August 27, 2013

The Connection Between Trauma and Disordered Eating--Part 3

This week, we wrap up Anne Cuthbert's series. In this post, Anne shares the key to connecting with feelings in order to heal and break out of disordered eating. She also has a free bonus at the end, so be sure to check it out!


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The Secret to Healing: Feel Your Feelings

So you use food to push down your feelings. That’s okay. Millions of women (and lots of men) do too. You are not alone! But you can get out of this pattern.

As I’ve mentioned in the last two articles, the way to heal is to feel your feelings.

It makes sense. If you use food to push down your feelings, then allowing your feelings to surface, so you can feel them and thus heal them should work. And it does!

The challenge is that with this huge pile of emotions and the long time, well developed skill of pushing them down, can lead to a few snags in the road to feeling.

This is where your relationship with food and your body can help you! After all, if you’re using food to push down those feelings, why not use changing your interactions with food to help bring them up.

The key is to take one small step at a time toward becoming a “normal” eater. Like pealing the layers off an onion, this is what will bring up the emotions underneath.

For example, I talked about ending deprivation sensitive eating by completely stopping dieting and “legalizing” all foods. This is a great way to end binge eating… and a great way to bring up the feeling of fear. On the surface, this fear appears to be a fear of gaining weight. But let’s look a little further underneath.

What happens when you gain weight?

Instead of just trying to answer this question, try closing your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and feel the answer. Imagine yourself gaining weight…what do you imagine? Feel it. You likely imagine being teased, or rejected, or a desire to isolate. What would happen if you were rejected or teased or isolated? You would be alone, right? And if you were alone, how would you feel? Sad? Hurt? You might even feel unloved or unlovable. So if we follow this feeling back to the original fear and connect the two… your fear of gaining weight is really a fear of being unloved! This fear of being unloved came from childhood. And it’s a very intense feeling! So avoiding it by trying very hard not to gain weight was a good decision. The only problem is that it never leads you to feeling loved.

Therefore, allow your fear of gaining weight to really be about fear of not being loved (or whatever resonates with you) and you can then address the true, underlying emotion.

What does that fear of being unloved really want? What does it need? Now give that want/need to yourself or get it from someone that loves you now. If this exercise brings up tears or another emotion, great! Keep feeling. Keep letting those feelings surface. After you do so, you will feel a lift…relief.

Your emotions main desire is to be heard, validated, understood and cared about. So do your best to give them those things… from you or from another, it doesn’t matter. Once your emotions get this acknowledgement, you will feel relief and eventually you won’t need dieting to help you feel loved. You will just feel loved!

Keep feeling your feelings by continuing, step-by-step, to move toward “normal” eating. Each step along the way will help you get in touch with the underlying emotions. For more steps to help you do this, please listen to the recording in which Rachel interviewed me. In it, I go over all the steps to becoming a normal eater and to healing the underlying emotions. Click here to get the recording!


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Anne Cuthbert knows first hand what it’s like to deal with food and body issues. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oregon, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University, Anne’s counseling experience spans over 12 years. She has studied and worked with experts in the eating disorder field, taught counseling and communication skills classes, and assisted and managed several personal growth seminars and support groups. Anne provides individual and group counseling as well as body image workshops to people who want to make friends with food and peace with their body. 

Go to: www.foodisnottheenemy.com to learn more and receive a free gift to help you get started.

August 21, 2013

The Connection Between Trauma and Disordered Eating--Part 2

This week, we continue Anne Cuthbert's series. In this post, Anne what disordered eating is and the different forms it takes.


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What is Disordered Eating
There are three types of eating. There’s “normal” eating. If you’re reading this article, you may not be too familiar with this type of eating. Perhaps you’re more familiar with the two other types of eating: “deprivation sensitive eating” and “emotional eating.”


Deprivation Sensitive Eating
Deprivation sensitive eating is the eating you do when you deprive yourself of foods you want. Deprivation eating is also known as dieting. Therefore, dieting causes deprivation sensitive eating. This type of eating can lead to shame, thinking you’re a failure, self-blame, an increase in your self-critical voice. Each of these diet consequences will never lead to feeling better about yourself, despite longing for it.

A Note about Dieting: Dieting causes weight gain! Crazy, right? This isn’t what the diet industry will tell you (for obvious reasons… and all financial.) In part, this weight gain is due to the desire to binge when dieting. The more you emotionally forbid foods, the more desire for all those forbidden foods you experience. Dieting is a straight shot to binge-ville.  Dieting also causes weight gain because your body doesn’t like to diet – it doesn’t like to lose weight. It’s a pure biological survival mechanism against starvation. To your body, a diet is starvation.  

Perhaps this scenario is familiar… you dieted, lost weight but then gained all that weight back and more! It’s not your fault! And you aren’t alone…this happens to millions every day!

Given the failure rate of dieting (95-98%), the increase in shame and failure feelings, and the increase in binge eating, ending deprivation sensitive eating will help a lot! How? Stop dieting!

Not too easy. I know. It’s scary!

This fear is a good thing! Remember back to when I talked about how disordered eating is a way to push down your feelings? So feeling this fear and allowing it to be there is a very good thing. I’ll talk more about this later.

For now, let’s talk about Addictive Eating


Addictive Eating
Addictive eating is the eating you do to push down all those emotions.

When you were abused (or even just told not to have negative feelings...happy was okay but nothing else), you learned to push away the feelings you experienced. It wasn’t safe to feel those emotions. You had to push them away.

The only problem with this method is… emotions don’t disappear! They’re just pushed down. Over time, a big giant pile of emotion – all the emotion you never let yourself feel, from childhood to the present – is left. That’s a lot of feelings!

That’s why they often feel so overwhelming.

Your unhealthy eating behaviors are saving you from feeling those emotions! Therefore, the way to change your relationship with food and body image is to feel your feelings!

This may sound really scary… and it can be, at first. But I promise you, it will make a huge difference in your life. It will make your disordered eating patterns obsolete. It will help you live a full, authentic life. It will tell you how you feel and what to do in any given situation. It is the direct pathway to true happiness and joy!

After all, if you don’t need to run from your feelings (because you readily feel them), you can do nearly anything!

In the next article, I will share with you how to make your disordered eating obsolete by teaching you how to feel your feelings using your relationship with food. It’s like killing two birds with one stone – or better said—like healing two issues with one approach.

Until next time…


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Anne Cuthbert knows first hand what it’s like to deal with food and body issues. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oregon, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University, Anne’s counseling experience spans over 12 years. She has studied and worked with experts in the eating disorder field, taught counseling and communication skills classes, and assisted and managed several personal growth seminars and support groups. Anne provides individual and group counseling as well as body image workshops to people who want to make friends with food and peace with their body. 

Go to: www.foodisnottheenemy.com to learn more and receive a free gift to help you get started.

August 20, 2013

3 Steps to Let Go of the Pain of Sexual Abuse and Finally Feel Normal



From Broken to Beyond Surviving

3 Steps to Let Go of the Pain of Sexual Abuse and Finally Feel Normal


Join me for this free 90 minute teleseminar
September 5th, 6p PT / 9p ET


Do you feel worthless, undeserving, unfixable, or unlovable? Are you ready to let go of the pain of sexual abuse and finally feel normal?

If you are beyond sick and tired of feeling broken and burdened by the past, this 90 minute teleseminar is for you. You will be taught the three steps you need to take in order to let go of the pain of childhood sexual abuse and finally feel normal. Rachel will also share with you her secret to becoming a ‘beyond survivor’.

You will learn:
  • Why sexual abuse is akin to an unhealed wound and the steps required to heal that wound.
  • How your brain processes experiences and how this affects your thinking, feelings, and behavior.
  • To challenge the false beliefs that keep you disconnected from your genuine self. 
  • To develop new ways of thinking in order to shift your focus, listen to yourself, and to use affirmations that really work.
  • 3 steps, rooted in science, which will lead you out of the pain of abuse.



