Mechanisms of Adaptation
All of us have come across difficulties in our lives and these difficulties have shaped us. We all have defensive strategies which are specifically designed to not only increase our sense of safety but also to assure survival.
We have talked about these mobilizing defences of fight and flight and freeze, only the truth is that these are protectors that kick into gear as soon as it is that we come across a situation that agitates our need to protect ourselves. This is how it is that we have learned to adapt, however, there are adaptive defences as well as maladaptive defences. The key is to be able to notice your defences, to know when it is that you have actually engaged your all consuming soldier, to recognize that you have now detected a threat and are therefore now responding accordingly. If your response is adaptive it means that in this particular situation it is well called for. If for example, you are in a scary situation and you have put up your walls in order to protect yourself then this is adaptive.
However, if you are in a situation that is social and there is actually no reason for self-protection, then putting up your walls is actually mal-adaptive. What happens is we actually set up internal working models that become encoded in procedural memory. They later become unconscious strategies of how it is that we regulate our emotion. These strategies include adaptations such as putting up walls, hiding, not feeling safe, the need to engage someone else in order to take care of you, not being able to think for yourself so you do what others tell you to do, hurting others before they can hurt you, making others feel bad in order to protect yourself, matching yourself to others to have your needs met, needing to be the centre of attention, constantly rescuing others or doing things to be accepted, idolizing others even when they reject or hurt you, perfectionism, constantly needing to be on the go.
A soldier in regards to eating is about creating walls of fat in order to be able to protect and hide and keep people away, it is a way to stay safe a way of not being seen or heard because of the wall of fat, and if there isn’t anyone to cling to, food becomes the companion. Not being able to help yourself, so the food takes care of you and entertains you. You eat because others are eating, even if you do not want to or do not even like it or you do not even think it is right in order to fit in, and when someone might point out that you are actually engaging your all consuming soldier you become tough and strike out with defensiveness or an attack in order to keep you safe, making others feel bad.
The all consuming soldier can also play out in an opposite effect of a person so desperately needing to be seen, that they make themselves stand out as different physically. Another way to stand out is to constantly try to be helpful. You feel the need to be accepted and can’t achieve the goal any other way. Another way is to look the same as everyone else, and if they are overweight, then by matching the way others are looking, you do not stand out in any way, but now can fit in!
One profession that comes to mind is that of nursing. Nurses have a tendency to be the number one profession for being over weight.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.