“I’m eating more, and I had been doing so well. I lost a lot of weight, and I’ve been proud of how I have been eating the right foods, and been taking smaller portions as well. I’m still eating the right food, but I’ve increased the amount I’m eating. I feel so disgusted with myself.”
Her therapist cuts her off just as she is about to launch into more food thoughts. “Why are you eating so much?”
The woman gets quiet, is thoughtful, and then comes out with “I don’t feel satisfied.”
This leads therapist and woman back into a topic they’ve been addressing for weeks—how the woman is not satisfied with her life with her husband. The woman has taken care of lots of other matters that used to trouble her. But she has been too meek and mild with her husband. She can’t stand the way her husband is so negative. His negativity and his self-centeredness that results from him being so negative, color her life with him. It’s ruining her life, but she selflessly and bravely bears it.
The woman has a dilemma; no doubt about it. She can’t feel satisfied with her life with her husband. She can’t get herself to confront her husband about his negative thinking and it’s deleterious effect on her. So she has been eating to fill her need for satisfaction. Her emotional overeating is satisfying in two ways. It is giving her the satisfaction that she doesn’t get from her marriage. But it also satisfying insofar as it helps her avoid confrontation with her husband, the thing she so fears.