As a special bonus, Rachel will leave time at the end of her talk to answer your questions, so be sure to join the call live. If you are not able to join us live, go ahead and register and you will receive the recording.

This call is perfect for you if: You are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and are frustrated because it seems nothing you do is helping. You desire to reconnect to your genuine self in order to move on with your life and be the person you were meant to be.

Sign up for this free teleseminar at:



It is my hope and desire for you to be able to make radical and amazing changes as you take back your life and realize your ability to make powerful choices about who you are and how you live.

See you there,

Rachel

August 13, 2013

The Connection Between Trauma and Disordered Eating - Part 1

This week, we begin this series brought to us by Anne Cuthbert, who is both a friend and an amazing coach who is committed to helping people break their food and weight obsessions and finally break free of yo-yo dieting for good. In this series, Anne will talk with us about the connection between trauma and disordered eating and share some strategies for improving our relationship with food and breaking out of destructive, sabotaging patterns.

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When I was a kid, I fanticized about starving myself. I wanted to so badly. I thought that somehow this would make me feel better – would make me be better.

When I was a kid, I didn’t feel loved. My father was gone, remarried to a woman with six boys. He didn’t have time for me and my siblings. On the rare visits to his home in another state, he spent his days drinking alcohol rather than spending them with us. He was also verbally and sometimes physically abusive. Not very nurturing, my mother spent her days at work and her evenings out with friends. She was distant, cold even. She rarely hugged me and the few touches she did provide had a “touch like a girlfriend” (as my brother put it). I seldom heard I was loved and never that I was beautiful.

Starving myself was a way to be good enough to get the love I was missing. At the very least, I might get some much needed attention.

Luckily, I had a little voice in my head urging me not to do it! “If you starve yourself, you’ll just have two problems, instead of one,” it insisted.

I remember this voice distinctly, even though at the time, I wasn’t quite sure what my first problem was. Now I know… it was the lack of feeling loved by my parents. This was the missing hole my self-esteem (and my life) revolved around.

I didn’t end up becoming anorexic. That voice saved me from that! However, I did spend the next several years on yo-yo diets, feeling guilt at everything I ate, comparing myself to every other woman I ever laid eyes on, hating my body, seeking any quick fix to my perceived weight problem and an overall obsession with food and my weight. I was miserable!

It wasn’t until years into my disordered thinking and relationship with food and weight that I realized why I focused on it so much. I remember the moment well. I was comparing myself, for the thousandth time, to a girl walking in front of me. If only I had her hair, her legs, her stomach, her everything…I would have friends and be loved too. If only…

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!

I was wasting my life doing this comparison-never-being-good-enough thing! It wasn’t making me feel any better. What was I doing this for? At that moment, I was determined to change.

And I did.

A big part of that change was to heal my broken past. I used my relationship with food (and a lot of personal growth workshops) to do it. And that’s how I learned firsthand how to heal eating disorders and disordered thinking around food and body image. My life and my self-esteem have improved dramatically! No more fantasizing about changing my body to change my life.

Overeating, bulimia, anorexia, body hatred, fear of food, binging, purging, dieting, restricting are all ways to create a sense of safety, a sense of control – control over how you feel, control over your life. It’s an intense fear of being out of control and what would happen that you’re avoiding. Weight, after all, appears to be in your control. “If I can just be thin, I’ll be okay/good enough.” Or perhaps there’s a known or unknown fear of being thin and thus attractive. All of these are a way to create a safe place in an unsafe world.

Like my story…when you can’t express how painful, horrible, scary, powerless you feel in an abuse or trauma situation, you need something to help you cope. It’s the power of survival that we all have, especially as children without adult-skills to help. It’s literally what keeps you alive….along comes disordered eating to help you do just that!

