Transcript

Dr. Nina:
Hey there, welcome to the Dr. Nina Show, here on LA Talk Radio. I am your host, Dr. Nina Savelle-Rocklin, and I am here to help you stop counting calories, carbs and fat grams, stop dieting so you can easily get to a healthy weight and get on with your life.

If you would like to call in and talk with me today, the number is 818-602-4929. 818-602-4929. You’ll talk with my engineer, Ronan, who will patch you through to me. I’m doing this show from my home office instead of the studio, so bear with us as we sometimes get into some little glitches, but I would love to hear what is your mind, what is eating at you, because the real problem with binge-eating, stress eating, any kind of emotional eating… the real problem is not food. Food is actually the solution to the problem. The real problem is what’s eating at you. What is bothering you?

So, I invite you to call me, share… what is troubling you? In this day and age, I’m sure there’s a lot that is bothering you, upsetting you. We are living in a pandemic, in a time of social change, upheaval. Quarantine has affected people psychologically, economically, spiritually, in so many different ways. Call. Let’s have a conversation and see if we can get to the bottom of it, because when you work through those underlying root issues of what is bothering you, when you find new ways of relating to yourself and responding to yourself, you stop using food for that purpose.

So, one question that I’ve gotten a lot lately is why are people not wearing masks? Why are people not wearing masks? This is something that is bothering a lot of people. A lot of people… my patients, clients… they say to me, why are people not wearing masks?

Christina:
Hi, Dr. Nina?

Dr. Nina:
Hi.

Christina:
Hi. Hi, Dr. Nina! This is Christina from Binge-Free Babes calling.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Christina. You got through. You emailed me yesterday looking to get through, and look at that, you’re through.

Christina:
Yes! Your magic worked and I got through right away, and obviously, I have stress eating at me, so I was like… I love the introduction, because I’m like, oh my gosh, I need to call you because I do have something eating at me, and I am not going to food. I’m going to what I feel the issue is, so that’s wonderful.

Dr. Nina:
Good.

Christina:
Now, I’m trying to figure out what to do with this anger.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Now, I noticed that you said you want to know what to do with the anger, and then you laughed.

Christina:
Yes. I know. It’s a habit.

Dr. Nina:
It’s a habit in service of denying what you just said. So when you say, “I’m so mad,” or, “I need to deal with my anger,” and then you laugh, it’s a way of dismissing that anger. So, before we talk about how to deal with anger, where do you think you learned that anger is something you should repress?

Christina:
My upbringing, without a doubt. I grew up in the South in a pretty strict Catholic kind of family. I was even told specifically not to feel certain ways by my parents, and if I was angry or sad or whatever the case may be, I was given the message, even directly, to, “You should not feel that way. You should not be angry”… a lot of should-ing, a lot of should-ing on me by them, and I think it’s so ingrained in me.

Also, I do feel there might be some gender issues. I think for women… and I could be wrong… women and girls, we’re not allowed as a society as much… maybe things are changing, I’m not so sure; I mean, Hillary didn’t get elected, you know… I just sort of feel that it’s tougher for us to be angry. We might be labeled as the B-word; I don’t know what I can say on the radio.

Dr. Nina:
You can say whatever you want. You can say whatever you want. You’re right: nice girls don’t get angry, and boys don’t cry. These are the messages that we get from a very early age, and so then, when you have those feelings, as you are so correctly recognizing, there’s a part of you that identifies with those messages from your upbringing, and a part of you just automatically says, “No,” but I wonder if you have gotten mad at yourself. Do you have a problem with that?

Christina:
Yes. Yes, that’s a huge thing. So, what will happen is I will be mad at someone or something, and then I will turn it internally towards myself and be angry at myself, and have the worst kind of self-talk, although I’m catching it now due to your trainings. Terrible self-talk or acting out through bulimic behavior or over-exercising, or overeating, and actually, things have improved greatly despite having… we are all going through the COVID, and then prior to that, I had a really bad auto accident, and then prior to that was the death of my dad, and falling out with my mother… so, it really has been, probably, I would say, as I approach 50, the most challenging time in my life. Thank goodness for your books and the show, and I’ve also been working on some other things.

Christina:
My question is, I did have an issue… and again, I sort of laughed, I don’t want to laugh…

Dr. Nina:
Good catch.

Christina:
Thank you. I had some things come up with my therapist, I actually no longer see her right now. Could I go into that real quickly?

Dr. Nina:
Absolutely.

Christina:
Okay. So, I have been putting in a lot of work in myself because of my previous history of bulimia, and all of the other things, including this car accident that did give me some permanent nerve damage. I was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and cervical radiculopathy. It is true, I really wanted to not be bulimic and binge eat, so I had a done a lot of things like therapy, meditations.

I actually started… I know you’re not a huge proponent of meditation, but because I was experiencing nerve pain and I didn’t want to go the medication route, because I have a lot of side effects from them… I was doing a Birken monastery retreat with some chanting and some meditation.

Dr. Nina:
Can I just clarify something, Christina? I am a fan of whatever works. Why I’m not a fan of mediation often in early stages of healing your relationship with yourself and food is that the very state of meditation, which is sort of a state of being, can be a huge trigger for people who can’t be with themselves and use food to distract. I just want to clarify that. I’m a fan-

Christina:
Yes, and I apologize if I put words in your mouth. I did not want to do that, but thank you, yes.

Dr. Nina:
No, I just wanted to clarify, but I’m a fan of whatever works, and if meditation helps, that’s great.

Christina:
Yes. I needed to try and do a lot of different things, because I feel I had so many things on my plate.

Christina:
So, the triggering event that happened during a session was… and it was actually during multiple sessions, where she and I… I bristled, I know have narcissistic tendencies, but she called me very, very… I was being very, very self-absorbed these past… and this accident happened 18 months ago. I have had over 100 physical therapy sessions, 50 acupuncture sessions; this was so that I wouldn’t have to go a drug or a surgery route. I am much improved. I will probably never be the same, and as an athlete, that’s definitely been a huge challenge, so I’ve been doing all of these things.

Christina:
I was pretty proud of myself for not engaging in bulimic behavior, and my weight had been pretty steady, which has been sort of a nice surprise and a shocking thing there, and just trying to do a lot of things like you’ve taught, which are positive self-talks, speaking in the first person, stopping if I’m getting really anxious, and not going to food, and thinking, “What is the issue in particular,” and not talking ad nauseum about what did I eat, what am I going to eat? Actually, with all of these serious health issues, it’s been easier to sort of put that aside and deal with these things.

Anyway, she just called me self-absorbed, and so I immediately, I think, went back to my parental upbringing where my mother was always like, “You’re so selfish,” and this and that and the other, and that really triggered me.

Dr. Nina:
Can I just say? That is not okay. That is not okay. I don’t know the circumstances, I don’t know what happened, but exactly, you got re-traumatized by the person who was supposed to be there to help you, just as you were traumatized, it sounds like, in childhood by the parents who were supposed to help you and raise you?

I just want to say, a therapist should not call somebody self-absorbed. That’s not okay. That’s not therapeutic, and that’s not helpful, and that’s not appropriate. I just have to say that’s something that’s not okay.

Christina:
That is why I called you, and I just want to say I feel so much relief, because I’m already, as you know, too hard on myself as it is. It really did re-trigger me and re-traumatize me, as you said, and I’m like, “I’ve got to call Dr. Nina,” because I mean, it has been a really tough 18 months with all of these things going on. Yeah, so I just wanted to get your opinion on that. I’m not mincing words, and I actually am proud of myself because I brought it up to her, exactly that, on the whole self-absorbed, and what’s that, the difference between… so, I’m proud of myself for, instead of just suppressing it and not saying anything, which would have been my go-to, I let her know, but I probably didn’t let her know enough how angry I was about that.

Christina:
I do want to say, I know I have lots of shit to work on with myself. I get that, but I do want to give myself a break for this being the most difficult time in my life, and so, I did cut it with her, and I just wanted to share that and say, I feel I’m making improvements.

