed to talk about my eating disorder. Also, some part of me didn’t want to give it up. Because when I was restricting, I felt also powerful like, “Ooh, I am not letting myself eat. I feel strong.” So I went for anxiety, never once talked about food with my therapist. She had no idea what I privately thought of myself, that I was the poster child for eating disorders.

My therapist had no idea. So we talked about other things, what was making me anxious, school stuff, guy stuff, parent stuff, life stuff. We talked about everything but my relationship with food. By the time I left therapy, all my eating disorder behaviors were gone, completely gone without ever having talked about them. People say, “Well, how is this possible? How in the world do you get over eating disorders? How do you stop being the poster child for eating disorders without ever talking about what you’re eating, without ever talking about food?” That was because food was never the problem.

The problem was my relationship with myself, my inability to self-soothe. The problem was that I didn’t know how to be kind to myself really. I didn’t know how to deal with things. I didn’t know how to be in the world. I used food to cope. I used thinking about my weight as a way to distract from other things. This is how it served me. When I dealt with the underlying issues, I didn’t need to use food and my body to cope. By the way, why at age five did I suddenly and seemingly randomly decide that my thighs were too big? So interesting. I was kind of an energetic kid.

I was in a family of two parents being college professors. They were very academic. Seriously, guys, their thing, their family get-together, the thing we did as a family was we would go to the library together. We would go to the library. We would go to different parts of the library. We would get books. We would come back to the house, and we would go in different rooms to read our books. This was a family activity. They were very scholarly and academic and quiet and all of that stuff. I was a normal kid.

So I was constantly being told, because I didn’t match the energy of the family, I was constantly being told, “Hey, you’re too loud. You got to calm down. You’re too dramatic. You’re too much,” is basically the message that I got. “You’re too much.” In my five-year-old mind, that got translated into, “There is too much of me. I am too big, literally,” thought my five-year-old self. That is why I decided at the age of five, at a normal weight, that I needed to be smaller. So this really points to the symbolism in this work that so often we think it’s about food.

We think it’s about things that it’s not really about. If you are turning to food, you are turning away from something else. If you are turning to food, there is a reason. When you are a detective of the mind, which that’s what I call myself … Yes, I am a psychoanalyst, but I call myself a detective of the mind because I want to know and solve the mystery of what’s going on with you. Why are you doing what you’re doing with food? Let’s be curious, not critical, and figure out what is that all about.

So if you want to be Watson to my Holmes, give me a call. Again, that number is 323-203-0815. Come on the show and let’s talk about what is going on with you. Let’s figure it out together. Okay. Another question is, “Dr. Nina, you talk a lot about your post-diet revolution, your anti-diet approach. Why do diets always fail?” Diets fail for both physiological and psychological reasons. Physiologically, they usually involved restriction and deprivation and fewer calories. And then when you’re eating fewer calories, then your body slows down.

Your metabolism slows down because your body basically says, “Ooh, fewer calories are coming in. Let’s be more efficient.” So it takes fewer calories for you to do everything that your body needs to do, keep your heart pumping and your blood flowing and your lungs breathing oxygen and all of that. Then your metabolism slows down. So then when you start to eat again, it takes less food to gain weight. It’s a terrible, awful, vicious cycle. So that is part of it. There are other things. I talk about it in my book about artificial sweeteners, how your body actually does not respond to artificial sweeteners as if they’re artificial.

It almost responds to it as if they are, in fact, real sweeteners and can very much mess up your metabolism. I’m sort of oversimplifying it. There are many reasons why diets fail physiologically, the stress of dieting. Stress has an effect on your body and your ability to metabolize food and all of that. The stress of dieting can cause you to not lose weight or to even gain weight. So the psychology of dieting which, of course, is my purview and my expertise, the psychology of dieting is really, I think, even more important.

That is because diets focus on what you are eating. They do not focus on why. Let me interrupt myself and welcome Josh to the … Josh, welcome to the show, Josh. Can you hear me?

Josh:
Yeah. I can hear you. Can you hear me? Can you hear me?

Dr. Nina:
I can hear you softly.

Josh:
Okay. How about now? Better?

Dr. Nina:
No. We’re actually on a new [inaudible 00:11:26]. We’re on Facebook now. We’re starting something new. Ronan, my engineer, Ronan, when Josh called, I couldn’t really hear him, but I could hear myself. So let me know what I should do about that. Ask him to call again. Josh, if you are listening to this, can you please call again? We’ll see if we can figure out the glitch. We’re doing something a little bit different today. Hopefully, Josh, hopefully you can call back and it’ll work better. Okay. All right. Josh, again, that number’s 323-203-0815.

Dr. Nina:
Bear with us, guys, while we work out these glitches. As you know, we have not been in the studio for nearly a year. We’re trying new technologies. With new technologies come new challenges, and here they are. All right. Diets focus on what you are eating. They do not focus on why you are eating it. So diets do not focus on the underlying reasons you may turn to food, whether it is to numb yourself, to calm yourself down, to fill a void, to express anger, to fill loneliness, even to turn emotional pain to physical pain in the case of when you eat so much that it hurts.

So diets don’t get to the hidden reasons why you are turning to food. It is most important that you do that. It’s kind of like the weed and the root. If we try Josh now, Josh?

Josh:
Yeah. Can you hear me?

Dr. Nina:
I can hear you now.

Josh:
Hello. Okay. Great. Well, thank you for taking my call. I was calling in because I wanted to follow up with something that we talked about last week, which was this unconscious thing that I’m doing where I’m big to kind of fill a void in maybe the way I was treated when I was younger. I wanted to say that you said you have to kind of process those feelings. I was hoping you could help me, steer me in the right direction.

Dr. Nina:
Let me just see if I … I’m turning myself down hopefully. Can you hear me? Josh, can you hear me? All right. I’m just going to try to talk and hope that you can hear me. We’ve lost Josh. Okay. We have to heal the original wounds. The past is never in the past until we actually process it and heal it. Otherwise, it’s like an open wound. It takes very little when you have an open wound. It takes very little to feel hurt again.

So that is why it’s really important to heal those wounds by mourning what you went through, mourning what happened as well as what didn’t happen. By mourning that past, then you can find a way to be in a new way in the present and not enact certain things with food. Josh, does that make sense? I think we’ve lost him. Dropped again. Okay. All right. Josh, sorry. Apparently, your call dropped out. But to heal the past, you have to go through a mourning process. A mourning process is similar to the grief of when someone passes away.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It’s not like you go through these in a row like, “Okay, check. Got that out of the way. Got my denial out of the way. Next is anger. Boom. Got angry. That’s out of the way.” No, it’s just these are stages and they can overlap. You could go to bargaining and then go back to denial and all of that. But it’s a process of working through. Not just intellectually understanding what happened, but working through what happened so that you heal, because you can’t just forget about what happened.

You can’t drop something. You can’t say, “It’s in the past. Just forget about it.” No, it’s in the past, but it’s also in your present. It’s affecting you now. You have to be able to go through the process of it. An example, let me think. An example because, Josh, you’re not on. So I’m going to use the example of someone else, someone who had a very … I can think of someone who came in and told me that she didn’t want to talk about her past. She didn’t want to talk about her parents. She didn’t want to talk about any of that. She had a perfect family.

Her family was wonderful. There was no problem with the way she was raised. She had an idyllic, fabulous, perfect childhood. She just wanted some tools and strategies for what to do with she said going and eating ice cream out of the freezer in the middle of the night, whatever. So she was in denial because she thought she had this perfect family. Because as much as she was telling me how perfect it was, she was also telling me about how she got shamed. There were comments about her weight, that she was never good enough. She would say, “My parents were just trying to motivate me. They were great parents.”

Well, her parents were shaming her and making her feel bad. So she had to first process her denial. Her denial was that she had that fabulous, perfect parents. No. Nobody has fabulous, perfect parents. By the way, I don’t believe in blaming parents. I believe in explaining. So if you say, “Well, my parents were mean to me and it’s all their fault,” that’s blame. But if you say, “Well, my parents were really hard on me and they didn’t make me feel good about myself. As a result, I don’t feel good about myself now. I want to look at how that affects the way I feel now.” That’s explaining.

So she had to deal with her denial, which is, hey, parents were not so perfect. Then she had to get mad. At a certain point, she had to, “Hey, how come nothing was ever good enough? Why is it I brought home six As and one A- and all they could talk about was the A- and made me feel bad about it? Why was that?” Then bargaining, “Well, maybe if I had only been this, then they would have acted differently. Maybe if now I would just do this and speak this way to them, maybe they will accept me. Maybe I could get from them now what I could never get then.” That’s bargaining. If/then, if/when, that’s bargaining.

