Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What do you do with your feelings?

Raising children with reactive attachment disorder can be emotionally draining for the mom. We can feel like failures. We feel unloved and sometimes unlovable. We say things we regret. We regret we don't say things. We do not feel understood. We feel alone. Our homes have been physically destroyed. We worry about what we have done to our other children, to our spouses, to ourselves.

Do any of those thoughts sound familiar? At one point they sounded like me. Sure. There are times when one of the thoughts pops into my head but not for long. I went to Attachment therapy where I did feel understood and heard. There I also learned about caring for myself.

One of my problems was emotional eating. This has been a battle for a long time but it became much worse after the boys came and we began to deal with RAD.

I figured out that I ate when I was sad, when I was stressed, when I was angry. Rather than deal with my "ugly" feelings I ate them. Of course, the good feeling was only for a moment and then I felt even worse so would eat more to make the feeling go away again.

First of all, acknowledge that you are eating your feelings rather than dealing with them.

Then start talking. Find a friends, a therapist, a pastor, but start talking. You need to learn to let it out and deal with what is going on inside.

Find an alternative. Once you have started talking find something else to do with those feelings. Exercise, prayer, prayer while you exercise, a hobby, a place in your room where you can go to read. Down load books from online at your local library for free on to your MP3 player and go listen. Take care of yourself, your body, soul and spirit.

When I started taking care of my body I found that I felt better. Good food gives energy, junk food drains it. Being overweight made me sluggish, being in better shape (not as good as I want) gives me energy and widens the number of activities I can do. Feeling physically strong also makes me emotionally stronger because I don't get so tired.

Realize that food is not your friend. It is merely nutrition, fuel to get the job done. Would you put junk food in the gas tank of your car? Hardly. Our job is tough. Take care of the machine God gave you to do it with. Have a healing day for you!


Bill said...

Totally agree with how draining it all is and feeling bad about yourself. We've added lately bad relatives shaming us for how we parent and claiming our daughter is a normal teen. This is a full time job we don't get paid for. I and my husband are learning very slowly we need to also tend to ourselves or we won't last long.

BT said...

That first paragraph really captures it, doesn't it?

Our RADish is an emotional eater, so we talk and talk about listening to our stomachs, going ahead and letting ourselves feel our feelings and then finding a healthy way to deal with the difficult feelings, and using food to nourish our bodies with the nutrients and amounts that we need. For about the first two years post-adoption, before we knew we were dealing with RAD, I slipped into the emotional eating. Since our RAD diagnosis in 2007, I have had to practice what we preach to our son, and it has made a world of difference for me. We encourage our kids to call us on any unhealthy behaviours that we tell them not to do and then they see us doing (e.g., inappropriately expressing anger, emotional eating, the list can go on!). On the food thing, I really really want our son to see me making good healthy choices so he has a good example to follow.

Brenda said...

Bill and Ronni~ Good point. What other people say really can make us feel misunderstood and alone. Finding good support is so important. Than it is easy to write other people off as just "not getting it" rather than taking it personally.

BT~ YES. At Weight Watchers we learn to rate our hunger from 1-5. That might work with kids too. I need to try that with a couple of mine and see what they think.

BeckyJoie said...

Good reminder. I have been thinking about the food/weight/emotional connection.

peggysue said...

Hello, my name is ______ and I am definitely an emotional eater. Since bringing home our daughter I have gained over forty pounds. Yikes! Okay, now I've admitted it, what do I do? I think I need a therapist for me, but no budget right now. This is so true though. Maybe substitution would help for now.

Brenda said...


Check out www.weightwatchers.com and www.dwlz.com Those have been helpful to me.

Linda said...

Emotional eating is such a trap. I'm a stress eater. (among other issues.)The other day I actually thought at a stressful day I really needed to get home to exercise. Of course, that only happens about 1 time out of 100. Thanks for the reminders that the other 99 times are self defeating.