I know I have a long way to go, and… yeah, so, if any other thoughts. But that was so helpful; thank you for saying that.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. It’s absolutely not okay. You are there in therapy to talk about you. That is what you are there to do. It is all about you, and that is what it must be, and that is what it should be, and that is your time, and that is the time for you.

Dr. Nina:
So, what I have to say is, I think that your anger, understandably, at this therapist, who said a most untherapeutic thing-

Christina:
I think so, yes. Sorry. I’m laughing. Yes, okay.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, I find that horrifying. I don’t know the context, but that is not something a therapist says. For all of you who haven’t been to therapy, a therapist should not… when you go to therapy, a therapist should not call you self-absorbed or call you names or disparage you. A therapist is there to help you understand yourself.

So, when you get angry at this therapist, it also taps into your probably unresolved anger… rage, even… with your parents. So, now you have a double whammy. You have the anger in the present towards a person who has just betrayed you, that takes you to a prior time in your life when you were also betrayed, and as you said, called selfish. So, she just repeated the past, and now you have anger from the present and the past, and that is a lot of anger, and it’s hard to hold it, to express it, when you’ve got… whatever you intellectually, rationally know, that it is good to express anger and all of that… there’s still a part of you that identifies with that upbringing that says, “No, no, nice girls aren’t angry.”

Christina:
Right. Right. As you pointed out, it is hard for me. I want to cover up the same that I feel from having feelings, which, when I say that, sounds insane, but I mean, I understand with my upbringings about the case, I want to cover that up with laughter. I really see that clearly now. I want to be the bubbly, happy, positive… and then the problem is, under cover… not at night… but under cover, under darkness, then I will take that out on myself, and ironically, I see why I went to it initially, because it is that kind of behavior was self-soothing in the immediate moment, so that’s how I would, with the bulimia, get rid of that anger, was through that behavior and it would make me feel better in the interim.Long-term, thank goodness, I became very disenchanted with that, and I wanted better for myself. I want better for myself.

So, yeah, it’s like a chain reaction, I think. When I heard that, it just set off so many other issues… and just quickly, the context was, I filled her in on everything that was going on, the things that were difficult for me to deal with, and so I gave her a list as to all of the stuff that I was doing, the Oprah and Deepak meditations, and the daily Birken retreat where there were podcasts, and it was really helping… and then the context was that, you are very self-absorbed. What are you going to do? When are you going to volunteer?

 

Dr. Nina:
Oh, my God! Oh, no, no, no, no!

Christina:
Yeah, it was rough.

Dr. Nina:
No, no, no! Oh, my God! This is absolutely reprehensible. Basically, you’re there to learn self-care and to learn how to take care of yourself, and to recover from the emotional and physical trauma of this car accident and your upbringing. When you report all the things that you are doing that is helping you, she shames you for not volunteering? What? No.

Dr. Nina:
If I were in my radio studio right now, I would have that large crowd Boo button, and I would be pressing it. No. No. This is absolutely unacceptable. Ugh. No.

Christina:
Well, I just wanted to thank you for acknowledging that, because I think that’s the problem I had when I was growing up, when your parents are there who might be the cause of some of these things, and there’s nobody to acknowledge you and share in that… that I’m not… because what happens is I feel I’m the crazy one.

Christina:
So, I just want to say, what happened was I ended it with her very abruptly, because I had referring sessions, and I immediately joined your group.

Dr. Nina:
Well, I’m glad you did.

Christina:
I just wanted to say, what you’ve done for me right now is you’ve given me a courage to continue on this journey, because when it’s something that damaging from somebody who is in a position of authority… at least, to me, a therapist is in a position of education and knowledge about what I have… I’m feeling right now like it was hurtful; anger, for sure, but also sad; fear, like, “Oh my gosh, I’m a bad citizen. I’m a bad person.” It just takes me right back into that.

Dr. Nina:
Yeah, the little girl.

