No one would register for an educational course without checking out the teaching staff. You would certainly want to know who was teaching the course & their background in the subject matter. Yet our "life teachers" didn't have to meet any of criteria or scrutiny. As children, as teens & even into adulthood most of us took everything we were told or taught at face-value, carrying these beliefs through life as truths, formulating a permanent lens to continually view ourselves, as well as others, often robbing creativity & quality of life... Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
Who were your early teachers & what were their credentials? This was a question I asked my class last night. Some of the answers were rather brow-lifting. This was not an attempt to criticize or show disrespect to any family member or other caregiver. We all have imperfections & while most of our early teachers did they best they could, what they provided may not have been what we needed nor what we need now. For most of us it's time to wake up & that charge.
I've introduced some of the group participants including Claire, Jennifer, Susan & Tim. Claire's parents divorced with she was ten years old. She lived with her father who worked as an engineer. He was strict, but loving. Her daily care came from her paternal grandmother & older sister by four years. This was her early core teaching group. The grandmother was overwhelmed with having two young girls in her care & while taking care of the practical aspects of daily life, she rarely talked to them about anything personal or their feelings. Claire grew up non-verbalizing her needs, desires & feelings. Her binge behaviors began at age eight, before the divorce.
Jennifer's core teaching group included her alcoholic mother & father. She has two older brothers who formed a bond to each other, leaving her out on her own. They often "tortured" her by tickling & doing something called Indian rub burns. When she cried or complained, her mother would scream at her & send her to her room to await the arrival of her father.... the disciplinarian. Jennifer learned to accept punishment without complaining & began bingeing at the age of four.
Tim grew up in a different kind of core family. His parents were both well-educated & successful in their own careers. He has an older sister & brother who excelled in sports & academics. This was a busy family with little time for personal attention. As Tim explains, it was like being on my own train with no conductor. Each night his parents had cocktails before a hastely put together dinner. After dinner everyone went to their own space until bedtime. Tim never learned what it took to succeed at life. It was as if those chapters of the book of life were never read to him. Tim grew up thinking that life was easy, without complications, so when his life became complicated, he turned to junk food & alcohol..........just like his parents.
Susan grew up as the child-caregiver to both the children & adults in her life. Her father died when she was three & she remembers promising her mother to be "a good girl" & to keep everyone happy. Quite a job description for a young child. She missed out on her childhood & so has little idea about providing one to her own children. She is a high level achiever, perfectionist & poor delegator. She started bingeing at the age of four & continues to hide & binge eat daily.
Parents & siblings are only a few of our early caregivers. When self-examining this area of one's life, it's important to have a look at other mentors or teachers. Look to other relatives, neighbors, church, clubs, sports coaches, teachers, friends, non-friends & other people one may have been fascinated with, even if they weren't actively involved in one's daily life. Remember that we learn from all of our intake senses.
If early teachers or mentors weren't helpful in teaching healthy stress-release & emotional management, chances are that the student or Self never matured properly & may continue with elevating other life-teachers to positions well above the Self. This often happens in marriage when the Self moves from the early mentors or teachers to the home of the husband-mentor. It's not surprising to find this type of history in those with disorderly eating or addictions.
I'd like to take the group into some of these areas, so they can begin to learn how to move out of the problem & the self-judgement & onto the path of positive change. It's easy to stay in the problem, acting as the victim. No one is going to argue that the above teachers were deficient in some way or in many ways. No discussion there. However, there is little to be gained if anything from staying the victim.
So, let's begin to outline some of this work...
FAMILY ADDICTION HISTORY
It's important to know that even when you were a toddler, your earliest teachers may have been placing potential addictive programs. If addictions were present in your early environment, you were also learning how to manage stress with these substances. I'm going to address certain addictions first & then go into some food issues.
What did your mentors teach you?
Were there members of your family or social circle who smoked or consumed alcohol?
Was coffee a regular a beverage of choice?
Did you have soft drinks available?
We you offered any of these substances?
Were you offered water as a beverage or was it not considered a beverage?
Are there any areas that need editing here?
Simply relax deeply into the moment and bring up the images you would like to change. Even though they really happened, you can still change the scenes in some way. Perhaps you would like to stand next to your child as an adult mentor and point out that one can love or like someone even if they participate in dangerous habits. Let the child know that it is not healthy to smoke at all.
There are some people who can enjoy a drink of alcohol on occasion, but it truly isn't a good idea to get used to it. Coffee is not a healthy drink and should be avoided, as well as other drinks that have sugar and caffeine. Take the opportunity to share a glass of cool, refreshing water with your child-self and tell the child all about the rewards for participating in healthy behaviors.
Addressing your child-self, gently point out what would be good to change and why. Invite your subconscious librarian to gift you with further information.
VISITING YOUR CAREGIVERS
Go back inside again and take some time to notice how you caregivers took care of yourself nutritionally and then how you took care of yourself. Pay special attention to your feelings about these memories.
Visit breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Who made the decisions in regard to your lifestyle behavior choices?
How did peer pressure play out in relation to foods and stress?
If this were a book you were writing, is there anything you would change?
How would you edit it? Be very specific.
Sometimes the subconscious mind will send up material about areas you have already “ mind-researched.” This is like remembering where your keys are located after you stopped looking for them. Has any additional information been provided that would apply to your earlier years? If so, go back and make additional notes in the area above. Teen years often hold some important areas in relation to the development of eating disorders and certainly sugar addiction.
It has really helped me to visit my transition from teen to young adult. I can understand how much pressure I put on myself and how much I pretended to be mature. This was very stressful and also set the stage for the years that followed. I truly lost my essence here in this very place. Now I'm looking forward and have a question. Every woman in my family became obese in middle age. Are you telling me that I have a chance to have different outcomes?
While you have family genetic wallpaper, you also have the ability to make better choices in how you care for yourself. More than likely the other women in your family did not have this information available to them, but you do. Keep in mind that everything you do has a consequence, and so if you keep doing the same things as they did, you will have the same consequences, but if on the other hand you choose to change, so will your outcomes.
This blog is the workshop for thoughtWARE Books. The series includes Help.....My Life is Killing Me - Lifestyle Change Made Easy, Beyond Disorderly Eating & Bingeing, Holistic Weight Loss , Sugar....the Hidden Addiction, Nail Biting & Skin Picking & Small Change - The Power of Interactive Self-Hypnosis. At the present time I am seeking an agent and/or publisher.