Hannah was sad that, with all the inner work she’d done on herself, she was still binge-eating.
“There are times when I just can’t stop eating. I feel terrible afterwards, but at that point I just want one more cookie and another until they’re all gone. Or I plan on taking a few bites of ice cream from the box. and find I can’t stop until the whole box is gone I just don’t get why I’m still doing this And it seems worse since I got married to Roger, even though I really love him I’m just coming not off! “
I asked Hannah to tune in to the addicted part of her and let that part speak about why she needs to fill up on food.
Well, sometimes I just feel so empty and alone inside. I just can’t stand it. Eating makes me feel so much better. I don’t feel so lonely when I eat and feel full. But I don’t understand why I feel that way. I am not alone. I have Roger and he loves me. “
“It sounds like you want to eat when you feel alone inside, when your Inner Child – that is your sense of self – feels alone and abandoned inside.”
“Yes,” replied Hannah. “That’s exactly what I feel, but I have no idea how to fill that emptiness and loneliness without food. And why do I feel alone inside when I’m not alone outside?”
The problem is, most people think that the empty feeling is caused by something outside of themselves – like not having a partner, feeling rejected by someone, being unhappy with a job, or not having enough money. Yet that is never the cause of inner emptiness and inner loneliness. It is caused by one thing: not lovingly taking care of yourself, your feelings, the child in you. And we cannot lovingly take care of ourselves without having a spiritual source to turn to for love, wisdom, guidance, and strength.
A spiritual source can be God, a Higher Power, a guardian angel, an inner mentor or teacher, a beloved family member who has passed away, or your own Higher Self. We all need a source of guidance to turn to other people or our own minds. Our mind is limited to our storehouse of beliefs, many of which are false or no longer supportive of who they are today. Our minds cannot guide us in what is truly loving to ourselves. It cannot advise us in which actions support our greatest good. So unless we have a source of wisdom to turn to, we may not know what to do to lovingly take care of ourselves.
We will not even be open to this Source until our deep desire is to lovingly care for ourselves. As long as we believe it is someone else’s job to fill us up, or that we will become full of work, money, food and so on, we will not take the loving action that we must take for ourselves to take care of Inner Child and fill us with love.
The first thing I did with Hannah was help her create, in her imagination, a spiritual source that she could turn to. When I asked her that, she immediately imagined her grandfather who she had loved dearly as a child and who had died when she was five. She said she had often felt her grandfather around, but never thought she would ask him for help. Now that she imagined that he was holding and loving her, she began to cry with the joy of feeling his love for her.
Hannah, holding you, imagine the child is part of you that wants to overeat. Imagine holding her while your grandfather holds you. Ask her how you treat her that makes her feel so empty and alone. “
Little Hannah: “What you ALWAYS do that I just hate is you just join in whatever Roger wants. What he wants, needs and feels is always more important to you than I am. You don’t say anything to me. Since we got married, it’s like Roger should make me happy instead of you making me happy. I need you to make me happy by taking care of me instead of taking care of Roger so that Roger will love us. I need you to love me. (This did not come out all at once – this is a summary of what the Inner Child finally said to the adult Hannah).
As Hannah learned to turn to her grandfather for love and guidance and began to take care of herself instead of surrendering herself to Roger, her eating seizures gradually diminished.