Tag Archives: eating disorders and abuse

Pantomime

Serbian bread, Author Srdan Vesic (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, GNU)

Pantomime dates as far back as ancient Rome.  A form of entertainment which conveys meaning without using words, pantomime is today generally geared toward children.

That, as it turns out, is highly appropriate.

Children – especially the youngest – lack words for many of the things they experience.  They can, however, convey information without being aware of doing so.  Most of us are familiar with the use of puppets and toys to elicit information from little ones who may have been abused [1].  Pantomime can play a role, as well.

Food and Children

Food has emotional significance for children.  Food represents nurture.  It is life.  Children require both physical and emotional sustenance.  When one is lacking, the other may serve as a temporary substitute.

Food and Abuse

This can be useful in the short term.  Even as adults, we recognize the concept of “comfort” food.  However, when children are chronically deprived of love and attention, no amount of food will rectify the problem.

Unfortunately, children may ignore that reality in a futile attempt to have their emotional needs met.  Overeating can be a sign of emotional starvation [2][3].  It may, also, be a sign of sexual abuse [4].

With child molestation, a child can feel overwhelming anger, but lack the means of expressing that powerful emotion.  Food, in this context, may be used to push the anger down.  This is an instinctive response, not one consciously pursued by the child.

Lifelong Weight Issues

The child’s frantic overeating can lay the foundation for a lifelong struggle with weight.

As adults, most of us have long since forgotten what gave rise to our overeating.  Oh, we know the battle with the scale is a matter of life and death.  But our opponent is the woman in the mirror, and our motivation to get those childhood needs met.

We stuff the food down, barely tasting it, forcing our emotions down.  We eat uncontrollably, even foods we may find unappetizing.  And no matter how much we eat, we cannot get enough. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Healing from Abuse

Child abuse – whether physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect – is likely to have permanent consequences. The wounds of abuse are grievous, inflicted when we are most vulnerable.

The extent to which we heal varies from one victim to the next, as does the rate at which healing takes place. This makes perfect sense. Victims are violated at various ages, for varying lengths of time, in countless evil ways. They have unique internal resources, and varying degrees of external support (sometimes none).

All these are factors in recovery. We must not, therefore, gauge our progress by that of others.

The “Inner Child”

Experts often refer to the wounded “inner child”. This is not to suggest that victims develop multiple personalities, though some may. It is an abbreviated means of saying we remain sensitive to issues relating to abuse, and – at an emotional level, at least – retain a strong recollection of the trauma inflicted on us.

Misplaced “Coping” Strategies

Unable to defend themselves against abuse, some children adopt desperate strategies in the effort to cope with it. These childhood strategies may continue into adulthood, becoming a hindrance where they once served a legitimate purpose.

Dissociation is one such strategy. The child, in effect, imagines himself or herself elsewhere while the abuse is taking place. This is the “out of body” experience. Dissociation may later be triggered by events which recall (or mimic) the abuse. Though meant to be protective in nature, dissociation can produce serious gaps in a victim’s memory. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse