Freud had a drive theory. Drives for Freud, were inborn needs and dependant on constitutional dispositions. In classical Freudian theory the centre piece of what makes up your personality is predominantly based in instinctual gratification; these he termed oral, anal, phallic, and genital. The idea is, that we all go through fazes, and one of the fazes becomes predominant over the others in later adulthood, to a fixation point based upon which of these had the strongest impact. For example, Freud believed that depression results from an oral fixation. At the oral fixation stage one longs for nurturance and if there is a feeling of a sense of abandonment this can lead in later life to a feeling of depression.
Freud believed that the fundamental motivation in life is pleasure, and the pleasure longing is actually really to do with connections with others. All of us shape our relationships according to the patterns internalized from our earliest significant relationships, and this plays out in our relationship with food. The longing for emotionality plays out in eating.
Freud believed that we are profoundly social creatures, and we dread isolation, and as such, we shape ourselves according to social need. The point is, that eating is to do with relationships and when we think about eating we think about community, sitting down at the table together, breaking bread, and generally when we are young, we eat in relationship with family. These “feel goods” are the stuff of oral fixation where continuing to keep the mouth busy is also continuing to be in relationship and fending off isolation. The term ‘chewing the fat’ for example is about talking to one another in relationship around the table, while eating and discussing ones day, and when you think about those that have an oral fixation ‘chewing the fat’ is literally about chewing, such as; chewing gum, smoking, drinking, keeping the mouth busy with either eating or talking, and occupied like chewing the end of a pencil, and in essence continuing to entice the pleasure centres of the brain to be stimulated.
That is why the Emotionally Focussed Eating Program is imbedded to finding out how relationships and lack of relationships have played a historical part in what is happening in the present. When a person experiences relational trauma, healthy development is thrown off course by destructive events, resulting in conflict in the psyche. Trauma can be anything from feeling like you have been hurt, disrespected, or your needs have not been met. Trauma doesn’t have to be something that is dramatically negative or frightening, it can be indicative of parents needs not being able to meet what the child’s needs are in the moment. A caregivers style might be quite effective with one child yet, might not meet the needs of another child, creating enormous difficulties. This relational mismatch allows an individual to become stuck in one of the drives.
Such a story is based in individuals who suffer from anxiety, or depression, which may result in bulimia. When a person might feel initially good in regards to an interaction with another person and that might have felt helpful initially, might later turn into fear. Filling the fear might be attained by eating a huge bag of cookies and then purging would allow for an emptying experience creating calm. These experiences are indicative of two very different ways of a conflictual experiencing of relationship. Initially the feeling of hope and longing in relationship can feel extremely dangerous, if the learning throughout life had been that hopes are always crushed and longings are always painfully disappointing. The cookies are representative of the means to burry and smother the connection between being hopeful and gullible, and the impending ultimate disappointment.
New love objects such as cookies are chosen for their similarity to bad unsatisfying objects of relationship in the past, and the interaction provokes old expected behaviours. In this way, old patterns of self fulfilling prophecies become repetitive disturbances. That is why the connection between these painful states of mind and self defeating patterns of behaviour are so difficult to change.
The bottom line reason why there is a huge return rate in most weightless programs; it’s not about limiting food intake that lowers weight, it is about dealing with these psychic disturbances that heals the need of oral fixation.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.