And then depression, which is, “It’s not going to work. Nothing’s going to change. They’re not going to change. I got to deal with the fact that I have these parents who are more focused on what I’m doing wrong than what I’m doing right. That is so upsetting and painful and depressing.” And then eventually, it becomes acceptance. So denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

You go through all these stages and you come to a place where you say, “Okay. You know what? I have these very imperfect parents. They were really hard on me. They made me feel never good enough. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I accept that that’s who they are. I also accept that that’s not who I have to be. That’s not who I have to see myself as. I’m going to weigh, so to speak, the parts about them that I like and appreciate with the parts about them that were so hurtful. I’m going to accept the totality of who they are.”

I am not going to then, for example, go seeking other people who are really hard on me, which is what this woman did. She would have boyfriends who would just find fault with her left and right. She basically left her parents behind, but she found other people to take their place who treated her the same way because she had unresolved issue from the original parents. So she hoped that these new people were going to be able to treat her differently and that would heal the past. But, of course, it never does. So it’s so important to heal the past so that then you can seek different people in the present and also so that you can be kinder to yourself.

Because do you think she was accepting of herself? Do you think she was kind to herself? No. She would find fault with herself. She would be just as picky to herself as she was. I think we have Josh again. Let’s hope that the third time is the charm.

Josh:
Yes. Can you hear me?

Dr. Nina:
Yes.

Josh:
Can you hear me? Okay.

Dr. Nina:
I hear you.

Josh:
Okay, good. Let’s just see if this works this time. I really enjoyed my conversation with you last week. I thought that was just amazing. I wanted to continue talking about how … Can you hear me? Are you still there?

Dr. Nina:
I hear you. I’m here. I’m here.

Josh:
Okay. Okay. I wanted to see if you could help me process some of those early feelings.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, I would be happy to. When you say those early feelings, what’s the first feeling that comes to mind?

Josh:
I feel like I’m scared.

Dr. Nina:
When is the first time you … What is your earliest memory of being scared?

Josh:
Just being, I think, around my parents. I think they fought a lot. So I think that that was something that scared me.

Dr. Nina:
Afraid of conflict or afraid of people getting mad at you? Oh my gosh. We lost him again. Oh no. You’re back.

Josh:
No, I’m here.

Dr. Nina:
You’re here. Okay. Were they yelling and screaming? Was it that kind of a thing? Was it just a-


Josh:
Yeah. I feel like there was a lot of hurt feelings on both sides. I think I was probably I felt scared for myself as a little boy.

Dr. Nina:
Of course.

Josh:
I think that could be potentially, since we’re going there, that must be where the healing would need to begin.

Dr. Nina:
So you felt unsafe. What were your fears? Were you afraid that they would get a divorce? Were you afraid that they would yell at you? What do you remember being afraid of? What did it mean to you that they would be fighting like this?

Josh:
I think I was just afraid of my dad. I felt like he was going to not hurt me, but I just sort of felt a general lack of safety concerning my dad who’s … He’s a Republican. He voted for Trump. He hasn’t changed. He’s never going to change. We have very different views on things. At that point, I think as a child obviously I didn’t know any of the political stuff, but I just didn’t feel safe.

Dr. Nina:
It sounds as if you didn’t feel safe to be you. Even though you said you weren’t afraid that he would yell at you or think poorly of you, perhaps you were. If he’s yelling at your mom, it’s not a great leap to imagine that he might yell at you. Yelling might have some meaning. People think sometimes anger means loss of love or that they’re afraid of the physical aspect of that.

So what comes to mind when you think of, if you put yourself back in that time, what comes to mind when you think of being a little boy hearing your parents yell and being scared of what? What was going to happen?

Josh:
I just really loved my mom a lot and really I just enjoyed her company and probably wasn’t too keen on my dad being around during those moments with my mother. I’m aware of the Oedipus complex. It’s hard to get around that, because that’s obviously a very big thing in psychoanalysis, maybe the biggest thing. It’s the boy who wants to be with his mother. In the Oedipus story, at least, the boy wants to kill his dad because he wants to be with his mother. That’s where the name comes from, right? That was probably-

Dr. Nina:
Yes.

Josh:
Go ahead.

Dr. Nina:
I would just say that was the biggest thing in early Freudian analysis back 100 years ago. But I would say that isn’t the biggest thing now. Contemporary analysts look at different things. If someone had an Oedipal rupture or an Oedipal victory or something like that and it affects their lives now, yes, we’re going to look at it. But we don’t fit people into a box of, okay, this is what happened then and you really wanted your mother’s love. You wanted to destroy your father. Maybe. But that may or may not be contributing to your current troubles or conflicts.

Josh:
Okay. Yeah. I mean as a boy, who wouldn’t want to be in the care of his mother, especially if the parents are fighting? It would make sense for the boy to go to the mother, would it not? I mean-

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. But what I’m wondering is what did you see as a child at that time? You saw a model of relationship which was very contentious and people fighting, adults fighting. You’ve called the show before and talked about your conflict over your wish and fear, let’s say your wish/fear conflict about love. From what you’re describing, it could be that a part of you, yes, a part of you wanted your mother. Yes, a part of you maybe couldn’t protect your mother. Yes, maybe a part of you hated your father and felt guilty for that. Yes, yes, yes.

But also, how did that affect your view of relationships as an adult? How did it affect your conflict about relationship? Because that is scary for a little boy, but it’s also scary for a man thinking about what relationships look like.

Josh:
Yeah. What comes to mind is I wanted to eat. I wanted love. I wanted sustenance. I wanted protection. That was probably food for me as a baby or a boy.

Dr. Nina:
You bring up a very good point, which is why do we turn to food? People are always saying, “Why food? Why food? Why do I turn to food?” Because our very first experience of love and connection and bonding and relationship is that of being fed. So when we turn to food, yes, comfort food, but that suggests a wish to be comforted. You wanted your mother, a reliable mother in food. By the way, when your parents were fighting, was your mom fighting back? Was she giving as good as she was getting? Was she quiet? Was she scared? Also, how your mom reacted to these fights could have affected you as well.

Josh:
Yeah. I feel like I’m lucky in a way because my parents really kind of embody the current political climate of my dad being on some of the guys who’s raiding the Capitol. My mom is on the peaceful, loving, sane side. So I’m lucky in that way. Nothing surprises me currently because of the parents that I had. But going back to what you’re saying, for a child, food is the currency. So if I wanted more something, it would probably be food. Is that fair to say?


Dr. Nina:
Absolutely. Food can make you feel safe. Food can calm your anxiety. Food can be soothing. Food can fill an empty space. Food can symbolize so many different things. So what we want to look at is did these early experiences also impact your ideas about relationships in the present? Because you’re describing a lot of contentiousness.

Josh:
Yeah. I mean you and I, we have a relationship in some way. I mean you always want to think about who you’re talking to. But I feel like with you, I feel like I need help, I feel like. When your parents are fighting, you’re not getting the help you need. So I feel like I’m calling you to get help, the help that I didn’t get as a child maybe.

Dr. Nina:
That’s how therapy and psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic therapy, in particular, is so helpful because it does give you kind of a reparative experience. You get to deal with the past and create a new way of being based on what you get with your … based on your relationship with your therapist. It’s not just about insight. It’s not just about, “This happened.” It’s about being heard if you weren’t heard or some people, they can’t say, “Hey, Mom and Dad, you’re really pissing me off.” But what if they could do it to their therapist, how reparative that is?

The therapist says, “Okay. I’m listening to you. I’m sorry I made you mad.” Rather than, “How dare you.” That then creates a different way for you to be with yourself.

Josh:
Yes. I think part of me wants to say that I internalized the chaos. There was nothing for me to do to express my emotions as a boy, nothing for me to grab onto. So I had to internalize the struggle. It’s almost made me very resilient in today’s climate because I feel like since I had that happen to me as a boy, I feel like it doesn’t matter what happens. I mean to a certain extent, I’ve sort of already been there and done that. But I certainly am not fully healed from that.

I feel like the internalization was almost like I was dirty or that I was not clean in some way because what was going on and what I was witnessing probably wasn’t okay, most likely on my dad’s side, to be honest.

Dr. Nina:
Yes. We learn to relate to ourselves by the way that we’re treated, and we learn to have expectations about the world based on our original families. So how do you have basic trust in relationships if what you see is all this fighting? You don’t see harmony. You see fighting. And then you expect fighting. One way to-

Josh:
Yeah. I feel like there’s a transference because when I listened to you, you would take the role of my mother maybe or my father. It’s hard to know. But I’d probably be wondering if you were going to hurt me in some way because I don’t know you, but yet I look at you as the early parental figure.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. To recognize what is versus what is being transferred from the past, the difference is you saying, “I’m talking to you on the radio and I feel like you’re like my father,” let’s just say. “But I know you’re not. I just feel sometimes you could be, but I know you’re not.” That’s transference in which you can really tell that the person you’re transferring something onto is not like that original person. And then there’s kind of an-

Josh:
Right. And then also a countertransference where the person would also be kind of hooked up with their path even if they were an analyst, not saying that you’re doing that or that I’m even transferring. But it also is the other side of it too. Do you believe in that, or no?