Christina:
But you have saved the day, so thank you so much! I mean, I’m laughing because I’m like, “Wow, how nice to just have somebody commiserate, and a professional to be like, ‘No.'” A lot of top professionals can disagree with each other, for sure, and like I said, I’ve noticed very positive… some quick, some are slower than others… changes that I’ve been able to make in my behavior and my thought process just from reading your books and listening to your show and being in your groups. I knew that that was the route to take, and that’s what worked. But yeah, that was a toughie for me in life, I’ve got to say, and I’m like, “I don’t need that on top of all this other crap.”

Dr. Nina:
Well, I’m glad you called, and I’m glad I could clarify that, and I mean, what I would have said to you was, I am so glad that you are taking such good care of yourself, and this is a far better way to take care of yourself than bulimia or binge eating, and I’m proud of you. That’s what I would have said.

Christina:
Thank you, Dr. Nina.

Dr. Nina:
Thank you for having the wherewithal to take care of yourself and to call in and share this, and give me the opportunity to help you out a little bit.

Christina:
A million thank yous. I really appreciate it, and I love all of your callers, too, the regulars and all that call in. I get a lot out of it.

Dr. Nina:
Oh, I am so glad to hear that, and Ronan is telling me we have more callers behind you, so listen in and thank you again for starting off the show with this wonderful call.

Christina:
Thank you, Dr. Nina. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much. Bye.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. Ugh, boy, that made me mad.

Dr. Nina:
So, Ronan, we have callers waiting?

Carly:
Hi, Dr. Nina. This is Carly Gash.

Dr. Nina:
Hi, Carly Gash.

Carly:
This is Carly Gash. It’s so magical how all the thematic callers and everything tunes to whatever is going on. I was going to call with a question about procrastination.

Dr. Nina:
Procrastination, okay.

Carly:
Avoiding dealing with procrastination, that’s a problem for my life. But before calling you, I am doing some weight management program, and my coach there… I just opened and I saw that she rewound everything in the wrong… I lost all my progress and she rewound… so, basically she did the wrong thing. She rewound, and she did it for the second fucking time. I’m so sorry for swearing.

I just texted her, I want another coach. I lost all my progress and all the track, and it’s baffling. She did it for me for the second time. She doesn’t understand what I’m asking from her. So I was like, “I want another coach, you’re not listening to me.” I’m just angry at her, period. I don’t know.

Dr. Nina:
Well, you’re angry, so give that anger a voice. Yes, it is thematic. Although you called about procrastination, Christina’s experience with her ex-therapist if, of course, now giving you the open door to express your anger with this coach; although, I don’t know what this weight loss coach is, but-

Carly:
You mean the program?

Dr. Nina:
Yeah.

Carly:
No, it’s all together. I need to monitor what I eat; also, my exercise routine, and they give psychological articles every week, like explaining eating behavior works to bring awareness to it. It’s a good program.

Dr. Nina:
The program is good, but the coach? Not so good for you.

Carly:
The coach doesn’t give a fuck. I’m sorry. Although I paid money and I deserve the same amount of support as other members, but I’m always hard on me. I’m always, “Oh, Carly Gash, soaking in the second, fourth… you’re not doing it right. You should be more consistent. It’s all your problem.” And then I’m like, “Wait a minute. This program is supposed to help me. I don’t know how to manage my eating habits.”

Dr. Nina:
Good!

Carly:
That’s why I spend money in the first place. It’s like Christina said, it was supposed to help her, and what did she do? Just read from a paper. These therapy people should not be therapists in the first place. They just should not have licenses.

Dr. Nina:
See, now you’re getting upset at the right person. Initially, you recognized that you were getting mad at yourself in that normal way in which you turn on yourself. I think last week when you called, it was, “See”… Instagram people, I know you can’t hear what I’m saying. I’m missing some equipment that I’m still waiting for. It’s on back order, so just bear with me. You’re going to have to only hear my answers to the people who are calling. Sorry about that. It’ll be fixed when we get the technology.

