Reliving Trauma, Part 1 Food, Author formulatehealth, Source (CC Attribution-2.0 Generic)

Food as Comfort

You endure a childhood of sexual abuse.  Food is a comfort, solace for this inexplicable violation you have repeatedly experienced but cannot understand.

The Roots of an Eating Disorder

By your teens, you develop a weight problem, along with an eating disorder.  Though you do not realize it, both these are related to the abuse.  You deal with all the usual adolescent turmoil and the pain you carry around inside by bingeing.

Shame and Lack of Support

You have no emotional support, no one to guide you toward adulthood.  And virtually no clothes, since there is little thought given by the adults around you to the needs of a growing child.

You try on your mother’s clothes – in part so that you will have something to wear, in part to see what it feels like to be a grown woman.  But your mother is shorter in stature than you, and the clothes are too small.

You feel ashamed, unworthy to be a woman at all.

Food as the Enemy

Somehow you reach the other side of the crevasse.  The abuse is now a thing of the past.  You do not give it much thought, as you enter your twenties.  But you continue to wrestle with weight issues.  Food has become the enemy.

Social Anxiety

Clothes shopping is a painful experience.  You need to look presentable, at least in the workplace.  But you have difficulty finding anything that will fit.

This leads to intense embarrassment, particularly in social situations. That, in turn, leads to social anxiety.  You feel as if you are bursting out of your clothes, naked, all your secrets exposed.

Yet you cannot stop eating to excess.

Food as an Anesthetic

Eating becomes a guilty pleasure.  You eat little or nothing in public, but relish sitting alone in front of the television with a pint of ice cream and a bag of chips.  You use food to numb the pain.

Once done eating, you experience shame and remorse.

Part 2 in this series will be posted next week.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

25 responses to “Reliving Trauma, Part 1

  1. Anna, thanks for sharing the emotional cycle and helping us understand a bit of what is going on mentally.

  2. Extremely insightful, Anna. Thank you as always for discussing the things few care to bring to the forefront.

    Your brother,


  3. You may want to read Food Triggers or The 40-Day Sugar Fast , both are excellent books on this subject

  4. It’s so sad that eating becomes such a “twisted” experience for so many people. It speaks of our suffering and our lack of adequate support in community.

  5. Yep! Good one. Well said.
    I might add that sugar is really addictive and processed food is a problem. There are numerous governmental policies and outright greed that have all contributed to a whole lot of metabolic disorders. So yes, we eat emotionally as a result of trauma, but the nutritional value of our food has also changed.

  6. Vielen Dank, liebe Anna, dass Du uns vieles nahebringst, was sonst verschwiegen wird, aber doch viele beschäftigt. Liebe Grüße, Marie

  7. Great post Anna,
    I can relate, this is something they do not discuss at Weight Watchers..
    Your insight on this issue is very helpful.

  8. Hello Anna, this is charly priest but with a different account. Trauma…. as another commentator said you insight is very helpful. I saw that my last post people where wondering why I left wordpress, well in my first post today I tell my situation. Hope you are doing well, best wishes, I was missing the wordpress community.

    • Charly, how wonderful to hear from you! You have been much missed. Unfortunately, I am having trouble accessing your new website. Will keep trying. Meanwhile, stay well and happy.

      Your friend,


      • Nice to hear from you, I´m having some difficulties with the new website and don´t have much time in the internet to work on the problem. But is nice to read all the good people from wordpress and disconnect from the day to day harsh reality. I am happy though, one eventually adapts. All my best wishes to you. Have a wonderful day.

  9. This is such truth for many of us that come through abuse. The shame it ladles into our life mounts a survivors suffering. Thank you for all that you do.

  10. Pingback: Reliving Trauma, Part 1 – NarrowPathMinistries

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