Dr. Nina:
I write very much about countertransference in my book, Food for Thought. I believe countertransference, which is the reaction that the therapist or analyst has to the patient or client and what they may tell us about the patient. But I noticed-

Josh:
Okay. So it refers back to the patient.

Dr. Nina:
Josh, Josh. By the way, people say, “Why do you say patient? Why do you say that?” Well, client is a very transactional kind of relationship. Patient means someone who is suffering. It’s really much more of an accurate description. People come because they’re suffering. That’s why also analysts all used to be medical doctors, and so it’s the medical model and blah blah blah.

But can I point out how you’re kind of going into this cerebral understanding of psychoanalysis and therefore getting away from the pain of the five-year-old boy who felt helpless, I’m sure, and scared? So being able-

Josh:
Yeah. That’s right.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah. So being able to recognize that you felt scared then. You were scared. You felt helpless. You were helpless. Recognizing that that fear needs your attention, but also to remember that what was then is not now. Often, by the way, helplessness can be transferred onto food. Instead of I feel helpless in life, I feel helpless over food. But that little boy needs your attention and compassion.

Josh:
Yes. I love that little boy, but I don’t love … The part that I need to heal is the part where I feel like I could have done more maybe to stand up to my dad as a boy. Maybe that’s why I felt so skinny or so small because my father probably, “You can’t do anything. You’re just a five-year-old kid.” And yet, I probably wanted to do something. And then now, as an adult, I feel like I have to be big for the primordial father, which can also be like a God figure too when you’re so little.

So I think that’s probably my problem. But you’re right. It does base itself in those feelings, in those raw feelings of, say, feeling scared for this scary, big person who was my father. Yeah.

Dr. Nina:
Very insightful, Josh. So to separate size from strength, for a five-year-old, any father is huge and you feel small. Of course, it’s understandable that you equated size with strength. A bigger size was bigger strength and smaller size was helplessness and weakness. Now, to be able to repair the idea and recognize that, no, you couldn’t. First of all, you couldn’t have stood up to him. It wasn’t your place. You couldn’t have done it. Secondly, that being big doesn’t mean that you are tougher and being smaller or skinnier doesn’t mean that you are weaker.

Josh:
Right. That’s right. I think how do you big? Well, you eat. Or a child would think he would eat. So my child in me is eating. It’s not the adult part of me that’s eating. It’s the child. Excuse me. It’s the child that would be eating to make me big, and the adult probably would not. I know it’s weird to separate them-

Dr. Nina:
No, not at all.

Josh:
… but that’s what it looks like to me.

Dr. Nina:
I agree. That’s where you have to nurture. The adult you needs to be nurturing towards that little boy and to really validate his/your experience and acknowledge it, not dismiss it. Acknowledge it. It was horrible. It was scary. It was maybe enraging. I’m sure you were very angry also at your dad–

Josh:
Yeah.

Dr. Nina:
… he treated your mom. I would imagine. I shouldn’t say I’m sure, but I would imagine. You want to validate all of those feelings. And then what do you do with all that rage? What do you do with all that fear? One way of coping with it is also sedating your body with food. So now being able to process, feel, acknowledge, validate, all of that, that that boy felt and give some reassurance about reality, that being … Your dad was a bully. It sounds like he was a bit of a bully.

Josh:
Yeah. I feel like I’m there right now. I mean I feel like I’m back … I feel like a very dirty place. Who would want to be there? Who would want to be in that environment? It’s so disgusting to me that I would want to … But unfortunately, I had no choice.

Dr. Nina:
Josh, I want to leave you with this thought and then I’m just going to jump on a call really fast with Karlygash. We don’t have that much time. But I want to leave you with this also. Please call me back next week and let me know your thoughts. You’ve referenced dirty a lot, dirty. Dirty gets associated with shame. Think about the new thing about clean eating. Clean eating is a way of symbolically getting rid of the internal dirtiness and shame. So when you say dirty, you’ve taken on somebody else’s shame and made it you. It’s not you.

Dr. Nina:
The dirtiness is not you. You just feel it to be yourself. So think about that, where that dirty feeling comes from and that dirty thought comes from. Keep up the great reflection. Call back next week and let’s see where your thoughts go.

Josh:
That sounds perfect. Thank you very much.

Dr. Nina:
You’re welcome, Josh. Thank you.