It probably worked for a while. You focused on food for control or comfort. You focused on body dislike and how to fix it. You had a purpose – a way to make yourself better…perfect. It felt good.

However, over time, disordered eating stops feeling good; it stops working. The disordered eating patterns get worse. You feel more and more out of control with food. You isolate further and shame expands. Now, your inner world is also no longer safe. Now your disordered eating is painful.

Believe it or not, the eating disorder has helped you! That was its intention all along…to help you feel better, safer, lovable, good enough. It just got too big. It started to take over as the main-dish coping mechanism. You may not even know how much it’s helping you to cope. And you may not know how to stop…

The true story about eating disorders is: It isn’t about food or your body – it’s about your feelings.

That’s right. It’s about what you feel and how you feel it.

Disordered eating is about pushing down your feelings and filling a void that’s inside. It’s about avoiding fear, shame, anger, sadness and loneliness. It’s about disconnection and distraction.

Not only does disordered eating help you push down your emotions but it also acts as a distraction from your emotions.

After all, when you spend a large portion of your time thinking about food, what you’re going to eat, how fat you might get or already are, how much you want a cookie and how horrible you are for eating that cookie – or 10 cookies, how can you think about anything else? It’s a great way to disconnect from your body, a body that has betrayed you.

And once you’re in this cycle, it’s hard to get out of it!


But you can! I will tell you how. In the next two articles, I will define the different types of disordered eating and show you how to get out of the pattern of using food to cope with your feelings.


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Anne Cuthbert knows first hand what it’s like to deal with food and body issues. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oregon, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University, Anne’s counseling experience spans over 12 years. She has studied and worked with experts in the eating disorder field, taught counseling and communication skills classes, and assisted and managed several personal growth seminars and support groups. Anne provides individual and group counseling as well as body image workshops to people who want to make friends with food and peace with their body. 

Go to: www.foodisnottheenemy.com to learn more and receive a free gift to help you get started.

August 7, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: One Man's Reflections on the Impact of Sexual Abuse

This week, we are in for a treat as Duane shares excerpts from his novel, Neon Signs. If you are touched by Duane's stories, be sure to leave a comment!

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An Explanation of Neon Signs

Neon Signs is a first-hand journal account of a sexual abuse survivor Damian King. It covers six years of his life from May 2004 until December 2010. The entries, which include short stories and poetry, are dark, raw and fragmented to give a reader insight into what it is like to suffer from the long term consequences of childhood sexual abuse.

I wrote Neon Signs in 2011. It is based on my life. I wrote it, for the following reasons:
  1. As a way to make sense of what happened to me as a child.
  2. To show those who haven’t been sexually abused what the long term consequences are of sexual abuse and what those consequences looks like in everyday life.
  3. To show those who have been sexually abused that they are not alone.
  4. To raise awareness of sexual abuse, especially male sexual abuse. 

Excerpts

Please note that the following contains raw language and imagery, so be sure to have a support person on call or self-care plan in place in case you are triggered.



30 May 2004

Ashes to Ashes

In my mind I see me as a child.

I am tall for my age, skinny, with black hair, dark brown eyes and olive skin.

I am in my bedroom, reading a book about a boy and a girl. They have been given magical rings that lead them into another world at the dawn of its creation.

The words flow into my brain like a sweet melody and down into the rest of my body.

There they will remain until a time when I will need them.

But for now, as that innocent child I am safe.


31 May 2004

I feel a close infinity with nature.

It serves me as a brother.

It helps me to heal.

It helps me to function.

It provides much needed nutrients but most importantly it contends with the Black.

It chases it back into me, until a day when the Black becomes no more.

But for now the Black is a part of me as my heart or my lungs are.

To try and rip it out would leave me missing a part of my identity.

I need to form a stronger identity without the Black and then when the time comes to rip it out, I won’t miss it.