Dr. Nina:
Carly Gash, you went from starting off with the typical, “See, you…” tearing yourself down, which of course, makes you feel bad, and then when you feel bad, you’re more likely to turn to food to feel better or to escape that mean voice, but instead of doing that, you caught yourself, and I’m really proud of you because you’ve worked really hard, I can tell… just even the last calls, and I know you’re in… we work together in my program. You’ve worked really hard to challenge that voice, and there, you did it. You caught yourself and you directed your anger where it really is directed, the source of it.

The source of it is, this woman is making you mad. You turned it into you’re mad at yourself, but then you caught yourself and you turned back, so good for you.

Carly:
Yes, thank you, and then I wanted to… it’s so good to express anger at the right people, as I always turned to myself and felt shitty, and then of course, I overate. But honestly? People cause shit. That’s the reality. People cause shit, and no matter how they mask it, no matter how polite they fucking are, no matter how good… they use the right words… they are not right. That’s the problem.

Christina’s therapist was not right calling her names, and my coach is not right, and that’s the thing. I hate it. I am just learning to think and oppose people who are polite and abusive. They are doing the [inaudible 00:25:38], whatever, calling you names or ruining your progress or eating your money or taking whatever or ruining your progress, but they it in so nice words. Like Christina says, we are afraid to be called bitches, or I, when I was angry and expressing my emotions, I was called selfish, too much, crazy, all this stereotypical, whatever people are called.

But I was angry for a reason, like right now, and I am learning how to be angry at people who do polite abuse, and abuse covered with nice, polite explanations or words or whatever. What they are doing in the first place, they are just covering their ass. That’s what they’re doing. And because they say it so nicely, and I don’t have a skill maybe sometimes to put things so nicely together… because I was not training myself in manipulation my whole life, but I was studying, actually, to do the right thing… that’s why I feel like the ones who are guilty or whatever… I’m still learning to stay opposed somehow and deal with this polite abuse. I can say, “Hey, wait a minute. You are not right.”

Dr. Nina:
Well, you are doing it. You are actually catching it and doing it, and often when… like Christina said, a position of authority, and a coach, someone who is supposed to help you… when those people betray you or let you down, or really mess up in a pretty egregious way, or even not an egregious way… that can take you back to other times in your life when people have, especially parents or family members, similarly mistreated you.

So, again, you have this situation with the coach, but also, that could take you back to a similar situation not being heard, not being responded to, not being attuned to by a family member; and so, now you have the anger in the present about this coach, but it takes you to this anger in the past, as well, of what is unresolved. That’s why I say the past is not in the past. The past is not over when we continually feel it in the present, and the key to that, of course, is to heal the past, come to terms with it, mourn what happened, mourn what didn’t happen, and that’s how you heal, so that then you have a coach in the present who messes up and mistreats you in this way, and instead of it going to this super-intense, strong place of rage or intense anger, you can get angry at her but not get overwhelmed by it. Does that make sense?

Carly:
Yes, it’s just right now, you should see my face. I’m just angry and disappointed at the same time. My whole face and my whole body is in anger. I just hate her for causing these emotions in the first place. Then, of course, I will procrastinate… of course I will avoid, because she is messing up with my whole thing I’m focused on right now, and she now removed all the tools today for me, and look, what am I supposed to do?

In my progress, I’ve been doing 4,000 and 500 steps every day, and I was really working hard to get this goal, and now I’m back to zero, to 100 steps a day. Are you serious?

Dr. Nina:
Okay, so what can you do about the situation?

Carly:
I’m going to call the support system, or whatever, program of headquarters of this app. I’m going to… what do you call it in English? Complain about her, ask to change my coach, to give me a really considerate coach who really works toward me with my progress, and I want to ask them to rewind everything back to my progress today now, so I don’t lose another week once she has time to deal with me.

Dr. Nina:
Okay. You’re taking action, and that is also going to help you a lot. One of the hardest parts of being mistreated by an authority or a perceived authority is the helplessness that comes from it, that sense of, they just did something to me and I can’t do anything about it, which is the helplessness of childhood.

Carly:
No, in my situation, it’s vice versa. When I get angry, I actually do action, but I want to learn how actually to do things without waiting until I’m angry and bursting, and then I use it as an ignition to do something. I want to learn to do stuff before the bubble bursts.