Josh:
I’ll try to talk to you next week.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. That would be great. All right. Thanks.

Josh:
Okay, great.

Dr. Nina:
Bye.

Josh:
Okay, bye-bye.

Josh:
Thank you very much.

Dr. Nina:
You’re welcome, Josh. Karlygash?

Karlygash:
Hello.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Karlygash. We only have about five minutes, but I saw you were calling, want to talk to you. What’s going on?

Karlygash:
Well, things are getting better since I’m not working anymore at my stressful job. I had to deal with the stress of finding a new job and I’m still looking for it. And then I noticed that I started talking to my mom more. I literally call her every day or twice a day trying to help her. What I’m doing is I’m telling her, “Mom, listen to me, what I say.” Because she has nasty stepsisters who destroy her. I used to leave her alone and being busy with my life. And then she declined.

Karlygash:
She relapsed then. It was just very hard to help her from there. It’s working. She’s listening. She’s doing stuff. But I wanted to discuss if I’m trying to help myself by helping her or I’m still not helping myself because I’m the one who needs help. I’m kind of redirecting my efforts to her since I recently stopped binging. I’m eating reasonably, listening to my body signals. So when I overeat, I feel very terrible. I try to keep eating at a normal human level. You know I’m fat to have energy but, at the same time, I’m not overeating to the point where I cannot breathe.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. That’s good, Karlygash. I think you’re obviously doing a lot of insightful, reflective thinking when you ask me the question, which I think you answer your own question by asking it when you say, are you trying to help your mother instead of helping yourself? It does sound as if you are able to help her instead of helping yourself or maybe by helping her, you feel a sense of efficacy. You feel good about what you are doing and, again, maybe helpless in certain areas of your own life.

But if you’re helping her, you’re doing something. You feel effective. These are important things to look at. Even the question tells me that you’re realizing that’s what you’re doing.

Karlygash:
Yeah. I’ve been reflecting about it recently a lot. I’ve been kind of retrospecting in my life. I noticed that my whole life I used to help people, help people. Even now, I have a very beautiful present which I prepared for my friend who’s helping me with my job search. I really packed it very nicely. I never packed a present like that for myself. But I really made it very beautiful and good stuff inside. But then I was packing it like, “I’m so excited to make her happy, but when was the last time I made myself happy?”

And then I noticed that I used to make people happy around me all the time, take care of them, solving their problems, guiding them. I’m 100% sure I was expressing the care and support which I’m still learning to express towards myself, to give to myself. Because when it comes to me, I feel this blank feeling when it comes to me. Can I spend money on myself? I would go blank-

Dr. Nina:
Karly, Karlygash, Karly. Unfortunately, we’re at the end of the show, so I just want to say this. Yes, you are giving to others what you cannot give to yourself. That is because you treat yourself as you were treated. Again, it’s that identification with those aunts and that family that couldn’t give to you, couldn’t take care of you, couldn’t make you special. You’re treating yourself as they treated you, but you are treating other people as you would have wished to be treated.

Think about that. Obviously, you’re doing a lot of thinking. I can tell by our short call today. You’re doing a lot of thinking. Really focus on treating yourself as you treat as your friend and not as you were treated by your more hostile family. Can you do that? Can you focus on that?

Karlygash:
Yeah. I’ll focus on that this week. Thank you.

Dr. Nina:
Okay.

Karlygash:
I decided to focus on something one.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Right.

Karlygash:
Just one thing and go for from there.

Dr. Nina:
Wonderful. Well, thank you. That takes us to the end of our show today. Thank you, Karlygash. I’m glad you got a chance to ask that question because I think it has important implications. So be nice to yourself this week. That goes for Karlygash and that goes for everybody, each one of you, everybody who is listening to me now. You deserve to feel the love, the care, and the goodness that you give to other people. You need to see yourself through eyes that are more clear and not clouded by past ideas about yourself.

That’s what we’re here to do is to give you that clarity, because when you can be loving to yourself, you don’t need food for love, comfort, distraction, et cetera. So that is it. Thank you so much for joining me on The Dr. Nina Show on LA Talk Radio. I am live every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific. You can also listen later at Apple Podcasts or anywhere you get podcasts. Also, I have a free webinar on how to stop emotional eating. So you’re going to want to head on over to my website, www.drninainc.com, and check it out. Stay curious, not critical. Be kind to yourself, and I will see you next week. Bye for now.

Announcer:
You’re listening to The Dr. Nina Show with Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, only on LA Talk Radio.

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