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Anorexia

October 17, 2013

Success and Anorexia

Many strong, successful career women seem to have had eating disorders in their past. And many of those women seem to have married or are dating men who are much more attentive to the home and children. It is as if the roles and definitions have been reversed.

 

In my experiences, it appears that, in general, strong ambitious women do not learn how to define themselves in this culture so they identify with men in their need to find acceptance. When young, they may struggle with their female curves and body and, more often than not, work to eliminate it with the eating disorder. It seems to be of continued importance for them to maintain an attractive figure and appearance in adulthood. They also continue to develop a more male-oriented position in life through career and providing. They tend to have a hidden judgment about being taken care of and so make sure they do not need to be “taken care of” by providing for the family. It may be important for them to feel in control. Again, this may be due to the need to identify with a man’s world and find acceptance through being good enough.

 

But why do they tend to marry or date less ambitious men? It appears to represent their need to feel accepted without having to work so hard at it; to be able to relax and not take things so seriously. It appears to be a compliment to their intensity. It is as if they are learning to love the very part of themselves they used to hate. As if they are accepting the very characteristics in their partner that they desperately needed accepted in their Self as a child.

 

More often than not, however, the relationship appears to take on an abusive quality. That again, goes back to the days of the eating disorder. The control of the eating, was the struggle to stay away from the judgment of not being good enough. It is that very judgment that creates shame in an individual. The judgments may also allow the woman to feel unaccepted and, consequently, not belonging to the family or group. The shame and absence of belonging are two consistent characteristics in the abuse pattern in an individual.

 

A woman of this experience may be struggling internally with being good enough and may still be looking for extrinsic rewards or reinforcers to confirm that she is good enough to be loved, accepted. Part of this may be due to the perception that in our society, women need to shut down their female aspects to succeed in business. This leaves an internal feeling of not being good enough because as a woman you cannot be who you are. It may also be that the very shame that developed in them as young women interrupted their ability to define their Self and lead to the eating disorder or more. Or, maybe, as an ambitious female, her role models were males and so she learned to shut down her female aspects to be more like a man in order to be accepted by men. This suggests women may perceive that they cannot be accepted into a man’s world for who they are and so need to be like a man to be accepted as a professional among them. It may then be more clear that they would choose a partner who is complimentary, supportive, and caring of who they are.

 

As women begin defining their Self from an intrinsic point of reference, they will begin to accept their Self for who they are which will lead to feeling accepted by others and, consequently, society. Women will then pass forward the defining of self for self and by self. This will end women defining themselves through men. I believe the ending of women defining their self through men will also have an impact on the numbers of eating disorders. Just think, mothers and women will no longer press their daughters and younger women (respectively) to be thin in order to be loved, they will begin teaching a healthy lifestyle that embraces the unique characteristics of each child. Something so many women want and try to achieve.

 

Please contact KB@KristenBomas.com if you have any questions about services, topics or products.

Kristen Bomas, PA
398 Camino Gardens Blvd., Suite 104
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
Phone: (561) 212-7575
Email: KB@KristenBomas.com

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Photography by Walter
"Two Eagles" Smith

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