Dr. Nina:
You did it. You went from, in the past, calling and saying how mad you were at yourself… the, “See, you always screw up,” and you this, and using the voice of your family members against yourself… to, today, saying that you recognized it, you stopped it, and you directed your anger where it belongs, and that’s good… and then you took action, and that’s good.

So, don’t tell me you’re having to learn something that you’re doing. You’re actually in the process of doing it. Don’t mistake learning something with being at the finish line. When you’re running a marathon, you’re in the process of it. You don’t go to, “Well, I want to have run a marathon,” without running the marathon. Give yourself credit for the process.

Carly:
That’s true, though. Thank you so much. I will learn one step at a time, one action at a time.

Dr. Nina:
You are learning. You are learning. Today represents a change.

Carly:
I just want everything now.

Dr. Nina:
You want patience and you want it now! I get that. I totally do. You know what? It’s like you’re running a race… if I continue my marathon race… you’re running a race. You’re not at the start line, and you’re not at the finish line. You are somewhere in between, and you have to look back and say, “Wow, I am not at the start. I’m not at the gate. I have come so far. I am not at the end of the race, but I’ve come a long way.” You need to recognize that and acknowledge that, instead of saying, “I’m not at the end yet.”

Dr. Nina:
When I did my 60 mile Susan G. Komen walk last November, people would hold up these signs like “55 more miles to go,” which was not very encouraging, but if someone had a sign that said, “You’ve already done five miles,” “You’ve already done 10 miles,” that was encouraging. Yes, we’ve already done this, and we can keep going.

Dr. Nina:
So, instead of looking at where you’re not, instead of looking at the space, the distance between where you are and where you want to go, look at where you’ve come from and where you are. That will make you feel better.

Carly:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s true, though, I’ve come a long way.

Dr. Nina:
Yes, you have.

Carly:
Thank you so much, Dr. Nina, for teaching me all this. You’ve really changed my life, honestly. You are the first person who gave the tools which actually work, for real; not a Band-Aid on a cancer wound, but like, “Hey, let’s do chemo,” or what do they call it in English? Chemotherapy? “Hey, you’ve got the [inaudible 00:34:05].” Yeah, it takes time and it works. It actually does.

Dr. Nina:
That makes me really happy. Thank you.

Carly:
Even with [inaudible 00:34:18] of procrastination, I tend to sometimes avoid my problems, and like, “Everything is not that bad. I still can live with the crunches,” but no. Then, when I face it and do the stuff, what you say… it works.

Dr. Nina:
Well, you’ve made my day, Carly Gash, you and Christina. It’s my honor to help, and that’s why I’m doing this show and writing my books and all of that, because I know there’s a different way. There’s a different way other than to feel bad about yourself and to focus on food and to focus on all of that. There is a different way and I’m happy to here that my way is working for you, so thank you.

Carly:
Thank you so, so much. Have a wonderful day.

Dr. Nina:
Aw, that means a lot. Ronan, do I have more callers? Maybe not. Not yet, okay.

So, I started talking about the question, why do people not wear masks? Believe me, this is going to have some pertinence into food, weight and body image issues, actually. The reason… well, there are a lot of reasons: rebellion against authority, and this and that… but ultimately, I think the main reason why people are not wearing masks is, what do they tell you if you ask them? They say, “Oh, this whole thing is overblown. It’s a liberal conspiracy. It’s all people who are old. It’s all people with underlying health conditions,” despite the fact that if you spend, I don’t know, 30 seconds looking at science, you see that no, indeed, that is not the case.

Of the almost 122,000 people who are dead, yes, 40,000 or 45,000 of them are from nursing homes, I believe, and there are a lot of other people who, yes, had underlying conditions, but it is not all old people. It is not all people with no underlying health conditions. I lost someone who had no underlying health conditions who had just turned 53. I know other people who are younger. We all know the stories of people who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, who have also been affected by this disease.

