Emotional Anorexia: Why Others Think you are Difficult

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Relationships are not simple. In fact, the closer your association with someone, the more complicated the relationship. In any relationship, one person's needs and expectations intersect with the other person's needs and expectations.

Sometimes it is a smooth fit; but, other times it is a rocky ride. Intimate, romantic relationships often encompass a wide range of needs and expectations by both parties, and thus, can be enormously difficult.

Forming and maintaining loving, intimate relationships requires open communication, respect, giving of oneself, and tolerance. Successful relationships also include each partner helping the other achieve their needs, wants, and desires for themselves and as a couple. For example, a woman may want to finish her college education so that she can get a higher paying job, which will enhance not only her self-esteem, but the couple's ability to purchase a home.

One of the most difficult areas to resolve is that of household and caretaking duties. Usually, one partner takes on the bulk of these responsibilities. And in heterosexual couples, it is usually the woman.

While women and men want to be loving and considerate helpmates to their significant others, one party may not feel that they are sufficiently recognized for their efforts because they receive little acknowledgement. This may cause them to believe that they haven't done enough, and so they do even more. Such thoughts and behaviors can come at the cost of self deprivation of one's own needs. If this continues, there may be a slow build-up of resentment and anger.

It's important to recognize that to be loving and giving is healthy; but, to love and give at the cost of one's psychological invisibility is clearly unhealthy. Anyone who submerges their needs to be valued, loved, appreciated, and complimented, and who suppresses their sense of being to the wants and desires of their partners, is going to risk "psychological starvation." We call this emotional anorexia.

When you hit that that "dark zone," your psychological nutrition is poor. Much of what you are consuming is what we label, "high fat" negative emotions; such as, anger, worry, anxiety, bitterness, and pessimism. Emotional anorexia means that you are living in emotional starvation mode. Just as irritability and anger happen when your blood glucose levels go down, when you don't have enough "psychological sugar" your emotional "blood levels" also go down. You don't have the good nutrients of joy, happiness, and excitement to keep you going.

Here are some signs that you are in emotional anorexia in an intimate relationship:

Sign 1: You try to avoid conflict by giving in to what the other person wants (again); you stop making demands (again); yet, you feel simmering resentfulness.

Sign 2: Soon, all you feel is deep irritation that results in an explosion of volcanic anger. Typically, this is over some small or even silly transgression by the other person, and usually occurs when you're in a situation where you should be having fun (e.g., out to dinner or relaxing on the weekend).

Sign 3: Now you feel guilty; you feel like the "bad guy" because you can't "just keep things fun and light" and "always" have to "ruin" a good time by bringing up the same old grievances.

Sign 4: You are caught in an emotional "catch-22." If you speak up, you can't control your emotions; and if you don't, you find yourself boiling on the inside.

You have now become a "difficult person" who is "unpredictable" and "overreacts."

What to do?

1.      Begin by stepping back and taking an assessment of your psychological nutrition.

2.      How many high fat negative emotions are you consuming in a day? How many positive low fat emotions?

3.      Don't swallow the high fat emotions—when it hits your "tongue" spit it out.

4.      Begin to understand your emotional triggers.

5.      Change the ratio of high fat to low fat emotions, so that you consume far greater low fat emotions in your psychological diet.

You may ask, why do we not focus on having the other party change their behavior and be more helpful? Because the desire to change oneself must be self-motivated. No one can "make" another person change. No amount of nagging, yelling, threatening, or simmering will change your partner if they don't want to change. It doesn't even matter if you are absolutely "right." Therefore, if you are experiencing emotional anorexia, regardless of whether you brought this on yourself or others influenced you to "go down that emotional starvation road," the process of change rests on you.

A Warning: if you don't begin the process, just as emotional malnutrition destroys the physical body, emotional anorexia will destroy all of your relationships, and more importantly, poison your spirit.

The Pay-off: if you make the effort to consume more low fat positive emotions, slowly the light will begin to shine again in your life. Ironically, the very things you wanted--to be complimented, loved, and have your partner do good things for you--will start to happen.

A joyful person attracts joy. Really.

Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D. and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D. both work in the field of clinical psychology, and they noticed a pattern with clients: poor health corresponds to negative emotions. They wondered if emotions had nutritional values applied to them, would we view emotions differently?  In their newly released book "Psychological Nutrition," they explore this idea and offer a unique and innovative new way to manage stress and live your best life. 

Article reprinted with permission.

Haute Tease

  • Russian President Grants Amnesty to Jailed Punk Band, Oil Tycoon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on an amnesty package that frees two members of the jailed punk band, Pussy Riot as well as Oil Tycoon, Mikail Khodorkovsky and members of Greenpeace.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama/Poland/EU; Election 2016; Police Murders/Dallas Ambush; Deadly Bull Run; Sydney Schanberg

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama met with European Union leaders this week as he continued his efforts to gird up the United Kingdom's standing as it begins the lengthy two-year exit strategy that will extradite the nation from its partnership with the EU.

     
  • American Film Institute Announces 2019 AFI European Union Film Showcase Lineup

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center announced today the complete slate of films for the 2019 AFI European Union Film Showcase, taking place December 4–22 at the American Film Institute's historic theatre in Silver Spring, MD.  

  • New York Film Critics Series Announces Launch Of Live National In-Theater Screening Series Moderated By Rolling Stone Film Critic Peter Travers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York (NY) – The New York Film Critics Series® (NYFCS®), one of the leading word-of-mouth screening companies, has announced they have partnered with Movie Theater locations throughout the U.S. to present a live, national, in-theater Screening Series.

     
  • State Department Releases COVID Report

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    One year into the global Coronavirus pandemic The United States State Department has released a report charging Communist China of systemically engaging in a campaign to subvert a transparent and thorough investigation into the deadly virus' origins and initial emission.

     
  • Churchill Review – A Dramatic, Historically Accurate, Expose

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Churchill, from Cohen Media Group and Salon Pictures, brings to the screen dynamic portrayal of the escalating tensions between the allied leaders during the final week before the D-Day Invasion which could be liberation or a bloody slaughter.