Food Refusal as a Result of Trauma
This workshop will explore the link between not being wanted as children, from conception onwards, and our later self-rejection through denying ourselves good, healthy food. When our mother does not want us, we can only survive by ‘not wanting’ ourselves; when our needs are too much for her, we learn to negate our own needs, including suppressing our appetite and natural desire for nutritious, nurturing food. Topics for discussion may include: -
• Self-weaning: Rejection of the mother’s breast at an early age due to feeding being a toxic, rather than a nurturing, experience
• ‘Fussy’ eating: children who do not want to eat or limit their diet as a result of trauma (this can often be prompted by the conception of a younger sibling)
• Unhealthy eating: suppression of appetite, choosing foods that do not truly support our health, ‘comfort’ eating, binge eating, vomiting
• ‘Anorexia’: self-starvation as a means of control, over ourselves, our unbearable feelings and our environment
• ‘Body image’: not wanting to become a woman (or man) due to sexual trauma; being thin as the only acceptable way to ‘be’
Refusing ourselves food is a survival strategy to keep our trauma buried; when we begin to feed ourselves in a healthy, loving way, we begin to feel. Moreover, it is through feeling that we learn to honour our own needs, and to feed ourselves. On a physical level, the nature of our gut flora changes according to our emotional experiences, and the food we eat. The journey towards appropriate, healthy eating can either take place within the victim-perpetrator dynamic, which perpetuates the problem, or free of it, when we encounter the reality of our trauma biography.
Lucy Jameson was born in London in 1976. She discovered IoPT in 2012, and in 2015 began her training as a practitioner. She is co-manager of The Centre for Healthy Autonomy in London (www.healthy-autonomy.co.uk) an apprentice on the IoPT Professional Training (UK), led by Vivian Broughton, and a facilitator on the Introductory Course. Together with her friend and colleague Maria Green, she co-presented the workshop ‘Motherhood and Identity Development’ at the Munich conference ‘Trauma, Love & I’ in 2016. Lucy runs monthly workshops at her home in West Sussex (SE England), where she lives with her partner and their two children.