So why do they then, despite all the evidence… any scientific platform will tell you that this is a deadly disease that could affect anybody. Why do people say, “Oh, it’s not that bad?” Denial. Denial. “I don’t want to believe it’s that bad, therefore it’s not that bad,” because to recognize the severity of it, to recognize our helplessness against it… we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have a treatment… that’s too scary, and so people go to denial, and one form of denial is sort of minimizing.

So, minimizing is a defense mechanism that protects us, and we all use these protections… I call defense mechanisms protections… because they’re a form of trying to protect yourself from what is uncomfortable. The problem is, that in protecting yourself from what is uncomfortable, you never deal with what is uncomfortable, or you create a reality that is frightening, or you ignore something that needs your attention.

One defense mechanism that you hear a lot on this show is turning against yourself. Turning against the self is sort of this, “It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not that I’m mad at you, I’m mad at myself for eating blah blah blah. It’s not that I’m mad at my husband, my wife, my brother, my sister; I’m not mad at anyone. I’m not mad at this situation.” It’s denial of anger, but then putting it on yourself, and I call this the boomerang effect, and the whole point is, let’s have it be a Frisbee. Let’s express anger outward, like a Frisbee. Send it out. “I’m upset at that person or situation.”

And also, someone in Binge-Free Babes the other day said, “Well, I don’t know how expressing anger is going to change the situation. Why would I do it? It won’t change the situation.” I told her, “We don’t express anger to change the situations. We don’t express sadness or worry or guilt or concern or apprehension or any feeling that may come to mind; we don’t express it to change the situation. We express it to change the way we feel about the situation.”

So, my best, but most morbid, example is when someone passes away. We don’t say, “Hey, I’m going to feel my feelings so this person is going to come back to life.” No, this person is gone. We don’t grieve, we don’t go through the process of mourning and feeling all that grief entails… and denial, also; “No, no, that person is not gone.” When you hear that someone is gone, the most common thing people say is, “No. No. No.” Denial. Anger. Depression. Acceptance. So many different feelings that go into the process of grief.

We don’t do that so that the person will come back to life. We do that so that we come to terms with the loss of the person. We come to terms with that, and that the pain of the loss, as awful as it is, becomes less painful, and then we can eventually hold the memory of that person with love or affection, and not be in pain. That person is with us in our hearts, but we don’t feel the acute pain of their loss. That’s why we feel feelings.

So, we feel feelings to change the way we feel about the situation, but feeling feelings is important, and turning against the self is the thing that I see most commonly with people with food, weight and body image issues, because they have always a way to attack themselves. “Oh, I’m really mad at X. Oh no, no, no, I’m mad at myself.” See how it boomerangs? “I’m mad at you. No, not at me. I’m mad at me.” People who can’t be mad at other people have no problem being really upset with themselves. “Oh, look at what this scale says. Oh, my jeans are too tight. Oh, I can’t believe I ate that much. I’m disgusting,” or often, they say, “You’re disgusting,” talking to themselves in second person, as Carly Gash is learning not to do. So, turning against the self is a defense mechanism.

Another defense mechanism is mind-reading. That’s when you think you know what people are thinking, and often, you think you know what they’re thinking, and it’s always the worst possible thought that a person could ever have. Now, why would you mind-read the worst? So that you’re not surprised! If you already know that person doesn’t like you or thinks the worst of you, or has some negative attitude towards you, then you’re ready for it. You won’t be surprised when that happens.

The problem is, you walk around this earth mind-reading everybody in the worst possible way, and thinking that nobody likes you, and then you don’t feel likable and you don’t trust people’s good thoughts towards you and their good feelings towards you, and then you end up having to comfort yourself with food. So, mind-reading is another biggie, another defense mechanism that is something you want to really take a look at.

If you ever find yourself having a thought along the lines of, “Well, they’re probably thinking… oh, I know what they’re thinking. I know they’re thinking this,” when that person hasn’t actually said the thing you think they’re thinking, that’s mind-reading. That is mind-reading.

