Victims of violence: why can’t they lose weight

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They can make incredible efforts to lose weight, but do not achieve the result. “Wall of fat”, like a shell, protects them from a once experienced mental trauma. Clinical psychologist Julia Lapina talks about the victims of violence – girls and women who will not help ordinary diets.

Lisa (the name changed) at eight years scored 15 kilograms. Mom scolded her because she ate too much pasta in the school dining room. And she was afraid to tell her mother that her uncle constantly molested her.

Tatyana was raped at seven years old. She overeated, and before each meeting with her young man caused vomiting. She explained this like this: when she had sexual impulses, she felt dirty, guilty and experienced an attack of anxiety. Food and subsequent “purification” helped her cope with this state.

Lost connection

A woman chooses this method of protection unconsciously: the gained weight becomes protection for her from a psycho -traumatic situation. As a result, through the unconscious mechanisms of the psyche, an increase in appetite occurs, which leads to overeating and weight gain. In a sense, obesity protects such a woman from her own sexuality, because active sexual behavior in women with excess weight is not socially approved – as in women over fifty.

The connection between sexual violence and eating disorders has been discussed for a long time. It is based first of all emotions: wine, shame of self -flagellation, rage to yourself – as well as attempts to muffle feelings with the help of external objects (food, alcohol, drugs).

Victims of violence use food to cope with feelings that have nothing to starve

Sexual violence can differently affect the food behavior and the image of the body in the victim. At the time of violence over the body, control over him no longer belongs to her. The boundaries are grossly violated, and the connection with bodily sensations, including hunger, fatigue, sexuality, can be lost. A person stops navigating them simply because he ceases to hear them.

Victims of violence use food to cope with feelings that have nothing to starve. Feelings with which direct connection is lost can come into consciousness with some incomprehensible, vague impulse “I want something”, and this can lead to overeating, when one answer is one answer-food-food.

Fear of becoming a defenseless child

By the way, victims of sexual violence can be not only complete, but also very thin – bodily sexual attractiveness can be suppressed in different ways. Some of these women are obsessively sit on diets, starve or cause vomiting to make their bodies “perfect”. In their case, we are talking about the fact that the “ideal” body is with greater power, invulnerability, control over the situation. It seems that they will be able to defend themselves from the already experienced sense of helplessness.

If we are talking about violence in childhood (not necessarily sexual), then men and women with excess weight at a subconscious level are afraid to lose weight, because they feel less, as if they were again helpless children. When the body becomes “small”, all those painful feelings that they have not learned to cope can come to the surface.

Only facts

Scientists from the Medical School and the Epidemiological Center at the University of Boston under the leadership of Rene Boynton-Zharret conducted a large-scale study of women’s health from 1995 to 2005. They analyzed the data of more than 33 thousand women who survived sexual violence in childhood, and found that their risk of obesity was 30% higher than those who were lucky enough to avoid this. And this study is not single – there are many other works devoted to this topic.

Some researchers associate the problem of excess weight with other types of violence: physical (beatings) and mental injuries (deprivation). In one study, people suffering from gluttony attacks were offered to choose several points from the list of trauma experienced. 59% of them talked about emotional violence, 36% – about physical, 30% – sexual, 69% – about emotional rejection by parents, 39% – about physical rejection.

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