1 June 2004

Foe

Black thoughts slice deep into my mind,
Cutting through rationality,
Leaving me paralyzed and barely breathing,
Before they enter again,
This time more ferociously,
While I close my eyes,
My reality disappearing as a new one opens up to me.

In the new reality, I am not a man,
I am a deformed boy,
Reeking of another,
Ruined,
Worthless,
Diseased,
Twisted into Black.


2 June 2004

I AM A SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR!

I AM A SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR

I AM A SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR

I need to keep reminding myself that I am not a victim anymore.

I used to be when I was 13 years old and first preyed upon by my abuser.

He, who destroyed my identity; He, who had black hair and white skin; He, whose expertise made him a man when in reality He was a broken boy; He, whose body always covered mine; He, who was always at his best; He, whose manipulative words seeped into my unconsciousness; He, who made me into an object to satisfy his craving; He, who craved a drug called power; He, whose craving grew stronger by violating my young and innocent body while the real me detached itself.

Then something happened:


Older

Sweet 16 and never been kissed,
Only violated,
And then perverted,
Left alone while He looked for another,
Younger version of me,
Because I was older.

Sent back into what had become an unfamiliar environment,
Behind a mask I cried alone,
Without comfort and love,
Misunderstood,
Desperately searching for peace,
In vain.


3 June 2004

One of the things that hurt me the most about my abuse was the loss of my identity.

Looking back I can see how with each perverted act, He ripped out piece by piece my sexual, physical, mental and emotional identity until I had none.

What was left was a pulp of darkness hidden behind a mask.

That mask deceived everybody I knew into thinking that I was normal, when in reality I was far from normal. I was in pain, so much so that my body had shut down and become numb, indifferent, a shell of whom I had once been.

A shell that had no color.

A shell that had no patterns.

A shell that that had no music.

This shell was empty.


4 June 2004

Abuser,  

I wanted to develop normally. I wanted to be like the other boys. I wanted to hang with them, but I couldn’t because of what they represented.

Guardian Demon,

I didn’t want to feel different.  I didn’t want to hate boys. I didn’t want a post sexual abuse existence. I wanted a pre-sexual abuse existence. I wanted me back. I wanted my friends back. I wanted to be like any other boy. I didn’t want to be on the sidelines. I didn’t want to be an observer. I wanted to duplicate what other boys did but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t because I loathed how that made me feel; an enemy in an allies body.

Evil Reincarnated,

Did you really think I wanted to be one of the girls? Did you think I wanted to hear them talk about other boys? I wanted them to talk about me! I didn’t want to be the best friend. I hated it!

Monster,

Did you plan to pervert me just before my body was changing from boy to teenager? Did you realize what you were doing? Did you realize what it meant? I WAS PHYSICALLY CHANGING AND YOU TWISTED THAT NORMAL PHYSICAL CHANGE INTO AN ABNORMAL ONE!

Murderer,

I DESPISE YOU AND WISH YOU NOTHING BUT THE WORST IN LIFE!


5 June 2004

Recess

Distant memories now plague my mind,
I look around and don’t see the friendly faces anymore,
Where have they gone?
Are they hiding from me?
Am I alone to face these memories?

My mind has been kind, loving, and understanding,
But now my mind is revealing,
The distant memories I am ready to face,
And which once existed,
In the recess.





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Duane Katene, now 35 years old, was born in New Zealand and moved to Gold Coast, Australia when he was eight years old. He is happily married to his wife Jodie and they have three beautiful daughters, Armarna ((8), Grace (6) and Arden (2). He has a Bachelor of Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Arts/Media from Griffith University. He has worked in Education, Management and Child Welfare, and is currently working as a Social Worker for a foster care agency. He spends the rest of his time writing and taking care of his daughters. He is the author of two eBooks: Neon Signs and Fury’s Daughter. His ambition in life is to raise awareness and understanding of male sexual abuse, to become a spokesperson for male sexual abuse, and to become a resource for survivors and those who love them. 

Visit http://www.duanekatene.com/ to learn more and order your copy of Neon Signs.

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