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Self-Hate and Eating Disorders

Abstract: There is usually a relationship between self-hate and eating disorders. They eat in order to escape from their unpleasant feelings. The correct method is to identify their problems and try to solve them, not flee from them.

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Self-Hate and Eating Disorders

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Question(s): 
Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 12 Aug 2008.

Do I eat excessively because I don't like myself?

Answer:

People with eating disorders usually dislike themselves. They are disgusted by their strange eating habits and vomiting, and feel contempt for their weakness in being unable to resist the craving for food. A contributory cause can also be that it is impossible for them to create order in their eating. Another possible cause can be that they are dissatisfied with their bodies since they can't live up to the current slim ideal. They think that they are too fat or wrong in some other way. Young girls, who others think are lovely, can in this way be filled with an intensive self-hate.

The wrong problem-solving method is used by those with eating disorders. They eat in order to escape from their unpleasant feelings. The correct method is to identify their problems and try to solve them, not flee from them. As they succeed in solving their problems they will increase their self-respect and like themselves more.

Not liking themselves and feeling depressed are examples of feelings which were previously suppressed and can emerge when they come to grips with their eating disorders. The first step at this stage is to learn to recognize the real feelings, to understand and accept that the craving for fat and sugar isn't a real feeling but only a substitute in order to flee from the need to feel other unpleasant feelings.

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