One time a patient said to me, “Well, I know that what I just said made you really frustrated. I know it. I know it. I know you’re thinking all of these things,” and she rattled off all these terrible things she thought I was thinking about her: that she was dramatic, that she was oversensitive, that she should get over herself. I mean, the words she put in my head were horrible. I said, “What makes you think that I’m thinking that?” She said, “Well, you shifted in your chair, and I could tell by the way you were shifting in your chair that you were thinking all of these terrible things.”

Now, those terrible things that she thought that I was thinking of her were the things that she was often accused of as a child by her parents, so she transferred all of her parental experience onto me, which was a good thing because then, we could sort of work through it; then, it was in the room and she could say to me what she could never say to those parents, and eventually, have a different experience with me, in which she realized, no, I was not judging her. I was not thinking any of those things. I actually had a lot of compassion and empathy for her, and admired her tenacity… and then she could take that experience and take it into the world, and think… when she thought, “Well, people are probably thinking bad things,” maybe not. “Dr. Nina isn’t thinking those things, so maybe they’re not thinking those things, either.” So, mind-reading is a big one.

The one that I talked about earlier, I didn’t express it as a defense mechanism… what’s the point of feeling your feelings? That’s intellectualizing. “Well, I see no rational point in having this expression of emotion.” That is going into your head, and that’s saying, “No, I can think away my feelings. I can think rationally and not feel anything comfortable.” That’s a way that you also protect yourself from your feelings.

My mom… last year, her sister died. Her sister was 10 years older. They had a terrible relationship, just terrible. I was the one to tell her that her sister had passed away, and there was a long pause, and my mom says, “Ugh, everyone I know is dying. Well, I guess she’s that age. She’s that age where people are dying. What can you do?” Total intellectualizing; she refused to get in touch with any feelings she had, even anger at her sister. No feelings; she went right to her head, because it’s too troubling to realize that, oh, her sister was gone, and she probably had a lot of mixed feelings about not only the sister she had, but the sister she didn’t have, so she intellectualized it.

If you find yourself saying, “Well, it doesn’t make sense. I shouldn’t feel this way. It doesn’t make sense,” guess what? Feelings are feelings. They’re not thoughts. Feelings are reactions to situations, and they aren’t logical. It’s not logical, it’s psychological. So, these are some of the common defense mechanisms that people use to stop themselves from feeling something. Of course, they don’t work. The feeling is still there. You can’t think away your feelings. If you turn on yourself, then you just feel bad about you. You feel terrible. If you mind-read other people… “So, I’m not going to be surprised to know that they hate me, because I’m going to already think that they hate me”… well, then you feel terrible. You can’t connect with other people. You’re always on the alert, on the lookout; “What are they thinking?” And then, food becomes your best friend and your worst enemy.

And so, as you can see, it is not about food. Food is the solution to the problem. The problem are the thoughts that you have about yourself and other people, what they may be thinking of you. The problem is your maybe inability to self-soothe yourself, your inability to be kind to yourself. This is the problem. Food solves the problem. It gives you comfort. It takes you away from pain. It puts you in that zone. It gives you an opportunity to be mad at yourself so you won’t be mad at someone else. It does a lot for you. And so, when you recognize what the underlying problems are, what food is doing for you, and address that in a different way… and you hear my callers every week; they’re not talking about food. They’re talking about what’s eating at them. They’re talking about why they’re upset, and when they talk that out, they’re less likely to use food or eating disorder behavior of any kind to cope.

So, that’s what I say, it is not what you are eating that is the problem, it is what’s eating at you, and that needs your attention, not your condemnation.

That just about does it for today, for our show today. I am on every Wednesday on LA Talk Radio, every Wednesday at 10:00 AM Pacific here on LA Talk Radio. Folks on Instagram, I apologize. We are still waiting to get the equipment that allows you to hear the callers, so for now, you will only get to hear my response to the callers, but that will change when we get the equipment that is back-ordered.

So, thank you again for joining me, and a couple of the callers mentioned that they’re members of the Binge-Free Babes. If you’re interested in the Binge-Free Babes project that I do with Kelly Gunter, just check out www.BingeFreeBabes.com and join us. If not, I will see you here next week. Be safe, be healthy and take good care. Bye for now.

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